Wednesday, 30 November 2016

RSPB Frampton Marsh, Boston

Wednesday 30 November

Brent Geese Branta bernicla by the hundred
Another beautiful, clear and sunny start to the day but somewhat on the cold side as I waited a full fifteen minutes to de-ice and warm the car before setting off for the RSPB Reserve at Frampton Marsh on the outskirts of Boston, Lincolnshire.  As I approached I could not help but notice the large numbers of gathering Rooks along with Blackbird, Wood Pigeons and Crows.  However, even more impressive was the red corridor that covered both sides of the road for most of the journey; there will certainly be no shortage of berries this winter.

Must have been almost a thousand Wigeon Anas penelope
Arriving just after 10.30 I was immediately greeted by large numbers of ducks on the pool immediately in front of the Visitors Centre.  Along with those feeding and resting on other parts of the reserve there must have been literally many hundreds of Wigeon along with hundred of Brent Geese.  Every field seemed to contain its mini flock of Lapwings so these, too, must have reached three figures.  Along with the Wigeon on the first water were a few Mallard and Gadwall, many Teal and, after much searching, also a small number of Pintail and the occasional Shoveler.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus looking most resplendent in the low sun


Leaving the Centre to drive down towards the Wash trail I noticed both House Sparrows and Goldfinches on the feeders which were then joined by both Greenfinch and a Common Starling.  Very unusual to see a House Sparrow on this reserve so definitely worth recording.  My new vantage point enable me to get some sun behind me and in addition to yet more Wigeon I also picked out Lapwings and Brent Geese and then the target bird, a small flock of Pink-footed Geese.

One Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus amongst hundreds of Brent Geese Branta bernicla
Off to check the Reedbed Hide before settling into the 360 Hide. With the sun so low looking in  southerly direction was almost impossible and, fortunately, the birds were all to be seen from the opposite windows.  Similarly, the recent two nights of severe frost had frozen much of the shallow pools and whilst the mus looked wet I suspect it, too, was fairly solid below and hence the sight of only one wader, a very fleeting glimpse of a Redshank.  Much close scoping with my one usable eye, however, did find a single Common Snipe and a pair of Canada Geese.  The main birds here were yet more Brent Geese and a handful of feeding Lapwing.  Three Linnets came close to feed and on the distant bank I managed to watch a mixed flock of Greenfinches, Linnets and Goldfinches feeding on the thistles. In the distance the cope picked up a few Shelduck and a similar number of Shoveler plus yet more Wigeon.

Look out; here come the Brent Geese Branta bernicla

Overall, perhaps it was the lack of open water that resulted in not a single Coot being seen and only the one Moorhen on the reserve.  The were a couple of Magpies moving about the area and even a pair of Canada Geese.  Whilst checking the Brent Geese before heading back to the car park I noticed one interloper in their midst.  One lost Pink-footed Goose who decided to stay with her cousins rather than find the rest of the her flock.  Back at the Visitors Centre the Tree Sparrows had arrived to take their fill from the feeding station and over towards the hedge at the far end of the car park a single Fieldfare took off to join his companions feeding on the abundant berries on offer whilst, on the grass, a female Kestrel pondered where her next meal might come from.

Always a reliable site to find Tree Sparrows Passer montanus
Leaving the reserve to make my way home I immediately encountered the feeding Black-headed Gulls in the neighbouring fields and then, once more, an abundance of Rooks, especially before reaching the Spalding junction.  Finally, as I took the Deepings by-pass, not so much the pair of Pheasants in the field to my right but the white phantom that crossed the road in front of the car within two metres of the ground and took a left turn to quarter the inside edge of the hedgerow, but not before I had overtaken the bird to record my first Barn Owl of the year.  Not a bad way to end a morning's birding before my one eye began to get too tired to carry on.

Resting female Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

Birds seen:
Pink-footed Goose, Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Teal, Pheasant, Kestrel, Moorhen, Lapwing, Snipe, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Barn Owl, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.


And no shortage of Teal Anas crecca


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