Monday 24 August 2009

A lovely sssssssssummers day at Rainham Marshes

"Er, try closing the other eye"

Saturday afternoon saw the extended blow monkey family visit Rainham Marshes RSPB reserve. Our 3 year old nephew Bradley joined Jamie (9) and Sophie (11) on his first trip around the reserve. I knew it would be quiet bird wise but it wasn’t our feathered friends we were looking for. We were on the look out for Grass Snakes!

Jamie had seen his first Adder just a few days earlier when one rather stupidly slithered in front of the car whilst my wife Julia was driving down a country lane in deepest Essex. Luckily she avoided squishing it and creating the world’s thinnest Zebra/Adder crossing.
A smart Hobby was the only bird of note that we saw on route to the target pools where we guessed we would have the best chance of seeing a snake. And we were right!
All along the board walks to the south of the reserve fantastically coloured Marsh Frogs with golden eyes called and occasionally gave us a view. Reaching the targets I immediately l saw the head of a Grass Snake with its distinct white marking on the back but Jamie missed it. He didn’t have to wait long for another one. Over the next ten minutes or so we had five snakes all in the same area; four were pretty small with one much larger adult. Two Marsh Frogs also showed really closely in the open here.

Another lone Grass Snake was seen off the board walk around Aveley Pools to bring the total to 6 in one visit. The only other thing of note we saw was a lovely piece of home made cake back at the visitors centre that rounded off a great couple of hours out with the family.

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