NAPTON ON THE HILL WEATHER

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Rutland Picnic

Golden Plover
As the mini heatwave draws to a conclusion, hitting temperatures in the late 20's, Dee and I thought we'd better make the most of if before we're brought back down to earth.
Of course the current weather is no good to us birders as in such favourable conditions most autumn migrants continue on their way while the goings good, and who can blame then.

With the possibility of not much migration activity we decided to play it safe and pay a visit to Rutland Water Nature Reserve, only around a fifty or so mile trip so no real effort. With one of Dee's superb picnics packed we set off arriving at Rutland around mid-morning, a pleasant surprise, we literally had the place to ourselves. In fact I can honestly say we didn't see more than a dozen people before leaving shortly after 4pm.

Like most of the English reservoirs and lakes Rutland is also very low on water and so lots more muddy areas are showing. Our first stop at Lagoon 4 produced little out of the ordinary, the Osprey pole looking rather fore lorn after the recent departure of it's summer residents back to Africa, although a Kestrel sitting on top perusing it's surroundings looked happy enough!

One of many Egyptian Geese
On the lagoon itself good numbers of Egyptian Geese, which seem to be on the increase, around a dozen Little Egrets and a Lapwing flock which had 14 Golden Plover among it's numbers, and although almost in winter plumage looked stunning in the bright sunshine. Also on view of note were: Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Pintail, Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler. The flats had several Snipe, 2 Ruff, 5 Pied Wagtail and C30 Linnet.

The surrounding wooded areas held Chiffchaff, Blackcap and a very late solitary Willow Warbler was heard singing. Excellent numbers of Dragonfly, which included Southern Migrant, Ruddy and Common Darter. Butterflies still on the wing were Small White, Peacock, Comma and Red Admiral.

Not much seemed to be in flight today on the birding front, that is until while sitting in one of the hides overlooking Lagoon 3 a Peregrine caused mayhem amongst the Lapwing flock. The bird continued causing chaos for around a half hour until finally, out of our view, the bird made off with it's prey.

After our picnic and before arriving back at the centre for a well earned ice cream we'd further recorded Buzzard, Hobby, Siskin, Wigeon, Curlew, Greenshank and Green Sandpiper. Back at the centre in the upstairs observation area a good scan of the lagoon added several Pochard, 8 Snipe, and 6 Ruff to our numbers. The final birds recorded were 3 House Martin, our first Hirundines of the day, which over flew as we were departing.