Howdy folks! And welcome back to the Frampton Marsh recent sightings blog. With me, Chris the visitor guy.

Apologies for the lack of a blog last week. Life was getting so hectic that I just couldn't squeeze the time in. Even over the weekend, when the reserve was heaving with both birds and visitors. Hello to the Leicester RSPB group who graced us with their presence on the Sunday. On the bright side, this does mean a bumper crop of photos for this week.

Right, where to begin? Well, I'm thinking the best place with with our duo of rare American waders. The buff-breasted sandpiper had been showing well, up until the bad weather on Tuesday night. It does seem to have disappeared since. But when it was with us it did favour a small muddy pool on the wet grassland behind East Hide (position 1). Its compatriot, the long-staying long-billed dowitcher tended to be a bit further south, usually either to just the north of the seabank car park (position 2) or just to the south (position 3). Though at times it did decamp to middle scrape (position 4). 

In similar areas, you could also find a fine array of other waders. These included curlew sandpipers, little stints, wood sandpipers and spotted redshanks. Plus of course the more usual black-tailed godwits, knots, dunlins and ringed plovers. And a few garganey.

Sticking with rare species, our wasp spider has been attracting a lot of attention. People have even been making special trips to visit it in the picnic area (position 5) Alas, it does seem to have made her camera shy. She disappeared on Tuesday, reappeared on Wednesday in deeper cover, and then was gone again on Thursday. Hopefully she is still around and will breed.

Photo by Steve Nikol

Something that definitely does breed with us are sea aster mining bees. The tall pinky flowers of sea aster are starting to bloom, particularly along the path to East Hide (position 6). Look on these to see the small black and whitish bees, which are only found in a few places in the UK and North-west Europe.

Also by East Hide, one of the otters was seen on Sunday, with some great photos from Mark Holmes.


Back to birds, a Temminck's stint was a good sighting on Wednesday and Thursday, down in position 3. Rather larger, spoonbill numbers continue to rise, with well into double figures to be found most days. They start on the wet grassland at position 2, before moving onto the scrapes.

Elsewhere around the reserve, whinchats have been popping up. Most notably on the fencing by the old barn in the fields south of the road (position 7). Nearby the 'turtle dove tree' at position 8 still is bearing fruit, with 2 or 3 being seen most days. Please view from the causeway to the barn.

South of this, at the southern edge of the reserve, the seasonal berry trail has opened at position 9. Walk in amongst lots of berry-bearing bushes. Later on this will be good for thrushes, but in the meantime they provide great cover for a variety of warblers (including whitethroats, blackcaps and willow warblers).

As summer migrants go, winter ones arrive. Numbers of teals, wigeons and pintails are starting to creep up. When will the first big party of brent geese arrive? Look for them especially on the reedbed (position 10). If you are looking from the visitor centre, do also keep your eyes open for water rail, as they may scamper right  across in front of the windows!

And just to orientate you, here is a map with those positions on.

Right, those are the sightings. What do we have in the photo album for you this week?

Well, lets start with something that definitely isn't a bird, or even alive. But an interesting sighting anyway, a stealth bomber. Jonathon Bull managed to see it, and take this photo:

OK, how about some proper wildlife. Fair enough. First up to the plate is Jeremy Eyeons. Here we have spponbills, a young cormorant, a little egret and a peacock butterfly on the sunflowers.

Also drawing inspiration from the sunflowers is Kevin Waterfield. What an arty shot!

Kevin also gives us a long-winged conehead, a pair of mating green-veined whites and a water rail

Sticking with butterflies, 'micndiesel' supply this lovely portrait of a red admiral

Sticking with insects, Paul Sullivan gives us a willow emerald damselfly. And also the long-billed dowitcher. Which isn't an insect, before someone points that out!

Now we are into the waders, Nigel Sprowell got this great flock of knots. Also a portraits of a curlew sandpiper.

Talking of portraits, Steve Nikol got a great one of this snipe, and also a swallow on the visitor centre.

While Dale Ayres also got a great photo of a ruff

On th cuter side of things, this mother weasel was in the middle of relocating her kits when she was found by 'nickwsn'.

And who is watching who here? A group of birders attract their own watcher in this picture by Anne Waterfield

So, there we have it. 

Massive high tides this weekend and at the start of the week, so there could be lots of good sightings happening. Therefore this weekend we are having a Frampton Big Weekend, trying to see as much as we can. A dry run earlier in the week reached 115 species in a day. Until a thunderstorm and downpour stopped play. Not so much of a dry run afterall! But how will we do this weekend? Come along to find out!

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.