Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year End

To celebrate the end of another year Dee and I decided to rent a cottage in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds and invite a few friends along to see in the new year. Set in the tiny village of Benniworth, Fiddledrill Barn is a place we've stayed a number of times before.

Fiddledrill Barn - arriving to a gorgeous sunset
With family and friends the priority we still managed a couple of visits to both Gibraltar Point and RSPB Frampton Marsh. Gibraltar Point had too many dogs and families visiting during our stay and it wasn't a real surprise that it didn't yield anything out of the ordinary. Best of the day was a Merlin and out to sea several Red-throated Divers and a half dozen Great Black-backed Gulls, along with a number of inquisitive Seals coming close to shore.

The inquisitive Seal!
The wader count was a little more impressive with Little Egret, large numbers of Redshank and various counts of Ringed PloverCurlew, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, KnotTurnstone, Oystercatcher and a couple of Grey Plover. Brent Geese were majorly represented and while heading back to the car park a Snipe on the meadow and a Water Rail scurrying along the ditch as we passed over the small bridge.

A stop at the Harvey Hide before heading off produced a Kingfisher, and more geese, this time a huge flock of Pink-footed Geese, which were constantly on the move from field to field. The water, mainly frozen, held Little GrebeTeal, Shoveler, Gadwall, Tufted Duck but only a single ♀Goldeneye.

Golden Plover - Large numbers on the flats.
Arriving at RSPB Frampton Marsh car park my first sad duty was to tell a guy sitting in his car that he had a dead Fieldfare wedged in his grill. The guy, who was with his family, was genuinely mortified but I did ensure his children were out of earshot. The Marsh was bitterly cold but we managed a circuit, taking short refuge in the hides.

Unfortunately most of the main pools were frozen but the odd open area had Pintail, Shoveler, Wigeon, Gadwall and Teal. The surrounding fields yielded large numbers of Golden Plover, Lapwing and Wigeon, along with smaller counts of Ringed Plover, Curlew, Dunlin, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Meadow Pipit and Skylark. A Peregrine was constantly on the prowl setting off large scale panic and the hawthorn along the roadside, still holding small stocks of berries, held many Fieldfare and smaller numbers of Redwing.

Wigeon - Even the strong sunshine couldn't melt the ice!
Only a single distant Marsh Harrier to report around the reserve and no sign along the sea wall of the recently reported Snow and Lapland Buntings. Again large flocks of Brent Geese feeding on the mudflats, smaller flocks of Greylag and the occasional sight of Little Egret and Shelduck. Two lonely looking Pink-footed Geese on the opposite side of the wall and a large flock of Linnet, which gave up at least two Twite.

Finally, while having a hot drink back at the centre a Tree Sparrow on the feeders and just prior to leaving a trio of Bewick Swans flew in, including a single juvenile. Several Yellowhammer in the car park before heading back for the celebrations.