Friday, 10 October 2014

Ruff at Rye Meads

I am in the middle of my usual two week autumn holiday, but apart from the usual weekend visit to Amwell I have not done much. A lot of work has been planned for the garden, though the weather has not been ideal and have only done a few bits and pieces. Tuesday was a nice day so I decided to spend an hour or so cutting wood, but this ended up taking four strenuous hours. leaving me with severe pains in the knees and elbows, and two days of rest.
Today I felt like getting out even though I was still a bit stiff. Despite reports of Ruff and Greenshank at Amwell yesterday I decided on Rye Meads, as there would be plenty of opportunities to sit down.
I spent the first fifteen minutes in Lapwing hide overlooking the Meads. The recent juvenile Cuckoo seems to have departed but a nice Water Rail {the first of several today} showed well.

The Draper Hide scrape was reasonably full of wildfowl, but there were no waders-I would normally expect one or two Green Sandpipers here, apart from a couple of showy Snipe. One adult Dabchick was feeding a very mature juvenile in front of the hide.
Still a lot of Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters enjoying the sunshine, and there were also two red Admirals on the Ivy blossoms.

The north lagoon Gadwall Hide had a wide variety of wildfowl, and with the water level so low there were plenty of other things to see. Several Pied Wagtails and one or two Grey Wagtails were flying around, and two Snipe were feeding right in front of the hide. Further out, three Common Gulls, my first of the autumn were roosting with the hoards of Black Heads.
More Snipe were found on some of the islands and my attention was drawn to a lanky buff wader running into the water before vanishing behind the reeds. Realising that it was a juvenile Ruff I tried to get the other birder in the hide onto it and after a few minutes it reappeared.
I tweeted Vicky in the visitors centre and she arrived, as did Sue. it took a bit of time to relocate as it was very mobile and flighty, and it blended in rather well with the stony islands. Hopefully it stuck around long enough for others to see it.

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