Normally, for a days birding, I head to Titchwell Marsh in Norfolk or Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire. I have to say that I am beginning to prefer Frampton Marsh, so I headed in this direction at 0400hrs! I knew that an elusive Buff Breasted Sandpiper had been seen for a number of days, but I didn't hold out any hope of seeing it! As I sat in the car park, in total darkness, the sound of Wigeon could be heard, and this was to be the most prolific bird of the day. As light broke, I wandered over to the visitor centre where a Kingfisher had a flypast. Meeting up with another early birder, we set out in the direction of where the Buff Breasted Sandpiper was being reported, "needle in a haystack" springs to mind, but I ended up walking the whole area which was a first for me! Needless to say, the BBS was not located. The water levels at Frampton are very low and I wonder if this was causing the birds to be very easily flushed? Not a lot of waders, the best being - Spotted Redshank; Bar and Black Tailed Godwits; Ringed Plover; Grey Plover; Avocet; Ruff; Curlew Sandpiper; Dunlin; Snipe and Little Stint.
Very often, bird hides are quiet places with the occupants barely acknowledging other occupants. With the knowledge of a Buff Breasted Sandpiper being "somewhere" on the reserve, I located a small wader, on its own, with a very bright buff front. I have to say that this bird was "in your face" different and I managed to get the assembled company on to it and its identification debate commenced. I have never seen a BBS before, relying on good old Collins! Scope views looked good but the eye ring of a BBS was not obvious. I decided to run off some images (heavily cropped due to distance) but they did not do the bird justice. What was it? The debate started with everyone giving a view. My contributions were a little "devils advocate" by saying can we rule out...........? However, the three main contenders were Curlew Sandpiper (first to ruled out) leaving juvenile Ruff and BBS! It was not possible to determine an eye ring, and when the bird flew (in the direction of where it was later reported on the fields opposite the visitor centre, white was not seen on the rump. The debate at the very least brought those in the hide together and I thoroughly enjoyed the views. On leaving, I said I would "float" the bird on the internet, where the majority view was juvenile Ruff.
Heavily cropped images of "the" bird with supporting cast of Wigeon!:
The saying if its a wader and its one you have to think about its probably a Ruff rings true! With hindsight, I've also seen an image of the bird on the Lincolnshire Bird Club site!
Black Tailed Godwit
Wigeon; Greylag Goose; Grey Heron; Curlew; LBB Gull; Pheasant; Teal; Moorhen; Kingfisher; Shelduck; Mute Swan; Kestrel; Cormorant; Mallard; Snipe; Black Headed Gull; Wood Pigeon; Robin; Chaffinch; Carrion Crow; Magpie; Goldfinch; Blue Tit; Dabchick; Shoveler; Little Egret; Brent Goose; Redshank; Coot; Spotted Redshank; Black Tailed Godwit; Canada Goose; Skylark; Pintail; Dunlin; Bar Tailed Godwit; Ringed Plover; Starling; Grey Plover; Meadow Pipit; Reed Bunting; Avocet; Ruff; Greenfinch; Gadwall; Linnet; Curlew Sandpiper; Little Stint; Pied Wagtail; Rook; Jackdaw; Buzzard.
Red Kite at Oundle.