Today was my first watch of the season as a volunteer on the Rutland Osprey Project. As usual, I left home a few hours early so that I could stop off en-route and do a bit of birding, and then do a bit at Rutland Water before my 17.00 to 20.00 shift. One of my stops, which I thought might be a Little Owl site only revealed a hiding Kestrel.
Kestrel (male) - Maplewell Hall, near Woodhouse Eaves
Another stop - also earmarked as a potential Little Owl site - resulted in a pair of Green Woodpeckers being found. Half an hour's worth of stealth resulted in some shots which, although not good, are the best shots that I've had so far of Green Woody. Unfortunately, the female kept herself permanently well-hidden, whereas the male kept popping out to see if I was still there!
Green Woodpecker (male) - near Marefield
On arrival at Rutland Water, on the Lyndon side, I reported in at the Visitor Centre, and was told there was considerable excitement with Osprey activity (to see what, please look at the Rutland Osprey blog). As I had over an hour in hand, I first went to Shallow Water Hide. As I approached, I saw my first Chiffchaff of the year (although I'd previously heard a few!) By the time that I arrived all the Ospreys had gone. Before I departed the hide, however, resident male Osprey 5R had returned. Unless you are lucky enough to get a fly-over, the Ospreys are usually quite distant, and a 'scope is virtually essential for decent observation, but there are always 'Project' 'scopes on hand for the public to use.
Osprey 5R (male) - from Shallow Water Hide
I then moved to Waderscrape hide in good time for the start of my shift. As well as three Ospreys being seen, as reported on the Rutland Ospreys blog, a Water Rail put in a very brief appearance (no photo), and a Muntjac (the first that I have ever seen in the Midlands) put in a long appearance and, it seems, decided to settle down for the night in front of the hide. Not a brilliant day photographically but, as always at Rutland Water, a most enjoyable one.