Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Spring has Sprung

Spring in action, tree full of Bees and Butterflies
Unless you are living in a box with no windows you will have noticed that Spring has well and truly Sprung. The sound of birdsong and lawnmowers fill the air. Sunlight at an ungodly hour waking up 4year old children a bit too early for the likes of their parents (Grrr!), and the colour and smells of flowers delighting my eyes and nose respectively.

With this in mind I took my Pregnant wife, aforementioned 4year old daughter, Aunt and Uncle for a jaunt around Rainham Marshes on Sunday, and what a day. In my mind the perfect Spring day. It was warm, not hot, but warm enough to take of my jacket. A gentle breeze blew off the Thames carrying the smell of the sea in land, and Skylark song filled the air. It was gorgeous.

The chase is on!
(Taken by Mrs B)
If you've been to Rainham Marshes you will have noticed dotted around the place little signs explaining what you can see, or hear. Just before the new Purfleet hide there is a sign advising you keep an eye out for Water Voles. My Uncle, upon reading this asked if I'd seen Water Voles before in my many trips to Rainham, and I said yes I have, and I'd pretty much guarantee he saw them today, at which point I saw a ripple in the water over his shoulder. Asking him to turn and see the ripple, precisely on cue a Water Vole swam out from the side and across the water. This was fantastic, but it then got better when he arrived at the far bank, only to be chased out by a second Vole. They performed a synchronised swim that would have guaranteed them at least Bronze in the Animal Olympics that I think will be run in conjunction with London 2012.

Swimming Water Vole
(Taken by Mrs B)

Stopping first in the Purfleet hide to check out the Photographic exhibition of Barry Jacksons work. I did the DSLR walk at Rainham Marshes with Barry Jackson, and can confirm he a very nice bloke as well as a great photographer. My favourite being the Barn Owl on the Headstone. Go and have a look if you get a chance. A quick glance out at the scrape and I was pleased to see a few Water Pipits bathing. But it was time to get back out into the sunshine.

On the walk around we were never out of earshot of the Skylarks, and a couple of times they took off quite near us, and we could track the swirling gliding flight and ensuing dive bomb. Flocks of 100's of Black Tailed Godwits coming in off the Thames were quite a sight, but unfortunately we were getting a bit short of time by the time we got to the shooting butts, so it was time to get a move on as I'd promised my daughter she could play in the sand park.

Loads of birdsong in the Woodland area with Robin, Dunnock, Cetti's Warbler, Wren, Song Thrush, and Great and Blue Tits all in fine voice. A Kestrel gliding over the feeding station was a lovely sight, and then it was time to get home for the second half of the Rugby. A win for England, a delicious meal afterwards, great wine, and fantastic company. If only all Sundays were like this.