Friday, 19 April 2013


It didn't take a genius to work out that the freezing temperatures a couple of weeks ago were holding up all the migrants and it furthermore didn't take a genius to predict that there would be a literal horde of migrants storming their way North once the cold weather cleared but its been jolly well received all the same!
Over the course of the week I've picked up my first Common Terns, Willow Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Blackcaps, Wheatear, White Wagtails and Yellow Wagtails of the year on the reserve, along with scarcer migrants such as Sandwich Tern, Med Gull,  Bar-tailed Godwit and a gorgeous Blue-headed Wagtail thingy at the dam on Tuesday evening. The wagtail passage has been particularly impressive this week, I've never seen anything like it!
Other goodies that have passed through without me seeing them have included Redstart, Grey Plover, Avocet and a Ring-billed Gull yesterday evening whilst the first Whitethroat was heard yesterday morning I believe. Wintering birds such as the Great Northern Diver and Long-tailed Duck were both reported during the week too which has made for an excellent mixed bag of birding to be had at Rutland.

Now be prepared for some dodgy shots of migrants!

Two Barwits....honest

cracking bird

as was this.

Edit: Just got back from a jolly up to Charley Mill where such goodies as Redstart, Ring Ouzel and Pied Flycatcher had been reported over the last few days. I saw none of the above but did manage to tally 16 Wheatear with Dave Gray before the heavens opened. 3 Golden Plover were also spotted resting in one of the fields before flying strongly northeast inbetween showers. Unfortunately no shots of the Wheatear as they were truly miles away but the Plovers were closer...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

#3 Birds!

Third and final installment. The way things have been going lately expect another blog post sometime around August. I'll look forward to it ;).

Despite feeling like I've not done much birding this year I've seen a fair bit I suppose, I've only been on two birding related trips (north Norfolk coast and Thetford Forest) but working at Rutland Water really does help with sneaking in an hours birding before/after/during work everyday. The feeding table under the caravan window has also kept me entertained on many cold mornings before work, its nice being able to bird without going outside!
Anyway, no photos were taken on a recent trip to the Thetford Forest so I won't mention that any further but a trip to Snettisham and Titchwell in mid-february was more successful photography-wise so....

Siskin at Titchwell

Brambling in the same place

House Sparrow - actually taken the next day at Ouse Washes

Song Thrush

Dodgy effort at the Long-tailed Duck

Spotted Redshank

No winter Titchwell trip is complete without a shot of a Sanderling bounding along the edge of the surf

After much deliberation we decided this Diver to be a Black Throated - any thoughts or comments would be much appreciated.
Other good birds seen but not papped on the day included Bittern and ringtail Hen Harrier
The yard list has crept up towards 100 (94ish at the minute) with a recent addition being the Great Northern Diver that was spied miles off towards the valve tower in the North Arm on Saturday afternoon. Good bird that. Whooper Swan was also a welcome addition after missing the last flock to fly up the North Arm. Here's a few other decent birds (and a couple already mentioned!) that have found themselves on the end of a phone-scoping in recent weeks at work;
Drake Smew from AWBC

Confused Black-necked and Slavonian Grebes in the North Arm (also both on the yard-list :D )

Intrepid Hide-robin on Lagoon 3

Great Northern Diver off the dam

Scaup with Pochard and Tufted Duck accomplices on Lagoon 1

Rails on the Egleton Meadows - showing very well at the minute - up to 6 birds.

Afforementioned Whoopers from the workyard
I've not been at home much this year but a welcome and overdue addition to the garden list a few weeks back was Lesser Redpoll, no doubt enticed into the garden by the shiny new niger feeder that the Hooded Birder purchased a couple of weeks prior. A few Siskin sightings have also helped spice things up after a general lack of them in the garden over recent winters.
And finally, Owls.
Seems like ages since I've written anything or uploaded any images of owls but I can break that run today! One thing I can report on is the evident abundance of owls in the area surrounding Rutland Water , Barn Owls are clearly doing well in the area, I'm always seeing them! Normally when I've not got my camera with me but about ten days ago I chanced upon a lovely shot of a Barn Owl in the falling light. Having to shoot through my less-than-clean windscreen was a challenge but I'm quite pleased with the overall result;
Little Owls have unfortunately not been as easy to find in the area surrounding Rutland Water but I headed out to a site near Lutterworth today and happily found a pair of Owls on their favoured haystack literally gagging to be my new header image!
This image and the next three aren't the best I'll ever take but I'd never managed shots of pellet regurgitation before. Behold...

A keen eye can just make out the pellet falling infront of the bale. click for bigger as always.



#2 - Work!

Work has continued despite the intensely cold weather conditions over the last few months, I struggle to remember the last work day where I wasn't so swathed in layers that I resembled the Michelin Man. That being said, its still been jolly good fun; I've learnt to hedge-lay and much of my time recently has been spent constructing the new Bittern Hide on Lagoon 3. The build has been made possible by a generous donation and stands more-or-less on the site of the old Plover Hide overlooking the Northwest corner of Lagoon 3. The hide isn't quite ready to be opened to the public yet but it shouldn't be long now before it is fully operational!

P.s. No one need get any bright ideas about being the first person to see a Bittern from Bittern hide....cos it was me! I saw two flying down the reedbed when I was supposed to be busy attaching roofing felt :D

Winterscape #1





Hedgelaying on Lax Hill in sub-zero temps

Hooded Birder building hide frames

Laying the foundations

Channel, pool and radiations dug for the new hide, area of cut reeds on left.

1/3 of new hide in-situ.

Getting busy with roof beams

Finished hide - pre-roof

Roof goes on in the snow

Working at Rutland also means that un-forseeable jobs crop up from time to time. Such as;

Dealing with an injured Tawny

Or retrieving a rogue-pig from the Hambleton Road

But over the last couple of weeks signs of spring have forced their way through, signalling a return to normality after this bitterly cold spell;

And Ozzas!