We visit Rutland Water 2 or 3 times a year. I wish it could be more, but they don't permit dogs, so we have to find someone to look after Poppy each time.
Although we visit often, almost every time we get lost on the journey. There is one particular turn off the A1 that we take, when we should ignore it and wait for the next one. You would think we would have learned by now! Because of this detour, it normally takes us around 45 minutes to arrive at our starting point, The Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre at Egleton.
Walking around the reservoir in its entirety would entail just over 22 miles, too much for us at our age! However, we stick to the Nature Reserve at the western end, unless we are visiting specifically to see the Ospreys during their breeding season. I will come back to these magnificent birds of prey in a while.
But first I want to tell you about a particular day we spent at Rutland Water in the company of 4 other photographers.
In February 2018 a Facebook Group I belong to arranged a trip to Rutland Water. Along with me were four other photographers - though not all specialized in wildlife photography.
We started at the viewing gallery above the visitor centre as it was raining outside. This overlooks Lagoon 1, separated from the South Arm of the reservoir by Brown's Island.
Over 25,000 waterfowl overwinter on the reserve, and there were several here. Most were too far away for wonderful photos, so I resorted to waiting for closer flypasts. Because of the weather, the birds stood out sharply against the murky background.
After visiting the hides, we headed back to the Birdwatching Center and spent a few minutes checking out the feeding area. The ground below the feeders was busy with Pheasants and Moorhen besides the normal small garden birds that were tucking in to the free food on offer.
It was nearing 2pm before we said our goodbyes to the rest of the group and headed home after an enjoyable, if cold and damp, visit to Rutland Water.
While you are here, you might like to check out our experience of taking one of Rutland Water's Osprey Cruises.