The twelve club members who clambered aboard the coach headed for Frampton Marsh anticipated a good day's birding – and so it turned out, with 57 species logged by the whole group during nearly seven hours at the Lincolnshire RSPB site.
Our driver did an excellent job of getting us there inside two hours (and returning us in the same timescale) which maximised our time in the open air – though a few took the opportunity for a quick coffee. An introduction from the assistant warden gave us a good feel for what was around; and he invited us to boost their list, which I suspect we just might have done.
Conditions were fair with high clouds for most of the day, but it was breezy and we felt particularly exposed with little vegetation to interrupt the wind's progress across this flat marshland site.
There was an excellent array of waders, ducks and geese on the wetland scrapes, including the increasingly widespread Little Egret, various sandpipers, 'shanks' and several smaller waders. There was much discussion and some confusion – even with the help of scopes which were put to liberal use in each of the three hides – as many of the species were changing from summer to winter plumage.
Migrants passing through en route to warmer locations to spend the winter included Wheatear and a few final hirundine stragglers, while other waders, ducks and the odd Brent Goose were arriving on their winter quarters. With the tide out, a few distant seals could be seen on the open sand at the edge of the Wash for those who walked the two miles to the mouth of the Witham River.
Raptors were few and far between (we had over-optimistically hoped for a Merlin, Hen Harrier or Short-eared Owl), but a few Kestrels were seen and the highlight was a pair of Marsh Harriers.
The total 'CBC' cast list, roughly in order of appearance, was as follows: Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Tree Sparrow, Rook, Collared Dove, Mallard, Teal, Little Egret, Greenshank, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Cormorant, Little Stint, Canada Goose, Pintail, Black-headed Gull, Shelduck, Wigeon, Mute Swan, Redshank, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, House Martin, Greylag Goose, Coot, Tufted Duck, Kestrel, Wood pigeon, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Starling, Reed Bunting, Wheatear, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Curlew, Swallow, Great-crested Grebe, Herring Gull, Brent Goose, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Greater Black-backed Gull, Wood Sandpiper, Carrion Crow, Gadwall, Shoveler, Knot, Snipe, Golden Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Scaup and Marsh Harrier.