Trip reports

Field Trip - RSPB Frampton Marsh

Male wigeon swimming

Friday, 23 November 2018

Despite a foggy journey from Sheffield, the group arrived at RSPB Frampton Marsh in glorious sunshine. The majority of group members visited the Visitor Centre before stepping out and exploring the reserve.

RSPB Frampton Marsh is a coastal reserve on the Lincolnshire shore of The Wash, the UK's most important estuary for wildlife. It has a variety of managed habitats including reedbeds, scrapes and wet grassland areas; all carefully designed to be good for both nature and visitors. The reserve is an internationally important place for wintering wildfowl and a crucial place for both migrating and breeding waders and is also adjacent to a large area of saltmarsh.

From the Visitor Centre, a single Avocet was observed, as well as a party of four Whooper Swans. From here and throughout the reserve, large numbers of wintering wildfowl were seen. Thousands of Wigeon were present as well as good numbers of Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Pintail and Mallard. Pochard, Shelduck and Tufted Duck were also sighted.

All over the reserve the sounds of geese could be heard - in particular from the large numbers of Brent Geese. Greylag and Pink-footed geese were also present and a few members of the group picked out a single Barnacle Goose in amongst the Canada Geese.

On and around the scrapes, Kestrel, Little Egret, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Golden Plover and Dunlin were observed. A single Spotted Redshank was identified amongst numerous Redshank. Also reported were Grey Plover, a Little Stint, a Great White Egret, a Cetti's warbler and a Water Pipit.

The best sightings of the day were over the saltmarsh, where group members had some excellent views of both a very smart grey male Hen Harrier and 'ring-tail' female Hen Harriers. One 'ring-tailed' harrier was observed being 'mobbed' by a Raven. Other raptors seen over the marsh were a pair of Marsh Harriers, Merlin, a Common Buzzard and a Peregrine. Other sightings on the saltmarsh were of Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Curlew, a Grey Heron and distant views of flocks of Knot. A Roe Deer was spotted and group members also had excellent views of a Brown Hare, which had been disturbed by dogs.

It was whilst watching over the marsh that some group members were treated (but unfortunately not myself!) to a sighting of the long-staying Long-billed Dowitcher, an American bird thought to be possibly overwintering at Frampton.

Throughout the enjoyable day by the sea in the chilly winter sunshine, a total of 61 bird species were seen by the group on this remarkable nature reserve.

44 attended
61 bird species seen

Report by Neil Fawson