MONDAY 16th MARCH 2020


After four successive days work, a sunny morning got me out on a spontaneous trip to Skylarks with the additional motivation of several goodies on the menu.

I was overly generous in inviting along the resident dogs (Staffie and poodle) along with my closest human residents which spoilt the experience but they kept out of the way while I scoped up Red-necked Grebe, Smew (3 including a drake) and a Long-tailed Duck.

They were all way beyond the capacity of my little camera but the rapid chimes of a confiding Dunnock drew my attention.


The ring suggests a resident bird but as far as I am aware, the local ringing group does not operate here much these days so this may be an elderly bird?

There is a large grassy area to the north of the watery bits of the new reserve (Blott’s Pit) that doesn’t seem to have a name but did have some heather on it a few years ago indicating its sandy nature so I’ll call it Heath Field for now and I found this on it:

Otidia bufonius

I’m going to stick my neck out here and assert that this is Otidia bufonia though the literature is rather short on information about this particular Otidia or suggestive that it should be in a wood.


Bunny + DCW

A local wander around Old Wood and the neighbouring area began with a lovely morning and ended with a strong wind and the lightest of showers.

Wood Anemone

Signs of spring were restricted to the flora and a bit of bird song but Wood Anemones and Primroses were cheering harbingers though scattered Prunus cerasifera was looking good too and attracting a few bees that I think were honey bees.

Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera)

I occasionally played some bird songs using the Aves Vox app and a portable bluetooth speaker but the responses weren’t up to much and I think this Nuthatch‘s proximity was pure coincidence.


Frogs too had recognised the lengthening days, and these two were in amplexus in a muddy pond in the wood but no spawn was visible.

Mr and Mrs Frog

Dave is refreshing his bryophyte knowledge (which was always way ahead of me and my mushrooms) naming these two and many others at a glance.

Plagiochila asplenoides
Bryum capillare

Whereas I have looked long and hard at this…

…before erring towards Flammulina velutipes despite it being on the woodland floor (it was attached to buried wood) and despite it being on its own rather than tufted. In its favour it was sticky-slimy when wet, it has intermediate gills, produced no latex, has no volva nor ring on stalk, I’d say the gills are free and the stem is tough and curved, though I’m not so sure that it is velvety, which is a bit of a downer, given its English name of Velvet Shank. Anyway it looks like the pictures in my books!

Here are some more pictures because if I survive Coronavirus, I may live long enough to get a little more knowledgeable about mycology and revisit this tentative id.



A chilly, but lovely sunny morning with hardly a breath of wind found us on the east coast for about 9.30 and assembling bird lists in excess of 50 that included Red-throated Diver, Turnstone, Eider, Marsh Harriers and Avocets.

Red-throated Diver

We saw Marsh Harriers on four occasion although there were probably only two birds (one had a trailing leg) and one of these sightings, plus the Turnstone were over the RSPB reserve but the other highlights were all at Cut End i.e. the mouth of the River Witham or The Haven as it is known downstream of Boston.

Meadow Pipit

Several Meadow Pipits accompanied us on the three kilometre stroll along the sea wall and a brief moment was taken to remember that “This bank was begun manually by the staff and boys of North Sea Camp 13 March 1936.”


The plaque goes on to say that “In this year of 1974 over 500 acres claimed from the sea are ploughed. Another 200 acre enclosure is imminent and plans include a 700 acre strip seawards.”

The 700 acre strip never happened but 66 hectares (163 acres) was reclaimed (by HMP) in 1983 and then in 2002 the bank was breached in three places as managed realignment, allowing the sea to claim back the territory lost.

I never did Latin but the inscription footnote, QUANQUAM MALEFACTORS JUVENES ILLI PATRIAE BENE FECERUNT, I think means “Although young lawbreakers, they did good for their country”

Unlike Geoffrey Archer then, who became a resident of North Sea Camp after it changed from Borstal to Prison.

English Scurvygrass

The saltmarsh is largely still in its late winter condition but Cochlearia anglica was looking lush and ready for spring and who can pass a drake Pintail by without a picture?

I’ve a feeling this Pilot boat was exceeding the 6 knot speed limit as it chased the sea-bound coaster and it certainly put the wind up the Red-throated Diver that had tolerated the passing ship.

CutEnd or “Clay Hole” as the OS call it.

The piping of the Redshanks and the honking of the Brent Geese had the backdrop for some time of the roar of warplanes and the eerie and frightening wail of their bombs being released into the Wash.

Budding inflorescences of Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)

These reminded me of caviar, though I’ve never seen or eaten it so I may be wrong.