The terrain at Rainham Marshes is fairly varied with beach, river, lakes, reedbeds, scrub and grassland amidst the industrial conurbation of the Thames Estuary. And with varied terrain comes varied birdlife including wader, ducks, birds of prey and passerines:
A lone black tailed godwit (Limosa limosa, Dansk: stor kobber-sneppe) amongst a group of teal (Anas crecca, Dansk: krikand) at the lakeside with reedbeds in the background
As well as godwit a small flock of lapwing (Vanellus vanellus, Dansk: vibe) would occasionally lift of the ground as an alarm was raised over some perceived threat, circle around for a minute or two before returning to where they were flushed from. I’ve seen that kind of behaviour before in response to the sighting of a predator such as a peregrine falcon, but I didn’t see any predators of that ilk so maybe an unseen ground predator such as a fox was in the vicinity.
And across another section of reedbed was the raised Eurostar train track and a transport depot full of trucks just beyond
And I love this image of another stonechat craning from the top of a bulrush to keep a wary eye on what we were up to:
We had heard a report that at the far end of the reserve toward the landfill hill there were short eared owls in the area, and later on in the afternoon we decided to wander down that way to see if we could find them. And it didn’t take long…
Short eared owl (Asio flammeus, Dansk: mosehornugle) patrolling the reedbeds
And that heralded the start of probably the best display of owl activity of any species that I’ve ever seen. And I’ll post some more shorty pictures next time. But isn’t this guy a beauty?!
I love to see wildlife thriving in these kind of places, it’s a great reminder of how resourceful creatures can be despite our ongoing take-over of their natural habitats. It gives us hope! Love that Stonechat!
Isn’t he a star! It’s a grfeat place, tucked in between all that industry. And I don’t know if you’ve seen it but the BBC are using a clip of birders there as one of their idents.
I love the photo of the stonechat leaning forward, and the owl with the pylon in the background.
Wishing you and yours all the very best for 2017!
Hello Meanderer, and a very happy new year to you too. I was pleased with that stonechat he made me chuckle. I quite expected him to disappear but he just seemed to be more curious than pertyrbed by our presence. More owl pictures to follow.
Lovely! Hope you had a good Christmas Finn, and all the best for 2017 x
Thanks Maggie, and to you too!
What a lovely sight. I’ve never seen an owl in the country, only a couple of Tawny Frogmouths near the river. They are such a wonderful bird to watch in flight too. I’ve seen some lovely images of white (?) owls in the snow in blogs recently.
Owls are amazing creatures to watch when they’re hunting, and some of the species we have in ths country can be highly accommodating if you know their habits. More SEO pictures from Rainham to follow shortly.