Following weeks with loads of rain a chilly, settled, anticyclonic period and a local trip to see some birds proved to be rather disappointing in its objective but the company was good and of course there are always the plants despite the late season and a single encounter with a dragonfly.

Migrant Hawker

This female Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta was in the reed bed safari on the slurry lagoon at Netherfield and looked immaculate despite the late date. The flight period extends from late July into November but I don’t know how late into the season, new adults emerge. This one looked like it had done so a few days ago but I suspect it is at least 4 weeks old.

Star birds were Buzzard, Jays, predictable ducks, Grey Wagtail, Cetti’s Warbler, Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker etc. No sign of the Yellow-browed Warblers and Bearded Tits we were hoping for and no sign of anything exciting that we were not expecting.

Cotoneasters were looking good though and Dave drew my attention to Cotoneaster x watereri and this, one of the parents of x watereri which is the hybrid of C. frigidus and C. salicifolius.

Cotoneaster salicifolius

The reed bed safari is a nice touch at Netherfield and allows visitors to get up close with the reeds which although dominated by Common Reed have some Wood Small-reed in places allowing direct comparison if it were needed – and without much else to photograph, I decided that it did:

Calamagrostis epigejos (L) and Phragmites australis (R)



Six-and-a-half hours of steady slog around a mostly bird-free wilderness of salt-marsh, dunes and foreshore, and for sure, there is a lot of the latter at low tide north of Mablethorpe.

Roe Deer

Doe Deer were confiding (to a degree) and vocal and there were a lot of crows and Redwings but scarcer migrants were in short supply and the best of these was a Whinchat and a Brambling though the few Stonechats might also have been passing through.

Prolonged scans of the said foreshore produced only crows until the afternoon and long hikes out to sea revealed a few curlews and two small parties of Common Scoters. Eventually we found some birds – lots of Shelducks, Wigeon and gulls at Saltfleet Haven and there were small skeins of Pink-footed Geese moving south just off shore all day long and all too far away for a useful picture so the best I could manage was this Long-tailed Tit.

Long-tailed Tit

Mid October is a bit too late for the plants to arouse much excitement in me but Dave found a lot of old friends including this:

Bog Pimpernel

Anagallis tenella without its pink flowers might not look much to you (or me) but for Dave, it was plant of the day!

A dubious decision by my Nissan sat-nav to take us through the centre of Lincoln did not brighten the day and no sooner had I got home than BirdGuides announced both Lapland Bunting and Yellow-browed Warbler – at Rimac!



Following several days of very heavy rain, today began with a light frost and then wall to wall sunshine though the botany season is nearing its natural end and soon the priority will be birds.

A horse appearing from a thicket onto the Langar – Cropwell Bishop road turned out to be the precursor of what I assume was the Belvior Hunt in their finery with a well-behaved pack of hounds at the redcoats’ command. One van driver was impatient so the hounds were ushered into a group for his convenience.

The sound of the horn could be heard intermittently throughout the morning and a fox did a leisurely looking circuit of Langar, presumably having been disturbed by the hunt, as the horn sounded in the distance. By lunchtime there was no further sign of them and we felt free to wander.

Common Darter

The appearance of two pairs of forewings and two pairs of hindwings on this darter must be caused by strong shadows.

I know next to nothing about the identification of fungi but this one was putting on a good show in a covert and it proved quite simple to find a match from illustrations. I think I’m right but don’t rely on me.

Heterobasidium annosum

The underside of a Comma shows how it got its name.


The margins of some fields held a bewildering mixture of plants with many native species of doubtful provenance and many aliens presumably aimed at nectar sources and pheasant cover. The latter included a variety of Cabbage Brassica oleracea, (possibly Kale), Lucerne Medicago sativa ssp. sativa, Chicory Cichorium intybus, Quinoa Chenopodium quinoa, Phacelia Phacelia tanacetifolia – and this:

Ethiopian Rape (Brassica carinata)

Well, that it is what it keyed out as ‘in the field’ but Dave is going to give a sample some further interrogation in his ‘lab’.

Last week’s apple proved rather difficult and the combined botanical and horticultural brains of Nottinghamshire have not, so far, come to an agreement.

As usual at this time of year, gangs of gulls were loitering in the fields; nearly all were Lesser Black-backed, of mixed ages. This is a first year.