Monday, 22 May 2017

Report on Meeting at Rimac 14th May 2017

We had a joint meeting with the Rimac Watch Group at Rimac Reserve.

We walked to the pond carrying nets, ID, sheets, containers etc. The children stood on the deck and used the nets to catch pond dwellers. The contents of the nets were transferred to the water in the four containers that Roger had already filled. We could then see what had been caught. There were lots of tadpoles. There were also some small fish and the nymphs of dragonflies and damselflies. We were able to look at them more closely using magnifying

The children really enjoyed dipping their nets in the pond and then seeing what
they had caught. When they had finished, they were given cards and told to find different items around the reserve.

Twenty children attended the joint meeting.


It was a pleasure to welcome new members to the group on this bright, sunny day. The ‘aaah factor’ was present in the car park – seven fluffy Canada goose goslings.  19 of us made a slow progression along the river bank and back through the woodland paths to have our picnic lunch in the double-decker hide amongst the reeds at Ness End.
It was a morning of quick sightings and calls – we saw Reed buntings, we heard a Cetti’s warbler, we caught glimpses of a Sedge warbler and had a good look at a tiny Willow warbler as it perched on a wire. An Oystercatcher flew over but we tended to ignore our beautifully marked Mallards and our elegant Black-headed gulls.
The wild flowers were beginning to bloom and as often at this time of year we tried to recall the names of the less common plants; not always easy, even with a guide book. The butterflies were easier to identify. Orange tips, Peacock, Green-veined whites and Small whites flitted around in the company of yellow Brimstones. There were a few dragonflies over the reeds whilst the Common blue damsel flies emerged from the ground cover as the air became warmer.
Our lunch stop location provided a steady trickle of different birds. The graceful Great crested grebes were the most numerous – four at one time. However, Shelduck came and went, a Common tern flew overhead and a couple of Blue tits were very busy feeding a family in a nearby bush. Inevitably the highlight of the day happened when most people had left the hide to return to their cars. We were given a wonderful flying display – about 10 metres away- by a Marsh harrier as it quartered the reed beds in search of prey.
Thank you, Judith for the excellent photographs. There are many more on our Facebook site. RW

BIRD LIST: Little grebe, Great crested grebe, Cormorant, Grey heron, Mute swan, Greylag goose, Canada goose, Shelduck, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted duck, Marsh harrier, Kestrel, Coot, Oystercatcher, Black-headed gull, Wood pigeon, Pied wagtail, Dunnock, Swift, Swallow, Blackbird, Sedge warbler, Willow warbler, Blue tit, Magpie, Carrion crow, Goldfinch, Reed bunting. 29

HEARD: Cuckoo, Cetti’s warbler, Reed warbler, Chiffchaff, Yellowhammer. 5


Kingfisher, Bearded tit. 2

Thursday, 18 May 2017


AGM: Our Annual General Meeting on 28 April was livened up by a display of photographs from Chairman Ray, Watch Group Leader Avril and six other members. A raffle raised funds for the LWT whilst 48 members enjoyed cakes and biscuits at the end of the evening. Many thanks to those of you who supplied the photographs, the raffle prizes and the refreshments as well as those who attended the meeting.
The committee members elected for the next 12 months are, Ray Woodcock Chairman, Biff Vernon, Secretary and Rod Baddon Treasurer with Avril Huke Watch Leader, Colin Byatt LWT Council Representative and Site liaison, Louise Scott Lapwings Distribution, Judith John Programme Secretary and Andy Goy.

SUNDAY 21 MAY 2017 Visit to LWT Far Ings Reserve on Humber Bank led by Reserve Warden Simon Wellock. We shall walk along paths through wild flower areas and along the river bank looking for birds and insects. There has been an extensive reed clearance programme the during winter months: you may see or hear a Bittern! Meet at the Main Visitors’ Centre at 1100hrs. There are loos on site but no refreshment facilities. However, there are plenty of seating spots for a picnic. If you have not been before the post code is DN18 5RG.

Since the beginning of May, Jane and I have been photographing wild flowers in some of the local LWT woodland sites. Rigsby Wood has Red campion, Dog’s Mercury and patches of Sweet Woodruff together with so many other delicately coloured spring flowers.  Mill Hill Quarry and Hopland’s Wood are also coming into bloom. They are not far away and are worthy of a visit at this time of the year as well as being sheltered from the cold winds that are hitting the coast.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Watch Meetings

Report on Watch Meeting at Hubbard's Hills April 23rd 2017

A trail of 20 clues for a Nature Treasure Hunt were laid through Hubbard's Hills before the meeting.
The children and adults were given written directions to help find the clues and a question to answer when finding each clue.
It was a nice sunny afternoon.  Several children took part and were rewarded with some "Treasure" (glittery stickers or an animal eraser pencil) when they had completed the challenge.

Louise had worked out and produced the clues to make a very popular Treasure Hunt.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017


Good day fellow members,

Our last indoor meeting for this half of the year will be on Friday 28 April 2017 at the Methodist Church Hall, Nichol Hill, Louth. It will be an evening of Members’ photographs and the Annual General Meeting with a raffle and refreshments. I am delighted to report that we have sufficient raffle prizes and cakes. However, we still have vacancies for a couple of committee members! There is no admittance charge on this occasion – so please buy a load of raffle tickets.
If you want to raise points during the Members’ Input session or send apologies please let me know by 22 April 2107.

Jane and I saw our first Swallows of the year at Hagnaby on Good Friday together with a group of 13 Whimbrels. I had already heard the first Cuckoo of spring a week earlier. I know that there are peregrines on the spire of St James and I am looking forward to seeing them.
Cuckoo flowers (Lady’s smock) are out at Huttoft Pit, on the corner of Ramsgate Road and in our drive! Early purple orchids have been reported by the roadside at Brackenborough whist bluebells are replacing the primroses and daffodils.
I was interested to read a note from the editor of the Lincolnshire Naturalists Union, Spring brings my annual grouse about cultivated daffodils flowering on the county's road verges.  Lincolnshire's road verges are often natural nature reserves; rich in native animals and plants; worth enjoying and deserving protection. Can people really believe that planting garden daffodil varieties in the wild is a good thing to do? Seemingly many do.’
I must confess that this comment has given me food for thought. I wonder how he feels about the patches of self-seeded oil-seed rape that are gradually encroaching many verges and hedge lines.

Thanks to Judith, Jane, Biff and John C for keeping us inspired and informed with wonderful photographs and articles. Do have a look.
Best wishes
Ray woodcock Chairman LAG

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Grey Seals at Donna Nook

24th March 2017

This month's lecture meeting brought us a talk by Rob Lidstone-Scott, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust's Outer Humber warden about his work with the grey seals, Halichoerus grypus, of Donna Nook National Nature Reserve.

Rob explained how his job was more of a people warden than a seal warden, the seals being a law unto the themselves while the people who come to look at them, around 70000 each pupping season, need to be cared for. Managing the visitors, car parking, ensuring minimum disturbance of the seals and safety of the public, is a formidable task.

We learnt something of the seal's biology and life-cycle and how the North Sea populations have shifted and grown in recent years, with large increases at the southern rookeries of  Donna Nook, Blakeney and Horsey, while the Farne Isle population has stayed more constant. The Scottish populations of the Hebrides and Northern Isles are still much larger.

Satellite tracking of Donna Nook seals show that the Lincolnshire seals range along the coastal waters of Lincolnshire and Yorkshire and the shallow waters of the Norfolk Banks and Dogger Bank, feeding mostly on bottom dwelling fish such as dragonet, short-spined sea-scorpion and sand-eel, cod and flat-fish.

Rob recounted the events surrounding the tidal surge of 5/6th December 2013 when the waters over-topped the chestnut paling fence, washing seal pups and adults into the dunes. Rob and his fellow-wardens had to cut the fencing and do their best to ensure the safety of the pups, the great majority of which survived and were reunited with their mothers.

It is noteworthy that the pup mortality rate, at under 10%, on these southern sandy beach rookeries is much lower than on the rocky sites such as the Farne Islands, where mortality may be 40%. With a female living about 30 years and producing a pup most years there is scope for a steady but large increase in population. Orcas are very rare in the North Sea so the seals are the top predator. Limiting factors on numbers may be disease, pollution (this may be a significant cause of mortality in the Baltic population) and entanglement with fishing gear. Seal culling is a vexed issue, no longer affecting the Lincolnshire and Norfolk populations, but significant in northern, Scandinavian and Canadian populations.

Further reading:

The Wildlife Trusts

LWT Donna Nook

Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Seal Conservation Society

National Trust Blakeney

Friends of Horsey Seals

Berwickshire and Northumberland coast

Scottish Natural Heritage

Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust