Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Rye Meads - 31st July 14

Weather: Hot and humid, slight cloud, cool breeze.

Birds Total: 46
Plus: Comma, Common Blue, Green-veined White, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood butterflies.
Plus: Blue-tailed, Common Blue damselflies; Black-tailed Skimmer, Brown Hawker, Common Darter, Emperor, Southern Hawker dragonflies.
Plus: 7-spot Ladybird; Flesh Fly; Hoverfly; Pond Skaters; Soldier Beetles.
Plus: Konik Ponies; Water Vole.

Well, I was actually going to visit Cornmill Meadow today but yesterday a Spotted Crake was seen outside RM's Draper Hide, so I decided to try my luck. Unfortunately it had probably flown earlier this morning, as I didn't see it at all.

If I had known about the work on the Draper on Monday I would have probably visited on the Wednesday and may well have seen the Crake. Such is a Birder's life!

But today's visit was enjoyable nonetheless. The bird total itself was a little higher than of late and I managed to spot at least 4 Water Voles, an adult with 3 youngsters.

The great weather continues. It was actually forecast to rain later in the afternoon but there wasn't a sniff of it. At this rate I might have to buy some more suntan lotion.

On the way down I bumped into Caroline, one of the Reserve managers. We both heard and saw a Ring-necked Parakeet flying noisily past us, which surprised both of us!

I thought today was going to be a shorter visit, to concentrate on the search for the Crake. But after about 90 minutes it was becoming apparent that the bird had flown. So I then concentrated on trying to get some more photos of the Kingfisher.

While I was in the Draper I spotted a pair of Garganey; a Little Egret; 4 Grey Heron; 7 Green Sandpipers; 5 Common Snipe; a pair of Common Terns; a pair of Little Grebes; a pair of Shoveler and at least 6 Stock Doves. But it was quite packed in there and was progressively getting noisier by the minute, so I headed off.

As it was Thursday Reserve work crews were in action again. This time the Warbler Hide was closed. And volunteers were working all along the trail towards it. Consequently, I only saw a pair of Southern Hawkers; a lone Brown Hawker and a couple of Common Darters on the way there and back. Only the Darters posed for me.

The schools were now on holiday and there were quite a few children about, with mothers or grandparents in tow. I'm glad to report that all were very well behaved.

Butterflies were again around and about, mainly Speckled Woods and Meadow Browns, with a few Common Blues later on. Reed and Sedge Warblers were more in evidence today, singing out almost everywhere around the Reserve.

A quick look out of the Gadwall Hide didn't elicit too much excitement, other than the 2 juvenile Black-necked Grebes, which again were way out in the distance. I didn't bother with the Tern Hide today.

On the trail to the Kingfisher Hide I spooked a Green Woodpecker twice. From the Hide itself I saw both Kingfishers give great shows again but this time I witnessed a couple of matings and an inspection of a new nest-hole. Possible 4th brood coming?

As well as the KFs I saw a Kestrel in the top box on the pylon; a Great Spotted Woodpecker appeared briefly; a Grey Heron hung around high up on the dead tree for about 20 minutes; a Cetti's Warbler calling out; a Jay flypast and a big group of Goldfinch flying around. On the second visit a Sparrowhawk flew past the Hide, while a Reed Bunting called out. A female Brown Hawker was ovipositing just in front of the Hide.

I spent another hour or so in the Draper and saw an additional Lapwing and 9 Common Terns, some feeding juveniles. A Kingfisher flashed past. I found out that the Reserve was staying open until 8.30 to see if the Crake would turn up.

I wasn't going to hang around that long and decided to see if the Water Voles were around. They were and an adult and 3 youngsters gave some great, close up views.

They made up for the disappointment of the Crake no-show.