Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Weekend trip to Frampton Marsh with the Hemel RSPB (22nd-23rd October)

23rd October


Due yesterdays exhausting trip we had a late start at Frampton Marsh and only arrived at 10:00am.  Other members arrived even later as they had chosen to watch the rugby so I resorted to scanning the scrape infront of the visitor center as we waited for the rest of the group to arrive.  The usual duck species were present in their hundreds including Teal, Wigeon and fewer numbers Shoveler, Mallard and 5 Little Grebes.  Very soon a Sparrowhawk swooped in but caught nothing.  Pipits were also present in good numbers including regular flyover Meadow Pipits and Skylarks as well as a Reed Bunting and the resident group of Tree Sparrows.

 One of several Tree Sparrows frequenting the bush to the right of the Frapton Marsh visitor center

 and making visits to the peanut feeder


Wading birds on the scrape were much the same as yesterday including Lapwing, 1 Snipe and a Ruff.  The highlights however were the new arrival of 7+ Pink-footed Geese in the centre of the scrape, one of which had a injured wing and has apparently remained on the reserve for the past two years!  The Brent Geese were also punctual as they came as several gaggles over the sea wall from the east onto the reserve to feed.  From the same direction Curlew could also be heard.  As usual the eastern scrape was the most attractive to the waders, and the masses of people that visited the reserve.  Another Snipe was feeding amongst the vegetation amongst a group of resting/preening Black-tailed Godwits and a surprise came in the form of a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and a Water Pipit bathing separately from the small group of Meadow Pipits also infront of the hide.  A large total of 7 Ruff were also present, mostly juveniles and large flocks of Golden Plover wheeling around over the reserve for much of the day.  A flock of 5+ finches flew in and were identified by the large group of observers in the hide as Twite.  However, after properly identifying them and taking notes it became clear to me that they were infact Linnets, which naturally didn't go down well with the large group of observers in the hide (most of whom were carrying field guides, not notebooks!)  Anyway, instead of moving from hide to hide along with  the masses I decided to return to the 360 hide after a brief visit to the other hide were a Grey Plover was added to the days list, unfortunately the flock of Linnets had moved on so I wasn't able to check them thoroughly again, however a Kestrel was noted on the far sea wall.  Our final plan at the reserve was to make a brief visit to the sea wall were I hoped to fined Snow or Lapland Bunting, unfortunately neither was present and the only birds of note were Redshanks, Little Egrets, Shelduck and a Marsh Harrier over the huge expance of saltmarsh.


Not a good ending to the day as we decided to make a brief drop in visit to the gravel pit to check out for any visiting gulls.  Unfortunately, we timed our visit badly as it coincided with a shoot that was just about to begin.  We only saw the group of Lapwing on the spit before we decide to leave, words fail me to the sad people who shoot birds for their own amusement, they are much better observed alive.

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