Thursday, 11 November 2021

Frampton Marsh & Baston Gravel Pits

 Thursday 11 November

Arriving at RSPG Frampton Marsh near Boston at 8.30 I think I might have reached the wrong reserve and should, perhaps, have stayed closer to home at Rutland Water!  Damp underfoot following light overnight rain but the mist was descending lower and lower making visibility very poor and far from ideal biding weather.  To make matters worse, the active pump was out of action so very little, if any, water being pumped out of the local drains onto the reserve so all very dry (muddy) and what pools held water were all very shallow,  Not surprisingly, very little wildfowl about so much searching required.  On the other hand, as I approached Frampton I had already recorded a Red Kite quartering low over a grassy field and seen a number of Magpies, Wood Pigeons and Jackdaws.  Indeed, within a mile of the site I also observed a very large flock of Rooks.

Wigeon Anas penelope

Straight to the small car park just below the high bank and checking the local pools I soon had a passing Carrion Crow followed by Teal, the most abundant duck of the morning, Wigeon and Mallard.  A number of Moorhen were feeding out on the grass and checking the other side of the road I found a pair of Gadwall along with a Little Egret and scores of Canada Geese.  Indeed, far more of these geese than I have ever seen on the reserve but also a smaller number of Greylag Geese.  By comparison vey few Lapwing were noted at this usually popular, part of the reserve.  To my right just before the bank a trio of Redshank and a couple of Dunlin.  Much further away on the opposite side, beyond the resting Black-headed Gulls, a lone wet and bedraggled Curlew.

Teal Anas crecca

Once on top of the bank I could see that there were other birds about but in much smaller numbers than ought to be expected at this time of the year.  Starlings were moving about below me on the salt marshes but with visibility so poor nothing else to be seen.  A small charm of Goldfinches flew over the bank and away to my right on the reserve a small flock of Brent Geese and a few Shoveler. Just the one Little Grebe and a couple of Black-tailed Godwit as I returned to the main car park and started an anti-clockwise circuit taking in both the 360 and Reedbed Hides.  Nothing to be seen from the former but the latter did produce both a Shelduck and single Heron on a distant island.

Canada Geese Branta canadensis

Continuing on and taking a eft at the junction to make me the long way back to the Visitors Centre I had a different view from the back of the large lagoon and here there was a good sized flock of Lapwing and more Dunlin. Many more Teal and Wigeon plus Mallards, Shelduck and Shoveler along with a couple of Grey Plover amongst the resting Lapwing and a pair of Avocet drifted past.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

At the last bend near the house a small flock of feeding Blue Tits were working the trees and so back to the car park.  Just the two hours on site and as I left a couple of Pheasants in the first field followed by a lone Collared Dove.  The first bird of the day was the Red Kite raptor and another raptor was to be the last bird in the area recorded with the sight of a passing Kestrel.

With the light slowly improving I decided to make a stop on the way back to Stamford with a short visit to Baston Gravel Pits.  No shortage of water here and the lakes were well stocked with Coot, Wigeon and Tufted Duck.  Also present a pair of Little Grebe and a quartet of Cormorant.  No Canada Geese but at least the water held a dozen Mute Swan and a good supply of Greylags. Also around the edges many Lapwing and using the scope soon found Mallard, Gadwall and Shoveler along with Teal and a pair of Red-crested Pochard.  On the deeper water a large number of Black-headed but also both Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls.  Stopping once again just round the corner on the ay to Baston village to get a different view of the water I found a number of Starlings and on the ploughed field opposite a large resting flock of Lapwing along with many Pied Wagtails.  A Moorhen in the drainage channel and a small flock of Wood Pigeon raised the species total to a round 20 in the thirty minutes stop.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Pheasant, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Red Kite, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Avocet, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Blue Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, Goldfinch.

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