Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Arctic waders & terns

Lade - mild, overcast, e 2 - 0730hrs -  Mrs PT joined us this morning for a circuit of the local patch. On south lake two Common Sandpipers flitted around the margins, three Shelduck were new and a Sparrowhawk flew over carrying prey heading towards Lydd. Several Swifts came and went and all the usual songsters were belting it out in the still, muggy conditions. Walking back along the foreshore it was apparent that quite a few Arctic waders had dropped in to feed en-route to their northern breeding grounds, most of `em in summer plum. Apart from the usual several hundred non-breeding Curlews and Oystercatchers there were 50 Ringed Plovers (mostly tundra race), 45 Dunlins, 28 Sanderling, 25 Turnstones, 15 Barwits and two Grey Plovers, plus three Greenshanks that flew over calling. Ten Sandwich Terns and four Shelducks completed the picture.

Rye Harbour NR - 1030-1330hrs - A circuit of the beach reserve delivered a feast of waders and breeding seabirds. From Lime Kiln Cottage the creeks and lagoons opposite were packed with both breeding and migrant waders, highlights of which were 85 Ringed Plover (at least 30 tundra types), 50 Dunlin, 30 Turnstone, two Whimbrel, two Grey Plover, Greenshank and best of all a summer plum Little Stint. With around 25 pairs of Avocets on site many chicks were noted, along with breeding Redshank, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, and Lapwing.

                                Ringed Plover, Rye Harbour

                                Avocet, `sorting out`a pair of Shelducks

                                Turnstones, Rye Harbour

From the John Gooders hide the scene was more of the same with shorebirds scattered across Flat Beach, plus Little Egrets, Shelducks, two Brent Geese and a Wheatear feeding young at the entrance to a rabbit hole. At least 15 Little Terns were displaying and settling on the shingle ridges, while it was good to see plenty of small fish and sand eels being brought in.

                                Black-headed Gull chicks, Rye Harbour

                                Common Terns, Rye Harbour

     Sandwich Tern colony, Rye Harbour

On Ternery Pool the main Sandwich Tern colony of over 100 pairs was on the closest island to the hide and provided a fantastic spectacle, along with nesting Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns on Quarry Beach. On the negative side (but perhaps not...) the nesting Med Gulls had cleared out, yet again having failed to breed, although several were seen and heard. The new lagoons on the walk back yielded Wood Sandpiper and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers amongst more Avocets and singing Skylarks. Other birds noted on the circuit included, Cuckoo, Kestrel, Whitethroat, Shoveler, Pochard, Dabchick, Yellow Wagtail and Mipit.
Combining Lade and Rye we managed to clock up 18 species of waders today, and as these delightful creatures are my favourite family of birds I was well satisfied, even though I was half expecting to find a Temminck`s - set the bar high, I say!
It was also good to bump into Barry and Chris on the way round and have a natter, and all credit to them and the team at Rye Harbour for making this one of the best bird reserves in southern England for waders and terns.


  1. You did really well then. Not much on Flat Beach when I was there.

  2. I agree, there wasn't that many waders on Flat Beach, the numbers were opposite Lime Kiln.