Sunday, 6 October 2013

Rye Meads - 1st October 13

Weather: Cloudy and overcast all day. Strong breeze.

Birds Total: 37
Plus: Common Darter, Migrant Hawker dragonflies.
Plus: Konik Pony; Water Buffalo; Shield Bugs; Spotted Crane Fly; Parasitic Wasp; Flesh Fly; various Bees, Hoverflies, Spiders and Wasps.

Unfortunately I chose today instead of yesterday to venture out. The weather forecast said that today would be the better day. I should have known better. Yesterday was sunny, today was cloudy.

And consequently, not too good for photography, so I concentrated on insects again. Only today there were no damselflies or butterflies about. It was a short day. On the way down to the Reserve I spied the first conkers of the year falling from the trees. There was a time when these were collected like strawberries, now they are just left to rot on the ground. Times they are a-changing.

And, while I was sat down outside the visitor centre getting my gear sorted, I saw 3 Greenfinches on the feeders with a couple of pheasants on the ground hoovering up the remnants. Then, at the first pond, there was only a pair of Dock Bugs; a couple of Dark Bush Crickets and a roving Migrant Hawker. There was quite a strong breeze about today and it was proving a nuisance whilst trying to use the macro lens.

At the first bridge I looked out for any Water Voles but after about 20 minutes or so none were seen. But out on the HMWT meadow there were 4 ponies and 1 buffalo wandering around. A Grey Heron flew from left to right and landed not too far away from me. Then an obliging Woodpigeon posed for me.

I spent about 20 minutes in the Draper Hide, with one other guy, but there wasn't much about other than the usual wildfowl. Although I did note that some of the male Teal were starting to come into their breeding plumage, as were a couple of Shoveler. A pair of Grey Herons were eyeing each other warily from both sides of the lagoon and there were 3 adult Little Grebes, but this week only 1 Grebelet was left. There wasn't anything unusual on the walk upto the twin hides.

From the Tern Hide, together with 3 other people, I could see 5 Green Sandpipers; over a dozen Snipe; lots of Lapwing and loads of Gadwall; Shoveler; Teal and Wigeon. And, of course, lots of Coot. There were also a pair of Pied Wagtails on the mud-flats and a Cetti's Warbler singing outside the Hide. A lone Sandpiper looked like it was going to get close to the Hide, it didn't, but I wasn't going to try and photograph it anyway, as the light was particularly bad at that time.

I moved off after an hour, a quick look in the Gadwall Hide proved fruitless. On the trail towards the Kingfisher Hide a gang of LTTs moved past and another Cetti's sounded off. I stopped for a minute and watched a pair of Migrant Hawkers have a territorial dispute. The strong breeze was keeping the temperature down and I was a bit surprised that they were up and about.

On the walkway to the hide I noticed that a lot of coppicing had been done around the area, with lots of recently cut reeds lying in piles. I arrived at the newly painted KF Hide to find only the resident pair of Coot about so I moved on after only 5 minutes. I did notice that the green weed had virtually disappeared from the pond.

I headed down towards the Warbler Hide and, on the way, there were a fair few Darters and Hawkers about, including a female Migrant ovipositing. Lots of leaves had fallen around the Reserve, another reminder that today was the first day of October.

The only things of note seen from the Warbler Hide were a Kestrel, away to the left, sat on a post and about 4 Snipe flying from left to right. Out on the right I could see a Water Buffalo with a calf. I bet that doesn't get to hang around long.

Outside the Hide I spotted a Green Shield Bug which the breeze allowed me to photograph, while further back down the trail another flock of LTTs flew through, chattering away to each other. There were at least 2 Chiffchaff amongst them, plus the odd Great Tit.

I spent another 50 minutes or so back in the Tern Hide. I counted at least 25 Lapwing and 25 Snipe. There were still 5 Green Sandpipers about plus another Grey Heron and a couple of Little Grebes. There were also 2 women with me in the Hide. One of the many funny comments I overheard was 'I can see 2 Sandpipers and I think 3 more behind them, but they look smaller. Maybe because they are further away'.

The only other things of note before I left for the day were a couple of close-ups of a Darter, just outside the twin hides and a Cross Spider feeding off a hoverfly. But the wind was the enemy of the macro lens.

Another good day out but it should have been yesterday. I might ignore the weather forecasts in future.