Thursday 18 November 2021

Rutland Reservoirs

 Thursday 18 November

A lovey start to the morning with bright sunny spells and some clear blue sky; ideal birding weather.  So with Jenny, once the necessary shopping had been completed, off to Eyebrook Rervoir, which has the Rutland/Leicestershire border running smack through the middle, to see if the two rarities were still present.  On the other hand, no point simply driving straight past Rutland Water with the possibility that the recent Great Northern Diver might still be present, so a stop to check out the water on front of the dam.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula and a Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus

No divers but a female Goosander along with a number of Wigeon and Tufted Duck plus both Little and Great Crested Grebes.  A few Cormorant and Black-headed Gulls were also present.  Continuing on through Edith Weston in time to record Carrion Crow, Magpie and Blackbird before the briefest of stops at the Lyndon Visitors Centre to check the feeders.  Straight away a female Bullfinch in the nearby hedgerow and a couple of hen Pheasants below the feeders.  On the feeders themselves Blue and Great Tit along with Chaffinches.  A Wren was watching the activity from the adjacent bush whilst out on the water and edges plenty of Mute Swans, a single Heron, Cormorants and a Great Black-backed Gull.

Continuing on via Uppingham to Eyebrook Reservoir we approached along the narrow lane coming out on the Leicestershire side on the inflow bridge.  Over the bridge and stop to check the feeder below and the shallow end of the water.  A few Mallard and a single Little Egret on the reservoir side along with hundreds of Black-headed Gulls both resting on the water and following the tractors ploughing the field in front of us.  Unfortunately the bright, low sun was almost straight in our eyes so a more detailed study would have to wait until we reached the car park on the way to Stoke Dry.  However, the feeders did provide sightings of Blue and Great Tit along with a few Goldfinch, the occasional Chaffinch and a wandering Moorhen.  Meanwhile, overhead, the first bird recorded was a departing Raven along with a couple of Carrion Crow and Jackdaws were heard before eventually seen. 

Checking the very many gulls on the way, of which the great majority were Black-headed along with  number of Common Gulls, we arrived at the car park and found a few resting Mallard.  On the water, now with the sun almost behind us, a good number of Mute Swans plus Little and Great Crested Grebes along with both Wigeon and Tufted Duck and a number of Cormorant.  On the edge of the ploughed field to our right as we retraced our steps towards the bridge a couple of Pied Wagtails.  Above the wagtails a huge flock of Lapwing up in the air above the trees, no doubt as a result of the lone Red Kite drifting towards us at a low level.

Mainly Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula with Pochard Aythya ferina. Scaup?

Once on the other side of the water a stop at the first view point confirmed the birds already seen along with a couple of Blackbirds. Here there was also a large flock of Teal.  However, it was to be the next viewpoint that really turned up trumps.  Not only hundreds of Tufted Duck with the added mix of both Pochard and occasional Wigeon but the two recently seen rarities.  Fortunately , a local birder was also present with his scope to point out the distant Ring-billed Duck which, it was hoped, might remain for the rest of the winter.  Much nearer, though, mixing with the large flock of Tufted Ducks, a couple of Scaup.  Very difficult to get decent views as they were forever either diving of facing the other way to preen.  But seen if not photographed - using my own scope.  And further to our right a number of Greylag Geese.

More of the same but where is the Scaup Aythya marila?

As we set off to drive round to the other side and back into Rutland, first a Buzzard followed by a small flock of Wood Pigeon and then a hovering female Kestrel.  In total, 37 species for the morning which, in reality was a total birding tome of less then two hours.

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Pochard, Ring-necked Duck, Tufted Duck, Scaup, Goosander, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Red Kite, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Raven, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch.

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