Rutland Water 29th April 2018

I look forward with anticipation to the April field trip, migration is in full swing, birds are singing whilst woodland and hedgerow birds are visible before the trees become fully clothed in leaves. Days are longer and, I say with caution, the weather should be warmer but this year’s spring has been colder and wetter than normal.


Rutland Nature Reserve was created in the 70’s along with the Anglian Water reservoir and since then the site has matured with much of the planting and habitat creation maturing. It is a large and impressive reserve covering over 1000 acres, well provided with excellent facilities including two well equipped visitors centres and over 30 hides overlooking the reservoir and a series of 8 lagoons served by good pathways.
We left Wilmslow at 7.30 and it was a grey and cold day, continuing the year’s long winter and late spring. During the journey we were rewarded with sightings of Red Grouse, Curlew, Buzzard and Red Kites as we travelled over the Pennine moorland.

Our visit started at the Anglian Bird watching Centre and the nearby feeders were busy with Blue, Coal and Great Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinches, with both Tree and House Sparrows active.

The series of lagoons are of varying sizes and depths and surrounded by both meadow and woodland with plenty of mature hedges making for a varied and interesting variety of habitat. Walking on to the first of the hides we heard a mixture of Warblers in song, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Sedge Warblers and Blackcaps all keeping themselves deep in the protective foliage. Some were fortunate to see and hear Lesser Whitethroat, a bird that I have difficulty identifying but, the jewel in the crown for me was the brief but unmistakeable song of an unseen Nightingale, a bird that I had not heard live for 50 years. Sand Martins, House Martins, Swallows, and Swift were present as were both Common and Arctic Tern with their distinctive calls.

The first of the hides gave us a good count of seven waders, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Common Sandpiper, Curlew, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. The Ducks were well represented as well, Mallard, Shelduck, Wigeon, Tufted, Gadwall, Teal and Goldeneye. Some were fortunate to see Garganey. A scarce secretive duck similar in size to the Teal and our only summer migrant duck with, according to the BTO only about 100 breeding pairs in the country.

Oystercatcher & Common Sandpiper


For the second part of the day, following lunch, we moved by coach to the Lyndon Visitor Centre, again with excellent facilities giving access to a series of hides overlooking Manton Bay where the reserve’s Ospreys are. It was in 2001, following a successful translocation project that Rutland Water became the first site in England where Osprey had bred for 150 years. Since then a total of 117 young have fledged from the site which now has a self-sustaining population of currently 8 breeding pairs. Seven of the pairs are breeding on private land whilst the eight pair has used the breeding platform situated in Manton Bay. Both male and female were showing well and sharing duty on the enormous twiggy nest which being close to the hide provided excellent viewing.

Above: Osprey on nest Right: Egyptian Geese

The visit proved to be a rewarding day with a collective total of 75 species being seen or heard and also included Little Egret, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag, Canada and Egyptian Geese, Kestrel, Reed Bunting, Bullfinch, Blackbird and Mistle Thrush whilst Reed Warbler and a squealing Water Rail were heard but not seen.
A good day.

Photos by Robert D

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