Trip reports

Frampton Marsh 22 January 2017

Male goldeneye

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Frampton Marsh 22 January 2017
The journey up was productive with a few buzzard seen along the route and also a red kite over the service station stop. Once at the new venue the first stop was the visitor centre which with its wide open glass rear view gave us immediate close views of the range of duck species. There were wigeon grazing on the grass and in the water and a couple of pintail and gadwall were also present plus some shelduck. Among some teal were a few shoveler and further out tufted ducks with pochard were diving in the deeper freshwater. Even further out were male and female goldeneye.  A lone black tailed godwit, with its white wing bars briefly flew in and landed, but immediately took off again.
Decamping from the visitor centre large numbers of birds had taken flight the cause of which was a very showy merlin which did a couple of low fast flying movements very close to us and then landed in a small tree for excellent scope views. In the fields on the other side of the track, which had mainly frozen ground, small groups of snipe were probing the earth. Groups of dunlin were also flitting about and feeding at the edge of small pools while further out near the fence line were a few curlew. Scattered around the field were numerous lapwings. Yet again the birds were all flighty with the culprit being not one but two merlin on their raiding missions. Smaller birds included several meadow pipit and skylark. A couple of the latter were even in song.
 Moving along the track a higher viewpoint gave us a feeding redshank and also ringed plover while a stonechat also showed well. In the distance, but in poor light a consensus of views decided that a small group of geese were in fact pink footed geese. The majority of geese today were huge flocks of brent geese. Their numbers built up during the day and their constant "yelping" was ever present. A couple of fieldfare also flew overhead.
The next stop was the 360 hide which became the lunch stop. Flocks of brent geese were in the freshwater pools with a couple of avocet resting here and a turnstone was also present on one of the islands. Oystercatchers were also seen. Other birds seen here included reed bunting and wren along the track.
From here the track took us to a point overlooking fields where there were large numbers of golden plover and also another large group of brent geese. Climbing up to a higher path gave us views of the expansive saltmarsh where a marsh harrier flew past and a kestrel was also seen. Other group members had peregrine and hen harrier. Making our way back to the reed bed hide two female scaup dived and swam very close showing their distinguishing white markings at the base of their bills. A couple of goldeneye, male and female also gave very close views. Other birds flying over and present were a grey heron and a little egret. The circular reed bed trail took us back to the visitor centre with several large flocks of brent geese flying overhead.
68 species were seen today with the highlights being the large flocks of brent geese flying and congregating on the freshwater pools, the spectacular flying sorties of the merlin, the big flocks of golden plover on the fields and the wide variety of ducks on the pools.
George Kalli