Thursday, 4 July 2019

RSPB Frampton Marsh, Boston

Wednesday 3 July
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus


A beautiful clear, warm and sunny start to the day as I met Chris Bell off the 9.11 train at Boston station.  Straight to the RSPB Frampton Marsh Reserve where we arrived just after 9.30 and started the day with a refreshing cup of coffee.  Leaving the station we had already noted both the Common Swifts and Herring Gulls in the town and as we neared the reserve we were also able to add many Wood Pigeon along with Collared Dove and Magpies.

House Sparrows around the car park and the first sight of the large flock of Starling.  A Turtle Dove was calling quite loudly and a couple of Barn Swallows were feeding around the building and from the Visitors Centre windows we could see large numbers of Black-headed Gull plus Mallard, Tufted Duck and Mute Swan. Also present were both Coot and Great Crested Grebe on the water plus a number of Lapwing on the islands.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
On the feeders outside the side widow were Goldfinches, Blue and Great Tits, many being young of the year. Checking out the whole of the water we also noted the first of many hundreds of Black-tailed Godwit and even a couple of Dunlin.  Indeed, right at the very start of our visit we saw the first of probably at least eight Little Egret which were noted during the day.

A few of the very many Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Now it was time to take a clockwise circuit of the reserve.  Turning left towards the 360 Hide we stopped to admire a posing Sedge Warbler having listened to numerous Reed Warblers on the walk down from the Visitors Centre. A Couple of Sky Larks were singing from on high, very high, and a lone Whimbrel took off in front of me and away to the marsh.

The rather delightful Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
From the hide itself we had splendid views of a number of duck including Mallard, Tufted Duck, PochardShelduck and Shoveler.  Lots of Coot and Crested Grebe plus a small number of both Greylag and Canada Geese to be seen but the main attraction was the very many waders.

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus with one of her two chicks
Lots and lots of Black-tailed Godwit with many, if not most, still in their breeding plumage but this in turn were far outnumbered by the hundreds of Knot, again many in their breeding plumage.  However, careful searching duly produced a rather handsome Ruff.  A juvenile Pied Wagtail was working the path next to the hide and we also noted a number of Common Redshank and the first of probably a score or more Common Tern.


The arrival of hundreds of Knot Calidris canutus and very happy to rest alongside the Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa

But can you find the resting Ruff Philomachus pugnax?

Then it was the short walk round to the Reedbed Hide where we immediately noted the many Common Tern and the first Little Grebe of the day.  The nearest island produced not only the first Avocet but also both Ringed and Little Ringed Plover.  A Moorhen strolled casually along the beach of the nearest island almost immediately after the sighting of a Common Sandpiper.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Leaving the hide and wandering on towards the East Hide Chris picked up a distant Buzzard and we had two male Reed Buntings and even a quick appearance by a Blackbird.  A Chiffchaff was singing and seen in the tree below the second Reed Bunting and once inside the hide good views of a Ringed Plover and lots of Lapwing and more Black-tailed Godwits.  A pair of juvenile Redshank were on the path to our left and certainly plenty more Avocet to be seen.
Young Common Redshank Tringa totanus

Next came a walk along the high embankment overlooking the saltmarsh were we found a couple of Oystercatchers and a lone Golden Plover.  Meadow Pipits were heard and a couple flew up from the reserve and over the embankment.  Walking a few hundred metres beyond the path back to the Visitors Centre we not only encountered a Marsh Harrier but also a Short-eared Owl quartering the marsh.

Two of the three visiting Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia

Time to take a closer look at the pools below and as well as the numerous Black-tailed Godwits and small number off Common Redshank we also found a trio of Spoonbill, Mallard, Tufted Duck and a quartet of Teal.  Much further on we also found our first Spotted Redshank of the day plus a small flock of Ruff including some white-headed.  Ruffs and Reeves together.  And just to add variety a Sand Martin flew over.

Distant record shot of one of three Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus

Working our way back to the Visitors Centre for our final coffee before making our way home, a single distant Cormorant was seem working its way up river.  At the Centre more Goldfinches and tits as in the morning plus the "resident" Blackbird and still a couple of Barn Swallows flying around the building.  From the Centre a look through the scope quickly found the visiting Mediterranean Gull looking in sparkling breeding plumage.

And so we took our departure back to Boston railway station, hearing the Turtle Dove calling and finding a Robin on the wires at the exit.  Just round the corner we also added a Kestrel but, as a result of a faulty barrier at the level crossing Chris missed his train.  No point hanging around for n hour or more so I took Chris over to Grantham railway station where, about half-way, we cam across a large flock of Rooks.  To finish the day a couple of Red Kite as I drove south on the A1 to Stamford.  An excellent day's birding which produced 62 species and wonderful company for me.  Many thanks Chris.

Now can you find the Ruff Philomachus pugnax?
Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Spoonbill, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl, Common Swift, Sky Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting.


Mute Swan Cygnus olor
A last look at the Knot Calidris canutus and Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa



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