More evidence of the topsy-turvy year we are experiencing. As I arrived at the Draper's Hide, the first bird I saw was the first Green Sandpiper of the Autumn. This is about two weeks earlier than normal, but is not an isolated incident. Another Green Sandpiper had been seen the day before at Amwell, possibly the same bird, and a further two at Lemsford Springs. So even the birds are confused by the rather random weather patterns.
On to the Ashby Hide which by comparison was very quiet. A lone Heron had the place to himself and was stealthily working the pond for goodies, occasionally stopping to sort out those important feathers.
The most significant change at Rye Meads over the last three years has been the activity on the tern rafts. I launched the first raft in the late 1960s, and since then the Common Tern colony has grow to several tens of pairs. However, a few years ago at Brent Reservoir the terns there started to be pushed off the rafts by nesting Black-headed Gulls, a totally new phenomenon. Unfortunately this trait has spread rapidly up the Lea Valley over the last three years and now Black-headed Gulls dominate the rafts at both Rye Meads and Amwell. The tern strategy now appears to be to let the gulls raise their chicks and leave the rafts, and then have a late brood.
But the star of the show today was the Little Grebe and its chick which performed so well right outside the Draper Hide. Nice!!