Frampton Marsh RSPB Reserve 12th September 2020


Frampton Marsh RSPB Reserve

 12th September 2020


Weather:  Sunny and warm

Members and friends:  27                      Driver: Glenn

Due to the Covid 19 restrictions the society had not been able to embark on a field trip since March 2020.

After excellent work by Bullocks Coaches who had arranged clear plastic partitioning on the coach, provided individual temperature readings and took on other relevant government guidance, and a lot of effort from Dave Evans in contacting members and liaising with Bullocks we had confirmation the week before the trip was due that it was a goer!

27 members turned up for the trip, all adhering to the recommended social distancing and all, commendably, wearing face masks for the duration of the journey to, and from, the reserve. We were all appropriately managed by our Bullocks driver, Glenn, who was commended for his efforts in making the trip a possibility.

A. Barrett

This was the societies first ever visit to Frampton Marsh RSPB and had been eagerly awaited by many. We left Stockport at the usual time and headed over to Lincolnshire via the A628 Woodhead Pass. We all craned our necks (there and back) as we passed Crowden, eager to get the now resident Lammergeier on the society list (not withstanding what the British Ornithological Union classify it as!). We weren’t in luck, but we did manage to see a few Red Grouse as we passed Gallows Moss (until I looked, I didn’t know it was called that either!).

We also recorded Kestrel, Buzzard, Green Woodpecker and Raven at various points on the journey. After a comfort break at Woodall services on the M1 we arrived at Frampton Marsh RSPB.

We were met by the RSPB Head Warden who explained the very sensible Covid 19 restrictions that were in place on the reserve and also pointed us to the sightings board, which not only listed the headline birds seen on the day but also their exact location on a map. This is an excellent initiative and made birding some of the rarer species a lot easier for the less experienced birdwatcher. 

A. Barrett

Many of the party made straight for the 360 Hide where a Pectoral Sandpiper had been reported close by. A small group of people was already gathered watching the bird. The majority of us got good views although the bird favoured the margins of a flooded pool and was often lost in the vegetation. It was associating with a small party of half a dozen Ruff.

From the large, and very airy, 360 Hide we overlooked a couple of pools, areas of marsh and a field of sunflowers. We quickly picked up a group of eleven Spoonbill who were resting on the waters edge. Further back a mixed flock of waders included Avocet, Spotted Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit. A flighty flock of smaller waders was made up of Dunlin with a handful of Curlew Sandpiper. Two Little Stint were identified associating with a young Ringed Plover. A White Wagtail was also seen from the hide. Over the sunflower field a large flock of Linnet were mobile.

J Wharton

Walking on to the Reedbed Hide the group looked out over a large expanse of open water. There were many duck species, all in eclipse plumage, and a large number of Greylag and Canada Geese. A handful of Mute Swan were also joined by a single feral Whooper Swan (a permanent resident on the reserve for over five years). Some of the members also saw feral Barnacle, Brent and Egyptian Geese. There was a good population of Little Grebe on the reserve and many adult and young birds were gathered on the open water. Snipe were seen and a handful of Knot amongst the large flocks of Black-tailed Godwit. A few of the members picked up three Greenshank here, alongside the ubiquitous Redshank. Both Cetti’s Warbler and Water Rail were added to the day list, but only on call, both species being typically elusive.

A walk on to the East Hide added little to the days list but there were further good views had of Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper. Climbing up onto the Wash Trail, around the perimeter of the site, gave elevated views of the reserve and the area of marshland out to the distant Wash. Here we were entertained by family parties of Yellow Wagtail, foraging for insects amongst the herds of cattle. We counted at least three or four family groups of up to seven birds per group. Amongst them the occasional Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail were found. Overhead members had views of Peregrine and Sparrowhawk. Sand Martin and White Wagtail were also seen.


Out towards The Wash a Marsh Harrier was seen quartering the ground, Little Egret fished the channels and a late Swallow passed through. A couple of Kestrel hovered over potential prey as Reed Bunting’s watched from adjacent fence posts.

Walking back around the reserve the hawthorn hedges held all the commoner tit and finch species as well as the occasion Chiffchaff. One member was surprised to find a Nuthatch (see post field trip note below). In one of the adjacent potato fields to the reserve a Whinchat was found.

The weather had been glorious, the reserve a delight and the company tolerable (generally!) and we all reconvened at the coach to mask up and make the return journey. In the current Covid 19 environment it had been a most enjoyable field trip and had produced 81 species for the society list.

Birds seen;

Post Field Trip Note;

A couple of days after the trip John Wharton sent me a couple of photographs for use on our website. One of the photographs was of the Nuthatch he had seen. Being curious, I emailed the Head Warden at Frampton RSPB and enquired how regularly they recorded Nuthatch on the reserve. 

Within an hour I had received an excited reply;

"Wow!!! That’s a first reserve record!! We thought we’d never get one, so absolutely delighted by that record, they are very rare coastal South Lincs and I’m not even aware of any records in Frampton Hall about 2 miles inland (which is a large parkland with plenty of old trees). Please pass on our thanks and congratulations for a great find."

After John provided further information on the specific location of the bird, I’m told all the wardens on site went on a mad twitch! Unfortunately, it was not relocated but the Head Warden came back to me, requesting;

"I’m writing a ‘Birds of Frampton and Freiston’. It would be great to use the photo. Do you think the photographer would be happy for us to use it (with a suitable credit of course)?"

So, John will be credited with finding this “mega” for Frampton Marsh, his photo will be immortalised in a book and all the wardens are insanely jealous! 

Well done John.

J Wharton