Arriving just as it was starting to get light at 6:20am we pulled into the car park got out, got wrapped up as it was bitterly cold had a quick scan of the lagoon and could see large numbers of waders roosting on the lagoon as it was high tide. I picked out grebe larger than a little but smaller than a Great Crest but it was still to dark so we decided to walk on up to a hide that overlooked the lagoon. We stopped to read an information sign when my Dad pointed up and said 'O look Tree Sparrow' I thought he was pointing at a picture on the sign but then heard the chirping slightly different from House Sparrow and sure enough in the bush only 2foot away were around 15 Tree Sparrow, nice bird to catch up with on the year list after only seeing them for the first time last year! Walking on up the path and into the hide we started to scan the vast amounts of waders to see what was there. Around 1000 Oystercatcher we constantly calling and flying around some still with the white neck line of winter plumage, also c1200 Knot 500+ Dunlin and 700+ Lapwing made up the main bulk of the waders. More careful searching of the large flock revealed c20 Turnstone, 20 Bar-tailed Godwit 50+ Redshank, c10 Golden Plover and 4 Black-tailed Godwit. Our attention then turned to the Little Grebe, around 6 were scattered around the lagoon and in amongst them was 1 Black-necked Grebe, first lifer of the day a really nice bird diving constantly not to far from the hide but unfortunately left the camera in the car! D'oh! 3 Little Egrets dropped onto the far shoreline and a White Fronted Greylag fooled us for a split second. Other birds noted on the lagoon were 10+ Shelduck, c50 Wigeon 2 Tufted Duck, 30+ Snipe and 11 Goldeneye.
Walking out of the hide and towards the Salt marsh and Sea there were several more Tree Sparrow along the hedgerow and waders were now moving off flying low over head towards the shoreline too feed. There was a small sea watching hut further down and several Meadow Pipits were flying overhead. Scanning the shoreline were birds were feeding revealed several hundred Brent Geese feeding and flying around., 150+ Dunlin and 100 Golden Plover all busily feeding in with hoards of Knot and Oystercatcher. Scanning the sea resulted in 4 Red-breasted Merganser (2m2f) and 2 Eider. Whereas in Norfolk the sea generally has rafts of Common Scoter here there were quite a few Wigeon congregating off shore. A Peregrine flew quickly through attempting to make a quick Dunlin breakfast but was unsuccessful. Around 30 Herring Gull and a few Great-black Backed Gulls lingered off shore and a pair of Goldeneye where diving fairly close in. Another Peregrine came through rising and stooping onto the waders and as I went to get it through the scope I spotted a stunning male Hen Harrier flying overhead! Excellent views were obtained of this stunning bird as it flew across the salt marsh scaring Meadow Pipit as it went over. The sun was getting a bit higher in the sky now and we tried to make a distant Kestrel into a Merlin but it was a Kestrel.
Walking back towards the car waders were still moving off the Lagoon and down onto the shore flying really low over our heads giving really nice views. Closer to the car park several Redwing and Fieldfare were feeding in the hedgerow, a large flock of Greenfinch and Goldfinch were feeding in a Silver Birch. Getting back to the car got a distant record shot of the BNgrebe and a few shots of the Lagoon.
Driving back into Boston where there had been a showy pair of Waxwing in a swimming pool car park. Postcode programmed into the Sat Nav and we soon arrived in the swimming pool car park where there was a small cherry tree as you went in. Stayed here for about 15 mins or so waiting for them to show with no luck. Went into a local cafe and got some breakfast and returned to see if the Waxwing were showing but still no luck. Off to Frampton Marsh RSPB.
Arriving at Frampton Marsh RSPB we walked into the new visitor centre that had nice views across several pools and noted a Barn Owl flying along the far fence line. Also on the pools were 16 Mute Swan, 10+ Greylag Geese, 20+ Canada Geese around 30 Coot and lots of Mallard. After picking up a map we decided to head straight to the 360 hide where several good birds would hopefully await us. Walking down the path to the hide a flock of around 20 Snow Bunting were flying around over the pools Entering the hide which was all brand new, we started to scan the waders/wildfowl in front of us. 300+ Lapwing were mixed in with about the same amount of Golden Plover also several Redshank and a few Dunlin were scattered around. In with the large numbers of Teal, Wigeon and Brent Geese were several Gadwall and about 6 Pintail. We soon heard the distinctive sound of a large flock of small finch which landed in front of the hide. They were Twite, around 80 briefly landed in front of the hide and quickly moved on never staying still for too long, I noticed one was sporting some bling, with around 4 colour rings on its legs but they flew off quickly not allowing me to get the combination. Looking around to the left and scanning the bank where the flock of Snow Bunting were flying around with several Skylark. Scanning them while they were on the deck I soon found a single Lapland Bunting! 2nd lifer of the day but the flock flew off again, my dad was starting to get a little annoyed! They soon settled down a little further off where careful scanning revealed around 4 Lapland Bunting feeding on a small bank along with Reed Bunting and Skylark. Really neat birds with some being better marked than others but all stunning.
Whilst scanning these everything got up and the culprit and Female Merlin quickly followed by another Male Hen Harrier! Mega! At one point had them both in one bin view. The female perched up and then quickly went chasing after the Skylark which managed to evade it. The male Hen Harrier floated over the back and over the high bank. A Little Egret was distant and a Male Sparrowhawk was perched up on the far fence line. Lots of Brent Geese were moving off in the distance around 1000 or so. Walking out of this hide and towards the Reed Bed hide two White-fronted Geese flew over. Nothing much else was noted in this hide, the Sand Marting bank which I'd seen in an article on Birdguides could be seen, something I think would be great at Upton so I took a few photos.
Driving back into Boston again to try for the Waxwing again, would it be 3rd time lucky? Arriving in the car park again there was no sign of them in the cherry tree so we parked up and started to wait again. Not long after this I quickly picked up on a Waxwing flying in from straight in front of us, but it didn't stop in the tree and flew over the car. Quickly jumping out of the car managed to pick it up with another in a tall tree. This bird then flew off leaving the one in the tree. This 2nd bird then flew into a slightly closer tree but didn't fancy any cherries for now! A few crummy shots were taken and it was also heard calling. A nice bird to see when they seem to have been fairly rare this winter.
Wow thats a long write up, I think i'll finish the last half of this trip in another post shortly.