Walking the Viking Way – 2nd Half.

Bardney down to Oakham, 14th to 19th June 2015

A quick look at the sugar beet factory to check for peregrines and I was on my way. The pegs weren’t at home but I was to see one at the end of the days walk on Lincoln cathedral. My mobile konked out today, due to excessive water. Forgot it was in my pocket while trying to forge my way through soaking wet two metre high oilseed rapefields, but I kept going, still wearing shorts. (Dean Nicholson would have been proud of me.)

Going into Lincoln alongside the Witham was nice, lots of birds all the way, house and sand martins, swallows, swifts, reed and sedge warblers, little egret, common terns and reed buntings.

From Lincoln down to Wellingore it was great views all the way, as the route ran along the ridge/cliff.

The route from Wellingore down to Marston was largely along Ermine street, the old roman road, very good for butterflies and moths.

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latticed heath
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nemophora degeerella

Before I knew it my own local patch had been reached, it seemed odd approaching from a very different point. The moment I reached my home from home I was greeted by a hobby, chasing dragonflies near the river. The river here was now much smaller than when I’d walked along it further downstream and I was to walk right by it’s source a couple of days later. Also at Marston a little egret was seen, then a kingfisher.

From Long Benington, Sewstern lane runs in a more or less an unbroken line all the way down to Sewstern, some 20 ish miles. Some sections are SSSI listed, again very good for butterflies and moths, though some parts are severely rutted by off roaders and farm vehicles, making for heavy walking.

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baby grey partridge, not long out of the egg

Some grey partridges with chicks were very cute near Long Benington. Along the whole of the Viking way the number of grey partridges seen out numbered red-leggeds. Good news. Never did manage to add turtle dove to my walk list, though. Other missing farmland species were corn buntings and tree sparrows, though I know for sure there are some in the areas I’ve passed. It’s maybe just a tricky time of year to see them. Plenty of skylarks seen and heard every day.

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red kite, very interested in a chicken farm, near Greetham

Once past Woolsthorpe I was in an area where red kites could confidently be predicted and sure enough two were soon seen. Plenty more sighted by the time Oakham was reached. It’s odd that they are still fairly scarce from Lincoln northwards, it’s only a matter of time I’m sure.

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osprey near Oakham

The final few miles are along the north shore of Rutland water where an Osprey flew overhead towards Burley wood. A little further on another one appeared between the road and fishponds. I managed a photo or two on my pocket cam as it settled on an oak tree. Nice ending. Very nice.

It’s been a marvellous 13 days. Now I have an idea for next year- to walk the entire Lincs coastline from Alkborough down to the border with Norfolk- probably a similar distance, now that would be good and would produce a great list of birds.

87 species of birds recorded.

New boots required.

Blisters settling down.

Champagne popped.