Being a resident in the Midlands means all coastal habitats and nature reserves are too far away for frequent birding. Among them, the extraordinary RSPB Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire is probably the closest and the fastest to reach. This RSPB reserve is a safe haven for waterbirds and shorebirds and paradise for birders of every level.
Most of my previous visits were related to rarities, mostly shorebirds being present at the reserve. Today wasn’t any different as an adult White-rumped Sandpiper was found at the beginning of the week. Hasan and I decided to visit the area despite the forecasted scorching conditions.
A group of Common Swifts and a few Western Yellow Wagtails welcomed us at the car park. Most of the Common Swifts have already gone across the country, so watching them again was a real treat.
The White-rumped Sandpiper was seen from the 360o hide. While we headed to the hide, we were distracted multiple times by hundreds of birds flying around. At our arrival, several birders were watching the sandpiper feeding alongside a few Dunlins and Red Knots. It was difficult to spot the rarity among a few hundred preening and roosting Black-tailed Godwits. When a Common Buzzard flushed most of the birds, 80% of the godwits flew off towards The Wash. This helped us have a better view of the sandpiper and the accompanying Dunlins.
While Hasan focused on ‘studying’ his lifer bird, I joined a keen local birder to see a Curlew Sandpiper and an uncommon juvenile Caspian Gull. In the meantime, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk, a hunting Eurasian Hobby and a Western Marsh Harrier flew past the hide.
Before we walked around the reserve on the seawall, we popped into the East Hide. I soon spotted the White-rumped Sandpiper just in front of the hide. The spectacular opportunity allowed us to see the plumage in detail for the joy of the other birders.
From the seawall, we saw 2 Eurasian Whimbrels and Eurasian Oystercatchers. At the western pastures, nearly a hundred European Golden Plovers and two dozen Western Yellow Wagtails treated us with stunning views. Despite the high temperatures, it was worth visiting the Frampton Marsh again. This was my second White-rumpred Sandpiper observation since I moved to the UK. The previous one was just a half an hour-drive away from the Frampton Marsh in 2014.
Thanks to Hasan for another excellent day trip.