I'm looking out the window at the depressing, damp, greyness of today and remembering last Sunday's Walk at Rutland Water. In contrast, it was a cold, sunny, crisp day. The drive across Leicestershire's rolling countryside was a pleasure. This day's walk was ably led by Nev and Graham. Angie and John, Bev, Wendy, Terry and yours truly all made the journey. We met in the car park at Egleton surrounded by fieldfare before we set off for the North Arm. Many birds were on the water - mute swans, tufted ducks, shoveler, mallard, wigeon, greater crested and little grebes etc. but in amongst them were a pair of pintails, beautifully marked, showing off their dabbling talents. On the far bank two waders were spotted. After much deliberation it was decided that they must be green sandpiper rather than common or wood sandpiper due to the lack of a white gap in the plumage on the shoulder with a very definite horizontal line separating the belly from the wing and breast. Egyptian geese, 50+ dunlin and a great egret were other notables at this site.
From there we went onto the dam where Nev spotted the great northern diver in its beautiful fish scale plumage. We had hoped to see the red-necked grebe and the red-breasted mergansers which had been reported here, but to no avail. There was, however, a distant sighting of a red kite; one of only two raptors we saw that day. On the field by the dam were 50+ rooks with starlings amongst them - a sight you don't see often enough nowadays.
After a quick drink we walked along the lakeside the other side of the cafe watching the many ducks close by the shore. We were treated to views of a female kestrel hunting from a branch halfway up a barren tree. She swooped to the ground several times with little luck constantly returning to her perch.
As we said our goodbyes to a wonderful day, the intrepid explorer, Nev, was last seen heading off to Eyebrook Reservoir in search of the ferruginous duck before the light failed.
Thank you to all those who came out for the company and good cheer.