One of the advantages of actually working on a reserve like Frampton is that you can often do a bit of birding on a whim. So, at 5:30 yesterday having finished work, I decided to pop down to the reserve to see what was about.
To start with, it really wasn't that promising. Dark clouds were looming and the wind was gusting along. So rather than go right out to the East hide, I figured a trip to the 360 hide was in order instead. Having got there, I started to scan through the various birds on offer. Amongst my first thoughts were that there were a fair number of common terns about. including a pair that seemed to be trying to make a nest on one of the islands. Though as it was shared with a bunch of gulls, that might have been optimistic on both our parts! A few small waders were dotted about. Ruff, dunlin, redshanks, ringed and little ringed plovers. A sandpiper picking its way along the back of the freshwater scrapes gave me pause for thought, before deciding it was probably a green sandpiper.
As I was doing this, a small wader popped into view. And yes, it was small. A passing ringed plover dwarfed it. It seemed to be having real trouble keeping its footing in the strong winds, almost being blown sideways. It avoided the company of the other waders, preferring to poke about in sparsely vegetated areas. Pale legs, white belly, straight dark bill, brownish upperparts. Could it be...? Yes it was. The temminck's sting which had been reported to the pagers on Thursday (but not to us, grrrrr) was still about. There was a worry that it might be a little stint, but they have dark legs and pale lines on the back, which this didn't have. Temmincks are rather more unusual, but do turn up during spring and autumn migrations.
Now, whilst I was watching this, something kept flitting in and out of my view. Refocussing my attention, it turned out to be a young little gull. Vastly smaller than the usual black headed gulls, and with an obvious black W mark over its back. One of the local black headed gulls had evidently taken a dislike to it and was chasing it all over the place. The big bully! The little gull was twisting away from the attacks with ease though, rather more agile and indeed tern-like in its flight.
All in all, a pretty good haul. I'm glad I didn't go straight home!