RSPB: Monthly Report

Autumnal improvements on the marshes.

“We may have been managing Rainham Marshes for ten years now but there is always something going on to improve the reserve for you and the wildlife.

This autumn is no different and as we speak several projects are about to get under way.

For you:

♦ Work on the eagerly awaited Purfleet Hide will start very soon. Our diligent volunteers have been clearing the reed and other vegetation from the bank visible from the Purfleet visitor centre so that any wildlife there will have moved away from this area before the contractors start work.

Hopefully there will be an artists impression to show you by next month! There will undoubtedly be some disturbance to the wildlife and the trails while this project is underway so please bear with us!

Purfleet Hide will go here and will look out over the scrape at eye level.

Those sections of the trail that flooded last winter are to be raised so that we can all keep our feet dry as we amble round!

A proper looping path is to be put into the cordite store off of the woodland trail, providing access to this sheltered haven for all visitors.

For the wildlife:
♦ A new electric fence will be going up around all of
Aveley Marsh over the next five weeks to help
keep the cattle in and the predators out! This
should ensure that more chicks of all species
fledge next year.

♦ The newly flooded marshes in front of the
Shooting Butts and Ken Barrett Hides is still being
tweaked to provide better habitat for wildfowl and
waders. This is already paying dividends with birds
coming closer to the hides.

What’s been about: September:

Wader passage continued and included up to four knot that stayed most of the month, nine greenshank, eight bar-tailed godwit (11th), two sanderling (6th), three ruff (9th) and a curlew sandpiper (4th). Tern movement was quite poor but 22 Sandwich terns (5th) was a site record and smaller numbers of
common, black and Arctic moved through. Our first Caspian gull of the season was seen on 29th. A Manx shearwater spent a couple of hours careening up and down in front of the visitors

Juvenile gannets were seen on 25th and two on 26th as part of the national overland movement in the south-east. Duck began to return and pintail reached nine by month end while three juvenile ruddy shelducks paid a brief visit on 2nd.

A single pink-footed goose came in with the 400 greylags on 28th and ten brent geese were seen on 29th. In the skies above, marsh harriers were noted on several dates including five in the first three days of the month and a male goshawk went high and west on the 12th. On the nicer days buzzards were on the move with peak counts of ten (18th), six (19th) and 13 (21st) and a red kite was seen on 17th.

Female hen harriers headed south on the 2nd and 30th and on the latter date merlin, hobby and amazingly, a female red-footed falcon were also seen going across the Thames. A raven made appearances on 13th and 19th and would be very popular if it would just land for a while and ring-necked parakeets hit a new county record of 87 on the 10th.

Whinchats peaked at nine (8th) and the odd wheatear and spotted flycatcher were seen. Over thirty yellow wagtails could be seen around the cattle and a tree pipit (1st) and the first returning rock pipits (28th) were reported.

And last but not least a marsh tit was seen on 1st constituting the first site record of this declining species.

Still plenty of butterflies on the wing including newly emerged small coppers and speckled woods and a host of migrant hawkers ready to snaffle them up! Both common and grey seal have been seen and stoats and weasels have become more conspicuous.

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