MEMBERS had something of a surprise when they arrived for their September meeting expecting a talk
MEMBERS had something of a surprise when they arrived for their September meeting expecting a talk on the kingfisher.
There had been a muddle over speaker bookings and at very short notice Terry Wall agreed to travel from the Forest of Dean to deliver a lecture entitled “A Wall around Bulgaria and Hungary”.
It proved to be an excellent evening as Terry produced some of the finest photography the group had ever seen with beautiful butterflies and a stunning collection of shots of bee-eaters in Bulgaria while in Hungary there were magnificent scenes of exotic rollers nesting only feet from magnificent red-footed falcons — both in nest boxes!
On Sunday, September 25 the group of travelled to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve in East Sussex.
After the overnight rain cleared, the sun shone soon to ensure a lovely day, although a strong wind did make using binoculars a challenge at times.
This reserve is an area of shingle and pools on the coast with a number of hides which provided welcoming shelter from the wind.
There was a number of commoner waders, such as curlew, ringed plover, lapwing and redshank, but also a ruff and a curlew sandpiper, both birds that migrate through Britain at this time of year.
Most of the ducks were still in eclipse plumage which meant they looked a little drab but they are slowly moulting back into their normal plumage ready for the winter.
There were many wigeon and teal, plus smaller numbers of shoveler, pintail, mallard and gadwall. The pools held a large number of little grebes which are often shy birds but here they did not seem to be.
Smaller birds were not so noticeable but those that live in open areas and are used to the wind were in evidence, allowing good views of linnets, stonechats and wheatear.
In late afternoon from the viewpoint looking over the Castle Water reed beds a marsh harrier was espyed circling the reeds looking for prey, while a kestrel overhead hovered, thus showing contrasting hunting techniques.
Our next meeting takes place at Pangbourne village hall on Tuesday (October 11) at 8pm with an illustrated talk by Gordon Small on the area of northern Spain known as “The Picos de Europa”.
Visitors are always warmly welcomed. For more information, visit www.reading-rspb.org.uk