A long way from home...
Chris and I had a fantastic day at Frampton Marsh. One of our two primary aims was to find, photograph and census the population of Slender Hare's-ear on two stretches of south-facing sea bank (see extra). This species is considered to be Vulnerable in the UK but has had a superbly good season at Frampton - in one location we estimated that there were over 1000 plants - in 2012 Pete and I counted 23!
Our second objective was to find and photograph Sea Aster Mining Bee (see extra), a very local species largely confined to the coasts of the North Sea, with Britain supporting a very large percentage of the world's population. This species likes similar south-facing sea banks with silty soil, and we found two sizeable colonies, who didn't seem to mind us sitting close and photographing them. We also tried to get some shots on the sea aster - less successful because of the very brisk breeze.
Being on an RSPB reserve, we also spent some time watching and photographing birds, including a very large number of Black-tailed Godwit, Avocets, a pair of Reed Warblers still feeding young, some juvenile Starlings and Swallows. several Yellow Wagtail and various other waders, ducks and geese.
But it was this Long-billed Dowitcher that stole the show - a first for us both - rather unsurprisingly as it's an American bird that's been blown off course and has found Frampton Marsh to its liking. We hadn't intended to twitch either of the America rarities (a Stilt Sandpiper is also in residence) but we were passing a hide on the way back to the car and were told that the Dowitcher was feeding right outside it, so we could hardly refuse!