May | Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
Sea Kale © Barry Yates

What to see in May

Sea Kale

At the Beach Reserve the flowers of coastal shingle specialists provide a rich display of colour.

Late in the month a profusion of white sea kale flowers will add to the blue of Viper’s Bugloss, mauve mats of Ivy-leaved Toadflax and the yellow flowers of Yellow-horned Poppy. Others to look for include Herb Robert and Sea Pea. The mauve flowers of Salsify can be seen near the Discovery Centre, but only in the morning before they close up. On the grassland of the shingle ridges around Camber Castle, Common Storksbill and Dovesfoot Cranesbill will be flowering and others, such as Sand Spurrey and Shepherd’s Cress, flower before the soil dries out.

This is the best time to see a great variety of bird species, with many wandering individuals and late arriving species like Spotted Flycatcher and Swift. Waders normally pass through in good numbers, including many Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwits at the start of the month. It’s also a good month for many of our scarcer migrants such as Black Tern and Little Gull. Some birds such as Coot, Mallard and Little Grebe will already have young and Blackbirds may be caring for their second brood. Others such as the rare Little Tern will not start to lay their eggs until mid-month. They nest on bare shingle, along with Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher, relying on camouflage to prevent predators discovering their eggs - so please take care not to disturb their nests when walking near shingle areas. The islands of the saline lagoons will be alive with the activities of nesting Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls and Common and Sandwich Terns.

During warm days, the first dragon- and damselflies will be flying such as Hairy Dragonfly and Variable Damselfly and there is an increase in the number and variety of butterflies, including Common Blue and day flying moths, such as Silver Y, Cinnabar and Burnet moths.

Ivy-leaved Toadflax © Barry Yates
Ivy-leaved Toadflax © Barry Yates
Ringed Plover nest © Roger Wilmshurst
Ringed Plover nest © Roger Wilmshurst
Sea Kale © Barry Yates
Sea Kale © Barry Yates
Mediterranean Gull © Roger Wilmshurst
Mediterranean Gull © Roger Wilmshurst
Salsify © Barry Yates
Salsify © Barry Yates

In this section


April

April

What to see in April
 
June

June

What to see in June
 

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