1 July 2018

Rye harbour

"Alive with birdsong and ablaze with wildflowers"

Everything was perfect weather-wise for our trip to Rye Harbour.  Clear blue skies, warm sun and sea breeze.  The reserve was alive with birdsong and ablaze with wildflowers - a bonus on a birding trip.  This is a unique site edging onto shingle beaches and attracts unusual flora and fauna - notably nesting little terns and Mediterranean gulls both of which we were lucky enough to see. 

Highlights were a skylark having a sing on a fence post within yards of us, the fleeting view of a female wheatear (thank you Stephanie) and the huge colonies of both sandwich and common terns on display from the hides.  Med gulls were rare in this country until the 50s when they started to pop by as straying visitors but now can be found nesting on specific sites mostly in the south east.  They mix in with the numerous black headed gull just to make the birder's life difficult as they only differ very slightly from one another. So it was a challenge to spot them.  The stars of the show had to be the noisy nesting terns - sitting on nests, feeding chicks, fighting off nosey neighbours as they soared and swooped in front of us.  Hazel spotted  the long legs of a spoonbill standing motionless within a roost of great black backed gulls way in the distance and a "billie no mates" brent goose waddled by - should have migrated months ago to breed in the far north.

The wildflowers were abundant - purple viper's bugloss (echium), yellow horned poppy,
rusty red sorrel, greeny mignonette, yellow ragwort, biting stonecrop, bluey sea kale,  all offset by the occasional bright red poppy. (The sedum like plant with white flowers I have now identified as English White Stonecrop). We were delighted to spot a bank of vivid pyramidal orchids standing proud in the mix.

Birds spotted; blackbird, brent goose, skylark, chaffinch, coot, cormorant, crow, tufted duck, dunnock, goldfinch, canada goose, gt. crested grebe, black headed gull, great black backed gull, jackdaw, kestrel, linnet, magpie, mallard, house martin, swift, swallow, meadow pipit, oystercatcher, redshank, wheatear, shelduck, starling, mute swan, common tern, sandwich tern, little tern.

A wonderful day - away from it all - in a parallel universe!

NEXT BIRDING DATE.... Monday, 23rd July .... RSPB Dungeness
All day trip.   Please let me know if you would like to come along.