This Christmas was a busy one, catching up with friends and family. I did though have Friday 28/12 free to myself, so I thought I'd go somewhere a bit different, but not too far. I settled on giving Rutland Water a go, to finish the year off with some good winter birding.
I'd intended to leave earlier than I did, but anyhow by 10am, I popped into Eyebrook Reservoir on the way, to look for the group had Smew that had been about.
I stayed probably longer than I needed to, but there were quite a lot of birds to go through! Unfortunately, I couldn't find the Smew, but did find the recently reported Bewick's Swan. There was also a nice mix of some 40+ Dunlin & c200 Golden Plover towards the inflow end.
On then to Rutland, starting at the dam. Here I spent around 45 minutes enjoying the confiding Snow Bunting that at one point wandered towards me, pecking around my left foot!
Before I moved on, I also sussed out a couple of the over-wintering 1st-winter Shags, which showed well just off the dam.
The North Arm next, produced good scope views of the 2 Slavonian & 2 Black-necked Grebes, together with at least 2 Great White Egret, a Green Sandpiper, a couple of Redshank, 3 Goosander and lots of commoner wildfowl.
A move onto nearby Old Hall, on the Hambleton Peninsular, produced the Red-Necked Grebe a little way offshore, loosely tagging onto a load of Tufted Duck. Having seen Little & Great Crested earlier, that completed the FIVE grebe species for the day. Pretty impressive indeed, especially for an inland site! 5 Bewick's Swans were also here, exceptionally distant but could just about make them out!
Having got to Rutland later than planned earlier on, meant that I was now running out of time! But I still managed to grab the last hour and a bit of light on the Egleton Reserve. After a bit of searching, I eventually found a Smew and it was worth the wait...a lovely drake at the back of Lagoon 3. A Curlew and another Great White Egret were also closeby.
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