Although I'm not a big fan of Rutland Water due to fact that its just to big to do some birding, sometimes it can be brilliant!
Starting at Whitwell and meeting up with Ben Croxtall, Andy Forryan( part of the Groby crew) and Matt Berriman mid morning we were soon looking at 3 Great Northern Divers and 2 Red-throated Divers viewed between Whitwell, the Dam and the North Arm.
Moving on to the North Arm by Tim's cottage and meeting up with the Bretts, the group started to scan the nearby water and a number of sightings included a small flock of "wild" Barnacle Geese, a Little Egret, 5 Red-crested Pochards (3 males and 2 females) and then suddenly Andy Brett shouted out that he had found a Grey Phalarope flying down the North Arm!
With in a minute or so the whole group had connected with the bird as it flew around the north arm and then briefly resting on the water in the large flock of ducks. At this point a Peregrine tried to have it for lunch but strangely enough the Phalarope escaped the clutches of the Peregrine and flew off towards the Lagoons never to be see again.
Although this wasn't a year tick for me as I had seen loads in Biscay this autumn, I was pleased to see a Grey Phalarope in county for the first time in over five years!
Next stop was a food stop in Oakham and a few phone calls about the Phalarope and then onto the reserve and the possibility of a couple of roosting Long-eared Owls or LEO's for short.
Walking up to Fieldfare hide I soon rejoined Matthew, Ben and Andy who were scoping the Owls.
OK so the views weren't great and you can forget any digishots of the Owls, but hey it was year tick so nothing to sniff about!
At this point we then decided to have a look for the Black-necked Grebes off Gadwall hide and soon picked up five birds feeding between Goldeneye and Gadwall hides.
After a small detour to Exton to look for the non-showing Black Redstart it was back onto the reserve to check on the Gull roost on Lagoon 4.
So over the next forty minutes we picked up two Med Gulls (1st winter and a nice looking adult bird) and an interesting looking 1st winter Caspian Gull (well done to Andy for finding it!) to finish off an excellent day and I forgot to say that the Med Gulls were also year ticks as well, so a great way to finish the day!