The Easter holidays has seen a buzz of activity at Rye Meads, and that’s not just from the early gathering bees! Families have been enjoying our Easter Egg-stravaganza activity trail, and pond dipping discoveries have included newts, water scorpions and more!


A very lucky pond dipper, catching a newt, a backswimmer, and a caddis fly larva!

But around the rest of the reserve, our migrant species are beginning to appear, and there’s a huge variety of birdlife on the lagoons, and butterflies arriving too. Rye Meads Volunteer and Kingfisher Hub Host, Mel Shepherd-Wells (Corvid Crazy Chap on Twitter!), has been out and about on the reserve over the last few weeks and has shared his highlights with us. So without further ado, here is the first ever instalment of ‘”Mel’s Mutterings”!


Mel’s Mutterings

5th April

After leaving the Visitor Centre I immediately heard a Chiffchaff, with several more chiff-chaff calls throughout the morning. Song thrush & Wren joined the chorus & the incessant squawking of the Black headed gulls added to the cacophony! Subtle songsters the Blue tit & Dunnock followed by the blast of the Cetti’s Warblers. On arriving at the Kingfisher hub I chatted to the small throng of watchers & a squeaky gate call told of the blue flash arriving! Having seen the Kingfisher I headed back out to be heralded by my first Blackcap of the year calling from the other side of the canal. Alas I couldn’t see him but a red kite did wheel into view. I stopped off for some views from the Tern & Gadwall hides with a pair of Lesser black back gull, some late Teal & a plethora of Shoveler, then onto Draper hide for some Little grebe antics… My final sighting was some Buff-tailed bumblebee queens on the wing early!

Cetti's Warbler photographed by Patricia Pearl at Rye Meads (3rd April 2022)

7th April

The Stock dove were checking the Kestrel box on the pylon, the beautiful Gadwall pair were very close & a pair of Coot have nested on the pond at Kingfisher bay. It seems a pair of Egyptian geese have set up home on a Tern raft where I also picked out a Great crested grebe & a multitude of Tufted ducks in the wind looking like punk rockers! Then from the boardwalk looking on the wet field outside the Lapwing hide I caught up with the beautiful Female Marsh Harrier quartering the field which contained plenty of Cowslips & Forget-me-nots

11th April

A beautiful mild almost warm day with a pleasant zephyr of wind… Chiffchaff abound interspersed with Blackcaps & Cetti’s Warblers, a perfect pair of Red crested pochard & some of the common cousins. But, it was a lepidopterist day today: my 1st Orange tip butterfly of the year along with 2 Small White, Brimstone & a Small Tortoiseshell before the major highlight of 3 majestic Emperor moths to the lure! More flowers are peeking through now with Bugle, Cowslip, Primrose, Lesser celandine plus the magnificent Hawthorn carpeted in white flowers. There are still plenty of Buff tailed bumblebee on the wing….

Emperor Moth lured in by Vicky Buckel and Mel Shepherd-Wells

13th April

My 1st sighting of Blackcap after being delighted by the singing, then my 1st Speckled wood butterfly all resplendent in his finery along with a pristine Orange tip. Cetti’s & Chiffchaff ring out their song, I caught up with the King(fisher) again on his favourite spot on the handily placed branch at the Kingfisher Hub. A pair of Coot have 3 fluffy chicks in the channel opposite the Tern & Gadwall hides. The day finished off with the lovely Pee-wit call of a Lapwing & another Queen of the Buff tailed bumblebee.



Thank you to Mel for his Mutterings! Rye Meads is actively recruiting volunteers for a variety of roles, including more roving volunteers, meet and greet volunteers, and contributors to the community blog. To find out more visit the RSPB website or email