Yesterday saw Team Sausage make their first visit to RSPB Rye Meads. Up until last Thursday, they had been reporting almost daily sightings of a Glossy Ibis. With this in mind and also the chance to explore a new reserve, we hit the road.
The weather was pretty gloomy and although no rain was expected, conditions were very overcast. Our expectations were lowering as we neared the reserve. If you are thinking of visiting Rye Meads be aware, there is a toll road leading to the reserve entrance where you will be relieved of 50p to both enter and exit.
The reserve itself has three trails and 8 hides and shares land belonging to the Herts And Middlesex Wildlife Trust. The terrain is mixture of marsh, reedbed and water so duck, wader and fowl enthusiasts will have plenty to spot.
Sadly for us, the Glossy Ibis had not made a reappearance over the weekend. Undeterred by this news we began to explore the reserve. The obligatory visitor centre feeder was attracting Blue and Great Tits constantly and also a two male and a female Pheasant. The female particularly obliging for the camera.
Garden birds were fairly active throughout the reserve and we saw Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits frequently along the first trail, along with the occasional Robin, two Jays and hundreds of Starlings. The Starling were all congregating on the electricity pylons that criss-cross the reserve.
The better sightings today were on the water. These Shoveler particularly stood out in the gloom at the Draper Hide.
Also seen here were plenty of Teal with beautiful plumage and a lone Green Sandpiper, all of them hunkered down against the chilly air.
From the Ashby Hide we had one Pintail, eight Snipe and a flock of around two hundred very skittish Lapwing. Along with the occasional Grey Heron, the ubiquitous Coots and Moorhens we also had Pochard, Mallard and Gadwall.
The second half of our walk was completed almost in silence as the other hides were almost deserted of both people and birds save for Magpies, Blackbirds and Carrion Crows. It seems the weather was against us today at Rye Meads although we spent three hours there. With the numerous hides and habitats I think there is a lot of potential for future visits though. Just remember to bring a few 50ps!