Sunday, 4 October 2015

A Fledging at Rye Meads. *

Rye Meads - 25th September 15

Weather: Sunny, warm in the morning, clouding over later.

Bird Total: 39
Plus: Konik Ponies.
Plus: Speckled Wood Butterfly.
Plus: Blue-tailed damselfly. Common Darter, Migrant Hawker dragonflies.
Plus: Ladybird Larvae, 7-spot Ladybird; Bluebottle; Cinnamon Sedge Caddis Fly; Crane Fly; Dock Bug; Flesh Fly; Harlequin Ladybird; Hoverfly; Midge.

It was another reasonably sunny day and so I opted to pay a visit to Rye Meads. I had heard that the third Kingfisher fledging was expected this week. In the event only one fledgling was seen, briefly. I haven't visited much here, this year. However, you know what they say, 'never say never again'.

The Great Crested Grebe family was still around, on the lakes, on the journey down. Which, in itself, was finally 'back on track'. On the walk up to the Reserve Cetti's Warbler could be heard.

Talking to the guys in reception, it appeared that the Kingfisher Hide was already filled to capacity. So I opted to take a slow, leisurely stroll. At the first pond I found 6 Dock Bugs and a lovely little Wren, who was flitting around the nearby bushes. Another Cetti's was singing out.

I eventually arrived at 'Water Vole Corner', just in time to see the rising sun, where I flushed a cock Pheasant and spotted a party of Long-tailed Tits, scurrying past. Four Konik Ponies were out on the adjacent Meadow. There was also an annoyingly loud and close helicopter hovering above, which was present for most of the morning. It put up flocks of Lapwing and Gull a few times.

I was soon looking out from the Draper Hide. At first glance there didn't seem to be much about on the lagoon. However, I soon spotted at least 10 Green Sandpipers dotted around the area, one of which ventured fairly close. The water levels had finally been lowered and I guess this was the reason for so many.

There were a few Shoveler and Teal around as well, a couple of which swam up close. The light was pretty good here, behind the Hide and so allowed a few modest photos. A pair of Little Grebes also swam in close. A lone Lapwing was immobile, out to the right.

Heading up the trail I spotted a Green Woodpecker and a Jay, close together. Both flew off when I approached. Then a Migrant Hawker flew up and away as I walked by.

I arrived at the Twin Hides and sat down in the Gadwall, looking out. I could see several Common Snipe; a 'desert' of Lapwing and quite a few Wigeon. There were also 2 pairs of Grey Wagtail and a lone Pied Wagtail, flitting around the small islands. Finally, there was a lone Grey Heron, standing motionless amongst a large flock of Black-headed Gulls.

The sun was shining straight into the Tern Hide and so, with only Gulls and Coot out on the lagoon, I headed off towards the Kingfisher Hide, to see if I could find a spare seat. On the way I found a very obliging Common Darter, posing on the wooden walkway.

I entered the Kingfisher Hide to find every seat had been taken up. One or two familiar faces were present and everyone was busy looking through their lens, which were all pointing out towards the lagoon. A fledgling Kingfisher had appeared but had immediately flew into the thick bushes to the left. The adult female appeared soon after I had arrived and continued to return, with fish, an average of every 15 minutes or so. The male was strangely absent and hadn't been seen for a few days.

The female followed a similar pattern all day, arriving with a fish, flying into the nest, returning to the middle post, having a wash and then flying off. I eventually squeezed into a seat and proceeded to enjoy the show.

While the female was absent we were entertained by various other birds. A pair of Kestrels flew around, with one of them posing on the nest box, on the pylon. A lone Hobby flew over. Then a Green Woodpecker appeared on the dead tree, out to our right. Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler could be heard every now and then.

After about an hour I headed off, as I wanted to be out for the last of the sunshine, before the clouds rolled in. The nights were now starting to draw in and the longest day was long gone. Just outside the Hide I found a lovely Cinnamon Sedge Caddis Fly. Then a Speckled Wood butterfly posed for me. It was the only butterfly I saw all day.

On the trail up the hill to the Warbler Hide I came across another party of Long-tailed Tits, this time accompanied by a couple of Chiffchaff. The clouds were now increasing, blotting out the warm sunshine for most of the walk there and back. This was probably the main reason I only saw one or two dragons. However, I guess the absence of the trees and bushes along this part of the trail was another reason. My fears from earlier in the year seem to have been proven correct.

There was absolutely nothing outside the Warbler Hide. Well, two Woodpigeons flew past. I could also see a few conjoined Common Darters out over the pond. Most of the area outside had been 'trimmed'. After lunch I made the return journey, but the area was obviously only for the untouchables.

I decided to pay another visit to the Kingfisher Hide, as there wasn't much about. Well, you only live twice. It was just as packed, with most of the same people present. After a few minutes a couple of people left and I gratefully sat down. The female Kingfisher continued the same activity as before.

Then my friend, Ron, showed up. I hadn't seen him since late May. We traded birdie stories for a while, before he headed off, up the trail. I eventually left after about 90 minutes or so. I wanted to get back for the rugby.

I stopped off at the Draper Hide, to see if the Sandpipers were still present. They weren't, it was obviously a bridge too far. However, Ron appeared again. The light was still quite good here, the clouds letting the sun out for a while. We headed off soon after, with Ron purchasing a coffee and heading for the Lapwing Hide.

I had taken a photo of what I suspected could be a form of Cardinal Beetle. However, it was quite small and should have died off long ago. I asked the guys at the visitor centre but they were unsure as well. Later on it was identified as Anthocomus rufus.

The setting sun and the rising moon combined to be time bandits and so I decided to head for home.

The trains kept to time today, although there was a strong police presence at the station. I heard later that a man had gone missing and his family were concerned. He was last seen at the station. I hope everything turns out ok.

'The only reason I'm paranoid is because everyone's against me!'