Howdy folks! Welcome back to the Frampton Marsh recent sightings blog. With me, Chris the visitor guy. And yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. This blog IS actually going out on a Friday night. Well, there is some pretty good stuff out there, so despite the promise of rather windy weather for this tomorrow I figured there may be quite a few people who would want to make weekend plans.

So, with no further ado, let's hit the maps!

So Easter Saturday brought in the first swift of the year, the dowitcher is still with us and looking increasingly colourful. There were garganeys, wheatears, yellow wagtails. All very nice.

Another first for the year on Sunday, with the first cuckoo.

Bearded tits popped up again on Easter Sunday, and there was a late report of wood sandpipers. A curlew sandpiper in non-breeding colours was also seen.

The wood sandpipers were still about on Tuesday, and a Temminck's stint showed briefly before disappearing again. The curlew sandpiper was still about though. A grasshopper warbler is a good spot for the reserve.

Tantalisingly just off reserve, a common crane landed on nearby fields on Wednesday

The ruffs were lekking on the wet grassland south of the road, near to the hedgerow on Thursday. Fingers crossed we have a similar spectacle to last year. The first turtle dove of the year popped in too.

And still lots of good stuff about on Friday, including a rather late fieldfare.

So, if those are the maps, what about the photos? Yes, it has been a while since I have put any in. But tonight, we feast...

And oh blimey, where to begin? OK, how about with Lee Adcock, who got very nice portraits of a  male ruff going into breeding colours, and a sedge warbler?

Diane Reynolds captured this lovely lapwing

And Macca took this little ringed plover, and another ruff.

Steve Nikols adds this swallow, and a black-tailed godwit

Steve Reynolds has also been after lapwings

Mark Sargeant adds the awwwwww factor, with a trip of leveret shots. Taken as it was just outside the centre windows.

It isn't so often we get a submission from Freiston, but Mark adds an oystercatcher from there. Before back to Frampton, and this basking grass snake. Judging by its eyes, it was in the middle of moulting its skin.

Snakes of course have no eyelids. But when they increase in size they have to shed their old skin, and for a brief period the skin over the eyes goes opaque. Which looks to be what has happened here, as you cannot see its eyes.

Prolific contributor Jeremy Eyeons also found the same snake

But boy, has he also been busy with other things. Get ready...

Pair of garganey

Goldfinch

Avocet checking its deodorant

Another avocet

Wigeon

"Awww, give us a hug" - a brent goose

Spotted redshank

Another leveret. Or is it the same one?

Brown-tailed moth caterpillars. These caterpillars have been exciting quite a bit of comment, as they are on the path to 360 hide and very noticeable in their colonies. Do be cautious with them though, as they have irritating hairs which can cause a rash.

Phew! That's just a few photos. I hope it was worth the wait.

Right then, it is competition time! Yes, time for you to strap on your binoculars and go out to prove your mettle.

May is possibly the best birdwatching month of the year, and may places do a 'big day' competition of trying to spot the most birds in a particular day. Well, we'd like to do something similar, but subtly different. After all, what if it is raining, or you have other commitments on the chosen day. So, instead we are going to have the May Day Challenge. See how many species you can see in a day, in May. No restriction on which day, and you can try as many times as you like. There are a few basic rules of course:

  1. Full species only, according to the BOU British list
  2. Birds should be seen whilst stood in the wider Frampton Marsh reserve area (ie the RSPB reserve, and the path down to the river mouth)
  3. Birds should be seen only whilst stood in areas accessible to the public
  4. Rarities must be confirmed via photographic evidence or by an independent observer (ie not your mate Fred), and reported to reserve staff (either in the centre, or through Twitter)

Day lists (and photographic evidence) can be sent to lincolnshirewashreserves@rspb.org.uk and it would be great if you can submit them as you go along. That way we can have a running leader board. At the end of May we will reveal which was the biggest list and award the prize, on which no expense has been spent. So what are you waiting for, get cracking!

Oh, whilst I am at it, may I just plug the Dawn Chorus Walks happening next weekend. A great chance to hear some superb birdsong on a gentle stroll. More details and the booking form for tickets can be found here.

So there you have it! If you are coming to visit us, you can keep up to date with the sightings by following our Twitter account. 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!

Chris

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