• Sim Elliott

A Spoonbill, a Goldeneye, Lapwings, Redshanks and Snipe. Rye Harbour. 21.12.21

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

I have travelled hopefully, looking for reported-on-by-Bird-Guide's Spoonbills, on four occasions over the last few weeks; twice at Pagham Harbour (RSPB) and twice at Rye Harbour (Sussex Wildlife Trust). The first three occasions yielded no Spoonbill, although on the last time, at Rye Harbour I had just missed one, as another bird there told me that he just seen one. On all these occasions I wasn't particularly disappointed to have not seen a Spoonbill, as I enjoy whatever I see. But just as I was going to give up looking for a Spoonbill yesterday, and get a coffee in the lovely new Discovery Centre, after an excellent day of birding, having seen a Goldeneye (a life list bird for me), and some beautiful Snipe, and lots of Redwings and Lapwings, I looked back down the Salt Pool, and there was a Spoonbill.

The photographs are in the order that I tool them. I walked around the reserve from the Harbour Road entrance (point 15 on the map below; along the path past the Castle Water than on to the Halpin Hide (point 11), then west to the path to the beach (points 10, 9, 8 and 7), and back along to the path by the Long Pit. At the junction of the path, at the beginning of the Narrow Pit (point 16), I turned right (south) to the Denny Hide (point 3); then I walked back down the path between the Salt Pool and the New Saltmarsh, then on to the Discovery Centre.

As in all my posts the photographs are intended to remind me of a good birding day out; and promote conservation.

You can read my other posts on Rye Harbour here:

Rye Harbour on a sunny winter afternoon; and possibly a Greater Scaup. 10.12.21

Agglomerations of Ivy Bees (Pett Level) and Sea Aster Bees (Rye Harbour) 13.09.21

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. 24.08.21. A Ruff!

Rye Harbour. Bumblebee Surveying and Bird Watching. 18.08.21

Rye Harbour. Bumblebee Surveying and Bird Watching. 05.07.21

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve 05.06.21: Black-headed Gull Chicks and a Spotted Redshank

Birds at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, 24.04.21; including Avocets and Whitethroats.

(map from Sussex Wildlife Trust)

Birds seen: Robins, Coots, Moorhens, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Mallards, Wigeon, Teal, Shovelers, Gadwall; Shelducks; Lapwings; Redshanks; Curlew; Little Egrets; a Spoonbill; Oystercatchers; Magpies; Carrion Crows; Starlings; House Sparrows; Cormorants; Herring Gulls; Black-Headed Gulls; Great Back-Backed Gulls.

A Robin just past the Reed Bed viewpoint,

Rye from the footpath to Castle Water

Castle Water

A Teal?

Some Coots

Canada Geese

The canada goose is a large goose, with a distinctive black head and neck and large white throat patch. An introduced species from North America, it has successfully spread to cover most of the UK. It forms noisy flocks and is often regarded as a nuisance in areas where large numbers occur on amenity grassland and parks. Population: UK breeding: 62,000 pairs; UK wintering:190,000 birds. Canada Goose Facts | Branta Canadensis - The RSPB

Camber Castle.

More Canada Geese

Cormorants, with Herring Gulls; Great Black-Backed Gulls, some Teal and Great Crested Grebes

A pair of Tufted Ducks

Greylag Geese

Fungus - Timber Mushroom in the sun

Cormorant; and the wind turbines on the east side of the River Rother


Camber Castle

From the Halpin Hide (south of the Castle)

Inside the hide.

Lapwings and a male Shoveler Duck

A pair of Wigeon and a male Shoveler


A Moorhen

A female Shoveler

Lapwings and Shovelers


Snipe are medium sized, skulking wading birds with short legs and long straight bills. Both sexes are mottled brown above, with paler buff stripes on the back, dark streaks on the chest and pale under parts. They are widespread as a breeding species in the UK, with particularly high densities on northern uplands but lower numbers in southern lowlands (especially south west England). In winter, birds from northern Europe join resident birds. The UK population of snipe has undergone moderate declines overall in the past twenty-five years, with particularly steep declines in lowland wet grassland, making it an Amber List species. UK breeding: 80,000 pairs; UK wintering:1 million birds. Snipe Bird Facts | Gallinago Gallinago - The RSPB

A Goldeneye, in front of Shelducks

The goldeneye is a medium sized diving duck. Males look black and white with a greenish black head and a circular white patch in front of the yellow eye. Females are smaller, and are mottled grey with a chocolate brown head. In flight, birds show a large area of white on the inner wing. First nested in Scotland in 1970, and since then birds have been attracted to nest in specially designed boxes put up on trees close to water. In winter, birds from Northern Europe visit the UK. UK breeding: 200 pairs; UK wintering:27,000 birds. Goldeneye Duck Facts | Bucephala Clangula - The RSPB UK Red List

A Gadwall

The gadwall is a very grey-coloured dabbling duck, a little smaller than the mallard, and with an obvious black rear end. It shows a white wing patch in flight. When seen close up the grey colour is made up of exquisitely fine barring and speckling. It nests in low numbers in the UK and is an Amber List species. UK breeding: 1,200 summer nesting pairs; UK wintering: 25,000 birds. Gadwall Bird Facts | Anas Strepera - The RSPB

A Moorehen

More Snipe (same birds as the earlier photos - I walked back to the Halpin Hide, after a brief ten minute walk southwards, to take some more Snipe photos)

Lapwings flying over Gadwall

A Lapwing and, a Shoveler and a Wigeon


Cormorants and a Herring Gull

Lapwings, Shovelers, Teal and Herring Gulls


(the sounds of Lapwings)

Lapwings and Shovelers

Shovelers and Herring Gulls

More Shop photos (the same Snipe)

Lapwings (and Herring Hulls)

From the path to the beach


Flight Lieutenant Harry Raymond Hamilton died on 29th August 1940 when the Hurricane he was flying crashed near the ruins of Camber Castle. Harry came from New Brunswick, Canada. He was just 23, but was already an experienced pilot, having joined the RAF in 1936. Fl/lt. Harry R Hamilton | Sussex Wildlife Trust

The Barns

A sheep

The Salt Pit

Little Egret and Coots