Recent Wanderings

Tuesday 11th December.

Attenborough Nature Reserve + DCW.

Photo of Robin on sign

A murky morning turned into a sunny day with blue skies and not a breath of wind that we could detect but the smoke and water vapour from the power station seemed to find some.

Photo of landscape
Looking west over Coneries Pond.

A bash at local birding but the highlights were a skein of 64 Pink-footed Geese heading north-west to Lancashire and the Goosanders of which we lost count after about 42 but which don't show up anywhere else we go.

Photo of Pink-footed Geese
Pink-footed Geese.
Photo of Goosanders

If you are planning a trip here remember some crumbs for the Robins, many of which will take food from the hand.

Photo of Robin

Several "Bluebottles" were resting on the sunny side of a tree (as they are wont to do). I'm reasonably sure this is Calliphora vomitoria which overwinter as adults and can live as such for a year.

Photo of Bluebottle
Calliphora (vomitoria)

Dave's knowledge of botany extends beyond the vascular plants though he admits that his skills as a bryologist are getting rusty. Nevertheless, he still managed to name these two mosses, the first from memory with high confidence and the second from the photo with less certainty.

Photo of a moss
Grimmia pulvinata
Photo of a moss
Orthotrichum diaphanum

They were on the flood wall east of Meadow Lane along with a selection of algae.

Tuesday 4th December.

Frampton Marsh RSPB + DCW.

In the chill of the east coast from 9.30 till 3.30 for a few very awful photos but memories of a bird-rich day into Lincolnshire that started with crisp blue skies and distant fog and which ended grey and dusky.

Photo of Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier.

Twenty common species under our belt in the first twenty minutes then a Marsh Harrier followed by the faintest of 'pings' detected by Dave's radar, and a little later by me, was enough to add Bearded Tit.

Then we left the reed bed and strolled eastwards, where a meeting with a Leicestershire birdwatcher, who had enjoyed a Long-billed Dowitcher fly over his head earlier, made the decision to circumnavigate the reserve rather than head off along The Haven, much easier; neither of us had seen a Long-billed Dowitcher. (And at the end of the day we still hadn't).

Photo of Frampton Marsh
Frampton Marsh RSPB.

It was a day with raptors the highlights as a Sparrowhawk was soon followed by a nimble Merlin performing figure of eights with sharp twists and turns above a number of unimpressed ducks before it flew away and landed on a post. Believe it or not this is a female Merlin perched on a post at Frampton about 1km from a compact camera:

Photo of Merlin
distant Merlin.

In my experience, Frampton has more birds per square metre than any other place in Britain. (Camargue 1979 might win the European title - I'm not well travelled). Most were Wigeon.

Photo of Wigeon
A fraction of the Wigeon present.

During lunch, an adult male Hen Harrier drifted southwards over the saltmarsh and then a less rewarding walk back into the heart of the reserve provided a Peregrine harassing a juvenile Herring Gull which eventually did as the Peregine was suggesting, leaving the latter to its afternoon tea with a couple of Carrion Crows, like English vultures, in patient attendance.

A good day out with a tie for bird-of-the-day; Hen Harrier for me and Peregrine for Dave. Poor gymnastic Merlin deserved better.

A distant buzzard / harrier, if identifiable to species would have brought the day's raptor tally to seven.

The photographer in me declared a lone Meadow Pipit the star.

Photo of Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit.