Hi, it has been a little breezy today, but our visitors have loved the experience on offer.
highlights have included:
Whooper swan 18Avocet 9Ringed plover 12Golden plover c1200Dunlin 45Ruff 16Snipe 12Black-tailed godwit 24 (some in summer plumage)Little gull 1 (1st winter)Sand martin (the 1st this year)
Also, 6 goosander (3 drakes, 3 ducks) flew over at around 15.30 providing 12 species of duck today:
Shelduck, wigeon, gadwall, teal, mallard, pintail, shoveler, pochard, tufted duck, scaup, goldeneye, goosander.
With eider, red-breasted merganser and common scoter seen from Tabbs head fairly regularly, and a velvet scoter seen yesterday, it is possible to see up to 16 species of duck in a day at this time of year at Frampton.
Well here goes, my first blog after months of cajoling from the rest of the team.
My initial plan for the day was to spend it at Freiston Shore, however, it is always a wardens prerogative to change their minds, so instead i spent the morning at Frampton Marsh. Whilst carrying out some routine maintenance checks i bumped into Mel, one of our Visitor Centre volunteers, who was just returning from a walk down the river. A return journey from our car park to the river mouth is a rather challenging one at about three kilometres each way and is not to be tackled lightly. However, Mel was in good spirits as he had just been watching a velvet scoter, diving for molluscs at the rivers mouth.
Although The Wash is awsome for wetland birds, because of it's location it is a little hit and miss for sea birds, so a velvet scoter is a pretty impressive find with only a few thousand birds present along the UK's east coast in Winter.
Mel also spotted a black brant amongst the several thousand dark bellied brent geese that frequent the river and the adjoining saltmarsh, another good spot. So a walk along the river can certainly be rewarding. If you do have a couple of hours spare it's an experience well worth the effort.
On my return to the Vistor Centre i called in at the East hide to escape the blustery wind and to check on the door we raised the previous week. Scanning the freshwater scrapes and wet grassland just reminds me of how far the reserve has come in such a short time. Lapwings all over the wet grassland with curlews and redshanks feeding amongst the damp vegetation. The scrapes, despite the wind, were still full of wigeons, teals and brent geese - so many species that, until recently, just weren't found here.
On passing the reedbed, highlights included a little gull, two scaup, 14 whooper swans, approximately 40 black-tailed godwits, 4 ruffs and 5 avocets.
Happy bird watching.
Today has been another splendid day. I arrived in this morning, and as my computer logged on, I wandered down to the kitchen in search of the first and most important job each morning – that is making tea! I am very lucky to have a boss who shares the burden, as there is something so much nicer about a cuppa you didn’t make yourself.
Anyway, this I arrived back upstairs and set John’s cup down in front of him, as his phone rang. It became apparent that there was something to see at Frampton, so I wasn’t surprised that as soon as he got off the phone he popped over to my office to ask if I wanted to see an egret? Ok we have lots of little egrets but he expanded 'a cattle or great white egret – it has a yellow beak!' Suddenly, tea is forgotten and left to drink cold later!
As off we went, and on arriving at the reserve met Ian (Local birder) at the entrance to Roads Farm wet grassland, and sure enough there was a great white egret. Enjoying the sunshine on the wet grassland, and it even posed with a little egret so we could get a good comparison of size, before finding a fish for breakfast in one of the ditches. A brilliant site. Also, on the area of wet grassland were eight barnacle geese, a lovely group of wigeon, and lots of displaying lapwing.
The sighting I missed in my blog yesterday was a little gull within view of the Visitor centre. The first of this winter at Frampton Marsh, and a lovely sight.
So come and enjoy a walk at RSPB Frampton Marsh and see what birds you can spot yourself.
Ok, with temperatures due to drop to minus two overnight, you may think that I’ve gone a bit mad with the title for this blog. But if you had been at RSPB Frampton Marsh today, I think you could only have agreed with me!
I spent the first part of the morning, having a nice stroll round the Marsh Farm side of the site, whilst counting some birds! It was the last of my monthly waterbird counts for this winter, which seemed right due to the spring like feel of the count.
I was in a happy mood with the sun out, as I set out on my jolly little wander to see what birds were about. The birds were out in force, including over a thousand golden plover, and a lovely flock of barnacle geese, plus a lone pink footed goose.
But the highlights for me were probably some of the most common species on the site. Skylarks singing their little hearts out – the sound of summer! Nothing can compare in my mind, and these little birds can always lift my spirits with a song. They can be heard all over the site, so please do some and have a listen to such a wonderful melody. You can even hear it from the Visitor centre, where sitting out on the veranda later in the morning, taking a tea break I enjoyed the song of one of these birds in the field opposite.
Lapwings whirling around in the air, and making their unique sound. I think it sounds like someone tuning an old wireless, but have yet to find anyone who agrees (and as my only knowledge of an old wireless comes from tv dramas, maybe I’m wrong!). They are fabulous birds to look at too, especially with the green of their feathers shining in the sun, on a day like today.
And starlings, these birds never fail to amaze me. Walking up the road from the bottom car park to the double gate access onto Marsh Farm, I keep pushing a flock further and further up the road as I walked. Each time making that lovely whooshing sound as they took of as one, then silence and then glided together over my head before landing again. I wished I had my camera but know I’d of never be able to capture the moment.
The most surprising moment of my count was when a lovely dog fox, shot out from the bank just twenty yards from where I stood, and headed straight across the wet grassland. A lovely sight with its red coat gleaming in the sunlight, and yet a worrying sight too as it will be a predator to the wader chicks in a few weeks time.
On finishing my count, I crossed the wet grassland to where Graham (Warden) was working, to give a hand with putting in our new coach parking signs. We have decided to turn the sweep as you enter the car park into the coach park, so please carry on a bit further into the main car park before you pull over, and use the little pedestrian walkway to the Centre.
During work we popped into the Visitor centre to rehydrate with a cup of tea, and the feeling of spring continued, as I saw my first avocet of the year! This is ace! - as it means spring migration has begun. This always fills me with excitement, as it is the beginning of the best time of the year for me, which is the breeding season!
So I was feeling decidedly spring like as I headed off to the Visitor centre for my afternoon shift. During which other of the days' highlights included several ruff on the islands in front of the Visitor centre, a smart looking male scaup over near reedbed hide, and at least 39 whooper swans (my best count, there may have been a few more.) But probably the best moment, was when Graham flicked on the TV to the barn owl box to see a kestrel sitting there – Brilliant! (although personally I’d still prefer a pair of barn owls – I know I’m never satisified!).
But the day didn’t end there, the joys of working at RSPB Frampton Marsh, is that I get to enjoy moments with nature throughout the day. As it grew dark, Graham and I got out of the truck at 6pm listening to the sound of the whooper swans in the distance. Then riding home, I disturbed a barn owl out hunting along the road from the reserve and then two hares in the middle of the road.
So come and enjoy a stroll round RSPB Frampton Marsh, and why not take a wander round the quieter side of the site and see the joys of spring on Marsh Farm wet grassland. Tomorrow is supposed to be even nicer than today, so why not enjoy the sun as spring arrives.
Tomorrow, I shall be at nearby RSPB Freiston Shore myself, looking for more signs of spring. Hares boxing on the wet grassland, lapwings enjoying the wet grassland, and if I’m very lucky maybe another avocet! It’s a great site, so why not after a trip to Frampton, take a detour for a wander round Freiston Shore’s saline lagoon.
Today we were joined by the Leicester RSPB local group. Everybody had a great day, and we managed to provide much better weather than yesterday!
Sighting highlights have included:
Whooper swan 38
Barnacle goose 14
Dark-bellied brent goose c850
Black brant 1
Scaup 2 (male and female)
Marsh harrier 1 f
Sparrowhawk 1 m
Rough-legged buzzard 1
Merlin 1 f
Peregrine 1 f
Golden plover c1800
Spotted redshank 1