Sunday 7 July 2019

Rutland Water

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Sunday 7 July

No rain, just lovely warm sun, a little light cloud and no wind so no need to have carried my mac on an early morning visit to Rutland Water, arriving about 7.45 and staying a couple of hours or so and just covering the northern end of the reserve.  In reality, probably making the most of the weather as my scheduled visit mid-morning Tuesday with friend Bryan Stapely, now moved back from Spain to Hartlpool, is coming to stay for a couple of nights and see my local birding sites.  Could be damp but at least next Wednesday the hides are much nearer the car park and far more birds to be seen if last week's visit is anything to go by.

A few of the 32 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta counted on l;aggon 4
Approaching the water along the top road it was obvious looking at the reservoir that there were plenty of Mute Swans about along with both Carrion Crow and Wood Pigeon.  The lane up to Egleton had a field full of Greylag Geese feeding on the grass and in the village itself a couple of Barn Swallows feeding above me.  Both Wood Pigeon and Collared Dove as I got out of the car but the Feeding Station was very quiet with just  single female Chaffinch and a couple of Jackdaws in the trees behind me.  Walking down to Lagoon 4, first a Pheasant before reaching the first field then a Bullfinch in the trees near the Badger Hide and a couple of Robins looking for food on the footpath.

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Once at the Sandpiper Hide it appeared to me that the water level had receded a little since my last visit and there was certainly no shortage of Coot, Black-headed Gull, Mute Swan and both Canada and Greylag Geese.  However, what quickly drew my attention was the number of Little Egrets present at the site.  Unfortunately, many moved across before i could take a photo of the main flock but I was able to make a count of 32 - and there may have been more in some of the concealed ares.  One Great Crested Grebe still on its nest with others on the water along with both a Little Grebe and a handful of Moorhen.  the only waders to be sen were the many Lapwing until I found a couple of Oystercatcher

Greylag Goose Anser anser parents with to of their four chicks

Also present were Shelduck, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Teal plus a few Great Black-backed Gulls.  There were a few Common Tern but fewer than a fortnight ago.  What I did notice in the hide, and I seemed to follow the pair from hide to hide, the increasing number of photographers who just carry  long-lens cameras; no binoculars or scope between them.  Is this a sign of the times?

On to the Shoveler Hide overlooking Lagoon 3 bu a very short stop as the photographers had the favoured windows with the remainder looking straight into the bright sun.  From the Buzzard Hide I picked up my first Reed Warbler and Pochard and very obvious, judging by the large numbers on the far bank of Lagoon 3, that some of the wintering ducks are beginning to return.

Just a handful of the hundreds of ducks on the far side of lagoon 3
From the Smew Hide overlooking the northern end of Lagoon 2 I had good views of the breeding Common Tern and on a large tree just outside I was able to watch the movement of a Sedge Warbler.  During my stay at the Smew Hide I also saw my first Gadwall of the day.  Time to return to the Shoveler Hide for a longer stay which gave me close views of the very active Reed Warblers as they fitted between the reeds in front and large trees behind the hide. before leaving my only Heron of the day flew in to rest on the water's edge in front of me.  And all the time a continuous supply pf feeding Sand Martins over both water and fields.

Common Tern Sterna hirundo on the nesting platform
Walking back to the Visitors Centre to meet up with Mike in In Focus for a check on a fault with the eye piece of my scope, I had first more Robins on the paths and then a Whitethroat. Out on the water in Lagoon 1 the usual gathering of sunbathing Cormorant.  The final stop before setting off back to Stamford was to once more check out the Feeding Station where I was rewarded with many Great Tit and a smaller number of Blue Tit.  A Robin was actively feeding and a couple of male Blackbirds put in an appearance but no sign of a Dunnock and this not helped by the ever-presence of a trio of Rats Rattus norvegicus.  On the other hand, it was pleasing to see a visit to the tree holding the feeder of a Chiffchaff and just beyond the Woodpecker Hide I could hear then see a few Rook.  Finally, as I drove out of the car park a Pied Wagtail was sitting on the roof of the barn opposite and House Sparrows were active in Egleton village so making a total of 41 species for the morning.

One-year old male Blackbird Turdus merula moulting out of his 2018 feathers (note the brown primaries0

Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Blackbird, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch.

Distant Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Just a very brief visit form this particular Little Egret Egretta garzetta

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