Category Archives: Report

Frampton Marsh 22nd October 2016

The day started a bit cold and misty and due to good planning everyone was picked up and whisked uneventfully to Frampton in around 2 ½ hrs.

While everyone was sorting out their coats and footwear the keen ones were already setting up their scopes and spotting in the field next to the car park, calling out to Dorothy to note down what they were seeing.

The RSPB site at Frampton is a large coastal wetland reserve with a large reed bed and fresh water scrapes. There is a visitor centre where you can buy snacks and hot and cold drinks and chat to the RSPB guides and find out “what’s about”.

We spent the first 1/2hr in the visitor centre before moving out to scan the reed beds. There are 3 good hides which we availed ourselves of and some of the high lights were sighting a Jack Snipe and a Long Billed Dowicher also a great aerial display by a flock of Finches late in the afternoon.

A few laughs were had over the light hearted argument as to whether a particular group of Godwits we were looking at were black tailed or bar tailed or indeed a mixture of the two!

The weather held out and a very pleasant sunny day was enjoyed with 52 different species being recorded by Dorothy.

A well deserved thank you goes to Dorothy for her organisational skills and to Stuart Slack who as ever called out the different species and pointed us all at their locations.


Species Seen:

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Our first outdoor visit of the season was to Willington Gravel Pits, a former sand and gravel quarry situated in the Trent Valley. A Derbyshire Wildlife Trust site that has a variety of habitats and so a haven for wildlife.

The day was fine though a little muddy underfoot in places due to rain the day before but still an easily accessible site with several good viewing platforms and a relatively new hide at the end of the lane.

Perhaps not as many waders around that we had hoped to see but still an interesting day with a couple of warblers still around and nice to see the usually elusive Water Rail.

The full list of birds seen…….

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The Evans magic worked again. The weather forecast said heavy cloud and cold winds off the North Sea and hinted at something even worse. The reality was broken cloud, bursts of sunshine and a gentle breeze. So eighteen members were able to explore Alkborough Flats without streaming eyes and without clinging on to wind-rocked telescopes.

The Flats are well named. The Lincolnshire Wolds end abruptly with a few houses and a church and then, where the Trent meets the Humber, the land tumbles down to an expanse of reed and marsh and lagoons. The paths through the reeds are raised and well maintained; the hides solid and cleverly sited.

Most of the birds listed were seen, but some, like the Cettis Warbler, only heard. Just a few years ago the news of a Cettis this far north would have had the twitchers flocking. Now we put it on the list along with the Little Egret and move on.

Also more vocal than visible was the Water Rail, doing its imitation of an outraged pig.

Three Marsh Harriers seemed to be sharing a narrow strip of territory, rising and falling and getting in each other’s way. Once it appeared that two of them had had a mid-air collision but perhaps it was just something that Marsh Harriers do. But at least they were easy to watch.

Not like Bearded Tits. A bright flash as they flit from one reed to an identical one and they have gone before you can raise your binoculars.

But, for me at least, the highlight of the day was the view from one hide of ducks and waders spread over the water and mud banks of a lagoon like an illustration of a ‘Teach Yourself Bird Recognition’.

How many? Difficult to say. A single Heron, a few Curlew and Ruff, dozens of other species of duck and wader as well as a hundred-plus Lapwing and even more Golden Plover. But other people may have counted more. And the surprising thing, to me at least, was how colourful they were. No winter drab yet. The Golden Plover still had golden flecks and the Lapwing still had bright heads and a greenish sheen.

Every now and again, for no apparent reason, the Golden Plover would take off, fly around in a tight flock then land again while everything else ignores them and gets on with dabbling and probing.

Just before leaving the marshes, as seventeen members were peering down a drain in search of an elusive Water Rail, the lucky eighteenth was the sole witness of the classic panic of the ducks and the waders as a Peregrine passed overhead.

And finally, by some thoughtful management, the mini-bus was waiting at the foot of the hill and sixteen*grateful members were saved a long wearisome climb. (*Two of our number came by car).

Thanks for a smooth ride to the driver who happened to be a birdwatcher and brought his own telescope (perhaps we should have charged him) and to Stuart Slack for instant recognitions, both seen and heard, (sometimes of things that only he has seen or heard) and most of all to Dorothy for seamless arrangements.

Species seen

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Ten survey sheets were received, mainly covering the period February 2012 to January 2013. Seven sheets had complete coverage, two were missing January 2013, and one was missing February, March and April 2012.

Nine sheets covered birds within and flying over gardens, whereas one sheet covered birds within and flying over a village.

The average number of species recorded in a garden was 28; the maximum was 38 species and the minimum was 20 species. The village survey recorded 38 species, as would be expected from a larger area.

Overall 57 different bird species were recorded.

The following analysis is based on a presence or absence basis. Recorders were asked to note the maximum number of each species seen in or over their survey area (or site) in each month.

Thus for instance in the above survey if a particular species was seen in every site and in every month then this could be given a maximum score.

This is a one way of judging how common, or otherwise, a resident species is over the total survey area. For summer  and winter visitors no such analysis has been attempted, and only the presence ‘score’ is given. Also the sample size of ten sites is relatively small and the results should therefore be treated with caution.

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