Yesterday I led a walk at Rye Harbour, one of my favourite bird watching haunts. Luckily for me local expert Roy was on hand to steer us around.
As we walked along the footpath towards Lime Kiln Cottage there were herring gull, black-headed gull, little egret, house martin and swift. After we had given our donation to the “Friends” and signed up two new members, we moved off to the first hide. Here there were oystercatcher on nests, meadow pipit and skylark sang as they did their display flights. On the scrape great black-backed gull and herring gull stood in rafts, whilst at least 30 ringed plover ran about in the damp edges. Little, common and sandwich tern flew overhead carrying fish and calling as they neared the nesting colony areas. Black bellied dunlin looked great in their smart summer plumage, a few turnstone and lapwing joined them. A lone grey plover fed in the shallows.
As we moved along the metalled roadway sea kale, yellow horned poppy and bittersweet edged our path. From the next hide mediterranean gull shared nesting islands with black-headed gulls and common tern. The sandwich tern colony had taken over one whole island and a section of the bank. The rest of the lagoon held cormorant, tufted duck, mallard, coot, moorhen, redshank and great crested grebe.
By now we were all getting hungry, so we moved to our next hide which was right in front of the largest gull colony, as we dined in style their squawks rang in the air. Several avocet were on nests, and mute swans sailed gracefully in their pairs.
As we moved towards Castle Water we flushed linnets ahead of us, dunnock and cetti’s were singing and a cuckoo called its distinctive salute.
Our next avian delights were whitethroat, lesser whitethroat and sedge warbler, whilst a well spotted cream spot tiger clung to the grass sheltering from the breeze. In the more wooded area great tit, blue tit and a pair of treecreeper were seen. Chiffchaff called as we approached the final hide.
After a long walk we were delighted to find teal, gadwall, green sandpiper, a male marsh harrier, shoveler, little gull and an excellent drake garganey – a brilliant end to the day.