It was a bright morning; the start of the mini heat wave for February. Eight of us started from the centre at Egleton but there was little of note listed on the board of recent sightings that we wouldn't see elsewhere so we moved onto the North Arm by Tim's Cottage. Having said that we did see a group of rooks in the trees by the centre. The aim of the day was to see all 5 grebes. From the road we had good views of little grebe, goldeneye, mallards, wigeon, Canada and greylag geese, but as we walked further along the road past Tim's cottage the variety of birds increased - 100+ lapwings on the bar with cormorants, drying their wings, and waders on the far bank including dunlins, oystercatchers and redshanks. A red kite appeared overhead and we were to have several clear sightings throughout the morning. In front of us a pair of great crested grebe had begun their intricate courtship dance, when a young peregrine falcon dramatically flew across our line of sight scattering the lapwings and ducks. It then landed at the water's edge on the far bank remaining there for several minutes. The three other grebes were proving very elusive. Someone would call out and we'd all look, but to no avail. Finally they were found, looking out across the water to the far bank two of the grebes we were searching for had appeared, two black-necked grebes and three Slavonian grebes. Watching them for some time we managed to get some clear views despite them diving regularly.
Our quest continued. We returned to the cars planning to go to the South Arm in search of the red-necked grebe. On the lane we saw many small birds in the hedgerows as listed below and more views of the red kites.
At the South Arm the wind was bitter. Here we had even better views of raptors - a buzzard, red kites and a sparrowhawk. As we stared out across the water, finally in the distance we saw what we thought could only be a lone red-necked grebe. It was the 'jizz' of the bird. It was seen so briefly, before it dived without reappearing in the lenses.
Although quite chilled, like icicles, we decided to go on to Eyebrook Reservoir hoping to see the reported drake smew, but unfortunately we had no luck. However, we were treated to a few new sightings of the day: golden plover, pochards, crows and linnets.
All in all, it was a good day. Lee took some excellent photos with his new camera.
If you go onto the LROS website and look at recent sightings for Rutland Water you will find the grebes are still there, several smew have moved there too and scaup. It's well worth a visit.
Bird sightings at the North and South Arms Rutland Water: Mute swans, Greylag geese, Canada geese, Egyptian geese, Mallards, Gadwalls, Wigeon, Teal, Tufted ducks, Goldeneye, Pheasants, Slavonian grebe, Black-necked grebe, Little grebe, Great crested grebe, Cormorants, Grey heron, Red kite, Common buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine falcon, Coots, Oystercatchers, Lapwings, Dunlins, Redshanks, Black-headed gulls, Common gulls, Lesser black-backed gull, Wood pigeons, Collared doves, Great spotted woodpecker, Pied wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Great tits, Blue tits, Long-tailed tits, Jackdaws, Rooks, Starlings, House sparrows, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Probable sighting of Red-necked grebe Bird sightings at Eyebrook Reservoir : Mute swans, Mallards, Gadwalls, Wigeon, Teal, Pochards, Tufted ducks, Goldeneye, Pheasants, Little grebe, Great crested grebe, Cormorants, Red kite, Common buzzard, Coots, Golden Plovers, Lapwings, Black-headed gulls, Common gulls, Pied wagtail, Long-tailed tits, Crows, Linnets