I attempted to 'half inch' this impressive sculpture for my nan's Christmas present but I failed to squeeze it in the back of the old Skoda.
With the chance to add to the year-listing insurance policy, I took the opportunity to head over to Rutland Water today. The reason being, I woke up in a cold sweat the other night in a blind panic. I had dreamt that just before midnight on New Year's Eve the BOU announced that the pesky redpoll complex had been re-lumped and I ended the year on 299!
It was the first time I had visited the Lyndon part on the reservoir and I was surprised just how quiet it was. Maybe it was because visitor centre was closed or perhaps it was due to the icy access road only just being re-opened. Whatever the reason I was loving it, peace and quiet on a sunny and tranquil winter's afternoon. There's always something to spoil it though. Upon entering the Teal Hide I was faced with a couple of the usual manic-depressive birders, you know the ones. They are the type that never respond to your polite 'Hello', they avoid eye contact at all costs, they communicate amongst themselves in a series of quiet grunts, they rarely break into a smile and they give the impression they would rather be anywhere else other than out birdin'.
Anyway I stuck to my year long rule of not asking them if the target species was showing, I wanted to find it myself. To be honest though judging by the expressions on their sour faces I don't even reckon they'd spotted it. So after grilling the various wildfowl for a while I eventually picked out a handsome drake AMERICAN WIGEON (301). The bird eventually showed well close in shore just to the west of the visitor centre amongst its Eurasian Wigeon cousins. Other web-footed treats included 7 Smew (2 adult males, a first-winter male and 4 sexy females) as well as 3 Greater Scaup (adult male & 2 females) and a single female Goosander. Other species of note included 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Water Pipit.
A Tom Tom eye view of Rutland Water!