Having heard about the possible disruption on the M20 because of Operation Stack, and also the dodgy weather forecast, only the brave arrived at Rye Harbour, and only the ridiculously brave arrived wearing shorts (or did I hear you say ridiculous!).
A total of 12 members set off from the car park in the rain, from where we noticed a great black-backed gull and two chicks nesting on an old fort. We made a dash for the first hide, where we stayed for quite a while having an extended coffee break whilst sheltering from the heavy rain. There were many nesting birds with chicks on the island, including avocet, black headed gull and ringed plover, and we spotted several nesting little terns on the beach area to the left of the hide.
A greenshank was seen briefly, also some redshank, oystercatcher, shelduck and all the usual suspects. There were several wheatear and meadow pipits flying around, and skylarks sang loudly. Finally the rain eased off for a while and we walked back towards the car park and turned left onto the path towards the other two hides.
Some of had already reached the first of the two hides when Sally kindly rang to tell us that 2 spoonbills had flown in onto the Harbour Farm pool, so we rushed back to see them. Unfortunately by the time Alan, who arrived late as he decided to have an early lunch in the car to wait for the rain to stop, went to have a look for them, they had disappeared.
From the hides we saw many more nesting birds on the islands – gulls, sandwich and common terns, along with great crested and little grebe on the water. A Mediterranean gull was heard and seen flying overhead. Malcolm was happy as we found a young (one-legged) grey bush cricket on the hide window!
The rain finally stopped and we walked towards the beach and into the last hide, then walked a bit further on to try to find some little ringed plover which had been reported there, but didn’t manage to find them. Two swifts were seen flying high. We then walked back along the beach for a closer look at the little terns nesting.
A good day, despite the weather, with a total of approx. 40 species seen. Thank you to all who joined us.
Sue & Ian