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Sunday, 23 April 2017

Another Memorable Day! - on 12th April, 2017

Just four days after my last published 'memorable day' I had another one. This one was, again,  attributable to Tim Mackrill, although he's not aware of the fact! Tim was giving a talk that evening, for the benefit of the Rutland Osprey Volunteers, and I was booked to attend. It seemed sensible, as the venue was at 19.30 at Rutland Water which is some 45 miles (72 km) from my home, to combine my attendance with a visit to Rutland Water itself.

The day got off to a good start as we had a Chiffchaff in our garden. Although this is not a rare bird, it is rare in our garden. I didn't get as good shots as I'd have liked, but here's one.

Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) - our garden
I set off after an early lunch and first called at my Little Owl Site No.02 as I hadn't seen an owl there for a while. I'm delighted to report that one was showing.

Little Owl (Athene noctua) (male) - my Site No.02
I headed towards Rutland Water on the usual owling route, but no owls were seen - probably because it was rather windy.

At one point on my route, down a narrow lane, a small creature scuttled onto the road and darted back again. I stopped the car, and found a shrew, which I believe to be a Pygmy Shrew, in the grass. At first I thought it was injured, but my photos suggest it just had a soaking-wet patch of fur.

Pygmy Shrew (Sorex minutus)?
Having checked in at the Egleton Visitor Centre at Rutland Water, I set off northward on the trail that leads to the hides on that side. I'd not gone far before I found a crop of Snake's-head Fritillaries in one small meadow. Unfortunately, a photo of the area would have looked most unattractive as the immediate area was roped-off, with wire netting round most of the individual plants. There were both pink and white forms here.


Snake's-head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
In another meadow, there were two Egyptian Geese resting. I'm sure I'm not the only person who has mixed feelings about these strange-looking birds. Once they were relatively uncommon, but they're now firmly established over much of the country, and in such numbers at Rutland Water that they make a nuisance of themselves, particularly when they occupy Osprey nests before the Ospreys return. Here's one Egyptian Goose from that day - not even an attractive bird in my opinion.

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
From one of the hides (I didn't note which) I photographed Tufted Duck and Coot. In this light, the difference in body colour and head colour could easily be seen.

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) (male) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) (female) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
Coot (Fulica atra) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
I eventually reached Shoveler Hide on Lagoon 3, which tends to be one of the best hides for sightings. The water level in Lagoon 3 was higher than I've ever seen it before. There was virtually nothing left of the islands that are usually in front of the hide. There were also few birds of any interest to be seen. I sat patiently for a while and was, eventually, rewarded by a drake Garganey emerging from behind some reeds. I managed a safety record shot through the reeds.

Garganey (Anas querquedula) (male) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
I sat watching intently and, after about ten minutes, the duck came out into the open, but steadily made its way away from me. My photos from this part of my observations were not too good. However, after about another three quarters of an hour, the duck was making its way back towards me, dabbling as it did so.

 

Garganey (Anas querquedula) (male) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
All this time, it had been hugging the shoreline. Suddenly it struck out into open water towards me.

Garganey (Anas querquedula) (male) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
There was a patch of vegetation only about 30 metres away, and the Garganey joined a pair of Teal there. This gave me better opportunities.


Garganey (Anas querquedula) (male) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
Eventually, it moved further away to a tiny patch of 'land' which was above the waterline, where it emerged and started preening before going to sleep.

Garganey (Anas querquedula) (male) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
At this point I decided it was time to leave, stopping briefly at Sandpiper Hide on Lagoon 4. There was little to see and it started raining as I left the hide. By the time I got to the approach to Osprey Hide it had started chucking it down, so I took refuge in the hide. Fortunately, the worst had passed in around 15 minutes, so I hurried back to the car park, camera in bag, and grabbed a quick picnic before attending the event.

Tim Mackrill gave an excellent talk that evening. The first part was about his PhD thesis on Osprey Migration, and was extremely interesting and informative. We then had a break with refreshments, and this was followed by Tim explaining his plans for the future. He's got some wonderful prospects up his sleeve, and I have every confidence that all will come to fruition - much to the benefit of the planet!

It was around 22h00 before the proceedings came to an end, and I had a long journey home, so kept to the main roads in the interest of speed, getting home at around 23h30. 

Thanks to Tim Mackrill, this was another rewarding day. Brilliant, Tim!!!

I've managed to keep my promise of this being a significantly shorter post than my previous one - thank you for dropping by.

34 comments:

  1. Hello dear friend :)
    Another great post with subjects not seen that often!
    I had no idea that a white version of the SH fritillary could exist, a discovery!
    Great to see the Garganey here too, I just love this duck!!
    I wouldn't mind to see the Tufted Duck more often, somewhat a rarity on our shores.
    About the Bee-eaters, it is the first time I observe the behaviour of the bees, I wonder why they literally flew to the birds?!!!
    Warm hugs to share with Lindsay :)

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    1. Hi Noushka. I was surprised by the white ones - they were, perhaps, only 5% of the flowers there. however, when I looked them up on the internet, many pictures showed white ones mixed with the pink ones.

      The Garganey is a bit rare in UK, so it is always extremely special to see one. I love the way the male has that bold white stripe on the side of the head which sets off the more subtle aspects of that fabulous plumage.

      Tufted Duck are very common in this region, and I possibly see more of them than I do of Mallards!

      The situation with Bee-eater plumage attracting the bees needs investigating!

      Take good care and have a great week - - - Richard

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  2. Wow Richard that Garganey is such a pretty bird and it is good that you patience was well rewarded.
    Love the shrew also so cute.
    Have a good week cheers Diane

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    1. Thank you, Diane. I wish the shrew didn't look so soaked! There are so many features in that amazing plumage on the male Garganey - the more you look, the more you see.

      I hope you have a wonderful week with warm weather. Best wishes - - - Richard

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  3. Richard thank you for a delightful collection of wonderful Wildlife,I was delighted to see your Pygmy Shrew images,absolutely stunning.
    Never seen one,but the search goes on.
    John.

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    1. Thank you for your very kind words, John. Good luck with the shrew hunting!

      Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

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  4. Very interesting birds. Extraordinary goose! Greetings

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    1. Thank you, Anne. The Egyptian Goose is a strange bird.

      Have a great week - - - Richard

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  5. Well done Richard, they are so beautiful. I love the Pygmy Shrew, isn't it gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you, Bob. The Pygmy Shrew certainly is cute!

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  6. Hi Richard, we had a good and interesting evening at Tim's talk but you had a wonderful afternoon prior to it. The Pygmy Shrew was a real good find having seen where you saw it, and the Garganey, what a beautiful bird. Great post and easier to get through than the last Marathon. All the best, John

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    1. Delighted that you didn't find this one too much like hard work, John ;D

      I hope we get some good weather for Sunday, and you can join me at Alvecote.

      Best wishes - - - - Richard

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  7. You obviously did have a great day, Richard. A wonderful, varied selection with great images as always. I am always happy when a Little Owl makes it in there somewhere! Along with all who were in attendance I wish Tim the very best for a long and productive career.

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    1. Yes, David, it was a good one! I'm hoping to come up with another owl or two in the not-too-distant future.

      Tim is, I believe, still around Rutland fairly regularly, so I'll pass your good wishes to him if/when I see him.

      Love to you and Miriam - - Richard

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  8. The Garganey is a great looking duck - its been years since I have seen one. Always great when something like that just pops up.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. It had been a few years since I'd seen one too, Stewart - hence my excitement!

      Hoping all is well with you - - - Richard

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  9. Great shots of the Garganey Richard.
    I'll be honest despite being sandwiched by two counties with established Egyptian Geese I don't see many,so don't really have any real views of their status etc. But they're definitely not pretty lol.
    The Pygmy Shrew was a great find too.

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    1. I was delighted to see that Garganey, Doug, and so was determined to try and get something better than a record shot, which is all I have managed in the past.

      I just wish that shrew hadn't had the soggy patch.

      Hoping it warms up a bit soon. There's a whole lot of life out there waiting for it to be safe to come out. With my best wishes - - - Richard

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  10. Arrrgg another Java script blockage, I can't reply directly under your reply.
    Thanks for your input on the Garganey and Tuft ducks :)
    I didn't realise the Owly sulphur is not found in England, it is of the Libelluloidae family but quite distinct from dragonflies.
    Off again to Spain this WE, I wish you great weather for your outings!
    Best wishes :)

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    1. I keep finding glitches on blogger too, Noushka.

      Have a(nother) great time in Spain, and take good care - - - Richard

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  11. A really interesting post, particularly like the Little Owl.
    All the best, Gordon.

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    1. Thank you, Gordon. I really must get out amongst the owls a bit more than I have been doing of late.

      Thank you for dropping by. Best wishes - - - Richard

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  12. Fantastic photos! Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Hello, beautiful shots of all the birds and pretty flowers. Some of my favorites are little owl and the garganey is a gorgeous duck. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Eileen. I hope that your weekend and the coming week are rewarding and enjoyable. Best wishes - - - Richard.

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  14. These are again very nice pictures of different animals and birds.
    The Tjiftjaf was able to photograph you beautifully, the stone owl is just amazing and I'm glad for you to see him again :-)
    The picture of the ruffle is really so fun. The pictures of the pink and white kievits flower are really amazing. The nile duck could shoot you beautifully. Here with me the nile goose cracked a falconer box (photos are on my blog). Kuifers are pretty sharp and the summer is fantastic. I have never seen a summer speech before.
    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog.

    Kind regards,
    Helma

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Helma. I have seen your images of the Egyptian Goose in the Kestrel box - they really are a nuisance bird!

      With my best wishes - - - Richard

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  15. Hi Richard, I have got way behind everybody's blogs so I am catching up :) I know what you mean about the Egyptian geese, they do have lovely chicks though :)

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    1. I'm sure I must have seen Egyptian Geese chicks, but I don't recall them, Lin. I must look out for them as there will probably be a hundred or more of them at Rutland Water soon!

      Best wishes, and thank you for dropping by - - - Richard

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  16. Top post mate, stunning image of the "duck" and "goose" although i struggle to be excited by either of them! Love the shrew encounter......

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    1. Thank you, Paul. Sorry to hear you're not a fan of Garganey. ;D

      Hopefully, my next post will be more to your taste.

      With my very best wishes - - - Richard

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  17. A special day indeed dispite the bad weather, Richard. Such wonderful encounters on your way. Glad you liked the lecture about the Rutland Ospreys. I am watching the webcam daily and the Dyfi webcam as well. Just love Ospreys.
    Regards,
    Roos

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    1. Thank you, Roos. I'm delighted to hear that you are an Osprey fan!

      With my best wishes - - - Richard


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