Monday 14 October 2019

Rutland Water with Chris Bell

Monday 14 October

Very grateful to pal, Chris Bell who keeps me up to date with what is happening in my part of the Midlands back in the UK.  Certainly means that when returning to Stamford I have a rough idea of what is about and can make relevant plans for upcoming visits, etc.  Not sure whether it was a result of ploughing his way though my epistle re the last week's visit to Huelva/Donana, etc but for Saturday's day out Chris took himself off to my local patch at Rutland Water and sent the following report of birds seen.  Ospreys may have successfully departed but I hope the male Lesser Scaup might still be about when I get back to Stamford later this month. 

Saturday 12 October: Rutland Water

What a “road trip” you had. It was tiring just reading about it. Your monthly listing must be bulging. Perhaps I should have written my Rutland Water report before reading your Seville and Huelva outing.

Early Saturday morning and first check the weather forecast which overnight had changed from rain staying to the south of Oakham all day to rain starting there at 4 PM.  Flamborough Head was forecasted to be dry all day, so was tempting, and stayed tempting until I committed myself to Rutland Water.  At 6:30 AM at home I could hear the screeching of a Little Owl (or was it 2), a promising start to my birding day.

Robin Erithacus rubecula (PHOTO: Bob Wright)
Rutland Water it was, and approaching the Visitors Centre, I clocked up the calling Chiffchaff, Wren, Dunnock, Great Spotted Woodpecker and viewed Rook, Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Collared Dove, Robin, Wood Pigeon, Pheasant,Blackbird and an overflying Cormorant all without a Permit to Bird.

With permit purchased and, at the second attempt with all 3 Visitor Centre ladies assisting, I managed a satisfactory Cappuccino out of their drinks machine.  So up into the “gods” with views over Lagoon 1.  There were already a few punters doing the same and almost immediately the number was swollen by the arrival of half a dozen regular local birders.  Lagoon 1 was alive with several hundred Cormorant ,several hundred Tufted Duck,Little GrebeGreat Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, 2 (cc) Marsh Harrier, a Kingfisher, but with pride of place surely going to a Spoonbill that had being hanging about for a few days, and 11(eleven) Great Egret.

Great Egret Egretta alba (PHOTO: Bob Wright)
The local birders who had just returned from the North Arm told me that the Cattle Egret reported from Manton Bay a day or so earlier hadn’t stayed (it would have been a UK lifer for me).  They then received a telephone message saying that the bird that they had seen earlier was now being viewed from Shoveler Hide, and whilst they departed immediately I still had a hot coffee to drink and a comfort visit to make.  I was soon on my way and despite some of them actually driving by car to close to Lagoon 3 my sprightly walk had me there shortly afterEveryone else seemed to be able to find the target bird amongst the maybe 500 Tufties and a few Pochard, but it wasn’t until a very kind lady whose husband also couldn’t see it, looked down my scope and said it was already in the centre of view, and when it turned round I could see that it was a male Lesser Scaup, a species I had only seen once before 8 years previously.

It was almost a relief to leave the hide and make my way to Plover Hide and view over Lagoon 4.  Lots of Lapwing to be seen a Pied Wagtail, Coot, Moorhen, a flock of 20+ Linnet in a variety of plumages, Starling, and whilst there I had my picnic lunch.  I then made my way to Dunlin Hide, hearing Cettis Warbler on the way, seeing Magpie, and coming across a Blackcap working a section of hedge.

From Dunlin Hide I could see several male Pintail which had virtually completed their moult.  As well as Black–headedGreat Black-backedHerring, there was also a Yellow Legged Gull and later I was to see a flying Lesser Black-backed.

Making my way to Sandpiper Hide, there was a Green Woodpecker on the grass below the lagoon but on the lagoon nothing new was seen .

I then headed back to the Visitors Centre hearing Long-tailed Tit on the way, and looking in on Lagoon 2 added Shoveller, Gawall, Mallard, Teal and Mute Swan.

Gadwall Anas strepera (PHOTO: Bob Wright)
Looking in on the feeders by the Visitors Centre, not only was there Blue and Great Tit, but also a Marsh Tit that I was told was a regular there.

Then on to Snipe Hide from where I could see on Lagoon 1 the species I had seen there earlier and was able to recognise that a Marsh Harrier was a juvenile, but adding Grey-Lag and Canada Goose, and  seeing 18 Little Egret loosely together.  (I was of course checking for Cattle Egret).

Jay Garrulus glandarius (PHOTO: Bob Wright)
Onto the hides overlooking Manton Bay, and South Arm 2 passing another Green Woodpecker and a couple of Egyptian Geese in the sheep field on the way, and also a Buzzard being harassed by a corvid.  Thousands of birds on the water including many Wigeon.  Then onto 360 Hide where there were half a dozen Curlew and viewed a Jay in the background, no doubt collecting acorns.

Curlew Numenius arquata (PHOTO: Bob Wright)
With well over 50 species on the day, including a semi rarity, no rain and, on checking, I didn’t miss anything, too, too, exciting at Flamborough!

Great report Chris which has whetted my appetite for a visit in about a fortnight's time.

Male Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata (PHOTO: Bob Wright)
Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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