John had been unable to make our usual Thursday afternoon out as one of his dogs was poorly (now OK, I'm delighted to say), so we switched to the Friday.
The day started very dull and damp but, fortunately, things had dried out by the afternoon. It remained very dull and grey for the rest of the day, but it was quite warm for the time of year and it wasn't windy - although it did get a bit breezy later on.
I set off for John's place, stopping at my Little Owl Site No.02 en-route. An owl was out on the remains of the roof, so I took a shot from inside the car. I'm concerned that the building is now decaying very rapidly, with around 50% of the roof disappearing this year.
Having transferred to John's car, we set off towards Rutland Water, making a brief diversion to check on one of our owl sites. One was spotted sitting in the nest opening. The leaves are just starting to turn , and I wouldn't be surprised to find the leaves all gone by the time of our next visit.
|Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.34|
There were no further sightings of owls as we continued to Rutland Water. We arrived at the Egleton Reserve side and, as a couple of Peregrine had been seen earlier on Lagoon 4, we made our way there.
We'd not gone far along the path when I called for John to stop. There was a Wood Mouse on the path in front of us. It seemed to take absolutely no notice of our presence. At one point it ran into the grass beside the path, but it didn't take long to come back. It was finding something to eat, but I was unable to see what, although I believe it was a seed of some sort. I suspect that, at one point, we were photographing it at a distance of around one metre - maybe closer!! Here are a few images.
|Wood Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve|
Whilst John went to see if he could see the Peregrines from Sandpiper Hide, I went to scour a hedgerow for dragonflies, as we'd already seen a few Hawkers (Migrant, and probable very late Southern). I didn't have any luck, although a Peregrine flew over heading towards John. However, John didn't see it as he was scanning elsewhere through his binoculars.
We continued to Shoveler Hide, where the area near the hide was virtually totally dry. There were a few birds, including Redshank and Curlew, visible at around 30 metres, but the light was awful. John pointed out the Great White Egret in the middle of a group of Cormorants on an island too far away for sensible photography. Our luck changed when the GWE took to the air and flew towards us, landing only about 50 metres away. I'm relatively pleased with the images I got, considering the light conditions - more by luck than judgement as I wasn't set up for flight shots.
|Great White Egret (Egretta alba) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve|
The GWE waded south round a headland, heading towards Buzzard Hide, so we headed off there. At Buzzard Hide, I opened a window and put up a couple of Cormorants that, unbeknown to me, were just below the window. This, in turn, put up some ducks that were further away, and these put up the GWE which flew back northwards again!
We spent more time looking around, but it was getting extremely dull now, and although I took many more photos, they've virtually all been consigned to the recycle bin. If I tell you that this (taken when we returned to Shoveler Hide) is possibly the best of the others, you'll see my point!
|Curlew (Numenius arquata) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve|
Shortly after arriving at Rutland Water, we'd seen an RAF Chinook helicopter fly over, in an unusual colour scheme. On the way back to the car this same helicopter flew over again, and I managed some slightly better photos that enabled me to identify it. The aircraft is Chinook HC.4 ZA712/W of 18(B) Squadron, based at RAF Odiham (Hampshire), uniquely decorated to celebrate 100 years (1915-2015) of that squadron. I understand that it is shortly to be returned to 'standard RAF colours'.
|RAF Chinook ZA712, over Rutland Water Nature Reserve|
The journey home didn't yield any excitement but, in spite of the lousy photographic conditions, we'd had a pretty good time, with both of us considering the Wood Mouse to be a charming highlight.
I have no idea, at this stage what the subject of my next post might be.
Thank you for dropping by.