Journey to Lincolnshire April 22-23 Sunny
Although the main purposes of my visit to the UK is to spend time with family any chance to sneak off birding is always a welcome diversion. While most of my family live in the Wye Valley near St Briavels the other half live near the East coast in Louth, Lincolnshire.
Lincolnshire is what Saskatachewan is to Canada. Flat, large farms, acres of monoculture, ancient hedgerows, a smattering of rolling hills called The Wolds. An added bonus is the proximity to the Wash, itself part of a major migration flyway.
As I drove around the back roads, the hedgerows were alive with birds. I saw pairs of LBJ's while waiting for a traffic light to turn red, their long tails held high as they foraged next to the busy road. I have no idea what they were, I saw many birds which were unfamiliar while driving but they'll always be another day.
|The Lincolnshire Wolds on the way from Louth to Skegness and Gibraltar Point.|
I made the six hour car journey across the Uk from Gloucestershire to Louth. My first birding stop was a short break at Hartsholme Country Park just off the Lincoln bypass. The park is operated by the City of Lincoln, a free car park, interpretive centre and extensive walks including lakes, heath and forest make it a great place to visit. The Great Crested Grebes and two Red-crested Pochard (a rare visitor but most likely escapees from a collection) were the first birds I photographed.
Then it was on to family in the historic market town of Louth for the family visit. They weren't interested in going birding but were very proud to show me the blackbird nest at the bottom of the garden.
Next day I was off to Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve. The location was featured in the April edition of Birdwatch magazine and the excellent article made my decision where to bird an easy one. The start point for me was the Beach car park a few miles south of Skegness.
The Gibraltar Point (GP) is comprised of a mixture sand dunes, extensive beaches, numerous ponds, mixed hedgerow and marshlands. The morning I arrived a Hoopoe was briefly spotted. I was happy to spot anything but a Hoopoe would have been an amazing. Anyway, a Whitethroat would be my first "Lifer" at GP and they were singing everywhere. They are not the most easy bird to approach, the bird books describe them as "skulking and secretive" a very apt description.
|Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)|
This bird was hanging out at the Beach parking lot.
|Interpretive signage provides the visitor with a well rounded view of the reserve.|
|Swallow (Hirundo rustica)|
|A Green Finch (Carduelis chloris) comes down to drink. Note the banding. GP has a banding station.|
|Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)|
Continuing through the reserve to the marshes I saw a new bird fly overhead. As I made my way to one of the three blinds (hides) I could see it was a Lapwing making a noisy and acrobatic display. I don't have to tell any birder how exciting it is when a new species is spotted. As I settled in and opened the viewing panels I was greeting by a colony of breeding birds including Shelduck, Black headed Gulls, Mute Swans, Avocet, Lapwing and probably other species. Rooks were collecting tufts of grass, a Pheasant wandered by and a Pied Wagtail landed twenty feet in front of me.
|Pied Wagtail (motacilla alba)|
A common year round resident throughout the UK and Europe.
|Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)|
|Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)|
A very common gull especially inland. Here this pair bond before mating. The Black-headed Gull is one of the commonest gulls in the UK and often nests inland on lake and marshes.
|Mystery bird perhaps a Willow Warbler or Chiffchaff, my money is on Chiffchaff.|
For more information on Gibraltar Point follow the link.