Even though the weather changed down to the misty low teens on Saturday morning Jane and I had some wonderful Summer sights within a few miles of Louth. First of all, we checked out the roadside verge MR 366864 on the unnamed road between the B1200 Manby road and Legbourne to see whether the Early purple orchids had come into flower. We were not disappointed; they made a dramatic contrast to the yellow cowslips and the beige reed stalks.
Our next stop was at the Manby Flashes where the Lapwings were trying to distract us from their nestlings. It worked as we did not see any of the tiny balls of green fluff. However, the screaming Swifts overhead told us that Summer had arrived as did the delicate mauve flowers of the Lady’s smock on the stream bank. This plant is also called the Cuckooflower as it flowers at the same time as the Cuckoos arrive. We heard a Cuckoo later at RIMAC but did not see it. The 3 Buzzards and Peregrine overhead took advantage of the warming air and for a change they were not being hassled by gulls. There was a constant Skylark presence. A Reed bunting and a Wren called in clear view and there were various warblers singing in the reeds – we did not see them but I think there was a Sedge warbler amongst them whilst we did see and hear a Grasshopper warbler.
We moved along the B1200 for 5 miles to visit the hide in the middle of some farmland at MR 456920. This hide is worth a visit. It is reached by parking at some farm buildings on the road nearly opposite the Saltfleetby St Clements church. The land owner permits people to walk along the farm track for about 300 metres to the hide from which we saw nine Ruffs; two were males in full plumage and were having quite a set to. As we walked back to the car we had a brilliant fly past of 53 Whimbrels. They flew into the field and settled amongst the long grass at MR 458918.
After a quick bite in the sunshine at the Prussian Queen we had a stroll around RIMAC where we tripped over a frog and heard the aforementioned Cuckoo but despite careful looking we decided that we were too early for the Marsh and Bee orchids. Ray Woodcock Saturday 7 May 2016