Showing posts from January, 2020

Bittern at last!

Being back from university for the inter-semester break, I took the opportunity to spend a day at Willington. I arrived in the dark hoping to see the ringtail Hen Harrier that has been present in recent weeks leave the roost, half an hour before sunset at around 7:30. The roost is in the trees in the southern corner of the main lake, out of the left window of the hide. At least 24 Little Egrets were in the roost but unfortunately no sign of the Hen Harrier leaving nor did it hunt over the reedbeds on the far side of the lake like it has recently. This means that it hasn’t been seen for around a week now, despite people looking, so I’d be interested to know where else it roosts and hunts - it‘s surely in the area somewhere because it spent around a month in November 2019 at Willington and then presumably the same one reappeared two weeks ago. I did find Shelduck, Curlew, Sparrowhawk and Goosander from the hide though, along with the usual selection of ducks and best of all Willow Tit

Patch Year Begins

My dad and I were up early at Willington this morning just as the sun was coming up, hoping for a Bittern sighting or perhaps a Great White Egret leaving the roost. Sadly, we weren’t so lucky, though the reports in the sightings book seem to suggest Bittern is being seen regularly at the moment which is great news. The view from the hide at Willington GPs We spent around two hours birding the main reserve, clocking the usual species for the patch year list but nothing too out of the ordinary. A Peregrine overhead was a nice surprise, and Oystercatcher, Goldeneye, Snipe and Jayfeatured in the list of the sometimes-trickier species. Cetti’s Warblers were vocal as always and several Water Rails made their presence known. Unfortunately, we didn’t get Willow Tit or Treecreeper this morning – two big winter targets. After visiting all the platforms and the hide, the morning was getting on so we moved across to Egginton, a new area on my patch for this year, to see what this new habi


New Years’ Day is my favourite day to bird. At no other time of year would you get a line of 20 birders at Rutland Water all desperately trying to glimpse a single male Siskin in a flock of Goldfinch. Whether you’re trying for a big year list or not, it’s hard not to catch the New Years’ Day bug. Arriving just after first light, my dad and I began at the North Arm, which is best viewed from the end of the road to the Warden’s Cottage, north off the road to Upper Hambleton. This is signed as a private road, but Tim Appleton is happy for birders to use it to view the arm (and his feeders, which had Coal Tit , Long-tailed Tit , Nuthatch and Marsh Tit while we were there). In the North Arm were the best views of 2 Black-Necked Grebes and a Slavonian Grebe that I’ve had here, and Dad managed to find a female-type Scaup in amongst the Tufted Ducks . Viewing from Old Hall in the direction of Manton Bay - the Red-Necked Grebe was found here Moving onto Old Hall, we’d already d