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Monday, 2 November 2015

Other Birds - a mop up, to end of September, 2015

I've been posting a little sporadically over the past six months, and there have been many outings resulting in images that I've never posted on my blog. I'm relatively up to date with the owls, but there are many 'other birds' from that period that have not made it onto my blog, so here are some of them.

Longmoor Lake on 2nd May, 2015

I'm a member of the Peter Williams Naturalists Club, and one of our members (Rhys Dandy) led a club visit to this location. The weather was not that kind to us as it was dull, cold, and windy, but it was an excellent visit and Rhys turned up some gems for us. The area round Longmoor Lake has relatively recently been planted as The Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Woodland - it's easier to say Longmoor Lake - and the tree protectors did rather detract from the photography. There were a few Wheatear around at the time, but the real stars for me were the Whinchat.

Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) (male) - Longmoor Lake

Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) (male) - Longmoor Lake
Undisclosed Site on 4th May, 2015

A visit to my Little Owl Site No.49 resulted in the sighting of a drake Mandarin. I subsequently came to the conclusion that the Mandarins were nesting in the same tree as the LOs!

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) (male) - undisclosed site
Now follows a series from Rutland Water, most of which were taken whilst on volunteer duty on the Osprey Project with pal John, or on my way to or from a spell of duty.

Rutland Water on 7th May, 2015

On my way down to start my turn of duty (John was to arrive later) I noticed my first Yellow Wagtail of the year on the path ahead of me. It flew up unto a tree as I approached and, because of the overall colouration of the tree, I found it quite hard to pick up again.

Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava) (male) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
Fortunately it returned to the path and proved to be relatively confiding. I subsequently found out that this bird was ringed as a juvenile at Abbotsbury Swannery, Dorset UK, on 11th September, 2013.

Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava) (male) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
Here are some of the other birds from that day - firstly some from when we were on duty. Although they Osprey images are not good, I was pleased to catch a sequence of a bird lifting out of the water.

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) (female) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) (male 33(11)) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
On our way back to the car park at the end of our shift we called into Tufted Duck Hide to see if the Otters were showing - they weren't, but I took some shots of a GC Grebe. OK, so these might be dirt-common, but I think that they are wonderful birds!

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
As we approached the car park, a Chiffchaff seemed to be collecting nesting material.

Chiffchaff  (Phylloscopus collybita) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
Rutland Water on 13th May, 2015

We applauded the female Mallard that had 11 chicks in her charge. I wondered whether she was looking after some for someone else. On a more sombre note, I wondered how many of these chicks would survive to adulthood. 

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
 Here are a few more from that day.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
Rutland Water on 4th June, 2015

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) (male 33(11)) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
Rutland Water on 11th June, 2015

On this day, Black Tern was a 'lifer' for me. Sadly, I only got rubbish distant shots, but I have to post a few here!

Black Tern (Chlidonius niger) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
Undisclosed Site on 16th June, 2015

I was delighted to visit my Little Owl site No.49 in the evening and find the female Mandarin with three youngsters!

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) (female + young) - undisclosed site
Here's a few more sessions from Rutland Water. Please bear in mind that the dragons and damsels from these sessions will have featured my previous post, and some of the other creatures will feature in a later post, so the sessions weren't as unproductive as they might seem from these images!

Rutland Water on 18th June, 2015

From Shallow Water Hide we watched House Martins collecting mud for their nests.

House Martin (Delichon urbica) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
With the House Martins were a couple of Sand Martin. Here's one of them.

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) (male 33(11) + unringed female) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
On the way back to the car park we heard and found these juvenile Blackcap beside the path.

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) (juveniles) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
Rutland Water on 2nd July, 2015

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) (unringed female) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) - Rutland Water Lyndon Reserve
Rutland Water on 9th July, 2015

A visit to the Egleton side of Rutland Water gave us distant views of Green Sandpiper.

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) - Rutland Water Egleton Reserve
I must have spent a good half hour trying to get an image of a Reed Warbler that was flitting around well-concealed in the reeds outside Shoveler Hide.

Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) - Rutland Water Egleton Reserve
Then, for about one second, it showed itself fully!

Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) - Rutland Water Egleton Reserve
A Curlew showed quite well in front of the hide too.

Curlew (Numenius arquata) - Rutland Water Egleton Reserve
Near Lowesby on 16th July, 2015

On our way back from Rutland Water we found this Kestrel sitting on a pole.

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) (male) - near Lowesby
A long break in dates now as images from when friends from Canada, David and Miriam, came to stay have already been published.

Rutland Water on 3rd September, 2015

Pal John was the first to spot an Osprey heading past as we sat in Shoveler Hide on the Egleton side. Most of the Rutland Ospreys had already departed by then, so this was exciting!

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) - Rutland Water Egleton Reserve
There were quite a few other birds seen from Shoveler Hide, including this selection.

Redshank (Tringa totanus) - Rutland Water Egleton Reserve
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) - Rutland Water Egleton Reserve
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) - Rutland Water Egleton Reserve
Rutland Water on 9th September, 2015

John and I had gone to Rutland Water to try and photograph the dragonflies, with a hope that we might also glimpse a Hobby. We'd been singularly unlucky in this last respect so far this year. We did have a Hobby briefly flashing around, but I pretty-much failed in the photography department!

Hobby (falco subbuteo) - Rutland Water Egleton Reserve
Drakelow Nature Reserve on 17th September, 2015

As a change from our usual routine I took John to Drakelow Nature Reserve, which is managed by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. We were mainly looking for damsels and dragons, but we did see a few birds. However, I missed getting a shot of the Hobby that briefly appeared!

The state of moult of this Buzzard gave it the appearance of having a kink in its neck!

Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) - Drakelow Nature Reserve
We also had flyovers by Cormorant

Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) - Drakelow Nature Reserve
These next two images are probably my favourite of this whole post. The subject matter may be ordinary, but there's something in the light and composition that just grabs me!

Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) - Drakelow Nature Reserve
That ends this post. Thank you for dropping by. My next offering is possibly going to feature some creepy-crawlies!!


  1. Well Richard,I had to look through my Collins Bird Guide,to see what you missed,this is a super post,packed full with delights.
    With so many superb captures,I love them all,but,the outright winner is the Yellow Wag,stunning shot.

    1. Thank you, John. I suspect that your comment about the Collins Guide was a hint to point me at the mental aberration I'd had (now rectified) in labelling the House Martins. Lord knows where my head was at the time!

      Best wishes to you both - - Richard

  2. I don't think you failed on the Hobbies Richard. They're not easy whilst low and an auto focus grabbing background. I also liked the tree protectors it sends a message of new growth and great bird life (to me anyway) if the Whinchat appears to be inspecting the new potential of this wooded area in the third image.
    I liked the Reed and Sedge too. I was wondering what sort of year number wise the Sandmartins had at Rutland? Finally great ring recovery on the Yellow Wagtail.

    1. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, Doug. That new growth with the Wheatears and Whinchats certainly seems to be attracting the birds. I'm hoping that the Short-eared Owls find it attractive too this winter as the location is not far from me.

      I'm afraid that I've no idea how the Sand Martins fared at Rutland Water this year. However, I don't remember seeing any action around one of the artificial banks (the older one). I didn't go anywhere near the newer one.

      Wishing you all the best - - - Richard

  3. I wish I could get into or have the patience for birding.
    Yes there is something very appealing about the Mallard and Cormorant image.

    1. Don't even be tempted to get into birding, Adrian. If you did, you wouldn't have the time to do all the other wonderful things that you do!

      Keep up the good work - I'm looking forward to your virtual fireworks - - - Richard

  4. Wow! What a fantastic post. Impossible to choice a favourite. Your photography is excellent. Just one thing, I thought the swallows wee House Martins?

    1. Oh dear - I've no idea where my head was when I wrote that part of the post, Margaret. Both my brain cells must have been engaged on some other pressing matter! Thank you for waking me up!

      With my best wishes - - - Richard

  5. An excellent series of photographs in your 2015 'mop up' Richard, the Whinchat is a little gem isn't it I love 'em.

    Kind Regards.

    1. Thank you, Pete. You can never have too many chats, can you! They always delight.

      I'm hoping we're not going to have to get used to the cold misty weather - although it sounds as if the 'cold' part is not featuring in your neck of the woods!

      Take good care, and happy birding - - - Richard

  6. Hi Richard, lovely set of pictures:-) I love the Yellow Wagtail with those rings on its leg. I also love the picture of the juvenile Blackcaps. I had two Goldcrests in my garden today, so lovely to see them and hear them too.

    1. Thank you for those kind words, Linda. An amazing coincidence - we had a pair of Goldcrest in our garden on Sunday (the first of this autumn), and then we had one again today! Didn't get to hear them, however as we were in our conservatory at the time.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

  7. Wow 5 months review in a flash!! As for Mandarin Duck, Col and I had one investigating one of our Tawny Owl boxes earlier in the year, very strange to see them perched on top of a box. Nice post Richard with yet another set of great images but for me the Reed Warbler image out in the open is ACE!!!

    1. Thanks, Paul. There are some birds that always seem as if they shouldn't nest up in trees, even though we know full well that they do and, for me, they're always a source of amazement! Ducks such as Mandarin and Goldeneye are good examples, as are Herons!

      Best wishes to you - love your Otter encounter! - - - - Richard

  8. Great variety of a wide range of species, Richard. That male Mandarin Duck may be just about the world's most handsome duck. It's ironic, but if I am not mistaken, Britain now has the world's largest population.

    1. The drake Mandarin certainly is a contender for 'most handsome'. They always seem to look freshly groomed. I had no idea that we in UK might have the world's largest population! There are some areas where they have gained a good toe-hold. I saw large numbers when on a boat on the Thames for a few days in 2009.

      Best wishes to you both - - Richard

  9. Hello Richard, this is a great serie of birds and what a variety. I specialy love your photos with the Ospreys as you know that is one of my favorite birds.
    Hope all is well.

    1. I'm fine here, thank you, Roos! I hope that all is well with you too!

      I'm sorry that I can't offer you better photos of the Ospreys. As volunteers on the project, we don't get any more privileges than the general public, so only get to view them from afar - unless we're lucky and one flies close to us when we're not busy!!

      I hope your weather is better than our at the moment. Best regards - - - - Richard

  10. That is a serious 'catch up' post - what a great collection. I wonder how many trees in the world have had Little Owl and Mandarin!?

    cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. Now that is a thought, Stewart! Probably not that many!

      Right now I'm envious that you're expecting warmer weather over the next four months, whereas we're facing gloomy days!

      Next time you're coming to UK, be sure to get in touch. Best wishes - - - Richard

      Thanks for dropping by.

  11. Well done Richard, some super images, strange I seem to have a few carbon copies.
    See you soon.

    1. Thanks, John - now there's a surprise!

  12. Hello Richard and Lindsay,
    What an extraordinary array of birds you are showing us here.
    It seems incredible to see those Mandarin ducks in the wild, I have never seen any here, except in captivity.
    The Osprey are fabulous, lovely to see how well they are doing.
    I hope you are both well,
    Hugs and enjoy your sunday :)

    1. Hi Noushka. It's great to hear from you! Thank you for your kind words.

      I guess that all our Mandarins will have resulted from escapees, and they do seem to be doing very well here in UK.

      With my very best wishes - - - - Richard

  13. My goodness, Richard! I read through your post three times (so far!) and each time found something new to dawdle over. Spectacular summary of your birding adventures! I kept looking for the "rubbish" photographs to which you referred but I apparently missed them. Seriously, very nice work all around!

    Whinchat would be a new species for me and it's a really great looking bird! Also loved the images of the Reed Warbler. He'd be right at home in our marshes.

    Thank you so much for providing entertainment, information and enjoyment!

    Hope your new week is off to a great start! All the best - Wally

    1. Thank you so much for your extremely kind words, Wally. Whinchat is the least common of our 'regular' chats in UK, (although we do occasionally get some real rarities showing up), and I don't often see one, so itt's always a real treat when I do!

      We've got off to a very windy and a bit wet start this week. I hope that yours is better! With my best wishes to you both - - - Richard


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