I woke up very early this morning and decided on impulse, to go to RSPB Rainham. I'd recently received one of Howards invaluable e-mails recording the latest sightings and as I had not been for some time, I figured I should be in for a good day. However instead of checking all the weather reports, I only checked the BBC one (fatal mistake) and I also failed to check the train times (another fatal mistake), so instead of the journey taking the usual just under two hours, it took nearly four, and I arrived to find it overcast and incredibly blustery.
First stop was the woodland area. I was hoping it would be the most sheltered and therefore show me some lovely damselflies or birds. Chiffchaffs, Greenfinches, Chaffnches, Wrens and lots of juvenile Blue and Great Tits could be heard but not really seen. I got some views of Blue-tailed damselflies and some hornets, but trying to get photos was near on impossible.
However amongst a large nettle patch I did find thousands of Peacock butterfly caterpillars. I have never seen such a huge number of them before in the one concentrated area.
By this time it was already lunchtime and there were black clouds looming over head, so I decided to head back to the café, grab a hot snack, then try my luck back out on site but going in the opposite direction. Before I had a chance I could hear raised voices by the cordite area. I wont go into too much detail, but one of the RSPB staff had discovered some young lads amongst the ivy on top of one of the cordite walls. He coaxed them down, and they eventually left the site through a gap in one of the iron fences, but not before insulting both myself and the staff member. I was already walking that way, so ended up following the group of four lads, and after they insulted me some more, I retaliated by taking their photos. Maybe not the best move for me, but if you were called a 'paedophile' and a 'f***ing slag' what would you have done ???? At that age myself, I didn't even know those words ! At the bottom of my blog I have made the decision to publish the photo I took of the ring leader, and its not because he had a mouth like a sewer, its because I truly believe that what he was carrying in that white plastic bag was something he had removed whilst hiding in the ivy. Whether it be bird eggs, or even chicks or nestlings, he was certainly holding and carrying it in a manor that I found very suspicious.
But back to the rest of my day. After a bite to eat, and informing the staff about the trespassing kids, the weather was still pretty atrocious. I knew there would be little or no chance of seeing any more damselflies nor my first dragonfly of the year, so I nipped into one of the hides and watched a juvenile Little Grebe for a while.
There was also a male Reed Bunting singing away by the edge of the path.
By the first bridge I found a very obliging Water Vole.
And then watched mesmerised as not one, not two, but three Reed Warblers kept flitting across the water from reed bed to reed bed. It had to be an adult with a couple of juveniles, so after much patience and being blown around by the ever stronger winds, I finally got a photo of an adult.
And then a couple of shots of one of the juveniles.
The shot below, was the one I really wanted though, but obviously without all the reeds blowing in the way. I tried unsuccessfully for over an hour to get a decent clear photo of an adult and juvenile together, but was thwarted and eventually gave up.
On the path way separating the sea wall from the RSPB site, I watched the resident female Kestrel land on one of the posts and start to preen. She's well known at Rainham for being not just very photogenic but also very approachable.
Some cyclists just didn't see her.......
But the majority did.........
By this time it was almost 3pm, and as the weather was so dire, and I was dreading the journey back home, I decided to make a move. I didn't even make it all the way round the site today, but hopefully if next weeks weather is good I'll pop back, but this time I will check the train times first. London Underground is fine on a Sunday, but sadly the Overground isn't !
So lastly, my photo of the rude, obnoxious ring leader of the gang of trespassers today. Please, if you see him at RSPB Rainham, please let one of the staff know. I honestly believe that in that white bag there is something very suspicious. And if I'm questioned in the future, as to why I chose to publish this, then on my head be it. As I have found out since leaving the site, its not illegal to take photos of children so long as they are not engaged in anything illicit.