Welcome to my birdwatching blog. This blog will contain stories about my bird watching trips, interesting bird news and other tales that may or may not be bird related. I want to make it useful to the avid birder as well as those who may only have a passing interest in bird watching. I enjoy photographing bird life, common and rare through a spotting scope, not that they always sit still long enough for me. Being on the outskirts of North East London, my reports will not only cover my local patch of Redbridge/Waltham Forest, but also dip into deepest Essex, Suffolk, Kent and Norfolk.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Rye Harbour. Birdwatching in a wind tunnel.

Most of you won’t remember or will have never seen the TV ad for Maxwell Tapes of a guy sitting in an armchair and playing a music tape recorded on a brand called Maxwell. he puts it on and is blown backwards in his chair with his hair nearly being ripped from his scalp. Not sure what the point of the ad was but if you ever wanted to experience a similar effect, a trip to Rye Harbour, yesterday, would have given it to you.
Rye Harbour, flat as far as the eye can see.
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is between Hastings and Dungeness on the coast of East Sussex. It is a huge triangle of land made up of shingle and saltmarsh and home to many rare flora and fauna. But all I know is, it’s bloody windy.

Rye Harbour is, regardless of the weather, a great place to see Terns. Common, Sandwich and Little Terns all breed here in varying numbers and even in the prevailing gale, I could hear their cackling cries high above me.  Time for a nice map.

A map
I made my way to the Ternery Pool which promised much in the way of Terns. Sure enough, there were loads of terns. I wonder what the collective name for terns is? Maybe it should be a quiver of terns as these birds fly like arrows and are so streamlined and agile especially in the high winds.
Common Tern not being very agile but still a little streamlined.
There were Common Terns and Sandwich Terns but no Little Terns unfortunately. Mixed in with these were a couple of Ringed Plovers and a few hundred Black-headed Gulls.
Sandwich Terns
With nothing much else to see, I moved away from the seaward side of the reserve and made my way inland to the Narrow Pit to look for any spring migrants. The first to make itself known was a Nightingale as it flew from one small tree to more dense cover. It then began it’s unmistakable song, a real pleasure every time. This then set off a Cetti’s Warbler, another skulking and difficult to see bird and I didn’t see it. Then, as if in a procession, a Chiffchaff landed in front of me, I paid it a fiver and it posed for me. Good old Chiffy. Finally, a Common Whitethroat with it’s gravelly vocals got going and it did show briefly thank god.
Chiffchaff, would have preferred it have been a Nightingale
All together, a good couple of hours birding. No hirundines on the reserve but I did get a fly by Swallow on the A259 as I headed back to the M20. Maybe it just got wind of me wanting to see it.


  1. A nice start to your blog Mark,love the artwork,keep up the good work!