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Leicestershire & Rutland Ornithological Society
Rutland Water



The Egleton Reserve © Andy Mackay

OS Landranger 141

Location/access
Rutland Water is the largest man-made reservoir in Britain, covering some 3100 acres of water. One third of the shoreline, at the western end, is managed as a nature reserve by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust in association with the owners, Anglian Water. Most visitors head for the Egleton Reserve, but good birds can turn up anywhere around the reservoir.

Rutland Water map

   

Egleton Reserve: the Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre is signposted off the A6003 Oakham to Uppingham road - the car park is at SK 877 073. Permits for the reserve may be bought from the Centre, which has an upstairs viewing gallery giving panoramic views over the lagoons. The reserve contains a wide variety of habitats: open water, muddy edges, reedbed, scrub, woodland and grassland. Consequently this is the best part of the reservoir in which to see the most species. The reserve is open every day apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The Visitor Centre opens at 09:00 and closes at 17:00

  The Visitor Centre © Andy Mackay
   

(or at dusk if earlier).

   

Lyndon Reserve: signposted off the minor road between Manton and Edith Weston; car park at SK 894 055. There are four hides, all overlooking the south arm and Manton Bay. This part of the reserve is somewhat neglected compared to Egleton, but is well worth visiting. The paths can get very muddy in the winter, so wellies are recommended. In late summer this is one of the best places to see Ospreys, which often sit on the artificial perches or the dead trees in Manton Bay. Alternative-

  Manton Bay © Andy Mackay
   

ly, the bay can be viewed from Sounding Bridge at SK 877 053. Park carefully in the layby on the opposite side of the road. The water level is usually low here, attracting many species of wader. Two of Rutland Water's White-rumped Sandpipers have been seen here, as well as Pectoral Sandpiper, Little Egret, Spoonbill and White-winged Black Tern.

   

The dam: car park at Sykes Lane (SK 936 083), signposted off the A606 just west of Empingham; alternatively park on the grass verge at the southern end (SK 945 073). A large part of the reservoir can be seen from the dam; this is often the best place to find visiting divers, grebes and sea duck, or occasionally Shags amongst the more numerous Cormorants. Rock Pipits are a possibility on the rocky face of the dam between late February and early April. The grassy slope behind the dam should also be

  Open water from Syke's Lane © Andy Mackay
   

checked for passerines - it has held both Snow and Lapland Buntings and Twite in the past.

Whitwell: car park at SK 923 082, signposted off the A606. Whitwell Creek is a sheltered inlet which has had a number of good birds over the years, including several divers and scarce grebes, and also the Night Heron in 1985.

Barnsdale: car park at SK 908 088, signposted off the A606 opposite Barnsdale Avenue, which occasionally holds good numbers of Bramblings in the winter. The north arm can be viewed from here, and the woods hold Marsh and Willow Tits, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and occasionally Nightingales, although these are less frequent here than they used to be, presumably because of deterioration in the habitat. Barnsdale Creek is a large bay, which often holds large numbers of ducks and grebes in the winter.

   

North Arm/Burley Fishponds: the fishponds can be viewed from the private road just off the Hambleton Road at SK 885 085, and the north arm from the end of this road. Alternatively, the north arm can be watched from the small car park further up the Hambleton Road at SK 895 079. The fishponds often hold Goosander and Smew in the winter, and there is a heronry and colony of nesting Cormorants here. The north arm is one of the best places to see Black-necked Grebe (April - September),

  The North Arm © Andy Mackay
   

and has had both Slavonian and Red-necked Grebes, as well as many other local rarities: Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Ring-necked Duck, Gannet, Manx Shearwater & Grey Phalarope to name but a few.

   

Hambleton Peninsula: Park at the end of the Hambleton Road (SK 920 067). From here, footpaths run right, straight on and left; the latter two are the most worthwhile, giving good views over the north arm and the large area of water towards the dam. In particular, the area between Armley Wood (SK 915 077) and Barnsdale/Whitwell can be be good for divers, grebes and diving ducks in the winter. In recent years, Hambleton Wood (SK 905 070) has been the most regular site for Nightingales - it is best approached from the Old Hall on the south side of the

  Looking back from the Peninsula  along the North Arm © Richard Fray
   

Peninsula. From Hambleton village, take the narrow road opposite the Finch's Arms downhill towards the south arm and park at the bottom. Walk east for about half a mile to reach the wood. The bay just west of the Old Hall can be good for waders, and the south arm can be watched from here, although the light may be poor in the afternoon. This area has had White-rumped, Pectoral and Purple Sandpipers, White-winged Black Tern, Little Auk, Sabine's Gull and Leach's Petrel, and is one of the best areas for terns on spring passage.

Rarities
Rutland Water has amassed an impressive list of rarities and County firsts over its short history, including: Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Green-winged Teal, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Red-footed Falcon, Crane, Collared Pratincole, American Golden Plover, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Stilt Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Caspian Tern, Bridled Tern, Alpine Swift, Red-throated Pipit and Arctic Redpoll.

For more information see the Rutland Water website and the Osprey project website.

   
Sunset over the North Arm from Barnsdale © Andy Mackay
    Rutland Water map
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