Friday 29 January 2021

Our Adventurous Escape

 We are nearly 4 weeks into Lockdown 3 now and so far we had not been walking anywhere apart from our front door very locally.  I had only taken my car out once but, conscious of the fact that in the first lockdown I had to have a new battery because it had stood too long and also the need to pick up some medication at the vets, we decided to drive to Tetney Lock to walk along the sea bank to Horseshoe Point.

We had the parking area to ourselves when we arrived and when we returned our car was still the only one there and we saw very few people out walking so felt very safe.  I immediately noticed that the Louth Canal was incredibly full and, although the sluice near the village was fully open, the water was flowing over the top.  I had never seen it so high.  A friend has been photographing the canal up in Louth and points out that Keddington Lock has nearly been washed away and is to be dismantled.  This is a prime example of climate change in practice.  As the planet warms up the atmosphere is able to hold much more water vapour than normal and so our rainfall is much more severe than it used to be, often catastrophically so.  The problem is also one of canalisation and land reclamation.  Old river systems have been straightened out and the meanders removed.  Those meanders slow down the flow of the river and help to control floods.  In this case the river Lud has been canalised for commercial reasons but managment of it no longer happens and the old river has more or less disappeared.  Perhaps if the old river with its meanders were to be maintained, then it would take some of the excess runoff water and help to alleviate floods.  The coastal marsh between Louth and Tetney has long since been drained for agriculture.  In times gone by the marshy fenland would have soaked up floodwater when the old river Lud overflowed its banks.  Now the land is drained by arrow straight ditches and drains straight into the canal whose banks have been raised to contain the water.  Now there is great potential for disasters like the Louth floods of recent times.  I understand there are now flood prevention measures in place in Louth, so, instead, Keddington Lock is washed away.  Louth has escaped lightly this time, but what of the future.  Some climate forecasts suggest, pessimistically that in 50 - 100 years time the Lincolnshire Coastal Marsh will be inundated and cease to exist.

Having depressed myself by the state of the high water it was time to set off on our walk.  When we arrived the sun was still out but rain clouds were sweeping in from the north with the sun lighting up the clouds beautifully.  Undaunted we carried on; the weather forecast told us it wasn't going to rain.  It did!!!  Ah well such is life.  We continued to the outer sea lock and then walked south along the outer sea wall.  Between here and Horseshoe Point there is an outer and inner sea wall with the land in between drained for agriculture.  I can't help but think that this would make another flood mitigation site such as the ones at Alkborough and Donna Nook.

Once at Horseshoe Point we followed the path across the marsh to the dunes where we found a large piece of driftwood to sit on for our lunch with views over to Spurn Point.  It was a joy to listen to the bubbling song of curlew ringing across the marsh.  We returned by the inner sea wall, from where we saw a group of roe deer in the field, and then back to the car.  An excellent walk even if the weather was somewhat inclement.

  • Kestrel
  • Mallard
  • Magpie
  • Crow
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Mute Swan
  • Little Egret
  • Curlew
  • Knot
  • Dun;
  • lin
  • Chaffinch
  • Redshank
  • Teal
  • Brent Geese
  • Shelduck
  • Linnet
  • Oystercatcher
  • Moorhen
  • Blackbird
  • Roe Deer 7

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Wednesday 27 January 2021

Ambling with Aconites

 Retrieving my old waterproof from the car I gathered bins and camera with macro lens attached to go and do battle with the cemetery aconites.  The old waterproof because I was planning on some intimacy with the ground to get a low perspective on the aconites.  I was much more pleased with today's efforts; the birding lens is not ideal for aconite photography.  Moving on to the woodland burial ground I hoped to see the deer again but no luck today.  Having the macro with me, though, I did have a much more successful go at the lovely lichens; it was only when processing the images that I noticed the wintering ladybird.  No sign of the alder goldfinches again today but the snowdrops are coming on a pace.

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Tuesday 26 January 2021

A Roe Deer Ramble Around the Woodland Burial Ground.

 Relishing my after breakfast coffee in the conservatory surveying the gloomy morning, I noticed the sky beginning to brighten.  Perhaps it would be worth a visit to the cemetery to try to photograph the goldfinches in the alders.  Getting changed for walking quickly and grabbing the camera gear we set off.

Walking around the ouside of the cemetery I was pleased to spot my first aconites of the year.  Typically I only had the birding lens with me but nonetheless grabbed a record shot before heading down to the alders goldfinches in sight.  Not helped by grave digging going on nearby and a very large noisy family close to the trees.  All one household; I think not, and what happened to social distancing.  Grrrrr!!!!

Having dipped out on the goldfinches the plan was to go back and walk around the woodland burial ground.  I was absolutely delighted to spot a roe deer out in the open close to a small clump of trees in which there was another.  I have known that roe deer were in there both anecdotally and having often seen their slots.  The deer out in the open stood and watched us watching it before they both turned and trotted off into the trees with their white rumps gleaming.  What a delight; my day was made!!

We continued around the cemetery circuit the weather becoming increasingly gloomy again.  I did spot a good clump of snowdrops so a visit with the macro is on the cards.

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Monday 25 January 2021

A Frozen Walk Around the Cemetery and Horsefield.

 While it was still frozen I decided on a walk around the cemetery and back via the Horsefield.  At the bottom end of the cemetery I had excellent views again of goldfinches feeding on the alder cones.  I must start bringing the long lens with me to try and capture them.

After crossing Peaks Parkway and walking past the YMCA I was pleased to see that the flooded track was now frozen and passable without wellies.  Walking around the Horsefield I was pleased with an excellent view of a jay flying out of the woodland burial ground where I had seen it before.

I was pleased to complete the walk without getting mud splattered and slithering about ankle deep.  I'm ready for summer now!!!

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Sunday 24 January 2021

A Frosty Walk Over to Bradley Woods.

 Needing a longer walk, we decided to make a flask, pack some Christmas cake and cheese and head across to Bradley Woods through Scartho Top and return via Springfield.  We are lucky in lockdown that we can get out into to the fields from our house to both the east and west.  The walk over to Bradley unfortunately involves walking a short way through a couple estates, although we are soon out on the fields.

Despite not having any snow, sadly, we have had some hard frosts and it was a pleasure to be walking with hard ground underfoot, rather than slithering around in ankle deep mud.  And good to be wearing boots rather than heavy wellies.

Walking clockwise around Dixons Wood we were pleased to catch a glimpse a roe deer, its white rump disappearing into the trees.

Crossing the road into Bradley Woods, I was pleased to see that the feeding station is still being used with large numbers of tits, robins, chaffinches, blackbirds, dunnock and a nuthatch coming down.  In the past I have spent a lot of very happy hours photographing here using the car as a hide.  Sadly it is now too busy.  Dog walkers used to drive and park by the swings and picnic area, leaving the bird feeding area to walkers and bird watchers.  Unfortunately the council, in their wisdom, elected to lock the gate into the wood so now everyone has to park by the feeding area which has become a quagmire in wet weather with overflowing bins which never seem to be emptied.  Although a sorry situation, it was good to see the feeding station being used.

We walked on into the centre of the wood where we enjoyed our spiced hot chocolate and Christmas cake.  As we were on the verge of leaving we were delighted to see good friends Steve and Dianne out for their daily exercise.  While we were catching up I noticed a bird fly into a nearby tree.  Getting the binoculars onto it I was surprised to see a buzzard sitting up against the trunk about 15 feet up.  It eventually flew into another tree perfectly positioned for photography.  Typically the birding lens was at home!!!

Taking our leave of Steve and Dianne we completed a circuit of the wood before continuing across the fields to Springfield and home for a cup of tea and a nap.

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Sunday 17 January 2021

Woodland Cemetery and Horsefield

 Another walk around the Woodland Burial Ground today and returning via the Horsefield in better weather.  I was keen to experiment with the 55-200 lens with an extension tube attached today.  I was reasonably pleased with the results, although I missed the focus slightly on the lichen.  I was fascinated by the delicate female flowers on the hazels although they are a challenge to photograph.  They are so tiny and working so close gives very little depth of field.  I think the trick might be to bring some home and try in an outdoor studio situation with the 80mm macro. In the main cemetery are a few alder copses.  These trees like their feet in water but seem to be thriving, probably because they are in a low, wet part of the cemetery.  I love the way the catkins make the trees glow purple and this morning there was a small charm of goldfinches feeding on the cones.

Everywhere continues to be sodden and the track past the YMCA to Peaks Tunnel is still flooded.  It was a pleasure to watch a buzzard soaring over the Deadwood.

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Hazel , lambs Tails
Hazel lambs Tails
Female Hazel Flower
Alder Catkins
Alder cones and catkins

Buzzard (archive image)
                                                                Buzzard (archive image)