Monday, June 30, 2014

Rye Meads

The June doldrums is something I hear mentioned from time to time.  I understand this to an extent.  Spring heralds the magic of migration.  Birds completing long journeys from their wintering grounds to set up home in areas that we call home.  The emergence of butterflies and (in)vertebrates, the changing weather, a new dawn, a new spring.  Then in a flash, it all settles down.  Breeding begins, the young fledge, and we wait in anticipation for return passage and the slow ebb toward autumn.  I am so guilty of compartmentalising the offerings of local wildlife.  There is always plenty to see.

Today, a visit to the wonderful Rye Meads RSPB reserve revitalised my appreciation of the seasons.  Only half an hour from home by train before I was warmly greeted at the centre by the reception volunteers.

Rye Meads Visitor Centre

Heading off along the boardwalk, and within a few metres a Large Skipper settled onto a reed with numerous Common Blue Damselflies darting along the watercourses.

Large Skipper

This area is great for Water Vole.  Feeding platforms are set up to encourage increased visibility of these elusive mammals.  I could hear the rustling within the reeds so I maintained my position, and then, this fine fella emerged.

 Water Vole

 Nom Nom Nom Nom

From the Draper Hide, much of the open water was covered with duckweed.  Moorhen and Coot attended to their young, seven Shoveler (five drakes in moult) roosted by the islands, and Black-Tailed Skimmers whizzed about above the surface of the water.

 View from Draper Hide

Two Green Sandpipers that were seen earlier flying into the reserve, fed on one of the pools to the left of the hide, signs of early autumn migration.

 one of three Green Sandpiper seen today

There were plenty of boisterous Black Headed Gulls that are successfully breeding here with many of the juveniles seen feeding alongside the adults.

 Black Headed Gull

 View from Gadwall Hide

The bird I was keen to see was the Black-Necked Grebe that have bred this year.  Initially, a pair had been seen with three young, but this had apparently been reduced to two.  After a short wait involving constant scanning, an adult bird appeared with one of its' young just to the right of the Gadwall hide and to the right of the nearest island.

 Adult Black Necked Grebe

Really hope the young are safe and well.

Walking back toward the centre, Comma and Ringlet butterflies were on the wing, Common Terns were noisily feeding their young, and what I believe was a third Green Sandpiper flew into one of the channels followed shortly by a Little Ringed Plover seen departing in haste.


  1. I was already planning to visit RSPB Rye Meads soon, but your blog inspired me to do so this week. Beatiful picture of the Black-necked Grebe.

    1. Thank you very much. It's a lovely site - I hope you enjoy it!