Well my mum got back from a very successful dog show on Jersey on Tuesday morning, got her small yappy things back that I had been looking after, she told me how the wind was so strong one day on the island two Magpies that were standing near her vehicle were blown over onto their sides, made me chuckle.
My plan today was to visited Summer Leys as I hadn't been for a while, it was sunny when I left home at 5:30am drove about 2 miles to the A45...oh bugger thick mist/fog along the Nene not much good for photography so I turned around on the roundabout and contemplated where to go and what to try photographing....Swallows, I'll head after a pit stop for some breakfast to Cottesbrooke, it's good here for Swallows and House martins and also the juveniles were out trying to hunt for insects.
Where to next? I needed a Spotted Flycatcher for an image. My favourite spot in Northants had been annoyingly turned into a Kids Playground, and even though a nest box was put up...well we all know birds aren't very tolerant to disturbance so no Spotted Flycatchers, so I needed a new spot. I had read on Neils and Eleanor's Blog that a couple were at the entrance at the carpark of Welford reservoir so off I went via Naesby as the carpark area here normally has one or two. Too my surprise the old track along the side of the A14 has had the suspension destroying potholes filled in, phew! Along the track the best I could find was Yellowhamers, Willow Warbler and Chiff-Chaff. Pulled into the carpark and the first bird I heard was a Spotted Flycatcher and although I got to see two adults and two juveniles the only chance I got of an image was when it was into the sun. Also in the wooded area near the carpark I got more Yellowhammers, Cettis Warbler, Wrens (a lot of them actually) and Chiff-Chaff, on the reservoir only a Little Egret and Common Terns, the water level being to high for any waders or even any decent muddy areas. I got, image wise, a Wren in the bracken and that was about it.
I got into the carpark of Welford by 11:00 am and instantly saw where the Spotted Flycatcher was, I saw two adult birds, sadly photograph wise it's too shaded by some lovely tall trees, so I went and scanned the reservoir, taking my seat on the steps that go down the dam wall. Some swallows, house martin, sand martin and one Swift were skimming the water, Pied wagtail catching insects along the shoreline, a Song Thrush popped onto the little brick wall at the top of the steps and saw me and flew straight off...wasn't bothered! It was scruffy looking individual anyway! There was a juvenile Great Crested Grebe looking vulnerable on the water looking like the ripple on the surface would capsize it. No Kestrel, no Buzzard but plenty of gliders (planes). I was thinking of where to go next when all the Black Headed Gulls took to the air the House Martins fled the scene (cowards) and the Swallows got themselves into a flock and started to alarm call, the unmistakable outline (head on) of an Osprey...my heart missed a beat, it was quite low and flew in from Sulby. I was exposed, no cover it wasn't going to come close I thought.
That's the second time this year I've had a Rutland bird here, and taking it upto 9 times I've come across an Osprey at the reservoir over a three year period, hardly an Osprey hot-spot but definitely worth keeping an eye out for if you're ever passing.
Now I don't take my mobile with me anymore when I go birding (try it, it's blissful) so I couldn't notify anyone at the time, I did check Sulby for the bird but it had definately left the area, I reported it to the county recorder (Mike Alibone) and he's passed it on to Tim at Rutland so hopefully I'll get some details of age and sex etc.
There was also two Kingfishers on the reservoir. A great day.