Sunday, 10 September 2017

New amphibian species for my parish records.


Sent from my iPhone

Upon emptying the garden moth trap on Thursday morning, along with 50+ moths I encountered a palmate newt. A new record for the parish.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Few more moths

As this week has progressed the moth numbers have continued to increase, with 55 of 22 species taken last night to the garden Skinner 125 MV trap. Whilst most remains the same a few additions to the year list have been made.
A red underwing was new for year on the 2nd whilst an exciting find of the relatively common Argyresthia semifusca  was new for parish records on the 3rd, also in the garden.
Argyresthia semifusca

On the 4th I set the 15W heath actinic trap on the local golf course. I was rewarded with new for year records of Acleris emargana, centre barred sallow, Mompha subbistrigella and a new for parish record of an Anacampsis species. I suspect A. populella as the trap was underneath willow, but gen det required to confirm.
Centre barred sallow

At home on the same night a surprise 2nd generation lilac beauty and a first of the year oak hooktip. This was my 253rd macro of the year, the Anacampsis being 185th micro.
last night, nothing new, but an Old Lady actually in the trap was unusual and only my 2nd Cataclysta lemnata for the year. This morning's haul takes me to 9000 moths for the year of 438 species.
Old Lady

Cataclysta lemnata

Acleris emargana

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Moth update

Jersey Tiger
A new month brings a new for year moth in the form of a Feathered gothic. This constitutes my 330th garden moth species for the year and also represents my 250th macro moth for 2017.
Very much the same catch most nights at present, with good numbers before the heavy rain of Wednesday night. Also, that night was the coldest for a long time, so meant numbers were well down. Just started to pick up again
Feathered gothic

Highs over the last few days have been:
33  Large yellow underwing from Pigs Green on the 21st
33 Setaceous hebrew characters from the garden on the 27th
19 Common wainscot from the garden on the 28th
14 Latticed heath from the garden on the 1st.
Frosted orange


Less regular moths recently have included:
Jersey Tiger, garden 24th
Angle shades, garden 24th
Burnished brass, garden 24th
Lime speck pug, Clinton's footpath 28th
Old Lady, garden 28th
Frosted orange, garden 28th
Purple bar, Millfield Lane and garden 29th
Yellow barred brindle, Millfield Lane 29th
Silver Y, garden 29th
White point, garden 29th
Burnished brass

Yellow barred brindle

Purple bar


All these additions take the total of moths taken this year to 8572 specimens of 431 species


Thursday, 24 August 2017

New species for parish records

Over the last couple of nights the numbers of moths trapped has increased markedly, with over 100 in the garden Skinner last night and then night before. The portable Heath trap was also deployed last night, in a field opposite the village pub, where, traditionally, very low catches have been made. Last night proved the point once again with just 26 moths by 11.15pm of 13 species. However, an Old Lady was the 246th macro for the year.
Back at the garden Skinner trap on the 21st a year high of 31 Setaceous hebrew characters. This was beaten on the 22nd when the total reached 38 before dropping last night to 22.
Also on the 21st, 33 Large yellow underwings were taken at Pig's Green.
In the trap last night a Nephopterix angustella, which was a new for parish record earlier this year and now I have taken 8 since late May.
Also, a Phycitodes binaevella was a new for year records, taking the micro total to 180 species for 2017.
However, the highlight was a very battered moth, presumed to be a Clay triple lines, a new moth for me when I receive confirmation. Having rechecked my lists, I noted a double entry of Lesser spotted pinion, originally taken in 2012 and one I must have overlooked when I claimed the specimen I took this year as a parish first. Consequently, the Clay triple lines becomes moth species 699 for the parish.
White point

Presumed clay triple lines. Sadly 3 good moths I have taken for the first time this year (Ruddy carpet, Pretty Chalk carpet and this) have all been in disappointing condition.

Garden carpet

Nephopterix angustella
All this renewed activity means I am still on or around 699 species for Little Hadham Parish, with a total of 7700 moths identified so far this year.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Moth records update

Ear moth

The weather continues to conspire against up lepidopterists, with night time temperatures being low or heavy rain meaning it is too damp to get out. Consequently, since the 14th August I have trapped every night at home, but only at Westland Green (14th) Suffyldes Wood (16th) and Millennium Wood (20th)
At home a few new additions to the year list in the form of Ear Moth species, Jersey tiger, Frosted orange and Udea ferrugalis whilst away trips have only realised a Wood carpet from Suffyldes and Agriphila selasella from Millennium Wood last night.
The records for the year now show I have trapped 7263 moths of 424 moth species. Hoping to get out, even just for a short time each evening this week and have a visit to East Wood on the warmest night, which at present looks like being Tuesday.
Jersey Tiger

Frosted orange

Flame carpet

Wood carpet

Monday, 14 August 2017

New for Year moths in first half of August

The weather recently has been very poor, damp, heavy rain and or/cold and clear with a bright moon. Consequently, fewer moths than would be anticipated for August.
However, things are beginning to pick up and last night, with the 15 watt heath trap set along a well wooded bridle path, I took 53 moths with a fair few expected new for year.
Before this, I had just run the garden Skinner 125 watt trap in the garden. Here I have added:
Straw underwing (04.viii.17)
Small phoenix (04.viii.17)
Cocylis molliclunana (04.viii.17)
Amblyptilia acanthadactyla (09.viii.17)
Canary shouldered thorn (11.viii.17) Only my 2nd record following a 2014 capture in Millennium Wood
Dusky thorn (12.viii.17)
Canary shouldered thorn

same insect

Dusky thorn

Canary shouldered thorn

Last night, (13.viii.17) at Valley Fields I took new for year specimens of:
Dark sword grass
Purple bar
Svensson's copper underwing
Six spot rustic
Square spot rustic.
Dark sword grass from Valley Fields

dark sword grass from garden on the same night

Flounced rustic

These additions take the total species for the year to 418, with 241 macros and 177 micros. In total, now up to 6651 moths for 2017.


Saturday, 5 August 2017

New Moth species

Thursday night found me carting all the gear to Stocking Wood, in the east of the parish. Quite a wander along footpaths before setting up. Disappointingly, a very quiet night, with nothing new for the year apart from a couple of Cydia splendana and just 54 moths in total, leading me to pack up at midnight.
Back home looked slightly more promising as I stored the kit away and identified a few for confirmation. However, upon emptying the Skinner trap in the morning I was in for a pleasant surprise. I had already listed as new an Orange swift as I arrived at the last egg box. Upon turning it over, a superb Garden Tiger, a new species for me and my parish records. Very pleased indeed.
Cydia splendana

Garden tiger

Garden tiger

Garden tiger
Last night, just the Skinner trap gave up around 60 moths. New for year were Straw underwing, Small phoenix and Cochylis molliculana. These additions take me to a tantalising 699 species for the parish. Wonder what the next new moth for the parish will be?
Cochylimorpha straminea

Cochylis molliculana

Thursday, 3 August 2017

400th moth species for 2017

Last night I just ran the 125 watt Skinner trap in the garden as it was drizzly and unpleasant. None too expectant, so a pleasant surprise when I checked the trap at 6.30 this morning. In total, just 54 moths of 27 species, but in amongst these, 5 new for year species: Yponomeuta plumbella, Mouse moth, Flounced rustic. Copper underwing and 2 White points. The latter an unusual moth for the garden. Last year I took 2 in the garden trap on one night, the 3rd September. These were the only 2 records for 2016, so, indeed, a good moth for the parish.
The first new for year was the 400th species identified within the parish, last year, the 400th species was taken on the 11th August 2016, made up of 210 macros and 190 micros. This year the total of 400 has been reached with 226 macros and 174 micros, not too far out.
Also, another milestone was reached with the Flounced rustic being the 300th moth species taken in the garden this year. Again, a comparison with last year, when the 300th garden species was trapped on, amazingly 3rd August 2016, one day out!
Peppered moth

Mouse moth

Yponomeuta plumbella

1st white-point, showing that the dot does not have to be perfectly circular, so not a diagnostic feature as mentioned in some guides

2nd white-point with a more perfect white point.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

July records and Stats so far this year


Following my Sri Lankan visit, I returned to moth trapping on 20.vii.17 and the following night before another hiatus as we were in Norfolk for a couple of nights.
Very disappointing weather conditions meant both home and away traps were not recording insects in any great numbers. On some occasions, it just wasn't worth the effort to set up the 15 watt heath trap at one of the 14 local sites I have used this year.
A new for year record on the 21st was a browntail, but better was a new for parish records: a yarrow pug. Upon our return from Holkham, nothing notable on the 24th whilst the following night, I ventured out to Pig's Green, a damp green lane surrounded by mature trees. In with the 50+ hornets upon my return at 11.45pm were Cydalima perspectalis (NFY) and another new for the parish record in the shape of Least Yellow underwing. At home that night, a relatively poor haul to the garden 125 watt Skinner trap included a new for year Agriphila tristella.
Black arches


Hummingbird hawkmoth

Least yellow underwing

A hummingbird hawkmoth was noted in the garden on the 26th and everyday since whilst a reasonably early rosy rustic and Notocelia roborana were new for year in the garden trap that night. The best of the haul was my first record of Bordered pug, not a common moth for gardens.
The 27th was just a home trap night, giving a new for year record of Coleophora trifolii. Similar set up the following night realised a new for parish record of a rather worn Maple pug.
The 29th was particularly poor so on the 30th I thought I may as well run the heath trap, nothing to lose, so I left it from 8.30pm until 11.45 on a footpath crossing Ash Valley Golf Course. Plenty of goat willow, fescues and lots of longer grasses. Consequently, plenty of shaded broad bar, but also Cochylis hybridella , new for year. On the same night, the garden trap gave up new for year records of Monopsis weaverella and Archips rosana.
Bordered pug

Coleophora trifolii

Cochylimorpha straminea

On the last night of the month, I set the Heath trap on a field margin, adjacent to some elder and nettle scrub. only 10C and breezy meant, in total just 33 moths of 9 species. Amazingly, all at the trap were micros, with the only macro being a magpie that I netted as I walked back to the car with all the gear. In these micros a new for year Cochylimorpha straminea.
So, the start of a new month and the Heath trap left until near midnight in an unmanaged deciduous woodland, where over 70 moths were taken. This total included new for parish records of Lesser spotted pinion whilst at home, another reasonable haul of 65 included Argyresthia albistria and cabbage moth being added to the year list.
Ypsolopha scabrella

Lesser spotted pinion

Argyresthia albistria


As from 01.viii.17 my annual records stand at:
6211 moths identified of 399 species made up of 226 macro species and 173 micro species.
With 34 species added to the parish list so far in 2017, I have now recorded 698 moth species in Little Hadham since I started recording on a daily basis in 2011. This total is made up from 344 macro species and 354 micro species. I anticipate the 700th parish record within the next week or so.



Friday, 21 July 2017

Sri Lanka July 2017

Following a meeting with Anoma Alagiyawadu, (resident naturalist at the excellent Jetwing Lighthouse hotel, in Galle,) during our February visit and subsequent correspondence with Daniela Noehlen, I found myself heading for Galle again on July 12th. This time, to be involved in the Sri Lanka ExChange, offering English lessons and natural history sessions to children from the Galle region of South West Sri Lanka. A great opportunity!
After the 11 hour flight and 3 hour taxi to Galle, I set up base at the Sanras Rooms and headed over the road to the Lighthouse to meet Anoma and Daniela. Certain plans had been made and after a day to catch up and discuss ideas, have a short bird wander to an area in Mahamodara the locals call The Jungle, I found myself heading in a tree laden tuk tuk, to the Kottawa Conservation rain forest to plant endemic canopy trees with 70 mothers and daughters who had travelled down from Colombo to help with the replanting scheme. This programme has been organised and supervised by Krishan and Sameera, members of BEES, (Biodiversity in Education and Exploration Society) A superb morning was had by all in good temperatures and a fantastic habitat. Basically, the ancient rainforest here was partially cut down for timber and to plant a tea plantation. When this finished, non native pine trees were put in around about 1978. Krishan and his team are now working hard to replant the correct trees to establish the original biodiversity of the forest, to improve the habitat for the resident creatures that would have utilised the rain forest over 100 years ago. On the other side of the road is a preserved area of ancient rain forest, so the expansion of the resident creatures range into the newly planted area should be swift and successful.
White throated kingfisher



Grey Fancy butterfly

Monitor lizard

Red wattled lapwing on the ground where the new test match ground is being constructed

Tiger butterfly

Sailor butterfly

red vented bulbul

white browed bulbul




Bar winged flycatcher shrike: a new bird for me

Giant squirrel

white bellied drongo

Volunteers in the rain forest replanting

Handbags vital for this habitat

Finding the ready dug holes for the saplings

The future view, large canopy trees

Hole digging in 34C

Making sure it is straight

Looking pleased to be here.

snake checking tree holes for frogs and geckos

same snake

A bit closer, probably 5 feet in length.
Following this adventure, we headed off to the centre where I ran a session for a group of children on kite making and flying.

Kite flying

2 of the tree planting party

Kite making


A few more local wanders, plus time spent at the Lighthouse hotel having further discussions and meetings before a 2nd chance to go tree planting. This time, in another area where we first entertained a group of Chinese teenagers and then a group of similarly aged English youths. Here, I planted an endemic mango tree, again, in an area cut back for a tea plantation.
Path to the replanting area

My first oriental white eye, wonderful bird, perpetually moving through the lower branches.

Oriental magpie robin

Sri Lankan drongo

Much better photo of the Oriental white eye

Black hooded oriole

View from the forest across the valley north of Galle

Interested Oriental honey buzzard, another 1st for me.

It circled overhead for a while

Asian palm swift

The best way to photograph these fast flying birds is to find a gap in the canopy and fire off many shots as they zoom through the frame finder.
Another visit to an excellent English Language Centre, run by Anura called the EnglishWay Institute. Here we spoke to teenagers about England, their interests and aspirations before a wonderful meal with Anura and his wife. We were also entertained by Anoma and his wife Anusha and also at Krishan's house. On each occasions, lovely curries, rice and dhall.
On one occasion I took a tuk tuk to Koggala for a meal with Dimuthu whom we met back in February. Again, curry, this time tuna with potato curry and dhall. Dimuthu then returned me to Galle for another evening meeting.
On my last day, some free time before taking the train to Colombo for an overnight stay before a taxi to the airport for a 1pm flight home. I spent time visiting several people including Chaminda, Raja, Nona, Nilantha, all of whom we have met on each visit and also a final trip to The Jungle for more bird shots.
Rose ringed parakeet

White breasted waterhen

Sri Lankan view of the moon, mid morning

a fast flying Shikra, a sparrow hawk type species

Scaley breasted munia

juvenile black hooded oriole

yellow billed babbler

brown headed barbet


One evening was spent a few minutes uphill from my room, where Anoma, Daniela and I wandered around with head torches and net, catching any moths that appeared. We were only there between 6,30 and 8.30 so very few species caught. However, came across a black scorpion, always good when walking around in flip flops, several caterpillar species, frogs on walls and all in all, a great two hours. These insects yet to be identified to species.

Hawkmoth caterpillar, possibly Oleander hawkmoth




Possible mantis species feeding on a grasshopper/cricket species



A superb time and one that I shall be repeating. Thanks to all for the support, hard work, planning, guidance, especially: Anoma, Daniela, Sameera, Krishan, Anura. A wonderful organisation in its infancy. It will surely grow and become a very strong institution that will benefit the children of Galle.

This is me

This is me
At the end of another Norfolk Coastal footpath walk. 47 miles, 3 days 99 species of bird

Caley Wood view

Caley Wood view
sunshine through the canopy 29.05.08

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007
Best birds on this walk: black and middle spotted woodpecker and short toed treecreeper

About Me

My photo
A primary school teacher for 30 years, I retired from teaching in July 2009 to set up my own science enhancement and communication company. The Primary Works offers science clubs, workshops and staged science shows nationwide. I have always been interested in bird watching since my early years. Apparently my first tick was after inquiring about a chaffinch and then receiving the Observer book of birds. By the age of 9 I had moved on to Tory Peterson's collins guide and was now involved on YOC birding holidays to Northumbria, Essex coast, Slimbridge and Yorkshire. My twitching rule is that I will willingly travel 1km for each gram the bird weighs. However, I have had many rarities just by being in the right place. I have travelled widely throughout Europe and also visited Australia and Sri Lanka. Further European destinations are planned and a bigger trip to The Crimea was planned for 2014 but now not possible. so 2014: Sri Lanka in January, Poland in April, Madeira in June and The Camargue in July. So far 2015 has been Sri Lanka in Jan, Poland in Feb, Sri Lanka in April and The Camargue coming up in 1st week of September.

Grey heron

Grey heron
Over the allotment 28.09.08

Southern Hawker

Southern Hawker
Ridge footpath 27.08.08

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)
Note the stripes, denoting a bird fledged this year.

common blue

common blue
Ash Valley G.C. 15.08.08

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)
River Ash

azure damselfly

azure damselfly
River Ash 28.07.08

marbled white

marbled white
Discovered at Westland Green 22.07.08

ruddy darter

ruddy darter
Bush Wood 21.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08
growing in hedgerow in Chapel Lane

cinnabar moth caterpillar

cinnabar moth caterpillar
Photographed on ragwort 19.07.08

Bittersweet

Bittersweet
Study of petals 11.06.08

male yellowhammer

male yellowhammer
08.06.08

common blue butterfly

common blue butterfly
06.06.08

River Ash

River Ash
looking south from the bridge at Hadham Ford

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)
in rape field 29.05.08

Caley Wood sunshine

Caley Wood sunshine
29.05.08

Millenium Wood fox

Millenium Wood fox
24.05.08

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)
06.05.08 banks of the River Ash

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)
flowers, leaves and fruit edible . Good in salad and pesto

April showers

April showers
Double rainbow 30.04.08

Caley Wood bluebells

Caley Wood bluebells
22.04.08

Yellow Archangel

Yellow Archangel
Chapel Lane (20.04.08)

sunlight 16.04.08

sunlight 16.04.08
looking south west from Bush Wood

snowy buds

snowy buds
06.04.08 in Bush Wood

Looking north west

Looking north west
05.04.08 evening shower approaching

Back Garden

Back Garden
Easter Sunday (23.03.08)

Brick Kiln Hill

Brick Kiln Hill
Looking east (23.03.08)

No play today

No play today
The 2nd hole at Ash Valley golf course

Teasel head

Teasel head
Bush Wood (21.03.08)

Reflections

Reflections
daffodils at Bush Wood pond (21.03.08)

Swollen River Ash

Swollen River Ash
The river at the bottom of Winding Hill 16.03.08

Daybreak over the chapel

Daybreak over the chapel
Thursday 13th March

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)
growing in Bush Wood

January snowdrops

January snowdrops
Banks of River Ash, north of Much Hadham

Good Moon

Good Moon
From garden 24.01.08

Village Green

Village Green
Looking east towards Acremore Street

Looking south before Hadham Ford

Looking south before Hadham Ford
rare January blue sky

Useful sites

The following are some useful websites that may interest readers of this blog.
Firstly, Bishop's Stortford Natural History Society http://bsnhs.webplus.net/

Fellow birder, Gary Whelan's blog. Gives reports from our trips out together plus reports from his trips abroad. http://hairybirders.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.hertsbirdclub.org.uk/ The official herts bird club website. Frequently updated, listing bird sightings around the county. Offers links to many other websites. Both of these sites also offer links to yahoo discussion groups.
http://www.birdforum.net/ An international site. You can enter as a guest but become a member( free) to post comments, bird sightings and just about anything to do with wild birds. Good news updates, classified section for binoculars, cameras etc.
http://www.guidedbirdwatching.com/ A new site set up where you can contact people worldwide who will help you find good birds in their country. UK section being set up presently.
http://www.britainsbirder.co.uk/
Fellow birders blog. Strtford resident, Graeme Smith regulary birds the area south of Stortford as well as around Spellbrook and the River Stort from Spellbrook to Twyford Locks. Some superb bird photography: Graeme uses a digital camera attached to his powerful telescope to get detailled images of the birds he sees. Well worth a browse.
Two local sites that may be of interest can be found at
http://www.thehadhams.com/ www.thepelhams.net/content/section/12/139/

South Easterly walk

South Easterly walk
black, normal, red extended walk

South Westerly route.

South Westerly route.
Black usual, red extended

North Easterly walk

North Easterly walk
black short, walk. Red, extended

North West Patch

North West Patch
black route regular. Red route the extended wander