Thursday, 22 July 2010

Rye Harbour Thursday 22nd July

Carol and I drove down to Rye today. We've planned this a few times lately and each time we did something happened to stop us, sea fog on a couple of occasions I recall. We drove through a bit of rain on the way down but by the time we reached Rye Harbour and the nature reserve the sun was back out and with a nice sea breeze it couldn't have been better.
The first thing of note was a sighting of a Wheatear on the shingle, I wasn't expecting that. This would be one of the small number of birds that arrive in the spring on migration and stay here to breed through the summer.

As we reached the end of the first part of the track and turned right to walk westwards, parallel to the beach, the air was full of the shrill calls of Little Terns flying to and fro the sea carrying small fish for their young. They are nesting in a protected area and the reserve management 'planted' plastic decoy birds to ancourage them to breed there instead of on the open beach where they would be more susceptible to predation. What a great idea.

Also along this stretch we saw Sandwich and Common Terns which nest on the islands on the lakes. The only one I managed to get a half decent picture of was the Common variety below. The little Terns were too fast and the Sandwich were mostly too high.


Of course there were plenty of other species seen during our walk of approximately six miles including Lapwings, Little Grebe, Kestrel, singles of Dunlin and Redshank and Skylarks whose superb and endless refrain filled the air and accompanied us mostly unseen for the majority of the walk. Carol commented that it seemed as if the sky was singing, couldn't have put it better myself.

But for all this the star of the show, pictured below lots of times, were the Ringed Plover family.


She was sitting on two eggs when we arrived. But she got off the nest briefly to reveal that she had now got another chick and just one egg to go.



He was looking after the other two chicks.

Without his legs he was about the size of a ping pong ball. He was happily wandering around pecking at tiny morsels, independent even at this age. But he soon got tired and made his way back to Mum.


While he was tucking himself up under Mum we managed to get another glimpse of the remaining egg.


He didn't stay under for too long before curiosity got the better of him and he popped back out, maybe he just went under to say hello to his new brother or sister.


It was soon change over time on the nest and Dad got his first look at chick number three.........


..........While Mum went off for a wash and brush up.


Hirundines seen today were Sand and House Martins. A family of Shelducks, a Grey Heron and a Little Egret also made the diary as did a single Little Ringed Plover which frequented the edge of a nearly dried up scrape.
The best butterfly of the day was a single Painted Lady which I felt was worthy of inclusion as i've only seen one other this year.

And finally..........................we saw a humble old Linnet on the way back. Humble? I don't think so what an absolute cracker!!



Anonymous said...

Hi Phil, nice blogging today!! Mum is very jealous of the linnet sighting. We have acquired a homing pigeon from Blackpool in our garden :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry that was Steph B above...internet is playing up tonight!

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Great set of Ringed Plover shots .
Like you , I have only seen one Painted Lady this year after last year's invasion .
I always enjoy a visit to Rye Harbour , and like you , manage to find Wheatear near the river mouth .

ShySongbird said...

Hi Phil, what a lovely post! A delightful and beautifully illustrated account of the Ringed Plover family and Junior is a real sweetie :)

I agree with you, that was a great idea to use the plastic decoys for the Little Terns.

I haven't even seen one Painted Lady this year :(

Gorgeous photo of the Linnet, I'm sure I shouldn't admit it but I have never, ever seen one, in fact they are more mythical to me than the Turtle Dove :)

Phil said...

Hi Steph.
Very nice to hear from you! And not even any historical content on the blog! Although the shed on the top of the Rye post is quite old:) I'm intrigued by the Blackpool homing Pigeon.....does it carry an 'address if found' label?
Hope to see you all before you return to Uni. I believe an invite is imminent!

Phil said...

It is indeed a nice place but best avoided at weekends during the summer I think.

Phil said...

Thanks for your continuing comments, they are much appreciated. I think it's good to have a few birds on the 'wanted' list, helps keep the interest sharp!

Marianne said...

Rye Harbour is one of my all-time favourite places :) Love your photos. That Ringed Plover family - how fantastic. Consider me jealous :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Phil,

Dad looked up the pigeon's number on the net, and got quite a terse email back, saying that unless the bird was "contained" they weren't going to do a thing. However, they did tell us where he was from-obviously gone AWOL in Southend! Look forward to seeing you guys soon. Steph x

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Phil.
Glad you had a great day at Rye. I haven't been there for ages, so we might pop down there this week. The main reason being *Little Tern*. I haven't seen one yet this year, and they are one of my top birds. I also haven't seen any Sandwich Terns this year..
Very nice photo's. You took to your new camera like a duck to water.