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Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Rutland Water on 28th April 2008

Water Rail (record shot)

Barn Owl (record shot)

As part of my Osprey Volunteer duties, I did a late afternoon watch at Rutland Water this day. This involved recording the behaviour of the birds, fish caught, incubation, etc. The watch post is Waderscrape Hide and the surrounds have been changed somewhat since last season. The small (very invasive) willows around the hide have been removed, and three 'rides' (cleared runs through the reeds, filled with shallow water) created in front of the hide. Whilst this means that the Reed Buntings and Willow & Sedge Warblers are a little more difficult to observe at close hand, close-up views of Water Rail are a regular occurrence.

For much of my watch, four Ospreys were in view, with three nests being occupied. There were several sightings of Water Rail relatively close to the hide, and I am sure that there were two birds present, but possibly three. However, concentration on watching the Ospreys meant that I missed the photo opportunities for the Water Rail whilst the light was good, and only managed to get a few 'record shots' in poor light towards the end of my shift.

To my delight, the resident Barn Owl was on a fence post beside the track on my way back to the Visitor Centre after my shift (it was getting dark by then). In the past this bird has seen me long before I've seen him (it having been fully dark). This time, however, I was looking out for him, and I and I did manage to get close enough to bang off a few distant frames before having to continue on my way and flush him. I look forward to the possibility of better light as I finish future watches, in the hope of getting more than a 'record shot'.

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