Friday 12 May 2023

Blue-winged Teal: Freiston Shore, Lincolnshire

A morning spent at Frampton on Tuesday the 9th resulted in only one new addition to the year total when two Little Stints were found among a large group of Ringed Plovers and Dunlin. We walked the complete circuit searching and ultimately failing to locate any Curlew Sandpipers, Spotted Redshanks, Wood Sandpipers, or the Blue-winged Teal. A scan from the seawall did however locate the three Black-winged Stilts busily feeding to the north of the 360 hide. Several Whimbrel, Yellow Wagtails, and Little Ringed Plovers were also seen on the wet grasslands. 

The new visitor centre and cafe are great additions to the site and the staff are always friendly and welcoming. 

Two Little Stints were found among the large flock on the left of the photo.

This morning we decided to head to Norfolk, stopping on the way at Welney Village where we heard a Corncrake. We failed to see the bird despite plenty of searching, but it was good to hear it constantly calling. We also added Garden Warbler to the year list. 

Upon arrival, we found a rucksack by the gate, it contained a camera and the bag was dry so must have been left behind this morning and not during last night's rain. The plan would have been to leave it at Welney visitor centre but it was only 7am and the reserve didn't open until 10am! So Brian put a tweet out asking if anybody had left a bag behind hoping the owner would see it. Luckily as we returned to the car the owner of the bag pulled up. So he got his bag and belongings back and we didn't have the worry of what to do with it for the rest of the day.

From here we drove to Choseley hoping some of the Dotterel had remained overnight. Two of them had and to all our surprise it was Dad who found them! They were very distant but we had good scope views at this time of the morning without any heat haze to worry about. They were feeding along the distant hedge line in the photo below.

Dotterel field

We moved on to Titchwell, where there was no sight nor sound of the Great Reed Warbler from the previous day. I added Med Gull to my year list with at least five birds seen among the numerous Black-headed Gulls. Three Little Gulls (an adult and 2 1st winters) dropped onto the scrape in front of the Parrinder hide, a low-flying helicopter put the geese up, and among them was a Spoonbill. When they settled back down we found a second Spoonbill among them. The weather conditions this morning were awful, it was freezing, much more like winter than spring. We left Titchwell and stopped at Thornham to tick two Wood sandpipers that were on the wet grassland. The rain, wind, and cold conditions made viewing a real challenge. I was swiping my glasses and optics more than I was viewing the birds! it soon got even worse and eventually forced us back to the car.

Weather conditions were forecast to improve in the afternoon, so did we head for home or continue north to Freiston Shore in Lincolnshire and hope the Blue-winged Teal that had relocated here from Frampton earlier in the week was still present today. Having only ever seen one Blue-winged Teal beforehand I was keen to go, and luckily Brian had already decided he was going. Upon arrival, we soon found the viewing screen overlooking what is locally called "the reservoir" but is in fact a relatively small body of water. Only two other birders were present and neither had found the teal. Two drake Garganey were found in the flooded area behind the reservoir and two Yellow Wagtails were also seen. After several scans of the whole area, Brian suddenly spots the teal! It's along the back edge and where it came from is a mystery, having scanned that area plenty of times with no sign previously. It remained distant but we enjoyed superb scope views.

Signage at the entrance

Information board at the car park

Photos below were taken with the phone handheld to the scope.

Blue-winged Teal

Thursday 4 May 2023

Abberton and Wrabness

Brian had some free time this morning, so we made a couple of relatively short trips. Abberton was our first destination. A Pectoral Sandpiper had been found the previous day and we connected with it upon arrival. It was on a small flooded area opposite the Wigborough Bay area. Also present were several Ruff three Ringed Plovers and our first Greenshanks of the year, with four feeding in the far lefthand corner. A brief scan from the viewing screen produced another nine Greenshanks but very little else. A stop at Layer Breton Causeway added a single Spoonbill asleep on one of the islands and a Common Sandpiper was also present on the same island. My first Hobby of the year was also added from here when Brian spotted a single bird over the far reeds.

It's been a long time since our last visit to Wrabness, but today we found it alive with the sound of Nightingales. Several individuals were heard singing from various locations along the footpaths. The main reason for the visit was to hopefully see Turtle Doves. We soon heard our first ones of the year purring from nearby trees. It wasn't long before one was found among the tree branches.

Turtle Dove