Friday, 19 January 2018


Good morning and a Happy New Year,

This year has been a record year for seal pups at Donna Nook with 2,033 births recorded. However, it is unlikely that all those who reach the sea will survive as it is reckoned that there is a 20% mortality rate in their first year of life. The LWT staff and their hardy band of volunteers have done a brilliant job again of managing the seals as well as the many thousands of visitors who come to Donna Nook marsh and dunes at this time of the year.
You may not be aware that despite several collecting boxes on the site the average contribution per visitor is only a few pence. Your committee has written to the LWT CEO to suggest ways of raising the awareness of the costs of the venue as well as making the collecting boxes more obvious.
I shall report the response at our Annual General Meeting in April when the format will change from that of the last 5 years. In response to comments from members we shall have a short AGM followed by a speaker concluding with a raffle and refreshments. There is no charge for this meeting. Costs are covered by the purchase of raffle tickets with any surplus amount going to the LWT.

During the last few months Louth members have been busy clearing scrub and undergrowth at Muckton Wood, Rigsby Woods and Hoplands Wood whilst the Watch group has held meetings at Spout Yard. You are most welcome to join the woodland work parties which are listed in the Winter Newsletter. The next one is at Hoplands Wood on Sunday 28 January.

The first of the 2018 series of illustrated talks in Louth will be, ‘Lincolnshire Plants - Past and Future’, given by Aiden Neary, the LWT Wildflower Meadow Project Officer. Everyone is welcome at 7.30pm on Friday 26 January at the Nichol Hill Methodist Church, Louth. Entrance is £2.50 which includes refreshments; children are not charged
On 27, 28 and 29 January don’t forget to join the Great Garden Birdwatch and be part of the world’s largest wildlife survey. If you are not a member of the RSPB, you will find details about how to take part in the press a few days before the event.

Chris Robinson, the son of the late David Robinson OBE has presented the Group with approximately 200 botanical and gardening books from his late mother Joyce's bookshelf. He has given us carte blanche as to their disposal. Biff Vernon kindly offered to manage the activity and it has been decided to offer them for sale at LAG and Ants & Nats meetings with the funds going to each of the organisations. The books cover a wide range of topics and you may like to have a memento of Joyce who was a very active and long serving member of our Group.

A volunteer is required to deliver a small number of the Lapwings magazine in the Brackenborough area. If you are able to assist, please contact Louise Scott on 01507601685 or by email at

Best wishes
Ray Woodcock, Chairman Louth Area Group

Friday, 1 December 2017

Poles Apart

Dr. Michael Leach gave the first ‘The Nancy Loft Memorial Lecture’ on Friday 24th November 2018.

Nancy had been a long serving member of the Louth Group and kindly made a bequest to the Trust in her Will. To honour Nancy’s contribution to the Group over the years the committee has decided, with her husband John’s permission, to have a special speaker meeting in the November of each year.

There can have been few in the audience who have not seen photos and film taken by Michael, a zoologist whose professional career as a photographer has taken him to most environments around the globe. He has written a couple of dozen books and his pictures have featured in countless newspaper and magazine articles, his films seen on several television programmes.

Michael pointed out that of the nine million and counting non-microbial species only about fifty of them are interesting and popular enough to be commercially viable for the photographer. One can't sell pictures of the rest!  He skipped quickly over his experiences in the tropics, where he has photographed all the big cuddly or dangerous creatures and seen too many leeches and caught too many diseases previously unknown to science. Michael prefers the Poles, where it is too cold for the nasties.

Much of the talk contrasted the Arctic with the Antarctic. The geography is quite different, much of the Arctic being ocean surrounded by land while the Antarctic is land surrounded by ocean. Antarctica is remote, very hard to get to, nobody lives there permanently, and biodiversity is pretty meagre. Only a couple, Emperor and Adelie,  of the 20 species of penguin actually breed on the Antarctic mainland. A lot of people and a great diversity of animals, however, live north of the Arctic Circle. It is very easy to get to; one can drive a car from England to the Arctic and Michael told us that the first thing one encounters after crossing the Arctic Circle (a line painted on the road) is a speed camera and then a Spar shop.

Human impact on wildlife was a recurring theme of Michael's talk. Reindeer, known as Caribou in North America, have long been at least semi-domesticated in Europe and Russia and only small populations of truly wild animals remain. But the big impact is human caused climate change. The ever shrinking sea-ice is an existential problem for polar bears, which rely on the ice to force seals to come up to breathe in restricted spaces. Arctic foxes and ptarmigan change colour to camouflage themselves in the snow, but the timing of the change relates to day-length. As the snow season shortens a timing issue arises, leaving the animals with the wrong coloured coat.

And in the Antarctic waters overfishing of krill has the potential for devastating impacts on ecosystems. Human demand for ever more meat and farmed fish eating has produced a large market for krill as an animal feed. Management falls to CCAMLR, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

Dr Michael Leach's talk was entertaining, informative and inspiring, a worthy beginning to what we hope will be a long series of Nancy Loft Memorial Lectures.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


The next meeting of the Louth Area Group will be at 1930hrs on Friday 24 November 2017 in the Methodist Church, Nichol Hill, Louth when Michael Leach, the world-renowned wildlife photographer will enthral us with his presentation entitled, ‘Poles Apart’. Entrance is £2.50 which includes refreshments. There is no charge for children who are most welcome.

This meeting will be special as it will be the first of the annual Nancy Loft Memorial Lectures. Nancy had been a long serving member of the Louth Group and kindly made a bequest to the Trust in her Will. To honour Nancy’s contribution to the Group over the years the committee has decided, with her husband John’s permission, to have a special speaker meeting in the November of each year entitled. ‘The Nancy Loft Memorial Lecture’.

Many thanks to all of you who helped make last Saturday’s event a success. Even though there were fewer visitors than in previous years they contributed to a most convivial buzz. The raffle did well, and we sold £270 worth of LWT goods.
I noticed a lot of people having a go at the butterfly quiz; I am not sure if anyone completed it! The Watch group had prepared hands-on activities and one of my memories of the event will be that of three little girls proudly showing me the butterfly masks that they had made.

The saga continues with four individuals being identified, including Uncle Two Spot. This month Jane had a ‘Night Trail Camera’ as a birthday present. This machine sits outside and takes photographs when activated by movement. It has been fascinating to realise that the prickly family is on the go during all the dark hours and that they do not seem to be perturbed by the occasional cat. However, the most unexpected and exciting visitor was a Tawny owl pictured drinking from the bird bath at 0317hrs last Tuesday morning.

With very best wishes for the forthcoming festive season,
Ray Woodcock Chairman LAG

Friday, 3 November 2017

Information and Coffee Morning - 11th November

The next Louth Area Group event will be the annual ‘Information Coffee Morning’ at the ConocoPhillips Room between 1000hrs and noon on Saturday 11 November 2017
This year’s theme is ‘Moths, Butterflies and Insects’. The Wildlife Watch members will provide an activity for children.
All ages are welcome to have the chance meet LAG members whilst enjoying a cup of coffee and buying LWT Christmas cards, calendars, note pads and stocking fillers. There will be a raffle. Admission will be £1.50 whilst children are admitted without charge.
We shall observe the two minutes silence at 1100hrs.

Saturday, 28 October 2017


Last Friday evening Tim Newberry, lately a Meteorologist at RAF Coningsby, gave 45 members of the Louth Group a very interesting illustrated talk about, ‘Understanding the Weather including Climate Change’. Tim presented a complex topic in a way that was easy to understand and to my surprise easy to remember. I know that at least three of us who had attended looked up at the sky the next morning and identified the long streamers of cirrus clouds high up in the troposphere.
The history of formal weather forecasting in the UK dates from 1805 when Captain Fitzroy RN founded the Meteorological office using local observations to attempt predictions. Currently the task is carried out by one of the most powerful computers in the world which is capable of making 215 billion calculations every day.
We were encouraged to make our own weather forecasts based on some knowledge of air pressure and cloud formations. Finally, we were pleased to learn that some folklore expressions such as the one about the red sky and the shepherd were reasonably reliable.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Report on Louth Watch Meeting at Spout Yard Sunday 15th October 2017

 Several children came into  the Gallery at the beginning of the meeting.
They were first given a sheet with some bat facts that they had to decide were either true or false. They were able to discuss these with the adult accompanying them.

Then Viv Booth talked to the children about bats and about the ones she has looked after.
She carried on to discuss the bat fact sheet  with the children, to see how much they knew.
At this stage several more children arrived so had missed the start of the meeting.

The meeting continued with all the children choosing  to do one or more  of the crafts that were set up  on the table - a bat mobile, a bat cup and a bat mask. It was difficult at first as there were lots of children wanting to take part. However everybody was very patient and helped each other. Several  children managed to make them all. Lots of bat masks went home.

Towards the end of the session the children had to sit very quietly. Viv, carrying  a tiny bat in her hand, came into the Gallery and showed the bat  to each child.  It was a very short session so that the bat would not be frightened.

The children then finished the items  they were making .

When looking at the register we found that 39 children had been signed in and 26 adults.
That is a record so far. It was a bit of a maelstrom in a small room, but all seemed to enjoy it.

Friday, 20 October 2017


It seems that a few days of summer weather has confused some of the wild flowers; we have Primroses growing in our verges and there is a profusion of newly growing Hogweed, Meadowsweet and Stinging nettles in the hedgerows. Nevertheless, the animals are more predictable. I have seen Pink-footed geese in the sky together with Brent geese on the coast where the first seal pup has been born.

Methodist Church, Nichol Hill, Louth at 1930hrs on Friday 27 October when Tim Newberry, lately a Meteorologist at RAF Coningsby, will give us an illustrated talk about, ‘Understanding the Weather including Climate Change’. Members and non-members are welcome at a cost of £2.50 which includes refreshments.
At this meeting I shall be calling for volunteers to sign up to help with preparing and serving teas and biscuits at the 24 November, 26 January, 23 February and 23 March meetings.
It will be much appreciated if you could bring raffle prizes which will be used to raise funds at the Information Coffee morning in November and at the April 2018 Annual General Meeting.

This year’s theme is ‘Moths, Butterflies and Insects’. Colin Smith the Lincolnshire County Moth Recorder, will set up a display of specimens. He will be prepared to answer your questions and you can take part in an insect based quiz. The Wildlife Watch members will provide an activity for children.
All ages are welcome to have the chance meet LAG members whilst enjoying a cup of coffee and buying LWT Christmas cards, calendars, note pads and stocking fillers. There will be a raffle. Admission will be £1.50 whilst children are admitted without charge.
We shall observe the two minutes silence at 1100hrs.

Best wishes
Ray Woodcock Chairman Louth Area group