Tuesday 24 August 2021

Frampton Marsh and Baston Gravel Pits Lincolnshire

 Tuesday 24 August

Frampton Marsh looking west towards the Visitors Centre

Arriving at Frampton Marsh near Boston at 7.20 this morning in time to greet the waders being pushed up by the high tide just after8, I had a couple of Rook as I approached the turn off the A16 then both Collared Dove and Dunnock passing by Frampton church near the entrance to the reserve.  Straight to the bottom car park, noticing a few Wood Pigeon on the way, to check out the Saltmarsh and immediately obvious that the water levels were even lower than my last visit and there appeared to be relatively few birds about.  The odd Teal and Mallard along with a Snipe on the shallow water on my left as I approached the steps up to the embankment top and on the opposite side a couple of Cormorant.  From the top one could see that all the channels had now been filled by the incoming tide and no shortage of Back-backed Gulls nor a good number of Little Egret.  A huge flock of Starling were resting on fences near the grazing cattle and to my left a quartering Marsh Harrier.  One of the almost dry channels on the reserve side of the embankment held a Ruff and good-sized flock of feeding Dunlin

Ruff Philomachus pugnax accompanied by feeding Dunlin Calidris alpina

Back at the gate and looking over the northern side of the wet grassland I found another Snipe along with Teal, Moorhen and Lapwing.  A first of very many Pied Wagtails was also recorded and, even better, a Yellow Wagtail a little further away from the boundary fence.  Further away I was also able to find a number of Black-tailed Godwit, Little Ringed and many Ringed Plovers along with a Little Stint, pair of Common Tern and a handful of Herring Gulls.  Just the one Oystercatcher and, hearing the deafening "honking", looked up to see scores of Canada Geese preparing to land in front of me.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

Time to retreat to the main car park and check out the waters near to the, yet to open, Visitors Centre. From a vantage point to the west of the building I could see very many Greylag Geese and the distant flock of 21 Spoonbill.  In front of me Coot, a couple of feeding Black-tailed Godwit, Teal and a second Yellow Wagtail.  Also present no less than four Green Sandpipers.

21 Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia on site

Moving to the other side of the Visitors Centre a better view of the distant Spoonbill along with very large numbers of Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Knot which had been driven onto the reserve from the adjacent Wash as the high tide reached its peak.  Also present more Coot and maybe a dozen Little Grebe plus Little Egrets and Mute Swans.

Sleeping Knot Calidris canutus hidden behind the Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa

A Shelduck few away from the water and made me realise just how many Teal had arrived on site since my last visit.  On a nearby scrape, in addition to the many feeding Dunlin, I also found  small number of Sanderling and, at last, a couple of Avocet.

Mainly Dunlin Calidris alpina

Making my way to the 360 and Reedbed Hides I was aware of the very large charm of Goldfinch and, passing though the reedbed, a couple of Reed Warblers.  Very little water to be seen from the former but feeding the edges numerous Dunlin and many more Ruff.  Once in the Reedbed Hide I picked out more Teal and Mallard along with a couple of Tufted Duck.

Ruff Philomachus pugnax

Time to return the scope to the car and take a walk along the path heading northwards from the rear of the Visitors Centre.  Nothing new to add other than the Blackbird and a few House Sparrows at the first corner near the entrance roads. Returning to the car park I noticed that the information board had been updated and the rare Black Stork had once again been seen on the reserve in the fields over looked by the car par park. Stopping to ask a couple of lady birders with their scope standing near my car I asked if they had seen the Black Stork, the positive response was that it was right in front of me and about an hundred meters distance.  Once seen with the bins I even manged to get a quick photograph before the bird took flight to the right then turned round to head out towards the Wash.

The distant and recognisable visiting Black Stork Ciconia nigra

What a way to end a visit and then, as I approached the country lane at the reserve's exit, a Pheasant feeding in a field to my left and, as I stopped to watch, a Magpie flew past.  Meanwhile, still at rest, I noticed the half-dozen Barn Swallows resting on the wires opposite the first cottage.  But with the prospect of sunnier weather once away from the coast and in no hurry, I decided to return home with a slight deviation to take in a short stop at Baston Gravel Pits, recording a Heron crossing above the road as I approached Deeping St Nichols.

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

Arriving at the two main pools at Baston Gravel Pits I quickly noted the nearby Magpie, Jackdaw, Wood Pigeon and Carrion crows.  On the western water a number of Little Grebe, Mallard and a few Pochard along with both Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls.  A Moorhen was eventually discovered skulking in the edges and then a Little Egret.  A handful of Cormorant were resting on the island.  Moving across the road, the eastern water held a large number of resting Greylag Geese and Lapwing along with Coot and Mallard plus both Tufted Duck and Pochard. A good number of Mute Swans and it was whilst scoping two of the Mute Swans that I found a lone Sandwich Tern resting alongside the ducks and geese.  Enjoyable morning resulting in over fifty species being recorded including both the Black Stork and Sandwich Tern.

Distant record shot of the Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis immediately left of the Mute Swan

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Black Stork, Spoonbill,  Marsh Harrier, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Barn Swallow, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch.

Departing Black Stork Ciconia nigra
Sleeping Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa with Greylag Geese Anser anser

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

Greylag Goose Anser anser

Teal Anas crecca

Mute Swan Cygnus olor

Check out the accompanying website at 
http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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