'Bumbarrel' is an old name for the Long-tailed Tit, everyone's favourite garden bird. And the reason they're called that is for the shape of their nest. It's almost spherical, with a little hole at the front, and made from a special weave of moss, lichen, spiders' webs and feathers.
Yesterday I paid my first ever
visit to Frampton Marsh, and I was not dissappointed. A major new extension to
this coastal wetland reserve includes a reedbed, large freshwater scrapes and
wet grassland. These habitats have all been created to bring the wildlife of
the Wash closer to you.
New facilities include a visitor
centre with toilets; the centre has a refreshments area where you can get a hot
or cold drink and a snack. There are three hides – two with 360-degree views –
and over 3 km of new footpaths to explore.
Although I chose the worst day of
the last three weeks to visit, it was dull, overcast and wet! I could see it is
a cracking nature reserve, perfect for a relaxing walk or watching wildlife.
Not the greatest image of a tree sparrow you will ever see, but they were
feeding just the otherside of the panoramic windows in the visitor centre,
along with yellowhammers…wonderful!
A visit to Frampton Marsh will
appeal to a variety of visitors. There is plenty to do for families from bug
hunting, pond dipping or you could just enjoy a picnic and grab a cup of tea
from the visitor centre.
RSPB Frampton Marsh is situated
on one of the best wetlands for wildlife in Europe: The Wash. There are lots of
different habitats to explore including reedbeds, wet grassland and freshwater
scrapes and don’t forget to go up on to the sea bank and look out over the
saltmarsh, which is one of the largest in the world! The reserve is free to
visit and the visitor centre is open daily from 10am to 4pm (until 5pm on
weekends in summer). Binoculars can be hired free of charge and for those
budding nature detectives, you can hire a wildlife explorer backpack from the
visitor centre which can be taken out around the reserve.
There are free games available
for children to play, these are themed on the wildlife of the reserve. The
‘Kids’ Zone’ in the 360 hide has a specially created area in the center for
children’s activities. Dogs are welcome on the public footpaths and sea banks,
but not on the trail around the reedbed or to the hides. There is even a dog
hitching post and water bowl outside the visitor centre.