Monday, 7 June 2010

Twitcher in the Rye (Meads)

From top: a Water Rail breaks cover briefly; a pair of Pochards eye up the young of another female; Common Tern on the scrape; what's up, doc?

After an eyewatering spell in the dentist's chair this morning (think Marathon Man), I had a couple of spare hours and decided to try Rye Meads RSPB again - more in hope than expectation - for my most-dipped London bird this year, Turtle Dove.

I duly failed, as it turns out that despite breeding on the reserve last year, just a single bird has been seen on one day in 2010. This is clearly a species in trouble, with similar absences commonly reported elsewhere.

That at least gave me a chance for some photography, with an unexpected Water Rail (hard to see in summer), Common Tern, Little Ringed Plover and Pochard among today's subjects. This last species is breeding there, and I was amazed to see a pair repeatedly attack the two ducklings of another female, which struggled to drive them away but eventually triumphed.

Most of the other avian interest centred on warblers, with seven species between the visitor centre and the first hide - Cetti's and Reed Warblers, Common and Lesser Whitethroats, Garden Warbler, Blackcap and Common Chiffchaff - as well as a single Grey Wagail, presumably also breeding locally.

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