Half term at RSPB Rainham Marshes inevitably means pond dipping but the inclement weather of the last few weeks has thwarted attempt by the wardening team and their vols to finish replacing the knackered old timber boardwalk with new recycled plastic boards.
As such this has caused one or two trail circulating issues what with the woodland often being closed too on the windier of days. And so to get the families to the MDZ required a little bit of gate work with someone lurking for a couple of hours down at the turnstile gate to let them on off the river wall whilst discouraging chance your arm dog walkers and cyclists.
On Wednesday I ambled that way in the grey and cold, checking the foreshore for any new interesting flotsam as I went before settling down to await the visitors being sent my way. Once there I noticed some green plastic tree guards in the grass, dating way back to some failed tree planting, probably ten years ago. They only reappear in the winter from the long grass and to be honest you would not have noticed them unless you lingered.
So I set about collecting them all into a big heap for future collection, evicting hibernating Snails and probably a few small rodents in the process (sorry all).
The turnstile bridge is not exactly the best of viewpoints for a winter loiter so i amused myself with some reedmace reflections, arty hedgehogs and a nice male Stonechat that briefly came to say hello.
|male Marsh Harrier over a mile away|
|Ciara and Dennis have given the Butts a battering...|
I was frozen by the time I got back and the icy rain had just started as the next weather front arrived.
And so to Thursday for round two. I had a feeling that my pile of tree guards would have been trying their best to escape with the ever increasing wind and so I took a couple of straps down with me and hastily collected them before they naturally dispersed before hauling them back to the centre with the wind doing its best to thwart me.
Before too long the weather closed and it became one of those amazing sky afternoons. Torrential squalls with wild winds raced through and the marsh flashed in a sequence of foreboding bruised blackness, the grey-out of lashing rain and patches of bright golden winter sunshine.