Wednesday, 5 December 2018

RSPB Frampton Marsh, Boston and Baston Fen

Tuesday 4 December

 No rain today but the promise of an overnight frost followed by a cold, clear and sunny day.  They certainly got that right as I spent fifteen minutes trying to cleat the windscreen and side windows to see to get in nevermind drive away!  In the event I was still at RSPB Frampton Marsh just south of Boston by 9am having recorded Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon and Collared Dove as I approached the site.  Even better, not the dozen or more Pheasants trying to find some food on the frozen ground but the quartet of Grey Partridge to bring a very big smile to my face.  This was even better than the good-sized flock of Fieldfare that was working the berries in the bushes along the A16.  Once on site, with the temperature nor sailing away at a mighty 1 (one) degree C straight to the end of the lane to check out the far waters whist waiting for the Visitors Centre to open.  Lots of water and thousands of birds about but what might they be?

Early morning Frampton Marsh looking west from the saltmarsh bank
Hundreds of Brent Geese which seemed very restless along with many of the Canada geese that seemed forever to be joining and leaving their friends.  Most of the Greylag Geese seemed fairly settled and there was also a good presence of Pink-footed Geese albeit spread far and wide in ones and twos.  Just for good measure, at least five Barnacle Geese were feeding with the Canada Geese as well as a pair of Egyptian Geese.  A total of six species which was most pleasing.  As expected, there were thousands of Wigeon, by far the largest single species on site, but also very many TealMallard, Shoveler and Pintail were also well represented along with a few Gadwall and a pair of Goldeneye.

Just a small selection of the many Greylag Geese Anser anser on site
At the end of the lane a lone Redshank was feeding at the edge of a pool occupied by Teal and all around hundreds of resting and moving Lapwing.  Making my way back to the car I had the pleasure of a dozen Reed Bunting feeding on the path and a solitary Chaffinch on the neighbouring small tree.


Up to a dozen Reed Buntings  Emberiza schoeniclus seen feeding on the footpath
Approaching the Visitors Centre a couple of Moorhen were feeding on the grass and a Snipe made an explosive departure before I spotted the pair of Magpies.  From the Centre I could see a range of duck including Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler and, of course, Wigeon.  In the distance a pair of Shelduck along with a pair of Little Grebe and nearer to me a pair of Avocet.  Not a lot of use being made of the feeders with only a Chaffinch and Blue Tit recorded on this first visit.  Venturing out I found the female Marsh Harrier resting in a field and then the first of the Barnacle along with the Egyptian Geese.

Merlin Falco columbarius
Next off to the 360 Hide where I duly picked up the Pintail.  Not yesterday's 150+ but rather no more than 30 or so.  Wherever you looked you could see the already named ducks and geese along with the Lapwing.  At least  handful of Curlew were also recorded.  The Reedbed Hide gave me the chance to see the pair of female Goldeneye and also find both a Spotted Redshank and Meadow Pipit on the island in front before returning, frozen, to the Visitors Centre even f the temperature had risen to a mighty 4C!  Approaching the entrance I could see something at the top of a bare tree and checking with my bins discovered that the resident Merlin had taken up a much nearer resting place than the its usual dead tree out on one of the islands.  And I even had my camera around my neck to get a record shot even if the raptor was looking directly towards me.

Back inside the building it was apparent that the feeder was drawing more attention with visits form Goldfinches, a Greenfinch and male Chaffinch, small flock of House Sparrows and even a single Dunnock and Robin.  But still only the occasional Blue Tit.  Making my way back out of the site onto the country lane I then stopped for both a Great Tit and Black-headed Gulls.

The lone Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis visiting Baston Fen near Market Deeping
Much warmer in the car and still sunny as I made my back to Stamford but first a stop at the now flooded gravel pits at Baston Fen.  A Heron to my right and the scrape next door produced a couple of Pied Wagtails and a single Ringed Plover.  Most of the activity was on the deeper pool to my left as I parked up and set up the scope.  Mute Swan and a mixture of ducks including Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Tufted Duck and a handful or more of Common PochardStarlings, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon and Collared Dove were in the area around the lake but best of all, not more Lapwing, Moorhen nor Coot but the visiting Long-tailed Duck.  What a great bird to finish the day on - or it would have been had I not seen the resting Kestrel in the tree as I got back into the car for the short drive home.  54 species recorded in the five hours including travel.

Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis

Birds seen:
Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler,  Pintail, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Grey Partridge, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Merlin, Moorhen, Coot, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Snipe, Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove,  Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting.


But over a thousand Wigeon Anas penelope elsewhere!
 
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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