Rutland Water for Smew
Although it was incredibly cold and the sky refused to change from a dreary grey colour to the blue we were hoping for, we set off for Rutland Water in hope of seeing a beautiful male smew.
Firstly, we headed off for the Lapwing Hide, where thanks to the presence of other birders with fabulous scopes, we were soon watching a tiny brown duck in the distance surrounded by coots-it was a female ruddy duck! Unfortunately for ruddy duck, they have been progressively 'eradicated' over the years and my trusty bird guide says there are only about 10 females left in the UK.
A Very Distant Female Ruddy Duck
Next,we strolled down to the 'Smew Hide' where we did indeed see smew - but again, which was the theme of the day, at quite some distance. It was a beautiful bird however and we were very pleased to see it at all!
A Very Distant Male Smew
New sightings for the year included pintail, goosander and some beautiful red-crested pochard — again too far for my camera lens!
Very Distant Red-crested Pochard
I think we need a proper scope!
It was lovely to watch so many little egrets and grey heron flying in front of us. We also saw teal, lapwing, stonechat, shoveler, shelduck, goldeneye, tufted duck,wigeon, great crested grebe and rather a lot of coots!
Red-crested Pochard, Teal. Pintail and Coot