Monday, 2 August 2010

Whatever happened to Swithland Res?

Inspired by the BUBO Listing badge which recently appeared on John's blog, I decided to join the site and add a couple of my lists. There are only two lists I care about these days - my British self-found list and my Leicestershire list, so those were the ones I added.

Two things struck me as I was entering the records for these: firstly, that I haven't added anything to my found list for about two years, and secondly, how many good county birds I first saw at Swithland Res.

When I started birding, Swithland was my main local patch, and I used to spend a lot of time there, often with Jeff Higgott and/or Steve Close. Like all the best inland local patches, most of the time it was crap. I have notebooks full of records of exceptionally dull visits in the 1980s and 90s which make me wonder why I spent so much time there. The answer, of course, is that every now and then it would be worthwhile. A quick skim through my county list reveals the following species I county ticked at Swithland: Long-tailed Duck, Red-throated Diver, Red-necked Grebe, Shag, Bittern, Red-necked and Grey Phalaropes, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Ring-billed Gull, Iceland and Glaucous Gulls, White-winged Black Tern, Sandwich Tern, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Rock Pipit, Firecrest and Hooded Crow. And that's just the ones that were county ticks; there were plenty of other good birds that I'd previously seen elsewhere.

And what has Swithland had in the last few years? Lesser Scaup and Leach's Petrel in 2006, and, er, can't think of anything else off the top of my head. And the reason is because it doesn't get the coverage it used to 20 years ago. I hardly ever go there now I live on the other side of the city, and Rutland Water and Eyebrook Res are easier to get to. Yes, people do look at Swithland, but I don't think anyone spends the amount of time there that we used to. An opportunity waiting for someone to rediscover how good it can be?

P.S. Corn Bunting isn't really the most recent species I've added to my found list - I just did it in checklist order.

9 comments:

thedrunkbirder said...

I'm sure that Swithland Res still has great potential but to be fair it just isn't that easy to watch a lot of the time the light is just 'all wrong.'
In addition to this the road is just too busy with mostly twats either on foot or in cars... it seems to be the place of choice for baseball capped wankers in their Vauxhall Corsas trying to impress each other/some bored looking chavette and also somewhere for them to listen to a bit of Nu Soul or R&B at full volume.
Finally, so much of the bankside id now overgrown that viewing is very restricted. Steve Lister did try to get something done but seeing as contractors are responsible for doing any groundworks they just didn't seem to bother. You think Corus are neglecting Eyebrook. Mick Kettley would have a fit at Switho... I'll stick to the Soar Valley.

Skev said...

Don't think I'll bother adding the Bubo badge to my blog. I have my lists on there but they change so infrequently that it would be a very dull static image!

The Leicester Llama said...

Agreed it sometimes seems like chav central around Switho, and the light is poor from the road in the evening, but we used to get permits from Severn Trent to enter the grounds... although 'health and safety' has probably put paid to anyone getting one now. Ooh no, we can't have anyone going near water unsupervised - they might drown.

thedrunkbirder said...

There's more chance of getting a full set of hen's teeth and a side order of rocking horse shit. Perversely they seem happy to open the grounds once a year for a load of charity runners to go piling through disturbing absolutely anything... Severn Trent are a bunch of c****!

thorntonmothman said...

I was watching Swithland in the early 80's and beyond and had some fab stuff (but not as good as yours). Most of the time it is crap - but isn't that local patches full stop?? Granted viewing isn't as good as it was but it is (in my honest opinion) a sleeping giant and will certainly bring in some good stuff in years to come, observers permitting. Crag Martin???? I didn't hear about that........

thedrunkbirder said...

Old Chinese proverb says 'fuck off you spamming cunts.'

The Leicester Llama said...

Indeed. I don't know why they bother - I would hope everyone who reads my blog is intelligent enough not to ever click on any of their spam (and probably virus infected) links.

Steve Lister said...

Agreed - Swithland is not getting much these days. I still visit up to five times a week but rarely see anything worth reporting. Evening gatherings of yobs on the dam don't make the gull roost (what's left of it) very attractive, and viewing is increasingly difficult from Kinchley Lane. The work I got ST to agree to was never done, as John mentioned, and so 'the railings' is a waste of time now.

thedrunkbirder said...

Even the Chinese agree...

Thinking about it wouldn't that be blocked in China? There's something to be said for a totalitarian system of Government eh?