Monday 9 March 2020

Rutland Water

Monday 9 March

The sun may have been shining when I got up but upon arriving at at Rutland Water a few minutes to eight I was welcomed by a slight drizzle.  Maybe twenty minutes a the Visitors Centre's Feeding Station but no sooner setting off towards Lagoon 2 and the rain become more persistent so necessitating a period of observation at the Redshank Hide looking at blue skies and direct sun whist the rain fell from behind!

Approaching the Visitors Centre I had a mixture of Carrion Crow and Wood Pigeon and, upon arrival in the car park,  no shortage of either Jackdaw or Blackbird.  Suitably clad I made my way to the Feeding Station where I found a couple of hen Pheasants and as many Robins.  mainly Blue Tits to start plus a very hungry Reed Bunting.

Female (above) and male Reed Bunting Emeriza schoeniclus
Then came the Chaffinches and Great Tits along with a number of Dunnocks and more Blackbirds.  The Rooks were scurrying around at the top of the nearby rookery and even a Moorhen arrived to make use of the pond.

Dunnock Prunella modularis

No sooner had I started to walk north than the rain became more persistent but I did see the Oystercatcher as left the VC and then a lone Goldfinch.  Stopping at the Redshank Hide to let the rain shower pass over, Immediately had selection of ducks including Wigeon, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Teal before adding Great White Egret, Coot, Cormorant and Canada Goose.  Plenty of Black-headed Gulls about and then I s[potted both the Little Egret and a pair of Collared Doves exploring one of the gull nest boxes.  Finally, a Mute Swan flew over as I departed the hide.

Great White Egret Egretta alba

As I made my way towards the Sandpiper Hide overlooking a very full Lagoon 4 a Great Spotted Woodecker was hammering away as if no tomorrow and once inside the shelter many more Black-headed Gulls to be seen along with Teal, Wigeon, Tufted Ducks and a pair of Great Crested Grebes.  A few Shelduck were resting on the large island to front-center and to the far left a lone Lapwing plus a small number of Black-tailed Godwits.  Lovely to see the Greylag Geese looking so smart and fresh.

Greylag Geese Anser anser
The Shoveler Hide overlooking lagoon held many of the above birds but also Shoveler and viewing the water from the Buzzard Hide I also had a close view of a departing Heron.  However, it was the Smew Hide that turned up trump with a very close female Goosander on the northern end of Lagoon 2.

Female Goosander Mergus merganser

So back to the Visitors Centre where, through the window, I had a perfect sighting of a male Smew and a little further out to the right a Great Black-backed Gull.  Just the one Little Grebe noted in the nearby water to my right.

Male Smew Mergellus albellus taken through the window

A quick visit to the Burley Fishponds produced nothing new but there ten Magpies in the field as I passed by.  So back by the same route and then on to the Lyndon Visitors Centre.  Having only re-opened at the week-end, the seed hoppers were full and scores on small birds in attendance above the two pairs of Mallards making use of the pond, albeit they were joined by a couple of Moorhen during my stay.  Lots of Blue and Great Tits along with very many Chaffinches and a good number of both Goldfinch and Greenfinch.  Three male Reed Buntings were ever present and we had an occasional visit from both Dunnock and Robin.  Mind you, all were scattered to the four corners of the wind as a male Sparrowhawk flashed through the feeding area - but striking a single bird.

Male Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
However, it was not the one short visit from a Coal Tit that was the "bird of the moment" but the two "lengthy" visits to the seed hopper by a male Brambling that gave all present plenty of time to admire its plumage and state of moult.  finally, a couple of Tree Sparrows arrived along with a single House Sparrow and then it was time to make my way home and approaching the end of the water a Red Kite graced me with its presence to give a final total of 46 species.

Dunnock Prunella modularis

Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Smew, Goosander, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Heron, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting.

Carrion Crow Corvus corone corone
Courting Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Teal Anas crecca

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Duck and gulls on Lagoon 4

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

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