Howdy folks, and welcome back to the Frampton Marsh recent sightings blog. With me, Chris the Visitor Guy. And this week, with added extra Freiston Shore goodies. Don't say I never treat you...
But focusing on Frampton Marsh to start with, this past week saw the return of a crowd favourite, who has entertained the masses at the reserve before. No, I'm not talking about Melvyn Prior from BBC Radio Lincolnshire. Though he did broadcast his entire morning show from us on Tuesday.
No, I am instead referring to the long-billed dowitcher, which after disappearing on 2 May is back with us again. Well, I say that... We have no proof that it is the same bird. But that would be such a coincidence if it wasn't. The bird itself mostly hangs around in position 1, and arrived last Friday.
Now it wasn't just a single rare American wader week, we had two. Or three. Depends on how you count such things. Two white-rumped sandpipers popped up at position 2 on Saturday. One disappeared after a couple of days, the second was here until Wednesday, but appears to have moved on. or it is keeping a very low profile. Here is a photo by Colin Casey, showing the white rump.
If you want a more usual view, Toby's video on Twitter shows the bird very nicely
Another scarce wader that arrived this week was a red-necked phalarope. One was found on the reservoir at Freiston Shore on Wednesday. Photo here by Colin Casey.
Aside from these, there have been a couple of little stints, at least one curlew sandpiper and a fair few spotted redshanks. Plus up to a dozen green sandpipers, which love the ditches around position 3. And a wood sandpiper which was seen at position 4.
Talking of long-legged birds, the spoonbills are still back in position 1. Also on the wet grassland a garganey or two were seen with the wader assemblage at position 2.
Moving onto the reedbed, an otter briefly reappeared on Friday, before disappearing again. Possibly a relief to the black-necked grebes who are continuing to raise their chicks there. They are best seen from either the visitor centre, the central mound (position 5) or the viewing mound between the two. Also on the reedbed Sandwich terns have sometimes popped in in their ones and twos to rest on the islands alongside the black-headed gulls and common terns. A water rail has sometimes been seen dashing around in front of the visitor centre, while common sandpipers were, well, common on there at the moment. Less usual was the bright splash of colour that was a kingfisher going past, and a yellow wagtail feeding on the islands.
There have also been some good invertebrates seen around the reedbed. Red-veined darter has been seen near the reedbed hide, clouded yellow butterfly and lesser emperor dragonfly by the visitor centre. Plus willow emerald damselflies at the pond dipping pool. The sheltered northern end of the reedbed is really alive with all sorts of dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies (position 6). A bug hunting session in the wildlife garden on Thursday produced lots of Roesel's bush crickets.
Possibly liking the sound of all those insects, spotted flycatchers have been in the hedgerow (position 7), as have chiffchaffs, whitethroats and blackcaps. Birds of prey have been somewhat low profile over the week, though short-eared owls are still being seen most mornings over the saltmarsh (position 8) and a hobby has been seen hawking all over the reserve on the hunt for dragonflies and swallows. Meanwhile turtle doves continue to show from the watchpoint (position 9).
Oh, we also had some interest last weekend in some of the plants on the scrapes. It seems we have yellow bartsia, a hemiparasitic flower which grows on the roots of grasses. Declining in its traditional stronghold in the south west, it is starting to appear in the East through seed mixes. As such, it is a reasonably unusual plant for this area. You can see it on the islamnds in the scrapes, with spikes of vegetation and yellow flowers.
(photo by Derek Harper via Geograph.org)
Where are all these positions? Well, here's a map, just for you.
Want all that in a verbal form? Here is Toby and the sightings vlog
So, how about some other nice photos? But of course...
There are a lot of young warblers about, both reed and sedge. Plus harrassed parents trying to feed them. We are getting so many photos of them that I think I'm going to have to ration it to 'warbler photo of the week'. This one, a young reed warbler, is by Jeremy Eyeons.
Jeremy has also been taking photos of waders. Here we have a snipe
And a ruff. Who appears to be checking his flies...
Sticking with waders, Kevin Mayhew brings us an avocet, and a full colour black-tailed godwit
Mark Sargeant on the other hand has gone for the invertebrates, with a black-tailed skimmer, and a rather well camouflaged brimstone butterfly.
If all this has whetted your appetite, let me direct you towards some great upcoming events that might make your visit even better!
You can join our warden Toby (as opposed to our volunteer Toby, though he might be there too) on his monthly survey. The next is on Sunday 4 August. Details and booking can be made via this link.
Also on 4 August there will be a high tide wader spectacular at our sister reserve, Freiston Shore. Join friendly volunteer Les to see hundreds of waders pack onto the lagoon.
If you would like a masterclass in how to tell one wader from another, we have wader ID courses on 5 August and 1 September.
Moving away from birds, but still things with wings, we are getting together with the Lincolnshire Bat Group to do a bat evening on Saturday 3 August. Last time we ran one of these we saw and heard five different species.
Finally, if flowers rock your world then we have a flower walk on Sunday 11 August.
So, there we have it.
As a reminder, we are no longer posting sightings maps every day, but will continue to post news of rare sightings to our our Twitter account. There will also be at least a couple of maps a week, just to keep you up to date. No need to have an account yourself, we make it so everyone can see it. If you do tweet yourself, please remember to use #RSPBFrampton so we can see what you are posting, and also ideally mention @RSPBNorfolkLinc. If you have any good photos (or video, or even artwork) we'd love to see that too. Tweet it, or share it on our Facebook page or our Flickr account. It may also be useful for you to know the weather and tide times for the site, which may well have an impact on what is showing.
All the best, take care, and I will catch you next time.
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