Last Monday morning dawned grey and wet (it had rained all night) as me and Keith made an early start to visit the RSPB Rye Meads reserve in Hertfordshire. We arrived just after 8am and in good time for the reserve opening. After having breakfast of coffee with cheese and ham rolls (which Keith had kindly prepared for us) we wandered down the road to have a look around Rye Gatehouse which was built in 1443 as the gatehouse for the Ogard Estate and was one of the first brick built buildings in the country. As you would expect it is now Grade1 listed.
Back to the reserve and in the reception area everyone was excited by the reports that a pair of Black-Necked Grebes had just been spotted on one of the lakes. So off we set in the rain (it did ease up and eventually stop around lunch time) and the common theme, as you would expect at this time of year, was young birds with frantic feeding activity from the parents.
|Canada Goose family (only the one gosling)|
|A pair of Gadwall|
|Tufted Duck (female)|
And the highlight of my day was seeing at close range a stationary, for all of 30 seconds, Kingfisher. Until now my only experience of this beautiful bird was seeing a rocket like blue flash as they flew by! Unfortunately, due to the dull weather, I had been experimenting with high ISO settings on the camera and it was still set to ISO 1600 hence, grainy pictures! Hopefully I’ll be better prepared next time.
|Ponies grazing in one of the marsh meadows|
And finally back at the visitor centre this pair of Pheasants were busily scavaging for seed from under the feeding station feeders.
So, after five plus hours of great birding with over forty species listed (and yes we did see the Black-Necked Grebes, albeit distant even with the bino’s) it was time to leave this excellent reserve with a pledge to "be back soon”