Monday 2 July 2018

Traffic Trauma - an evening stuck at work

RSPB Rainham Marshes - 2nd July 2018 

And so the end of my day went something like this... oh look the A13 is slowing down, ah... the M25 is closed at j30, oh... the QEII Bridge is now closed, bugger... all routes into and out of the area are now stuffed, just great... the Blackwall Tunnel is now closed.

And thus I was forced by these cruel twists of fate to stay at ‘work’ till 8pm before an escape became a plausible option.  I made myself go out for a horrible walk in the sultry summer air on trails devoid of anyone else and was obliged to look at all the wildlife arrayed before me with only myself for company.

The Purfleet Scrape has dried dramatically over the last three days but 32 Little Egrets and nine Grey Herons were loafing around along with a non-flying almost fledged Lapwing chick and two similar Redshanks. Swifts and Sand Martins zipped around as I headed for the woodland. The breeze had picked up and I concentrated on the sunny patches and found sunbathing Commas and my first Gatekeepers of the year along with a female Black-tailed Skimmer and a nectaring Essex Skipper. 


Black-tailed Skimmer

Small Skipper

A very spiky large Tachinid fly caught my eye and with a bit of patience I was able to get some shots as it returned to its chosen sunny leaf.  Will wait on Phil to point me in the right direction!

Possibly Thelaira nigripes

The Cordite still looks good and was passable after my efforts last Thursday but I may have to go in and tie up some of the almost 3m tall Hogweed tomorrow!  It made for some interesting photo opportunities though!

I found a female Common Emerald Damselfly hanging up near the Ken Barrett Hide and a beautiful scarlet male Ruddy Darter in the nettles just beyond it.  The tall Ragwort plants glowed yellow in the meadow between the path and the Tool Store and waved in the wind - everything has its place...

Common Emerald Damselfly

Ruddy Darter

Waving Ragwort

The Bearded Tits were still communicating fervently by the first platform but remained out of sight evening. Aveley Pool was as magnificent as last week and was once again covered in broods of ducks. I found at least two more Gadwall broods amongst them to go on the tally and the two Spoonbills were alert and awake and engaging in some feeding and preening as well as a bit of energetic flapping around. At least now I can confirm that the immature does indeed have all white wings which is odd given the immaturity of the bill. 

Tufted Duck family

Grey Heron, adult Spoonbill, Coots, Greylags, Canada Goose, Mallard, Shoveler (head), young Pochard and Gadwall brood with mum...

They put on a great show in the late evening light while Mr Marsh Harrier performed his typical circuit to which the duck did not even flinch despite many of the flightless ducklings being perfect for the dinner plate.

Marsh Harrier and his own take on Riverdance

Twenty-nine smart summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwits came in from the river and seemed to be islandica birds rather than the Continental limosa birds that we tend to get at this time of year.  A lanky juvenile Redshank gave me palpitations for a short while and two juvenile Little Ringed Plovers lurked behind the brick spit at the back.

Black-tailed Godwits

With a potential escape route becoming available, I ambled back and said my goodnights to the lads volunteering on their overnight shop refit and headed successfully for home...

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