Monday, 6 December 2021

Rutland Water & Deeping Lakes

Sunday 5 December

Whooper Swans near Deeping Lakes

With bad weather forecast for my final two days in Stamford a sudden last minute change of plan led to me saying goodbye to these two lovely sites on the same day.  In the end I was at Rutland Water by 8.30 on a damp and very, very cold morning starting at the North Arm from the entry point just before Hambledon.  Approaching the reserve I had already seen a low flying Red Kite, Carrion Crow and Wigeon and I was to add a couple of Magpie and Black-headed Gull as I approached my first stop.    On  the water both Wigeon and Mallard and a little further out a small number of Tufted Duck and a couple of Great Crested Grebe.

Next it was off to the Visitors Centre Car Park where I quickly came into contact with a few Blackbirds and even more Jackdaw.  The Feeding Station was busy with many Blue and Great Tit along with the occasional Blackbird and a constant appearance of Dunnock and Chaffinch, plus the scavenging Grey Squirrel and Brown Rat below the feeder itself.

With damp rather then rain in the air I set off to Lagoon 4 and immediately came across more feeding thrushes, mainly Blackbirds but also a handful of Redwing.  A Robin skipped across the path in front of me and then reaching the big field I noticed the distant shape on the ground and raising my bins was delighted to see a Green Woodpecker. A Pheasant was at the far end of the narrow path and approaching end path up to the Dunlin Hide a found my first of three Wrens for the visit.  So much water in Lagoon 4 and the windy, cold conditions seemed to have driven away most of the birds so just a few Wigeon and a couple of Mallard plus a trio of Teal. A similar sight greeted me at the Sandpiper Hide so straight on to Lagoon 3 and the Shoveler Hide.

Female Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

A little more activity here with a few Teal in front of me and a number of Lapwing and Cormorant resting away to me left. Beyond the near island a small [party f Tufted Duck and a handful of Shelduck and then, without warning, I was suddenly looking at a male Goosander and just beyond a male Goldeneye surfaced and, indeed, a true pair were working the area.

Male Goldeneye Bucephala clangula

From here it was a walk to the far end overlooking the South Arm and from the Crake Hide, which was the opposite of the very full Lagoon 4 with next to no water to be seen from the hide, a call then the sight of a Redshank. Away to my far right but a better view looking left from the Lapwing Hide, a flock of Canada Geese and more Wigeon.  On the water in front plenty of Coot, Tufted Duck and even both Heron and Little Egret on the left shore. 

Teal Anas crecca

Back to the Visitors Centre to meet an old friend and whilst there noted a trio of Great White Egrets and a a similar number of Goosander on Lagoon 1.  A House Sparrow had joined the tits and Chaffinches at the Feeding Station as I made my way  back to the car to take the circular route home vis a short stop at the  Lyndon Centre.  Passing through Gunthorpe on the way I came across a small flock of Rook and more Blackbirds as I made my way down the steep hill to the Centre itself.  The feeder here was awash with activity with Pheasants, Dunnocks and Robins along with few Moorhen and a pair of Mallard in and around the pond below the feeder and numerous Blue and Great Tits actively feeing on the feeders.  These were joined by many Chaffinches and Goldfinches and a lone Greenfinch.  Tome to move on and once back on the main road heading towards Edith Weston a flock of Greylag Geese took off from the field on my left above the water.

By 11.30 I was on my way back to Stamford and then on through Market Deeping and Deeping St James to the Deeping Lakes reserve out on the back road to Crowland, arriving around 12.15.  Having passed a couple of Collared Dove I entered the reserve to find Mute Swans and Carrion Crows, the occasional Magpie and regular appearance of a Wood Pigeon or more.  On the islands I could see a number of resting Wigeon and Teal plus Lapwing, a trio of Pochard and both Black-headed and Herring Gulls.   A little further away more Mute Swans along with Cormorants, a Heron, an Egyptian Goose and, finally, this water would not be the same without the ever-present Coot and a few Moorhen.

A light drizzle was now falling as I headed for the hide overlooking the main water and here a good selection of birds albeit much fewer than on ,y last visit.  The first bird noticed was the male Goosander and moving about or sheltering under the trees on the island I added Mallard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe and more Cormorant.

Male Goosander Mergus  merganser

Making my way along the rutted track out of the reserve I stopped the car and stared in amazement at the second Green Woodpecker seen this morning. You barely see one in three or more years and then two in four hours!  Perhaps the local Robin also could not believe what it was seeing and came out to check for itself!

Distant shot of Green Woodpecker Picus viridis with Robin Erithacus rubecula

Then, rather than straight home, I followed the road alongside the Welland towards Crowland for almost ten miles to see if I could find the wintering Whooper Swans, but without luck,  Constantly checking the river to see if they were on the water along with the Mute Swans and Mallards, but no.  A Kestrel rose from the side of the road and within 800 metres of leaving the Lakes I had also found a number of feeding Pheasants.  Reaching the outskirts of Spalding where I crossed the river to return along the other side of the river having added Starlings in the town and a then a resting Buzzard on a post about half-way back. A small party of Jackdaws was also note and, would you believe it, within 800 metres of the start back at Deeping Lakes I found a party of approximately 50 Whooper Swans on a distant field about where I had previously seen both the Kestrel and Pheasants half an hour earlier!  Unfortunately no road or track to take me any nearer to the Whooper Swans so a short stop on the narrow road for a quick look through the bins and distant record shots from the car.

Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus but also a trio of Mute Swans Cygnus olor

A lovely way to say farewell for the foreseeable future with a final tally of exactly 50 species for the morning.  

Green Woodpecker Picus viridis

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Goosander, Pheasant, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Heron, Red Kite, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Green Woodpecker, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Redwing, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

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

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa

 Wednesday 1 December

What better way to start the new month than be out birding with friends.  As for me, I was driving up and down between Stamford, Lincolnshire and Warsash on the mouth of the Hamble river it meets Southampton Water.  Lots of Red Kites seen both yesterday and today and this afternoon as I crossed the Isis (Thames) on the A43 west of Oxford. Meanwhile Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group were out birding and I certainly know where I would prefer to be.

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 1st December

I picked up Juda from the Ballabona service station and we made our way to the Desert Springs end of the Rambla de Almanzora.  On or near the first pools we saw Coot, Moorhen, Shoveler and the first of many Teal. Waders included Dunlin, Wood Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover.  The stars of the show were 4 Lapwing.  Little birds included Greenfinch, Goldfinch, White Wagtail and Water Pipit.  Further down we saw a Kestrel and a couple of Green Sandpipers.  Juda spotted a Snipe.  We heard a Cetti's Warbler.  Also added Iberian Grey Shrike, Stonechat, Chiffchaff and Northern Starling.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

There was nothing at the ford possibly due to a very loud bird scarer banging nearby!  We met up with Les, Kevin and Nevill.  They had seen Long-tailed Tit, Mallard, Collared Dove and House Sparrow.  We were joined by Michael, Karen, Val after a long time in France and Trevor.  We wandered along the embankment towards the Sewage complex.  I found a Robin and Les saw a Black Redstart.  Some Woodpigeon flew over.  The small ponds only produced White Wagtail and Collared Dove.  The big pool had Shoveler, Teal and Mallard swimming about.  Juda found a Grey Heron.  A Dunlin was identified.  Les spotted a Blackbird flying low through the shrubs.  A pair of Thekla Larks were seen.

Male Shoveler Anas clypeata

After a coffee in Villaricos village we checked out the rocks from the promenade.  There were a couple of Cormorants, a Black-headed Gull and possibly a flight of Turnstone.  We moved on to the estuary, viewing it from the Vera side from the embankment.  There were lots of Cormorants drying their wings. We added Little Egret and Yellow-legged Gull.

We headed to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket at the rear of Vera Playa.  Kevin and Trevor both spotted Little Grebes.  Nevill found the two Greater Flamingo.  Amongst the shrubs were Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Coot and Moorhen.  I found 6 Shelduck on the far side.  Trevor then spotted a male Marsh Harrier whilst Karen spotted one of two females.  Les added a Sardinian Warbler.
We carried on round to the elevated platform opposite the Acuaparc.  Les possibly had some Crag Martins en route.  There were 19 White-headed Ducks seen.  Nevill found the first Barn Swallow, whilst Les spotted a Purple Swamphen.

We ended up with 45 species.  Lovely weather if a bit chilly.  Great company.  When I was dropping Juda off at the Ballabona she spotted a raptor overhead.  A Bonell's Eagle!

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

Monday, 29 November 2021

Hamble River, Warsash

 Monday 29 November

Leaving home early afternoon for a walk alonghside the Hamble River from where it departs Southampton Water at Warsash, I encountered Dunnock, Goldfinch and Magpie before taking the adjacent footpath to the water's edge.  Then it was upstream to well beyond the small, arched footbridge along the now potholed waterside track covering just over a mile before my return in calm, clear weather but cold, very cold!  Immediately a couple of Dunlin and both single Black-headed and Herring Gulls before seeing my first Brent Geese, which eventually produced a grand total of almost eighty individuals.

Teal Anas crecca

Once underway on the track regular appearances of individual Carrion Crow and a small flock of Starling departed the shore to the nearby trees.  Lots of individual Redshank and then the first of three Little Egrets, and looking very cold and hungry.  Once the first Turnstone had been found I came across the first of the ducks and on this occasion a healthy flock of forty-five Wigeon.  Almost immediately thirty Teal and both species were to be further recorded in good numbers.

Wigeon Anas penelope

Meanwhile, another Curlew every so often and then a Grey Plover.  Not just an isolated individual as two more were to be seen as I progressed upstream. The grassy plain to the right of the path held more Black-headed Gulls and a party of eighteen feeding Shelduck.  Nearer me I counted thirty Ringed Plover and a little further on a lone Lapwing.  Three Heron rested towards the back of the area on the edge of the reedbed.

Curlew Numenius arquata

At the water's edge my first of four Black-tailed Godwit and then a lone Kingfisher landed on the side of an old hulk before flashing away to the back of the now empty, muddy creek. That was when I discovered my first of three Greenshank and a lone Common Gull sitting on the water.  

Common Gull Larus canus

Almost at the turning point and I found an Oystercatcher on the shore followed by a further three as I made my way back downstream to Warsash.  I was somewhat surprised to notice that a trio of Mallard had arrived at the water's edge and then as I started on the footpath away from the water towards the car park, a Wren popped up in front of me to go foraging below the bushes on the other side of the track.

Greenshank Tringa nebularia

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Little Egret, Heron, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Greenshank, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Kingfisher, Dunnock, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, Goldfinch.

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

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Sierra de Maria with the Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 24 November

Good to see that friend Dave Elliott-Binns back in the warmth and able to take his Arboleas Birding Group on their first birding visit of the winter.  Whilst I was enjoying 4C in the sun at Frampton Marsh on the The Wash back in the UK Dave was up the mountain trying to outdo me in the cold game at the Sierra de Maria and searching out the snow.  Not too sure on where I would prefer to be!  Anyway, welcome home Dave and you'll soon be far warmer than me.

Sierra de Maria   -   Wednesday 24th November

After seven weeks away in the UK it was good to return to my favourite birding location, the Sierra de Maria albeit a tad chilly at times!  Juda arrived at my house in good time and we headed north.  We didn't see any birds after we'd passed the bird list starting point outside Velez Blanco until we got to the Repsol garage cafe in Maria town.

You can imagine my surprise when this man pulled down his mask to reveal a smiling Les!  He's been in the UK for about two years having suffered a series of heart attacks.  He looked like the old Les! Equally surprised were Trevor, Michael, Karen, Richard & Mike who joined us for a coffee.
Due to the cold temperatures I decided we'd "do" the loop.  There was a scattering of snow on the mountain ridge and in the shaded areas beside the road.  We convoyed towards the village and only began to see any birdlife after we'd left the pine forest and were surrounded by ploughed fields.  We saw medium sized flocks of Goldfinch, Linnet and Rock Sparrow.  There were a smaller numbers of Greenfinch and Corn Bunting plus singles of Stonechat and Thekla Lark.  I stopped and check out some corvids. Carrion Crows or so I thought.  Michael had also found a single Red-billed Chough with them. We stopped for a chat by the village.  Les added Crested Lark, Mistle Thrush and Woodpigeon to the list.

Hoopoe Upupa epops

We carried on. As leading vehicle I had a good view of an obliging Hoopoe and a Red Legged Partridge.  I missed the Common Buzzard that Richard & Trevor saw.  We saw another pair of Red-billed Chough.  As we approached the cliff face an Iberian Green Woodpecker flew into a distant tree, later seen by some others flying off.  Some of us walked to the far end of the cliff face.  We were rewarded with views of a pair of Black Wheatear and a Little Owl.  Les spotted a Magpie.  A single Griffon Vulture was seen. 

Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa

We carried on seeing Collared Dove, Iberian Grey Shrike and more Magpies, Kestrel, Stonechat and flocks of finches.  Les had a White Wagtail.  Heading towards the hamlet we added a pair of Ravens. Karen also saw a Robin.

We stopped at the hamlet but didn't see anything.  And nothing on the plain apart from more distant Griffon Vultures.

La Piza forest cafe here we come!  Some Crossbill were drinking from a puddle as we parked up.  We sat outside for our lunch and watched GreatTits, Long Tailed Tits, Blue Tits and Crested Tits using the nut feeders.  Also seen were Chaffinch and a Robin.  On the way back to Maria town there was a plume of about 10 Griffons to the north.

Crossbill Loxia curvirostra

We ended with a respectable 31 species, not bad considering the cold weather.  It was great to be out and about in good company.


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

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Lincolnshire Wetlands

 Tuesday 23 November

Frampton Marsh looking towards Boston and now starting to fill

A beautiful calm and sunny start to the day with clear blue skies.  However, very cold with the temperature still at 4C approaching 10 o'clock starting my morning's birding at RSPB Frampton Marsh. Approaching the reserve I had already recorded Carrion Crow, with more to follow once on site, Wood Pigeon and Rook.  Next up both Collared Dove and Blackbird plus a lone Pied Wagtail.  But once parked up at the end of the lane near the Wash embankment nothing but Wigeons here, there and everywhere; there were thousands. Yes, many Teal but only a dozen or so Shoveler and even fewer Mallard.  And that was it as far a duck species went.

A few of the thousand plus Wigeon Anas penelope along with some Brent Geese Branta bernicla

What a honking noise as I looked up and watched at least two hundred Pink-footed Geese pass over.  Probably more than twice that number on the reserve with a good number of resident Greylag and Canada Geese plus three figures worth of Brent Geese. It very much then became a challenge to find something different, especially of you discount the very large number of wintering Lapwing.

A few of the scores of Brent Geese Branta bernicla

A lone Heron was found on the far side and climbing up to the top of the high bank a quartet of Meadow Pipit passed over,  Below on the scrapes I managed to find a couple of Redshank and out on the marsh itself a distant Short-eared Owl that was mobbed by a gull.  Making my way back tot he main car park I noted Little Egret, a couple of Pheasant way out on the left and, nearer to the Visitors Centre a handful of House Sparrow.

Wigeon and Brent Geese

Next came a walk to the Reed Hide and stooping on the way I managed Moorhen, a Snipe and three Dunlin.  Having scoped past all the Wigeon and many Teal I then found a pair of Avocet.  Once in the hide a Little Grebe towards the far island and a single Black-tailed Godwit.  However, the best sighting of all was the Water Rail that casually made its way along the shore immediately in front of the hide and not ten metres away from those of us inside.

And then the Water Rail Rallus aquaticus walked in front of us

All appearing very quiet so I decided to cut short my visit and make a stop at the Deeping Lakes Nature Reserve rather than Baston Gravel Pits on my way back to Stamford.  But as I left the reserve both Goldfinch and Great Tit in the trees near the exit and then a Starling followed by a few Black-headed Gulls.

Thirty minutes later as I entered the Deeping Lakes reserve to the south-east of Deeping St James a couple of Red Kites quartering a recently ploughed field close to the ground and then a stop to check the first pool revealed a few Mute Swans plus a large flock of Black-headed and a few Herring GullsJackdaws were resting on one island and the one to the right held a pair of Egyptian Geese.  All around a number of Wigeon and Teal plus a handful of Shoveler and a pair of Mallard.  At the back a few Canada Geese but to the right a male Pintail.

The distant male Pintail Anas acuta

A walk up the bank to look at the River Welland produced more Mute Swans plus a quartet of Little Grebe and a a couple of Mallard. Back inside the reserve and on the hide overlooking the main water produced Blackbird, Great and Blue Tit plus both Carrion Crow and Wood Pigeon.

A large selection of species observed from the hide including Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Heron and Little Egret.  Ducks included Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Gadwall. In addition, there were scores of Coot and I also found both Moorhen and a few Greylag Geese.

Completing the circular walk to the far end, through the woods and back along the river bank I found a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a couple of Starlings feeding on ripe berries.  (I was also informed that there is presently a large murmuration of Starlings in the area totalling ,many thousand.) 

Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris

In the next field a couple of Magpie and as I made my way back to the car park a dozen or so swans flew over the river and appeared to land on the entry pool.  Reaching the exit, I stopped to double-checked having noted the additional Mute Swans present and, sure enough, they included three Whooper Swans amongst their number.  Was I or was I not very pleased!  All that now remained was to note the Kestrel sitting on the wire just round the corner with a trio of Collared Doves on the pylon and no less than five Pheasants in the field opposite.  Two visits and both returned a total of 34 species with a species return of 50 for the day.

Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus with Canada Goose Branta canadensis and Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus

Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus

Birds seen:

Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Red Kite, Kestrel, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Avocet, Lapwing, Dunlin, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Back-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch.

Just the two Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca

Jackdaws Corvus monedula at the sea-side!

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

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Rutland Water

 Friday 19 November

Collected friend Chris Bell from Stamford railway station and over at Rutland Water to check out the North Arm just outside Burley Ponds by 8.30.  All very sad really as this will not only be my last visit this year but also, probably for many a year as we move south to Warsash on Southampton water.  But at least we had a great five hours plus birding eventually recording 60 species.  And to help things along dry and cool with some occasional sunshine on the warmest day pf the week.

All the usuals such as Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow and Magpie recorded as we approached the small car park just beyond the private road to give a view of the south shore of the North Arm. A Blackbird flew across the road and on the water we son recorded Coot, Mute Swan, Mallard, Cormorant and both Little and Great Crested Grebe. We next moved half-way up the hill towards Upper Hambleton where we were able to park in the entrance to the lane leading down to the fishing area.  Once out of the car a Robin and Chaffinch and then, wonders of wonders, both a Dunnock and Wren working a large pile of dead cuttings.  Then followed a pleasant walk down across the fields towards the shore before looping round to the left and back to the car.  Recorded on the water the first of eight Great White Egrets to be seen during the visit along with Heron, Greylag Geese, Pied Wagtail, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Black-headed Gull, Goldfinch and Blue Tit. Chris also heard a Mistle Thrush but we were unable to locate the bird.

Great White Egret  Egretta alba with Mallard and Wigeon

A great start to the morning then as we headed off to Egleton and the Visitors Centre finding our fits of many Jackdaw as we approached the village.  Welcomed to the car park by a solitary Collared Dove but the feeding area only held Blue and Great Tits along with a single Robin.  Once in the upstairs viewing room we could see that the water levels were still low but the water held Cormorant, Lapwing, Shelduck and Gadwall. A pair of Egyptian Geese were resting on an island as a couple of Mute Swans drifted past and then a trio of House Sparrow.  However, mot pleased to see the arrival of a pair of Pintail.

On this occasion we headed south towards the Snipe Hide.  Whilst there was little initially to be seen apart from distant Mute Swans, Cormorants and a range of the above ducks we did eventually find a resting Buzzard on the water's edge.  But on the main track leading towards the hide we stopped to observe the large number of moving Blackbirds and, in short time, noted the occasional Fieldfare and a small flock of Redwing.  At the same time, a constant movement of Long-tailed Tits through the hedgerow.  Before leaving the hide a small flock of Canada Geese flew westwards in front of us.

Just a small section of the 1500 Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria

Retracing our steps towards the Visitors Centre we then headed north to visit Lagoon 4 and as we looped around Lagoon 2 we found a quartering Red Kite and not one but two Great Spotted Woodpeckers.  Straight to the Dunlin Hide where we found a flock of approximately 1500 Golden Plover along with very many Lapwing.  Mainly Black-headed but also a few Lesser black-backed and at least a couple of Greater Black-backed Gulls.  Ducks present included Wigeon, Mallard, Gadwall, Pochard and Teal plus a late sighting of Common Gull.

Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus with much smaller Black-backed Gull L.ridibundus

Missing out Sandpiper Hide we went straight to the northern Plover Hide but nothing new added to the sightings.  However, as we approached a Jay flew away from us down the track and upon leaving we heard then saw a Green Woodpecker on the lagoon's bank.

Female Goldeneye Bucephala clangula

Working back to check Lagoon 3 we settled into Shoveler Hide and were rewarded by more Great White Egrets, Great Crested Grebe and the first Moorhen of the morning.  Lots of Pochard and Lapwing plus a number of Teal and Mallard.  A Pied Wagtail paid a visit to the island in front and looking beyond the Tufted Ducks we were able to identity a pair of Goldeneye.  Checking the resting Lapwings to our left we managed to pick out the single Black-tailed Godwit.  Chris heard another Pheasant and so onto the Lapwing Hide via a short stop at the Crake Hide.  The latter was almost dry but did hold a few duck but Lapwing Hide eventually, at the last calling, produced our first Little Egret of the visit with two seen along with another couple of Great White Egrets.

Male Stonechat Saxicola torquatus

It was on the start of the return walk to the car park that Chris heard the call of the Cetti's Warbler at the nearby Crake Hide and with a final stop at the Grebe Hide overlooking Lagoon 2 we found a trio of Pied Wagtail and a single male Stonechat.  Also Moorhen, TealWigeon and Mallard on the water. But when looking at the distant Great White Eagle we were also able to uncover the feeding Curlew.

Distant Heron Ardea cinerea but note the Curlew Numenius arquata in the foreground

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Heron, Red Kite, Buzzard, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Back-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Greater Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch.

Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus with Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

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

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Rutland Reservoirs

 Thursday 18 November

A lovey start to the morning with bright sunny spells and some clear blue sky; ideal birding weather.  So with Jenny, once the necessary shopping had been completed, off to Eyebrook Rervoir, which has the Rutland/Leicestershire border running smack through the middle, to see if the two rarities were still present.  On the other hand, no point simply driving straight past Rutland Water with the possibility that the recent Great Northern Diver might still be present, so a stop to check out the water on front of the dam.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula and a Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus

No divers but a female Goosander along with a number of Wigeon and Tufted Duck plus both Little and Great Crested Grebes.  A few Cormorant and Black-headed Gulls were also present.  Continuing on through Edith Weston in time to record Carrion Crow, Magpie and Blackbird before the briefest of stops at the Lyndon Visitors Centre to check the feeders.  Straight away a female Bullfinch in the nearby hedgerow and a couple of hen Pheasants below the feeders.  On the feeders themselves Blue and Great Tit along with Chaffinches.  A Wren was watching the activity from the adjacent bush whilst out on the water and edges plenty of Mute Swans, a single Heron, Cormorants and a Great Black-backed Gull.

Continuing on via Uppingham to Eyebrook Reservoir we approached along the narrow lane coming out on the Leicestershire side on the inflow bridge.  Over the bridge and stop to check the feeder below and the shallow end of the water.  A few Mallard and a single Little Egret on the reservoir side along with hundreds of Black-headed Gulls both resting on the water and following the tractors ploughing the field in front of us.  Unfortunately the bright, low sun was almost straight in our eyes so a more detailed study would have to wait until we reached the car park on the way to Stoke Dry.  However, the feeders did provide sightings of Blue and Great Tit along with a few Goldfinch, the occasional Chaffinch and a wandering Moorhen.  Meanwhile, overhead, the first bird recorded was a departing Raven along with a couple of Carrion Crow and Jackdaws were heard before eventually seen. 

Checking the very many gulls on the way, of which the great majority were Black-headed along with  number of Common Gulls, we arrived at the car park and found a few resting Mallard.  On the water, now with the sun almost behind us, a good number of Mute Swans plus Little and Great Crested Grebes along with both Wigeon and Tufted Duck and a number of Cormorant.  On the edge of the ploughed field to our right as we retraced our steps towards the bridge a couple of Pied Wagtails.  Above the wagtails a huge flock of Lapwing up in the air above the trees, no doubt as a result of the lone Red Kite drifting towards us at a low level.

Mainly Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula with Pochard Aythya ferina. Scaup?

Once on the other side of the water a stop at the first view point confirmed the birds already seen along with a couple of Blackbirds. Here there was also a large flock of Teal.  However, it was to be the next viewpoint that really turned up trumps.  Not only hundreds of Tufted Duck with the added mix of both Pochard and occasional Wigeon but the two recently seen rarities.  Fortunately , a local birder was also present with his scope to point out the distant Ring-billed Duck which, it was hoped, might remain for the rest of the winter.  Much nearer, though, mixing with the large flock of Tufted Ducks, a couple of Scaup.  Very difficult to get decent views as they were forever either diving of facing the other way to preen.  But seen if not photographed - using my own scope.  And further to our right a number of Greylag Geese.

More of the same but where is the Scaup Aythya marila?

As we set off to drive round to the other side and back into Rutland, first a Buzzard followed by a small flock of Wood Pigeon and then a hovering female Kestrel.  In total, 37 species for the morning which, in reality was a total birding tome of less then two hours.

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Pochard, Ring-necked Duck, Tufted Duck, Scaup, Goosander, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Red Kite, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Raven, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch.

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

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

The life and times of a quartering Marsh Harrier

 Monday 15 November

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus

Just the one Marsh Harrier at Potterick Carr and much as it did its best to quarter the reed beds in search of a meal, every time it passed a certain point up jumped a Carrion Crow to hassle and mob and let the raptor know that this was very much his territory.

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