On Sunday I was lucky enough to be invited to accompany some of the Beds Birders on their now annual Boat trip in Lincolnshire.
We met up in Boston where we boarded the 'Boston Belle' and were soon heading down 'The Haven' towards The Wash.
Passing by the 'Boston Stump' (the parish church) and the Boston Dump (the whole Town - a filthy place, rubbish everywhere, wrecks of boats all over the place, East-European pissheads drinking their illegal vodka on the riverside) and the municipal tip, it was good to get beyond the town).
We then started seeing a few wading birds along the sides of the waterway, - lots of Common Sandpipers, 5 and 6 at a time, Redshanks Oystercatchers, Curlews and quite a few Whimbrel
A hairy moment half way down river was seeing an enormous Freighter heading straight at us on it's way towards the Docks. Luckily we managed to get out of it's way as the Captain certainly wasn't keen to yield any water to us.
Continuing on, with the enticing aroma of frying Bacon from the Galley we witnessed Shelducks, Little, Common and Sandwich Terns, before entering The Wash, where a flock of Bar-tailed Godwits and a lone Brent Goose stood on the shore near to the RSPB Freiston Reserve.
The sea was quite choppy so the decicion was made to turn around and head back inland up the River Welland. Here a group of Common Seals basked on the muddy banks, Marsh Harriers quartered the marshes and a Hobby did a pass of the front of the boat. Common Sandpipers were still everywhere, a flock of Knot whirled around, Whimbrels gave close but brief views before being spooked by the boat and a lone Roe Deer grazed on the meadows.
Upon reaching Fosdyke Bridge, the boat was turned around and we headed back to the sea. At the rivermouth a very large wader flock included Dunlin, Knot, Turnstone, Grey and Ringed Plovers.
A slow chug back up The Haven back to Boston was pretty uneventful, aside from having to wait for the Tide to go out enough for the boat to pass under the Town Bridge.
An interesting way to watch birds, but only if you're quick enough to see them before they fly off.
It was still early enough for us to call in at RSPB Frampton Marsh on the way home.
Spotted Crake, Pectoral Sandpiper and Temmincks Stint had all been here the day before so surely we would strike lucky with one of these.
Now Spotted Crake is an illusive bird at the best of times, so predictably despite a reasonable stake-out we, missed out on this one, surely one of the other two would be seen.
An hour or so in the hides, with sixteen plus pairs of eyes looking out still drew a blank, although Ruff, Snipe, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwits, Whimbrel, Common, Green and a couple of Wood Sandpipers did go part way to making it a successful visit.