Saturday, 20 July 2013

Rye Meads - 19th July 13

Weather: Very hot and sunny, clouding up later. Slight breeze.

Totals: Birds-39/Butterflies-10/Dragons-2/Damsels-2/Others-7

Today was the only time I managed to get out on a visit this week, due to one thing or another. And it had to be a short, relaxing visit. So I chose RM because it is quite a small Reserve and has a closing time. And I didn't want to be out in the hot sun for too much of the time. Even with factor 50+.

I got there just on 10 and found I was only the second person to arrive. In fact I didn't encounter too many people on the Reserve all day, maybe around 10 or so. And they were mainly found in the Kingfisher Hide.

And there weren't too many birds about either. That time of year I guess, it looks as if it is part of the mid-breeding season moult. But the stars were undoubtedly the Green Sandpipers. 10 of them, in fact. All seen from the Draper Hide, either feeding or sleeping or flying around, calling. 10 Green Sandpipers sitting on the wall. I wasn't certain what would happen if one of them should accidentally fall. Sorry.

They were closely followed by a pair of Stock Doves. Yes, I did say Stock Doves. Their antics were quite amusing to watch. They were closely inspecting one of the Kestrel boxes on the pylon in front of the KF Hide. While they were inspecting and courting, one of the juvenile Kestrels was sitting on top of the other box, watching. 3 or 4 BHGs were also on or around the box. All of them keeping a wary eye on each other.

There were lots of adults with chicks or juveniles about. Mute Swans; Canada Geese; Mallards; Gadwall; Tufted Duck; Pochard and BHGs. Not forgetting Moorhens and Coots of course. There were even 2 juvenile Common Terns. But the stars here were about 8 or 9 newly-fledged Blue Tits, which fluttered about on a dead tree just to the right of the KF Hide. No blue on them and just a hint of yellow, they were still showing their gaping, yellow beaks.

Other than that, the female Marsh Harrier was seen right at the end of the visit, perched at the back end of the field; 35+ Lapwing dive-bombing each other; the male Kingfisher coming and going, mainly going and a female noisy, squawking Blackbird fighting off a pair of Magpies. But other than that it was mostly quiet on the bird front.

There were plenty of Butterflies about today, 10 species in all; lots of blue Damsels and a fair few Dragons, mainly Brown Hawkers.

The only other things of note were that the pollen was still about and still flying around, looking like snow, while the Thunderbugs were out today in force and were very irritating. Nearly all of the lakes and ponds were covered in the green weed, forming an emerald carpet. And the Reserve found itself downwind of the nearby Sewage Farm. Phew, it was a right pen and ink!

A very, very hot day in the sun, not too many people about. A quietish day but, nonetheless, a nice day out.

Unfortunately, on the way home, my connection at Broxbourne was cancelled, causing a slight delay. Every silver lining has a cloud.