Friday, October 10, 2014

Rutland Water

Thought I'd take a little drive off piste today and ended up at Rutland Water, a couple of Red Kite on route. A clear blue sky and little wind greeted me when I arrived at the Egleton Birdwatching Centre shortly after 10 o'clock.

Distant shot of Great White Egret - Lagoon 1
From the centre I decided to start to the south of the reserve and began at the Mallard Hide overlooking Lagoon 1. I was immediately onto a Great White Egret which looked stunning in the bright sunshine. Quite close by a Little Egret, Red-crested Pochard and the usual selection of wildfowl: Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Shoveler. The only wader of note apart from the many Lapwing was a single Curlew. I visited a few other hides on the southern end but things seemed pretty quiet. During my walk a constant trickle of Skylark over with a few Meadow Pipits here and there.

Egyptian Goose - Increased population
After lunch I headed north and began at the Sandpiper Hide overlooking Lagoon 4. Plenty on offer here with a selection of waders which included Golden Plover, Dunlin and a single Little Stint. Egyptian Geese numbers seem to have rocketed since my last visit and good numbers of Pintail were also on offer. At the Dunlin Hide a selection of Gulls which included Greater and Lesser Black-backed, Common Gull and Yellow-legged Gull. Finally at the Plover Hide a single Ruff, several Little Grebe and a Sparrowhawk which kept causing havoc, plus a large flock of Linnet, a trio of late Swallows and brace of House Martin.

Black-tailed Godwit
Lagoon 3 next and here the highlight was a couple of late Hobby, which were constantly feeding on the many dragonfly on the wing: Migrant Hawker, Common and Ruddy Darter all recorded. My first Goldeneye's of the autumn, Black-tailed Godwit and Buzzard were the other notables before heading off.

Ring-necked Duck - I took these in Canada in 2013
Finally I drove around to the North Arm with Gerry, one of the wildlife trusts trustee's I'd met on the reserve earlier. We were very lucky! As we got to the bottom of the road a 15 minute scan revealed the drake Ringed-necked Duck among the many Tufted Duck on the fish ponds. Some good scoped views before the bird flew off in the direction of Dickinson's Bay. Near the shoreline it wasn't long before we picked up a couple of Blacked-necked Grebe, Greenshank, (6) Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Red-crested Pochard and a lone Wheatear to end a real purple patch!