Eleven of us arrived at Rainham Marshes on what felt like the first day of summer after the wettest June most could remember. Blue sky and powder puff clouds with a light wind set the scene for a good day out. We started optimistically spotting from the cafe and all was well until the eclipse bird we eventually named ‘Gadward’ was spotted and the debate which ensued lasted the whole circuit of the reserve.
There were plenty of other highlights – blackcap and whitethroat sunning themselves in the Cordite store, excellent views of reed buntings sitting high and singing loud and a barn owl chick showing itself clearly. The insects were somewhat sparse – few dragonflies, no damselflies and only a few butterflies. We did find deadly nightshade, bittersweet (woody nightshade) and hemlock though and several debated how these might be put to good use (with only passing references to the recent referendum)!
We had a really good view of a Common Lizard and long debates about whether it was reed or sedge warblers we were listening to in the reeds.
As we completed the circuit we had good views of skylark, both flying and perched and just had time for a short walk along the sea wall to round off the day.
Our final triumph was confidently identifying a Mallard on the estuary.
Thanks to all for a good day out.
Claire & Jim
Thanks to Claire and Jim for the photographs and trip report. Thanks to Sally for the group photograph.