Saturday, 25 July 2020

Rutland Water

A Rutland Water Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Saturday 25 July

The promised rain did not arrive (well, not until I was back home) so off to Rutland Water for the morning arriving at 9.30 in mixed cloud, some sun and reasonably warm even if there was a good breeze.  Lots of Mute Swans seen on the North Arm as I approached the Egleton turning and a large flock of Rooks to my right.  The trip to Burley Fishponds was abandoned as the road is now closed albeit I did record Canada Geese on the way up  and a couple of Cormorant seen from said road, along with many Wood Pigeon and then a couple of Crows approaching Egleton itself, where a Jackdaw was resting atop the church tower.  Driving along this last lane at least fifty Greylag Geese flew east over the road immediately in front of the car.

Blackbird Turdus merula happy to share the table with  Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis

Awaiting the optics shop to open for a repair to be undertaken on my scope I started at the feeding Station.  It looked very much that no ground maintenance had been undertaken during lockdown and although feeders had been topped up little, if anything, could be seen of the ground.  Lots of adult and juvenile Blue and Great Tits along with sightings of Goldfinch and Chaffinch along with a single Greenfinch.  Strange that only one male seen in the score or more of Chaffinches.  Also present a Robin, Dunnock and Blackbird.

Lagoon 3 from Shoveler Hide
Repairs undertaken there was time to check the activity on Lagoon 1 before setting off north in to the reserve.  Plenty of Mallard and Cormorant along with Tufted Duck, Coot and a trio of Little Egret.  But then, at the back, a Great White EgretRedshank Hide produced Coot, a first Common Tern of the morning and a number of sand martin in addition to the Black-headed Gulls whereas Osprey Hide provided the first Moorhen of the morning.

Great White Egret Egretta alba

Once settled into Sandpiper Hide overlooking Lagoon 4 chance to take note of the bird life with no other birders present.  A good number of both Mallard and Lapwing with probably more than a dozen Little Egret.  Just the one Little Grebe and also a lone Pied wagtail.  Very many Canada and Greylag Geese and on the far left a number of Black-headed Gulls, pus a few to the front, plus a single Great Black-backed Gull.  Indeed, resting with the main flock of Black-headed Gulls to the left was a single Mediterranean Gull.  Having watched the large, feeding flock of Starlings I noticed the small family party of Egyptian Geese at the back left whereas to my right a single Little Grebe and a quintet of Wigeon.

Common Terns Sterna hirundo

Shoveler Hide overlooking Lagoon 3 was a delight as it held over 70 Lapwing and I counted 35 Common Tern on the two small islands in front of the hide.  At the back against the reeds to my left a single Great White Egret along with five Little Egrets followed by a pair of feeding Green Sandpuipers.  A few Reed Warblers were calling form the adjacent reedbed and a couple of juvenile Shelduck were noted.  The deeper water held scores of Great Crested Grebes.  However, just one Black-tailed Godwit feeding close to the resting flock of Lapwing.  The Common Terns were using the provided nesting boxes in the water and judging by the "non-barred Covid activity" the breeding cycle is still in full swing!

A loving pair of Common Terns Sterna hirundo

The local Gadwall were found from the Buzzard Hide and on entering Smew Hide overlooking the northern end of lagoon 2 it was relatively easy to ponder the reason for the Common Tern being found as stated above; nesting platforms were well over-grown and generally very little, if any, ground exposed on the lagoon's edges.  Similarly, Lagoon 3 was a major source for the observed Great Crested Grebes this morning.  It was only when back at the Visitors Centre to collect my repaired tripod that I ventured upstairs tot he viewing area and found the massed resting flock of Tufted Duck along with a couple of Heron and even a visiting Carrion Crow.  A single Barn Swallow flew past to give a change from the local breeding Sand Martins.

Lagoon 1 seen from the Visitors Centre
Driving over to the Lyndon Visitors centre i stopped at the western end of Manton Bay to be amazed by the number of birds present in the shallow water, mainly Mallard and Great Crested Grebes but also Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret and Tufted Duck.  Nothing on the nest but a (juvenile?) Osprey was resting on a small dead tree in the water a little to the left.

Western end of Manton Bay seen from the A6003 Uppingham to Oakham road
Lyndon itself was rather disappointing.  I got the distant feeling that the area had only just been re-opened so no food in the feeders and not a single small bird to be seen.  I took my first ever walk eastwards to Swan Hide, a 600 walk each way which produced a the briefest of sightings as a lone Cormorant surfaced to show its neck and was gone as soon as seen!  And, as I made my way back to the main road  the last recorded species was a Magpie.

Resting Tufted Duck Aythya fuligua plus Herons Ardea cinerea, Little Egret Egretta garzetta and Carrion Crow Corvus corone
Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Heron, Osprey, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Juvenile Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
A small section of the Lapwing Vanellus vanellus flock 
I counted 35 Common Terns Sterna hirundo on this small island
 
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