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Lincolnshire Roundup

January and Febuary 2018

A tale of Wildlife and Varied Weather!

Well what a varied two months of weather we have had from driving rain , to lovely spring like days to be reassured at the end of February that winter wasn't finished with us as we chilled in the Beast from the East.
Continuing my forays out into various parts of the county it has become apparent that there is real lack of Short Eared Owls about this winter with our resident Barn Owls easiest to connect with at Fiskerton Fen and down in the south of the county .

On Farmland good numbers of Reed Buntings were seen in several patches of ' Game ' cover at various locations throughout the county, seeming to have a particular penchant for the Millet being grown in the mix. Another specie seen which is sadly becoming rarer these days were good numbers of Yellowhammer , in a area of old hedge with a large amount of rough unmanaged growth on either side, then coming out and feeding on overwintered wheat stubbles - great finch and bunting habitat . Odd skylarks were seen just starting to get there initial songs going over there favoured fields .

Other species included Stock Doves attempting to get inside a Barn Owl nest box and a site at which supplementary feed was being put out encouraging over 100 Tree Sparrows to feed .
On the raptor front a pair of Kestrels in a mid air squabble resulting in their talons interlocking was a sight to behold . Buzzards galore at most locations with some again calling over their breeding grounds .
Out on the Coast Snow Buntings at odd locations and a few Shore Larks , hard to find but well worth it when seen . At the mouth of the river Witham at Boston the high tides brought in some notable winter species - Great Northern , Red and Black Throated Divers with Kittiwakes and a few Auk species.

Around the county several large Starling murmurations were reported with up to 15 ,000 at Wilsford near Sleaford and the continual presence of up to 25,000 at Whisby Pits . The large Corvid roost continued at Hartsholme country park with a subsidiary one of 300 + birds in some Poplar trees in Newark road in Lincoln . 

Good light should always encourage you out with the camera and with several man made ' feeding stations ' set up locally it was a chance to catch up with some favourites such as Green and Goldfinch, whilst several species of Tit were seen, with special views of Marsh Tit . The one that was most pleasing to see was the cheeky chappie Nuthatch coming in and taking peanuts after hammering through the fat .

On the local Gravel Pits and lakes some of the winter waterfowl species had built up with Gooseanders , Pochard , Goldeneye, Wigeon whilst the residents such as Teal , Gadwall ,Shoveler and Mallard had their numbers swelled by winter redistribution . The Great and Little Grebes were now in Winter plumage with just a hint of new plumage coming through in some cases.

The Apex Pit evening Gull roost continues to swell with estimated numbers put at 20 + thousand always worth a look through with Mediterranean and Caspian gulls being seen recently .

The Garden Bird List continues to grow with the now winter resident male Grey wagtail donning the start of his breeding plumage , he first appeared on 9/12/17 and still here at present . 

There have been several sightings of both Goldcrest and Treecreeper . As the ' Beast from the East ' made its presence felt it drew Fieldfares , Redwings , and a solitary Song Thrush into the garden . These were all principally attracted to the huge untamed Ivy growing through the Oak which ' was ' festooned with berries prior to their arrival . Supplementary food in the form of suet, raisins , sultanas , mealworms ,cooked noodles this gave great opportunities for home based photography some of which are on this blog. 

On the Mammal front Brown Hares were very much in evidence at a well known local site with chasing and initial skirmishes taking place prior to ' Mad ' March . Roe Deer were seen at several locations with one favoured spot having 11 feeding on pasture for the last hour before sunset , with the buck getting his antlers currently covered in velvet .
Sadly whilst out photographing one day (21/02/18 ) two Roe Deer were seen fleeing for their lives from a wood at Nocton as hunting was taking place by the Blankeney Hunt , a sad sight when in my opinion all wildlife should just be allowed to get on with its life without mans interference .