Monday, May 07, 2007

Rutland Water in Spring

Sunday night was spent in a drunken haze at a party, thrown to celebrate my mate not getting killed in a bike accident a year-ago (it was a close run thing!). Monday therefore needed to start gently so we headed the short distance from the party to the nature reserve at Egleton, Rutland Water, though the morning was overcast and there was rain in the air. We walked out to the farthest hide on Lagoon III first from where we could see, amongst other birds, these Dunlin heading towards full summer plumage:

On the far island were two Little-ringed Plover, which were a first for us :)

They were quite distant but distinctly Little-ringed Plovers! Also gliding about were plenty of Shelduck, I thought this one a very attractive bird, with an especially red beak:

There are now plenty of Common Terns at Rutland, some Arctic Terns were reported but we didn't see any. Luckily (the light being very poor at this point) this Common Tern flew close to the hide so I could get a good photo. Click through for a better view:

Now hovering looking for fish - I think they are very elegant birds:

We'd been at Rutland for a couple of hours now and you could hear Sedge Warblers almost everywhere, but none were showing themselves. That is until we walked back down the path with the hides on between Lagoon III and Lagoon II. This chap was singing in a bush above the fence line and was quite unmoved by our watching him:

By now hunger had set-in (the B&B we stayed in provided a continental breakfast of three bits of bread, a toaster and some pre-packed butter... not impressed!!) so back to the visitor centre which has added a fridge for sandwiches and cold drinks and a coffee machine since we were last there. Munching on lunch upstairs we watched this Common Sandpiper, another first for us in the UK (UK list now 169 species):

We decided to head from the Egleton reserve to the one on the south shore of Rutland Water, to go see the Osprey's. This reserve has had it's visitor centre revamped, with some fancy kit showing live pictures of the Osprey nest and was actually much busier than the larger reserve. We'd been recommended to head to the Waderscrape hide to see the Osprey. As by now it was mid-afternoon and raining the hides were very busy but the osprey wasn't, just hanging about on a post with the occassional glide down to the water and back up to the post. As you can tell from this picture, the nest is some distance even from the closest hide:

While everyone was watching the Osprey, another Sedge Warbler was doing its best to get noticed. Very few folk paid it any attention as they were mostly there to watch the Ospreys:

He really was showing fantastically well, probably 3 metres away, no more. Singing then mooching around, then singing some more. Again click through the pictures for a better view.

From Rutland Water it was time to head home, and back to the real world, sigh!


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