Welcome to the second edition of Toby's Tales, our residential volunteer's account of his summer working alongside us.
Toby’s Tales - Volume 2
Spending every evening after work birding round the reserve with finding the next rarity in the back of my mind does mean I have witnessed some spectacular sunsets this past week, which are made even better by with what seems like Boston’s total population of Starlings descending into the reedbeds here at Frampton. There must be at least 2,500 – 3000 Starlings in the huge roost congregations with these flocks consisting mostly of juvenile birds showing they’ve had quite a successful breeding season and there’s still time for them to even have another brood!
One evening I finished work early and went out with John (Site manager) to help with some survey work at Frampton’s older sister reserve Freiston Shore. On the way whilst in the car John pointed out a Corn Bunting sat on the telephone wire above, I casually responded saying ‘That’s only the fourth Corn Bunting I’ve ever seen…’. Luckily there was a space just down the road to pull over, grabbed our scopes and I got the best views of Corn Buntings I’d ever had. And what made it even sweeter was the fact that this bird starting singing, it doesn’t happen often when you’ve been birding for at least 15 years that you hear a bird singing in the UK that you’ve never heard before. Memories like this always stick with you.
Few days later my dad and sister came up for the evening to do some birding and of course I had to show them these Buntings, we ended up with even better views than I’d had with John a few days prior. Corn Buntings maybe brown, dull and boring but once you hear their song your perception of these birds’ changes.
Like I’ve said previously, when I’m not working at the office I’m out birding. My daily routine is; sleep, bird, work bird sleep. With being out so often has meant I have been spoiled with what Frampton has to offer when you’re the only person around.
One of the roles with being a volunteer intern is updating and replacing the small signs that you’ve probably seen dotted around the reserve, well I decided I’d bring my scope just in case I see something unusual whilst out. I was just packing up and getting ready to bike back to the office when I could hear that recognisable purr of a Turtle Dove coming from the car park, to my amazement this bird let me approach to a reasonable distance allowing me to get this beautiful video.
Our cute Black-necked Grebe chicks are really pulling in the crowds, and as they should just look how cute they are! One evening, there as no wind, beautiful sunset and the Black-necked Grebes were showing well from the viewpoint, even managed to get a video of one of them trying to fish for itself. In this light the adults in their breeding plumage truly are stunning
Most morning’s I walk the same route, checking places that visiting birders tend not to look. Also gives you guys something to see on the sightings board first thing in the morning here in the visitor centre. The other morning it was cloudy but barely any wind, we’d just had a few hours of heavy rain overnight. I was scanning the saltmarsh looking for the Short-eared Owls and I was amazed to find this bird sat on the nearest perch to me which was around 50 metres away, I quickly set up my scope and phone etc, got in to place and hit record. Left my phone recording for 15 minutes in which this bird flew back and forth to this perch and even attempted to hunt just behind. I’ve edited the highlights into a little video.
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