Sunday, January 29, 2012


After a pretty lazy Saturday I managed to complete a full days birding today with Brandon Marsh first thing, followed by a trip with Dee across to Rutland Water in Leicestershire!

A foggy start when I left the marina at around 7am this morning for Brandon and as I walked to the car I could clearly hear one or two Skylarks in the adjacent field, several Fieldfare were also calling nearby.

When I arrived at Brandon the early fog had thankfully risen sufficiently to check out Newlands reed bed and East Marsh Pool. I've not personally had any sightings this year of our wintering Bittern, in fact Derek Bennett another member of the Brandon team, is the only person who's made contact with the bird thus far with a brief view last Thursday, just nice to know its still around.

Bewick Swan
The pool itself had the usual good numbers of Lapwing, Teal, Shoveler and Tufted Duck, and this mornings count also included 4 Pochard, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Wigeon, 5 Snipe and a pair of Goldeneye. Also recorded of note during my brief stay were ♂♀Bullfinch, Cetti's Warbler, 3 singing Song Thrush, 2 Siskin and 4 Lesser Redpoll.

After picking Dee up back at the marina we set off for Rutland Water arriving just before midday, a highlight on route was our first Red Kite of the year when one floated over us at Caldecott just prior to our arrival. The first species of note at Rutland were 4 Bewick Swans, visible from the Birdwatching Centre. From here we set off North towards lagoons 3 and 4, picking up Siskin, Green Woodpecker and a small flock of Long-tailed Tit on route.

Lagoon 4 itself was remarkably quiet, with the exception of a good number of Mute Swans and Greylag Geese, but the hide was quiet so we enjoyed some of our packed lunch and coffee before moving on, registering of note Little Grebe, Kestrel and Great Black-backed Gull. When we arrived at Lagoon 3 the heavens opened and so we settled down for a good scan coming up with: Water Rail, 2 Redhead and 1 ♂Smew, ♂Scaup, 3 Little Egret, 8 Snipe and 15 Pintail amongst the many Goldeneye, Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Shoveler and exceptional numbers of Gadwall.

Little Egret
During a visit to Lapwing Hide, which overlooks the vast South Arm of the reserve, we failed to connect with a reported Slavonian Grebe, but did manage some excellent numbers of ♂♀Goldeneye. A hot chocolate back at the centre overlooking Lagoon 1 from the raised seating area produced 5♂4♀Goosander and our 4th year-first of the day, when a ♂Stonechat made a brief appearance on top of one of the Bulrushes ending a decent session.

Despite the poor light I've posted a few distant images of the day, hope you enjoy!