Sunday, 4 October 2009
Invis-migging, and a bit of light birding
Up and out early this morning to meet up with The Drunkbirder at Burrough Hill in the hope of some visible migration. Burrough Hill is over in the east of Leicestershire, and was an iron age hill-fort. It has clear un-interrupted views making it a great site for vis-migging - provided there are any birds passing over that is. Sun-rise at Burrough Hill View to the south View across to the south-west We watched from 07:00 - 08:00. A handful of Yellowhammers and a couple of dozen Meadow Pipits were the highlights, along with a few alba Wagtails and a small flock of Linnets wizzing about all the time. Maybe too breezy, probably too clear, definitely a disappointment. From there, I set off to have a quick look around the Egleton Reserve at Rutland Water. I made straight for Lagoon 4, passing a singing Chiffchaff outside the visitors centre on the way. Lagoon 4 Lagoon 4 Aside from loads of Black-headed Gulls and Lapwings, and a few Shelduck, there were c20 Golden Plovers, 7 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Snipe, 1 Egyptian Goose and a flyover female Sparrowhawk. Even better, there was no-one else about that early. I had a very half-arsed hand-held attempt at digi-scoping Lapwings: Lapwing One of the Black-headed Gulls was attempting to drown itself: Emo Gull Lagoon 3 next - except that it has dried up and the lagoon is not there!? Arid wasteland More likely to find Bustards than Bitterns Scanning across the deeper water revealed plenty of Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Great Crested Grebe, a Grey Heron and a couple of Little Egrets right at the back. People were just started to reach these hides as I left. This included one complete twat who appeared unable to hold a conversation with his mate as they approached the hide without bellowing - I asked him if he could maybe talk a bit louder. A quick look in Lagoon 2 revealed another Little Egret, but not much else. Is this: A) an evocative and well composed silhouette portrait of one of our daintiest herons feeding in the shallows, or B) a shit image of an out of range Little Egret photographed looking into the sun .... Quite a few late dragons knocking about, which were all (I think) Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters. Common Darter And another Also a few butterflies, including a brief Painted Lady. By now the usual Sunday Rutland Water crowd consisting of wealthy elderly dudes and complete knobheads was arriving in droves - time to go. As I walked out, I heard the following that would have made the 'Things That Wankers Say' column on the former Llama website: 'and I saw a Lark which was rare - I knew it was rare because I did not recognise it. That's the yardstick you see, if I don't recognise it then it must be rare ..' Alternatively, the lark was common and he is just shit at identifying anything. Anyway, at this point I was intending to join Adrian Russell looking for leaf-mines at Launde Park Wood - but that was knocked on the head as Adrian was busy. I was also getting peckish, and was mindful that a couple of hours later I needed to get back to Leicester to sort out my Mum after a hospital stay. So, I decided to have a quick look along the north-eastern shore of Eyebrook Reservoir. When I got there, it was also very low and really highlighted how little rain we've had for weeks. New Islands The inflow margin is bigger and further out than usual With all that exposed mud, I felt there had to be some waders knocking about. There was - loads of Lapwings but feck all else. There was also a big mass of smaller gulls - I studiously checked through them and found that there were all Black-headed or Common. The Greylag Geese provided a bit of entertainment as they bickered constantly, with small splinter groups joining or heading off every few minutes. I left Eyebrook via the back roads, and headed back to Leicester. Mum sorted, I nipped to the Soar Valley area to look and listen for a couple of Cetti's. One of these had a very odd range of calls and the song was not quite right - maybe a first-year bird practising. The other was classic. Both were stubbornly hidden in dense sallow scrub. I ended with a quick look around Watermead Park South. More dragons and butterflies, including Comma. As ever, the main car park area was overrun with twats feeding the burgeoning population of tame Mute Swans, Canadas and hybrid geese with too much bread. When will the Council be coming with that gun? Unnatural Parentage This Crows mother was its fathers sister .. With that, I headed home - just in time for a message that a Pec Sand was at the south-western end of Eyebrook - arse!