Monday, 22 February 2016

Still Bramblings @ Rye Meads!

Rye Meads - 3rd February, 16

Weather: Cloudy and overcast all day. Rain showers.

Bird Total: 41

It was a cold, miserable day.

It had been touted as a sunny one a few days ago, but the weather took a turn for the worse. It did brighten up towards the end of the day but, by then, it was too little, too late. There were also a few squally rain showers, around lunchtime.

I wanted to go out again today because, firstly, the rest of the week was forecast to be even worse and, secondly, I wanted to see the Bramblings again. A Bittern had been seen in previous days, but unfortunately did not appear today.

There wasn't anything of note to see on the journey down. However, on the walk up to the Reserve I spotted Goldfinch; Collared Dove; Song Thrush; Redwing and Chiffchaff. Daffodils were flowering along the walk. Unfortunately, that was about as good as it got.

The feeders, just outside the visitor centre, were doing good business, but only the Great Tits were partaking. There was nothing to see, until I arrived outside the Draper Hide. However, I didn't go in immediately, as I could see 2 or 3 people standing by the gate area, where the Bramblings had been seen the last time I was here. So I headed straight down there.

Unfortunately, nothing was about, at first. Someone had disturbed all the birds earlier, but, gradually, one by one, they all returned. However, they were all disturbed again when one of the Reserve staff arrived, to put some more bird seed out for them. They were still a little reticent after that and decided to stay in the trees.
My coxis was already beginning to ache at this point, so I headed back, to sit in the Draper Hide. Outside, on the lagoon, the water was quite high. There weren't too many birds out there. Mainly Coot; Shoveler; Mallard; Gadwall and Tufted Duck. None of which were anywhere near the Hide.

Fellow birder Alan Meadows then entered the Hide and, with nothing much happening, we decided to try for the Bramblings again. This time we were luckier, as 4 appeared, in amongst a score or more Chaffinches. Up to 20 Magpies; several Moorhen; a pair of Greenfinch and a few Woodpigeons had also joined in the feast. More people appeared, which disturbed the ever-jumpy birds and so we headed up the trail.

On the way up Alan spotted a lovely Goldcrest. We paid visits to the Ashby and Tern Hides, not seeing very much. The surprise outside the Tern Hide was that hardly any Coot or Gulls were around.

We then sat down in the Gadwall Hide. On the lagoon we could see upto a hundred Lapwing dotted around the islands. The water levels here were quite low and so I expected to see several Green Sandpipers and maybe even a few Snipe. In the event, I only spotted one Sandpiper. There were loads of Teal out there; again very few Coot; 3 Shelduck, but not much else. There weren't many birds about today, at all. Possibly because a lot of work had been recently done around the Reserve.

From here we took an uneventful walk to the Kingfisher Hide. Where we found quite a few people, including Mrs Water Vole and Katy Kingfisher. The Kingfishers outside had last been seen early in the morning but, unfortunately, they never returned in the time I was there.

All I saw outside was a Kestrel and a pair of Jays. A pair of Coot were on the pond. A few other passerines darted about, including a Chiffchaff. But not much else. I had lunch and waited for over an hour before moving on. I would have moved on earlier but the rain showers appeared, on and off, for about 30 minutes.

I darted out in between them and paid a quick visit to the Gadwall Hide. A Grey Wagtail appeared close to the Hide. I could see a lone Snipe asleep on the scrape. Gulls had returned en masse. I moved on.

I arrived back to see the Bramblings again. They gave some good views, in between scares. A Pheasant had joined in the picnic.

However, the skies were still looking grey and overcast, so I sat down in the Draper Hide again. A brief break in the clouds allowed the sun to shine on some Shoveler, bringing out their gorgeous colours. A Little Grebe could be seen at the back of the lagoon, continually diving.

There didn't seem any point in staying longer, so I headed home.

A quiet day, but the Bramblings are always worth seeing.

'It is not the length of life, but the depth of life.' Ralph Waldo Emerson