Sunday, 25 October 2015

After The Lord Mayors Show!

Rye Meads - 22nd October 15

Weather: Cloudy and overcast all day. Windy and quite cold.

Bird Total: 40
Plus: Konik Ponies.
Plus: Migrant Hawker dragonfly.
Plus: 16-spot Ladybird; Bluebottle; Flesh Fly; Harlequin Ladybird; Hoverfly; Midge.

I thought I would try Rye Meads today, to look for the reported Jack Snipe. The weather was very poor; heavy cloud, wind and quite cold. Even though Carol had forecast clearer skies in the afternoon. Sadly, it was not to be.

I figured that the JS would have departed by now, especially after the heavy rains of yesterday and so I was only mildly optimistic, as I jumped on the later train. There were only the usual Canada Geese on the fields on the journey down.

Nothing was on show until I arrived and sat down in the Draper Hide. Other than hen Pheasants; Tits and Finches at the newly-relocated feeder area. New to me, anyway.

There was only one other person in the Hide when I arrived. It was grey and overcast, not very good for photography. In fact, I only took 4 photos all day. People came and went, including a couple of friends I had met on holiday a few years ago.

It was a little slow out on the lagoon, at first. However, I counted upto 4 Green Sandpipers; 6 Common Snipe; a pair of Pied Wagtails; a pair of Grey Wagtails; a pair of Little Grebes; a wet and miserable looking Grey Heron; a lone Lapwing; Teal and Shoveler and, best of all, 3 Meadow Pipits. Cetti's Warblers were sounding off.

It was easily the best place to be today, with all this action going on and I should have stayed put. However, I was keen to see if the Jack Snipe was about. It hadn't been seen since Wednesday and, when I arrived, there was only one other guy in there. He was just leaving, after being there for over an hour and a half. He hadn't seen jack. Ahem.

I hung around for about the same amount of time, seeing only a Great Spotted Woodpecker plus Teal; Tufted Duck; Coot and Moorhen. More Cetti's were singing while a lone Migrant Hawker had braved the cold weather and was on patrol.

It was approaching 1pm and so I decided to move on. The Jack had obviously moved on as well. I was a little disappointed but not surprised. If I had been given a choice on Wednesday, to see either the Jack or the Bitterns, I would have chosen the Bitterns. You can't win them all!

I stopped off at the Twin Hides, sitting in the Gadwall for most of the time. Although there were quite a number of birds out on the lagoon outside the Tern Hide, they were just the usual suspects. Looking out from the Gadwall Hide I could see over 20 Common Snipe, all asleep; a lone Green Sandpiper; a perched-up Kestrel, being mobbed by a Magpie; a pair of Pied Wagtails; a lone Grey Wagtail; loads of Teal and a few Wigeon.

I then decided to visit the Kingfisher Hide, finding three other people in there. I was told the Kingfisher had just been and gone, so I hung around for an hour. Two of the people left soon after I arrived. In the time I was there the Kingfisher made one fleeting appearance. It flew in on to the far post, then flew clockwise around the lagoon, landing on the post just in front of the Hide. Unfortunately, by the time I had brought my camera to bear, it flew off, never to be seen again. Not by me, anyway.

There were about a dozen Gadwall out on the lagoon, plus a pair of Mallard and several Coot and Moorhen. I caught a glimpse of a Green Woodpecker as it exited the area, stage left. I did get a good view of a Water Rail, also out to the left, before a Moorhen chased it off. There were scores of Starlings all perched up on the wires above.

From here I made the decision to give the Warbler Hide a miss and headed back down the trail, stopping briefly at the Ashby Hide before settling down for about 30 minutes back in the Draper Hide. The Green Sandpiper count rose to 8. However, there wasn't much else to see so I decided to head home early, leaving about 3.30.

A quiet day out today, my luck must have been used up at Fishers Green.

'Word of the day: FLENCH - (of the weather) to give a deceitful promise of improvement.'