Trip reports

Field Trip - Rutland Water

Male lapwing in breeding habitat

Monday, 18 June 2018

Having had a lovely run down a relatively traffic-free A1, we reached Rutland Water in glorious sunshine.

Rutland Water Nature Reserve is a huge site with several nature trails and more than thirty hides meaning that it was almost impossible to cover all of it in the time we had available. In contrast to previous years, the visit started with the Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre and surrounding area before moving on to the Lyndon Visitor Centre in the afternoon to see the Ospreys.

On arrival at the Birdwatching Centre, members of the group filtered off in various directions in search of what was about. Waterfowl on the lagoons included Great-crested and Little Grebes as well as numerous duck species including Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Pintail, Shoveler, Pochard, Red-crested Pochard and Tufted Duck. Three species of goose were also present: Greylag, Canada and Egyptian. Waders seen amongst the ever-present Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns included Avocet, Little-ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Curlew, Redshank and Little Egret. Overhead, we were treated to aerial acrobatics from Sand Martins, Swallows, a few Swifts and the occasional House Martin - all feeding on the profusion of invertebrates clouding the air through our scopes which revealed a spectacular buzz of flying insects.

Birds seen in more wooded parts of the reserve included Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, various tits, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Bullfinch and a good number of warblers - Sedge and Reed Warblers in the reed beds plus Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff in the trees. Cetti's and Garden Warblers were both heard but not seen. A few group members were also fortunate to see a Spotted Flycatcher near the car park.

In the last 16 years we have seen the successful Rutland Osprey Project produce several pairs of Ospreys which are regularly seen fishing over the reservoir from April to September. So, following lunch, we were all counted back onto the coach for a drive around to the Lyndon Centre for the main attraction: Osprey antics!

Although they are a bit of a walk from the Lyndon Centre, the Waderscrape and Shallow Water hides both overlook the Ospreys' nest in Manton Bay. The walk was well worth it however as we all got excellent views of the adult Ospreys and of their chicks' bobbing heads. The adult female, Maya, had caught an enormous fish and had brought it back to the nest where the male (Number 33) just stood looking on; it looked as if she wanted him to serve up the meal to the chicks but he was a bit reluctant to play waiter and so she promptly flew off with dinner! Other birds of prey seen by the group during the day included Red Kite, Buzzard, Kestrel and Hobby.

The wildlife attractions of Rutland Water extend well beyond its birds with other animals seen by the group including a Grass Snake, a Slow Worm and numerous damselflies and darters. Butterflies too were present in good numbers with species seen including Ringlet, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Essex Skipper, Speckled Wood and a profusion of Meadow Brown. A more unusual invertebrate sighting was of a Nursery Web Spider's "tent" filled with tiny miniature spiders as she stood guard outside - waiting to pounce on any unsuspecting guest.

A great day all round and everyone enjoyed the two centre trip.

35 attended.
79 bird species seen

Report by Sue Bradshaw