Thursday, 26 November 2020

More Humber Bank Birding

 It was a clear and frosty start as I left home but the closer I got to Goxhill Haven on the Humber Bank the more overcast and misty it became, turning into quite a drab day with the odd splash of warm light as the emerged.  Goxhill Haven is situated on the banks of the Humber opposite Hull so as I turned to walk first east and then south I had the P&O ferries to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam in my sights.  I had arrived about an hour after low tide so there was plenty of mud exposed for waders to feed on.  Large numbers were making the most of the opportunity with plenty of redshank, dunlin and knot as well as the occasional curlew.  On my return walk I had excellent views of black-tailed godwit, identification confirmed when the flew a short distance and revealed the black tail beautifully.  During the morning I saw several skeins of pink footed geese and good numbers of these were settling just inland of the sea wall a couple of fields away.  I did try to find them in the car later but to no avail.  Just past Dawn City Clay Pits ( a Lincs Trust reserve)  I enjoyed watching a marsh harrier as it hunted the marsh and fields.

My turn around point was East Halton Skitter giving me a round trip of 5.5 miles.  As I approached Dawson City on the return leg a short-eared owl delighted as it quartered the marsh on the seaward side of the bank.  A stirring and soul enriching sight.

Once back at the car, having failed to find the geese I popped in to Winter's Pit to check out what was there and enjoyed the sight of a large flock of wigeon coming in.  Their whistling call is always one of my favourite bird calls.

  • House Sparrow
  • Little egret
  • Redshank
  • Black Headed Gull
  • Mallard
  • Dunlin
  • Crow
  • Meadow piput
  • Herring Gull
  • Great Black Backed Gull
  • Starling Reed Bunting
  • Linnet (several flocks)
  • Pink footed goose - several skeins
  • Knot
  • Wood Pigeon
  • Curlew
  • Magpie
  • Blackbird
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Green Finch
  • Stonechat - pair
  • Short-eared Owl
  • Wigeon
  • Black-Tailed Godwit (7)
  • Lapwing
Winter's

  • Mute Swan
  • Grey Lag
  • Pochard
  • Dabchick
  • Tufted Duck
  • Mallard
  • Redshank
  • Wigeon - large flock
  • Curlew
  • Gadwall
  • Lapwing
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Sunday, 22 November 2020

A Return to the Viking Way

 Now I had declared my back recovered it was time to test out the pacemaker on the hills along the Viking Way from Walesby.  We had walked here just before the operation so that I could use this hilly walk as a benchmark for any improvement once fully turbocharged.  I'm delighted to be able to report that all went well and, unlike the previous occasion I cruised round with hardly any breathless or aching legs.  Fingers crossed.  As usual we parked in Walesby and walked up to the church.  From here along the undulating path to Risbly and its flock of Lincolnshire longwool sheep (featured on BBC's Countryfile on 22nd November) as far as the dramatic Castle Farm before returning to the seat just above the sheep where we enjoyed a comforting flask of hot chocolate with expansive views across to the Lincoln Edge and the magnificent cathedral set high above the city itself.  Amazing to think that we were looking across to the Viking way  20 miles to the west from the Viking Way.  We dropped down to the lane to return to Walesby in order to make it a round walk.

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Walesby Ramblers Church
Trees above Risby
Castle Farm

Field Pond Risby

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Horsefield Sunset

 Trying to get out and walk every day, I tend to opt for the cemetery for it's convenience but today I extended my route and returned via the Horsfield, just as the sun was going down on a wonderful afternoon.

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Thursday, 12 November 2020

Acer Autumn

 Outside our back door we grow an acer in a large pot.  It gives us pleasure throughout the year but it looks particularly stunning for a few days in autumn.  It is late to take on the mantle of autumn and when it does it is only for a brief period but even when the leaves are dropped they form a carpet of reds, gold, yellow, orange and bronze.

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Saturday, 7 November 2020

More Autumn Colours and Fungi in Nettleton Woods

 Having had my pacemaker fitted on 28th October and struggled with a bad back since, I was suffering from cabin fever, so persuaded the very patient Mrs Pickwell to drive me to Nettleton Wood to catch the last of the autumn colour.  The less said about the back pain during our walk the better.  The woods were looking stunning, although the avenue of beeches along the drive to the scout camp were past their best.  There were still a few fungi but the fly agarics and amethyst deceivers appeared to have finished.

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Monday, 26 October 2020

Humber Bank Birding

 Inspired by friend Steve Routledge's trips to this location, his local patch, I decided it was time to reacquaint myself with the area.  Many years ago (1971 - 1979), when I lived in Immingham I used to visit regularly.  Before I passed my driving test in 1973 I used to catch the bus to Immingham Dock where I was able to walk over the lock gates and onto the sea wall beyond.  I'm not sure this is permissible now; certainly a few years ago I tried to drive onto the docks and was refused entry.  From the docks I would continue my birding walk along the sea wall past Killingholme Pits, now a Lincs Trust reserve, and onto Winter's Pond and beyond.  I would later return along the sea wall, branching off before the docks to walk home over the fields.  Once I passed my test and bought my first car, a minivan, I used to go fishing to Winter's making some fine catches on occasion, especially tench.

Today Heather and I parked up at Winter's where we found a large flock of grey lag geese resting up on the bank.  On the pond were several dabchicks, swans and tufted duck.  I had hoped for winter thrushes in the heavily fruited hawthorn hedges but no luck, although we did spot a large flock of fieldfares and possibly redwing on the fields later.  When we climbed up into the bank I realised that I had made a miscalculation.  I knew it was going to be high tide but at only 5.8m I hadn't realised it would be right up to the sea wall which it was,  This meant that we saw nothing on the marsh/mudflats until we reached East Halton Skitter.  Certainly at 5.8m in Cleetherpes it would hardly be noticed as a high tide.  Ah well such is life.

I might have miscalculated to tide, but I certainly hadn't the light.  Although a tad showery there were some dramatic clouds and and lovely golden end of the day light.  We did find some very confiding turnstones by the sea wall but saw little on the mitigation land behind other than a large flock of curlew feeding on the fields and the large flock of winter thrushes.

At the skitter there were more birds as there were some expanses of mud revealed by the receding tide and on the salt marsh beyond.  We enjoyed a welcome flask of hot chocolate here before heading back.  Back at Winter's I was able to get close enough to photograph a dabchick busily trying to deal with a perch that it had caught and the light was fabulous.  Just as we were preparing to leave we were treated to an excellent rainbow.

  • Grey Lag
  • Dabchick
  • Moorhen
  • Coot
  • Mallard
  • Tufted Duck
  • Herring Gull
  • Black Headed Gull
  • Redshank
  • Magpie
  • Crow
  • Heron
  • Cormorant
  • Turnstone
  • Lapwing
  • Dunlin
  • Curlew
  • Mute Swan
  • Fieldfare
  • Redwing
  • Teal
  • Blackbird

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Sunday, 25 October 2020

Ruby Anniversary Walk Along the Viking Way

 It being our ruby wedding anniversary we decided to have a latish afternoon walk as we had no meal to cook; we were having a celebratory Ruby Murry.  We picked Jet up and were soon parking up at Walesby village hall.  We were surprised that the car park was full and we only just squeezed in and later that there were so many people out walking.  We saw more people in 3 miles of walking today that we did on the whole of the viking way.  It was pleasant weather , a Sunday and the beginning of half term, but, even so, it was amazingly busy.  We could only assume that as we are slipping into lockdown once more, people are walking locally rather than travelling out of the area.

We had a lovely walk and the views from the top of the scarp slope at Risby were excellent.  We continued as far as Castle Farm where I took some photos.  It doesn't seem long since this unusual house was occupied, but it now lies derelict.  A few years ago it was for sale but presumably there were no buyers.

We turned around at this juncture and stopped for lunch and hot chocolate when we reached the bench above Risby.  We had excellent views of a red kite being harassed by a crow from here.  A friend saw another two today in a different part of the wolds.  It would be good to see them breeding in Lincolnshire.  From Risby we made our walk into a round route by dropping down off the ridge and returning to Walesby via the lane.

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Lincolnshire sunken lane up to The Ramblers Church
Walesby Ramblers Church

Walesby Ramblers Church
Castle Farm