Saturday, 25 May 2019

Rutland Water

Saturday 25 May

No sooner complete my six-day birding adventure from the Guadalhorce to the Odiel via Fuente de Piedra, Osuna and the Donana National Park, than I had to rush back to the UK for a friend's funeral next Tuesday.  But it does give me a little time to visit my local patch at Rutland Water.  Here the weather has been very "Malaga-like" with day-time temperatures up to 24C in Lincolnshire and clear, sunny skies.  So, back on my own again, I was able to get over to Rutland Water by 7.15 and spend a total of two hours on site travelling home by completing the anti-clockwise circuit of the water to take in the Lyndon Visitors Centre.  As you might expect, all very green here with full leaf cover on the trees and not the general mass of birds that I find from October through March.

Approaching Egleton I observed Common Starling, Blackbird, Crow and Wood Pigeon and as soon in the car park added Jackdaw.  Much work seems to have been undertaken at the feeding station but the overgrown floor left it difficult to spot the "ground crawlers" and if the new arrangement was to deter visiting squirrels to the feeders then the work has been been a waste as both (there used to be at least five) were occupied by the grey tree rats and one holding a sleeping animal!  Nevertheless, both House Sparrow and Great Tit seemed happy to visit and feed and even the occasional appearance on both Blue Tit and Robin. As I left to walk towards Lagoon 4 a Chaffinch arrived and then a male Bullfinch once I was on the footpath to the west of the Lagoon 2 hides.

Sleeping Shelduck Tadorna tadorna

Once ensconced in the Sandpiper Hide I could see a number of Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns along with a pair of sleeping Shelduck and a couple of lapwing (I did not take a scope with me today).  Nearer to the hide a single Redshank and a couple of Coot with Mute Swans on the far side of the water.  A family of Greylag Geese were resting on the grassy island to my centre right but then the whole family decided it was time to take centre stage and suddenly  adults and ten youngsters arrived.  Before moving on I also found two pairs of Gadwall towards the back along with a handful of Mallard and, nearer the hide, the first Great Crested Grebe of the morning.

Mr & Mrs Greylag Goose Anser anser along with 11 youngsters
By winter standards very little to be seen from the Buzzard Hide overlooking Lagoon 3 in terms of numbers but as well as a pair of moulted Shoveler I did find a pair of Avocet.  Also present were more Black-headed Gull, Coot and Mallard plus a number of Tufted Duck and a handful of Canada Geese.

To the right and not looking into the sun on visiting the Crake Hide I picked up both Barn Swallow an Sand Martin as well as better views of the Tufted Duck.

Male Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

The same was true on visiting the Smew Hide overlooking the top end of Lagoon2.  Very close views of a trio of Tufted Duck plus Heron and Little Grebe.  On the island to my right a couple of resting (breeding?) Common Tern with the larger Black-headed Gulls.

Common Tern Sterna hirundo (front right) with Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Just a quick stop at the Redshank Hide where I saw both Moorhen and House Martin as I made my way back to the Visitors Centre.  A second check on the feeding station produced more of the same but also a lovely cock Pheasant, adult Robin and female Blackcap.  And both feeders were still occupied by Grey Squirrels.

So off back home at 9.30, taking in the pair of nesting Osprey with their young chick on the traditional nest in Manton Bay, with a short stop at the Lyndon Centre where I found a small charm of Goldfinch, a juvenile Pied Wagtail with an adult and a couple of Greenfinch. On the far side of the water, apart from the Mute swans I could pick out a number of Cormorant and at least two Little Egrets.  And as I sat in the car putting everything away and fastening my seat belt a lone Dunnock came out to explore the undergrowth immediately in front of me.  Rather a lovely way to end my short visit and with a final tally of 44 species.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Osprey, Moorhen, Coot, Avocet, Lapwing, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch.


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