A special report for Bryan to reassure him that all is well with Jenny and I and we are doing great with one wedding done and one to go! But if only we had the sunshine that is presently burning the Spanish shores; you really could do with a swap, your sun for our rain.
And today, Saturday, was a typical day. Having just about recovered from staying up to see the first dozen UK results re the the EU Referendum and needing some fresh air before settling down to watch my Welsh take on the Irish from the North, jenny and I decided that a walk into Stamford was on the cards. We locked the door, crossed the road and walked at least twenty yards (must get used to going back to "yards" now we are about to depart the fiasco known as the European Union) when the first spots fell on us. What to do? back to the house collect the car keys and decide to take a drive into Oakham for a look around. And very interesting it was too, especially as the rain came to nothing. Still early so drove the short distance via Uppingham over to Eyebrook Reservoir to see what might be about, passing at least half-a-dozen Red Kites on the way.
Arriving at the car park below Stoke Dry (now there's a misnomer if ever there was one!) we immediately saw how full the reservoir was and no chance for any waders; more a direct sap from deep water to long grass. In front at least a handful of Great Crested Grebes and as I swept the binoculars over the water I picked out at least another half-dozen or more. No shortage of Mute Swans about and over fifty counted. Not too many Mallards, maybe a couple of dozen, but at least as many Tufted Ducks on the water. A couple of Cormorants flew over the water and then, of course, an expanse of water such as this is going to contain at least a minimum of Coots. But the most exciting sight was the, at least, twenty Common Terns that were fishing close to the shore from a photographic point of view. The only trouble was that I had no camera as we had not intended this to be a birding trip! Great to watch these athletic and agile birds diving down into the water - and appearing to come up with nothing so I imagine it is small fry, lots of puns intended here, for these terns which area easily separated from their close relatives the Arctic Tern by the black tips to their bills.
A drive around the water enable us to see a flock of 32 Greylag Geese but only a pair of Canada Geese. Lots of Blackbirds about along with the occasional Dunnock and a number of House Sparrows as we entered Great Easton. Similarly, Crows a plenty along with Jackdaws. And as for Wood Pigeons, they seemed to be here, there and everywhere and outnumbering all other birds put together. Strange, after Spain, how few Goldfinches we see here. Add on Common Starlings and a few Collared Doves and we were just about done so back home for a quick sandwich and then settled for the second success in as many days with Wales staying in Europe until next Friday at the earliest. However, I suspect that I might well get the cold shoulder if the English team continues in its present non-winning ways when they meet the Icelandic heroes. Must be the year of the small country, especially given some of the football rubbish we have so far seen from the so-called "more recognised" football giants!
Finally, I have birding dates fixed for Rutland Water on 7 July and RSPB Lakenheath on 21 July and, in between, some additional trips over to nearby Rutland Water and also Titchfield Haven when we visit brother-in-law Chris at his new home in Warsash on the Hamble River. I must remember to take the camera!
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Red Kite, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Barn Swallow, Dunnock, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.