Thursday 12 January 2017

Birding at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Castle Water @ Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is quietly tucked away on the south coast and 'as the crow flies' is not far away from the RSPB's Dungeness Nature Reserve. Both attract many birds and visitors alike throughout the year, but for me Rye is less of a drive and hits that spot in my soul, where I find myself completely relaxing and tuning in to the wildlife around me. I'm not a twitcher by any means, I wouldn't even describe myself as a good birdwatcher. I don't particularly know what I'm looking at when sitting in one of the hides overlooking Ternery Pool or Flat Beach, but simply being there with little else other than the sight and sounds of birds is my cup of tea. That's not to say I'm not relatively clued up of course; I know the difference between a Redshank and a Ringed Plover, I just can't tell a Dunlin from a Sanderling unless I've got a good view and a good book.

Three things I normally have with me are warm clothes (it can get cold and windy!), my binoculars and my camera. Late last year I changed from a Panasonic Lumix FZ200 to a Canon SX50HS. The image quality on the Lumix is, in my opinion, superior to the Canons, but at a place like Rye it's handy to have the extra zoom that the Canon offers. The big advantage any 'bridge' camera over a DSLR and telephoto lens is the fact they are considerably lighter, something I appreciate as I like to walk quite a lot. This is another thing I love about Rye Harbour NR, it's a huge place so if you want you can easily spend hours walking, especially if you visit Castle Water hide, but equally it's ideal for a short walk too. Recently I have done both, I always enjoy my time here and often come away with a good picture or two. Here are my best efforts from the past month or so:

Flat Beach
Green Woodpecker
Golden Plover

Camber Castle
Camber Castle at sunset
Mute Swan
Little Egret
Flat Beach with Denny Hide in the background
The reserve is supported by Sussex Wildlife Trust as well as 'The Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve'.

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