Largely due to the situation at home, I have not been able to get to Rutland Water as much as I would have liked to this year. However, on this day, the weather was forecast to be sunny, if a little chilly, and the situation at home was relatively stable.
I managed to get away late morning and took my usual cross-country 'owling route' with no expectations of seeing an owl, and this turned out to be the case. It's makes me sad to reflect on past travels on this route when, occasionally, the out and back journey would result in Little Owl sightings just reaching double figures, over the 17 Little Owl nest sites that I passed. Virtually every one of these sites has decayed to the point that they are no longer habitable.
By one of my old sites, however, I was lucky enough to spot two distant Red Kites, one of which came a little closer to the point that I had stopped at.
|Red Kite (Milvus milvus) - Skeg Hill
Nothing more of interest was seen before I arrived at Rutland Water - again, this route used to yield good sightings of farmland birds, and I have noted a worrying decline in this aspect too.
Having parked in the Visitor Centre car park at the Egleton side of Rutland Water, I checked in by Tree Sparrow Hide to sort out my camera settings, just finding a Blue Tit as a subject.
|Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) - from Tree Sparrow Hide
As I ascended the ramp to Plover Hide, which overlooks Lagoon 4, I was closely observed by some sheep. Here's one of them.
|Hebridean Sheep (Ovis aries) - by Plover Hide
Most impressive from this location was a line of a few hundred Golden Plover, interspersed with a few Lapwing. The first image, below, shows a part of the line with the lens at 400mm.The second image is a heavily cropped image of a smaller section of the same group.
|Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria) - from Plover Hide
|Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) (male + female) - from Plover Hide
|Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) -from Plover Hide
|Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) (male) - from Plover Hide
|Shaggy Ink-cap (Coprinus comatus) - near Bittern Hide
|Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) - from Bittern Hide
|Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) (male) - from Shoveler Hide
|Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) - from Shoveler Hide
|Gadwall (Mareca strepera) (male) - from Shoveler Hide
|Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) - from Buzzard Hide
At Crake Hide, which gives views onto the narrow north-west end of Lagoon 4, I found one other person in attendance. There were good views of Cormorants on the far bank opposite the hide and a Great White Egret a little further away on the far bank.
|Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) - from Crake Hide
|Great White Egret (Ardea alba) - from Crake Hide
|Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) and Great White Egret (Ardea alba) - from Crake Hide
I spent some very pleasant time chatting with my companion, but when a third person arrived it was my cue to depart as there were still other hides I wished to visit before I departed.
My visit to Sandpiper Hide on Lagoon 4 was a very quick one as everything was very distant, and the light was failing fast. Nothing was photographed from here.
It was now time to start making my way back to the car park, calliing in at three hides as I did so.
I cannot remember whether it was at Osprey Hide or Grebe Hide that I photographed this Moorhen.
|Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) - Rutland Water, Egleton side
|Great White Egret (Ardea alba) - from Redshank Hide
|probable Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) (juvenile) - from Redshank Hide
It had been a highly enjoyable afternoon out, even though nothing particularly exciting had been seen.
If all goes according to plan, my next post will cover the second half of November, which included four short trips out, as well as some garden observations.
In the meantime, please take good care of yourselves and Nature. Thank you for dropping by - - - Richard