Sunday, October 10, 2010

A warm weekend - Saturday

We'd planned a weekend in Norfolk to coincide with the Spring Tide, with a particular eye on Snettisham. On Friday evening we made really good progress from work up to Boston, Lincolnshire, but then it went astray. Apparently 7pm on a Friday counts as 'night' for the poor souls of Boston, so ripping up the town centre for re-tarmacking then is fine. It took us 2 hours from Northampton to about 1 mile from Boston city centre, then an hour and a half to do the next 2.2 miles to our hotel. Advice: never visit or travel near to Boston unless you really do have to...

Anyway a properly early start saw us at Freiston Shores RSPB at 7am ready to see what got pushed in.

We weren't disappointed by the birds. The weather was another matter. Forecasts of a late summer blip were disappointed by heavy cloud and onshore Easterly winds that left it feeling very cold (especially to those of us with man-flu).

A Little Grebe seemed unperturbed:

We watched lots of different groups of waders swirl in and settle then headed out onto the wall, whereupon another large group of waders were flushed-up (by a tractor):

They then settled onto the reserve:

As well as the Knot, Oysercatchers, Grey Plovers and Black-tailed Godwits, a pair of Bar-tailed Godwits relaxed during the high tide:

We enjoyed our visit to Frieston but wanted to get through Boston before the traffic picked-up again, so headed South around 08:30, toward Frampton Marsh.

Frampton Marsh is an up-and-coming reserve, however on this particular day it was bereft, as were we. At a loss I checked my BirdGuides bird sightings list, having subscribed on Friday to a free week trial. It showed a Wilson's Phalarope at Welney WWT which was only around 75 minutes away so we headed there next.

Good decision :)

First up a distant but very definitely Wilson's Phalarope:

They are frenetic little waders, with a needle bill and very pale. They breed in North America with just one or two being seen in the UK each Autumn. Oh and a tick too :)

As well as the Wilson's, another US wader, though this time one we've seen before (apparently they now breed in Scotland) was this Pectoral Sandpiper:

Having enjoyed a hearty lunch in the cafe, and a refreshing cup of tea, we wandered out again to the Observatory, spotting this Barnacle Goose amongst the Canada's:

It did look like it thought it belonged. After Welney we went to Sculthorpe Moor, a small but perfectly formed wet-woodland nature reserve, which is one of our favourite spots. We were looking for Kingfishers but didn't see any. However we did see lots of Coal, Willow and Marsh Tits on a walk aroud the reserve. A stoat frolicked in front of one hide, giving us our best ever views. Shooting started close-by however so we decided it was a good time to head to the Premier Inn at King's Lynn for an early dinner.

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