Wednesday, 8 April 2015

A day at Rutland Water

Tuesday 7 April

Jay Garrulus glandarius
Not sure what the weather is like back in the Axarquia but it seems to have been non-stop sunshine here all this week!  So, off to my nearby local patch, Rutland Water yesterday (Tuesday) morning with clear blue skies and pleasantly warm.  Even more surprising, bearing in mind the amount of rain that has been reported back here whilst we were still in Spain, the paths were dry and I could have left my boots in the car.  On the other hand, water levels were very high so very little opportunity, none on most lagoons, for waders to go wading.  Whilst no sign of any hirundines, I did meet up with Tim Mackrill and he informed me that the first Swallow, Sand and House Martin had been recorded.  The Ospreys were back, having arrive within the last week, and the breeding pair on Manton water turned op with a couple of hours of each other re previous day, Bank Holiday Monday.

Arriving I was greeted by hordes of Jackdaws having already recorded both Magpie and Crows as I approached the reserve.  With Rooks calling above e from the , relatively, small rookery and a Jay one of the first birds seen, by 9.30 I had seen all the corvids.  No shortage of Blackbirds all morning but the only Common Starlings and House Sparrows were observed as I left Stamford for the short journey down to Rutland Water. Similarly, unlike my part of Spain, very much a case of no shortage of Wood Pigeons to be seen everywhere.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
The feeding station held a pair of Pheasants  and a pair of Mallards, all four picking up the droppings form the overhead feeders being worked by Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Greenfinches and even a Robin.  A return to the site after walking to Lagoons 4 and 3 also produced Goldfinches and Great Tits along with a trio of Dunnocks.  Knowing their sexual habits, almost certainly a single hen and a couple of cocks.

Dunnock  Prunella modularis
With the sun relatively low in the sky and right into my face it was difficult to enjoy any birding until I reached the "Osprey" hide at the far end of Lagoon 2.  Here I was able to start watching the birds and recorded numerous Black-headed Gulls along with both Greylag and Canada Geese.  For good measure, there was also an Egyptian Goose present.  On the water Coots, Moorhens and a number of Tufted Duck along with the odd Mallard.  A raft of Cormorants were sunning themselves at the edge of the water and the first of the many Mute Swans was recorded.

Mute Swan  Cygnus olor
The "Sandpiper" hide overlooking Lagoon 4 picked up both Teal and Lapwing along a small number of Shelduck and then it was on to lagoon 3 and the "Shoveler" hide.  Added to the morning's sightings were Shovelers, Little Egret, Wigeon, Gadwall and Great Crested Grebe plus many more Tufted Ducks.

Male Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula (above) and female below

A walk to the neighbouring "Crane" and "Lapwing" hides turned up single flying Heron and the first of two Wrens seen during the morning.  Then it was back to the Visitors Centre and on to the "Mallard" hide overlooking Lagoon 1.  The only new bird added was a single Little Grebe.

A deightful little "Jenny" Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Leaving the Centre I drive round to the Lyndon Visitor Centre and, as hoped for, found both Yellowhammers and Tree Sparrows feeding on the feeders along with Great and Blue Tits plus Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Dunnocks.  However, a rather lovely sighting was the the pair of Reed Buntings with the male almost moulted out into his full black head.  Inside the centre a choice of cameras to see the newly-arrived Ospreys working on their respective nests whilst, on the water, a pair of Gadwall glided past.

Male Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus

Shots of the rapidly declining Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella

 Only about three hours on site but most enjoyable and so many birds that are taken for granted here, e.g. Dunnock, Robin, Mute Swan and Tufted Duck that are not on my regular viewing list back in Spain.  So I am very much looking forward to a repeat visit next week no matter how many Wood Pigeons and Magpies put in an appearance

Geese on show:
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus (above) and Greylag Goose Anser anser (below)

Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Crow Rook, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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