Monday, 5 September 2011

Walking Walking Walking

I have a feeling this will end up as a rather long post.... feel free to let your mind wander, look at the photos only and not to read my waffling.

**Disclaimer** I didn't see the Rn phalarope at Rutland yesterday and I do not wish to mention it any further than saying I looked at Lagoon 4, thought it looked dead and chose not to carry on round to Plover hide. Woe is me, would have been a life tick.

Anyway yesterday (4th sept) I found myself at Eyebrook at 6am again but different to last time I wasn't hunting for Cattle Egret, I was merely stopping off there en-route to Rutland for a day birding there. This turned out to be a shorter than usual stopover with very little present to divert my attention. Not one single wader was seen whilst I was there...actually tell a lie there was a single Lapwing on the far bank. But when you consider that there is usually a few hundred Lapwing at Eyebrook things become concerning.....all I can think of is perhaps a fox was worrying the roosting waders in the night. The lack of waders didn't put off the game of Partridge herding though, yesterday was particularly productive....lookie:

After this I made my way over to Egleton, stopping briefly at Manton Bridge where 3 Ospreys were immediately spotted, 1 with a large fish which was possibly a carp/bream and large amounts of waders infront of the Lyndon hides but too far away to identify properly. I resolved to visit the hides at Lyndon later for a better look and made my way to Egleton reserve to fulfil my intention of visiting the new hides that had been open a while and to visit the now re-open Heron and Wigeon hides.
I of course stopped in the hides on the way to the new lagoons and notable sightings included 5 Ruff and a Black-tailed Godwit on Lagoon 1, a Treecreeper in with the tit/warbler flock outside Mallard hide and 3 Green Sandpipers on the new wet meadow (Snipe Hide).

After a quick look in Harrier hide where nothing new was seen except Stock Dove for the day list and a Fox that scared the shit out of everything I moved onto the new path that leads towards the new hides.

So Tern hide on the newly created Lagoon 6 was graced by the Hooded birder for the first time and was unfortunately a bit shit with only a Heron seen (and then a Black Headed Gull on the way back past later) on the whole lagoon but this isn't surprising considering the age of the Lagoon and will undoubtedly improve with age. Here's the view from tern hide.

Poor today but in future this nearby island should provide superb views of nesting Terns and Plovers.
As always with Rutland there is so much to cover and not enough time to do it in so I didn't linger here and moved on round the new path towards the new Kingfisher hide adding Green Woodpecker and Red Kite to the day list at this juncture. This path currently offers a superb overview of the newly created Lagoon 8 - along with tantalising views across to lagoons 5 & 7 which aren't open to the public yet and I must say the team at Rutland have done a cracking job. It's like having a whole new reserve added onto an already enormous one! Less talking more pictures.

view of Lagoon 8

Lagoon 8 from Kingfisher hide
Kingfisher hide produced 4 Blackwits over, a couple more Greenshank, a few Lapwing and the first Common Terns of the day - 1 adult and 4 juveniles seen here and over nearby Heron bay. Kingfisher hide looks even more promising than Tern because this Lagoon is somewhat larger and will almost certainly attract good birds to it although I do have beef with the name of the hide. Kingfisher? When I think of the hides at Rutland this one doesnt immediately jump out at me as being likely to produce Kingfisher more than others, this one has no banks and not even any perching poles! Wigeon hide, a mere stones throw away produced a Kingfisher, perched on a pole, minutes after I left Kingfisher hide which further confirmed my view and made Kingfisher hide look a right tit. Heron bays biggest surprise however was the discovery of a photographer in Heron hide. I had not seen another soul for the couple of hours I'd been on the reserve and found all other hides unoccupied so imagine my surprise when entering one of the more remote hides on the reserve and finding a bloke spread out in there like it was his lounge! A couple more Green sands and Greenshank were on offer too in this area and another Treecreeper was spotted in the small copse where the hides are situated.

With it starting to rain as I walked towards back towards the rest of the reserve I made the decision to attempt to escape the worst of it in the woodland surrounding lax hill - this ploy didnt really work and left me sheltering in Robin hide for the best part of an hour. The feeding station here isn't maintained during the summer months but that didnt put off the birds with another large tit/warbler flock operating in this area that included my 3rd (and best ever haul) Treecreeper of the day, at least two Nuthatch, a juvenile  Greater spotted Woodpecker, a few Goldcrest, brief views of 2 Jay and what I think was a Lesser Whitethroat that gave short glimpses only.

After the rain eased I moved back towards the visitors center visting Goldeneye, Gadwall and Fieldfare hides on the way where large amounts of ducks were in evidence, the best of which being a handful of moulting Pintail - my first of the autumn. A presumed adult female Peregrine flew over at this point too.

Gulls and 2x Pintail
After making my way back to the center I carried on over to the other side of the reserve, being briefly entertained by a Hobby hunting dragonflies over Lagoon 2 before being attacked and viciously persued by the Blackwit from Lagoon 1.

As previously mentioned Lagoon 4 didn't look promising from Dunlin hide so I quickly moved onto Shoveler hide on Lagoon 3 which was also quiet bar a couple of Green Sands so I moved along towards Smew and Lapwing hides which thankfully delivered and produced another Kingfisher and several more waders which behaved nicely and offered decent photographic opportunities that even I couldn't bodge.

Ruffs from Lapwing hide

Green Sandpiper from Smew Hide
After this photography binge I left Egleton and began the trek from Lyndon car park down the Shallow Water Hide to look at the waders - honestly that place should employ sherpas to accompany weary birders on that fucking mission! The walk was worth it however with waders in abundance at my destination. My Ruff count peaked at 34 birds whilst I was there, more than I'd ever seen together! The stars of the show however were 4 Curlew Sandpipers mixed in with the flock of 10 Dunlin. Other waders about included Common Sandpiper, Redshank and two Curlew along with a good flock of juvenile Yellow Wagtail - about 10-12 birds present.


L to R: Dunlin, Curlew Sand, Curlew Sand, R.Plover (foreground), Dunlin

The Ospreys were also on view of course with the three birds that i'd seen earlier in the day now much closer from the hide. So in true Hooded birder shit photograph style I attempted to mimic the inspiring shots you see of the Ospreys on the nest platform with the big country house in the background.....

Mines clearly much better.

After the wader fest at Lyndon I headed home via Eyebrook to see if any waders had turned up and was rewarded with two more Ruff, a Greenshank and a Black tailed Godwit that allowed itself to be photographed by yours truly


And that was that. 79 species of bird on the day list but no Phalarope.....and I was horrifically close to it in Shoveler hide all along without knowing it was there. Testicles.

5th September
Woke up this morning with my twitching pants on - if the Phalarope was resighted I was there! I did consider a first light, hunt the fucker myself arrangement but after the fiasco of attempting that with Cattle Egret the other week I decided to pass this time. And it hasn't been seen today so I win. With the desire to twitch something burning deeply I ventured out to Frolesworth with the intention of year ticking the two Whinchat that have been sighted there over the past couple of days. And thankfully the little buggers didnt disappoint and were fairly easy to track down once I got to their favoured horse paddock and was joined by a keen observer.

Keen observer
Awesome photo of a Whinchat


  1. Wow - your Whinchat photo is genuinely world-class shit quality (i.e. unidentifiable). Just a shame it wasn't something rarer!

    Have you got yourself Twittered up yet? I can feel a mega coming on in the next few days....

  2. Does it makes it even better when I tell you that one was the best out of about 10 candidates!? And yes, I am twittered off my face. At least I think I am, a rare bird needs to be tweeted first so I know whether it works or not!

  3. and did I say photo of a whinchat? I meant Calandra Lark.