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.



Early mistiness melted into blue sky and a very bracing NE wind that kept us wrapped up and hatted for most of the day. It turned out to be generally disappointing in terms of bird interest, the highlights being lots of Avocet and Ruff with a bonus Wheatear.

It was also disappointing that I hadn’t checked the charge on my camera and it ‘died’ after four shots; this was its swansong.


I think I saw the Long-billed Dowitcher. It was an odd-shaped blur with a long bill and a supercilium, lumbering about on the edge of a distant island and the telescope was being buffeted by the near gale and it soon disappeared. We had another look later with no luck.

We had seen two Little Ringed Plovers together near the path and briefly befriended a fellow birdwatcher who accompanied us as we passed the spot. We pointed them out. Two Ringed Plovers pottered about and we felt rather embarassed. Thankfully, after a few moments an LRP wandered into view and we regained our credibility.

I remembered I had a mobile phone camera for this one.

English Scurvygrass

English Scurvygrass Cochlearia anglica is bigger than the Danish one that is in flower all along the roadsides at present.