Just a reminder that this Saturday we are doing a mammal survey at Rye Meads with the Cambridgeshire Mammal Group. We will be setting 50 traps on Friday evening and will be opening them up again first thing on Saturday morning.
The point of mammal trapping and surveying is to record the presence and activities of wild mammals such as mice, shrews, voles, stoat and weasel. Animals are harmlessly trapped and released again as soon as they have been recorded, but it gives us some idea of what we have on site, as well as providing a nice opportunity to see some of these more elusive creatures up close.
We will start to look in the traps at 9 am, and the event is running until around midday, when we have identified all the creatures caught and had a chance to chat to our expert about mammals. The event is open to all and just £4 for members and £8 for non members. If you would like to come along, give us a call on 01992 708 381 or email email@example.com. We look forward to seeing you all there.
Small Mammal Trapping event at Rye Meads
This Saturday 27th September, 9 am - 12 pm
Members £4, Non members £8. Booking required
Photo: Man with Pygmy shrew by Andy Hay
Popped out to the Draper and Gadwall hides this morning, and thought i would update you on what was about.
Snipe numbers are increasing with 58 at Gadwall hide and a further 3 from Draper. Water rail at both locations with the patches of reed to the right of the Gadwall hide a popular place for a water rail to pop out. A couple pied wagtails, 26 lapwing (a disappointing count has been 100+), 55 shoveler, 12 wigeon, 121 teal, 110 gadwall, tufted duck, little grebe, 2 grey heron but just 1 green sandpiper. Cettis calling form both hides as well as the wildlife garden by the visitor center first thing, chiff chaff also at both hides but singing by Draper, where a reed warbler and reed bunting were moving about the phrag.
Speckled wood butterflies and common darter dragonflies are still active along trails. And I had my first common emerald damselfly at Rye Meads, in the sallow by the pond just before the Draper hide.
Some passage has been seen over the last few days with a marsh harrier dropping in too roost on the meadow Thursday 18/9 evening and still showing Friday am and then an osprey went through on Saturday 20/9.
If you have not heard, our kingfishers are now feeding young on their fourth brood! This is amazing work by the pair and the first time we have ever had four broods at Rye Meads so worth a celebration.
The Rye Meads Ringing Group (RMRG) have been busy ringing the hirundines that have been roosting on site as they stop off on their migration. Over the last few weeks the RMRG have ringed over 700 swallows and about 70 sand martins, that were caught in front of the Draper hide. Encouraged by the RMRG's 'happy hirundine' soundtracks we have had roosts of 100 to 500 on a regular basis.
Therefore, we have decided to try and show you this lovely sight with an extended opening event tomorrow night, Saturday 20 September. The reserve will stay open after 5 pm, £3 members and £5 non-members, pay when you come in if you'd like to stay on for the event. You are free to visit the hides and wander the trails while waiting for the action to start. We expect the hirundines to start building up from about 6 pm feeding and flocking in the sky above the Draper scrape and Lee Marsh. We then suggest you make your way to the Draper hide to see the flocks swooping low over the reeds from then onwards before either being caught (out of sight from the hide) or going to roost in the reedbeds at the back of Draper. The RMRG will bring a few of the captured birds to show you before removing the bulk for ringing and roosting. The reserve gates and visitor center will be locked from 6.30 pm as we will be heading down to see the birds coming in to roost, so if you wish to join us for this event please arrive before 6.30 pm.
As always, there are no guarantees as the migration may have stopped, there may be a small roost or the weather may not be great (there will be no ringing carried out in the rain) , but we'll do our best. For your information, the largest swallow roost ever recorded at Rye Meads was 2500 on 20 September 1961 so we should still be attracting birds!
Fingers crossed for a good roost and we hope to see you tomorrow.