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Monday 11 August 2008

Rutland Water, Lyndon Reserve, on 4th August 2008

Another turn of duty as a volunteer this day. As is the norm, I arrived early to have a look round at some of the other areas of the reserve. I started with a visit to Teal hide, virtually next to the visitor centre. There were a number of Black-Headed Gulls close by on the shore, but one bird in particular was doing some impressive diving antics.

After Teal hide, I continued to Swan hide as I had been told that there was a good chance of seeing Kingfishers. However, there was only a Grey Heron in view. Heading back towards the Visitor Centre, I stopped to photograph a female Common Darter dragonfly.

A little further on, I stopped for a Speckled Wood.

Having called in at the Visitor Centre for un update, I set off for Shallow Water hide, where I was told that there were plenty of waders around. I stopped to photograph a Comma on the way.

There were plenty of waders, but the water level was low, and the birds were too far away for my lens. I did, however, manage a 'record shot' of a Curlew.
It was soon time to head off to Waderscrape hide for my turn of duty. As I approached the hide, I found this Common Shrew at the side of the path.

From Waderscrape hide, both the 'local' Ospreys were seen for much of the time, and a third Osprey was on the nest nearest Goldeneye hide for some of the time. The real interest for many, however, were the young Water Rails which were showing quite frequently, and very well. One of the adults was also showing occasionally, but rather distantly.

After a really enjoyable evening on my watch, I headed home, stopping briefly to catch the sunset.

Saturday 9 August 2008

Trent & Mersey Canal on 31st July & 1st August 2008

We decided to take a couple of days out on the boat, in spite of the weather forecast - and boy, did we get wet !!! We got as far as Branston Water Park where we moored up for an Italian meal at the Bridge in, and an overnight stop on the boat. We did not see to much in the way of interesting birds on the way - just the usual Mallards (and hybrids) and Grey Herons. However, we did find this Cormorant on the towpath (not something we are used to seeing on the canals). I managed a few grabbed shots as it took off.
A little later, we found a whole tree full of House martins beside the towpath - the picture shows just small part of the flock.

The following day started a little brighter (but it was not long before the rain set in again). We took a very short walk (20 minutes) into Branston Water Park itself, but we could not stay long as we had not left ourselves much time to get back to base that day. The only usable photo photo I got here was of a juvenile Dunnock.

On our way back towards the River Trent and home, we noticed a Kingfisher flying ahead of us. It would wait until we got about 20 metres away and then fly on ahead again. This was exciting, but a little frustrating. I did, eventually, get a shot which at least shows the basic features of the bird. I really feel fired up now to try and get a decent shot of one of these birds.

Kings Newton on 27th July 2008

On the way to where we keep our boat trailer, we pass down a road named Jawbone Lane. However, I always think of this as Yellowhammer lane as I see a Yellowhammer there more often than not when driving along it. This day I decided to take my camera with me just in case. I took this photo hanging out of the window of my car. I managed just one shot (not good but it will do for a starter) before it departed rapidly.

Tuesday 5 August 2008

Rutland Water on 25th July 2008

I had an 'afternoon duty' as a volunteer this day, and decided to have some time at the Egleton side of the Reserve before my turn. Whilst plenty of interest was seen, I did not find any photographic opportunities. The Lyndon side was a totally different kettle of fish. On my walk to Waderscrape hide I found a few dragonflies and butterflies. But far more exciting things were in store for me.

Ruddy Darter (male)
Meadow Brown
I arrived at the hide to find that the Water Rails had been showing well. I did not have to wait too long before they showed again - and again - and again !!! However, there was only one chick visible this day.

The Reed Warblers were also more visible this day than I have previously seen this year.

On my way back at the end of my shift, the damselflies and dragonflies were still out and about.
Common Blue Damselfly (male)

Black-Tailed Skimmer ???

River Trent near Sawley on 22nd July 2008

One of the advantages of having a boat is that you can often get much closer to birds than you would be able to on foot. We had a short excursion this day, just to take out daughter and granddaughter out on it (they had not seen it before this!). This Cormorant let us get very close and barely batted an eyelid. However, it was not so easy to photograph whilst controlling the boat.

Sunday 3 August 2008

Cowes on 12th July 2008

Having spent an unscheduled night on the marina at Bucklers Hard (Beaulieu River), we set off for Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Incidentally, Bucklers Hard and the Beaulieu River are usually good for birds, but only Little Egret, Black-Tailed Godwit were seen (other than the very common species). During the late afternoon in Cowes we found a pair of Ringed Plover on the shingle only about 15 metres from a busy footpath.

Hythe (Hampshire) on 11th July 2008

In July, my wife and I took our small cabin cruiser to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, as part of a small flotilla of boats. The weather was pretty evil - we even had to make a bolt for a safe haven one day !! Because of concentrating on controlling the boat, I had little time to observe the birdlife. However, early mornings and late afternoons (when it wasn't raining) gave some opportunities - although little of particular interest was seen. This one morning at Hythe, however, did produce this Little Egret which I was able to sneak relatively close to without disturbing the bird. There were also the inevitable Black-Headed Gulls around.