Friday, 3 January 2020

Rutland Water "Quickie"

Thursday 2 January 2020

Back to Spain today but no need to leave Stamford until about 2.30pm so time for a quick dash down to my local UK patch at Rutland Water.  Even some breaking sunshine as I arrived at 9.30 for a ninety minute anti-clockwise circuit of the water taking in Burley Fishponds, the Visitors Centre and Lyndon.

A number of Mute Swans viewed from the main road as I approached the turn off to the reserve and more seen once on site at Burley Fishponds.  To my left a few Black-headed Gulls, Cormorants and a plentiful supply of Wigeon along with at least a dozen Great Crested GrebesCarrion Crows and Wood Pigeons above me and looking at the main water no shortage of Tufted Duck along with a Great White Egret on the far bank.  A good supply of Canada Geese both on the near bank and flock in the air.  As I watched the Canada Geese fly away right I also noticed the large flock of Lapwing flying left towards the reserve proper.

A few of the many Canada Geese Branta canadensis
And so on to the Visitors Centre passing a flock of about 50 Greylag Geese feeding on a field to my right opposite Egleton Church and, at the main car park, I was welcomed by the resident Jackdaws.  At the feeding station a good number of Great and Blue Tits along with a handful of Goldfinch and Chaffinches and many Blackbirds.  However, not the local Rat but the hen Pheasant feeding on the spilt seed that immediately drew my attention.  A couple of Robins seemed equally upset by the other and at least three Dunnocks also fed from the ground beneath the feeders.  Finally, just the single House Sparrow noted.

Pheasant Phasianus colchicus with Robin Erithacus rubecula to front
A short visit to the Centre itself to check out Lagoon 1 produced many Lapwing and a few more Great Crested Grebes along with Cormorant and more Tufted Duck.  A score of Coot and probably as many Pintails before I found a couple of Goosander at the back of the water and a trio of Smew exposed themselves as they passed a break in the reeds whilst moving from left to right.  On the right of the water near the marshy area a small number of Teal and a rather more Shoveler plus another Great White Egret.  Away to my left on Lagoon 3 I could see a whole raft of Mute Swans.

Male Blackbird Turdus merula

Returning for a last look at the feeding station I first heard then saw some of the local Rooks whilst on the feeders a visit from a Coal Tit.

As soon as I arrived at Lyndon I was greeted by a departing Magpie and then walking round to view the feeders I was welcomed by a half-dozen Mallard and a departing Moorhen.  Lots of Blue and Great Tits along with Goldfnches making use of the provided seed and then a visit from the local Willow Tit whilst the Robin watched all the activity from afar and a a lone Grey Squirrel did its best to, unsuccessfully, find a way into the long, round, plastic feeder before finally falling off!  Another Coal Tit and a Lesser Black-backed Gull flying overhead with Gadwall on the water of Manton Bay.

Dunnock Prunella modularis

Time pressing on son on towards Stamford and finding a resting Kestrel within minutes of leaving the site.  A short stop at the dam revealed a small flock of Tufted Ducks, more Great Crested Grebes and a single feeding Little Grebe.  The "missing" bird was found on the opposite side of the water on our way towards East Midlands Airport when a Red Kite appeared immediately overhead.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula pair (top) with Coots Fulica atra

Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Smew, Goosander, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Great White Egret, Red Kite, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Willow Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch.

Hen Pheasant Phasianus colchicus - cold or just right for the oven?

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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