Never mind, with a very Autumnal feel to the weather there has been a pick up in rarer birds, especially reverse wader migration. I set out early for what is turning into one of the best reserves on the east coast - Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire. I was last there in Spring dipping on the black-winged pratincole so I figured it owed me one. The main target was a buff-breasted sandpiper which had been present for three days. They are nearctic waders, breeding on the American tundra but a small number make it over here every year.
I got to the carpark just before 8. The weather felt more like October than August, with a keen wind and dark cloud. The reserve is a wetland area behind a high seawall. The tide in the wash was high at 9 so the marsh was covered in waders.
As I made my way along the seawall there was already a small throng gathered.
An hour passed and still no sign of the star birds as the crowd grew to I suppose 40 or so spread out along the seawall. A group of 13 spoonbills were present but as normal spent most of their time asleep.
It was now approaching 11 and I had been scanning the marsh for over 2 hours. We had agreed the the buff-breasted sandpiper would most likely be in the grassy area. Although it is a wader it prefers feeding on dryland. Most of this though was a long distance off so we were stuck with trying to find a small bird in long grass at 200 yards distance. One birder who I had been taking to thought he might have had it so we moved along the bank for a better angle but still nothing. Another 15 minutes passed then I got onto a small golden-brown bird in the grass opposite us.
I immediately knew I was onto the BBS but I had to get everyone else onto it. There then followed one of those chaotic couple of minutes as I first tried to explain to my neighbours where it was. "on the far bank behind the large pool". Ok, that worked. "look for the Canada geese". Not quite as good. I didn't dare take my eyes off the bird so I didn't realise there were about 4 groups of geese and I got a barrage of "the ones swimming/ are they facing left/ feeding/ flapping". I refined my directions to "the 3 together, it's between the right hand and middle one". The crowd was now swelling as the radar of other birders picked up on the fact we were onto something. So, new arrivals were further confusing the mix. This also wasn't helped by the fact it was feeding vigorously and kept disappearing into the long grass for minutes at a time. Finally though a core of people got onto it and spread the word and eventually everyone present had it. I even had two people come over and shake my hand for finding it and getting the directions out!
Absolutely appalling photos but this is the bird. Long yellow legs, small in size, very short beak, round head, buff on its breast. It stayed in view for I suppose 15 minutes before dropping out of sight behind the bank. I tried to relocate to get closer to it but it totally vanished, I stayed for another hour but no one managed to get onto it again. I presume it had gone to sleep somewhere. I finally gave up and made my way back home. Good start to the Autumn migration with two good year ticks and another trip to Norfolk this week already booked in. I never did get onto the dowitcher but both birds were seen later on in the day.