Here is another bumper sightings blog from Poppy!

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Hello, and welcome to the latest #RSPBFrampton sightings blog! Apologies for the delay in getting this out…but that means a bumper edition!

We have had lots of rain over the past few weeks, especially around the end of November. That hasn’t stopped the birds and wildlife though. On the 29 December whooper swans (location 1) were spotted at dusk, moving off the fields and wet grassland over on to the reedbed. We’re continuing to get some brilliant sightings of them moving on to the reserve, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled and your ears open for their loud honks! We have also had some great spots of the bank vole who has been scurrying around the visitor centre on the grassy banks. Not only that, but our water rail has been very showy recently! Running around in front of the visitor centre, between the reeds and islands. Also starting off the sightings week we had spots of short-eared owl again on the saltmarsh (location 2).

30 December was a foggy day on the reserve, but plenty was spotted. Water pipit, bank vole and water rail all visible from the visitor centre. Fieldfare and redwing (location 3) numbers certainly starting to increase, with more and more appearing over the week. It is always worth checking out the berry trail or any of the hawthorn hedgerows for a sighting of them. I have managed to spot them in numbers on the access road to the reserve, which always proves to be a brilliant morning spectacle. As well as increasing numbers of thrush, there have been 1000s of golden plover on the wet grassland. They’re forming large flocks in tight formations and are great to see especially if there is some winter sun about.

It was definitely sunny moving in to December, although that weather hasn’t made much of an appearance this last week. There has been plenty around on the reserve. Good numbers of pink-footed geese spotted at location 4, common sandpiper on the scrapes at location 5, stonechat at location 6, hen harrier (location 2) and kingfisher (location 7) all about too.

We have had some brilliant sunsets on the reserve recently, so the reserve hasn’t just been fantastic for wildlife. You may have seen proof of this on our twitter page! Often you get some brilliant views from the visitor centre. You even get brilliant views of birds from the visitor centre too, with goldeneye, merlin and water rail all spotted over the reedbed from here. The whoopers are also a great sight from the visitor centre, often flying in from the fields over on to the reedbed around dusk and also increasing in number.

Bar-tailed godwit was around at location on the 5 December and raptor sightings have certainly been on the increase recently. Two spotted redshank were about on the 6 December over at location 8, as well as barnacle geese (location 1) and twite (location 5).  The cetti’s warbler has been a frequent spot, usually by sound, in the hedgerows by the visitor centre (location 9). They’re often very difficult to see but often make themselves known with their loud bursts of song.

The wet grassland is certainly a great place for birds at this time of year, it is absolutely heaving. There are comfortably 10,000 birds on site, making the reserve a fantastic winter spectacle. On the 8 December there were 3 water rail spotted from the visitor centre, as well as 6 goldeneye, 80 whooper swan, turnstone and some late avocet (all around location 1). There are plenty of raptors about as well, with sightings of hen harrier, marsh harrier and merlin on the saltmarsh at location 2. We have also had some great spots of the peregrine over the wet grassland (location 10), seemingly eyeing up the plover. We have at least 5,000 plus golden plover and 2,000 wigeon about on the wet grassland.

In the last few days we have continued to see a good number of raptors around the reserve, with whooper numbers also increasing again. More recent counts are showing over 100 at location. There are roughly 200 fieldfare and 100 redwing around in the hedgerows and now over 5,000 golden plover displaying on the wet grassland.

Our Christmas pin badges are also now about on the reserve. You may have spotted them in the visitor centre if you’ve been about. If you’re stuck for gift ideas, they do make a perfect stocking filler!

You may have noticed that we now have wristbands on the reserve. Chris has written an explanatory blog post on the reasons we have introduced this. If you want to check this out you can find it here: https://community.rspb.org.uk/placestovisit/framptonmarsh/b/framptonmarsh-blog/posts/remember-your-wristband

If you are coming to visit us, make sure to keep up to date with 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.

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