Rye Harbour Nature Reserve Visit

I am trying to keep to low-carbon birding, but I supply Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Discovery Centre at the nature reserve with birdwatching logbooks so it makes sense to make the most of the opportunity and go for a wander as I have travelled to get there.

The wind was chilly but I had dressed for the weather and fortified myself with a coffee and flapjack at the excellent Lime Kiln Cafe before venturing out properly. I wanted to do some sketching, and there were a group of Curlew in one of the lagoons, and Avocets were sifting the water between me and the larger waders. A flock of Golden Plovers flew while I was scooping the froth from my cappuccino. I had brought my grey sketchbook with white and high B pencils; the strong sunlight makes any sort of detail quite difficult so I kept to eye-off-the-paper sketches as I looked through my binoculars.

I headed out to the first hide and enjoyed some front row views of half a dozen Skylarks, as well as a beautiful Redshank that clearly wanted to be noticed.

The onshore wind was stirring up the waves across the river mouth at Camber Sands, and I headed on round to the Ray Parker hide on the other side.

Snipe, Cormorants, Coots, a Shoveler pair, Little Grebe, Oystercatchers everywhere, and apparently a Spoonbill, tantalisingly around the back of one of the islands. There were good views from the hide further on but I didn’t feel I had the energy to walk that far further in to the wind. A lady kindly let me look at the dozen or so Snipe through her scope which was lovely – such understated birds.

Next was the Steve Denny hide, where there was a gorgeous Teal drake just on the shoreline in front of the hide. Also, Shelducks, more Snipe, gulls, a Wood Pigeon and Turnstones.

I headed back along the path, disturbing a little Cetti’s Warbler in the scrub, and spotted an extremely large Little Egret in the lagoon to my left. I then realised I was looking at the famed Spoonbill! The last photo, like the Teal above, was taken through my binoculars.

It was a great day. My final, but not particularly exhaustive list count is here, as there were quite a few species I didn’t recognise or couldn’t see clearly to be sure!

  • Teal
  • Oystercatcher
  • Redshank
  • Avocet
  • Skylark
  • Starling
  • Curlew
  • Dunlin
  • Mute Swan
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Shelduck
  • Ringed Plover
  • Golden Plover
  • Snipe
  • Shoveler
  • Coot
  • Little Grebe
  • Cormorant
  • Little Egret
  • Turnstone
  • Gadwall
  • Wigeon
  • Wood Pigeon
  • Cetti’s Warbler
  • House Sparrow
  • Blackbirds
  • Wren
  • Mallard
  • Spoonbill
  • Pintail


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