We had a 6.30am start from Retford for this trip as we wanted to arrive in good time to see the hundreds of water birds leave their roost. It was quite misty on the journey down and at one point we were beginning to wonder whether we would actually be able to see any birds, but as luck would have it, the mist started to lift almost as soon as we arrived and we had glorious views of hundreds of waders on the lagoon at Freiston. For the most part they were Redshanks and Oystercatchers but with smaller groups of Turnstone, Godwit, Knot and Dunlin amongst them.
Mixed waders at Freiston, 15th October 2014 ©Christine Booth
We sat and watched them for quite some time – such a beautiful sight and we were amused when one of the sheep that had been grazing on the far shore decided to take a stroll amongst the Oystercatchers. Some seemed to be oblivious, but many took to the air and the skies were full.
Sheep with Oystercatcher at Freiston, 15th October 2014 ©Christine Booth
Having heard that there was a Grey Phalarope on another section of the reserve, we decided it was too good an opportunity to miss and made the walk down another path to the viewing screen where the men in our group spotted it immediately. Upon asking whereabouts I should look, Neil replied, “It’s behind a Godwit!” As the photo shows, there was one or two to choose from! Although really too far away for photos, we had clear views through the scope and it was fascinating to watch as the Phalarope spun round and round in the water just as it says in the text books!
Winter plumage Grey Phalarope with Black-tailed Godwits at Freiston, 15th October 2014 ©Christine Booth
We then returned to the lagoon and by now groups of roosting birds were starting to take to the air which made for a beautiful sight as they flew off. The ladies amongst us spotted a couple of Stonechat and a Wheatear hopping about the fence posts, the Stonechat being another ‘first’ for me. Time was passing on now and as it was approaching mid-day and we also wanted to visit Frampton, we had a quick cup of coffee and then set off. We were quite hungry by now, and although a little chilly, it was pleasant enough to sit outside the Visitor Centre and picnic, with good views of Teal, Wigeon and Grey Heron as we ate.
Stonechat at Freiston, 15th October 2014 ©Christine Booth
Our first mission was to try and find the Glossy Ibis that has been residing there all summer and having been told it was showing well along the lane, we set off in search of it, but unfortunately it was nowhere to be seen. We made our way to the 360 degree hide. There were not as many birds there as there often are, as the lake had all but dried up, but we had great views of Shelduck and Little Egret and on the way out flocks of Lapwing, gulls and Golden Plover wheeling around in the sky.
Golden Plover and Lapwing at Frampton, 15th October 2014 ©Christine Booth
The fields were full of Goldfinch flocking together on the thistle heads and made a really charming sight. Time was becoming short and Janet decided to go and have another look for the Glossy Ibis whilst the rest of us wanted to try and see a group of Little Stint that had been reported further round the reserve. We walked round to East Hide, but no luck. We spent a while watching the skies for any unusual visitors and also the Meadow Pipits at the edge of the water. As it was now time to leave, we took one last look at the field opposite the hide. Success! Neil and Peter spotted not one, but four Little Stints right at the back of the field. Again, too far away for a decent photo, but we had clear views through the scope and a lovely way to end our trip. And when we returned to the Visitor Centre for a final coffee before making the journey home again, we discovered that Janet had also achieved her ambition and had found the Glossy Ibis! Brilliant!
All in all, it was a really enjoyable trip – two reserves that I would happily visit time and time again.
Thanks to Peter Harrison for supplying me with a full species list as follows:-
Grey Phalarope, Glossy Ibis, Wheatear, Stonechat, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Knot, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Shelduck, Little Grebe, Magpie, Rook, Jay, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Turnstone, Mallard, Little Egret, Tufted Duck, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Starling, Kestrel, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Moorhen, Ruff, Snipe, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Swallow, Peregrine, Curlew, Robin, Grey Plover, Goldfinch, Grey Heron, Linnet, Pied Wagtail, Golden Plover, Pintail, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Greenshank, Buzzard and Pheasant.
Posted on Wednesday 15th October 2014 at 22:00pm
Six of us made the journey to RSPB Fairburn Ings for an evening trip. We gathered in the main Visitor Centre car park and as we walked towards the lake we were greeted by the sight of a flock of cormorants flying right above our heads. Amongst the usual suspects on the lake – Mute Swan, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Shoveler and Shelduck was a lovely female or juvenile Mandarin Duck.
Female Mandarin at Fairburn, 21st August 2014 ©Christine Booth
We walked back towards the reserve centre and stopped to take a look on the bird feeders which were full of Goldfinch, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Tree Sparrows and at least one Willow Tit. Walking further into the reserve, we sat a while and were treated to the sight of at least three juvenile Spotted Flycatchers plus Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Linnet flitting around the branches, giving us ample opportunity to observe them at our leisure.
Juvenile Spotted Flycatcher at Fairburn, 21st August 2014 ©Christine Booth
No luck at the Kingfisher screen unfortunately, but we did get a good sighting of a Jay in flight and also another Willow Tit and Robin. Moving further round the reserve we caught a glimpse of the Sand Martins entering an artificial nesting bank, a Moorhen and chicks and plenty of Swifts, Swallows and House Martins feeding over the lake. In the distance was a dead tree where a flock of circa 20 Cormorants had settled down to roost, amongst them a lone Little Egret.
Time was passing on and so we got back into our cars and drove along the lane to our next stop further around the reserve. After stopping for a quick bite to eat at the Lin Dike car park, we walked along the path to Lin Dike hide overlooking Spoonbill scrape. It was fairly quiet on the lake here – plenty of Mallards, a couple of Little Grebe, Coot, Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler and flocks of Greylag and Canada Geese sat amongst the grass. As dusk fell, we witnessed several flocks of geese and Lapwing flying overhead, a couple of Kestrels hovering in the distance and up to six Little Egrets appearing above Fairburn village looking to land in a tree on the lake. A nice evening ended with a Grey Heron and two Curlews which flew west over the hide. A trip list of 64 species isn’t too bad for just a three hour visit!
Once again, another lovely trip out in the company of lovely people!
Posted on Sunday 24th August 2014 at 16:45pm
There can't be many amongst us who remain either unaware nor disgusted with the continuing slaughter of this wonderful and supposedly fully protected raptor in the name of protecting the hunting rights of a few individuals. There should be around 300 pairs of this species breeding in the uplands of England whereas this year there are a mere 3 pairs. Not only are we being denied a fabulous bird for the sake of a very dubious "sport" - Red grouse being driven towards a few wealthy men who somehow derive pleasure from shooting down as many as possible; but the collateral damage is also unwarranted, massive amounts of Carbon Dioxide being released into the atmosphere due to heather burning to create ideal conditions for grouse. Roads are being built and prime habitats damaged just to facilitate easier access for this minority pastime. Traps and poisoned baits for predators are also indiscriminately killing many other species of wildlife. I've personally witnessed Ring Ouzel and Red Squirrels lying dead in traps and this is by no means exceptional. As taxpayers we are funding this totally unsustainable and peculiarly British industry but there are now moves underfoot to try and ban it completely.
Sign the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting here http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65627
You can also support the campaign to boycott the grouse industry and hotels, restaurants and businesses associated with it - Click here for more details with this extensive pdf format information sheet.
On the 10th August there are 5 national events taking place to support Hen Harrier day and details can be found on http://markavery.info/blog/
I also recommend reading the August edition of Birdwatch for more details.
Posted on Sunday 10th August 2014 at 21:30pm
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LBC - Web Site Administrator
Posted on Saturday 7th June 2014 at 22:50pm.