Friday 20 January 2017

Solitary Punk

RSPB Rainham Marshes 20th January 2017 
The fifth glorious, cold, crisp and calm day this week and after breaking my way through the frozen locks to get to the building at a little after half seven, I was greeted by a frosty vista that was just being kissed by the first sun rays of the day.

Mist hung over Wennington and the every patch of water looked even more resolutely frozen then the previous day. A Canada Goose had become stuck in the ice of Aveley Pool the previous day and we had been unable to reach it and unsurprisingly over night it had succumbed. The ice was liberally carpeted in all directions with its feathers - of which - according to Google - there are on average 1052... Gulls were poking around the corpse and the Carrion Crows and even a Grey Heron were collecting much needed calories.

Redwings and Fieldfares were much in evidence and the roving river wall flock was concentrating its efforts around the hawthorns and dog roses visible from the centre affording fabulous views in the early morning light.

An immaculate male Fieldfare

Down the hatch!

I do like a nice Redwing...

The feeders were already active with the Magpie and Collared Doves leaping in and out of the Pheasants while Gold, Green and Chaffinches and a few Reed Bunting shuffled around on invisible feet. 

Two Foxes were being vocal in the undergrowth and we soon found them in flagrante delicto and looking rather sheepish and somewhat uncomfortable with the big dog fox's hind paws only just touching the ground after their liaison. This conjoined couple eventually tottered off like a real Push-me-Pull-me for a little more privacy...
Goldfinch on Chicory

Female Reedy B

The Magpies would always return to a sunny spot after a feed and face into the sun and lean back and soak up the scant warmth provided while both the male and female Kestrels were doing something similar on the river wall.

We have always seemingly bred incredibly tame Kestrels at Rainham

The Common Snipe were huddled along the edge of the main bund through Purfleet Scrape and 22 were visible with a first scan. Most were asleep but by mid-morning they were up and about and probing around the margins from which the ice must have relented somewhat.  Several more came in off the saltmarsh and a Jack Snipe accompanied them but although I willed it to land in view it headed further out and alighted in a ditch.

Our incredibly rusty female Blackbird at last gave me an opportunity to take some photos. She has been faithful to the exit ramp bushes for some weeks now and in some lights can almost look orange breasted and has caused momentary American Robin alarm for more than one visitor.

My favourite picture of the day...

Two childminder ladies then came into the centre with their young charges. They are regulars to the reserve and after a customary hello said that they had just been watching a pretty little pink bird with a big crest just in the wildlife garden... it could only be one thing – a Waxwing.

They came back outside with me and pointed to it in a tree with the Collared Doves.  Pat and I had only been talking up a reserve Waxwing ten minutes before hand and I hastily called him, Bill and David back to the centre and cleared out the office.

This magnificent first winter male had the most bouffant coiffe you could image with orange and black make up and fine red waxy covert tips and only the lack of yellow around the ends of his primaries marked him out as an immature. He showed sporadically all day and eventually came down to the Guelder Rose at the bottom of the entrance steps where the assembled ornithological paparazzi were waiting to capture him for perpetuity.

The difference in plumage tone in different light was quite striking

'Punk In Motion' - an essence of picture

A clearsky sunset rounded things off in a typically splendid fashion...

oh and just for a change, all the pictures are mine!

1 comment:

  1. Have you dipped out on the Patchwork challenge this year?