Monday, 11 July 2016

Gulls and Terns at Rye Meads

10th July 2016

A rather mirky and drizzly day but the forecast is for the sun to break through at 3.00pm so off to Rye Meads to see what the Draper Hide has to offer. Pretty quiet on the wader front with just a handful of Lapwings, a lone Oystercatcher and, rather surprisingly, not a single Green Sandpiper despite being present over the last couple of days.

The resident Little Grebes were on show as were numerous Gadwall. When I was a lad there were no Gadwall in the Lea Valley at all, and I had to go all the way to Barn Elms, now the London Wetland Centre, to see my first. Now they are one of the commonest ducks in the valley and are prolific breeders.

A pair of Mute Swans were loafing on one of the islands until an intruder flew in. That was enough to kick-start the male into action and very soon the intruder was sent packing.

Up to about five years ago the Common Terns had things all their own way, but now they are being ousted by Black-headed Gulls which have decided to move into the valley. The terns still breed on the rafts, but normally have to wait until the juvenile gulls have fledged to squeeze in a late brood.

However, love them or hate them, juvenile Black-headed Gulls are rather attractive especially those that have that apricot wash.

Here, mum has just returned with food so.......BUNDLE!!!

Luckily the gulls were very active allowing plenty of opportunities for some flight shots.

So what a super couple of hours after a rather dreary morning with plenty of birds and plenty of action.

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