9 members met in the Visitors Centre at RSPB Rainham Marshes. The RSPB acquired the site in 2000. These medieval marshes, right next to the River Thames, were closed to the public for over 100 years and used as a military firing range. The RSPB have transformed it into an important place for nature and a great place for people to visit.
It was the first time we had visited this venue as a group and we had been looking forward to our visit, and it didn’t disappoint. It had rained all the way there and we thought we were in for a wet morning. However, after having a welcome cup of coffee in the Centre the rain stopped and we made our way to the first hide. On the way to the hide we spotted Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Sparrow, Chaffinch and Robin in the feeding area, also Wood Pigeon, Magpie and Collared Dove.
The first hide was very spacious and, although we didn’t have a telescope, we identified a number of ducks on the water as Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Pintail, Wigeon, Gadwall, Shelduck, also Greylag and Canada Geese, a Redshank, Lapwing and Snipe.
On the way to the second hide we spotted several Linnets and heard a Cetti’s Warbler (although, unfortunately we were unable to see it).
From the second hide we watched a Little Grebe diving right in front of the hide, and also Coot and Moorhen. A Little Egret was walking along the edge of the water further out.
8 of us decided to go back to the Visitors Centre for lunch and one member walked the circular route round the Reserve and saw, in addition a Cormorant, Curlew and a Water Vole. She said that one of the hides had a big mural and historical information and that there was also a small lift as there were a few stairs leading up to the viewing area (thanks to Sue Longson).
We all agreed that it was a very interesting and enjoyable morning and that we would, hopefully, revisit this venue later in the year.
Birds seen: Starling, Wigeon, Greylag, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Coot, Curlew, Cormorant, Pintail, Pheasant, Teal, Shoveler, Magpie, Lapwing, Robin, Shelduck, Sparrow, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Greenfinch, Gadwall, Black-headed Gull, Canada Goose, Snipe, Crow, Redshank, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Linnet, Cetti’s Warbler (heard).
Other: Water Vole
Next meeting: Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve – Wednesday, 12 April 2017