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Mar 162023
 
A regular band of CBC members were very pleased to escape the Derbyshire snow and head to the Lincolnshire coast on Sunday 12th March to visit the Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve.
 
After meeting up for a cup of coffee in the Visitor Centre café, we headed out towards the shore on a path which took us along the edge of the salt marshes. The song of Skylarks could be heard above us as we walked, though the strong winds were clearly making most of the smaller birds hunker down for shelter. A few Meadow Pipits, a Reed Bunting and a flock of Linnets were seen briefly before they dived down for cover. 
 
Large numbers of Brent Goose were feeding on the grassy areas on the salt marsh, along with a couple of Redshanks and a Curlew probing for food in the mud. In the distance we could also pick out a pair of Roe Deer.
 
As we reached the beach, the strength of the wind became more apparent and certainly made it hard to keep binoculars and telescopes steady as we looked for possible sea birds. A number of Oystercatchers were feeding on the shoreline, along with a large flock of Sanderling constantly running along the water’s edge like little clockwork toys. The only sea ducks spotted were a group of some 10-15 Common Scoter flying low over the water.
 
In the afternoon we decided to move to the more sheltered areas of the reserve, where a number of hides looking out over freshwater marshes offered the chance to see more waders and wildfowl. Our wader tally increased with Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwings and Avocets, as well as more Curlews and Redshanks. Wintering Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler were still present in good numbers, along with a handful of Shelduck.
 
Woodland birds were in fairly short supply during the day due to the terrain of the reserve, though a Great Spotted Woodpecker, which was first heard calling then seen as it flew between the trees, was a notable find.
 
The sightings board at the reserve indicated the possibility of 5 Water Pipits at the Fenland Lagoon, so we set off in that direction and were rewarded with clear views of 3 of them, showing well as they moved about on the mudbanks. The Water Pipit is a fairly scarce winter visitor to the UK, mainly in eastern and southern England, so it provided an excellent highpoint to end the day on before we set off back home.
 
A collective total of 45 species were recorded by the group:
 
Greylag Goose, Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Shoveler, Mallard, Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal, Tufted Duck, Common Scoter, Moorhen, Coot, Avocet, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Cormorant, Little Egret, Pheasant, Wood Pigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kestrel, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Skylark, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Linnet, Reed Bunting.
 
Chris Lamb

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