Saturday 31 August 2019


Friday 30 August

Up early and on the road accompanied by Derek to make our way down to Tarifa to check out the autumn raptor migration.  A quick stop for breakfast and on site at the Cazalla viewing stage by 10 0'clock.  Sunny but also a good easterly breeze and much mist over the Strait with the island off Tarifa barely visible and no sign of the African coast.  Whereas lat Monday there were thousands of raptors to be seen, today's visitors could be counted by the score rather than hundreds and certainly no sign of reaching thousands.

Juvenile Egyptian Vulture Alimoche Comun  Neophron  percnopterus
Given this situation mainly Booted Eagles and Egyptian Vultures with probably a dozen of both Honey Buzzard and Griffon Vulture.  The day had started well with a handful of Pallid Swift seen as we passed through Estepona and the odd one in Tarifa.  A Griffon Vulture as we passed the mirador approaching Tarifa and even a male Blue Rock Thrush. A Sparrowhawk was working the bushes on the slopes below and a distant Kestrel before a lone Marsh Harrier passed across our viewpoint.

A pair of Raven were resting below us and, again, many of the Egyptian Vultures including a number of juveniles were also taking advantage of the shelter of the valley to take short rests.  In front of us a pair of Stonechat followed by a Crested Lark and then the surprise appearance of a Sedge Warbler.  Above us the occasional Barn Swallow and a passing couple of Cattle Egret.  At this point we were delighted to see a small flock of about 50 Bee-eaters pass over and as the mist lifted revealing the African coast so the Griffon Vultures began to put in an appearance along with another lone Honey Buzzard and more Black Kites.

Black Kite Milano Negra Milvus migrans
News arrived that more was being seen further east at the Algarrobo view point so we made our way across picking up a Common Buzzard on the way.  Once at the site, more Griffon Vultures and a lone Montagu's Harrier.  A Short-toed Eagle drifted overhead and both Common and Pallid Swift were recorded.  Even another small flock of migrating Bee-eaters.  Finally, a single Red-rumped Swallow and then a pair of White Stork as we approached Algeciras.

Birds seen:
Cattle Egret, White Stork, Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Booted Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Raven

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

Red-necked Nightjar at Zapata

Thursday 29 August

A wonderful 45 minutes at Zapata just upstream from Malaga Airport with friend Derek Etherton.  Arriving at 8.30 in the evening with both Collared Doves and Kestrel on the wires and still light we then passed both Sardinian Warbler and Crested Lark as we approached the ford.  Once there good sightings of both many Cattle Egrets and a handful of Night Herons.  A single Heron upstream and a pair of Moorhen on the far side.  At least five Common Sandpiper and a trio of Green Sandpiper before a pair of Little Ringed Plover on the rocks of the weir.  To complete the "water birds" a couple of Black-winged Stilts.

But the main target was to try and find one of the visiting Red-necked Nightjars.  A slow drive up and back along the top track and there was that pair of staring red eyes announcing a nightjar resting on the warm soil of the track.  And just 45 minutes after arriving to prove that there is no real twilight here in southern Spain; light upon arrival and now pitch dark.  But these local Red-necked Nighjars are loathe to move once settle enabling a slow, quiet approach to take a photograph.  The final shots take a bare five metres away from the car.  Wonderful fifteen minutes watching this special visitor to the country.

Red-necked Nighjar Chotacabras Pardo Caprimulgus ruficollis

Birds seen:
Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Red-necked Nightjar, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Sardinian Warbler.

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

Monday 26 August 2019

Charca de Suarez

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
Sunday 25 August

Not only back home in Spain but  barely a day later the opportunity to visit the Charca de Suarez in Motril for the morning, one of my favourite local sites, along with good friend Derek Etherton.  As soon as we arrived we were able to record the local Collared Doves and, at the Lagune del Taraje, a couple of Coots along with Mallard, Moorhen and, overhead, Red-rumped Swallow and House Martin.  The visit of a Turtle Dove was a pleasant sighting.  A noisy Cetti's Warbler eventually put in an appearance before we moved on to the new hide overlooking the Laguna del Alamo Blanco.

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus

What a delight was this pool, now sadly reduced in water but an ever-present Green Sandpiper was a definite winner.  Not so much the Wood Sandpiper that later came to visit but the long-exposed Water Rail was really wonderful.  The resident White Stork seemed happy to rest at the back and the Mallards were resting on the banks whilst Moorhen paddled about the remaining water.  Both Barn Swallow and House Martin above the water and heron and Little Egret were also noted.  A couple of Red Avadavat flew over the site and a juvenile Grey Wagtail came to join the foraging White Wagtail.  next u a departing Great Tit before a Snipe wandered across to disappear into the long grass.

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
The first Spotted Flycatcher was recorded as we moved to the main hide overlooking the Laguna de las Aneas along with a Hoopoe where we found copious numbers of Coot plus Mallard, a pair of Shoveler and a few Little Grebe.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

The large trees at the back on the left held resting Little Egrets and Heron and only when looking closer at the resulting photograph did I discover that the same tree also held a trio of juvenile Night Heron.

Three juvenile Night Herons Nycticorax nycticorax below the Little Egrets Egretta garzetta
Meanwhile, a Little Bittern shot out from the reeds low to my right and I was able to get conformation before the individual disappeared into the grasses on the far left-hand side.  Derek then managed to find a single Squacco Heron at the back of the water.  And all this achieved without the aid of a scope.  Immediately prior to this sighting Derek had also noted the Pallid Swift that flew over as he, too, approached the hide just after my entrance.  Also recorded was a single Red-knobbed Coot and a couple of Black-headed Gulls.

Very distant Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus

The Laguna del Trebol produced more Red-knobbed Coots plus a single Purple Swamphen and a couple of House Sparrows.  We had previously seen a handful of Goldfinch and then a trio of Common Waxbill as we made our way back towards the exit and a final Spotted Flycatcher at the Laguna del Lirio.

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata

All in all, a most enjoyable return to local birding with a final tally of 33 species.

And then the Herons and Little Egrets were off

Birds seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Grey Heron, White Stork, Water Rail, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Red Avadavat, Goldfinch.

Juvenile Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

Our resident White Stork Ciconia ciconia
A final look at the Water Rail Rallus aquaticus

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

Sunday 25 August 2019

Spain: From North to South

Griffon Vultures Gyps fulvus by the score
Tuesday 20 to Friday 23 August

At last, back into Spain and on my way home.  An overnight stop very close to Vitoria in the north then first thing Tuesday in torrential rain and a temperature of barely 20C toward the Picos de Europe with a morning stop on the coast at Noja.  Beautiful and bright on top of the Picos having taken the first cable car up at Fuente De on Wednesday morning and the next day the long drive south via Leon to Extremadura.  Temperatures now averaging about 38C and, finally, on the Friday morning the final leg home after a morning detour through the Manfrague National Park.  Home in Mezquitilla around 6pm where I found a slightly cooler temperature of 31C in clear blue skies but, alas, it was fiesta week-end so continuous fireworks and music all night!

One of the pools at the Marismas de Santoña
The rain eased up and finally stopped so I was able to enjoy the new nature reserve on the coast at Noja based on an old flour mill at the Marismas de Santoña, Victoria y Joyel Natural Park.  Beautiful setting and whist waiting for the 10 am opening I took a look at the surroundings and found both Cattle and Little Egret along with Heron, Mallard and a Black-winged Stilt.  However, pride of place to the lone Red-backed Shrike that was posed on top of a large, green bush. Coot, Moorhen and a Common Sandpiper at the edges and over the water Barn Swallow and House Martin.  In addition to the Mallards we even idientified both Tufted Duck and Pochard plus Little Grebe and a juvenile Great Crested Grebe.

The "drowned" Buzzard resting on a boundary fence during the recent rains had now sufficiently dried off to take fight and both Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gulls were seen along with a handful of Sand Martins.  Following information from the local warden I stopped at the nearby coast as I started off and duly found a trio of Shag whist looking back at e above waters from an observation tower I noted a single Cormorant.  A great start to being back in Spain.

Two distant Shags Phalacrocorax aristolellis off the beach at Noja

Arriving for two nights at Camaleno a walk along the river bank and nearby lane produced both Common Redstart and Goldfinch along with many House Martins and White Wagtails.  Above me not just Griffon Vultures but also a Short-toed Eagle and a stop to retrieve the camera made me realise that I was also looking at an adult Golden Eagle.

Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos


Up early and at the cable car station at Fuente De by 8.30 so that I was able to be in the first car up the mountain at 9am.  What a beautiful morning up on the Picos de Europe, the first clear day for almost a week so, not unnaturally, there were to be loads and loads of tourists to follow me.  But, arriving early I at least had chance to find the local Alpine Accentors along with both Raven and Griffon Vulture.  I also had a trio of (Yellow-billed) Alpine Choughs.

Alpine (yellow-billed) Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus

Unfortunately, neither Wallcreeper nor Snowfinch, probably too late in the season and too many visitors so a good reason to return at some point in the future.  But I did get very distant views of a trio of Chamois high on the opposite clifftop.

Very high and distant Chamois Rupicapra pyrenaica
The morning also presented both Grey Wagtail and Barn Swallow and, after departing Fuente De where the local tannoy was announcing that the back of the queue had a three-hour wait for their cable car!  Time to explore the local countryside before an afternoon siesta and preparations for the early start in the morning.


Sitting in the car and about to move off and I noticed that a Chaffinch had arrived to bid farewell then back via Potes I took the mountain road towards Leon.  What beautiful and magnificent scenery; an absolute delight to appreciate the landscape with hardly another car in sight.  Approaching the summit I had numerous White Wagtails before a lone Dunnock slipped across the road in front of me.  At, or very near, the top a trio of Rock Pipit followed by a handful of Rock Bunting.  Next up a couple of Serin and then the easier slope down towards the plain.

More and more Carrion Crows seen along with Blackbird, Magpie and Wood Pigeons.  A female Black Redstart was a welcome sight and then a stop for morning coffee and the sight of local Barn Swallows.  Continuing southwards I noted Griffon Vulture and Buzzard and then I was at the nature reserve iat the Lagunas de Villafafila only to discover the locked gates.  Not to be thwarted, I found a neighbouring track and spent over twenty miles exploring this steppe land.  No sooner had I set off than I had a coupe of Norther Wheatear, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle and Raven.  Smaller birds included Stonechat, Melodious Warbler, Hoopoe and Blackbird.  Not just Common but many Lesser Kestrels were recorded.

Carrion Crow Corvus corone

Once at the end of the tracks and time to head off to Oliva de Plasencia in Extremadura, I also saw the first Spotless Starlings, Black Kite and a number of Bee-eaters.  A few hours later and safely ensconced in my overnight accommodation I took a drive over to relatively nearby Monfrague to explore the northern end of the park including the rivers west of the dam.  What a sad sight with low water levels and everything looking very dry and sad.  Lots of Griffon Vultures along with both Crag and House Martins.  Looking down on the river form the nearby mirador I saw a single Little Egret and a trio of Black Stork.  Later I was able to add both Cormorant and Heron and, as well as the Sardinian Warbler that crossed the road in front of me, I also eventually came across my first Azure-winged Magpie.


Time to go home taking the same route as last night but continuing straight through Monfrague to the lovely town of Trujillio. Having just crossed the long road bridge I stopped in the shade of the trees and was able to watch the feeding Chaffinches, Blackbirds and Great Tits.  Also present, feeding on the ground, was a single Hawfinch.  A family of Red-legged Partridge had already been seen and soon I was at the main rock watching the scores of Griffon Vultures.  Also present both Crag Martin and Rock Dove whilst both White Wagtails and Red-rumped Swallows were also recorded.

Resting Griffon Vultures Gyps fulvus

Below me I eventually found the first Blue Rock Thrush and, moving on, I also added Bee-eaters, Stonechat, Magpies and Spotless Starlings as I entered Trujillio.  The final local bird was yet another Buzzard.
Distant male Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius

Very high temperatures as I continued south to complete my journey from the far north on the French border to the far south in Malaga province but also still able to add Collared Dove, Both Crested and Thekla Lark, Azure-winged Magpie and yet another Buzzard taking the number of species seen on the drive south to over 65.  A very long and tiring journey but undertaken at my own pace and own company with such beautiful scenery which will always be in my mind.

A pair of Heron Ardea cinerea resting below the Griffon Vulture colony

Birds seen:
Mallard, Pochard. Tufted Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, great Crested Grebe, Shag, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Black Stork, Black Kite, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel,  Moorhen Coot,Black-winged Stilt, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Bee-eater, Hoopoe,Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Sand Martin, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Dunnock, Alpine Accentor, Black Redstart, Common Redstart, Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird,  Melodious Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Alpine Chough, Carrion Crow, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Hawfinch, Rock Bunting.

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

Thursday 15 August 2019

Farewell Rutland Water

Dunnock Prunella modularis What's to smile about in this weather?
Thursday 15 August

Looks like today was going to be my last birding visit before setting off back to Spain at the week-end.  Awful weather yesterday and even worse to come tomorrow so more a case of finding thirty minutes between the storms (you decide whether that means local weather of the fact that Jenny flies home tomorrow and shopping is the top item on today's agenda) but a potential opportunity if I can b e out and back by mid-morning.  No brainer really so off to the local patch at Rutland Water to take a look at Burley Fishponds and the neighbouring North Arm for fifteen minutes.

Magpie as I passed alongside the reservoir and then, upon arrival, scores of Cormorant and almost as many Greylag Geese plus a good number of Canada Geese.  Only a handful of Mallard but  about 40 Tufted Duck and, it would appear, too early for any returning Wigeon.  Also seen a dozen or so Mute Swan and a couple of Great Crested Grebe but, on checking the North Arm lots more noted.  On the far side of the Fishpond a couple of Little Egret and just a single Coot noted.

Whilst there was a small number of Black-headed Gulls over the main water a single Great Black-backed Gull was resting on a nearby nestbox pole and, on the grass below, a pair of Carrion Crow.  Feeding hirundines over the water and neighbouring fields included both Sand Martin and Barn Swallow.  Naturally, there was a good number of Wood Pigeon to be recorded.

Dunnock Prunella modularis in the bushes
All being quiet I thought I would pay a quick visit to the feeding station at the Visitors Centre as you can never be sure what might be about.  Probably a major mistake with Bird Fair opening in the morning and lots of people setting up so car parking was on the grass behind the main car park.  Fortunately, plastic sheets down on the worst of the rain damage and I was then able to walk to the VC and keep myself free from the surrounding mud.  Come tomorrow me thinks vision of Glastonbury past and present might be appropriate!

Having already passed both House Sparrow and Collared Dove driving through Egleton itself the first birds noted in the feeding station was a pair of Collared Doves doing a balancing act on the feeders as they sought out some food.  Just the occasional Blue Tit then a couple of very "scraggy" Dunnock in the middle of a major moult.  As the dust settled more Blue and Great Tits plus a single adult Robin and then a quartet of Blackbirds, probably adults with two youngsters.  So, thirty minutes and 23 species recorded before heading back home for the dreaded shopping expedition.  Or so I thought as by mow exhibitors were queueing up to enter the site on a single lane track and two of us trying to escape in the opposite direction.  Well, that's my excuse for not being home on time!

Looks like a mixture of annual and juvenile moult, probably adult and young Dunnock Prunella modularis

But then it was time to head for the bushes in a mass blur of feathers!
Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Grebe,Coot, Back-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow.

Even this moulting Robin Erithacus rubecula looks for from happy

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

Friday 9 August 2019

Frampton Marsh and Long-billed Dowitcher

Distant Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
Thursday 8 August

The best day of the week with warm sunshine and pleasant conditions forecast before the onset of tonight's rain and storms and getting worse over the week-en.  So off once again to RSPB Framton Marsh near Boston, Lincs where I met up with birding friends Chris Bell and Rosie Taylor for a long and productive day's birding; absolutely wonderful, both in terms of the birding and the company.

Arriving first at about 9.30 I was greeted bu the usual Wood Pigeons as I entered the site the a good number of feeding Barn Swallows near the Visitors Centre. Noting where the "specials" had been seen yesterday I headed straight down to the far park near the steps up to the Saltmarsh bank and could not but help notice the Starlings, Mute Swans, Lapwings and Mallards as I made my way eastwards.  Once parked up I reckoned I had about thirty minutes before Chris and Rosie arrived so concentrated on searching for the reported Long-billed Dowitcher, Spotted Redshank and Curlew Sandpiper.  But I was to be sadly disappointed on all counts.  However to the south of the road there was a large flock of Dunlin, a few Black-tailed Godwit and a small number of both Avocet and Shelduck.  However, looking northwards the pools produced hundreds of Black-tailed Godwit and more Lapwing and Mallard.  A Little Grebe was active in front of me and a number of more distant Little Egrets were noted.  This northern side also produce many Canada Geese a smaller number of Greylag Geese.

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta

Back on the other side of the road I was able to add a Common Redshank and couple of Ringed Plover.  Leaving the basking Cormorant to enjoy the early morning sun I noted first Sedge quickly followed by the Reed Warbler.  On the path a couple of Reed Bunting moving about along with a single Pied Wagtail.  However, by far the greatest attraction was the huge number of feeding Sand Martins overhead and later confirmed that last night's roost had counted more more than 4000 individuals.  Obviously, the hirundine migration is underway.  Getting back into the car to drive up to the min car park i had a couple of Goldfinch in the nearby tree and the first of many sightings of Ruff during the day.

Peek-a-boo Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

Arriving back at the car park Rosie and Chris had just arrived so time for a quick coffee before setting off for the 360 Hide.  Out on the waters in front of the Visitors Centre we picked up Little Grebe, Moorhen, more Dunlin and both a Greenshank and Spotted Redshank as well as Mallards and Mute Swans not to mention the House Sparrows on the feeders.

Apart from the Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula at the front can you find anything other than Dunlin Calidris alpina?
Walking down to the first hide a small crop of sunflowers held both Goldfinch and Linnet and as the latter moved to the nearby bushes we were able to locate a single Common Whitethroat.  A Green Sandpiper then Yellow Wagtail were noted just before taking the main path to the hide which produced a little adventure.  The path was flooded for about fifty metres, not as a result of rain but a delay in turning off the tap when transferring water from the Reedbed to the Freshwater Scrape!  Nothing forward but to plough our way through which resulted in arriving at the 360 Hide with wet trainers and one very wet sock.  The hide to ourselves, presumably as a result of other visitors not venturing into the "river" so shoe and sock on the windowsill to dry in the bright sunshine as we studied the various waters!

Strange Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula with white wing markings
The first of two Marsh Harriers was seen to the north and then a more concentrated study of what was about including another basking Cormorant.  More Black-tailed Godwits, Little Grebe, Mallard, Mute Swan and Lapwing along with a few Shelduck and Avocet. At the same time no shortage of Common Starling and then we found the Sand Martin roost which, until the Marsh Harrier drifted over, probably held over an hundred individuals with many more in the air but, I suspect, thousands had already moved on.

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus being mobbed by Sand Martins Riparia riparia

With my damp sock hanging out of my rucksack to continue drying we moved on to the Reedbed Hide.  Not long before we found the juvenile Black-necked Grebe and a close by pair of Tufted Duck.  More Lapwing and loads of Black-tailed Godwits before checking out the Dunlin resting with the former we located a single Knot.  To the very far side another Ruff and then a Carrion Crow flew in to rest in the bare tree on the centre of the water.  Apart from the many Black-headed Gulls we also found a Herring Gull plus more Ringed Plover and a couple of Little Ringed Plover.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus with Ruff Philomachus pugnax

The continuing walk back to the Visitors Centre to continue the loop and avoid returning via the flooded footpath produced a number of Coot as well as more Sedge Warbler.  Time to partake of our picnic lunch during which time we recorded both Blackbird and Collared Dove followed by an adult and juvenile Great Crested Grebe then off down to the far car park for the continued search for our rarities.

From the far car park we were able to observe the ten Spoonbill and plenty of Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin but none of the target birds.  However, I did find a couple of Teal then it was up onto the Saltmarsh bank.  Also added was yet another Common Sandpiper.

Six of the ten Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia on site
Once we had recorded the single Whimbrel diligent searching of the marsh below us eventually produced a male Curlew along with four juveniles.  A Meadow Pipit flew up from below and the searching the pools on the Wet Grassland we found a party of 15 Golden Plover.  Before moving southwards we added a rather lovely Northern Wheatear then on to overlook the pools on the far side of the road we found both Ruff and Wood Sandpiper plus a group of five Spotted Redshank.  Chris carried on the the final pool where he saw the Little Stint whilst away in front of us was a Great White Egret.  Nearer to us it was also Chris who found our only Snipe of the day and the, on the saltmarsh itself, I found a Kestrel using one of the small posts as a plucking station to enjoy his lunch and another nearby Herring Gull.

Curlew Numenius arquata

So back to the car which we had brought, just the one, down this small car park.  A quartet of birders using the bank opposite seemed most engrossed checking out yet another (small) flock of Black-tailed Godwits and informed us that they had found the Long-billed Dowitcher.  Much searching as the bird was well concealed both behind the godwits and a grassy tuft but spot it we did.  What a way to end our day; both the Long-billed Dowitcher and Spotted Redshanks seen along with almost sixty other species.

Hidden behind these few Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and the grass was the visiting Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus - very difficult to spot withou a scope and hidden most of the time

Back to the Visitors Centre for a final coffee before departure and, outside on the feeder, we even added both Blue Tit and Greenfinch to the day's tally.  Whilst Chris and Rosie went off to try and find the local breeding pair of Turtle Dove I made my way home and as soon as I reached the main A16 road was able to add the large flock of Rooks resting on the wires to my list.  I wonder if Chris and Rosie found the Turtle Dove?

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Little Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Snipe, Long-billed Dowitcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Northern Wheatear, Blackbird, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blue Tit, Rook, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting.

Ruff Philomachus pugnax

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

Wednesday 7 August 2019

Rutland Water

Wednesday 7 August

A return visit to my local patch at Rutland Water arriving just before 7am for a couple of hours concentrating on the northern aspect pf the site.  Clam, clear weather and very little cloud and away back home by 10.15 before any threatened rain might arrive - but not before a quick look at Burley Fishponds which contained very many Great Crested Grebes and a good number of Tufted Ducks but, as yet, no sign of winter Wigeons arriving.  On the other hand, over 40 species recorded in the  two hours including a female Scaup so no complaints.

Driving along the top road past the North Arm many Wood Pigeon and Crow sightings, not to mention the Mute Swans on the water below, and even a couple of Barn Swallows.  The fields approaching Egleton held good numbers of both Greylag Goose and Jackdaw and, approaching the church, a pair of Pheasants with four well-grown chicks on the road.

Once parked up on site, now it would appear fully laid out with the marquees in preparation for next week's start to Birdfair 2019, it was a stop at the feeders to confirm both Blue and Great Tit along with Goldfinch and Chaffinch.  A female Blackcap was in the tree to the right with an adult Robin in the tree to the left.  Once the tits had moved off in came a couple of House Sparrow and Collared Doves before I made my way to Lagoon 4 but not without first checking the water in front of the Redshank Hide to confirm many Mallard and a fishing Common Tern with the local Sand Martins feeding over the water.

Robin Erithacus rubecula
So on to the Sandpiper Hide overlooking Lagoon 4 where I immediately saw a pair of Little Grebe to my left and many Little Egret.  Checking out the area I then added many Canada and Greylag Geese, Mallard, Moorhen and Coot.  A pair of Egyptian Geese were feeding in front of me before retreating to take up high residence on the Osprey pole next to the nest platform.

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus
This is my favourite hide so plenty of time to sit and observe and make use of both scope and camera.  At the far back not only the Great Black-backed Gull families but also a Yellow-legged Gull.  The large flock of Black-headed Gulls were mainly to the far left but also a number, including juveniles close by in front of the hide.  To the extreme left a pair of Avocet appeared to join the many Lapwing and then, right opposite, my first of our Little Ringed Plovers.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta with juvenile Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus in front

Continuing my search to cover the whole lagoon I then noted a small flock of Common Starling and a dozen or so Barn Swallows were feeding beyond the to the left.  Only a handful of Teal and just the one Great Crested Grebe observed but a single Pied Wagtail arrived to feed on the water's edge just in front of the hide.

Relatively quiet looking at Lagoon 3 from the Shoveler Hide, not helped by having the low, bright sun in my face.  Mainly Mallard and Coot with  a small number of Teal to the left.  Behind me a very active Sedge Warbler and then a visit by a Reed Warbler.  Just before leaving a few Tufted Duck were recorded.

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus (above) and Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus (below)
A stop at the Buzzard Hide to get a different view of Lagoon 3 produced very many Mallard and Tufted Duck along with a small number of Common Pochard.  However, pride of place must go to the single female Scaup that was feeding alongside her Tufted cousins.

Male Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

Nothing to report from the Smew Hide but the Crake Hide produced many more Mallard and a couple of Great Crested Grebe.  Once at the Lapwing Hide overlooking the South Arm I noted the many Mute Swan and Tufted Duck along with visiting Cormorants to do a little morning fishing.

Working my way back towards the Sandpiper Hide I cam across a party of magpie and then the water itself produce more Little Ringed Plovers along with a single Dunlin.

Dunlin Calidris alpina and with Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius (below)

Back at the Feeding Station for my final observation before heading off home I had more of the same along with a male Blackcap and then the arrival of a Great Spotted Woodpecker.  Finally, back on the main with the North Arm to my right, I had a Red Kite above me so a not an unpleasant way to end the morning's birding.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major

Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Scaup, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Red Kite, Moorhen, Coot, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Blackbird, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch.

Good to see the Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major sharing the "table" with an adult Great Tit Parus major
Looks like a "tip-toeing" Little Egret Egretta Garzetta

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