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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Pett Level and Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. The Spoonbill is still there! 16.02.22

I went to Pett Level, and Rye Harbour Nature Reserve as a last-minute decision. On Wednesdays I normally visit my mother, but yesterday she was unwell, I wanted to spend the day on her own. I decided to go to Pett Level and Rye Harbour as I love this landscape of Rye Bay, and I was curious to see if the Spoonbill was still there

Like my previous trips to Pett Level and Rye Harbour, see Pett Level and Rye Harbour Nature Reserve: a Great White Egret & a Spoonbill. 04.01.22 and Pett Level and Rye Harbour Nature Reserve: a Black-Necked Grebe & a Spoonbill. 25.01.22, I started this walk at Cliff End (where Fairlight meets Pett Level), and walked to Winchelsea Beach, into the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve (Sussex Wildlife Trust). I took the train from Brighton to Hastings and then the Stagecoach 101 bus from Hastings Station to Cliff End (once an hour). From Rye Harbour I walked to Rye town station to get the train back to Brighton (changing at Hampden Park). .

The photographs are presented in chronological order. Birds seen (in chronological order):

Pett Level:

Curlews, Lapwing, Oystercatchers, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Egyptian Geese, Great Black-Backed Gull, Herring Gulls, Coots, Moorhens, Wigeon, Gadwall, Pochards, Marsh Harrier, Mallards Mute Swans, Moorhen, Carrion Crows, Rooks, Magpies

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve:

Moorhens, Coots, Magpies, Carrion Crows, Dunnock, Wigeon, Shelducks, Shovelers, Teal Gadwall, Mallards, Lapwing, Golden Plovers, Starlings, Woodpigeon, Curlew, Little Egrets, Redshanks, Spoonbill, Cormorants, Skylarks, Carrion Crows, Rooks, Magpies

There weren't many birds around yesterday, in terms of diversity and abundance, probably because of the very high winds. Those that were around were on the leeward side of vegetation.

Pett Level

Looking west (Cliff End and the village of Pett Level)

Looking eat (the wind turbines at Rye, and beyond, Dungeness Power Station, are normally visible, but were hidden in the low cloud)



Black-Headed Gulls and Great Black-Backed Gulls and the hills of the Fairlight Ashdown beds behind.

Little Egret in the reeds.

Greylag Geese and Coots

Male and Female Pochard

Great Black-Backed Gulls and Herring Gulls


Oystercatchers and Lapwings

Black-Headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, and Lapwing

Marsh Harrier and Herring Gull

Marsh Harrier

Herring Gull

Great Black-Backed Gull

Lapwings, Oystercatchers, Farmyard Ducks, Mallard



Lapwings and Starlings

Mallards and Lapwings

Little Egret


Mute Swans

Great Black-Backed Gulls and Greylag Geese

Egyptian Geese


Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

A pair of Gadwall

A pair of Shoveler

Shovelers in flight


The Discovery Centre in the dark (14.00)

The Ternary Pool from the Critall Hide


Lapwings and Golden Plovers


Golden Plovers


Salt Pool

Shelducks. Lapwing and Teal

Shelducks, Lapwing and Wigeon

Little Egret and Cormorant


I have seen this Spoonbill four times now; it is always in the Salt Pool. It has been in Rye for three months.

Spoonbills are named after their bizarre spatula-like bill. Generally feeding in flocks, they swing their slightly open beaks from side to side through shallow pools of water. Their remarkable bill is packed full of sensors attuned to the tiniest vibrations, and once located, unlucky beetles, crustaceans, worms, small fish, tadpoles and frogs stand no chance of escape. Although they bred in East Anglia during Medieval times, spoonbills had not bred in Britain for over 300 years until 2010, when a small colony was discovered on the north Norfolk coast. They are now a regular summer visitor! Spoonbill | The Wildlife Trusts

This Spoonbill is not in a flock and is at Rye in winter; very unusual. Perhaps he was in a flock of summer visitors, and got lost from the flock as the rest of the flock flew south for the winter

Shelducks and the Flat Beach Pool

Herring Gull on the Salt Pool

Gooders Hide, Red House and Flat Beach pool

A Shelduck

Rye STation



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