Tuesday 21 July 2020

Caspian Tern: Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire

A Caspian Tern had been frequently visiting the Reedbed Lagoon at Frampton Marsh since the 10th. During its stay, it had seemingly followed a daily pattern of roosting on the lagoon in front of the visitor centre and then according to the reserve warden it heads off in the direction of Boston and has been returning again 45-60 minutes later.

Leaving home at 7am we pulled into a packed car park some two and a half hours later, only to discover that none of the other birders had seen the tern since 8am. We began scanning the lagoon and soon added two-year ticks when a Little Stint was found followed by two Common Sandpipers. Scanning from one of the viewing mounds dotted along the pathway, we began scanning the large group of roosting godwits and suddenly found the Caspian Tern among them! It was almost completely obscured by the godwits with just its black cap visible. The feeding movements of the godwits disturbed it and it flew a short distance to the open water.

We were told that the Reedbed Hide was now open as long as social distancing was observed, so we made our way along the footpath and began scanning the lagoon. Some of the Spoonbills were showing at a closer range from here.

Social distancing being observed in the hide

View of the reedbed lagoon from the hide

Another scan through the Dunlin and a Curlew Sandpiper was found. Another birder entered the hide and said that there were two Wood Sandpipers on the flooded pools opposite the hide. A quick clean of the hands with the provided hand sanitizer and we were scanning the pools. The Wood Sandpipers were soon found adding another year tick to the list. Also on the pools were several Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers along with two Yellow Wagtails.

Handheld phone scoped photo of Wood sandpiper

After five hours we decided to head for home, but hopefully, it won't be long before a return visit to what is fast becoming my favourite reserve.

Friday 17 July 2020

Lesser Yellowlegs, Oare Marshes

A Lesser Yellowlegs was still present at Oare Marshes yesterday, having been present since the 12th of July and with reports of a Wood Sandpiper and a Curlew Sandpiper also present we decided to make the trip this morning. I arrived shortly after 6am and found the lesser Yellowlegs almost immediately. My fifth record of this species in England.

Entrance track 

Viewing was challenging from the layby

Lesser Yellowlegs

As is usual at Oare the early morning sun was making viewing difficult from the layby, throwing everything on the flood into shadow. The Lesser Yellowlegs was constantly on the move feeding and as it began feeding in the northern corner it allowed for much better scope views. Several scans of the flood failed to locate the Wood or Curlew Sandpipers and scans from the sea wall also failed to find either bird.

Returning to the layby the Lesser Yellowlegs was quickly refound and a single Whimbrel was found resting on a shingle island. Another scan of the northern corner added a Little Ringed Plover to the year list. Several more lengthy scans of the flood followed producing a single Spotted Redshank among the numerous Common Redshank, along with Med Gulls, Common Terns, Ruff, Knot, Dunlin, Avocet, and Black-tailed Godwits. A Barn Owl was seen hunting the surrounding fields and a Turtle Dove was heard calling in the distance.

Another enjoyable morning at Oare adding three more year ticks to the list.

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Bonaparte's Gull returns to Oare Marshes

The Bonaparte's Gull was first seen at Oare Marshes on the 22nd of May 2013  and it has returned every single year since. I have managed to connect with it five out of the seven years. On a previous trip in June, I had been unsuccessful, but recently the Bonaparte's had become more reliable and I was more hopeful of connecting with it today.

Looking East along the seawall towards the hide 

The mudflats looking across the Swale to the Isle of Sheppey 

Still unable to share a car due to Covid, Brian had left home earlier and was already on site and searching for the Bonaparte's Gull from the seawall when I arrived. Two hours later the Bonaparte's appeared on the mudflats east of the slipway. We watched it happily feeding on the mud for an hour or so and then did a loop of East flood picking out Bearded Tits, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Water Rail,  Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwits and Avocets on the way back.

Bonaparte's Gull

Hopefully, it will return again next year and we will be there to see it.