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Sunny Rye Harbour bird tour

Soon after starting out on our Sussex Guided Bird Walk at Rye Harbour with Steve and Annette last week, we were stopped in our tracks by a Cetti's Warbler singing half-heartedly in a bush just by the path. A short wait was rewarded with the occasional glimpse of this elusive but unique bird.

Cetti's Warbler. Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Cetti's Warbler

A sizeable flock of Skylarks passed overhead while Meadow Pipits flew from the rough grass and a couple of Rock Pipits got up from the edge of the Rother. Scanning over the New Saltmarsh, we picked up a party of Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a roosting flock of Curlew, while several Redshanks fed in the channels.

Dark-bellied Brent Geese. Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Dark-bellied Brent Geese
Curlew. Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Curlew

The Flat Beach was full of birds. Before we could really get stuck in, some panic on the north side gave away the presence of a quartering adult male Marsh Harrier trying its luck along the shoreline. It moved on and thankfully the other birds resettled, allowing us to pick out a variety of wintering ducks: Wigeon, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Pintail and Shelduck.

Skylark. Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Skylark

Around 150 Golden Plovers and a smaller number of Lapwings circled high over the reserve but we almost felt the rush of air produced by a flock of Ringed Plover as they dashed low over our heads! Later, we found them on the shingle in the company of several Dunlin.

Golden Plover. Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Golden Plovers
Lapwings. Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Lapwings
Shelduck. Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Shelduck

Looking over the river mouth towards Camber Sands, we found a couple of Turnstones and more Ringed Plovers in the foreground. Further off, the tide pushed around some Sanderling and gatherings of Great Black-backed Gulls and Oystercatchers. A Harbour Seal played hide and seek as it occasionally reared its head above the surface, taking up a different position each time before moving up the river.

Ringed Plovers. Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Ringed Plovers
Harbour Seal. Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Harbour Seal

The Ternery Pool boasted two Great Crested Grebes, several Little Grebes and nice views of a couple of Little Egrets. Viewing the Flat Beach from the opposite side, we added Grey Plover to the day list before watching a pair of Mediterranean Gulls high in the sky put us on to a group of four Avocets which then fly directly overhead!

Little Grebe Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Little Grebe

The bushes nearby hosted several Stonechats, Reed Buntings, Linnets and Meadow Pipits but were didn't cross path with the three Dartford Warblers reported earlier. A Snipe flew overhead while a stunning male Kestrel hovered in search of prey. A huddle of Little Grebes were on the edge of the Salt Pool and we enjoyed good views of the Lapwings on the islands, catching the light with their iridescent green upperparts.

Stonechat. Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Stonechat
Meadow Pipit. Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Meadow Pipit
Kestrel. Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Kestrel
Redshank. Sussex guided birdwatching walks with Wildstarts.
Redshank

On the way back, what was probably the same flock of Long-tailed Tits that greeted us by the car park passed us again on their feeding circuit and we reflected on a very enjoyable three hours of coastal birding on an absolutely glorious day!

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