Thursday, 16 June 2011

Riverside Country Park

 Yesterday was the first time I had been out properly since my tooth removal, I decided to go to RiversideCountryPark as it is fairly close, got nice amenities and I had not been there for quite a while. For those who do not know it, R.C.P it is in Lower Rainham and covers the area around Horrid Hill looking across the Medway towards Kingsnorth Power Station. Parking is free and the other facilities include a cafeteria, toilets and visitor centre, be warned though on a sunny weekend although they open up adjacent fields for parking you may still have trouble. The other attraction for me is the local history attached to the area; firstly this is where the Dutch fleet would have been seen approaching up the Medway in 1667 when they captured the British flagship HMS Royal Charles, secondly Horrid Hill got its name from the prison ships that were moored there, providing inhuman conditions for incarceration of French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars and then some time after.

Anyway on to the walk, I headed west taking a footpath into the wooded area and the bridleways, it was here that I saw the first of many Whitethroats, singing from a perch then making a short fluttering song-flight to return to the same perch, you would have thought I would have got a picture, but no, I was too busy being distracted by a beetle which I believe was the pupa stage of a ladybird, there are 2 in the picture, the lower one being quite a bit darker.
I believe 2 Ladybird Pupae - Canon 400D + 18-55MM

The wooded areas were quite noisy with bird calls, I quickly identified a distant Curlew, Chaffinches, Blackbirds, Great Tits and Blue Tits, though surprisingly I did not see either of the Tits during my walk. I then found a Robin singing away quite merrily and was able to get a few nice shots.  

Robin - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

Walking on I could hear a Green Woodpecker, in the distance behind me, when I came across another singing passerine, this time a Dunnock whom I was able to capture in mid song.

Dunnock - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
I came out of the woods onto the riverbank at high tide. This was planned as there is an island about 75 yards from shore where you usually get a smattering of waders waiting for the tide to go back out. This gives a nice opportunity for photography with static birds. However this was the highest I had ever seen the tide here, the island was completely submerged! All that was left was this pair of Oystercatchers.
Oystercatcher - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
I made my way back to the car through the woods following the sound of a Nightingale, it sadly remained hidden unlike the Lesser Whitethroat and the Green Woodpecker who were both too quick for the camera. A male Blackcap though was happy to pose for me.

Blackcap - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Not far from the car park at R.C.P. is a small sunken pond with a boarded walk through it, set up as a mini reserve it is home to a small number of very timid Moorhens, however this was not the case with this years offspring who were happy to strut around no more than 10 feet from me. Normally the place would also be alive with small birds but the feeders were empty and the juvenile Moorhens were my only company.

Juvenile Moorhen - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

Other than Wood Pigeons, Collared Doves, Carrion Crows, Magpies, House Sparrows, a solitary Shelduck, Mallards and Chicks, a Mistle Thrush, the usual smattering of various Gulls and a small flock of Goldfinches that was my lot for the day. A short list again, however I was more than happy with the day’s photography, I had also gone out to observe some of the flora (a complete vacuum in my knowledge) and was more than happy with my initial discoveries amongst which were Scarlet Pimpernel and Dog Rose, common maybe, but new and interesting to me.


  1. Nice post Kevin and some lovely pictures too. I really like the Blackcap shots. Went to RCP a couple of years ago but it was very busy, people wise.

  2. Thank you Phil, the blackcap was quite lucky, I was stood at the end of a hedgerow and he kept hopping between the post one side of the hedge and some Bramble on the other, the hedge giving me sufficient cover to not pose a threat to it. RCP is very popular locally for dog walkers and family groups, twice earlier this year I couldn't park there at all!