Wednesday, 24 August 2011


We had an early start on sunday morning to get to the Rutland Bird Watching Show at the opening time of 09.00. I didn't take my camera, but I wish I had done, if only to get a picture of Johnnie Kingdom in his full camo gear and hat, very entertaining he was too. It was certainly a great day out and we even got to say hello to Simon King, or at least Carol did as he sauntered past us. The only disappointment was that I failed to buy a new pair of Swarovski bins, the reason being that the only people allowed to sell them were Swarovski themselves and they wanted the full retail price. No chance. My consolation purchase was a stunning print of a Painted Lady butterfly by Richard Lewington the natural history painter, maybe i'll start a collection.
We stayed overnight and spent monday morning walking the shores of Rutland Water. It's a fantastic place and we were really pleased to see a Red Kite drift over us early on, which was joined at one point by one of the local Buzzards. But best of all was an Osprey which although fairly distant, twice hovered above the shoreline, presumably in hunting mode, but alas didn't treat us to a fishing lesson. On the way home we stopped off at the south shore nature reserve where we watched from the hide as two juvenile Ospreys were eventually joined at the nest site by an adult, possibly the one seen earlier but we can't be sure. Either way, it was good to meet at least three Rutland Ospreys and who knows, maybe we'll meet again soon at New Hythe as they head south for the winter. Well you never know!


And talking of New Hythe that's where I spent a pleasant couple of hours this afternoon. I feel as if i've neglected the place recently, which I have I suppose, but hopefully visiting times will be back to normal for the next few weeks at least. I'd had a text earlier from Terry to say that he'd finally located a Sedge Warbler at NH, a bird that's eluded us this year so far. So I caught up with him at the southern end of the sunken marsh where we watched and waited for it to reappear and get it's name on my NH year list, which of course it didn't do. I think I may have to have an early morning foray to get one of these passing through the patch, perish the thought. Time's running out though, in one week it'll be September, where does the time go?

The list of birds seen at the sunken marsh is short, very short. A Sparrowhawk was one, and another was an unidentified raptor, flying high and heading south, interesting but anonymous alas. The best of the rest being the odd Swallow and Stock Dove. We decided to cut our losses and move round to the small wood by the river and on the way I finally got a shot of a NH Migrant Hawker. I'd seen some buzzing around on recent visits but I do like to get a picture if possible of the different dragons and damsels seen here. I guess this is the last species to grace the air here this summer, or at least the last to appear. I think the Lesser Emperor is maybe the only one who 'got away' from a photographic view.

If it hadn't been for Terry I may well have trodden on the baby Rabbit above. It was sitting motionless on the edge of the path and really didn't want to move away, or maybe it couldn't. We left it undisturbed and hoped a Fox didn't find it.

We had to wade through five or six foot high nettles to get to the small wood by the river, it had better be worth it. We knew the tide was practically out so we were hoping for some goodies to boost the visit, which we got in the shape of three Common Sandpipers, two or three Buzzards, possibly more over the Downs, as well as one or two distant Hobbys and another Sparrowhawk which flew across the river. A Little Egret was fishing further downstream and a few more Swallows followed the river south, but hopes of a Bearded Tit in the reedbed opposite were unfounded. All the usual gulls were seen including GBB, LBB and Black headed and further entertainment came in the shape of a Cormorant which caught a large Flounder but just couldn't swallow it. He decided to head for the riverbank for another attempt but was promptly robbed by another Cormorant. A brief fight ensued, during which the Flounder escaped into the shallow water, where presumably it floundered about a bit before heading for the relative safety of the deep. Always nice to see the underdog win.

Back home I added Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff and a troupe of six Long-tailed Tits in the garden which helped boost the miserable August New Hythe list to a measly 53 species. This equals the featherweight July total of 53, surely I can find another couple before the end of the month.


Mike Attwood said...

I don't know Phil, fancy going to a place like that and not taking a camera.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Nice bit of name dropping at the beginning of the post .
Would have been nice to see some Osprey shots , if you had taken your camera .
Good to see you got the MH picure at last .
Sad to hear you are still floundering around with fishy humour .

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Phil, Glad you enjoyed Rutland, Osprey's are always a treat, hope you find a few bits back on the patch now :-)

Phil said...

I think I misled you a bit. I did take my camera to Rutland but I didn,t carry it around with me at the bird fair.

Phil said...

I stopped short of asking for autographs.
The Ospreys were a bit too distant for my 300mm lens, I'd better upgrade soon I think.
I'll try and stop the fishy humour, I know my plaice!

Phil said...

Thanks for your comments. I will try harder back at New Hythe. I might even catch up with you!

Warren Baker said...

A good early visit will boost the months list Phil.

I must say you do fit a lot into one day - i'd be knackered after that sort of day :-)

Phil said...

A slightly misleading title, but even over three days I was still knackered, never mind one!

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
Glad you and Carol had a great time at Rutland. I have ben there 3 times, and I enjoyed it everytime. On one occasion I bumped into Bill Oddie, and as it happens I took my original Bill Oddie's Little Black Book with me and while we had a few words before he went to be on the bird quiz he signed it for me.
Shame you didn't get your new bins, but there are lot of dealers out there where you can get them cheaper, Birdwatching magazine is helpful.