Friday, 8 November 2013

Rye Meads - 7th November 13

Weather: Cloudy and overcast all day.

Birds Total: 39
Plus: Konik Pony.

Today was a top birding day. There was a report of a Glossy Ibis turning up on the HMWT meadow a few days ago. I didn't hold up too much hope of it hanging around, but today was forecast for no rain and RM was the next Reserve to visit on the list. So I travelled down to primarily have another day out with a hope of seeing the Ibis.

Not the Glossy Ibis at RM, this one was photographed a couple of years ago.
The weather forecast was for slight, overcast cloud, clearing to blue skies and sunshine after around 11am. In the event it remained cloudy and overcast all day. Which wasn't conducive for photography.

After all the recent rain the fields were still water-logged with more and more small ponds joining up to create large ponds. Not good for the trains but very good for the birds. On the way down I spotted a couple of male Pheasants and a Grey Heron plus lots of Canada Geese. On the walk down to the Reserve a Jay flew overhead.

I arrived at the Visitor Centre to find no one about. As I was unpacking my gear one of the volunteers appeared. I casually asked him if the Ibis was still about and, to my surprise, he confirmed that it was and was showing well from the Lapwing Hide overlooking the Meadow.

When I arrived at the Hide I found about 7 or 8 people already inside and all looking through scopes or bins. Familiar faces were present including Vicki, one of the permanent staff at RM. I settled in and Vicki showed me where 'Ian' the Ibis was. They had already named it. The bird was foraging on the far side of the meadow against the fence and was walking back and forth, constantly bobbing its head. Every now and then one of the Canada Geese spooked up and, at one point, we all thought that it might fly closer to the Hide. But it stayed in the same general area. It was quite a good view through the bins but unfortunately it wasn't close enough for a photo. Other birds on show here were 3 Grey Herons; around 5 or 6 Pheasants; Teal and Shoveler; Canada Geese and Gulls. There were also 4 Konik Ponies grazing the field.

Lots of people came and went, Vicki allowing them all a view through her scope. I spent just over an hour here and, deciding that the bird wasn't going to get close, moved on.

As I arrived at the Water Vole area, also overlooking the meadow, I looked out and saw the Ibis had moved a little closer. But still not close enough. It was still being spooked by the Geese. It then went out of view and, there being no sign of any Voles, I carried on.

At this point, one for the guys I had regularly seen around the area walked up behind me. We finally introduced ourselves and I finally found out his name, which was Phil. We carried on down the trail. There was a work detail outside the Draper Hide and so consequently no birds were to be seen.

Looking out over the Lagoons at the walkway yielded only a Grey Heron; Gulls and Coots and at this point Phil decided to visit the Ashby Hide while I walked on towards the twin hides. I could see lots of Starlings on the pylons above me, all chattering away. Phil caught up with me in the Tern Hide.

Unfortunately for Phil it was one of the 'You should have been here 5 minutes ago' moments. Just as I arrived a Kingfisher flew in and landed on one of the goal-posts for a few fleeting seconds before flying off. But it did give both of us a couple of fly-by views a little later. Also on show out on the lagoon were around 80+ Lapwing; a pair of sleeping Snipe; one Green Sandpiper, later joined by a second; lots of Shoveler; a few Teal; Gulls; Mutes and Coots. There were also several Moorhen about as well as a pair of Pied Wagtails, picking their way through all the birds. Grey Herons and Cormorants made up the rest of the show. But the star bird here was a male Pintail over in the far corner, who also never swam up close.

Phil paid a quick visit to the Gadwall Hide and saw nothing in particular so we walked around to the Kingfisher Hide where we again drew a blank. Then we found ourselves sitting in the Warbler Hide. We quickly checked the meadow to see if the Ibis could be seen but it was hidden by the reeds. We could hear Cetti's Warbler and Water Rail out amongst the reeds. Just outside the Warbler Hide we spooked up about a dozen Redwing. With nothing else on show we returned to the Tern Hide.

At the Tern Hide there wasn't too much else to be seen here other than witnessing all the Lapwing and Gulls being put up. A quick look around and the culprit was a Sparrowhawk flying low over the lagoon from right to left. All the birds settled back down. Phil decided to move off and left me to my lunch.

I paid a quick visit to the Gadwall Hide myself and found only Gulls and Coots. I also paid a quick visit to the Ashby Hide only to find similar birds. The Work Detail was still hard at it outside the Draper, where only a Little Grebe was about so I decided to return to the Lapwing Hide to see if the Ibis would fly in closer. Nothing of note was seen on the way other than a GSW on the feeders outside the Visitor Centre.

I spent the rest of the afternoon in the Lapwing Hide where the Ibis continued to walk back and forth in the same area, without coming in close. Just before I left it suddenly lifted off and flew off towards the south-east. Hopefully it will return.

About 100 or so people had come and gone from the Hide during the day because of the information provided on the blogs. More familiar faces appeared, others walked in to have a look during their lunch-break. Vicki had spent most of the day in the Hide, with her colleagues bringing her regular cups of coffee and even lunch!

A very good day today. RM seems to be the place to be at the moment.