Friday, 25 July 2014

RSPB Frampton Marshes

Earlier this month we took a trip to Lincolnshire for the Waddington Airshow. (Perhaps this means there might be a non bird post in the offing!) We booked ourselves a B&B and stopped a couple of days this allowed us to fit in Frampton the day before and a also a shorter visit the day after, so this post covers both.

The first visit gave us a lifer within a minute! There was a Turtle Dove sitting in a tree viewable from the Car Park, we got some decent views but sadly I hadn't got the camera ready before it flew away, but a fantastic start to the day!

So to celebrate a life first it was time for a coffee at the benches by the Visitor Centre, where a Swallow was posing on the TV Aerial:

We walked clock wise around the reserve from the Visitor Centre, with some good views of the massed Black and Bar tailed Godwits out on the reserve:

As we walked around the Reed Buntings were showing well:
and a Linnet popped up, but didn't get close, so a record shot will have to suffice:
The Linnet was with a couple of Reed Warblers, however I didn't manage a shot before they disappeared back into the bushes, hey-ho. Of interest was this species of Amphibious Sheep:
There were plenty of Avocets about still with chicks:

 There were also plenty of Lapwings, Oystercatchers, Sedge Warbler, Little Egret, Black-headed Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Tufted Duck, Canada Geese, Greylags and Mute Swan.

From the 360 hide we saw both Ringed and Little Ringed Plover with chicks which was great. From there we walked back to the Visitor Centre and had lunch after which we walked up the road to the dyke, on the way finding a Little Grebe nesting by a post:
After that we walked along the dyke, getting some better views of the Egrets:
At this point we had a duck that really confused us, I took some very bad photos as it was quite a distance hoping to identify it later. Once we get back to the digs I looked at the photo enlarging on the camera as best as I could but hadn't got a clue, even looking in our field guide, so I trawled the internet and found a photo of it taken some months earlier... An Australian Wood Duck!! an escapee that has taken up residence at Frampton.

The next day was the Airshow at Waddington, so for those interested here's a link:
RAF Waddington Airshow 2014

So before leaving Lincolnshire we went with Jo & Jimmy who had joined us for the airshow back to Frampton in the hope of seeing the Turtle Dove again as they had never seen one. Even before parking we spotted the Dove again in the same tree as before, I stopped the car to show them (they were travelling behind us) but by the time they stopped and I pointed it out, it had of course flown off!!

So the plan was to walk along the path where the doves are known to be, we could hear them but not see them very frustrating, we were patient but to no avail until we came out into the farm land and I found one, again it was playing hard to get and flew off, we kept it in sight until it disappeared over some distant trees. Not a great sighting for them, but a sighting!

We also knew that there was Glossy Ibis about, this would be our second sighting if we could find it and Jo & Jimmy's first, so we asked the RSPB volunteers and headed of where it had list been seen and this time the birding gods were playing ball:
The sun was in the wrong place or the bird was so a silhouette, but better than my photo from Middleton Lakes earlier in the year.

We then went to the 360 hide again for the plovers:
and a coffee of course! Some ducks did intrigue us, there were 4, no not the Ozzie Escapee, we decided they were Wigeon who had decided to stay put. Oh one bird I forgot to mention from the previos visit was Great-crested Grebe, there were a good dozen dozing happily on the weed out in the lagoon again too distant for a decent snap.

From here we wandered back the long way around and picked up a Yellowhammer:

One last walk to the dyke was done, just in case there were any Marsh Harriers about, but no luck, we did however see this juvenile Swallows waiting for their parents:
So after this Jo & Jimmy left and headed for Lincoln, we elected to stay just a little longer and were rewarded with a couple of Ruff:
and an early Starling murmaration!!

So that's it for Frampton, however we weren't going home! We had made this a two centre trip and were heading north to Northumberland for a few days, one of our favourite places in Britain (apart from all the others) and a jaunt over to the Farnes.

So another post to follow as soon as I can.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Shetlands - Part 5

Well now we are back at Sumburgh and the group split into two today as we are scheduled to go on boat trip around Noss from Lerwick, one group going in the morning and one in the afternoon. We decided to go on the afternoon boat and went out with David around the Sumburgh area in the morning, where I managed some Arctic Tern photo's:

and a young Wheatear:
We explored quite a bit around southern mainland adding our first Swallows, a bit rarer this far north. We then headed for Lerwick and explored the town a little, we sat down on a very windy harbour for lunch and were treated to some close encounters with Herring Gull, Arctic Tern and Black Guillemot or Tysties as they are known on the islands:

So on to the boat, we headed out from Lerwick across to Bressay and skirted the rocks there, where we soon came across this:
At last after days of searching an Otter comes to us! This one was quite obliging and came out onto some nearby rocks to 'share' his lunch:

Who could ask for more! Sadly he eventually swam away so we carried on with our trip. We watched some Great Black-backed Gulls being attacked by Terns:
There were also plenty of Gannets about from the colony on Noss:
There were some fishing but I have decided it's almost impossible to get a good photo of it, especially when the it was as dull as it was on this day, this is the best I could do, getting one in its dive:
There were plenty of other birds about, Razorbill, more Black Guillemot, Guillemot, Shag, Puffin and Fulmar:

It's always great to get a different view of the birds from a boat and see things that you can't on land.
As we left the shelter of Bressay it soon became evident that the sea was to rough to get to Noss and see the Gannet colony there from the sea. Our skipper did try but as soon as we hit the open sea we were on a roller coaster, so his view was we would be to busy holding on to actually see anything, so we headed back into shelter and did some underwater viewing inside a large cave using the camera on a small submersible. All very interesting.

On the way back I did get some more Arctic Skua shots, always worth seeing:

So pretty much nearing the end of the Shetland report, we managed to bag a Mountain Hare:
 A Juvenile Great Northern Diver
 A busy Starling
 Another Red-throated Diver
 and an abandoned Seal Pup at the Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary (
So now just some bits and bobs:
The two of us at with Muckle Flugga behind:
I didn't know that David Lindo was only 3ft tall:
There must be an Otter here somewhere!
Our two U.S. group members; Dick and Marshall from Oregon:
Does this bus go to Portland?
And some scenery:
The Simmer Dim from Mousa
 Sumburg Head

 Near Hermaness:
 The famous Bus Shelter (look this up on google!)
 Bressay Lighthouse:

 and finally our Portugese group member; Luis from Madeira

All the Shetland wildlife photos can be found on my Flicker pages:
The Shetlands 2014