We are opening a seasonal trail tomorrow, the first of April 2015!
This will allow you access to an area of site not usually open to the public. The trail follows access usually used in the winter by heavy machinery such as a digger clearing out ditches or the Truxor cutting reedbed and for management work. Therefore it undulates and does not have a laid surface and may not be accessible to all, so please watch your footing to ensure you do not trip. The trail takes you through and around the reedbed of the Lee Marsh so you can immerse yourself in the song of the returning warblers, view up hidden channels in the reedbed and catch a glimpse of the river lee.
For those of you who know the site well, the trail starts at the culvert (before the Tern and Gadwall hides) on the left, heads towards the river lea before taking a sharp right along the river with the reedbed on your right. The trail finishes and joins back up with the main path at the end of the kingfisher boardwalk. Please ensure you stick to the marked route when using this trail and we hope you enjoy it.
Sorry we have not updated the community blog for a while but you can always keep up to date with us on other social media channels such as twitter @RSPBRyeMeads or Facebook RSPB three counties.
A few waders on the Draper this month including oystercatcher 2 on and off between 15/3 and 21/3, redshank 1-3 between 13 and 30 March also 2-4 lapwing, little egret 9 March. Snipe in varying numbers (up to 6 on Draper) and locations including meadow, Draper and Ashby. Shelduck have increased to 2 pairs on site and i am looking forward to some cute shelduck ducklings. An unusual sighting for us was a great crested grebe 15/3. Warbler wise cettis and chiff chaff regularly calling but we are still waiting for the return of some other migrants. Stonechat have been passing through in ones or twos over the month mostly on the meadow. We have had a variety of gulls on site with a pair of herring gull returning to Draper on 22/3 and moving around site sine then. Lesser black back and common gull along with plenty of black headed gulls are also present on site. The nesting rafts for the gulls were put out on the lagoon at Tern Hide 17 march and the black headed gulls have taken up residence quickly. We have kept the new style raft at shore and will position it in April when the common terns return. The kestrels have taken up residence in their usual box at the Kingfisher hide, sparrowhawks are on site, buzzards regularly over and occasional red kite.
Kingfishers have been very active courting since 1st march and incubation of the first brood has started so we have a quieter period of activity until 12-14 April when we expect the eggs to hatch which will be followed by fleding 24-26 days.
Stoat have been showing regualrly in march around lapwing hide, visitor center and water vole corner. Muntjac continue to be a regular on site with fox an occasional sighting.
Small tortoiseshell and comma through month and first speckled wood on 28/3
Just a quick one to remind you all that our annual family fun day is happening again on Sunday 19th April (the last day of the Easter holidays) from 10 am - 4 pm!
Plenty to do for all the family, pop along and find out more about nature and what lives on the reserve and in the wider area. Check out the flyer and please share with friends, family and anyone else you think might like to come along!
Hope to see you all there!
Spring is definitely in the air today, a beautiful frosty morning with blue skies and sunshine! The last few weeks have seen plenty of spring signs emerging with the arrival of the pure and pristine snowdrops, buds bursting on the sallows revealing the pussy willow inside, leaves emerging on the hawthorns, and birds singing- claiming their territory and announcing "I am here!" We even have some blackthorn in blossom.
Sorry we haven't blogged in a while, it has all been a bit hectic, but we're back to fill you in on all the recent goings on on the reserve!
We have some lovely snowdrops nodding under the hedge of the wildlife garden, while the garden itself offers any early insects a couple of varieties of the early flowering hellebore along with slightly rabbit-eaten primroses and crocuses.
The offending ditch has been cleared out allowing water levels to drop and stop the path flooding as you approach the Tern and Gadwall hides, the path is now drying out, surely much quicker once it stops raining! There is still just one muddy section. With the arrival of spring we are winding down our habitat management work and preparing for the breeding season. Our next big job is to clean and fix up the the gull and tern nesting rafts before we start putting them out on the lagoon, and to do a bit of work on the loafing rafts. Spring also means changes to water levels on site as we raise the levels on lagoon 1 ready for its' wildfowl breeding population. The water on Draper has also started to be lowered to provide muddy areas for migrating waders, and we will continue to gradually drop these throughout the summer to keep fresh areas of mud.
Recent sightings have included Green sandpiper on the Draper in the last few days, Oystercatcher and Dunlin on 14 and 15 of Feb, Cetti's starting to call back and forth to each other calling their spot and Snipe on the scrape during the middle of the month. We've also had some nice views of Bullfinch, Reed bunting, Redpoll and Grey wagtail around the trails and beside the visitor centre lately, while a Water rail has been showing well over at Lagoon 1 from the Gadwall hide.
A few keen eyes have spotted a Bittern in a number of locations over the month - feeding at the Draper, at the far edge of the Tern lagoon, and even at the Kingfisher hide! We think there may be a couple about but you need a good telescope and a whole bag of patience to get a glimpse!
Other notable reports include a Barn owl over the meadow, 2 Red kites flying over the car park on Saturday, a Mandarin duck and Caspian gull both seen at Gadwall on the 8th, and frequent sightings of both our male and female Kingfisher out and about on the reserve. It seems it will not be long before they start to pair up for mating if this nice weather continues - let's hope all our hard work pays off and we get a second pair interested in the new bank down at the Draper hide!
We try to get a blog out as often as possible, but if you are after more frequent and up to date reports of birds and other wildlife, why not follow our twitter feed? - RSPBRyeMeads. There are posts from here most days and you can rest assured if anything exciting happens, it will be put out on there straight away! You do not even need to sign up to an account to have a look at our feed, try it here: https://twitter.com/rspbryemeads. We will still endeavour to blog whenever we get a chance, but it is a slightly longer process. In addition, we have two facebook accounts where we also regularly post details of upcoming events, happenings and photos from the reserve. Find them at RSPB Rye Meads Nature Reserve and RSPB Three Counties.
Thanks, and look forward to seeing or hearing from you soon!
Debs and Vicky