Saturday 31 July
Up and out of the house by few minutes after 6 and arrived at the car park below the Wash bank at exactly 7 o'clock. Not the expected rain but a dry, calm and cloudy start to the day with the Sun trying to force its way through and lighten up the day. Indeed, by late morning the cloud was breaking and it turned pleasantly warm against all expectations. Whilst I saw Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Starling, House Sparrow and the expected dozens of Wood Pigeon during the drive over RSPB Frampton Marsh on the outskirts of Boston, it was a pleasant change to record 16 Magpies during the journey and a further four whist at the reserve.
|Ruff Philomachus pugnax|
No sooner settle on top of the bank on the Wash side of the marsh than it was most obvious that the pools were filling up but still some way to go before the winter rush of waders, ducks and geese arrive for the winter. Lots of both Greylag and Canada Geese and in the pools no shortage of waders including many Ruff along with Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, both Green and Common Sandpiper and, of course, very many Lapwing. However, a little diligent searching also produced a Wood Sandpiper and a handful of Little Ringed Plover. Judging by the number present, I assume that the Avocets have also had a successful breeding season.
|Distant Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola|
Whilst on top of the bank checking both the pools below and the salt marsh out towards the river and sea, in addition a few Black-headed Gulls and a quartet of Common Tern I also picked up a very distant, lone Short-eared Owl and more Avocet. The sight of the single Wood Sandpiper below was most rewarding.
Apart from a very small number of Tufted Duck the only other ducks to be found were Mallard and a family of Shelduck. A couple of Little Ringed Plover were running around below and one Black-tailed Godwit close to the lane had no intentions of moving away from his feeding spot in the shallow water.
|Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa|
But to return to the start of the visit for a moment. Not just the Collared Doves and a lone Pheasant as I approached the reserve entrance (a pair of Pheasants and their surviving five chicks were also seen on the way out), the bird of the day must surely have been the Green Woodpecker that rose from the side of the road as I approached Frampton C of E church and did its best to bury itself into the front of the car. Fortunately, it missed and lived to "yaffle" another day!
Time to return to the main car park so that I could check out the main pool and visit both the Reedbed and 360 Hides. Very little to see from the 360 Hide other than a few distant Avocet so on to the Reedbed Hide. Approaching, it was lovely to see the resting Mute Swans on the edge of the first island and once inside more views of ducks and geese at the far side. In addition to the many Greylag Geese and the occasional Canada Goose I also recorded a couple of Great Crested Grebe. A Lesser Black-backed Gull flew over the water in front of the hide and before leaving the hide I was able to find the seven Spoonbill on the far side which were no longer resting out of sight. And as I left the hide to return to the Visitors Centre a pair of Barn Swallows flew past.
|A few of the resting Mute Swans Cygnus olor|
Approaching the Visitors Centre a small of charm of Goldfinch were foraging in the thistles alongside the path and once through the gate to view the water from the far side of the building I soon found very many more Greylag Geese, Mute Swans, Mallards and the resident Coots. From here I also had a better view of the Spoonbill, albeit still a little distant and looking into the Sun.
|Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia|
In front of me a Green Sandpiper was working the edges and a pair of Little Grebe were exploring the depths for their morning feed. A short walk along the path away from the Visitors Centre brought me in touch with more Goldfinch and the arrival of a Great Tit. Alas, the close appearance of the Sedge Warbler and its regular stops were all too short to enable a photograph.
So, just after a couple of hours and still no rain as yet time to head off back to Stamford. However, first the short drive down the farm lane at the back of the reserve to check out the favoured habitat of Turtle Doves when present (but none today) and the artificial reservoir which produced the only Heron of the day. Back to the main exit road and the fields either side held about eighty feeding Rook compared with only about a score seen on the inward journey. Just the one species on the return journey with maybe as many as thirty Jackdaw on the lawns near the Springfield Centre.
|Mute Swan Cygnus olor with a few of the many Greylag Geese Anser anser|
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Pheasant, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Spoonbill, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl, Green Woodpecker, Barn Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting.
|Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius|
|Distant Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta|
|Mute Swan Cygnus olor|
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