Thursday, 6 June 2013

Rye Meads - 5th June 13

Weather: Warm, sunny, blue skies. Slight breeze.

Birds seen:
Little Grebe; Cormorant; Grey Heron; Mute Swan; Canada Goose; Mallard; Shoveler; Gadwall; Teal; Tufted Duck; Pochard; Red Kite; Marsh Harrier; Buzzard; Kestrel; Hobby; Moorhen; Coot; Oystercatcher; Little Ringed Plover; Lapwing; Black-headed Gull; Lesser Black-backed Gull; Common Tern; Woodpigeon; Stock Dove; Collared Dove (H); Swift; Kingfisher; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Pied Wagtail; Wren; Dunnock; Robin; Blackbird; Cetti's Warbler; Reed Warbler; Sedge Warbler; Blackcap; Chiffchaff; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Starling; Magpie; Carrion Crow; Chaffinch; Goldfinch; Greenfinch; Reed Bunting.
Total: 49

Plus: Brimstone; Large White; Orange Tip; Peacock Butterflies.
Plus: Broad-bodied Chaser, Hairy Dragonflies.
Plus: Water Buffalo; Bombardier and Soldier Beetles; Scorpion Fly.

Another very warm, sunny day. And another visit to RM. Yesterday the Kingfishers failed to fledge and so I turned up to try and see if they would fledge today. But they failed again, which means I will have to pay another visit to RM tomorrow! On the road to the Reserve there was a close-up view of a Chiffchaff. Earlier I had spotted a Shelduck from the train.

As I was trying to witness the fledging today I decided to spend most of the day in the Kingfisher Hide. I met the same volunteer again when I arrived and we marched straight around to the Hide.

Others soon joined us and in a short while there were about 7 or 8 of us, all with various makes of cameras and lenses. There were some pretty big lenses sitting on bigger tripods, making my setup seem quite inadequate.

Indeed, when the KFs appeared, which were on a regular basis, it seemed as if everyone else was clicking away except me. Because, unfortunately, the birds didn't fly up as close today as they did yesterday. So, whilst everyone else took dozens and dozens of photos, I limited myself to just one, both birds sitting on one of the far perches. Today they just flew in, perched on the far post, flew in to the nest, fed the young, flew out to the post, washed themselves a few times, then flew off. That was the story of the day as far as the KFs were concerned.

Other birds seen whilst sitting waiting for the KFs to appear were a male GSW; a pair of Blackcaps; a pair of Gadwall and the resident pair of Kestrels. A little Wren kept flitting across the pond to and fro, keeping us entertained.

There was lots of chatter in the Hide, in between KF sightings, all comparing recent photos of the birds, many of them complaining and deleting photos. It's not just me then.

Around midday I decided that the young were not going to fledge today, at least not for the next couple of hours. So I packed up and walked back to the Draper Hide, to start the visit proper. Here I found pretty much the same birds as yesterday. One of the guys already in the Hide said that he had seen an LRP and a Green Sandpiper earlier.

I moved on down the trail taking the usual route. I was looking out for Dragons and Damsels again. Unfortunately, I didn't spot any Damsels today and only one Broad-bodied Chaser. But there were about half-a-dozen Hairy Dragons around. A few Orange Tips and Brimstones and various Whites and a couple of bedraggled Peacock butterflies were around the Reserve.

There not being much in the way of interesting birds from the Tern and Gadwall Hides I quickly moved on to the Warbler Hide. Unusually I found this Hide full of people, including one of the RSPB staff. She mentioned that the female Marsh Harrier had been seen earlier. While we were waiting I had lunch and halfway through it a couple of Hobbys were seen. Then the Harrier suddenly appeared from the left and flew right across the field hunting low, giving some great views through the Bins. Then, if that wasn't enough, a Red Kite appeared high in the sky and we watched it fly over the Visitor Centre. Two Buzzards joined in the fun in the distance and then another couple of Hobbys appeared dodging the electricity cables. Raptor heaven!

I decided to make my way back along the trails as time was getting on. There were quite a lot of people about today, some familiar faces amongst them. And the Kingfisher and Warbler Hides were quite busy.

There wasn't much going on again in the other Hides until I got to the Draper. Before that, on the trails, I spotted another close-up view of a Chiffchaff; 4 Dunnocks allowed me to get close to witness their feeding behaviour and there were the usual sightings of lots of Warblers.

After just 5 minutes in the Hide an Oystercatcher flew in and stayed around for at least 25 minutes before departing. The LRP was again in view; I counted 4 Lapwings around the lake; a pair of Teal were floating around; a few Common Terns were alternately sleeping and flying; a couple of Stock Doves were inspecting one of the Owl Boxes and a lone Pied Wagtail flew in and was promptly chased off by one of the Lapwings. It was a very entertaining last 45 minutes before I packed up and headed home.

Another day at RM beckons tomorrow, hopefully to witness the Kingfisher fledglings.