How are you?
So I'll start with a kingfisher update as thats what everyone wants to know about! The kingfishers are currently 'doing their thing'... The pair are currently courting, we've had lovely views of the male bringing fish for the female (the kingfisher equivalent of flowers and choccys). So, keep your eyes pealed! I'll keep you updated!
The barn owls are still about, keep an eye on the events section of the Rye Meads website for the next Barn Owl Watch plans - www.rspb.org.uk/ryemeads
There are a lot of ducks around at the moment. Keep an eye out for teal, shoveler, shelduck, gadwall, mallard, pochard, and tufted duck. You never know what will be about at this time of year, so keep an eye out, we might get something a little different appear as well!
The watervole has been showing nicely all over the site, which is really good! It's not just about the birds, there are loads of stuff! It's not just the watervole - there has been some good sightings of butterflies flitting around the reserve.
We are still keeping a record of the waders that we see onsite, so do keep an eye out and let us know!Recently we had had great views of green sandpiper, snipe, little ringed plover, and lapwing.
Simon Stebbings got these lovely shots of little ringed plover the other day:
Welcome to the next installment of the murals in the hides! Today this is all about the Kingfisher hide! We get a lot of comments about the murals (who painted them etc), and a while ago I came across the original information about the murals, so I thought I would start a little series... A while ago I came across the original information about the murals, so I thought I would start a little series as we do get alot of comments about the artists etc, so I thought I would share what I found with you (please keep in mind these were displayed about 15 years ago!)
Here we go:What can we see from here?At the far left corner of the pool is a sand bank, an artificial nest site for kingfishers. They have nested here for several years now, raising two or three broods annually. During the breeding season, March to September, they can be seen here fishing, bringing food for their young, or washing in the pool.Half way up the electricity pylon is a nest box, which kestrels use each year. They can be seen at any time of year, hovering over the reserve, hunting for prey; in the spring their breeding activities can be closely observed from here.
I even came across the draft that Mike drew!
What does the mural show?The subjects of this display lend themselves to a large, bright, colourful approach. Enhanced by use of 3D. The colours used are not always absolutely true to life but are aimed to brighten up dark corners of the hide.A pale background colour helps to lift the cut out subjects from the flat surface and bring them to life. The large size of some of the images and small size of others bring perspective and drama to the pictorial story of the two birds’ hunting, feeding and nesting habits. The variation of tight brush work and large brush strokes adds to the overall effect of the artwork.
Kingfishers and kestrels are shown on the mural - including where they nest!
Who is the artist?Mike Langman’s interest in birds has always worked hand in hand with his artistic skills. At the age of 14, when he was a junior YOC leader, Mike won a YOC competition sketching birds,While studying for a BA Hons Degree in scientific illustration at Middlesex Polytechnic he gained himself a permanent position in the RSPB exhibitions department at the Lodge.Eight years later he took up a freelance career as an illustrator and now works in South Devon. To date he has illustrated six books, and works on pictures from one inch square to displays as big as a double decker bus!
Mike illustrates all the bird pictures for the RSPB website - check out the guide to British birds: http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/
This is the last of the original hides! Oh no!Well, I hope you have enjoyed the little series and the extra information... Bye for now,Lou
Here is what has been seen around the reserve through March:
Visitor Centre: blue tit, great tit, robin, blackbird, dunnock, chaffinch, greenfinch, pheasant, pigeon, great spotted woodpecker, mallard, peregrine (6 March), sparrowhawk (18 March), fox, rabbit, and brimstone butterfly.
Draper hide: green sandpiper, snipe, redshank (11 and 24 March), lapwing, little ringed plover, teal, gadwall, mallard, tufted duck, pochard, shoveler, shelduck, coot, moorhen, mute swan, Canada goose, greylag goose, grey heron, cormorant, little egret (17 March), little grebe, black headed gull, chiffchaff, cettis warbler, sparrowhawk (female on the 15 and 19 March), kestrel, kingfisher.
Lagoons (Tern and Gadwall hides): little gull (24 March), black headed gull, lesser black backed gull, common gull, Egyptian goose (30 March), grey heron, cormorant, gadwall, mallard, tufted duck, teal, shoveler, shelduck, pochard, little grebe, great crested grebe, pied wagtail, grey wagtail, oystercatcher (two were seen in 15 March), waterrail, green sandpiper, lapwing, and snipe.
Ashby hide: kingfisher, cettis warbler, reed bunting, grey heron, coot, moorhen, gadwall, teal, mallard, little grebe, mute swan and water rail.
Kingfisher hide: kingfisher, teal, gadwall, mallard, great spotted woodpecker, bittern (15 March), chiffchaff (18 March), blackbird, blue tit, great tit, chaffinch, kestrel, coot and moorhen.
Meadow: green sandpiper (20 March), little egret (30 March), peregrine, and a weasel chasing a watervole.
Trails: sedge warbler (first one seen/ heard on 30 March), reed bunting, chiffchaff, cettis warbler, blackcap, dunnock, robin, blackbird, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, wren, green woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, collard dove, pigeon, red kite (x2 on 11 March), grey heron, moorhen, mallard, bee, comma butterfly, brimstone butterfly, peacock butterfly, and watervole.
One of our usual breeding birds is the kestrel. We get great views of these fabulous birds of prey as they usually breed in one of the boxes that we have onsite - either on the pylon at the Kingfisher hide, by the car park, or maybe even in one of the owl boxes seen from the Draper hide.
We've had some lovely views of the male... but not so many of the female!As you wander round please do let us know if you see the kestrels (especially the female, and if they are using one of the boxes).
Lovely picture by Keith Bedford
Since the blog post yesterday we saw the kingfishers doing their thing...
Brilliant picture from Malcolm Housden taken last year of the male giving the female a fish.
The male was seen handing over a fish to the female (our equivalent of chocolates and flowers), and they were seen mating too!
It's looking good!