An evening at Castle Water

11 September 2020 | Posted in Barry Yates , Rye Harbour , Birds , mammals
An evening at Castle Water

The evening is my favourite time for watching wildlife, it usually offers a special experience. I'd like to share last evening with you with these five short videos.

With calm sunny weather I reached the hide at Castle Water just after 5pm and had an hours birdwatching. Lots of wildfowl activity - hundreds of noisy Greylag Geese, Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwing and Ruff plus many tricky ducks to identify, still in their "eclipse plumage" while they complete their moult - Shoveler, Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal and Tufted Duck.

The highlight was a late Garganey In among a hundred or so chestnut coloured Wigeon. It is our only duck that is just a summer visitor. They were sometimes referred to as Summer Teal, because they are the same small size, but their head has a pale stripe over the eye and a pale spot at the base of the bill. In this video it's the small pale brown duck on the left.

As the sun set at about 6.30 I moved to the southern end of Castle Water to watch the sky change and was treated to pre-roost chattering of hundreds of Jackdaws and the activity of thousands of whirligig beetles on the calm water surface.

As darkness fell the mosquitoes came out so I covered all my skin (but one still got through my sock!). Flying insects gather over water and they feed swallows and martins during the day, but at night seven species of bat come out at Castle Water. One of the first to come out is the Noctule Bat - they could just be seen but it was too dark for the video - and by using a bat detector set at 30Khz their calls can be heard, listen out for the buzzing calls which is when they home in on some unsuspecting insect, hopefully including the mosquito that bit me!

Find out more about this bat by clicking here.

This is the hour around sunset in just 13 seconds - it was a lovely wildlife evening.

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