Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Rye Meads - 29th July 13

Weather: Mix of sun, cloud and rain. Very humid.

Bird Total: 36
Plus: Comma, Green-veined White, Large White, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Small Skipper Butterflies.
Plus: Common Blue damselfly. Black-tailed Skimmer, Brown Hawker dragonflies.
Plus: Water Buffalo; Longhorn Beetle; various Bees, Hoverflies and Wasps.

I've never been on a poor visit to any Reserve, but today came close. To paraphrase an Emperor - the day did not necessarily develop to my advantage. I only really visited RM because of the lack of news concerning the fledging Kingfishers and I thought that I might get lucky. I figured that, as it was going to be squally and wet, I could shelter in the Hide whilst waiting to see if the fledging happened.

View from the Kingfisher Hide
Unfortunately, as soon as I arrived at the Hide it was immediately obvious that they had already fledged. Only one person was in the Hide and she said that nothing had been seen of the KFs. I spent over 2 hours waiting but not a sighting was seen. They had fledged, obviously, but the question was - were they going to have a 3rd brood? Or had they vacated the area completely?

Earlier, when I arrived at the Visitor Center, no one seemed to know what, if anything, had happened. Nothing had been written up on the website. No news was good news, I thought. I did eventually spot one of the KFs, on my second visit. But it was all too fleeting a show, mere seconds. So there is a possibility that a 3rd brood might happen.

I had earlier stopped off for a quick visit to the Draper Hide. Here there were 3 Green Sandpipers; about 30+ Lapwing and about 5 Common Terns, including one juvenile. But I was up for trying to catch the fledging, so I headed off after only 10 minutes. Just outside a Green Woodpecker flew past right in front of me.

View from the Draper Hide
Whilst I was sitting in the KF Hide around 7 or 8 people came and went, all asking the same question - 'Have they fledged?'. I only saw about a dozen or so people around the Reserve all day. They all missed the amusing sight of one of the juvenile Coots chasing off an adult Gadwall, copying its' parent. There were only a few other birds about here - Tufties, the resident Coot family, a few Mallards and a Great Spotted Woodie, all employed by the RSPB to amuse the punters in the Hide while they wait for Kingfishers.

Gadwalls swimming in the green soup.
I made a quick circuit to the Warbler Hide and back, which took an hour. On the way I almost stepped on a pair of mating Bees, locked together, oblivious of what was happening around them. Whilst there, after lunch, I was all set to move off when it started raining. So I hung around waiting for it to stop when suddenly, from the right, the female Marsh Harrier took off and landed on a post, shaking out her wings. The male had been seen the previous day, so I wondered if they were maybe nesting here. Fingers crossed! The only other birds I saw from this Hide were a pair of Reed Buntings and a pair of Reed Warblers, flying in and around the reed-beds. Apart from, of course, all the Crows; Pigeons; Gulls and Coots.

I arrived back at the KF Hide to get my fleeting glimpse of a Kingfisher flying into a nest-hole, before moving back to the twin Hides. The only things of note here were a Little Egret from the Tern Hide and a pair of BHGs mating outside the Gadwall Hide.

Back at the Draper a 4th Sandpiper had turned up and a pair of Pied Wagtails were hunting for food on the island. They looked like juveniles. I also counted 67 Lapwing, which were being put up every few minutes by nothing in particular. Then I saw a poor little female Gadwall hopping around on one leg. Just after that 14 Canada Geese did a flyover, disturbing everything,  mainly the Lapwing. In a cacophony of noise they chose one of the twin lakes beyond the reeds - the Canadas had landed!

I only saw a few Common Blue damselflies and just the odd dragonfly. There were a few butterflies up when the wind allowed. But the weather did not necessarily develop to their advantage either.

I also managed to dodge the showers by hiding in the Hides but eventually got caught walking back to the Station. Any day out is good, but today wasn't one that would trouble the scorers.