7th May 2013
The water levels have been rather high at Rye Meads during the winter months so, apart from wildfowl, it has been a bit quiet. However, spring is eventually getting under way so time for a visit to see what is going on. First stop was the Draper Hide and the water levels were looking good with plenty of exposed mud. The usual duck species were present such as these Tufted Ducks and Pochard.
As is happening at other sites, the Common Terns are being ousted by an ever-increasing number of breeding Black-headed Gulls. So, until the gulls have finished, the terns have to spend their time on scrapes such as those in front of the Draper Hide. Although it is not clear from the photo, the tern on the right is ringed on its right leg and is most likely to have been bred at Rye Meads. There was also a Little Ringed Plover on the scrape.
On to the Tern Hide which is a bit misleading because, ever since they moved the tern rafts to No2 lagoon, there are no terns to look at. However today there was a cracking pair of Gadwall right outside the hide. As I have said before, the male Gadwall is grossly under-rated, and when viewed at close range displays an amazing vermiculation on the breast and flanks. The female looks rather like a female Mallard but, unlike the female Mallard, has a totally orange lower mandible and a white speculum rather than a dark blue one.
I hadn't planned to go to the Kingfisher Hide as the female Kingfisher is sitting on eggs and the hide is usually full of ......bird photographers!!!! However, a quick look through the bins suggested that the hide was nowhere near full and so I decided to give it a go. Indeed there were only three people there and only one with a camera so I settled down to wait for the male to appear. This can be a lengthy process so I whiled away some time by photographing the female Kestrel sitting at the entrance to her box. I suspect that she has some eggs but will not start incubation until the clutch is complete.
Eventually, after about two hours, the male Kingfisher appeared and sat on a branch out on the pool. He called several time but the female was having none of it and continued to sit tight on the eggs. Good girl!!