Thursday, 28 January 2016


In previous Januarys we have not been able to reach Gibraltar Point because the road was iced over or blocked by snow. This year the temperature was 14̊ C albeit with a 28 mph wind. So it was a matter of a struggle against the wind to reach the hides. Thankfully we only needed a couple of layers of gear instead of the four that we normally wear in the winter.
The fifteen of us met LWT Warden Kevin Wilson who gave an update on the near completion state of the new Visitors’ Centre. We also heard about the dilemma of marsh management that had arisen since the 2014 floods. Because of grants from various sources work was able to take place to ensure the safety and accessibility of the site. But what about the fresh water meadows that had been inundated with salt water and with seeds of salt marsh plants which had germinated and had taken a hold? Maybe the plants had the answer as Marsh orchids and other fresh water plants were beginning to emerge again amongst the Sea couch grass and the Sea-club rush.
We moved with the wind behind us to visit all the hides. It was a duck and goose day with very few waders. However, it was not until we made our species count over lunch at Poppy’s that we realised that between us we had seen 40 species of birds, even if some of them were lone individuals. We were pleased to see a few Roe deer amongst a group of Pink-footed geese whilst the co-location of Shoveller ducks and Shelduck enabled us to ‘spot the difference’!

Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Pink-Footed Goose, Greylag Geese, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Shoveller, Pochard, Kestrel, Coot, Lapwing, Black-Tailed Godwit, Kestrel, Coot, Lapwing, Black-tailed godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Black-Headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Redwing, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch (40)
MAMMALS: 5 Roe deer
Ray W

Saturday, 9 January 2016

January Meeting

The first meeting of the Louth Area Group of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust for 2016 took place at the Conoco Room on Friday the 8th of January, with more than 50 people turning out to hear Roy Harris give us an illustrated talk about wildlife in the Orkneys

Focussing on his long experience of conservation work there, Roy, described a management system for stock grazing that allowed an exceptional abundance of wildflowers to develop.

The Loft and Hill of White Hamars Grazing Project is described in more detail
here and here.

Roy and his colleagues have demonstrated that if the grassland is kept stock-free in the spring and early summer but grazed in the autumn and winter, an exceptional abundance and diversity of wildflowers quickly develops. Without this deliberate grazing management, such biodiversity is only found of the steep cliff edges, inaccessible to cattle and too windy for scrub growth.

With the help of EU funding that promotes wildlife conservation, farmers were successfully encouraged to adjust their grazing and hay-making regimes so that significant areas were transformed into flower rich grassland, maritime heathland and wetlands. 

Photo: Plantlife

One of the particular rarities that Roy told us about is the Scottish Primrose, Primula scotica. Endemic to Caithness and the Orkneys, this little flower has increased in abundance from a few hundred to several thousand over a ten year period of restricting the early grazing.

Roy left us with the clear message that if farming were to work constructively with conservation objectives, a landscape of diversity and abundance could once again become commonplace rather than a rarity.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

The New Year for the Louth Area Group

Good soggy morning and a happy new year,
The next meeting of the Louth Area Group will be at 7.30 pm in the ConocoPhillips Room, Louth library when Roy Harris will bring some colour to the dreary winter evening as he talks about, ‘The Flowers of the Orkneys’. The entrance fee is £2.50 which includes refreshments. Children are welcome and have free admittance.

I am pleased to report that Rick Hill had a few people helping him to clear the pond at Muckton Wood in November. The next session for a couple of hours will be at 9.30 am this Sunday 10 January. Just turn up in working kit.

Do try to take part in the RSPB Great Garden Bird Watch at the end of the month on 30 and 31 January. It is a national survey and you don’t have to be an RSPB member to take part. All the details will be in the national press and on the RSPB website.
It will be much appreciated if you can send me a list of the birds that you saw as soon as possible after the survey together with the name of the town/village/site where you saw them. I can collate the details and publish them in the LAG Spring Newsletter.

In our own area the mild wet weather has caused Spring to advance. We have primroses and violets out in the garden as well as hectic bird activity. What evidence of an early Spring have you noticed?

The LAG Annual General Meeting will be held on Friday 8 April when I give a report of our past and future activities and we elect the committee members for the next 12 months. Please consider joining the committee we need a least a couple more members. At the AGM members have the opportunity to show a dozen digital pictures for the delectation of those present. The meeting is rounded off with cheese and wine and the opportunity of a chat whilst we raise funds for the LWT with a raffle.

I look forwarding to seeing you or hearing from you.
Best wishes
Ray Woodcock Chairman LAG