Sunday, 12 January 2014

Rye Meads - 10th January 14

Weather: Sunny, blue skies. Very cold.

Birds Total: 38
Plus: Grey Squirrel

I noticed that the flooding had finally started to recede on the journey down, although that meant that there weren't too many birds about. The Grey Heron was still around. Exiting the train I immediately heard lots of House Sparrows and a lone Song Thrush.

It was another lovely, sunny day again but it was noticeably colder than of late. Unpacking my gear, as usual, by the feeders just outside the visitor centre, I could see 3 Pheasants, two of them female and a female Mallard, sweeping up the spillage made by the various Tits and Finches above.

Looking out over the HMWT meadow I could see Gulls and various wildfowl, including Shoveler and Teal. About a dozen Canada Geese took flight just as I looked out. But the most notable thing was that the meadow was very flooded. I scanned the meadow and could see a Grey Heron on one of the goal-posts and then I spotted a raptor sitting on a post at the back. At first it was too far away to positively ID it but another guy happened along and eventually we decided that the jizz made it a Buzzard.

Just before I reached the Draper Hide I scanned the trees around me and spotted a lone Fieldfare. Looking out from the Hide I could see that the area was now completely flooded, with all the little islands under water. And there wasn't much out there to see, mainly ducks and Coot. But there was also a Jay out to the right, the first of quite a few sightings today; a lone Common Snipe out to the left; a Stock Dove sitting on one of the owl boxes and a Grey Heron. A Cetti's Warbler could be heard in the distance. Then one of the staff, Vicki, came in and stated that she was about to lower the water level, explaining all the whys and wherefores.

Passing the first lagoon I could see a few Pochard in amongst the usual birds. I bypassed the Ashby Hide and proceeded straight to the twin hides. Looking out from the Gadwall Hide I could see 5 Common Snipe out to the right; a pair of Shelduck; several Teal and Shoveler; a Pied Wagtail; another Grey Heron; about half-a-dozen Starlings flying back and forth from the pylon and well over 400 Lapwing plus all the usual Coots and Mutes; Gulls and Gadwall.

I moved onto the Tern Hide but, apart from all the Gulls; Coots and Tufties I could only spot a lone Little Grebe, so I quickly moved on down the trail towards the Kingfisher Hide.

Beautiful Plumage!
 Just before I arrived a Jay flew overhead. Outside the Hide all was quiet, apart from the resident pair of Coot. Whilst waiting for something to turn up I could see all the Lapwing go up in the distance. Then another Jay appeared beside the Kingfisher nesting area.

A few people came and went. Actually, I only saw about a dozen people in the Reserve all day and most of them were towards the end of the day. On the trail down to the Warbler Hide I heard, then saw a pair of GSWs then I could see a Buzzard circling high in the sky. I wondered if it was the same one I saw in the Meadow earlier?

There wasn't much outside the Warbler Hide either, just a pair of Mallards and another vocal Cetti's Warbler, somewhere in the reeds in front. I broke for lunch.

On the return journey I could hear the familiar laugh of a Green Woodpecker. Back in the Gadwall Hide I was just in time to see all the Lapwing go up. In fact they went up several times over the next 15 minutes, scared up by an invisible raptor. All the time I was in the Hide there was a lone Canada Goose right in front with a very noticeable head twitch, every few seconds, something I haven't seen before. There wasn't much else to see other than a Green Woodpecker fly across in front of the Hide.

By now the rain clouds were starting to appear so I decided to call it day and head off. Just before I got back to the visitor centre a pair of Mute Swans were nesting down in amongst the newly cut trees, making for a picturesque photo.

A nice day out in the sunshine again even though I was beginning to feel the cold. Not many people about today and it was also noted that the Reserve had been worked on recently, with lots of trees cut down and reedbeds cut back around the Hides. Hopefully this will attract more Waders.

On the journey back I spotted a Little Egret in the same place as before, but the Grey Heron was conspicuous by its absence.