A walk at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

I felt I needed a day off. I love what I do and consequently find it tricky to let go of projects that need input, and that’s before we get to the domestic duties that come with a menagerie of animals and three young adults living at home. I decided to visit Rye Harbour as the weather was cool, bright, and breezy, and I wanted to see how well my dog got on with birdwatching.

I stopped off in the woods on the way so Ned could have some time off his lead, and then headed over to the Reserve.

There were lots of ducks. Mallard, Wigeon, Teal and a few Tufted – I could hear the Mallards and Wigeons rootling around in the vegetation sounding remarkably like pigs as they rummaged and grazed. I always forget how tiny Teal are, and the burnished copper and green heads of the males were still apparent even in the overcast conditions. I saw lots of Redshank too although I only saw them singly, patrolling the mudflats with their ever-bobbing heads picking up little morsels. Half a dozen Curlew flew over which was quite a majestic sight as they are so graceful, and every so often great clouds of ducks would take to the sky but despite looking out for a raptor, I didn’t see any cause for their skittishness.

A rainbow emerged over Camber looking absolutely spectacular, but it started raining as we got to the beach and I realised that I had put Ned in his raincoat but omitted to bring any wet weather gear for me…I did have my thick wool coat and scarf but we made our way to the Hide rather hastily. Ned was put in the tricky position of having to watch someone enjoy their packed lunch a couple of feet away, but despite that Labradorian torture he sat quietly.

There were some Lapwings adjusting their position to deal with the weather which had taken a turn for the worse, and the Cormorants huddled together on the shingle bank like penguins. Three Snipe zig-zagged their way to the bank; such delicate little waders.

We made our way back to the Discovery Centre and watched the Starlings gathering in the shrubbery, and the Skylarks flitting and calling over the scrub and salt marsh.

I managed to do a little sketching from the view in front of me and remembering some of the birds I had seen. These were done with a 2H pencil in my regular sketchbook, and I made a rough tick list on one of the blank pages in my logbook.

The shop at the Discovery Centre is now fully restocked with my titles if you want to pick up a gift or replacement…do let me know when you have filled in your logbook as I would love to see how you have used it!

I have also completed my final bird illustration for Birds of the South Downs which will be published in the new year. A Corn Bunting is a rather nondescript streaky bird and I struggled to find a pose that would show enough diagnostic detail but still leant itself to my style of painting. I think it turned out quite well.


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