This was the 12th annual visit to Gibraltar Point NNR by the Buckinghamshire Bird Club and this year twenty four club members made the journey north. For anyone who does not know where Gibraltar Point is, it is situated a few miles south of Skegness in Lincolnshire on the east coast. But what is particularly important is that is on the northern extremity of The Wash and benefits from the huge numbers of birds in the area. Habitats include, sea, beach, dunes, vast areas of scrub, salt marsh, fresh water marsh/lagoons and a small area of woodland. It typically provides visitors with the chance to view a wide variety of waders, sea ducks, Divers, Skuas, raptors, migrant passerines, etc.
The Field Centre
Accommodation was provided at the reserve centre and included cooked breakfast, packed lunches and a cooked dinner (all excellent quality). The advantage of staying here is that you can roll out of bed and get straight into the birds.
As people arrived during Friday and started covering the reserve, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Snipe and Little Grebe were showing on Jacksons Marsh, Tennysons Sands and The Mere. A sea watch produced 16 Red-throated Divers, Red-breasted Merganser, Kittiwake, Gannets, Guillemot, Arctic and Long-tailed Skuas and on the shore were Sanderling, Oystercatchers, Redshank, Knot, Curlew and Grey Plover. Amongst the scrub Blackcap, Redstart, Wheatear, Stonechat, Yellow Wagtail, Tree Sparrow, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were found with Swallows, House Martins, Brambling and Siskin flying over. After an excellent evening buffet, a Short-eared Owl was heard and a Barn Owl was seen by a lucky few as it flew over their heads of others who failed to see it!
A misty start to Saturday morning
What is this group of hungry looking birders doing outside the ringing hut at 8:35 when a cooked breakfast was due to be served at 8:30?
To see the juvenile Common Rosefinch of course!
Birding before breakfast was centred around areas away from the sea and it was evident there had been a fall of Thrushes over night with good numbers of Redwing, Blackbird, Song and Mistle Thrushes and a few Fieldfares. As people were thinking of breakfast the call went out that the ringers, had caught a Common Rosefinch, so despite breakfast being imminent everyone headed towards the ringing hut to see the bird before it was released. For most people in the group this was a new species.
After a late breakfast people went their different ways and found Water Rail, Firecrest, Kingfisher, Rock Pipit, Yellowhammer, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Stonechat and Marsh Harrier, which was just inland to the reserve. From the beach Wheatear, Little Egret, Bar-tailed Godwit, Pomarine Skua and Turnstone were added and large numbers of Wigeon, Brent Geese and Shelduck were on the sand bars. During the day there was a small movement of Swallows and House Martins flying south.
Typical shot of Knot, Ringed Plover and Dunlin on an incoming tide.
Wheatear on the beach
A Redshank seen on The Lagoon, a brackish water area created several years ago
Greenshank on Tennyson's Sands, a newly created habitat with impressive hides
On Sunday morning Goldcrests were everywhere with more Redpoll, Siskin and Brambling in evidence. The Firecrest was refound in the same area in The Plantation and a Spotted Redshank was seen on Jackson's Marsh. Elsewhere a Peregrine was seen as it stooped and a Merlin chased a Meadow Pipit in off the sea and disturbed a finch flock. A Curlew Sandpiper was found amongst the Dunlin and also added were Golden Plover and Twite. After another excellent meal we made our way home having seen 116 species. Another great weekend of good company, good birds and great food.
Black-tailed Godwits, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Common Redshank, plus a Black-headed Gull resting on Jackson's Marsh, another newly created habitat.
Bar-tailed Godwit seen on The Lagoon late evening
The birding never stops - Waiting for lunch
Evening entertainment was provided on Friday by Kevin Wilson, the site manager, who gave us an interesting talk on the Natterjack Toads reintroduction to the reserve. On Saturday evening Dave Ferguson showed us a video of his trip to Goa and Rob Andrews provided a picture quiz that provided a good amount of fun and tested the identification skills of the group.
Trip Report by Chris Bullock - Digital Photos by Jim Rose
More information on the Gibraltar Point Reserve may be found on the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust website at www.lincstrust.co.uk
Link to 2008 trip report