A bit of a tongue-twister

This afternoon I headed over to the other side of The Wash, to the RSPB reserve of Frampton Marsh, as there had been several scarce waders reported there.

Within a couple of minutes of my arrival I had been lucky enough to get excellent views of a white-rumped sandpiper – a small wader, similar to a dunlin, and a vagrant from north America seen in small numbers in the UK each year. It’s a bird I’ve only seen once before.

Talking to one of the reserve volunteers I learned that Frampton has a bit of a record for the number of wader species recorded – 49! I saw 10 of these today, including the other rarity I had hoped for, a juvenile lesser yellowlegs – another regular north American vagrant, and something I’ve only seen twice before. This bird has a really tongue-twisting name – just try saying “lesser yellowlegs” six times as quickly as possible…..

juvenile lesser yellowlegs (photo taken 2019)

The recent stormy weather systems have seen a remarkable number of very rare vagrants hit the westerly coasts of Britain and Ireland: The serious twitchers are madly dashing hither and thither after magnolia warblers, bobolinks and red-eyed vireos! However I was content with what I saw at Frampton today, which also included a black tern and the first whooper swans of the autumn.

black tern

Brenda writes: “Although there was nothing new in the moth trap today I recorded 21 species including another convolvulus hawk, a delicate and a scarce bordered straw. Numbers of black rustic (5) and lunar underwing (7) are building but large yellow underwings still hold the lead with 20.

I spent much of the day doing paperwork and then had a walk up the lane past Wells cemetery, which takes me in the direction of Wighton. I was able to pick some late blackberries and log a good range of flower species including finding hops scrambling over the hedge of Cuckoo Lodge. Now is the time when white bryony dies back leaving strings of delicious-looking red berries but beware – they are poisonous!”

white bryony berries

New species for September 26th:
Birds: lesser yellowlegs, white-rumped sandpiper

Birds = 220
Moths = 236
Wildflowers = 280