How are you? Are you well this rather hot day? Have you enjoyed the sun over the last couple of days?
Here's some of today's highlights:
Green sandpipers showing off really well from the Tern and Draper hides.
Snipe showing off at the Tern and and Draper hides (they seem to be the places to be for waders at the moment!)
Loads of teal,
Also saw this rather stunning female Roesel's bush cricket. You can tell she's female as she has that long spike from her tail - which is her ovipositor which she uses to cut slits in plants and lay her eggs.
There were quite a few dock shield bugs out again, but they refused to sit still so here's a picture I took earlier in the month.
Just thought I would let you know some of the wildlife highlights from today. Two volunteers were out onsite doing a "Wildlife Watch" showing visitors the wildlife from the Draper hide, this is what they saw:
6 green sandpipers
4 yellow wagtails flying over
A waterrail was heard - they do breed here but we never see the young (which is a shame as I would love to see a baby!)
A muntjac and watervole were spotted too!
And lots of ducks including gadwall, mallard, tufted duck, shoveler and teal.
Happy spotting (don't forget to record all the waders you spot onsite for our Love Waders Challenge!)
I hope you are all well, on this lovely day.
If you have been over to the reserve recently you may have noticed we are revamping the little garden at the front of the visitor centre...
It used to look like this (please excuse the bad picture, I couldn't find a better one but it gives you the idea): It was meant to represent a dry river bed. It had lots of stones, small ones where the 'river' used to run and larger ones on the edges, and the plants were mainly ferns and hellebore.
We decided that we could make it a lot better for wildlife, so Vicky, Derrick and Keith (Vicky is Assistant Site Manger, Derrick and Keith the Lead Volunteers) came up with a plan to completely redesign it.In spring the volunteers started to remove the stones, ferns and hellebores (some have been replanted in different places around the visitor centre and some of the stones used for the path).
Since then they have created a path , a raised bed which is a herb garden, and lots of plants have been planted.
I took this picture a couple of weeks ago. You can see the raised bed full of herbs (and Keith weeding), the path, the lavender border and the bare earth you can see is where lots of plants and bulbs had been planted. In this area that looks like bare earth is planted with primroses, snakes head fritillary, and a grass mix.
It doesn't take long for the plants to grow, this is was taken just a few minutes ago: The grasses are growing well, there are lots of new plants in, there are 'feature' pots (with corkscrew hazel and a japanese maple), a bird bath and lots pf pretty flowers! We are planning to have a nasturtium growing out of the old chimney.
Here Keith is weeding the raised bed. It's a good idea to weed a bed like this regularly. We filled the bed with soil from the site so it was full of weed seed. It's good to weed regularly so you disturb the top layer of soil, which will get rid of the germinated seeds and encourage other seeds to grow, so eventaually you will have erradicated the seed bank so just your nice plants will grow.
I'll take pictures of the garden regularly so we can see the changes!
You Can Garden for Wildlife Too!Could you be one of the 170,000 people creating the UK's largest nature reserve? If you own a garden, or even just a window box, you can take simple, practical steps that will benefit many of our most important birds, mammals and insects.
The plants in our new garden were picked so it will be a fantastic garden for wildlife. There are lots of things you can do to make your own fabulous wildlife garden.You could make your own wildflower meadows in your own garden. Wildflower meadows traditionally cover large areas of land, the same flowers can thrive in a garden and provide food and habitat for insects, birds and mammals. You might need to spend a little time getting it right at the start, they're easy to manage; they need minimal mowing, and you don't need to add fertiliser because they thrive in nutrient-poor soil, so they're perfect if you want a vibrant and colourful but low-maintenance garden.
You could see grasshoppers in your meadow, as well as lots of different moth and butterfly species, mammals like hedgehogs and voles, and birds such as goldfinch and yellowhammer.
To create a wildflower meadow, we suggests the following steps:
Children aren't getting close to nature, so having a fabulous wildlife garden you can help wildife and get children close to nature. By transforming part of your lawn into a rich habitat, you can bring the outdoor classroom to your own doorstep.
We advise you to buy seeds rather than collecting flowers from the countryside, where they could already be supporting wildlife.
For more information and advice about gardening for wildlife, visit the RSPB's Homes for Wildlife project webpage: www.rspb.org.uk/hfw
How is it 20th September all ready? Blimey this year is wizzing by!
Anyhoo... Here's some wildlife highlights for the day:
a brilliant 84 lapwings at the Draper hide
a kingfisher was seen flying round the lagoon seen from the Tern Hide
teal numbers are growing now
there are quite a few shovelers showing as well
there was a great view of a snipe from the Draper Hide earlier.
The volunteers have been busy today - they have moved the CCTV cameras (that were out at the Kingfisher Hide and the Gadwall Hide) onto the lagoon that can be seen from the Tern Hide and the Draper Hide. When you next come into the Visitor Centre you will be able to see the lagoon and scrape - should be good as the wildfowl numbers are increasing. Don't forget that we are recording the waders that we see so if you see any waders when you are at Rye Meads let me know (for more information about why we are recording the waders click here)
We need your help!
We want to win the Golden Wellie!
Let me start at the beginning... Passage waders play a very important role in providing us with a measure of how effective our wetland management is. Areas that are carefully managed will provide feeding and breeding areas for many wading birds - and provide us with fantastic views.
So the Love Passage Waders Challenge has been launched!This is a competition between RSPB reserves to see who can spot the greatest range of passage wader species over the course of a year. Prizes will be exciting and varied to the best reserves (inland sites v coastal, best visitor spectacle, best overall bird etc). Prizes will be awarded at the 2012 Wardens' Gathering (the yearly meeting of reserve staff from around the country), with the best overall site being presented with the prestigious Golden Wellie award. Rules:1. Waders recorded must be ‘feet down’ on managed fresh/brackish wetland habitat (a ‘scrape’ or ‘flood’) within the reserve boundary.2. Anyone can spot the birds - visitors, volunteers or staff.3. Species noted each month (ideally peak counts of each species) between September 2011 and August 2012 to be recorded (you spot we'll record!)4. Bonus points will be awarded for a) breeding wader totals b) visitor spectacle from hides or viewpoints and c) best visitor comment.The judges decisions are final.
Picture by Keith Bedford
So we NEED your help!
We need you to spot and record all the waders between September 2011 and August 2012 at Rye Meads!We will have a special book for records where we will record, where, when, what and how many! We'll get bonus points for best visitor comments too!
What will we see?
Keep an eye out for any waders including:
So keep your eyes pealed! :)Lou