Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Report on Watch Meeting at LRAC, Kenwick 23-6-19

We began the afternoon by walking to the meadow area at Lincolnshire Rural Activities Centre near Kenwick. It looked beautiful as it appeared to be full of ox-eye daisies.
The children were asked to see how many different leaf shapes they could find and record in a 3 metre long strip.
We talked about why meadows are so magical and special. The children (11) were  given Meadow Activity Sheets and encouraged to explore the meadow.  They  were able to take the sheets home to use in other meadows.
They  were also  able to use the pootle pots and magnifiers to look for insects.
They were told about the Love Lincs Plants project .
The children chose the two plants that would be added to the Natural History Museum and Joseph Banks collections. There were a great number of common spotted orchids in flower and two of those were dug up and laid on a tray.
The other plant that was chosen was the meadow cranesbill which was again in abundance and two of  those were dug up.
The children then each chose a flower to be added to the Watch collection. They collected a flower and leaf from each specimen. These  included ox-eye daisy, germander speedwell,  black medick, common mouse- ear and birds-foot trefoil.
We walked back to the Centre where the children were ready for the drinks and biscuits, donated by Northgate Coop in Louth.
The specimens were identified and recorded. Each was arranged on paper on a board laid on newspaper and then covered with paper and another board and  placed in a press.
The resulting dried specimens will be mounted at a later meeting.
We had a very pleasant productive afternoon in a beautiful place.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Watch Group Sunday 23rd June

Our next meeting is on Sunday 23rd June,starting at 2pm at the Lincolnshire Rural activity Centre at Kenwick.
We will be visiting the meadow area and arranging some fun activities there, including the Magnificent Meadows Activity sheet.
We are excited to be taking part in the LoveLincsPlants project to collect and preserve Lincolnshire plants for the Joseph Banks Institute and the Natural History Museum collections. So we will chose and collect two samples from each of two species growing there.
The children can also collect a flower and a leaf from other plants growing in the same area.
We can also look for butterflies and other insects in the meadow.
Back in the classroom we will start the process of pressing the flowers, which can then be mounted at a later meeting.
We will also have magnifiers and the digital microscope in the classroom so that the children can look more closely at things they might find.
We  will meet in the LRAC car park, Kenwick Hill  Louth LN11 8NR 
(There is a shared entrance with Kenwick Park Leisure Centre, Continue straight on and turn right after the overflow car park)
Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Louth Watch Group

Report on Louth Watch Meeting at Westgate Fields
Sunday 19th May 2019

Over a dozen children attended this month’s session on ‘30 Days Wild’. We were fortunate to have fine weather which meant that all the planned activities were available.

The children were introduced to the concept of ‘30 Days Wild’ and were provided with a blank calendar page to fill in with ideas that they may like to try during June.

They were then given a large selection of activities from which to choose and were encouraged to try several during the afternoon. There was also a bank of further ideas from which they could extract those which may be of interest them. We also hoped that this would spark their own imagination and they would think of more activities which they could then share amongst the group.

The children were able to select from the following activities in any order and could complete as many or as few as they liked:

1)              I-spy in Westgate Fields sheet
2)              Litter pick (with equipment kindly lent by the Co-op)
3)              Mini treasure hunt – find tiny items to fill a pot
4)              Craft Butterflies
5)              Nature pictures using natural resources
6)              Colour wheel – locating natural objects for as many colours on the      wheel as possible
7)              Mask making – Owl, Fox or Mouse
8)              Leaf/Tree/Plant ID
9)              Measuring tree girth
10)                  Flower sketching and symmetry
11)                  Use of pooters/hand lenses for minibeast ID

The children (and their parents) were very enthusiastic and were all given the chance to feedback to the group as a whole. Hopefully many of them will sign up for ‘30 Days Wild’ and will attend at least one Watch activity during June.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Louth Watch Group

This June the Wild Life Trusts are challenging everybody to do something wild every day.
To help prepare,  Louth Watch is planning exciting and fun activities in Westgate Fields on Sunday 19th May.
We are meeting at the Leaf Sculptures in Westgate Fields at 2.00pm until about 4.00pm.
The event is free. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
We hope you will join us
Best Wishes

PS You can send for a free 30 Days Wild pack from 

PPS Watch Day Out is on Saturday 15th June at Woodhall Spa airfield. Please book with Mary Porter, Watch Organiser,

Monday, 22 April 2019

March 29th Meeting

Beetles - Alan Lazenby

Alan introduced us to his introduction to beetles, as a young boy exploring the bomb-sites of his native Sheffield, how he made a makeshift microscope from the lenses found in a bombed opticians premises, and the rejection of his contribution to the school magazine. Shame on the teacher who thought a detailed account of the local ground-beetles might be too narrow for the general audience of his school mates.

Nothing daunted, Alan became The expert in ground beetles of the Sorby district and his work is published as an NHBS Field Guide, 'Ground Beetles of the Sorby Area'. Apparently ground beetle species recorded in the Sorby Recording Area now number 222, which is 60% of the British list.

Following Alan's move to Lincolnshire he has become our local expert on this important but often overlooked group of creatures. We were treated to a fascinating collection of photographs showing the diversity of the Coleoptera and learned of the vital role they play in the ecosystem. Take home message for gardeners: beetles eat slugs!

Here's a picture of a beetle just finishing off a slug.

The Golden Ground Beetle, Carabus auratus, eating a slug on a countryside road. It is a diurnal hunter and scavenger on sustainable agriculture (never found on intensive agriculture, where pesticides and insecticides are applied).  Source.

Monday, 25 March 2019

February 22nd Meeting

The February meeting of the Louth Area Group of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust featured a talk by Gary Steele on Barn Owls. Unlike most birds, owls have forward looking eyes, giving them faces that we humans can identify with, which, suggested Gary, explains their popularity and significance in our culture. He said they have a great many local and common names and the Barn Owl Trust lists these:

·        Banshee
·        Barn Owl
·        Barnyard Owl
·        Berthuan
·        Billy Whit
·        Billy Wise
·        Billy Wix
·        Cave Owl
·        Cherubim
·        Church Owl
·        Common Owl
·        Death Owl
·        Delicate Owl
·        Demon Owl
·        Dobby Owl
·        Farmer’s Friend
·        Gilli-Howlett
·        Gil-Hooter
·        Ghost Owl
·        Golden Owl
·        Hissing Owl
·        Hobby Owl
·        Hobgoblin Owl
·        Hoolet
·        Jenny Howlet
·        Madge Howlett
·        Moggy
·        Monkey-faced Owl
·        Night Owl
·        Oolert
·        Rat Owl
·        Roarer
·        Screaming Owl
·        Screech Owl
·        Scritch Owl
·        Silver Owl
·        Stone Owl
·        Straw Owl
·        Ullet
·        White Breasted Owl
·        White Hootlet
·        White Owl
·        Woolert
·        Yellow Owl
Lincoln Cathedral has eight stone carvings of barn owls and Tennyson wrote a poem:

The Owl

When cats run home and light is come,
And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
And the whirring sail goes round,
And the whirring sail goes round;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

When merry milkmaids click the latch,
And rarely smells the new-mown hay,
And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch
Twice or thrice his roundelay,
Twice or thrice his roundelay;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

Lincolnshire has the highest barn owl count of any county but even here numbers are not what they were. In the 1930 there may have been 15,000 pairs but by the 1980s the figure had dropped to about 4,000. There has been a recovery since then, the number of pairs now standing around 8,000. Schedule I protection and the efforts by conservation minded farmers and others may have helped. The principle prey species, the short tailed field-vole, is key. The loss of rough grassland and the phasing out of mixed farming in favour of arable probably accounts for the barn owl’s decline. Recently wildlife-friendly farm management practices such as leaving wider field margins has compensated for some of the loss.

Naturally the barn owl nests in holes in trees, but there are now few suitably large, old and decaying trees. Old barns and sheds are used by the owls as substitutes but modern farm buildings do not provide the same opportunities as traditional barns and outhouses. Many nest sites are now artificial and Gary’s efforts over many years to install owl boxes on poles, in old buildings and, particularly, in church towers, have given the barn owls of eastern Lincolnshire new opportunities.

To find out more about barn owls there is no better starting place than The Barn Owl Trust website.

Other information:

The definitive book is The Barn Owl by D.S Bunn, A.B Warburton, R.D.S Wilson
Here's an online preview.

For the artistically minded here is a handy guide to drawing owls:

1. Draw some circles.
2. Draw the rest of the owl.

Report on Watch Meeting Fossils 17-3-19

The subject of  our meeting on Sunday March 17th at Spout Yard Gallery  was 'Fossils'. It is obviously a very popular subject as seventeen children came to learn more about them.
As children arrived they were each given a word-search on fossils.
We were very lucky that Stuart Sizer, an expert, had agreed to come and tell us about Fossils.
We first watched his short film telling us what fossils are and how they were formed.
Stuart  had brought a large tray containing  sand and small pebbles. He encouraged the children to search in the tray for anything they thought could be a fossil. The children were able to keep any fossils that they found. They were all very keen to join the hunt with the result that each child found several small fossils to take home.
Each child was also able to make a fossil. Plaster was mixed with water to make a paste and a small quantity  put in a pot . A shell was pushed into the top of the mixture and then covered with sand. When the plaster had set, the sand and shell were removed to reveal the outline of a 'fossil' shell in the plaster.
Fossils were also made by pressing shells and other objects into plasticine medallions .  The children also created their own decorated fossils.
We paused during the afternoon for refreshments that had kindly been donated by Louth Co-op.
Overall it was a very productive, if noisy, afternoon.