Sunday, 16 August 2020

Rutland Water

 Sunday 16 August

Up early and over at Rutland Water by 6.30 for my final birding trip before starting the long journey back to Spain on Tuesday, with a week's break in the south of England.  Chance for some local birding there, weather permitting.  Damp, overcast and calm but not cold albeit a little misty at the start so not ideal light for either bins or camera.  As I approached the usual mass of Wood Pigeons and a small flock of Rooks were departing the site heading north for new feeding pastures.  Two shivering Magpies on a gate then another couple once arrived.  No shortage of Jackdaws this morning.  Fortunately, a couple of Starling on the farm roofs as I entered the car park but I had to wait until I was driving out to see my only Collared Dove of the morning.

First stop the Feeding Station where I recorded a fair number of both Blue and Great Tits along with a handful of Chaffinch and a single Greenfinch.  A couple of Dunnock were mopping up the dropped seed and then the third of a dozen Blackbirds seen on site.  So onto the northern hides and reaching the gated corner just north of the Badger Hide a Wren and two Robins on the fence. All quiet at the Redshank Hide although I was in time to see, what looked like, the awakening departure of birds from the Sand Martin colony.

Arriving at the Sandpiper Hide overlooking Lagoon 4 I was somewhat surprised by the lack of birds to be seen.  An Egyptian Goose was standing on top of the Osprey's nest and a Mute Swan was feeding on the water immediately in front of the hide.  Once settled, I then added Black-headed Gulls, Moorhen, Little Egret and Little Grebe plus a small number of Herons and Mallards.  The scope revealed the Greylag Geese and more Mute Swans at the back of the lagoon and even a pair of Great Back-backed Gulls on the distant island.  Just as I was about to depart a pair of Goldfinches landed on the thistles immediately outside the hide.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Walking to the Shoveler Hide overlooking Lagoon 3 a tailless cock Pheasant flew up in front of me and then I settle into another damp hide.  (The only problem with a policy of keeping doors and windows permanently open is that when it rains, at best, you have damp seats and very wet shelves for supporting elbows and placing equipment, etc.)  On the water in front of the hide a number of Teal, Gadwall and Mallard. The number of Lapwing present was low, perhaps because of my early arrival, as also were Little Egret numbers.  A couple of Great White Egrets and and more Moorhens along with huge rafts of Tufted Duck on the open water accompanied a few Great Crested Grebes and more Gadwall.  Not long before I was able to add a few Wigeon and then, in addition to many more Black-headed Gulls, I was able to count the 18 Common Tern present on the little island in front of the hide.  Two Green Sandpipers were feeding at the western end of this island whilst nearer to me a handful of Black-tailed Godwits had arrived to feed.

One of ten Great White Egrets Egretta alba

Nothing else to report from any of the hides stretching out towards the South Arm so I made my way back to the Visitors Centre.  Stopping at the area created to encourage Whitethroats, the gated corner referred to above, lots of small bird activity.  A number of "Chiffwillows" (unable to distinguish between Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler) were very active before identifying a definite Chiffchaff.  A couple of Reed Bunting were more accommodating with their foraging and then my attention was drawn to the Long-tailed Tit feeding in the tree opposite.  (A passing birder also reported that standing around the corner he had seen a couple of Lesser Whitethroat.)

Once back to the entry road I continued on southwards to visit the Mallard Hide overlooking Lagoon 1.  In addition the birds already recorded, especially Heron, Black-headed Gull, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Teal, I now as able to add a few waders including another Green Sandpiper, more Black-tailed Godwits plus a couple of Dunlin and five Ringed Plover.  No sign of the recently reported White-rumped Sandpiper but, there again, the visibility was not good and I might not have recognised the bird even if seen.  Not having seen as yet the local Cormorants, they finally arrived but no Coots.

Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa

The homeward journey took me via Manton Bay where I stopped to view the Osprey nest, holding a wing-flapping youngster and adult above whilst below there were still many occupied Great Crested Grebe nests and, at last, some of the local Coots.  I even had a wandering House Sparrow to complete the morning's birding.

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Heron, Osprey, Moorhen, Coot, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting.

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