Wednesday, 7 August 2013


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.

It is a great spot for Swallows and other birds, the swallows sweeping within inches of your face and feet, House Sparrows,Buzzard and Red Kite all present, before I realised it I had filled a 4 gigabyte memory card within 2 hours (273 images on my camera settings) how many did I keep? Less said the better I think lol.
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.
A bit soft, but judging by the gape it appears to be juvenile.
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 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.
The swallows were mobbing it (see image above), plucky buggers. But the Osprey kept coming it headed towards the bridge (I have seen 5R, another Rutland bird,  on there before a couple years ago during a thunder storm), I thought it was going for the canal or having seen me fly off.....
 But it swang around came along the wall of the dam, was looking down, please dive I thought.
It kept searching/looking down for something to catch, it is bit shallow I thought! It hovered like a Kestrel, the image above doesn't really demonstrate, the more Kestrel like ones are soft, but it didn't take the plunge, it stayed all of three minutes!!! Before heading off toward the Sulby reservoir, it went along the dam wall that seperates the two reservoirs, glided onto Sulby and flew off towards the bottom end of the reservoir in an easterly direction, I looked at my monitor and the first image was 11:30 the last image was 11:35.....funny how five minutes can make your day.
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.

This time around the Osprey was close enough that when I got home I was able to partially read the ring tag on the birds right foot (squinting time again). It's a green ring with white now gets a bit confusing, only two are ever easily read, the last two, because of the position of the birds talon and the feathering partially covering the first number. Now it looks like 110 (one,one,zero) or it could be 11o(one,one and the letter o) which to me makes more sense given one of their birds I know is 5R, it could even be LLO but I won't confuse matters.
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.


  1. A superb sight.
    I don't know how you have the patience to sort through hundreds of images but I'm glad you have.

    1. It was a good sight, for me when it comes to swallows it's easy to go through hundreds of images as it's mostly delete,delete,delete,keep,delete :)