There's a lot to be said for the 'chores' of opening up the visitor centre.... I was helping Tony with the task this morning when I happened to accidentally glance out of the window with my binoculars (anything to avoid cleaning the loos!). I was rather surprised to notice a black-winged stilt just wandering around as if it owned the place. As I was watching the bird and trying to explain to Tony where it was another one walked in front of it. A pair! A few frantic phone calls later and other local bird watchers had joined us. Just when I was beginning to think they'd get a mortgage, marry, have kids and what to call them, they decided to fly off (booo!). They had been chased by an avocet on one occassion, then perhaps the final straw was one was pursued by a young little gull. I've never seen a little gull chase anything before, they're usually afraid of their own reflections! and they left in a huff..... 'Ahh zut alore, dis place is a disgrace eu know!, with dese littel gurls you are spoiling us' (Mr & Mrs Stilt are French you see).
Certainly this made up for a miserable day weather wise.
Oriental pratincole - still showing well from the path before the East Hide this morning. The first for Lincolnshire and about the seventh for the UK. It should have stopped off in China or India from Australia, but has overshot by quite some considerable margin!
Garganey - male from the 360 hide
Curlew sandpiper - 2+ from the 360 hide
Little gull - 2+ 1st summer birds on the scrapes or reedbed
Common buzzard - 1 over the wet grassland
Ruff - up to 8 on the scrapes
Little ringed plover - up to 10 on the scrapes and reedbed
Whilst the oriental pratincole is creating excitement over by east hide, the rest of Frampton is looking great too! So if you fancy taking a walk away for the crowds, why not stroll over to the Marsh farm side of the site. There enjoy the tranquillity of listening to the skylarks, meadow pipits, redshanks, and lapwings whose songs/calls fill the area. In the muddy patch by the cross bank steps you may find a turnstone, along with the ringed plover and dunlin. And see if you can see the brown hares hiding in the grass.
But what had caused the assistant warden to head to this area of the site this morning? The answer, Lapwing chicks! For the first time ever we are trying to get an idea of productivity (ie. what proportion of lapwing chicks become large chicks and then fledgings!) So I am following a few broods as they grow from little fluff balls into something more resembling a lapwing. Its exciting watching them grow up, and great to see them scurring around in the grass, so why not come over and see how many you can spot?
So if you don't fancy coming to Frampton to see an oriental pratincole...I suggest its worth a visit to see some lapwing chicks!
Hi Blog fans!!
What a week we have had at Frampton Marsh. First there was a lesser yellow legs on the freshwater scrapes. This elegant American wader was first recorded as a wood sandpiper (which does look very similar to a lesser yellow legs) and posted on the Lincolnshire bird club website. After a bit of scrutiny from some local experts, it was confirmed to be a lesser yellow legs, a first for the reserve. A very nice bird indeed, but nothing compared to what has been on the reserve today............
At ten past one this afternoon, I was working away at my computer, when Tony, one of our visitor centre volunteers called me. He said: "I am with a gentleman who believes he has seen a collared pratincole". This was very exciting news. I chatted to the gentleman, who was called Wayne Lawerance, and he described a collared pratincole to me in detail. This is a fantastic bird to see in the UK, even though we had one here last August, it would still be only the second record at Frampton Marsh. I text the local experts I mentioned earlier, grabbed my bins and rushed off to the East hide. When I arrived, the local experts were already in the hide watching and waiting. As soon as I walked in, they all said together "its an oriental pratincole." This is even more exciting! This is a first for Loincolnshire, and around about a fith for the UK!! After a wait of about ten minutes we were all treated to stunning views of the bird as it hawked for insects, and hopped from island to island. What a day!!
As I write this the car park is filling to the brim with excited visitors!!!
Its my day off tomorrow, so I will see you in the East hide!!
All the best,
aka Mr Plover-lover.
We had a VIP visitor today, "Steve" as I shall call him (because that was his name) came to assess the reserve from Visit England. I have to say overall he seemed pretty impressed and left me with a Visit England Quality Assured Visitor Attraction sticker. Simon wants to take it home and put in on his front door as he's trying to sell his house, is having a few problems and thought being Quality Assured might help, but I wouldn't let him! I wanted to put it on our World Cup wall chart next to Didier Drogba, but it's too big, so it will have to take pride of place on the Visitor Centre window instead. Steve left us with some really useful ideas and suggestions for improving the 'visitor experience' which we will be trying to adopt over the coming months, he even managed to avoid making the obvious suggestion for us to turn the wind down a bit (our new wind turbine was rotating at about 11 out of 10 today). We are officially in a 'wind rich' area, which makes it sound like a good thing, but then I suppose it is if you're after renewable energy to power the building...