Howdy folks! Welcome back to a bit of a catch-up sightings blog. With me, Chris the Visitor Guy. Slight technical issues last week, the system wouldn't let me sign in! But I am back with you now and normal service can be resumed.
And let's start with the highlight of the week, a first for the reserve! Not one with feathers though. Over the summer holidays we are running bug hunting sessions for children in the visitor centre garden (location 1). Today, an excited small boy came running up saying "Chris, we caught a big spider". I was expecting something like a garden cross spider, and not the first ever reserve record of wasp spider!
On the same day no less, we also had a second for reserve. A buff-breasted sandpiper, an American wader that only rarely ends up in the UK, was found on the fields to the north of the sea bank car park (location 2). It has been rather elusive, but showed well this evening. Though this is a rather distant shot.
That area of location 2 has been good for other things too. The long-billed dowitcher can often be found in there, as can up to 13 spoonbills and up to 7 garganeys. Plus spotted redshanks, wood sandpipers and lots of other waders.
Also good for waders over the past week has been the scrapes, notably middle scrape (location 3). The water levels have been dropped there a bit, revealing new areas of mud or shallow water, just what the waders like. So there are tons of black-tailed godwits (with the odd bar-tailed godwit amongst them), and dunlins, plus other bits and bobs scattered throughout. For example there have been up to three curlew sandpipers, in varying levels of moult, to be found. A black tern over the scrapes was a more unusual sighting for last Sunday.
Mind you, things can be pretty mobile, especially when the local peregrines come over. Recently there has been the usual big adult female hunting, pluis a younger male. One of this year's Boston chicks presumably. When they come though everything scatters. So the muddy islands of the reedbed (location 4) are worth a look too. They are especially good at the moment for both ringed and little ringed plover. Scanning over the water you may catch sight of one of the immature black-necked grebes. I'm not sure anyone has seen the adults for a while, they may have moved out onto the river mouth. Also around the reedbed water rails are being seen. Especially from inside the visitor centre (location 5) or the reedbed hide (location 6), where an adult with young sometimes gives great views right outside the windows.
On the eastern edge of the reserve, there is the saltmarsh (location 7). Wheatears are being seen just on the other side of the seabank, whilst further out short-eared owls patrol. A ring-tailed harrier caused a certain amount of wishful thinking until it was confirmed as an early young hen harrier.
On the western side of the reserve, turtle doves can still be found at the extreme western corner (location 8). And even in the traditional viewing tree, though as they are purring less and spending more time looking after young, less so now. In the main part of the hedgerow (location 9) there have been a lot of warblers such as chiffchaffs, whitethroats, and blackcaps. Willow emerald damselflies have been seen along here too, as have migrant hawker dragonflies. And just where there hedgerow meets the entry road, as I drove in this morning, two otters ran across the road! So they are evidently still about. Talking of furry creatures, a common shrew was an unexpected guest of the visitor centre on Tuesday as it ran in through the open door!
Here is the map so you can work out where these locations are:
OK, so, photos! Let us begin with a couple from Mark Sargeant. He brings us a little grebe and a wood sandpiper
Macca gives us a black-tailed godwit
While Jeremy Eyeons supplies a young shelduck, a young willow warbler and one of the white-rumped sandpipers that has been loitering about the area.
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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