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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

So Where Did They Go? - mid September, 2012

I'd not managed to do much owling/birding in September, so was looking forward to a day out with friend Roger, who we'd met in June when staying at The Grant Arms, Granton-on-Spey. My wife, Lindsay, was going to spend the day with Roger's wife, Lynne, being pampered at Barnsdale Hall, and then shopping in Oakham in the afternoon.

Roger and I spent the morning birdwatching at Rutland Water, Lagoon 4. Plenty of birds were seen, all at a distance, and nothing of any real interest. The only photo I took of any use was of a Ruddy Common Darter (thank you Noushka!) dragonfly - this one with part of a leg missing.

Common Darter (female) - Rutland Water
Having met up with the girls for lunch at the café at Wing Hall, Roger and I set off for Eyebrook Reservoir, where the most interesting thing seen was a very distant Red Kite. At Roger's suggestion we then returned to Rutland Water, heading for the North Arm, just beyond Fishponds - at last, success! The winter plumaged Black-necked Grebe was still there and let me get a record shot.

Black-necked Grebe - Rutland Water
Yep, I know that this looks as if I've taken a monochrome image and just added in a red eye, but I assure you it's in full colour! I didn't manage a shot of the Spotted Flycatcher that was also there.

Having rejoined the girls for a cup of tea before heading home, we made our 'farewells' and set off home. We'd stopped at two of my Little Owl sites on the way out, and repeated the exercise on the way home, but no owls were seen. It had been a most enjoyable day but, if it hadn't been for the grebe, it would have been sadly lacking in interesting birds.

The following day I was booked on the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society (LROS) visit to Willington Gravel Pits and Foremark Reservoir - both well known for turning up good birds. As we assembled at Willington GP a cry of "Peregrine" went up from our leader - but only he saw it! From then on it just went downhill! I broke away from the main group at one point as I wanted to find the water known as 'Canal Pit'. During this time I stopped to photograph a few dragonflies. The hawkers and damselflies eluded the camera by refusing to settle, but I did manage some images of Common Darter.

Common Darter (male) - Willington Gravel Pits

Common Darter (female) - Willington Gravel Pits

Common Darter (male) - Willington Gravel Pits
As I was heading back to rejoin the group I stopped to watch a couple of Lapwing that were having a bit of an altercation.

Lapwing - Willington Gravel Pits
Just as we were about to head back to the cars for a lunch break a distant Hobby was spotted. This was to turn out to be the most exciting thing that we saw all day! I just managed a recognisable record shot.

Hobby - from Willington Gravel Pits
After lunch we headed for Foremark Reservoir, where we saw the square root of bu--er all! In a few hours here we cheered at the distant sight of a Carrion Crow and a couple of Meadow Pipits! Even the woodland was virtually devoid of birds. Determined not to end up empty handed, in desperation I took some photos of a Red Admiral!

Red Admiral - Foremark Reservoir
I didn't make a note of the time, but I guess that we decided to call it a day at around 15:30. Determined to make something of the day, one of the group joined me for a visit to the Round Car Park by Staunton Harold Reservoir. The Tree Sparrows were notable by their absence (for only the second time in all the times I've visited) and even the dragonflies were in short supply.

A long walk round the Calke Abbey estate only yielded an image of a Comma butterfly relatively high up in a tree, and some deer in the park.

Comma - Staunton Harold Reservoir

Fallow Deer - Calke Abbey Estate
It had been a very pleasant sunny day, and I felt quite righteous as my pedometer told me that I'd walked nine miles - but where had all the birds gone?? The group leader summed it up by saying "you know that there aren't birds around by the way that they're all taking football"! On Sunday I gave up and stayed at home!


  1. Very impressed Richard,Black- Necked Grebe,looks fantastic great tick.
    Pity you were short changed,with the Ruddy darters Leg missing,loved the Hobby.
    Looks a great days birding.

    1. Thank you John. On reflection, it wasn't such a bad day - just disappointing photographically

  2. Nice selection. You're 5th shot is a Common Darter.

    1. Thank you Marc. I'd been going by what looked like completely black legs to me. I've now changed the caption from 'Ruddy' to 'Common'.

  3. I love the Comma Richard. Never seen one although I'm keeping my eye out. Got something in common with you - my wife is called Lindsay too!

    1. Thank you Christian. I suspect that we have more in common, other than the names of our wives!

  4. You've got some amazing finds here. Love the deer but my favorite is the lapwings at flight. Beautiful. A very productive day indeed:)

    1. Thank you Chris. I'm afraid that (with the exception of the Grebe and, to some extent, the Hobby) all the birds and insects depicted in this post are very commonplace in these parts. And the deer are 'captive'!

  5. What a lovely post!
    Your dragonflies and butterflies are exquisite!
    If I may, the first one is a common Darter... It has a yellow band on the legs, even though one is missing! LOL!
    Ruddies' legs are all black!
    Brilliant, congratulations Richard!

    1. Thank you Noushka. I'm obviously a very poor observer! I'd missed the yellow stripes on the legs of the fifth image and originally misidentified it as a Ruddy. I still can't see a yellow stripes on the legs of the first image!

    2. Your're not poor observer, Richard!
      Sure not!!
      But identifying those dragons when just on detail makes the difference is not easy and I've been seriously into dragonflies for some years and I can still see a yellowish line on the leg close to its body!
      And the general feel and colouring of this lady draws me to Common Darter!
      Many thank for your kind comment on my blog, a fine compliment, coming from you!
      I love your work! ;-)
      Cheers and enjoy your day!

  6. Brilliant images you've got there.

    1. Thank you Bob. They're pretty insignificant compared to your own efforts!


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