Thursday 30 October 2014

A phalaroping we will go!

Earlier this month to celebrate our wedding anniversary Elis and I decided that we should pay a long overdue visit to the RSPB reserves of Frampton Marsh and Freiston Shore in Lincolnshire. By coincidence a Grey Phalarope had been there all week, would it stay and be the icing on the cake?

We didn't however go straight to Lincolnshire, we got a bit side tracked and ended up in Norfolk at Burnham Norton, the attraction being a Steppe Grey Shrike, but that seen we were soon on our way again.

Steppe Grey Shrike Lanius (meridionalis) pallidirostris, Burnham Norton, Norfolk., UK 11/10/2014

We went first to Freiston Shore where the phalarope had been seen all week and met some other birders there who were also looking for it. We took and hour or more to walk all the way around the scrape only to find that that the bird was actually on a pool known as 'The Reservoir' and had flown off while we were looking elsewhere. We decided to go and have a look anyway but as we started out for this body of water an enormous thunderclap overhead followed by a cloud burst made us think twice so we retired for the night and hoped the phalarope would return for us the next day.

Freiston Shore RSPB reserve, Lincolnshire, UK 11/10/2014

In the morning we headed straight for the reservoir. Through the slats of the blind we could see a mass of roosting waders and keen to sift through them even though it was against the light I lifted my bins to look at the middle of the group. And what did I see twirling around immediately behind them? You guessed it, the Grey Phalarope.

Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicaria (behind roosting birds). Freiston Shore, Lincolnshire, UK 12/10/2014

By chance we were joined by warden Toby Collett with his children Finley and Neve and we had a really interesting chat about the waders to be found at Freiston and Frampton.

Toby Collett RSPB warden with Finley and Neve.

Toby told us that RSPB reserves have an internal competition for wetland sites called 'The Golden Welly', but I hope he'll write and tell us about that one day so I won't mess the story up by getting it all wrong now.

Grey Phalarope with Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus and Herring Gull Larus argentatus, Freiston Shore, Lincolnshire, UK 12/10/2014

A large flock of Eurasian Golden Plover flew over, some 600 of them so Toby estimated, some calling as they did so twinkling in the sun, a truly beautiful juxtaposition of sight and sound against the clear blue sky across the brooding, misty, early morning marsh.

Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria, Freiston Shore, Lincolnshire, UK 12/10/2014

The birds in the flock included; Black-tailed Godwits, Red Knots, Dunlins, Eurasian Oystercatchers, Common Ringed Plovers and a single Common Greenshank.

The roosting flock (just beyond the island) on 'The Reservoir' in the morning light. Freiston Shore, Lincolnshire, UK. 12;10;2014

After this we headed for Frampton Marsh and what a lovely reserve it is too. We strolled around at leisure and ended up sitting peacefully on a bench on the sea wall overlooking the marsh with the sun warming our backs as we watched no less than four Little Stints foraging in among the many Dunlins and Common Ringed Plovers that rippled over the wet mud; adding to the atmosphere somewhere behind us a Eurasian Curlew called, unseen.

Little Stint Calidris minuta, Frampton Marsh RSPB reserve, Lincolnshire, UK 12/10/2014

The other waders we saw there were a single Grey Plover, a small flock of Eurasian Golden Plovers, many Common Redshanks, Ruff, a few Black-tailed Godwits and many Northern Lapwings to my delight. A Curlew Sandpiper was reported, but sadly we didn't come across this one.

Northern Lapwin Vanellus vanellus Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire 12/10/2014

As we left we sat for a while in the visitor centre where we reported our four stints and had an interesting chat to the two volunteers, one of whom, Daniel, later signed up as a sponsor and made a donation... thanks Daniel you made a great day out even better.

RSPB visitor centre Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire, UK 12/10/2014


  1. Lovely! You have spent a nice time. I'm a little jealous. :)

    1. We certainly did thank you Sandra, If you get a chance you should go, it is a fantastic place.