Monday, June 22, 2015

Brandon Summer Away-Day

Another full mini-bus and a summer away-day with the Brandon Marsh team, this time with visits to a couple of RSPB reserves: Blacktoft Sands in Yorkshire's East Riding and Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire.

Record shot of ♀Montague's Harrier at Blacktoft Sands - Thanks to John Osbourne for his image!
A pretty painless drive to Blacktoft, arriving shortly after 9am and after checking in at the reserve centre to gather some information, off to the hides. One of the star attractions here are a pair of Montague's Harriers and during our stay the female showed well on occasions, unfortunately mostly at distance, but what a stunning bird to behold. The icing on the cake would have been the male of the pair, but it turned out to be one of those days we're he remained elusive!

Tree Sparrows nesting in the Blacktoft Car park
Other highlights of the visit included Common Tern, Curlew, Little Egret, some cracking Marsh Harrier food passes, nesting Tree sparrows in the car park and three summer plumage Spotted Redshank. We departed after lunch around 1pm, dipping on the recent Ring-necked Duck and weren't surprised to see the bird reported later in day, along with a visiting Red-necked Phalarope!!

Painted Lady - Stunning example just outside the centre at Frampton
After lunch a drive over to Frampton Marsh for the remainder of the afternoon seemed to coincide with some hefty downpours. Before the rain one of only three butterflies seen today, with the above very pristine looking Painted Lady.

Distant record of Mediterranean Gull taken with phone to scope!
The birding, considering the time of year was very good and included some superb summer plumage species such as Spotted Redshank, Ruff and Mediterranean Gull. Other waders on the day included Ringed Plover, Little-ringed Plover, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Black-tailed Godwit. Also of note Common Tern, Little Egret and Pink-footed Goose, the latter possibly an injured bird from the winter.

Finally, as tradition has it a stop on route home for a fish & chip supper at Grantham was a great end to another brilliant day.