Monday 9 July 2018

Rutland Water

Monday 9 July

Still very hot here in the UK but, at least, some cloud cover this morning although still and about in short-sleeve shirts and shorts.  Different approach to Rutland Water this morning as I took the clockwise circuit of the lake so that I could call in at Lindon.  No sign of any Tree Sparrows but, in addition to the big, fat rat that was feeding on the grass path less then three metres away, Magpie, Wood Pigeon and a good number of both Great and Blue Tits. Both Chaffinch and Blackcap visited the feeders and on the water itself I could see plenty of Mute Swans and a small flock of Canada Geese.  A Common Tern flew past as did Black-headed Gull and a few Cormorants and then the arrival of a feeding party of a score or more Common Starlings including mainly juveniles (perhaps a "Starling School outing to the Bird Reserve!).

Ospreys Pandion haliaetus

Leaving Lindon I mad a quick stop on the bridge over the ingress to Manton Bay and was able to see the Osprey pair enjoying their morning breakfast, so that's another Rainbow Trout that won't be caught by the anglers!  Also first opportunity to use the new Canob SX60 camera and try and sort out how it performs.  Early days!

Then it was on to the main car park where, as usual, I was welcomed by the local Jackdaws and Wood Pigeons.  At the feeding station mainly Blue and Great Tits, including many juveniles, along with Blackbird, a single Dunnock at the far end, House Sparrow and a juvenile Robin plus Gold, Green and Chaffinches.

Male Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Inside to say hello to Mike of InFocus , purchase my pass for the day and take a look at Lagoon 1.  Lots of Tufted Duck and a few Mallard and a Heron along with very many Cormorant.  The first of many Greylag Geese were seen at the back of the water and I soon left to make my way over to Lagoon 4.  Walking along the long track at the back of Lagoon 2 I had a pair of Bullfinch near the Badger Hide and then, my birds of the day, a pair of Grey Partridge upped almost in front of me with their strange little flight before descending and disappearing into the not-so-long grass only five meters away from where they were completely hidden.  Perhaps a good job that I was the first to pass this way.  Similarly, a short stop at the Osprey Hide revealed a good number of Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Coot and Common Pochard on Lagoon 2 with Sand Martins from the nearby artificial nest colony flying over the water.

One of many Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

Once inside the Sandpiper Hide overlooking Lagoon 4 I soon found a large flock of Greylag Geese and a good number of Black-headed Gulls.  In addition, no shortage of Lapwing and at least a quintet of Carrion Crow scavenging along the island shores.  A couple of Common Tern feeding over the water and to my far left just a pair of Great Black-backed Gulls noted.  On the other hand, I did record a handful of Oystercatchers, a single Shelduck and a two pairs of Great Crested Grebe.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus chick still begging to be fed
A brief stop at the Bitten Hide overlooking Lagoon 3 simple produced dense reeds and the small channel in front of the hide held a trio of juvenile Coots so on round to the Shoveler Hide.  Again, the advantage, at the beginning, of having the hide to myself and certainly the masses of ducks were beginning to assemble on this water.  Not just Tufted Ducks and Mallards but Teal, Gadwall and Red-crested Pochard (where were the Shovelers?) in addition to more Coots and Moorhens.  Only a few more Great Crested Grebes and Oystercatchers but I did have two Little Egrets in addition to the Mutes Swan with her five cygnets feeding close by.  Use of scope and bins revealed a feeding Curlew in the short reeds and then a lone Green Sandpiper.

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus on beach patrol at Rutland Water
Quite a fitting end to the morning which, in total, produced 42 species.  Then it was home to see how well the new camera had performed.  I still did not find the "RAW" setting and was obviously using too much long lens so time will tell.  Mind you, it would have been a great help if the camera came with a printed user manual rather than have to rely on an Internet download; you can probably guess what my next job might be!

If you need a bodyguard then a Little Egret Egretta garzetta with a very pointed beak makes a good substitute!
Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Grey Partridge, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Osprey, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Curlew, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Sand Martin, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch.

One of the breeding Common Tern Sterna hirundo at Rutland Water
Mute Swan Cygnus olor with four of her five cygnets

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

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