Monday, 6 April 2020

Garden List during Self Isolation

Now been more than a fortnight of self isolation and keeping a check on everything recorded in the garden so far;

Birds:
Goldfinch
  1. Grey heron
  2. Greylag goose (heard overhead whilst checking moth trap after dark)
  3.  Canada goose
  4.  Mallard
  5.  Red kite
  6.  Common buzzard
  7.  Pheasant (heard)
  8.  Wood pigeon
  9.  Collared dove
  10.  Tawny owl (heard)
  11. Little owl (heard)
  12.  Great spotted woodpecker (heard calling and drumming)
  13.  Green woodpecker
  14.  Skylark (heard)
  15.  Pied wagtail
  16.  Wren
  17.  Dunnock
  18.  Robin
  19.  Song thrush
  20.  Blackbird
  21.  Chiffchaff (heard)
  22. Goldcrest
  23.  Great tit
  24.  Coal tit
  25.  Blue tit
  26.  Long tailed tit
  27.  Magpie
  28.  Jackdaw
  29.  Carrion crow
  30.  Rook
  31.  Starling
  32.  House sparrow
  33.  Chaffinch
  34.  Goldfinch

Coal tit


Insects:
Butterflies:
  1.  Peacock
  2.  Small white
  3. Large white
  4.  Brimstone
  5.  Small tortoiseshell
  6.  Comma
Moths:
  1.  Small quaker
  2.  Common quaker
  3. Clouded drab
  4. Diurnea fagella
  5.  Emmelina monodactyla
  6. Emperor
  7.  Double striped pug
  8.  March moth
  9.  Engrailed 
  10.  Hebrew character 
  11.  Agonopterix heracliana
  12.  Mompha subbistrigella
Emperor moth

Beetles:
  1. 7 spot ladybird
  2.  Pine ladybird
Pine ladybird

Bees and wasps:
  1. Andrena bicolor
  2.  Bombus terrestris
  3.  Vespula vulgaris
Bombus terrestris

Flies:
  1.  Bombylius major Dark edged bee fly
  2.  Calliphora vomitoria Bluebottle species
  3.  Fannia canicularis Lesser house fly
  4. Eristalis pertinax (hoverfly)
Spiders:
  1.  Pardosa sp
  2. Salticus scenicus (Common zebra spider)



Dark edged bee fly

Monday activity

Morning all,
Wow, what a fantastic Sunday. We were in the garden all day and managed to get some new species on to my Self Isolation garden list. A pine ladybird was a first of the year and a coal tit was heard calling nearby before it came to the bird feeder in the garden. I also trapped my first Emperor moth of the year. It came to a pheromone lure I put out about 1pm and attracted 2 moths about 5.15pm Stunning moth. Photo tomorrow as it is still in the fridge, ready for a photo and release when the rain stops.

Today's Activity:

A puzzle involving zebras I saw on Facebook reminded me of an activity I have done with children before. It helps explain why sometimes camouflage patterns seem to be so wrong. A zebra being a perfect example. Burnt African plains are shades of brown and green so why would a zebra seem so obvious with black and white patterning? Try this:
Draw an outline of a zebra on card and cut it out to use as a template. Make it about 8 cm long and 4 cm high. Draw around it on paper, add the stripes and colour them black. Do this plenty of times until you have about 15 zebra pictures. Now, take a piece of large plain paper and stick them on to this as if they were in a herd. i.e. on top of one another, spread out so they are overlapping. When all have been stuck together, colour the rest of the piece of paper to resemble the African plain. Stand about 4 metres away and see if you can count the zebras. 
This is basically what a lion sees. It doesn't see 15 zebras, it just sees a shape of black and white stripes and cannot define a single creature. If they were solitary they would be very visible. Clever, eh?

Over the weekend I cooked a butternut squash and dhall curry. I have now dried the seeds of the squash, the green pepper and the scotch bonnet chillies for planting out when it becomes a little warmer. Also, a few photos of what I saw in the garden over the last 2 days.

Request:
If anyone took photos of butterflies in their garden this weekend I would be really grateful if I could use them in my next Bishop's Stortford Independent article which I shall be putting together early next week. Only stipulation is that they need to be in excess of 2Mb and the larger the better. My next article is about identifying garden butterfly species and, whilst I have loads of photos, I shrink them to keep on the laptop and consequently, they are too small for inclusion. Be very grateful if any readers can oblige. Full credits given in the paper. Many thanks. jforgham"at"hotmail.com using the @ symbol not the at word. I just do that to stop web scraping sites from gathering my email address.
Seeds drying and placed in labelled envelopes for May time.

Goldfinch

7 spot ladybird

Pine ladybird

Coal tit

red kite

Goldfinch

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Weekend Activity

Morning All,
Today I am suggesting a really good initiative that can combine an interest in nature and help an elderly or vulnerable member of our society. This is aimed at locals to Bishop's Stortford and Swabridgeworth, but something folk from further afield can also think about. A very worthy idea.

Today's activity:

The Wellbeloved Club in Stortford and Sawbridgeworth, set up to help the elderly and isolated in the towns have set up an initiative whereby children become penpals with elderly folk. All that is required is that children write a newsy, interesting letter which can contain nature drawings, a poem or a painting, too and put it in an envelope. Either drop it off at the Bishop's Stortford Independent office at 12, North Street or post it, marking the envelope penpal. Staff in the office will do the rest. Please do include your address.
I think you'll agree, a brilliant thing to do. 



Round up from the last few days. With the colder weather, not too much in the garden of note. I came across this Pardosa spider species floating along on its silken thread.
Pardosa species
I also received a photo for identification of a bee species sitting on Jack in the Hedge (Allaria pettiolata) which I have yet to discover which species of Andrena bee it is. There are 67 species in this genus and all rather similar so a case of whittling down the ones it can';t be to begin with eg coastal species, rarities found only at one site in the UK etc.
As yet, unidentified bee species. (I'll be back)
Also in my garden a male robin was singing to establish his territory. Seems very partial to the next door neighbours holly tree.

Also, this weekend looks to be a really wonderful one weather wise. Get out in the garden and try to get photos of insects that will be about. How about mix up some honey or syrup with water to dilute it a little and use a paint brush to put it on a fence or tree trunk that is in full sun around midday?
You may well attract a lot of creatures and they will be easier to photograph. Here's a fence panel I did a couple of days ago.

One word of advice. Please don't use sugar for this solution as the sugar can crystallise on the mouth parts of the insect and make feeding more difficult. Honey is best.


Here was what was attracted on a cold blustery day. This weekend should be far better.
Bluebottle.
Do have a go and please do send in your photos to me at jforgham"at"hotmail.com or put a comment below. Look forward to being challenged.
Please do get writing to the elderly and isolated, they are certainly worth it. 
Have a great weekend.
Jono

Friday, 3 April 2020

Friday activity

Morning All,
A fairly straight forward challenge today and one that I would love to see the results from.
Yesterday was a little warmer so I got out into the garden but just a chiffchaff calling nearby was new for my self isolation garden list. This weekend, particularly Sunday, looks to be a cracking day. I think it will definitely be an "out in the garden and finding things" day.

Over the last fortnight we have covered art ideas, nature spotting and a little bit of making things. Today, how about a piece of poetry writing for adults and children alike?
Choose a specific creature, maybe a spider or a bird but also think about exotic animals like elephants and giraffes, lions and tigers. See if you can find a poem already written about an animal and perhaps use that as a template, just change some words.
Alternatively, start with a new idea and write your own, rhyming, descriptive or creative, long or short, verses or not.
Be adventurous, go on, give it a go!

Maybe go into science fiction? This moth I trapped in the garden several years ago looks like it is from another planet. Could be your starting idea.

early thorn moth
How about using this wonderful Indian elephant as your subject? This was a photo of a wild elephant I took in Sri Lanka in 2018 on a Nature Reserve called Udawalawe in the south of the island.

Look forward to seeing results. Usual contact: jforgham"at"hotmail.com Keep them coming.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Thursday Activity

Morning all,
Too cold yesterday for being out and about but hopefully a little warmer today.
Last night I used a green pepper in the cooking and kept the seed head from inside. These can be planted in compost now but must be kept somewhere indoors and preferably warm like a sunny windowsill. They can go out mid May after the last chance of a frost. Don't forget to keep all vegetable seeds for planting. I now have a row of spring onion leftovers in a pot also.
My pot of other vegetable scraps is growing daily and left in the garden to attract nocturnal beetles and other insects. Just leave it there for a warm day later in the month.
Seeds from a supermarket green pepper
Thought today, seeing it is a bit on the grey side, a bright colourful painting would be a fun thing to try. What better bird to brighten up the day than a fantastically coloured bee eater. A rare bird to the UK, several overshoot their migration each year and arrive here but they are very common in The Camargue, Southern France where I love to go bird watching. A superb habitat.
Here's a photo of one I got on a previous visit there. Plenty of colour and an easy shape to draw too. Have a go and I'll be back with something different tomorrow.
Bee eater.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Wednesday activity

Morning All,
I think today looks like it is going to be cold and grey so another indoor activity to keep the children interested and occupied.
Don't forget to keep adding old vegetable peelings to pots with newspaper and cardboard. If it is now full then make another one and place somewhere in the garden. Here is one I have been doing
Composting in a pot.
I also used some spring onions yesterday so I have planted the root end, along with an inch of the vegetable. I just pushed the end into a pot of compost and watered it well. Keep an eye on it  but with these night time frosts it may take a little time to grow. Few warmer nights forecast for the weekend.
I also planted some tomato seeds from yesterday's cooking, too. These I just added to a plug planter, composted and watered and I shall keep these indoors until May when they can go out. Should germinate in 10 days or so.
Middle one is for tomoatoes. Others, wildflower seeds I planted sometime ago and coming on well. Greater knapweed, poppy and cornflower plus other species. I collected the seeds last autumn.

Today's activity:

Easy one today. Make up a set of playing cards containing animals and other wildlife. Cut paper or card to about a playing card size, about 30 should be ample. On each one draw some creatures.
eg: 5x bird species, 5x insect species, 5x amphibian species, 5x reptile species 5x flower species etc.

Now, colour it in and name it. Do a little research to find out a little about the creature and on the other side of the card make up some Top Trump card facts and figures for each one. Give each one a score up to 100, with 100 being top

eg: Robin Top trump numbers: Colour 70, song 65, rarity 10, garden 90, etc. Sure you can be more original than me.

Alternatively, instead of drawing and colouring them perhaps just print off thumbnail photos to stick on to save time and give more time for playing. 

Good luck and keep the photos and comments coming. Have another great day and keep warm.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Tuesday activity

Morning All,
Yesterday's post was looked at by 84 people and hopefully you have, or will, get a chance to send the results in. Hope you found it useful and the results were a success. I'll do more art ones each Monday as I can use a Sunday to get them prepared. Suggestions and requests always welcome. Usual contact details or just leave a comment below.

The weather looks to be bright and warm(ish) today so another outside one today.

How about design a garden nature trail. This could just be the start of this and can be added to when new things are seen. Just need:
paper
crayons or felt tips or paint
twigs, bbq skuas or short pieces of garden cane.

Take a wander around the garden and look closely. List things you find, however obvious. eg apple tree, daffodil, primrose. Then, take a piece of paper, A5 size perhaps and make a drawing of whatever you found. Colour the drawing, label it with a the name and put a date on it. Attach to a stick and place in the ground where you saw it
Perhaps put a question on the paper by the drawing which another family member has to answer. Don't forget to also count all the things that move as well, so a bird in a tree, bee on a flower, ant on the patio.
Challenge: can you get 10 places in the garden that have a question and a drawing?

Found these whilst I was planting some seeds yesterday, in between the sleet and rain showers. A red kite over the garden and a grey squirrel munching as it quietly sat on the fence.

Do have a go to keep active and doing something the children might enjoy getting involved in. Let me know things that you find. jforgham"at"hotmail.com. Look forward to getting them.

Jono


Monday, 30 March 2020

Monday's activity



Morning All,
Well, that weather yesterday was a little unexpected! Hope all is well and thought today I would take myself far out from my comfort zone! I may know the difference between a willow warbler and a chiffchaff but I know very little about doing paintings and art work. Consequently, I thought, as it looks like being an in day, you would like to see a step by step guide to putting together a painting of an ash tree. A simple method. Basically, it is based around the letters V and Y.
Draw the trunk and 2 branches in the shape of a letter Y. Then extended the branches with another Y and add a V in the middle of the branch.
Then, extend the edges of the branch either side of the letter V as shown below. Remember, the pencil lines are the edges of the branches, not the actual branches. You'll be painting between the lines.

The basic design

Now, just keep adding a smaller letter V in between each branch, adding a little more shape and curves. Have a few practice goes and you will get the technique really easily. When you have got it how you like it, get ready to draw and paint. This is my very simple one, but it does work and children love the order of it. Also, they will be proud of their finished piece because it will look like a tree and be colourful. I have kept mine to the bare minimum but I bet loads of far better ones will be completed. I have had success with Year 3 doing this. Their's were always far better than mine.

Let's get ready to go:
Water, brushes, simple paint set and paper.
First, paint the sky to about  1/2 way down the paper. I used A4. The sky can be solid or just streaky like mine. Try mixing colours: oranges, reds, blue. Add a sun, best not central.
Very straight forward
Leave to dry for a few minutes and then draw the tree, extending the branches towards the edge of the paper, but not all the way to the top of the sheet. Try to leave space under the trunk as shown here.

The trunk and 1st 2 branches
Keep drawing the Y and V shapes. Have branches in front of the sun for a sharper effect.
Keep going
Starting to fill the paper. 
Just keep going with the branches, making sure they get thinner at the tops. When you have finished the drawing just get some black paint as the tree will be in silhouette as the sun is behind it. Start painting, moving the brush in the direction the tree grows, i.e. up and down, not across.
Drawing finished: painting started.
As the branches get thinner, you may need a thinner brush.
Coming on.
Continue until the whole tree is completed. It already looks a success. 
Not too bad.
Leave the tree to dry and take a break because that will have taken a lot of concentration. At this point our cat, Norman, decided he wanted to get in on the act!! Fortunately the paint was dry.
Thanks, Norman.
Once Norman had been removed  I got back to it. Next, add a few more details. Perhaps a hedge in the distance, a fence and a gate into the field. I pressed hard here with my pencil so it came out for the photo but a lighter touch is better.
A little perspective. Note hedge gets larger as it comes down the side as it is getting closer to the viewer.

Then, get some brown paint to add a ploughed field as it is a spring or winter scene. You can paint over the gate and fence as long as the lines are still visible.
A little depth added
Now, begin to add colour to the hedge. I used brown and black to continue the silhouette theme but greens are also good.
I painted the hedge in swirly patterns
Then, back to the black paint for the silhouetted gate and fence. Add a few horizontal black lines across the field to give a shadow effect. Maybe add a much smaller tree in the distance.
Not looking too bad!
Now, nearly there. Get some greens and yellows and paint the field in front of the tree. I used the same technique as the sky, just backward and forward motions. Can always paint it in solid colour.
This adds to the perspective. I used 2 greens and a yellow
Finally, as the sun is behind the tree and gate it highlights the picture a little more to add some shadow effect. Once that is done, you're done. Stand back and enjoy your work. Very easy, I hope you agree and a quick piece of work to decorate the fridge door. Don't forget to sign your masterpiece, it will be far better than mine, I can guarantee. 
Could add birds, a pheasant in the field, wild flowers growing up the posts, birds flying or a butterfly on the posts.

Do have a go and I would be really pleased to share your results on this site over the next few days. Just a phone photo to jforgham"at"hotmail.com. I'll look forward to receiving them.
That's the home schooling for today. Not only art and nature, but the branches can be counted in 2's, 4's and 8's. Easy tables work. 
This is the very basic method. The children will be able to then have another go, a forest with a path, animals in the field. They will come up with all sorts of original ideas.
Look out for a new idea tomorrow. Posted here by 10.30am and put on my FB account and Stortford Nature account. Feel free to share this idea, just send the link to whoever. Good luck.



Round up of week 1

Morning All,
As we finished the first week  I thought a quick round up of everything that was reported to me, with great photos.
Birds seen were numerous with loads of garden species observed: Great tit, Blue tit, Long tailed tit, Dunnock, Red kite, Blackbird, Robin, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Common buzzard, Starling, Rook, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Jay, Pied wagtail, Yellowhammer, Song thrush, Mistle thrush, Goldcrest and Mallards. A good list.
Butterflies reported were Brimstone, Peacock, Comma and Small tortoiseshell. Soon the Orange tip will be flying. Look out for the male, a white butterfly with bright orange on the corners of his wings.

Other insects included bee flies, bumble bees, mining bees, bluebottles and a couple of hoverflies. A few spiders, too. Of particular note was the Jumping zebra spider.
Several species of wild flower were also reported: Lesser celandine, green alkanet, primrose, wood anemone, and the first bluebells.
On the mammal front: badgers, foxes, muntjacs and from my garden, plenty of rabbits on the far side of the Ash Valley

All in all, a good start. You may remember I suggested filling a yogurt pot or similar with left over vegetable peelings and damp cardboard. This to be left on a flowerbed, patio or lawn. Set this up and we'll come back to it at the end of the week.

I'll be adding today's challenge soon. An indoor painting one with full instructions. It is a good one with guaranteed results.

Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to look and report things as well as take photos and send them in. I appreciate it.

Buff tailed bumblebee

Comma butterfly, showing the white "comma" marking.

peacock butterfly

Common toad
Badger noted by trail camera in Gerry's garden

Giant cranefly. Photo all the way from Cornwall. Thank you, Mandy and Glenn.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Saturday activity

Morning All,
All good here in self isolation in Little Hadham. A week now and everything going well. Been so lucky with the weather.
Two things to have a go at today:

Make a sweep net to catch insects.
Easy this, just need the correct kit. You need: old tennis or badminton racket, old pillow case, scissors and drawing pins. If you don't have a racket, ask around, bet some neighbours have one tucked away in a shed.

Take the racket and cut off all the strings. Try to get all the pieces out of the rim, too. The knotted ones are the hardest. Take the pillow case (or similar) and attach to the rim with drawing pins and then turn inside out.
Now, find areas of longer grass and weedy areas and sweep the net through this about 5-8 times. Flick the pillow case over the top and then pot what you have found. Try to keep away from blackthorn and bramble bushes. You'll get all tied up with the thorns.

I appreciate it is only March and not a huge amount of insects about but you will, with a little patience, catch several species. Do please send me any photos or put up on Stortford Nature FB pages if you are a member.
In good old fashioned Blue Peter language "Here's one I prepared earlier."




Second Challenge

Grow veg without buying seeds. This is easy to do and children will start to see new growth within a week. Save all the pieces of these foodplants that you normally throw away.

Lettuce: Take the root end with a little leaf growth still on it, place in a saucer of warm water and leave somewhere sunny. When roots begin to grow transfer to a flowerpot with compost and keep in a good warm place.

Celery: Same technique as lettuce. Need to transfer to a larger pot than onion.

Ginger: Take a small piece of ginger that has a small lump on it. This will be the new growth. Place the piece in soil or compost with the lump (eye) facing upwards. Just cover with half an inch of soil, water well and put in a sunny spot.

Garlic: Plant a single clove of garlic in soil or compost in a flower pot about half and inch below the surface, water and leave. Growth will be quick. If you have a clove that has already started sprouting use that one as the garlic when added to cooking will be more bitter.

Onion: Once you have chopped the onion for cooking, keep the flat root end. Plant this in well watered compost and leave somewhere warm. Roots and shoots will appear quite rapidly.

Peppers/Chillies/Squash/Tomatoes: Once you have deseeded these for cooking, keep the seeds in a pot. Wash and leave to dry for a few days and then just plant them like expensive shop bought seeds.

Remember to keep them regularly waterered. Once they are strong enough, transfer to a small plot in the garden, but not before 2nd week of May which is traditionally the last week of frosts for the south east.
Hope you have a go at this and perhaps experiment with other vegetables, eg potatoes and carrots. Just put the top in a saucer of water and  leave.

I have used ones here that give quick returns to keep children interested, others such as pineapple tops and avocado stones take a lot longer to get going.

Have a go and please do send me any photos of what you have set up for others to see. Be great to share your photos. jforgham"at"hotmail.com
Best of luck and have a great day. Be back on Monday with more ideas, some for indoor as the rain is beginning to feature on the weather radar.

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