Unfortunately, due to an electrical fault, the RSPB Frampton Marsh Visitor Centre will be closed for the next few days. The car park, footpaths and hides will remain open. We apologise for any inconvinience this may have caused.
Please continue to check this blog page for further updates.
Best wishes for the New Year,
Simon and the Frampton team.
I hope you are all ready for tomorrow's festivities! Here at RSPB Frampton Marsh, we have been providing a little Christmas dinner to some of our hungry birds. For the last month, we have been throwing seed out infront of our visitor centre for the finches, buntings and sparrows. This has been very beneficial for all concerned. The birds have had some easy meals without having to waste valuable energy finding natural food, and visitors to the reserve have had fantastic close views of these beautiful birds.
Black-tailed godwits have also taken full advantage of the seed on offer. These stunning waders usually probe their extra long bills into the soft mudflats of The Wash, in search of tiny little bugs. Since this cold snap began, many wading birds have found it difficult to probe into the solid ground, leaving the seed we have put out as their only alternative.
We also made our own apple tree for the wintering thrushes and starlings. We took a large branch from a dead hawthorn bush, pushed it into the ground, and stuck apples on the thorns. This has been very popular with the starlings, but has unfortunately not attracted any of the waxwings that have been seen near by.
All of this food on offer attracts other wildlife to the area. I was surprised to see two little fluffy mammals under the bird feeder too. Cleverly, they had set up home right next to the feeders.
Brown rats are not as dirty as you may think. They just had really bad public relations with that whole Plague thing!! (I think that was mainly the black or ship rat.) Most mammals are hard to see in the wild. They tend to be very scared of people, and they do not have the ability to fly away like birds can (apart from bats, of course!!) So to see a rat in the wild is just as pleasing as seeing a fox, a hedhehog or a wood mouse.
Feeding the birds has meant that I have been able to take reasonable pictures with my little compact camera. Why not put some feeders in your own garden and see what turns up? It is a good time to get the birds used to your garden ready for the Big Garden Bird Watch on 29th and 30th January. to learn more about BGBW, click on the link on the main menu page, or come along to RSPB Frampton Marsh where you can find all of the information you will need. While you are there, have a coffee in the cosy visitor centre, and watch nature at it's best. There is a always a great chance of seeing 20 or so of these little fellows.
Tree sparrow. Unfortunately, these pretty farmland birds are in severe decline. Come and have a look at them while you still can.
Thanks for reading. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
From Simon and the whole Frampton team.
That’s right, not only does the Visitor Centre offer a bit of shelter from the wind but its is now a heated bird watching hide, with greenfinches, yellow hammers, and black-tailed godwits feeding within metres of the windows! The engineers spent yesterday working away, and we now have the capability to store electricity from the generator in batteries which can power the lights, hot water, and the under floor heating.
But some of us did brave the cold this afternoon for a Talon Spotting guided walk. Due to the freezing conditions, the reserve was very quiet from a wildlife perspective but we did see and listen for both curlew and redshank. We saw two marsh harriers, but very distant, hunting out near the river’s edge. Small groups of shelduck, mute swans, and pink-footed geese also flew over. And Simon (Visitor and Publicity Officer) kept us entertained with interesting facts such as the mute swan is the heaviest flying bird, and the female marsh harrier has a wing span of roughly 5 foot but weighs only 1.5lbs.
Three weeks ago, John arrived at the workshop one lunchtime with a trailer full of hedgerow plants. Yey, some fun for me and the practical volunteers! – well that was the plan but since then they have sat in the workshop, as with the ground frozen, digging was not the job to be doing.
But with, the onset of some warmer weather this week, the time came for some hedge planting! So today, with the assistance of seven great volunteers, I set about removing turf from a strip in front of the Visitors Centre, turning the ground over and then planting about 200 hedging plants. A mix of species, but all native, which we hope will grow into a nice hedge along the roadside as you approach the car park.
Anne (one of the Volunteers) said “...it will be great to see it in the spring.” I hope that it will and that the volunteers will all get satisfaction from knowing they helped plant that. Hopefully, it should also provide a great new area of habitat from birds, and bring the species found along the hedgerow closer to the Visitor Centre. So, do come down and have a look at our new strip of hedge, and watch with us as it grows and matures.
We stopped for lunch shortly after midday and went into the Visitor Centre out of the wet weather to eat. It was great just looking out of the window with tree sparrows feeding on the fat balls and seed feeder, while the greenfinches and yellowhammers were gobbling up the seed off the ground. I love just having a few minutes to watch the birds on the reserve in this way – its incredibly calming, just watch them flying around and having little swabbles for position with each other.
Also, right in front of the Visitor centre were a number of black tailed godwits probing at the ground. These birds are brilliant, and we were all marvelling at them as they came into land not more than roughly 10 to 15 foot from the Visitor Centre windows, and continued to from outside throughout the afternoon. We were also watching a black tailed godwit and a couple of mallards as they tried to walk about on the ice, and gather the seed that had ended up there. – It always amazes me that ducks are better evolved to deal with frozen water bodies!
So do come and enjoy Frampton Marsh for yourself.
It has been a very bright day at RSPB Frampton Marsh. The snow and ice is melting, and the birds have started to return.
Whooper swan 16
Dark-bellied brent goose 4000+
Hen harrier 3 (2 male 1 ringtail, all seen together)
Sparrowhawk 1 male
Black-tailed godwit 55
Golden plover 33
Ringed plover 12
Fieldfare 650 +
Reed bunting 40+
Corn bunting 1
Lapland bunting 6