Monday 19 July 2021

RSPB Rainham Marshes - a hot sunday - 18th July 2021

If anything Sunday at RSPB Rainham Marshes was even hotter and it took a while for the shade to make it under the Centre to where we were lurking.  I got in a little early and papped some insect bits around the gardens before it got too hot and was pleased to discover some very good Hovers amongst the throng of Episyrphus balteatus with a couple of stripy waspish Chrysotoxum verralli, a Pipizella sp, Syritta pipiens, Volucella zonaria and a new species to me, Didea fasciata.  The latter was on territory around the Willows which as usual as infested with Giant Williow Aphids and I was able to reliably find it several times during the day.

Episyrphus balteatus

Episyrphus balteatus

Spaerophoria scripta

Syrphus ribesii

Episyrphus balteatus


Didea fasciata

Didea fasciata

Didea fasciata

Volucella zonaria

Chrysotoxum verralli

Tuberolachnus salignus

Cerceris rybyensis Digger wasps were in the Composites along with further Hoverfly species while Blue-tailed Damselflies wafted in between the grass stems on the hunt for smaller prey.  There were lots of lively Skippers and more Gatekeepers now on the wing along with a single Cinnabar Moth.  They seem in very short supply this year.

Cerceris rybyensis

Ragwort and Episyrphus balteatus

Eristalis nemorum

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Misumena vatia

Cinnabar Moth


The Black Ants were swarming before lunchtime and the Gulls soon arrived to partake in aerial snacking.  Unsurprisingly two adult Med Gulls were seen amongst the Black-heads along with  two Common Gulls and few larger species.

Med Gull acrobatics

1st summer Common Gull

adult Common Gull

adult Lesser Black-backed Gull

adult Herring Gull


Starlings and the House Sparrows once again joined in and Southern and Migrant Hawkers joined those seen hunting the day before.  A female Blue-eyed was found hanging up and Common and Ruddy Darters were joining in on the antfest.

Southern Hawker

Blue-eyed Hawker

Common Darter and an ex-ant


The end of the day did not quite go as planned with some serious M25 closures south of the river precluding any chance of getting home so I locked up, put may hat on and headed out for a walk around the trails for the first time since the end of May.


Gasteruption jaculator - male left - female right

Gasteruption jaculator - female

Gasteruption jaculator - male

Burnet Rose Hip

It was still scorchingly hot and despite being the end of the day it was actually quite hard going out there with even most insects staying out of the fierce sun.  I did however see several smart Black-tailed Skimmers and Banded Demoiselles and Emperors patrolled Aveley Pools where there were well grown broods of Gadwall, Pochard and Tufted Duck among a heap of Coot.

Gadwall, Tufted Duck and a Coot

Black-tailed Skimmer

Black-tailed Skimmer

Marsh Harriers
were visible all the time with young and both parents hunting.  The Avocets with their fledged chicks were still up for a bit of raptor bashing though.


Small birds were largely silent but I did encounter several Bearded Tit parties which all appeared to be youngsters. They have lost that early orange glow and are more subdued now before attaining adult orangeyness in the months to come.

Bearded Tit

A couple of Marbled Whites battled the Small Whites along the path nearest the sea wall but I have to admit that it did not linger long at any spot as the Clegs were somewhat persistent and my legs were out but it was just good to get out on the reserve and have the place to myself.

I got back to my car at about 730 but there was still no way of going home so I headed west to my parents for a few hours to cool down before chancing a final run for the Bridge.

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