Thursday, 19 January 2012


Fine, dry morning so we packed a few sandwiches and drove to Eyebrook Reservoir.  First stop was a tree favoured by Little Owls and sure enough within a couple of minutes we were watching two owls watching us.  The reservoir was surprisingly low for this time of year but there were plenty of birds.  I will put a full list at the bottom of the page but the best sight was three Red Kites sailing low over the fields.  They have a wing span of about 5 feet; a distinctive forked tail and they are a  lovely chestnut colour with white patches under their wings.  Even when we couldn't see them we knew they were around because of the alarm calls of the other birds.  Red Kites are primarily scavengers but they will take live prey.
We spent two hours scanning the reservoir for an elusive Green Winged Teal.  Andy has seen it on a number of occasions but we couldn't locate it today. Still it was an enjoyable couple of hours.
On the way to Rutland Water we stopped off in Uppingham.  It was lunch time and seeing the smartly dressed pupils of Uppingham School reminded me that Stephen Fry was educated here for a while.  We visited the Goldmark Gallery.  My first experience of a real art gallery event was at Goldmark some years ago now.  We walked into a Picasso exhibition.  The walls were filled with drawings worth thousands of pounds and beautiful girls were handing out wine and nibbles.  A man tried to persuade us to part with £60,000 for a drawing of a cat - a three bedroomed semi would have cost less at the time and would have been nicer to look at!  Today they had a sale so we could have picked up a half price Dali or a Matisse but I didn't like them either!
I bought two craft books in a second hand book shop ('The Original Annabel Fox' knitting book and 'Making Hand-sewn Boxes')  then we drove to the dam wall end of the reservoir.  It was cold in the wind; the water was choppy and there were few birds so we didn't stay long.

My list for the day (as usual Andy saw more than I did!)
Mute Swan                          Canada Geese                      Grey Heron 
Black-headed Gull                Great Black-backed Gull      Teal  
Tufted Duck                          Greylag Geese                      Pintail 
Crow                                    Jackdaw                               Rook 
Red Kite                               Buzzard                                Kestral 
Great Tit                               Chaffinch                              Peregrin 
Mistle Thrush                         Blackbird                             Goldfinch  
Widgeon                               Shelduck                              Lapwing  
Coot                                     Great-crested Grebe            Fieldfare  
Common Gull                        Pochard                               Goldeneye
Magpie                                  Blue Tit                                Little Owl
Mallard                                 Red Lg. Partridge                 Wood Pidgeon

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