For those of you who noticed a female tufted duck on site a few months ago, with an green/blue bit of plastic over its beak with some lettering on. This turned out to be a nasal saddle, a version of ringing, that makes it much easier to identify a bird, when the more usual leg ring is underwater most of the time. Below we have the report of when and where the nasal saddle was attached. So this Tufted duck has visited us all the way from France!
Thanks to members of the Rye Meads Ringing Group for researching it
Thought I'd take a minute to share with you all the results of this morning's ringing event run by the Rye Meads Ringing Group. They and the group went out at 8 am today to look for autumn warblers, and were rewarded with a nice collection (not all warblers!) including Sedge warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus), Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), Whitethroat (Sylvia communis), Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita), Reed and Willow warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus; Phylloscopus trochilus), Great, Blue and Long-tailed tits (Parus major; Cyanistes caeruleus; Aegithalos caudatus), a House martin (Delichon urbicum) and even a Lesser whitethroat (Sylvia curruca); which they managed to catch and ring. This is all in a normal day's work for the team but they also find time to run these public events a few times every year to give others a chance to witness the beauty of birds on the reserve from a different angle, and really up close! The work of qualified ringers throughout the country is very important to our knowledge and understanding of birds and their habitat requirements, as well as in studying migration, populations and survival rates. This is absolutely essential for monitoring declines and in helping us to find ways of conserving our birds. If you'd like more information about our local ringing group or how to get involved, the information is on their website here. They are also holding another public event at Rye Meads on Saturday 5th September, also from 8 - 10 am, and this time with a focus on migration. The cost to take part is just £6 for RSPB members or £8 for non members. Booking in advance is a requirement as spaces are limited.
Here are some shots from this morning, taken by Brian Bishop.
Sedge warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
Interesting fact! A long-tailed tit usually has a yellowish colour to it's upper eye-lid, however this can become darker until it is pinkish or even very red, as in this picture. Research has found that this could be indicative of mood, and be a kind of warning, or even reflect the bird's internal state!
And finally, on a non-bird note, Katy Smith (a regular visitor) found a spot just by the Kingfisher hide which has proved to be popular with bathing reptiles in past weeks. She managed to get this fabulous picture of a Grass snake (Natrix natrix) there a couple of weeks ago, and we are continuing to record all our reptile and amphibian sightings, to gain a better picture of movements across the reserve. Please report any sightings you may have to us.
Many thanks for reading! And see you all soon :)
A recent sighting at Rye Meads was 50 intrepid campers who spent a night on the reserve to experience night-time nature and get into the wild and back to basics!
The evening started with crafting in the classrooms as we all decorated our own lanterns to hang up outside our tents, it was lovely to see them all lit and glowing as darkness fell!
Photo credits: Nick Spellman
Next the BBQ was lit and everyone enjoyed lots of food before the evening sunset walk began. Despite the pouring rain both all the day before (and all the day after!) we were lucky enough to have a beautiful mild evening, and spotted lots of insects flitting about and all the birds out on the scrape settling down for the night. Once back, we set up the moth trap and it was time to start the campfire ready to toast our GIANT marshmallows! Who can resist a toasted marshmallow?!
And next it was on to some fun and creativity as photographer and volunteer Tom Mason gave a workshop on night-time photography. We had lots of fun running about with head torches and glow sticks and making patterns in pictures using long exposures.
Photo credits: Tom Mason
And off we retired to bed. In the morning we enjoyed an early dawn walk (for those of us awake!), a special picnic breakfast in the hide, and a look at all the moths we had attracted in the night. Everyone's favourite was the Poplar hawkmoth which the children enjoyed holding and getting a really close look at!
Photo credit: Nick Spellman
A BIG thanks to all our wonderful volunteers who helped out on the day/night, and also to all of you who came along, were merry, and made it all such a success! We loved our third #BigWildSleepout and already can't wait for next year! In the meantime, or for those who couldn't make it, why not check out the RSPB website for ideas on camping out in your own garden, fun ideas to try while you're out there, tips on attracting nocturnal wildlife, or even suggestions of activities you could try doing outside that you would usually do inside!? http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/sleepout/getready/index.aspx.
Make sure you spend a night in Nature's Home before the summer's out.. we guarantee you won't regret it!