Strangely mixed weather on the reserve over the last few weeks, but summer is very much here now – between myself and our volunteers we could definitely have a good ‘Knobbliest Knees’ competition. Over at the Kingfisher Hide we finally have signs of incubating a second brood, after a lot of confusing behaviour! For plenty of variety, you don’t even need to reach the Visitor Centre, as our herb garden and Wildlife Garden, maintained by our fantastic volunteers Graham & Janet, is attracting all sorts of insects. I’m constantly distracted by trying to identify the latest beetle from the office window. Enough about me not working hard enough - here are the highlights from the last couple of weeks and the next instalment of Mel’s Mutterings!
Painted Lady Butterfly in the Visitor Centre Herb Garden (Vicky Buckel)
Visitor Sightings Log: 2nd-5th June
We had plenty reported in our sightings log despite some interesting weather and a relatively quiet reserve! The Egyptian Geese are sticking around and helping to fight off the advances of a Lesser Black Backed Gull which has unfortunately accounted for some of the chicks that have hatched around the reserve including some of the Red Crested Pochard young. Little Ringed Plover are still scuttling round the Draper Hide among some of the Common Terns that haven’t found a spot on the Tern Hide rafts. Eagle-eyed visitors spotted a Mediterranean Gull among the Black-Headed Gulls at the Draper Hide as well. Reed Bunting, Whitethroat, Blackcaps and Garden Warblers were dotted around the trail paths, and on the gloomy Sunday a Grasshopper Warbler could be heard from the Visitor Centre, reeling in the meadow.
One of our Little Ringed Plovers that have been at the Draper Hide for several weeks (Credit: Steve Knox)
Mel’s Mutterings: 7th-9th June
It was hot and sunny on the Tuesday, so Vicky and I set up a pheromone lure for moths which attracted two beautiful Red-Tipped Clearwing! On the bird front there was plenty of song from the likes of Sedge & Reed Warblers, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat and Cuckoo.
Both pairs of Kingfishers were showing well, with the Hub pair clearly incubating eggs. It was a bee-utiful day, particularly with lots of industrious Honey Bees around all the bramble flowers (fingers crossed for lots of blackberries). Tree Bumblebee and Common Carder Bees were also flitting about, and I also saw my first Small Skipper butterfly of the year.
On Thursday I was told of a Painted Lady Butterfly in the herb garden but sadly it didn’t show up for me! However there were some iridescent Green Dock Beetle and Longhorn Beetle. Also new for me was the Water-Forget-me-Not flowering in the stream on the boardwalk. There are still lots of bees buzzing, some Holly Blue Butterfly, & a Grass Snake spotted at the Tern Hide
Visitor Sightings Log: 10th-12th June
Early on Friday morning our first visitor of the day was kind enough to race back from the Draper Hide to let us know about the two Dunlin foraging around at the back of the scrape. We all took turns to go and confirm they were around for our first Dunlin of the year! This was the main highlight of the day, along with the lovely flock of Long-Tailed Tits flitting around the trees near the Visitor Centre.
Saturday was a good day to be around the Visitor Centre with a Ruby-Tailed Wasp joining the Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Brimstone butterflies joining the buzz around the flowering gardens. There were also flyovers from Hobby and Kestrels.
The hottest day yet (or at least it felt like it in the office) saw our first water vole sighting in a little while, as well as a glimpse of the kestrel chicks in the nestbox at the Kingfisher Hub. Two pairs of Little Ringed Plovers are still chasing around and displaying at the Draper Hide.
A ringed Wren having breakfast at the Draper Pond (Credit: Steve Dimbleby)
Thank you to Mel for his Mutterings, to our roving team for their support, and to everyone that has recorded their observations in our sightings logbook. Please do make use of it to help us with these blogs, and send us your photos!
Visitor Experience Manager - RSPB Rye Meads
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