Thursday, 14 June 2018

LWT LOUTH AREA GROUP CHAIRMAN’S JOTTINGS JUNE 2018


Our next field outing will be to LWT Reserve Goslings Corner Wood at 1800hrs on Friday 22 June. Meet at the Hoop Lane car park GR TF 144753. Damian Carter, the LWT site manager, will show us around.
From the B1202 Wragby to Bardney road take the left turning down Hoop Lane signed ‘Chambers Farm Wood’ and carry on down the lane past the right turn that leads to ‘Chambers Farm Wood’. There is a small car park just inside the gate marking Goslings Corner Wood and cars may be parked on the road. There are no toilet facilities on site.
Jane and I went there for the first time last week and recorded over 40 wild flower species including Water avens and orchids. The mile-long, grassy path had just been mown and a few Blackbirds were very busy picking out bugs and seeds from the sweet-smelling cut grass. However, the path was a bit lumpy whilst Jane was joined by some biting insects. So, boots and mosquito spray may be a good idea.
We re-visited the Middlemarsh site near to Croft on Monday 11 June for the first time for a couple of years. The old, dilapidated hide has been taken away and the area fenced to enable easy access to the large hide which is reached by a grassy path. If you want a noisy couple of hours go soon. There are Black-headed gulls with chicks of all sizes, Herring gull families, Greylag goslings and little black balls of fluff masquerading as Moor hen chicks as well as Tufted ducks, Avocets, Oystercatchers and a few waders.
Later in the day we saw Avocets on nests at Gibraltar Point but no chicks. As always there was a cacophony of Black-headed gulls on the small islands in front of the hides and inevitably we were told that, ‘there were Spoonbills here yesterday’.
Ray Woodcock Chairman LAG

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Watch Group Meeting

Our May meeting is on Sunday 13th May at 2pm at the Lincolnshire Rural Activities Centre , Kenwick, just outside Louth.  LN11 8NR
At the start of the afternoon we would like the children to collect insects and greenery in the garden area.  They can take the specimens collected into the LRAC classroom to look at under our new digital microscope, donated by Louth Lions. 
We will  walk together to visit the replica Iron Age round house in the grounds to see how people lived 2,000 years ago.
We can discuss how it was built and think about the animals that may have lived in the area during the Iron Age.
We will then sit in the new camping area to draw pictures etc.
From there we can continue a nature walk round the site before going back to the car park.
It is an opportunity to visit a beautiful area just outside Louth.
Please meet in the car park. Use the shared entrance with Kenwick Park Hotel, but continue straight on and turn right after the overflow car park.
Children must be accompanied by an adult.  The event is free.



Wednesday, 18 April 2018

CHAIRMAN’S JOTTINGS APRIL 2018


At last we are seeing the sunshine. The buds on the two fruit trees in our garden have been waiting for so long that they are only just beginning to show green shoots. These trees are usually beginning to bloom by now and are being pollinated by bees and other insects. I hope the cold, wet weather has not had too much of an effect by delaying the blossom time which means that there will be fewer insect larvae to sustain the baby birds.
However, two and sometimes three the hedgehogs are still visiting the food in our garden each night. Two are males; one is a big bully who pushes the smaller male out of the feeding area! Nevertheless, the latter perseveres and sneaks back on his own.
 
I have been informed that there are now 3 eggs in the Peregrine’s nest on the spire of St James’ Church.
 
Has anyone seen a Swallow, heard a Cuckoo or noticed a Cuckoo flower (Lady’s smock) in bloom yet?
 
The Annual General Meeting of the Louth Area Group followed by a picture quiz, a raffle and coffee and cakes will be at 7.30 pm on Friday 27 April at the Nichol Hill Methodist Church Louth. All are welcome. I am delighted to report that we have nominations for a full committee and enough prizes for the raffle.
This meeting will be the last occasion when you will be able to buy the books that were donated to the group by the family of the late Joyce Robinson. Any remaining volumes will go to the Louth Museum for sale at book fairs. Thanks to your generosity an amount of about £200 has been raised from the sale of the books at LAG meetings.
 
Ray Woodcock Chairman Louth Area Group LWT

Wildflower Project with Spout Yard Trustees 4th April 2018





Despite the very damp cold weather, 13 children met in Spout Yard to transplant some of the cowslip seedlings into pots. They had been sown last September, but were still very small. The children took the pots home to look after.
They then sowed wildflower seeds in the five small circles that had been prepared in the park near the river. The seed mixture, 3g/sqm and the sand to mix with them, was supplied by Spout Yard Trustees.
The seed mixture contained 24 species of wildflowers.  A poster has been attached to the wall of the kiosk to help children identify the flowers as they grow.

Report on Visit to Hedgehog Care 15th April 2018




Eight children with their parents met at Hedgehog Care in Authorpe on Sunday 15th April.
Elaine Drewery of Hedgehog Care explained that she looks after hedgehogs that are brought to her when they are sick or injured.
We visited the 'hospital' area where we were able to look at the hedgehogs. Each was in a separate cage.  Tracey (a helper) told us about each hedgehog and why it was being looked after. She took one out of its cage so that the children could stroke it on the soft area near its head.
Tracey explained that most hedgehogs can be adopted once they are well, though not where there are badgers, as they kill hedgehogs. She showed us the special crates that have been made to transport them to their new homes.
The children also enjoyed exploring the garden area and were given a hedgehog questionnaire to take home.


Sunday, 25 March 2018

Talk about Snipe Dales


On Friday 23rd March 2018 
James Forrester, LWT Warden, gave a talk on 'The Management and Ecology of Snipedales'.

Snipe Dales is one of the few semi-natural wet valley systems still surviving in Lincolnshire. It is an area of two halves with mixed woodland in the Country Park and wet valleys, grassland and scrub in the nature reserve.



With almost 40,000 visitors per year, Snipe Dales Country Park and Nature Reserve is an attraction at the southern end of the Lincolnshire Wolds. The geology of patches of glacial deposits on the Spilsby Sandstone overlying Kimmeridge Clay creates an assemblage of dry acid grassland and very wet grassland. There is a plantation of 50 year old Corsican Pine, now much reduced by felling following an outbreak of Dothistroma Red Band Needle Blight (DNB) that began around 2005. Rapid natural regeneration of deciduous woodland has outstripped efforts at managed replanting.

James showed us the modern timber harvesting methods used and how some dead-wood had been left, standing or lying, to promote biodiversity. The land is  managed to maximise the variety of habitats and biodiversity is enhanced by seeding the grasslands by green-hay spreading, managing the light levels in the wooded areas to promote the under-storey, and controlling the natural scrub growth by cutting and light grazing with sheep and with Longhorn and Lincoln Red cattle.

The stream system has been naturalised by removal of some of the artificial dams and culverts, allowing the trout and other fish to migrate easily. Along with trout and Miller's Thumbs are found the curious brook lamprey Lampetra planeri. a primitive, jawless fish resembling an eel, but less than six inches long. It is a non-migratory freshwater species, occurring in streams of high water quality and clean gravel beds in which it lays its eggs.

The Country Park is remarkably rich in fungi, with over 300 species recorded. There are, consequently, a great number of fungus gnats, some 120 species of which have been recorded here. If you are not sure just what a fungus gnat looks like, this web-page is useful.

Snipe Dales is described as 'semi-natural', but it is evident that, left to nature, the landscape would very quickly become a dense deciduous woodland, rapidly invaded with birch and hawthorn and, in the wetter areas, alder, with slower growing trees taking their place in the succession over time. But then in Britain before the Mesolithic, the megafauna of large herbivores would have done something equivalent to the work of James, his many volunteers who give up their time to help in scrub clearance and grassland management and the cattle. With no mammoths available, the chainsaw and tractor have their place in wildlife conservation.

For more information about Snipe Dales see the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust website.



Thursday, 15 March 2018

LAG CHAIRMAN’S JOTTINGS MARCH 2018


What a month for weather – snow drifts were still in the Wolds a week ago and the rivers are flowing fast. Water is lying in the fields and our garden has the texture of a marsh. Starfish and razor shells carpet the beaches and poor old Cleethorpes has sand in too many places. Woodcock galore have been seen at Gibraltar Point whilst Nicole sent me a picture of one in her garden at North Thoresby.  But the early spring flowers are coming out in profusion, let’s hope they survive the snow and cold weather forecasted for this weekend.
Unfortunately, this Woodcock has been virtually housebound since early February, so he has not been able to clear the snow or to get to exposed places to see the variety of species swept in with the extreme weather. Nevertheless, he has handed in his crutches and looks forward to being on the move very soon.

MARCH MEETING
Our next local meeting will be at 7.30 pm at the Nichol Hill Methodist Church Louth on Friday 23 March when LWT Warden James Forrester will tell us about the ‘The Management of Snipe Dales Nature Reserve.’ Entrance, including refreshments is £2.50. Children are welcome and are not charged.

UPDATE
The books presented to the group by Chris Robinson from his late mother Joyce's bookshelf have raised £190 for the LWT to date. Thank you for your interest and generosity and to Biff Vernon who is managing the sales. The remaining books will be on sale at the March meeting and at the April AGM.

AGM
The Annual General Meeting of Louth Area Group members will be held at Nichol Hill Church, Louth on Friday 27 April 2018 at 7.30 pm. Please note that, in accordance with the Constitution, all Committee members and Officers stand down at each AGM.  Chairman Ray Woodcock and Secretary Biff Vernon and Treasurer Rod Baddon are willing to be re-elected, as are current committee members: Colin Byatt, Avril Huke, Louise Scott, Judith John, Andy Goy and co-opted member Chris Henderson. If these members are re-elected, we will have a good representation to enable our group’s programme and other events to continue successfully.
However, if you wish to join the committee and make a commitment to carry out specific duties and attend as many of the meetings as possible please contact Ray Woodcock on lag2014rww@aol.com to discuss the role and to obtain a nomination form.
Although the entrance is free I hope that you will buy some raffle tickets. The relatively short AGM will be followed by a quiz (bring a pencil) and the raffle together with coffee/tea and cake.

Best wishes
Ray Woodcock Chairman Louth Area Group LWT