Sunday, 9 October 2016

Rutland Water this morning for the One-eyed Birder

Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Sunday 9 October

Still a case of making the best of it as I headed over to the local patch at Rutland Water in dry weather this morning, arriving by 8.30 and the promise of later sunshine.  Local Common Starlings playing around the chimney pots and then Rook, Crow and Magpie before hitting the car park (with my one eye this could have been a literal statement!) and welcomed by both Wood Pigeon and Jackdaw.  Ere long I also added Blackbird to the list but the feeding station only provided Chaffinch and Blue Tit.

Lapwing vanellus vanellus
All very quiet and nobody about so straight over to the Sandpiper Hide overlooking Lagoon 4 where i found the awakening Canada Geese flock.  A few Great Black-backed but mainly Black-headed Gulls and the occasional Lapwing on the far bank where I also found the single Pied Wagtail.  Strange to see a pair of Egyptian Geese in front of me with four very young goslings; late breeders or yet another clutch?

First winter Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
On the far water a score or more Mute Swans but they decided that this was not the water for them as they clattered over to the neighbouring lagoon.  Nearer to me a pair of Shelduck and no shortage of either Wigeon or Teal.  Deciding that two geese species seemed on the miserly side I scoped the far bank again and duly found a small flock of Greylag Geese.

Wigeon Anas penelope
And so onto the Shoveler Hide overlooking Laggon 3, again on my own.  Now we had a plentiful supply of ducks with a dozen or more Moorhen nearer the hide.  No shortage of Mute Swans and there were scores of Cormorants. Surprisingly few Great Crested Grebes but plenty of Teal and scores of Wigeon.  The Coot flock were on the far side and only a handful of Shoveler seen along with a similar number of Common Pochard as a lone Heron flew across the water.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
The Crake Hide overlooking the same water produced the first Little Grebe and there were a dozen Little Egrets present along with a few Tufted Duck and a handful of Gadwall.  Nothing new at the Lapwing Hide overlooking the top of the South Arm but there must have been at least 50 Great Crested Grebes present.

Gadwall Anas strepera
So back to the Visitors Centre and meet up with friends before taking a second look at the feeding station which, on this occasion, produced both Great and Blue Tits, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and House Sparrows on the feeders and Robin and Dunnock feeding below on the spill.

Finally, a stop to check out the North Arm but no sign of the ruddy Ruddy Duck that had been seen a few days earlier.  However, the water was very busy and this was where most of the Tufted Ducks and Coots seem to have gathered along with both Greylag and a few Canada Geese.  Again, no shortage of Wigeon, Teal and Cormorants along with both Little Egret and Heron.  Scoping the far bank produced a pair of Barnacle Geese and a number of Lapwing and many, many Egyptian Geese.  Both Little and Great Crested Grebe were also present and on checking the main water I not only found yet more Great Crested Grebes but also a pair of Black-necked Grebes.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
No sooner had I started off for home to get the cleaning and cooking out of the way before the start of the Japanese F1 than I had a magnificent Red Kite quartering the recently-ploughed field on my left.  What a way to end a short morning's birding even if only with one eye - but the bird was on my left so no problem!

Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Red Kite, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch.

My word the Mute Swan Cygnus olor cygnets are growing fast

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

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