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After weeks of rain, Thursday promised to be a fine day and for once they were right. It was mwarm and sunny, more like late August than October, so a trip to Rye Meads RSPB reserve in Hertfordshire beckoned.
My star bird was a Water Rail, an attractive cousin of the Moorhen, but rarer and much more difficult to see, never mind photograph.This one , however, obviously hadn't read the field guides and put on a show for the appreciative audience in the Tern Hide.
Water Rail

Another bird which is usually only seen lurking in reeds is the Common Snipe, but at the moment there are estimated to be an amazing 250 on the reserve, many in the open . . .

Common Snipe

and even more Lapwing:

The Pied Wagtail is a resident . . .

Pied Wagtail

but the Grey Wagtail breeds on rivers in the North, and is a passage migrant here:
Grey Wagtail

Bird feeders are always popular, especially at this time of year:
Great Tit and Greenfinch

There were still a few insects around, and this was the most perfect and beautiful Peacock Butterfly I have seen, probably roused from hibernation by the sunshine

Peacock Butterfly

in contrast to this Ruddy Darter which was definitly tatty:

Ruddy Darter

A typical view of another shy resident - a Water Vole (yes it is there!)

Water Vole

Finally, there were a few signs of Autumn around:

  All Photographs © Brian Price except where stated