Sunday, 29 November 2020

Foggy Times at Wallington

 This afternoon set off for Wallington near Baldock to check along the lane for several birds of prey: merlin, Hen harrier, Short eared owl as well as Corn buntings, a species long since departed from East Herts.

Drove through thick fog around Cottered and nearly turned around but upon arriving at Wallington Road the fog was now a little thinner. I scanned the fields where a few other birders were and the Merlin was found on the ground, some 400 yards away. A pale breasted Common buzzard sat atop a telegraph pole, Corn buntings sat on the wires and a pair of stonechat posed on top of umbellifers. A tractor and quad bike disturbed the lot so off up the lane for the SEO. A couple out walking had seen it some 15 minutes previously but after 2 hours in worsening light, I headed home having not seen it. Try again in better light conditions later in the week. 

Some record shots here.

Corn buntings and goldfinches

Pair of Corn buntings

Fog bound Common buzzard

As clear as I can get the Merlin shots
Merlin


Sunday, 1 November 2020

Things to look out for in November and December

 With a new national lockdown commencing on Thursday for at least 4 weeks, I suspect there will be many who will be making the most of this time to get out for walks in the countryside. 

Last lockdown I put up a series of walks that are all around Bishop's Stortford and I shall paste links to these at the end of this blog entry.

Whilst there are considerably fewer insects about now there are plenty of other wildlife species that, with a little searching in the correct habitat will be relatively easy to find.

Birds:

Probably the easiest to find will be the larger birds such as crows, rook, jackdaws and gulls. These can be seen, often in large numbers on playing fields and ploughed fields. A check on the football fields at Grange Paddocks would be a good start for these and with a pair of binoculars it is not too tricky to pick out different birds. Black headed gulls (red beak, spot behind the eye) Lesser black backed gull (dark grey, yellow legs) Herring gull (pink legs, lighter grey with brown speckling on head and neck and Common gull (smaller, light grey, yellow bill with black stripe and greeny/yellow legs) may all be present.

In here: 7 Black headed gulls, 4 Common gulls, 3 Lesser black backed gull, 1 Herring gull and a random Lapwing. Can you spot them?


Carrion crows (black bill) Rook (silver grey pointed bill and showing shaggy feathers on legs) and Jackdaws (smaller with a grey nape and sparkling blue/grey eye) will also be present in numbers. 

Large flocks of starlings will also be feeding on the ground. At first sight a black bird but upon closer inspection, often covered with white spots and in sunlight, showing purples, greens and blues.

Also thrushes and blackbirds. Fieldfares (large birds, speckled breast shaded golden and very noisy. their chack chack call gives away their presence can be found both feeding on the ground and in berry trees as can the smaller Redwing with its very distinctive white eyebrow and red "armpits" when in flight. Usually silent but can give a thin, wispy call when in flight parties. The large mistle thrush with speckled breast and overall grey appearance and smaller Song thrush with its arrow head spots on the breast can also be found in good numbers.

Song thrush



In seed bearing trees, particularly alders there will be a good chance of seeing both Lesser redpoll and Siskin. Latter a greeny/yellow finch in female and first year birds with the male being a striking yellow and black bird. Often in parties of up to 70 at a time. The Lesser redpoll is a light grey bird that can feed, like the siskin, hanging upside down from the alder cones. It shows a small red patch on the forehead, the rest of the plumage a grey/white streaking.


Residents such as Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Greenfinches will be seen in good numbers wherever there is food, both seeds and berries. Bullfinches become more obvious at this time of the year as the leaves drop and they often gather together in parties so if you see one flying, showing a very obvious white rump, hang around a while as there is every possibility there will be more following. Their call is like a squeaking iron gate. Fairly quiet but distinguishable.

Chaffinch

Jay numbers increase in winter with many migrating over the North Sea from Scandinavia. These are colourful birds that associate with oak woods. Magpies, of course will be everywhere.

Little grebe


On ponds and rivers there may well be an increase in wildfowl, with the ever present mallards making up most of the numbers but always worth checking for other species such as Gadwall, Shoveler, pochard and teal. Coots and Moorhens will also be present and on larger stretches of water, Little grebe will be found, such as along the Stort both north and south of Spellbrook locks. 

drake Teal

drake shoveler

Gadwall pair


Birds of prey can be seen more frequently in winter as the short hours of daylight force them to maximise their hunting times, so Kestrels (the only bird of prey that hovers) found along hedgerows whilst Sparrowhawks will visit gardens, especially if you have bird feeders about whilst Red kites and Common buzzards will almost certainly be a daily sight.

Great spotted woodpeckers can be seen more frequently as the leaves drop from deciduous trees but always check for the smaller (sparrow sized) Lesser spotted woodpecker. By the end of December it will be likely that the GSW will already be drumming its territorial call. This lasts for a few seconds and is regularly repeated.

Great spotted woodpecker (female as no red on neck)


Tawny owls and Little owls will be calling at night. Twitt twoo call of the tawny is well known. I liken the call of the little owl to the soundtrack to the shower scene in the film Psycho. You'll recognise it when you hear it.

Tawny owl found on the side of the road. Made full recovery at a vets who named it Deidre. I put the gardening gloves on as the talons are razor sharp.

Along rural hedgerows the yellowhammer will be overwintering in good numbers. Also here, as just about everywhere, Great, Blue and Long tailed tits and, if near conifers, a chance of a Coal tit, showing a white oblong on the back of the head. Also, in trees growing in hedgerows both nuthatch and tree creeper are possible.

Tree creeper

Plenty of other birds will be encountered, this just to give a flavour of what may be found on any wander along the footpaths surrounding Stortford.

Insects:

The butterflies and dragon/damselflies have just about finished now. On a sunny day before the first frost it may be possible to come across one or two. There will be some wasps still about, craneflies, and several fly species. All these can be found by checking any flowerheads on footpaths as well as in the garden. Here are a few from my garden today, 01.11.2020





Signs of insects can be found, especially in leaf mines on the brown leaves. Look for marks on the leaves that look like tunnels. These will be made by tiny caterpillars that munch there way around the leaves. This leaves a very distinctive trail that, when the tree species is known and the pattern of the mine is known, can be identified to species. Children love looking for these and they are very easy to find. To get started, check on well known trees like apple, hazel and hawthorn. Hold the leaf up to the light and you may be able to see the caterpillar still inside. Alternatively, there will be a hole where the cat has eaten its way out to pupate.

Garden or Woodland Activity: Stuff an old pair of tights with leaves picked up from the woodland floor or the garden lawn. When full, leave under a hedge all winter and into spring and in about April, bring it in to a warmer place such as a garage or shed. In mid May, tip out the contents whereupon you'll come across loads of tiny moths, a few beetles and several fly species that were all pupating in or on the leaf litter. 

Worth also picking up leaf litter in woodland habitats to check for ground beetles. There are a few that can be found throghout the winter.

Spiders:

Most spiders will be finished by now, but a wander around the garden with a torch may turn up several species as well as checking sheds, garages and corners of ceilings. One that is still in the garden is Araneus diadematus, the Garden cross spider. Females make a web each day and usually sit in the middle of it. Look for this near security lights or outside patio lights. This sort of habitat can also attract other spider species, too. Sitting here in my shed/office I can see 3 spiders, two species as I am typing. Here's one of them.

Zygiella x notata

Links to walks:

https://littlehadhambirding.blogspot.com/2020/05/local-walk-6-west-from-tescos-to-bury.html

https://littlehadhambirding.blogspot.com/2020/05/local-walk-5-thorley-church-spellbrrok.html

https://littlehadhambirding.blogspot.com/2020/05/local-walk-4-start-and-finish-at.html

https://littlehadhambirding.blogspot.com/2020/05/local-walk-3-little-hadham-area.html

https://littlehadhambirding.blogspot.com/2020/05/local-walk-2-flitch-way-with-extension.html

https://littlehadhambirding.blogspot.com/2020/05/walks-around-stortford-walk-1-from.html

Hope these help and that the walks are not too muddy. Note, they are at present!! I shall add extra details as I think of them in edits here. Plenty to find, just have to look a little closer. Good luck and I look forward to hearing about where you went and what you saw. 

Saturday, 17 October 2020

2020 Bird Year list

I don't often keep a year list of birds but thought this year has been so different I thought it would be worth recording for posterity. This is a list, as far as I can recall up until 29th November.
Goldcrest

Song thrush



  1. Red throated diver
  2.  Little grebe
  3.  Great crested grebe
  4.  Fulmar
  5.  Gannet
  6.  Cormorant
  7.  Cattle egret
  8.  Little egret
  9. Great egret
  10.  Grey heron
  11.  Spoonbill
  12.  Mute swan
  13.  Pink footed goose
  14.  Greylag goose
  15.  Canada goose
  16.  Barnacle goose
  17.  Brent goose
  18.  Shelduck
  19.  Egyptian goose
  20.  Mallard
  21.  Gadwall
  22.  Shoveler
  23.  Teal
  24.  Pochard
  25.  Tufted duck
  26.  Common scoter
  27.  Goldeneye
  28.  Red kite
  29.  Marsh harrier
  30.  Hen harrier
  31.  Common buzzard
  32.  Sparrowhawk
  33.  Kestrel
  34.  Hobby
  35.  Peregrine
  36.  Red legged partridge
  37.  Grey partridge
  38. Pheasant
  39.  Water rail
  40.  Coot
  41.  Moorhen
  42.  Oystercatcher
  43.  Avocet
  44.  Little ringed plover
  45.  Ringed plover
  46.  Grey plover
  47.  Golden plover
  48.  Lapwing
  49.  Knot
  50.  Sanderling
  51.  Turnstone
  52.  Dunlin
  53.  Green sandpiper
  54.  Redshank
  55.  Greenshank
  56.  Black tailed godwit
  57.  Bar tailed godwit
  58.  Curlew
  59.  Snipe
  60.  Red necked phalarope
  61.  Ruff
  62.  Great skua
  63.  Black headed gull
  64.  Herring gull
  65.  Lesser black backed gull
  66.  Greater black backed gull
  67.  Common gull
  68.  Mediterranean gull
  69.  Sandwich tern
  70.  Common tern
  71.  Wood pigeon
  72.  Collared dove
  73.  Cuckoo (heard)
  74.  Tawny owl
  75.  Little owl
  76.  Short eared owl
  77.  Barn owl
  78.  Swift
  79.  House martin
  80.  Sand martin
  81.  Swallow
  82.  Hoopoe
  83.  Kingfisher
  84.  Rose ringed parakeet
  85.  Green woodpecker
  86.  Great spotted woodpecker
  87.  Skylark
  88.  Rock pipit
  89.  Meadow pipit
  90.  Pied wagtail
  91.  Yellow wagtail
  92.  Grey wagtail
  93.  Wren
  94.  Dunnock
  95.  Robin
  96.  Redstart
  97.  Wheatear 
  98.  Song thrush
  99.  Mistle thrush
  100.  Fieldfare
  101.  Redwing
  102.  Blackbird
  103.  Ring ouzel
  104.  Barred warbler
  105.  Garden warbler
  106.  Blackcap
  107.  Lesser whitethroat
  108.  Whitethroat
  109.  Sedge warbler
  110.  Cetti's warbler
  111.  Reed warbler
  112.  Willow warbler
  113.  Chiffchaff
  114.  Radde's warbler
  115.  Yellow browed warbler
  116.  Pallas's warbler
  117.  Goldcrest
  118.  Spotted flycatcher
  119.  Pied flycatcher
  120.  Red breasted flycatcher
  121.  Great tit
  122.  Coal tit
  123.  Marsh tit
  124.  Blue tit
  125. Long tailed tit
  126.  Bearded reedling
  127.  Nuthatch
  128.  Tree creeper
  129.  Brown shrike
  130.  Magpie
  131.  Jay
  132.  Carrion crow
  133.  Raven
  134.  Jackdaw
  135.  Rook
  136.  Starling
  137.  House sparrow
  138.  Chaffinch
  139.  Brambling
  140.  Linnet
  141.  Lesser redpoll
  142.  Goldfinch
  143.  Greenfinch
  144.  Siskin
  145.  Bullfinch
  146.  Reed bunting
  147.  Yellowhammer
  148.  Snow bunting
  149.  Siskin
  150.  Woodcock
  151.  Goosander
  152.  Corn bunting
  153.  Merlin
  154.  Stonechat
Redstart


Return to Norfolk

 Last Wednesday (14th October) there were easterlies blowing over the North Sea along with heavy rain. Perfect conditions for forcing migrants to seek shelter and as Friday was a free day, I set off just after 5am for another day based around Wells Next the Sea. 

My usual coffee and snack at Wells Co-Op and then along to Garden Drove, some 3 miles east of Wells. Along the very muddy track before parking near the pig fields and down the track which emerges on Warham Greens. A covey of young Grey partridges greeted my arrival as I changed into my walking boots, collected the camera and binoculars and was off. Everything and anything was possible here so each tree was checked along the 600 yard track. Goldcrests in their 100's! A sycamore and adjacent oak was absolutely swarming with them but the light was not good enough so I planned to get some snaps as I returned to the car.

On to the Coastal Footpath and headed west towards Wells. Thrush species in good number: Fieldfare (a few,) Redwing (loads,) Scandinavian blackbirds showing their all black bill (100's) along with a few rattling Mistle thrushes and a solitary Song thrush. Goldfinches and linnets also in good sized flocks whilst out on the Greens: Brent geese, Little egrets, Redshanks and curlews along with Black headed gulls a plenty. A good start. Flocks of Skylarks overhead and further inland the constant sound of Pink footed geese. Wrens alarm called, Robins sang and a very brief view of a Ring ouzel, my first of the season, its silvery wings distinguishing it from the numerous blackbirds.

After about a mile, I decided to head back and there was nothing new appearing. I checked a well known hollow, full of brambles but just thrush sp, reed buntings and finches. I arrived back at Garden Drove to note a few more goldcrests hovering over and under leaves. Always a chance of a Siberian warbler species in with them and it wasn't long before I caught sight of a larger bird with bright yellow over the eye, a Yellow browed warbler. This bird breeds upon the Siberian Taiga. First of 3 that I found.

Back to the main flock of goldcrests that appeared to have grown in number. All very active and busy feeding, so much so they often came too close for the camera to focus. Again, I checked through them for anything else, but nothing was apparent. A superb sight, the most I have ever come across in such a small area. Needless to say, I fired off many photos in still grey light. I messed around with manual settings and a few came out reasonably well lit but many did not!

A flock of wigeon headed west as I arrived back at the car, already suitably pleased and rather muddy.

Grey partridge
Pied wagtail


Pink foots

Linnets

Song thrush, note arrow head shaped spots that helps distinguish from Mistle thrush

Scandinavian/Siberian blackbird showing black bill

Feeding frenzy of Goldfinches

Goldcrest

Male goldcrest showing orange crown

Goldcrests were never still!

Female goldcrest showing yellow crown

The wingbar here helps search out yellow browed warbler as they have two bars

Checking for insects and spiders

This sycamore leaf gives an indication of how small this female is

Great expression from this female

Wigeon flock heading west

I now headed off to Wells Woods and stumped up a rather extortionate £3.50 for two hours of parking at the beach car park. I headed towards the Dell but by the time I arrived there it was clearly apparent that there were few, if any migrants present. In fact there were hardly any birds: Great tits, Long tailed tits, wrens, Blue tits and Robins along with an overhead kestrel. These were expensive birds! A yellow browed warbler called from a distant birch, proving too fast for the camera and a female blackcap sat atop a bramble pile. I continued to check the bushes but very little to be found so, having checked the boating lake where Little grebe got on to the day list I was back at the car after 45 minutes. 

Little grebe
Definite sign of few birds if you resort to photographing Grey squirrels!


I now headed to Lady Anne's Drive opposite the Victoria hotel at Holkham. Same price structure for parking here so another £3.50 and off I went. A Great white egret flew over before landing in a ditch at distance whilst Grey lag geese, Egyptian geese, wigeon, lapwings and a few curlews probed the muddy pastures. A Wall butterfly roosted on a car hubcap.

Into Holkham pines and headed west. Again, very little apart from goldcrests again. I stopped to check through this very mobile flock but just another Yellow browed so I moved further west. Just before the Jordan tower hide another fall of goldcrests in an oak. Surely this time I would get something else, a Firecrest perhaps, but no, better than that. Right at the back, feeding rapidly in a birch a bird slightly larger than goldcrest but showing a yellow crown stripe but with 2 broad yellow eye stripes, too and a pair of wingbars, a Pallas's warbler. I watched it hover over leaves much like a goldcrest whereupon the yellow rump was visible, sealing the id. Another Siberian taiga bird brought over by the easterlies. I fired of photos but the light was so poor and the bird so fast that it was pointless.

Photo here from the internet to get an idea what this wonderful sprite looks like. Not a regular bird for the UK, just my 5th ever and all from Holkham and Wells Woods

By now my time was close to expiring and I know how diligent the car park attendants are along here so back to the car and off to my final destination of the day.

Distant great white egret

Incoming Greylags
Unusual roost for a Wall butterfly


Greylag

Pink foots

Pallas's warbler (not my photo)

I parked opposite a path that leads to the dunes some 2 miles out from Burnham Overy Staithe and set off again, checking hedges. A chiffchaff called its autumn wheet wheet call and in neighbouring fields plenty of geese. Meadow pipits greeted me on the old sea defence wall, not the coastal footpath and over the mud flats plenty of redshanks probed. Huge parties of linnets and goldfinches as I started to check bushes around Gun Hill but, as last time I was there, very little to be found so I headed back to the board walk for the 1.5 mile walk back east towards Holkham Pines. Far across the fields a Short Eared owl sat on the ground, another season's first and plenty of stonechat on top of brambles.

Just before entering into the pines, not 400 yards from where I hade been near the Jordan tower hide, there is well known hollow which is overgrown with brambles and plenty of cover for skulking migrants. Several other birders were already present but there was plenty of room for us all so I was content being there. A Barred warbler had been seen earlier in the day as well as a Siberian stonechat. The Barred warbler is a bird that usually stays well hidden in deep vegetation as is often found on call rather than sight. After a few minutes a rounded grey bird popped up, took a berry and was gone. That was the view for the next 20 minutes before it showed a couple more times. By now, it was useless light but I fired away more in hope than expectation. The results speak for themselves.

No sign of the unusual stonechat but in a field of Belted Galloway cattle, a grey heron and a pair of cattle egrets. One of the egrets was feeding upon a frog. Huge numbers of cormorant were coming into roost, often in parties of 35+ and the pink foots were heading off to their night time roost as well. I headed back to the car in the gathering gloom having had another great day. So many birds within just a few miles of Wells and no need to visit a busy bird reserve. I had covered over 10 miles on foot. Before finishing I managed a few grey photos of dunlin on the mud but sadly, by the time I got a reasonable view of the hunting Short eared owl it was just too dark to bother. Another day for this species. 

Wading redshank

A very strange and short lived light over the dunes
Greylags


Feeding goldfinch

More goldfinches

Loads of linnets, 1 Goldfinch

Best I could manage of the distant and elusive Barred warbler

No sooner seen, than gone!



Grey heron using the Belted Galloways to disturb its prey

Cattle egret with frog

Cormorants off to roost

Golden plover flock

Cormorant in rapidly darkening sky

Feeding dunlin

Last photo of the day, Pink footed geese.

Species list

  1. Little grebe
  2. Cormorant
  3. Cattle egret
  4. Little egret
  5. Great white egret
  6.  Grey heron
  7.  Mute swan
  8.  Pink footed goose
  9.  Greylag goose
  10.  Canada goose
  11.  Brent goose
  12.  Shelduck
  13.  Egyptian goose
  14.  Mallard
  15.  Gadwall
  16.  Wigeon
  17.  Teal
  18.  Marsh harrier
  19.  Red kite
  20.  Common buzzard
  21.  Kestrel
  22.  Peregrine falcon
  23.  Grey partridge
  24.  Red legged partridge
  25.  Pheasant
  26.  Moorhen
  27.  Coot
  28.  Golden plover
  29.  Lapwing
  30.  Dunlin
  31.  Redshank
  32.  Curlew
  33.  Snipe
  34.  Black headed gull
  35.  Herring gull
  36.  Lesser black backed gull
  37.  Wood pigeon
  38.  Collared dove
  39.  Short eared owl
  40.  Green woodpecker
  41.  Great spotted woodpecker
  42.  Skylark
  43.  Meadow pipit
  44.  Pied wagtail
  45.  Wren
  46.  Dunnock
  47.  Robin
  48.  Stonechat
  49.  Song thrush
  50.  Mistle thrush
  51.  Fieldfare
  52.  Redwing
  53.  Blackbird
  54.  Ring ouzel
  55.  Blackcap
  56.  Chiffchaff
  57.  Barred warbler
  58.  Cetti's warbler (heard)
  59.  Yellow browed warbler
  60.  Pallas's warbler
  61.  Goldcrest
  62. Great tit
  63. Coal tit
  64.  Blue tit
  65.  Long tailed tit
  66.  Bearded reedling (Heard)
  67.  Nuthatch
  68.  Magpie
  69.  Jay
  70.  Jackdaw
  71.  Rook
  72.  Carrion crow
  73.  Starling
  74.  House sparrow
  75.  Chaffinch
  76.  Goldfinch
  77.  Linnet
  78.  Greenfinch
  79.  Reed bunting
Yet another Goldcrest, female



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. In 2016 I spent time at Portland Bird Obs and two trips to Aviero, Portugal. 2017 found me back in Sri Lanka in Feb/March, then July and back for New Year's Eve celebrations in December. Also returned to The Camargue in May for a 4 day trip. Few plans for 2018, but nothing yet booked apart from a trip to the IOW.

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