Thinking about it it, I guess it must be about two years now since I last visited the RSPB reserve at Rainham Marshes, so it was great to visit again yesterday with two friends, Nicole and Andrew. The excellent birding started as soon as we left the Visitor Centre as we spotted two Cattle Egrets on the marsh. This once rare visitor to the UK is becoming far more common and it is no longer a surprise to see them. A cuckoo called and then flew across the marsh. At one point we had two calling from different directions. We continued onto Purfleet Hide, where one of the Egrets flew in and landed on the scrape.
Moving on we were serenaded by Cetti’s, Reed and Sedge Warblers plus a few Blackcaps and Whitethroats. The Sedge Warbler’s were particularly obliging, singing in the sunshine from their perches in the reeds or at the top of bushes and trees.
On the marsh were the usual variety of Wildfowl and Wetlands birds. A party of 8 Shelduck flew over and a Swallow, my first of the summer also passed overhead. Nicole spotted a large Moth on a reed stem, which turned out to be a female Emperor Moth.
Arriving at Shooting Butts hide we had barely settled when someone shouted ‘Hobby’ and two were seen flying high over the reserve. We saw these again, much closer this time, shortly afterwards over Target Pools.
Having reached the mid-point of the circuit we turned back towards the visitor centre. a Great White Egret flew into land on Aveley pools, which meant that together with the commoner Little Egrets, we had recorded all three of our resident white Egrets on the reserve.
In addition to the 51 species of birds I recorded on the walk, we also saw 6 species of Butterfly and 2 early dragonfly species. Another highlight were the sightings of Marsh Frog, just lazing around in the sun.
A great morning, very enjoyable. Thanks to Nicole and Andrew for their company.