Monday, March 17, 2014

RSPB Frampton Marsh

Another away-day with the Brandon Marsh team and thank you once more to the Trust for the use of their minibus. A superb days birding at RSPB Frampton Marsh on the Lincolnshire coast, followed by an equally superb fish and chips supper in Grantham.

Whooper Swans - Brief visit before moving on.
We arrived at Frampton just before 9am and thankfully the weather had held to produce a dry bright, if not breezy day. From the parking area a walk down to the sea-bank produced excellent numbers of Skylark and towards the southern end of the wet meadow four European White-fronted Geese were in among several Greylag. On the opposite side of the path out towards the 360 Hide a group of seven Whooper Swans had dropped in but only stayed for a brief visit. Before reaching the bank other species of note included large numbers of Brent Geese, Little Egret, a Peregrine in attack mode and the usual selection of waders: Redshank, Ruff, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Avocet, Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew.

Mediterranean Gull record shot using the Canon SX50
A coffee and raptor watch hunkered down from the wind overlooking the salt marsh probably produced the stars of the show, when a pair of Hen Harrier entertained us before we reluctantly moved on. As we approached the end of the sea-bank towards the north-east side of the reserve a small group of Meadow Pipit were in full song and doing there usual parachute drop, a pretty cool thing to watch.

Lunch at the East Hide produced only a single Snipe, seems a lot of work is on-going around this particular pool, with large portions of churned up soil. However, the exotica of the day was seen here and turned out to be an Australian Wood Duck, which was asleep on a nearby Island among the Wigeon. Just outside the hide door a Merlin provided decent views when perched on the ground before eventually making off south.

Black Brant - Thanks to John Osbourne for his photo!
From here we continued on to the Reedbed Hide, where the highlights were a Mediterranean Gull in full summer plumage, Greater Scaup and other wildfowl included: Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Teal, Goldeneye, Wigeon, Shelduck, Pintail and both Great-crested and Little Grebe. During our stay we visited the main 360 Hide twice, on the first visit managing to connect with a reported Spotted Redshank and on our second visit managing good views of a single Black Brant. Which unfortunately departed before I managed a record shot, so my thanks to the vigilant J.O. for the photo.

Corn Bunting
During a tour of the remainder of the reserve our raptor count grew with the additions of Common Buzzard, Red Kite, SparrowhawkKestrel and other birds of note included Oystercatcher, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer and brilliant views of a very obliging Corn Bunting. A really top days birding despite the lack of any incoming spring migrants.