Tuesday 17 August 2021

Black Stork, Frampton Marsh RSPB

Black Stork has been on my wish list ever since I started traveling further afield than my local patch. There have been many sightings, but the vast majority have been flyovers and very few had been nailed down to a particular site leaving very little opportunity to connect with any of them.

On the 7th of August, a juvenile was reported in East Yorkshire, Reports continued to come in during the next two days but nearly all were flyovers and it being over 4 hours from home I just dismissed it as another missed opportunity to connect with this species. Early evening on the 12th of August it moved into Lincolnshire and for the next couple of days seemed to be spending its time travelling between Frampton Marsh and Freiston Shore Reserves. 

Brian was away on a short break with his grandson, and not due back until the 16th, Thinking the bird would be long gone before his return I dismissed it as another one that got away. Unbelievably it was still being reported at Frampton on the 17th. There had been a couple of positive reports early morning and this was enough for Brian to offer to take me. We set off at 10.30am and arrived around 1pm, only to receive negative news from the reserve staff. We decided to take the footpath south and search the area of the last reports. As we emerged from the avenue of trees, we picked up the Stork high in the air circling above a pylon. It was distant but it was a Black Stork and it was on my list! 

We continued walking along the cross-bank to the sea wall and managed to relocate the Stork in a distant field. It soon took flight again but this time landed on farmland near the reservoir. We enjoyed great scope views before the local farmer started calling his cows in and the stork again took flight and this time landed out of view.

Black Stork


We searched for the Pacific Golden Plover on the walk back to the car park but failed to locate it on the saltmarsh. I did however manage to add Little Stint to my year list before reaching the car park.

Storm clouds gathering

Although a short visit, I had finally added Black Stork to my life list, which currently stands at 398 with the Fluke Hall Eastern Black-eared Wheatear from 2019 still to be accepted/rejected. 

Thursday 5 August 2021

Bonaparte's Gull, Oare Marshes

We spent the morning at Oare Marshes today, hoping to connect with the returning Bonaparte's Gull for another year.

We headed up the ramp and walked along the footpath towards Uplees. A Hoopoe had spent the previous day in the area, but there was no sign of it this morning. The walk back did produce our first Whinchats of the year along with a young Cuckoo busily feeding on caterpillars. A Sparrowhawk, Yellow Wagtail four  Ringed Plovers, and several Curlews were the only other highlights.

We returned to the slipway and began searching for the Bonaparte's Gull. Luckily another birder was already watching it feeding out on the mud.

The rising tide pushed the feeding waders closer inshore and a Curlew Sandpiper was found among them for another year tick.  

The water levels remain high on East Flood, resulting in few wader species being able to land. Only Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, and Ruff were seen.  During the morning we managed to see eleven species of wader, most were on the mudflats before high tide.

Wednesday 4 August 2021

White-rumped Sandpiper, Minsmere

This was to be my first birding trip out since the end of June and the very successful trip to Bempton Cliffs for the Black-browed Albatross. 

An early morning visit to Minsmere was our preferred destination. Arriving shortly after 6am, we took the footpath along North Wall towards the beach. East Hide was only occupied by two other birders and neither had managed to locate either of our target birds. One guy mentioned seeing a couple of small waders in the far corner of the scrape and when we got the scope of them, we were pleased to find the White-rumped Sandpiper busily feeding alongside a Dunlin. It flew to a nearby island and continued feeding among a small group of Dunlin. A Marsh Harrier appeared over the scrape and the panicked waders took to the air. Thankfully they dropped down closer than before and after scanning through the small flock of Dunlin the White-rumped Sandpiper was again present and our other target the Pectoral Sandpiper was also found among them. 

Brian managed to grab the photo below showing both White-rumped and Pectoral Sandpipers together just as they were flushed again.

White-rumped and Pectoral Sandpipers


While searching for our main targets we had managed to locate a couple of Spotted Redshanks, a much overdue year tick.

Spotted redshank

We moved along the beach and began scanning the South Scrape from the public hide. There were large numbers of Common, Sandwich and Little Terns and we managed to find a couple of Little Gulls and a single juvenile Arctic Tern among them.

It was a very enjoyable morning just being out birding again, with five additions to my year list being a very nice bonus.