Thursday, 14 June 2012

A Week Near Skegness - Part Two

Now on my 3rd attempt to do part 2 of our Lincolnshire week, I have almost finished twice and despite saving as a draft google has conspired to wipe it both times!

So 3rd time lucky.....

Day 4
Decided to stay local today and went to Gunby Hall a nearby National Trust property. A lovely place with great grounds and walled gardens, with quite a bit of bird life too.

So enough of the scenery I hear you say, what about the wildlife. Well we did get a bit wild when we saw that the tea room only served instant coffee, good job we had the flasks. (but you should have seen the cakes!)

Birding wise we saw our one and only Buzzard of the week, I never realised to I looked at the books that they were not so common this far east. We added a Kestrel, a Moorhen on the Carp pond. The walled garden though was a haven for small birds; Finches, Tits, Swallows and Pied Wagtail. The most rewarding being when we stopped to sit on a bench and get out the flask, we saw a pair of Blue Tits ferrying insects into a hole in the wall over our heads:
We have lift off...

There's always house work to do!
We toured the house which was very interesting, then came out for cake! Whilst making our selection there was the roar of jets approaching, we were treated to a fly past by the Red Arrows in formation, after they had been down to London to cheer the Queen up! Excellent, although didn't have my camera ready!

So as the weather wasn't as bad as forecast we decided to have a couple of hours back at Gib Point. We were glad we did as we spotted two Little Gulls on Tennyson's Sands, so another new species for us. Just a few highlights from the hides:
Hiding out of the rain, but we can see you!


Avocet mobbing 2 Little Egrets (he nearly took the first ones head off, hence its tucked up!)

Oh Deer, you've seen me! (Sorry!)

We left the hides and decided to walk along the edge of the Old Saltmarsh, but the weather had deteriorated again and there wasn't much about.

Day 5
An earlyish start for us, as this looked like a reasonable weather day, we had decided to go further afield. Up to Flamborough, via Blacktoft Sands. But because of the roads, traffic and tractors it took us much longer to get to Blacktoft than planned and that was the half way point, so we decided to stay put for the day.

After chatting with a warden to see where was best to go, he said all the hides had something to offer, but there was a Marsh Warbler displaying near the Singleton Hide, just off the path and that you couldn't miss where because:
It's behind you!
Now time for a little rant! We had been watching Springwatch (top programme!) the night before and Bill Oddie did a little piece about not taking the more common birds for granted. This kind of sums it up for me. Blacktoft is a great place with so much going on and great behaviour to see. Some of this lot spent hours on this path waiting for a glimpse of a Marsh Warbler, now don't get me wrong we had never seen a Marsh Warbler and  if would love to see one, but to stand around for hours on the off chance when just meters behind you there are such wonderful things to see, I don't get! For us of course we like to add ticks to the list, its always exciting to see a new bird, like our Spoonbill on day one, but the most important for us is to watch and learn, see new behaviour and marvel at what our birds go through to survive, for instance, watching Common Tern fishing:

Or Avocets seeing off all comers (what a gutsy bird):
Taking on a Marsh Harrier

and teaming up to see off a family of Swans
Sedge and Reed Warblers bringing food back to the nests:

Marsh Harriers hunting:
The Marsh Harries never came very close, the Avocets saw to that!

Snipe hiding:
Hares running:
But each to their own, I'm sure some of you will disagree with me, but I never want to get fixated on just adding birds to the list.
So did we see the Marsh Warbler.... of course we did! We just happened to pop out of the hide when it decided to show, it stayed for about 10 minutes then disappeared again. So did we, too much else to see! A smart Warbler but I'm glad we didn't stand around for hours waiting for it!

We love Blacktoft.... 10/10!

Day 6
Today we decide to Visit Frieston Shore (RSPB) and Frampton again.
Frieston is a smallish reserve with a Lagoon and Salt Marshes, the lagoon turned out be Black-headed Gull central, the noise was deafening and we have never seen so many chicks in one place!

No trip though is complete without an Oystercatcher photo:
Having a bath, but if he waits an hour he can have a shower!
We were surprised to see a pair of Brent and a pair of Pink Footed Geese here as well, (Speaking to the Warden at Frampton later, he suggested they were probably injured and couldn't leave). This pic tends to confirm that:

We went for a walk around the lagoon and looked out over the marshes, but it was all fairly quiet. We did see Skylark and Reed Bunting showing off and of course more Avocets on the scrapes. As the weather was starting to look nasty, we decided to leg it back to the car and head a bit further down the coast to Frampton where we know there's a nice warm visitor centre.

Just on the road as we approached Frampton we cam across this juvenile Pheasant, we just hope his parents were around:

As we pulled up at Frampton the heavens opened and we dashed into the visitor centre, with the flasks and had a coffee, whilst we watched the Yellowhammer under the feeder and the Finches and Tree Sparrows on the feeders. Because of the weather it was much quieter than when we came earlier in the week, we did brave the rain and head out to the 360º Hide as this has the best views across the reserve.

There was plenty about if you scanned the scrapes and islets, it was just finding them. We did see (aptly) a pair of Water Pipits, which were nice they didn't seem to mind the weather to much, but everything else was settled down to keep as warm as possible:
A very wet Lapwing

Common Tern with a Little Gull in the background

Stoic Avocet

Competition Time: Spot the Bird
Last day, time to go home!
After packing up we paid a last visit to Gib Point, the weather again conspired against us and there was even less about than our previous visits, although the US Air Force cheered me up as two F-15s dropped out of the cloud over the reserve, heading off to RAF Lakenheath I would guess. This has whetted my appetite for this weekend and the RAF Cosford airshow, but the weather again isn't looking great.

So off home via Rutland Water, never been here before and we didn't realise how big the reserve is, so we opted just to have a late lunch in the viewing gallery over the visitor centre as again it was raining and we didn't have time to do it justice. Apart from the usual Geese and Ducks we did see 2 Egyptian Geese just outside the centre, so that was nice. Then it was off for the last hour and a half drive home.

So our full list for the week:
SpeciesGib PointFramptonGunby HallFriestonBlacktoftRutland
Black-headed Gullxxxxx
Black-tailed Godwitxx
Blue Titxxx
Brent Goosex
Canada Goosexxxxx
Carrion Crowxxxxxx
Coal Titx
Common Gullx
Common Ternxxx
Egyptian Goosex
Great Black-backed Gullxx
Great Crested Grebexxx
Great Titxxx
Great White Egretx
Grey Heronxx
Greylag Goosexxxxx
Herring Gullx
House Martinxxx
House Sparrowx
Lesser Black-backed Gullx
Little Egretxx
Little Gullxx
Little Ringed Ploverxx
Long-tailed Titx
Marsh Harrierx
Marsh Warblerx
Meadow Pipitx
Mistle Thrushx
Mute Swanxxxx
Pied Wagtailxxxx
Pink-footed Goosexx
Reed Buntingxxx
Reed Warblerx
Ringed Ploverx
Rock Dovexx
Sand Martinxxx
Sedge Warblerxx
Short-eared Owlx
Tree Sparrowxx
Tufted Duckxxxxx
Water Pipitx
Willow Warblerxx
Total (83)504317174327

1 comment:

  1. An interesting post Tom! You must make a return visit to Rutland water, a super reserve!