Sunday, 18 October 2015


About 80 people came along to the Information Coffee Morning in Louth where they had time to meet like-minded people, including the Mayor of Louth and LWT CEO Paul Learoyd, for a chat whilst enjoying coffee and biscuits. The presence of wildlife Volunteer-Wardens from Donna Nook, Red Hill and Toby’s Hill together with those from our woodland sites and verges explaining how the local wildlife sites are maintained proved very popular.
Sales of LWT wildlife publications, Christmas Cards and gifts went well. Visitors were able to look at wild flower seeds look under a microscope whilst the slightly salty smell of the shore line attracted people who had seen many shells and seaweeds washed up by the tide but had never looked at them carefully nor wondered what they were 
Many thanks to those who visited and especial thanks to those LAG members who helped on the day. RW

Sunday, 11 October 2015


Managing the Wash Reserves for Wildlife - Working in a Wader Wonderland. Toby Collett.

The Louth Area Group of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust started it's Autumn season of talks at the Conoco-Phillips Room on the 9th of October with a talk by Toby Collett, warden at the RSPB Reserve at Frampton.

Before the talk started we had a little round-up of what's been going on and what people have been seeing.  Wildflower seed collection at Red Hill, the departure of blackbirds and other seasonal bird movements and the ratio of a redshank's leg to bill length were discussed.  Toby demonstrated how to call back a buzzard by whistling.  Now we know.

Frampton Marsh comprises a mature saltmarsh managed by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and, the main subject of Toby's talk, a freshwater wetland managed by the RSPB that is now one of the country's best sites for seeing waders with 34 species recorded.  Since 2006 the RSPB has been converting some arable land into a combination of reed-beds, wet grassland and scrapes with islands.  The early years of the site's development are recorded in the Bird Guides by the Paul French, the warden in 2010. 

Toby stressed the experimental approach to dynamic management that is possible in this new reserve.  Managing the various inter-related habitats requires regular changes, for example ensuring by cutting that the reed beds offer various stages of maturity, with dense thickets for bearded tit nesting and edges from which bittern can hunt for roach and eels.

Carefully controlling water levels, changing them with the season, is key to the dynamic management. Allowing vegetation to build up and then flooding to kill it off provides nutrients to the mud for the all-important bloodworms, the larvae of the non-biting midges, the Chironomids.  These are found in great abundance and provide the bulk of the food for wading birds.  Maximising the abundance of Chironomids and ensuring their availability for the birds by changing the water levels seems to have been a great success, evidenced by the flocks of thousands of birds over-wintering here.

For Toby, a vital aspect of the RSPB's management of the reserve is to plan for a future of climate change, providing the diverse habitats that meet the needs of what may be changing populations of birds in years to come.