Sunday, 3 June 2012

Rye Meads in May

The mission today was to try and photograph the Garganey that had been recorded in the Upper Lea Valley over the past few weeks, commuting between Amwell and Rye Meads. I headed straight for the Draper Hide as this was likely to be the most likely spot and, if present, would provide the closest views. As I settled into the hide the first bird to catch my eye was a duck that you won't find in any of the books, a hybrid. At first glance this appears to be a cross with a Baikal Teal but the local experts suspect that Baikal does not feature at all but, having said that, haven't really got any ideas of the parentage. However, it is a most attractive duck.

As I was taking photographs another duck flew into the far side of the lagoon. A quick look through the bins revealed that this was indeed the quarry for today, the Garganey. It swam purposefully towards the island and hauled itself out onto the bank and began to preen, allowing an opportunity for a shot before it tucked its head in and went to sleep.

Right in front of the hide a number of ducks were chasing round and bathing. One Pochard in particular was attacking his bathing chore with gusto, sending a fountain of spray in all directions. Luckily I was able to freeze most of the droplets.

I was then alerted to a "teeu" call which heralded the arrival of a pair of Little Ringed Plovers. They landed initially some distance away but gradually moved closer to an area of shingle where they started to display and prepare a scrape for their nest.

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