RSPB Frampton Marsh [2] & RSPB Freiston Shore

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3 years 4 months ago #86994 by nkgray
nkgray created the topic: RSPB Frampton Marsh [2] & RSPB Freiston Shore
I returned yesterday to Frampton nearly 3 months after my last visit and subsequent post. Frampton and Freiston face each other across the Witham River estuary in Lincolnshire (but a 20km drive via the nearest bridge in the town of Boston) on the coast of The Wash, where there are extensive mudflats and saltmarsh that become home to tens of thousands of migrating and wintering waders.

I went first to Frampton where I hoped to add one this year's UK rarities to my UK list only - as I have already ticked this one many times over in SA. As I noted in other posts there are a few species that are starting to breed again in the UK after long absences. The Little Egret is one of those that has re-established very successfully. However, the object of my attention at Frampton was a species for which there are only a few dozen vagrant records annually. What was different this year was that a pair actually began breeding at Frampton - something that has never happened before and the nearest region where they do breed is on the Mediterranean coast of France!! Unfortunately the pair did not manage to raise any chicks, but one of them is still at Frampton and I did locate it only 10 minutes after my arrival - at long range, but I'm sure you will agree that this is Frampton's Glossy Ibis.

... and here is a silhouette shot of a Frampton Little Egret

Other birds seen on my quick flit through the reserve (as Freiston was the primary objective) were the following -

Winter plumage Northern Lapwing - essentially just a shorter tatty-looking crest and smudging on the head

These were present in the hundreds and you need to check the masses of lapwings very carefully for other species, like

Winter plumage Ruff - larger male to left; and the only Ruff I saw all day

and European Golden Plover - one of only 8 seen during the morning

Meadow Pipit seemed to be everywhere

and many Dunlin foraged amongst smaller numbers of Common Ringed Plover.

Then it was on to Freiston Shore, where their claim to fame is a lagoon just inside the sea wall that hosts literally tens of thousands of waders at high Spring Tide when the mudflats of The Wash are completely covered and the waders are forced inland. Only 10 days ago they had an estimated 6,000 Black-tailed Godwit on one pool alone!!

First though some of birds seen before I positioned myself at high tide time.

Canada Goose

Brant Goose - adult with white neck marking and juveniles with white-tipped wing feathers

A Common Redshank in company with a Black-tailed Godwit, both in winter plumage

Eurasian Curlew

Little Grebe in company with a moulting male Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon in flight

Britain's smallest duck, a male Eurasian Teal

and Britain's commonest duck, a male Mallard

as well as a species I seem to seeing a lot of this year, Northern Wheatear

Then it was a walk along the sea bank to wait for high tide.

What a disaster!!!! I was there at high tide, but it was a high Neap tide, some 2.5m lower than the high Spring Tide. This left a good 50m of mudflat available to the waders and they did not need to fly in to the lagoon. So that is where they stayed, tantalisingly just too far away to even use a scope on - as there was a stiff wind blowing and keeping a scope steady was quite a mission. So I will have to pick the right day at the end of either November or December to try again, but just to give you a foretaste ....

This is a panorama taken from the point where I could get closest to the mudflats

These are all Eurasian Oystercatcher and when one section took fright and wheeled into the air I managed a few shots with my 300mm lens and x2 extender

How many birds are there in that image - well I have counted them, as this crop shows

659 oystercatchers give or take a few and a single Common Redshank (X marks the spot) - so I look forward to next time when hopefully it will be similar numbers of godwit, knot, dunlin, etc. too


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  • gordon
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3 years 4 months ago #86997 by gordon
gordon replied the topic: Re: RSPB Frampton Marsh [2] & RSPB Freiston Shore
Very nice stuff Neil!

Very dedicated going through the group photo and counting each one!!!

Waders are starting to show up here in Brisbane so hoping to get some time to shoot through to Boondall Wetlands in the next week or so.


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