Rye Harbour Nature Reserve - 0830hrs - warm, dry, sunny, sw 2 - For a change of scene we spent the morning `over the border` at Rye for a fix of breeding terns and waders. First off the scrub and willow cover beside Narrow Pit delivered seven species of warblers, including three singing Lesser Whitethroats, plus singles of Cuckoo, Turtle Dove, Green Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk and a family party of Long-tailed Tits. The north-eastern lagoons on Harbour Farm held several pairs of nesting Avocets, Redshanks and Little Ringed Plovers, while a Spotted Redshank was a surprise migrant.
On to Beach Reserve and Ternery Pool where it was great to see that many of the 250 pairs of Sandwich Terns had well-grown juvs on the islands despite the recent attentions of nocturnal Grey Herons. Alongside, a host of Black-headed Gulls had juvs on the water and at least one fledged Mediterranean Gull was noted.
From the hide overlooking Quarry the islands were full of nesting Common Terns and Black-headed Gulls coming and going, plus more Redshanks, Avocets, Ringed Plovers, Lapwings and Oystercatchers. Along the beach large swathes of the rare legume, Sea Pea smothered the splash zone, while Skylarks sang aloft and Wheatears and Linnets fed young opposite the red-roofed shack; we also paused for a natter and an update on the breeding bird status with Barry Yates who informed us that at least eight pairs of Little Terns were nesting on Flat Beach, some of which we viewed from the John Gooder`s hide. Whilst walking the path between the shore both Sandwich and Little Terns were seen bringing in what appeared to be the `right` sort of fish, so hopefully it will be a successful breeding season after last years failures. Also noted around the reserve, Little and Great Crested Grebes, Cormorants, Shoveler, Shelduck, Kestrel, five Little Egrets, Grey Heron, Curlew Meadow and Rock (a single along the river) Pipits.
In summary a cracking morning at this superbly managed reserve, amongst some of my favourite birds: waders and terns.
Boulderwall - On the way back from the allotment this evening we had good views of a Barn Owl hunting the fields by Cockles Bridge. We pulled in ARC car park and walked down to the first bend of the access road and watched the owl being attacked by a Marsh Harrier, which it eventually evaded. Cuckoo and Green Woodpecker also noted plus a large flock of Starling with an attendant Peregrine.