A glorious Spring afternoon at Rye Meads

The weather couldn't have been better for my first visit to Rye Meads - warm and sunny, with a nice breeze.  After chatting with Emma in the Visitor Centre I headed out onto the reserve to see what was about.  I didn't get very far:

I love seeing the feeder birds wherever I am.

This busy blue tit was relentlessly in and out of the box.

My first port of call was the Draper Hide.  There was plenty to see here:

A lone redshank.

A beautiful pair of mute swans.

Mrs Tufty......

.......and her gleaming hubby.

A male teal with the oystercatcher and a dozy shoveler behind.

A very obliging little grebe.  It actually swam for a long way without diving!

A lapwing relaxes after chasing off a crow.

As I came up to the next hide a very familiar bird was there to welcome me:

A picnic table was nearby, which explained the magpie's lack of fear!

Another one posed in the tree to beautiful effect!

The Ashby Hide was very quiet so I moved on after a short while.  On my way to the next hide this bird appeared:

I love seeing blackbirds and happily this one was far enough from the magpies to be quite chilled!

My next stop was at the Gadwall Hide.  It's fair to say there were lots of black-headed gulls about:

They were being their usual, expressive selves!

A common gull fails to hide among them.

I just had to include this poser!

We all got a very nice surprise when this beautiful grey wagtail appeared!

I very rarely see these locally.

Eventually I headed to the Kingfisher Hide.  As I waited for the star of the show to appear I spotted this pair of rampant birds:

These coots enjoy a post-coital preen!  Yes, I failed to snap them mating.

Mrs Mallard speeds across the water.......

.......closely followed by the Mr.  He looks very determined!

After a wait, the kingfisher finally appears!

It posed for a while and then headed off into the trees.  Wow.

I then headed back to the Visitor Centre - I just had to snap this beauty on the way back:

This gadwall was obligingly floating about right next to the footpath.

I'm already planning my next visit and, unsurprisingly, Limpy will be coming with me!  Hope you all enjoy these.

Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.