Black-winged Stilt, Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire - April 2012
A new bird for me, and what a stunner!
A male Black-winged Stilt (though sexing these isn’t totally straightforward), believed to be the same one that was first spotted in Wexford, Eire, on 30th March. This bird has moved steadily east, being seen across England in Oxfordshire, Leicestershire, and west Lincolnshire, before settling at Frampton Marsh RSPB on the east coast.
I arrived quite late in the day, but the sun was out (briefly) and I got some great views having only walked a minute from the car. The bird was sleeping on a distant island, but the identification wasn’t a problem. These are pretty unmistakable. The legs looked ridiculous; but the bird itself is very pretty, enhanced by the smudgy thumbprints on the dainty head.
As I waited for the Black-winged Stilt to wake, I had some great views of a hunting Short-eared Owl, which at time passed close to the stilt. In fact, the stilt woke briefly as the owl passed once – see my video below (at 0:58 seconds). The stilt eventually woke, and I got some lovely views and the photos and video below.
After the BWS had flown off, I had a look round the reserve. As well as early morning, dusk is one of the best times to visit most reserves, and this is certainly true of this one. There was hardly anyone about, and the sun cast a beautiful warm glow over the place. I’d visited here once before – early morning visit on 15th May 2010 to see an Oriental Pratincole. I was impressed with the place then – it’s one of the better RSPB developments.
Among the other birds I saw on the reserve was a striking male Ruff, and an unfortunate female with a broken wing. A Ringed Plover was close enough to the reach out and touch – I counted at least seven, A couple of Wellow Wagtails were a nice addition to the year list, but despite my efforts I couldn’t locate the Garganey or Whimbrel. Well worth the trip though.