Saturday…Lovely and sunny early morning. Turning to heavy rain at 11:30am. Only reached 16ºC today.

Trip to Alkborough Flats and Blacktoft Sands (RSPB).

Me and Ken decided to try for the Western Swamphen at Alkborough Flats, Lincolnshire. After missing out when the bird was at Mimsmere RSPB, we was not going to miss it a 2nd time, especially being a lifer for both of us. Getting on the road early, we arrived just after 7am. After seeing the weather forecast for today, we were shocked to arrive with blue skies and full sun. The weathermen said it was going to be dull and grey in Lincolnshire. Being such a rare bird, it was no problem finding the Swamphens location, we just had to follow numerous birders. Now actually photographing the Swamphen was a different matter. Through a telescope, the size and colour of this bird, was unmistakable. So we were very pleased that we made the effort for this lifer.

Just to give you an idea how hard it was to photograph, I thought I would show you the distance to the bird, from it’s only possible viewing area. I have marked the small pool the Swamphen was in, with a red arrow…


Now don’t laugh, but this is my best effort of the very very very distant Western Swamphen. Luckily you can see it’s not a Moorhen or Coot using the Black-head Gull for scale. But it was easy to make out with the scope…0Z6A0417

In the largest area of water in the above photo (just in front of the 2 small islands), we saw 4 Spoonbills (only got 2 in this photo), still distant but being a bit larger it makes for a slightly better photo. These were year ticks for me and Ken…


When we had observed most birds we could at Alkborough Flats, and with the forecast for rain around dinner time, we decided to head to Blacktoft Sands RSPB, just so we would have some cover in the hides, when the rain finally came…


Like Rutland Water last Sunday, there were numerous Little Egrets. We counted 20 just on 1 pool. I wasn’t going to photograph them, having so many photos from last Sunday. But I could not resist these 2 photo opportunities, especially the one with the reflection…



Not sure about Ken, but these Spotted Redshank were new to my year list. Spot The Spotted Redshank and Ruff in amongst the Black-tailed Godwits in flight. I always remember being told about the white cigar shaped white patch, on the back of a Spotted Redshank. Where as the Common Redshank as a white wedge. Also whiter underneath and a longer slightly down curved beak…






Black-tailed Godwit…




The main reason for a lot of flight photos above, is that we saw 3 female and 2 male Marsh Harriers hunting over the reeds and scrapes. The 2 males never came close enough. But the females gave us some great views. It was a shame it was going dull with plain grey skies…





With 3 of the scrapes empty of water, and nothing from 3 of the 6 hides. Also the fact the rain had moved in, we decided to cut our trip short. The journey home was a nightmare with heavy rain and spray making driving very dangerous. But with a Lifer and a few good year ticks…I would say the day was a total success, and very enjoyable!


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