Frampton Marsh visit

The RSPB Frampton Marsh is one of the key roosting sites in the area. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The RSPB Frampton Marsh is one of the key roosting sites in the area. © Gyorgy Szimuly

It’s been a busy weekend with the BirdFair at Rutland Water, but birding somehow wasn’t on the priority list. As expected, by Sunday afternoon I couldn’t stay indoor anymore, so I decided to explore another new coastal birding site. We visited the RSPB Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire.

From the seawall beautiful salt marsh can easily be watched. © Gyorgy Szimuly

From the seawall beautiful salt marsh can easily be watched. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Plenty of Ruffs were feeding in the area. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Plenty of Ruffs were feeding in the area. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Only a part of this vast area is accessible, but it still holds a nice number of birds including many waders. Birding was rather challenging today due to the strong wind, what made holding the binocular steady nearly impossible. The most abundant species of the marsh was the Black-tailed Godwit with both Icelandic and Europen subspecies. Northern Lapwing, Mallard and Eurasian Teal (Or Eurasian Green-winged Teal) was the most abundant species. Among the rarities I saw two unseasonal Brant Geese and a long staying Glossy Ibis, which was feeding just next to the footpath. While the visit was short, it gave me an impression of the birdlife of Frampton Marsh. It definitely worth for more frequent visits as this is one of the closest coastal areas to my home.

There must be a Glossy Ibis on this image. © Gyorgy Szimuly

There must be a Glossy Ibis on this image. © Gyorgy Szimuly

List of birds seen:

Graylag Goose 3
Brant Goose 2
Barnacle Goose 1
Canada Goose 183
Mute Swan 14
Common Shelduck 33
Eurasian Wigeon 4
Mallard 317
Northern Shoveler 9
Green-winged Teal (Eurasian) 83
Common Pochard 1
Tufted Duck 9
Little Grebe 4
Great Crested Grebe 4
Great Cormorant 6
Gray Heron 4
Little Egret 7
Glossy Ibis 1
Eurasian Spoonbill 1
Eurasian Moorhen 22
Eurasian Coot 49
Pied Avocet 15
Northern Lapwing 101
Common Ringed Plover 3
Common Redshank 6
Eurasian Curlew 3
Black-tailed Godwit 396
Ruff 27
Dunlin 2
Common Snipe 8
Black-headed Gull 127
Lesser Black-backed Gull 4
Stock Dove 1
Common Wood Pigeon 3
Common Swift 1
Common Kingfisher 1
Bearded Reedling 1
Bank Swallow 280
Northern Wheatear 1
European Starling 398
Western Yellow Wagtail (Yellow) (M. f. flavissima) 10
White Wagtail 2
Meadow Pipit 3
European Goldfinch 1
Eurasian Linnet 8

Pectoral Sandpiper at Manor Farm

Most probably as a result of the remnants of the Hurricane Bertha, hit southwest England early Sunday, a local mega turned up close to my home. Rob Hill, the local expert of Manor Farm spotted a Pectoral Sandpiper on the west end of the quarry.

As weather improved slightly, we left for some birdwatching, targeting to find the reported male Whinchat. A few minutes after our departure, I got the news about the Pectoral Sandpiper. Sharp turn and I was on my way to Old Wolverton, hoping that Rob Hill, the finder, was still there.

Manor Farm quarry in late afternoon. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Manor Farm quarry in late afternoon. © Gyorgy Szimuly

He was there and another birder was coming next to me. I’ve never met any of these local birders before, so it was nice to see some of them. Rob was very kind and let me watch the bird through his spotting scope. One of the guys thought it was an adult bird, but I thought it was a fresh juvenile. The bold rufous-creamy edges on the scapulars and the whitish line on the sides of mantle made it a juvenile bird.

The last Common Swifts soared against these beautiful clouds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The last Common Swifts soared against these beautiful clouds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

I didn’t walk on the route as I used to, but enjoyed the beautiful sunset with dramatic clouds on the sky. Among the regular shorebirds, Northern Lapwings, a Ruff, a Dunlin, Green Sandpipers, Common Sandpipers, Little Ringed and Common Ringed Plovers were present, but the Pectoral Sandpiper was feeding alone and separated from other birds.

Just before light started to decrease, Rick and Elis Simpson arrived to see this rarity. It’s always nice to see the Wader Quest couple, especially in the field.

It was my first Pectoral Sandpiper seen in the United Kingdom, but unfortunately no image is available to illustrate.

A bitter taste conclusion

I don’t consider myself a big ‘give-uper’, but sometimes I just can’t figure out what step would be necessary to move forward. Today I made a decision to stop working on the WorldWaders News Blog. I don’t feel good at all as it was my child and my passion at the same time. A bit more than 4 years ago I set up this WordPress site driven by an idea to collect news about shorebirds from around the world and publish them in a single website. I thought it was a good idea to offer a more comfortable way to learn more about shorebirds (or waders if you like).

Despite it didn’t get much attention by wader scientist and larger conservation bodies, I carried on and kept asking permissions re-posting news. I failed to find co-authors who could help making this news platform more diverse and colourful. Finally the numbers, the cruel numbers made my decision.

The blog was born in May 2010. During the 51 months I posted 254 news, what is 4.9 news per month. It is definitely not enough for keeping the audience awake, although I didn’t really run the blog in 2014. In 51 months the blog got only 70 followers. A part of the followers have nothing to do with shorebird conservation or research and not even the birds in general. Since the site moved to WordPress from Posterous it got 30,855 clicks. There were about an additional 70,000 clicks when the site was running under Posterous, which was later stopped offering blogging service. So, the blog altogether got about 100,000 clicks, which means 65 clicks a day. One of the clicks always made by my dear Son. Haha… The best ever day in its history was earlier this year, when a Slender-billed Curlew was supposedly seen in Serbia. On the day we released the news, it got 6,419 views. The total views on this single news exceeded an unbelievable 10,000 views. If I deduct it from the 100,000 total views, the number of daily visits is just 58.

These are the numbers. Let’s say, it had a quite modest publicity despite my best efforts, social media sharing with a potential reach of about 5,000 friends/followers (90% of them are connected to birds). I must have done something wrong or the failure might be related to my personality, I don’t know. It definitely pulls me back from shorebird conservation in general, but the devotion of loving shorebirds will never be taken away. However, I’m still hoping that the World Shorebirds’ Day can make a difference and it can be a success. I enjoy organizing it, and at least I’ve got some encouraging feedback. Despite I’ve got some quite frustrating feedback from leaders of some national bird conservation societies, I keep working on this event. I know, it never will be a boom event until a big organization is offering an ‘umbrella’ (not financially), but I keep working on it.

I’m very sad about the WorldWaders News Blog. I keep the blog open for anyone who wants to read old news, but I stop posting items.

I don’t blame anyone, not even myself…

This image is about patience and faith, what I seem to have lost somewhere. © Andrea Szimuly

This image is about patience and faith, what I seem to have lost somewhere. © Andrea Szimuly