Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Rye Meads in Mid-summer

7th July 2014

I had gone to Rye Meads in the hope of getting some more photos of the Black-necked Grebes which had now left the nest. Unfortunately, although they were visible from the Gadwall Hide, they were a long way away and far too distant for a photo, unlike these shots when they were still on the nest. I therefore moved on to the Kingfisher Hide to see what the Kingfishers were up to.

The Kingfishers were on their second brood and, although the young were still in the nest, they were about to fledge any day now. Also, a fresh nest had been excavated for a third brood. There were several long waits between the adults flying out to feed and returning to the nest with fish for the young. However, the male in particular had a ritual which made the photography a little easier. On his return, he would land on the furthest perch before then flying to the nest to feed the young. On emerging from the nest he would plunge in the water to wash off the sand and then fly to the middle perch, and would occasionally fly to the nearest perch before flying off for more fish.

Also, knowing that he was going to plunge into the water on leaving the nest, it was possible to focus on the water and get a shot as he emerged from the water.

As I strolled back to the centre I decided to have a quick look at the view in front of the Draper Hide. The habitat looked ideal with plenty of muddy margins for waders, ideal apart from the fact that there were no waders. Then, from the far side of the scrape Green Sandpipers started to fly in, landing in the pools to the left of the hide. Eventually a total of seven birds had arrived and started to feed in the shallows.

One of the sandpipers was sporting a set of colour rings. Green Sandpipers are caught and ringed at Rye Meads and Lemsford Springs and are the subject of a colour-ringing programme coordinated by Barry Trevis. Each bird has a unique combination of colour rings on its legs, which has that advantage that individual birds can be recognised from a distance without the need to recapture them.

The combination for this bird is Yellow left and Blue over Red right. Armed with this information we know that it was ringed as a juvenile at Rye Meads on the 6th August 2013. So if you see any colour-ringed Green Sandpipers contact Barry Trevis (trevis1@tiscali.co.uk) with the details.

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