Thursday, 5 April 2012

A afternoon’s birding in Leicestershire and Rutland - April 5, 2012

Dave and I headed off to Eye Brook Reservoir and had good views of the Little Owl at Slawston where it sat in a tree hole.
Little Owl
Yellowhammer near Slawston
We arrived at the eastern end of Eye Brook Reservoir but it was fairly quiet with juts a Redshank southwest corner.  When we got to the inlet at the northern end the water level had come up considerable after yesterday’s rain.  There were two Oystercatchers on the Rutland Bank and we eventually had five in flight.  There was also two Buzzards soaring to the south of Holyoaks Farm.  We could see several Swallow flying in front of the plantation and to get a better view we drove around to the Rutland bank.  As we drove along the back Dave picked up a bird of prey, ‘saying what this, is it a kite’, I saw the bird and leapt out of the car as he pulled suspecting it might be a Marsh Harrier.  It was a female and she soon gained height and headed of to the east.  There were also two more Buzzards towards Great Merrible Wood and there were five Swallows present and although Dave thought he had a martin we could not locate it.
Female Marsh Harrier
We moved on to the north arm at Rutland Water in search of the Long-tailed Duck but without success.  There were two Barnacle Geese and three Buzzard over Burley Wood but little else.
My annual permit for the reserve was due and after paying it and scanning lagoon one where we had a few Shoveler and a single Redshank we walked to plover hide on lagoon four.  There was a Red Kite to the north as we entered the hide and we soon found five Avocets and two Redshanks but couldn’t find either Ringed Plover or Ruff that had been seen earlier.
We went into shoveler hide on lagoon three and I found a Green Sandpiper roosting on the edge of one of the islands and Dave then said he might have the Long-tailed Duck, which was roosting in the far left corner of the lagoon.  We scoped the bird and confirmed that it was the female Long-tailed Duck.  We walked to lapwing hide and Dave almost immediately picked up the Long-tailed Duck again but now in south arm three.  It had obviously flown with a party of birds off lagoon three.  We searched for a female Scaup I had seen on Monday but there was no sign, so we returned to the centre.
We arrived at the centre to have brief views of a Barn Owl before it flew off over the trees close to harrier hide.  I then picked up a Short-eared Owl, which over the next fifteen minutes provided some good views and the Barn Owl returned briefly.

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