Monday 7 February 2022

Some notes on nature... late January and early February 2022

There has been precious little to show for the couple of weeks since my last post with plenty of staring out of the work window at RSPB Rainham Marshes producing the same suspects as for the past few months with the Spoonbill and Barnacle Geese remaining and the Ravens giving some superb performances.  Two of the species ‘seen by others’ out on trail that I had not encountered from inside fell to my rather half hearted ticking with three Bearded Tits bimbling across the foreshore reedbed one morning and a Jack Snipe that was pushed up off the foreshore over the super high tide this past Wednesday while a solitary Pink-footed Goose south was bonus the same day.

I managed a couple of days of further car park hedge work and have faced up and part topped another long side as well as clearing (with help from Maureen, Jake and Phil) the micro meadow behind my wicker fence of wicked two year old Slow suckers.  Cowslip and Primrose leaves are already visible once again.  The work party cleared and burnt all my huge piles of brash the next day and the front ‘S’ hedge now looks fabulous and the House Sparrows all agree too.

As for real birding, well, a short ride out on Friday the 28th to Marsh Farm, South Woodham Ferrers saw me dipping the Red-breasted Goose that had been parading there on previous days.  Unfortunately it was with a splinter group that day at Blue House Farm but was not relocated until after I had headed for home – oh well.  That’s not to say that did not see anything.  It was a pleasant if chilly stroll along the Crouch with a good selection of waders and parties of Little Grebes drifting with the tide.

Clever Carrion Crow dropping bivalves onto the path

The Dark-bellied Brent flock eventually settled in a pasture where I could easily check them but alas the RBG was missing although but the cracking Black Brants were parading around and bossing their Palearctic cousins.  I spent a content couple of hours with them as the flock of 350 birds chortled and grumbled away to each other.

A Black Brant in each picture

Eleven Corn Buntings plipped along the river wall and small flocks of Greenfinch, Linnet and Reed Bunting were encountered along with a Stonechat and at least four Bearded Tits, Kingfisher and two Water Rails were found in the borrowdykes.

Mute Swan

 Corn Bunting

Knowing that my luck was elsewhere I ambled back but with not a single bird of prey seen during the whole morning.

A bit of tinkering up my Strood garden saw the first Primroses and Snowdrops opening up and there are the tips of other bulb leaves showing so fingers crossed while the Early Purple Orchid rosette is still intact and today I found that one of the two Man Orchids from last year is also now resurfacing.  Mr Fox was having a snooze in the pile of rubbish that next door have 'collected' at the top of their garden.  He sat up looked around, yawned, ignored me and curled up once again.


Snowdrops getting there...

Mr Fox

A tip off from Stephen Goss so me briefly escape the house today to drive to Fawkham where, as promised the spread of Winter Aconites and Snowdrops around the tiny church were quite special. There was even a little bit of sunshine to make them sparkle.

Winter Aconites



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