Trip reports

Rye Harbour East Sussex - 3 February 2018

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The birding started with flocks of lapwing and golden plover seen flying around over the reserve while we were still in the car park. We went widdershins round the reserve today and started off along the road to the viewpoint. On the way we added both mistle and song thrush to the list. From the viewpoint itself we had a pair of bearded tits, a singing Cetti's warbler (the first of several during the day) and a peregrine perched in a tree as well as shelduck, shoveler, gadwall and long-tailed tit. Walking on and taking a minor path we picked up teal and at least two of us saw a water rail crossing a channel from a small reed bed to an island. A little further on and we could hear the yaffling of our first green woodpecker of the day and a marsh harrier was seen through the trees flying over the water; surprisingly that was to be our only one of the day. As we neared Castle Water a kestrel was perched on a bare tree. The nearby fields held a goodly number of Canada geese accompanied by a few greylags and Egyptian geese. Further away the roosting gulls included a mixture of common, lesser black-backed, herring and great black-back gulls. Soon after settling in to the hide a kingfisher flew over towards us and perched close to the side of the hide briefly before it flew off again. It (or another) gave several more flypasts and perched for a short time in a tree on the opposite side of the water. There were many cormorants in the trees and at least one of the sinensis race was taking nesting material from near the hide. Many lapwings were roosting on the lake, although taking flight from time to time and there were a few oystercatchers with them. We also found our first wigeon of the day here.

The walk from Castle Water to Long Pit included struggling through some very muddy areas. Some of the Group added fieldfare and grey wagtail for the day. Nearing Long Pit we could hear and then see a couple of little grebes. There were also a couple of goldeneye on the pit. Walking beside Long Pit we had our only grey heron of the day and a pheasant. A short sea watch was virtually just that - watching the sea. A small flock of waders passing by was a mix of grey plovers and Dunlin and some had a small flock of common scoter further out.

By now persistent light rain had set in. Heading back we stopped at a couple of hides and at one of them we had a flock of pintail and a red-breasted merganser. Then, in the gathering gloom, on the bodies of water on the way to the caravan park we had a flock of about 10 skylarks, about 50 curlews and a large roosting flock of golden plover.
Based on a report prepared by John Birkett.