Friday, 6 May 2022

The Nev Cole Way. Stages 2a and 2b

 Our second session on the Nev Cole Way today.  As there were 6 of us involved in the second half of the walk it involved 3 vehicles and some serious car shuffling.  We split the walk into 2 in order to miss out a couple of miles of very busy road past Reed's Island and South Ferriby Sluice where the off-rad path has been closed.  The first stint of 3.5 miles took us from Whitton to Wintringham and then, after regrouping and collecting our extra personnel, the second section was from South Ferriby to The Sloop at Barton, reversing the start of the Viking Way and passing the LWT reserve of Far Ings.  I again found these sections interesting and enjoyable, being particularly fascinated by the large reed beds.  Although not birding as such, I heard whitethroat, willow warbler, chiffchaff, blackcap and green woodpecker and we had excellent views of three marsh harriers over the reedbeds.  Walking past Far Ings the call of a cetti's warbler exploded from the undergrowth.  These secretive warblers seem particularly common this year.  The sloop, despite a change of ownership, came up to expectations on both the beer and food front.

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Thursday, 5 May 2022

A Local Patch Day.

 A warm and sunny day today.  I had thought of a trip down to Saltfleetby but as I had to visit the cemetery chapel to vote I decided to continue with a needed patch visit.  with the weather being so warm there were large numbers of butterflies on the wing, especially whites.  Many were a challenge to identify as they either moved past too quickly or were too far away.  Small whites were present in abundance, though, as were orange tips, both male and female.  I saw a couple of green-veined whites and one large white, my first for the year.  I was pleased to spot 2 holly blues and another in the garden earlier in the day.  I came across a fox on the Horsefield which proved very wary.  It was very interested in something (prey?) out on the field but as soon as it became aware of me ran back into the bank of brambles.  Something to keep and eye on, perhaps.  Peacock, small tortoiseshells and speckled wood were also flying.  Just as I was leaving the cemetery I saw what could have been a labrador but which turned out to be a muntjac deer, the first I have seen in the cemetery.

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Linnet
Muntjac
Muntjac
Muntjac
Orange tip, female
Orange tip, female
Orange tip, female.  Showing signs of wear.
Orange tip male.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

In a world of my own at Bonby.

 Yet again I had Bonby to myself.  What a peaceful place it is.  Not a sound other than that of the birds and the wind.  When I arrived at 10.30 the weather was grey and overcast with very little wind, although it had gone back round to the east.  Despite being only 11C it felt pleasant with there being little wind.  Not long after arriving I had parked in a likely spot for some bird activity when I noticed a movement by the fence.  A hare was squeezing through the gap and was relaxed as he had nor noticed me sitting in the car.  He ambled out into the field and began feeding, allowing for some photography, and then moved off back through the fence.  A real treat.  Down at the river there was a lot of whitethroat activity with several males displaying but refusing to show themselves.  During the time I was there I noted a small flock of birds that I put down as female reed buntings until I processed the images and realised they were corn buntings, the large bill being the give away.

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Brown Hare
Corn buntings and yellowhammer
Corn Buntings
Linnet
Meadow Pipit
Female reed bunting collecting nesting material
Female reed bunting collecting nesting material
Male reed bunting
Whitethroat
Yellowhammer.
Yellowhammer.
After a lengthy session down the Carrs, I decided to gradually head home via Winter's Pit on East Halton Marsh and then Killingholme Haven Pits.  Both were very quiet with virtually no birds on either.  Most of the regular wildfowl at Winter's had moved on and the only birds of note were the grat crested grebe pair.  I had gone to Killingholme Haven hoping for avocets with chicks but surprising the only birds present were several little egrets.  I did find and avocet but on the Humber mudflats when I went for a walk along the sea wall.

Chaffinch
Chaffinch
Little Egret

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Walking in the Footsteps of Ghosts

 Getting out of the car, the sun was warm and we looked forward to our first picnic of the year.  We had gone to Sotby Meadows to look for green-winged orchids which the LWT website informed me grew there.  The other reason was to explore Sotby Green Lane and the old Roman road, something I had long wanted to do.  First we went to look for the orchids in the two meadows.  These turned out to be superb examples of Lincolnshire lowland meadows and, although swarming with beautiful cowslips, we could find no sign of green-winged orchids, a work obviously still in progress having failed a short while ago in Silverdale.  By now we were ready for lunch and returned to the car where we enjoyed eating out in the warm sun.  The wind has finally gone round to the west, getting rid of the biting north easterlies straight off the sea.

Lunch finished, we set out on our walk along the green lane which led to the junction with the Roman road, now also a green lane.  There is only a short section of it left and it finishes abruptly when it meets the Louth-Horncastle road.  Some research revealed that what is left is part of the Roman salt road from Lincoln to the coast at Burgh-Le-Marsh near Skegness where, presumably there would have been salt pans.  We crossed over Caistor High Street, another old Roman road and then dropped down into the valley of the River Bain to Market Bridge.  I'm not sure what I expected but it was not the modern construction that exists today.  Perhaps being close to the junction of two Roman roads and on the river there was once a settlement with a market.  I allowed my imagination free reign and wonder about the origins of the name.  Whatever, the river bank made for an attractive refreshment stop (well a polo anyway) and we had lovely views of a heron.  To make it into a round walk we detoured to the hamlet of Ranby, crossed the High Street again and dropped down into another green lane that took us back to the car.  Apart from seeing my first house martin of the year, things were quiet on the bird front but there were quite a few butterflies on the wing: brimstone 14, orange tip 12, small white 12, small tortoiseshell 6 and peacock 3.  I had also seen a holly blue in the garden in the morning.

I like to think that landscapes and, especially ancient footpaths and trackways like this, hold memories of those who have gone before.  We walk in the footprints of ghosts and they walk in ours.

It being 5.00 when we finished our walk we chose to retire to the Three Horseshoes in Goulceby for a pint and a meal.  An excellent decision.  

Our journey home took us past the LWT reserve of Red Hill so I stopped to enjoy the spectacle of the mass of cowslips in the Coronation Meadow.  I had forgotten that some years ago green-winged orchids had been introduced here so I wandered over to have a look and - eureka - there they were.  Well three very small specimens anyway but, nonetheless, my first in the UK and I still hope to find them in Silverdale when we get to our caravan next week.  Not only was it a score on the orchid front, I found some pasque flowers, including the one that I had first photographed in the car park in 2014. On top of those two finds we also heard a green woodpecker yaffling from nearby trees.  A splendid end to a perfect day.

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Cowslip, Sotby Meadows
Sotby Green Lane
                                                                   Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane, the junction with the Roman Road on the right.
Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane

Sotby Green Lane

From Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane
From Sotby Green Lane

Sotby Green Lane, looking down into the Bain Valley
The River Bain
Market Bridge
Market Bridge.  I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't this.
River Bain
River Bain
Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane
Sotby Green Lane
We walk in the Footprints of Ghosts.
Green-winged Orchid
Green-winged Orchid
Pasque Flower
Pasque Flower
Pasque Flower.  Taken in the car park in 2014.  The plant is still there flowering this year.