The sun shone on a warm Sunday morning, when eighteen of us met in the car park of this lovely reserve, which is owned by the Sussex Wildlife Trust. The reserve has been managed by the Friends of Rye Harbour since 1973 and rely on donations and volunteers for its upkeep. We were greeted with flypasts of swifts, house martins and house sparrows etc.
A casual stroll towards the information centre yielded a hovering kestrel, oystercatchers flying over, skylarks, four curlew, cormorant and redshank.
In the John Gooders hide, an abundance of mediterranean gulls, shelduck, avocet and various other gulls were spotted. Two ringed plovers were showing well, as were little egret, little tern and pied wagtail. A large flock of gulls suddenly rose to the air and amongst them, a spoonbill was seen.
Wheatears were seen flitting from post to post along the walk to the beach, where turnstones and sandwich terns were spotted.
The mild wind blew as we visited the Ray Parkes hide. From here, common terns, mediterranean gulls with their chicks, mute swans, cormorants, common gulls and coot were noticed. A ringed plover ambled along the water’s edge towards the hide, offering us a fantastic sight of this beautiful bird.
Meadow pipits and skylarks adorned the blue sky, before parachuting down to their grassy knolls.
The Guy Crittal hide had the usual swans and gulls, however, crossing the path to the Steve Denny hide, gave us a good telescope view of the spoonbill. This magnificent member of the stork, heron and ibis family, stood tall, showing its huge bill. It is still on the Amber list and a rare breeding bird in the UK. A lone female tufted duck sauntered along the water’s edge and there were sightings of great crested grebe and common terns with chicks.
After lunch, we headed towards the Farm. Along the path, more terns flew overhead and a cuckoo was heard in the distance. The farm area and reed beds gave us a linnet on an overhead wire, whilst reed and sedge warblers sang their melodious songs. Swallows and house martins darted between the buildings gathering food on the wing and a lone, juvenile swallow was perched on a telephone cable, oblivious to our presence.
The Long Pit walk gave us views of reed bunting and a family of whitethroats, whilst wren, blackcap, chaffinch, chiffchaff, cettis warbler, more sedge and reed warblers and dunnock, delighted us with their different songs.
The Narrow Pit was alive with the sounds of marsh frogs, whilst huge carp swam elegantly between the reed beds. Alan then stopped suddenly and turned his head towards the opposite trees. In the background, a distinctive purring call could be heard – yes, a turtle dove! Great find Alan.
The buildings by the main road, gave us views of house martins diving in and out of their nests and juvenile black headed gulls on the rooftops.
The meeting was concluded with well-deserved ice creams and rather nice they were too.
Cinnabar moth, large and small white, large and small skippers, painted lady, red admiral and holly blue were amongst the butterflies seen. A peacock caterpillar was also spotted. Over sixty species of birds were counted and a great day out was had by all.
Many thanks to everyone who attended.
Thanks to Steve and Terry for the photos.
Hazel and Steve.
For more information about the Sussex Wildlife Trust, please click here
For more information about the Friends of Rye Harbour, please click here