Monday, 25 May 2009

Rye Harbour N.R.

On Sunday Anita and I ventured to the south coast for a gentle four hours walk at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. A sunny, clear day but with a fairly strong SW breeze and lots of people visiting the area as part of the RX Wildlife Festival. First sightings were lots of House Sparrows around the car park, Collared Dove and the sounds of Skylarks ascending above the tidal marsh. With high tide fast approaching the water enthusiasts were heading down the channel towards the sea.
We heard a wagtail calling and eventually got onto this single Yellow Wagtail who moved from perch to perch very frequently but I eventually managed a half decent record shot.
On the other side of the roadway we had distant views of Oystercatcher, Redshank, Black-headed, Common and Herring Gulls plus a single Mediterranean Gull flying around while a pair of Kestrels appeared overhead.
At the Lime Kiln Cottage Information centre there are various posts with mosaics depicting the various flora and fauna that can be found on the reserve. These are two pics of 'Tern' (a summer visitor) and the ‘Bittern’ (a winter visitor). As we headed towards the shingle beach we added Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Crow and Lapwing. Anita caught sight of a pair of distant Wheatears while I was watching a pair of Ringed Plovers guarding their nest site. We headed out onto the shingle ridge overlooking the sea and watched Common, Sandwich plus a single Little Tern flying past.
Not ideal light as the sun was on my left but here are two shots of a Sandwich Tern [note the yellow tip to the black bill] searching for a meal.
Sandwich Tern

After scoffing our packed lunch we headed for the Ternery Pool which has been very busy with around 1600 pairs of Black-headed Gull, 90 Pairs of Mediterranean Gull, 500 pairs Sandwich Tern and Common Terns gradually finding space as the Black-headed Gull chicks disperse to the margins.
Black-headed mum & chicks.

Herring Gull (the predator?)

Whilst scanning the colonies on one of the islands the noise level increased dramatically as a large opportunistic Herring Gull flew in and snatched a Black-headed chick for its dinner! Other inhabitants around the pool were Mute Swan, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Redshank, Dunlin and Starlings. Redshank & female Mallard
A short detour behind the pool produced Linnet, Whitethroat, a hidden Reed Warbler rhythmically singing from within deep cover of the reeds plus a distant calling Cuckoo and a fly past of a pair of Cormorants and Swallows. The most colourful flora was Yellow Horned Poppy.
We also saw a few butterflies; Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Common Blue and Painted Lady so I've kept a few photos back for a future post.


  1. Wow - what a day out that was Frank. Lovely pictures all but especially of the Sandwich Tern and the Kestrel.

    One day I WILL get there!

  2. Ive not been to rye for ages frank. I really must try to visit again. Nice pics today!

  3. Well done Frank. Looks like a very tour you did.. Wonderful. I would like to see chicks of birds now but it will still take few weeks for us!!!

  4. Sounds like a great day out - and of course I love all the shorebirds and waterbirds you saw and photographed. The terns in flight are especially good!

  5. ...looks like time well spent. The Yellow Wagtail must be a sight to behold. He is incredibly yellow and looks fairly large. Enjoyed all the shorebirds and gulls...especially the Black-headed mom and chicks!

  6. Looks like you had a really nice walk, and got lots of great pictures! Love the bright yellow flower.

  7. What a great day you had Frank. Plenty of birds there I've yet to see; and cracking pictures too.
    Great detail captured on the Kestrel and Sandwich Tern.
    Loved the Redshank too.

  8. Oh Frank you had a fab day!! Look at all the cool shots you got. Not including the beautiful wagtail.I've never seen one of those!! Oh and I loved the way in which you told your story I felt like I was there :)

  9. What a great day you had Frank, and lots of lovely photos to share with us!

    I thought the mosaics were fascinating. I enjoyed all the flight photos and the Yellow Wagtail is so colourful, as is the lovely Poppy!

  10. Hi everyone. Thanks for your kind comments.

    Tricia, the Kestrel shots were shere luck whereas the Tern pics took ages while resting on the shingle.

    Warren, Rye is always worth a visit if only to blow the cobwebs away!

    Chris, it's just as well that nature happens at different times in different places otherwise we would all be posting the same.

    Kelly, Yellow Wag is one of the very few 'colourful' migrants & the shortest tail of all wagtails. Total length 17cm.

    Keith. Send your 'wish' list & we will see what we can do for you.

    Mick, Mona, Crista & Jan. I'm glad you enjoyed the trip.


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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