Monday, 3 July 2017

Rutland Water with Chris Bell

Saturday 1 July

Well, it's all been happening these past few days!  Landed almost an hour late at East Midlands but at least it meant that we missed the morning rain.  On the other hand, the queue for immigration was not only outside the control room but half-way down the runway with, I am sure, at least 2500 bodies in front of ours.  But we mad steady progress, collected the car and were back in Stamford by 4.30.  Welcomed home with an email for birding pal Chris bell who had spent the previous day at Rutland Water so I knew what to expect when I eventually found time to pay a visit (but first necessary top sort out probate papers, prepare back of garden for moving shed, empty shed, etc, etc.).

The following report from Chris is all set to whet rthe biridng appetite:

With only a single tick in June, be it that it was a brilliant, well behaved, full breeding plumage female Red-Necked Phalanrope on one of my regular Tuesday visits to Attenborough (20th), I decided to visit your old stamping ground Rutland Water on Saturday the 24th, where I would be able to see Osprey, having been unsuccessful in coming across them locally. (Non-breeders sometimes visit Welbeck Raptor Point just 4 mile away and whilst the odd one reported has not been seen by me but where this year I have also not managed to see either Goshawk nor Honey Buzzard.)

On purchasing my permit to bird, I was told of nesting Spotted Flycatcher by the approach to the Visitors Centre, and sure enough they were visiting a nest in an ivy covered tree on the eastern side of the road about 10 meters after you leave the car park, a jolly nice observation at the start of the session.

With nothing recently reported from Lagoon 4 requiring my immediate attention, I started my slow trek to Heron Hide, picking up a good variety of species, on the way, including : Blue, Great, and Long Tailed Tit; Chaffinch, Goldfinch , Dunnock, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Common Whitethroat, Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Lapwing, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Coot, Moorhen; Swan; Mallard, Reed Bunting,Wood Pigeon,Collared Dove.

The old dilapidated Heron Hide seemingly eventually collapsed, and has been replaced by a very nice clean structure. I quickly remembered where to look for the nearest Osprey platform which from the hide has the nest just over the vegetation to the left of the line of Poplars and had excellent scoped views 250 meters away of 1 adult and 2 well grown young on the (apparently ground level) nest , with the second adult perched atop the pole. (They and 7 other sets of young on Rutland Water seemingly had been ringed during the week).

Typical of me, I almost instantly picked up on a diversion, high over that end of Manton Bay ,that turned out to be a Red Kite, and then realised in front of me, 100 meters away ,there were 2 Great White Egret patrolling the opposite side of the inlet, where also there were 4 Little Egret and a Grey Heron. Common Tern made frequent flights close to the hide, whilst out on the water there was a 40 strong flock of Greylag, good numbers of Mallard with the males well into eclipse plumage, Tufted Duck, Coot, and a few pairs of Great Crested Grebe some with young. A Lesser-Black Backed Gull made a lazy pass , and a few Black-Backed Gull put in appearances, and yes the Osprey family were all still in their same places. All jolly good stuff, but the opportunities of Lagoon 4 were beckoning.
On the way back to the visitors centre I picked up on a few additional species, Garden Warbler, Stock Dove, and Shelduck . I had my picnic lunch in a bench next to a reedbed where there had been a Sedge Warbler as I approached but of course it didn’t re-appear.

At the visitor centre whilst taking on more liquid up in the Gods, new species seen included 20+ Cormorant, 50+Canada Geese, Shoveller, Teal, Gadwall ,and a rather splendid Hobby that was picking off dragonfly over the reeds.

Making my way towards Lagoon 4 I disturbed a female Pheasant with its entourage of young .A couple of birders told me that earlier in the year they had seen Nightingale on the approach path to Bittern Hide, but there wasn’t one today however on its Lagoon 3, in the reeds immediately in front of the hide , there was a juvenile Reed Warbler and an almost still wet behind the ears juvenile Sedge Warbler, whilst further out there were adults of both species.

So to Plover Hide having been warned that it was quiet on Lagoon 4,and yes it was but rarely un-interesting. Hardly had I sat down when a pair of Egyptian Geese and 3 young landed on the water, and further out on the water there were other of the species with young. Searching the island in front of the hide turned up a brace of Ringed Plover and I was later to find others elsewhere on the Lagoon.A couple of very leggy Lapwing young were on another island .A pair of Redshank landed on the nearest island but didn’t stop long. A pair of noisy Oystercatchers with young were on the bank to the left of the hide. Some Sand Martin were landing on the island and picking up sand, presumably to prepare nests for their next breeding attempt. A few Swallow put in appearance, and Common Tern were flying at almost stall speed into the wind past the hide. Further out on islands there were a couple of Little Egret, and several Lesser-Black backed Gull.
Walking round to Sandpiper Hide (followed by Dunlin Hide ) I picked up on a Cetti’s Warbler in scrub on the left of the path.

Probably best from these 2 hides were a pair of Shelduck replete with 4 young, another pair of Ringed Plover, a dozen Common Tern on one of the sandbanks, a summering male Wigeon, a bird that I studied for a while which was only a oddly behaving juvenile Starling, a Yellowhammer in the fields to the south, 4 more long legged young Lapwing, a Redshank, and my 4th raptor species of the day a Buzzard flying over to the north.

So “all very interesting” but not too exciting.

Now its Monday morning approaching very rapidly so, if awake in time, I am hoping to be across by 7.30.  All is ready for the off and many thanks for the above briefing from Chris.

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

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