Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Norfolk Day 28.10.19

Scraping the ice of the car at 5.45am, I then set off for Norfolk. The forecast hinted at sunny conditions and a warm, possibly 15C day. This was totally inaccurate as I arrived in Wells for a coffee in temps touching 3C and then headed to Cley Beach for a sea watch where the sun appeared for a while before heavy grey clouds rolled over threatening rain. I had no waterproofs with me so fingers crossed.
A large line of sea watchers were already present upon my arrival so I set my scope up a little away from this group as I wanted to find my own birds, not be told where they were. One chap in particular was calling every bird, position, direction, height, which buoy etc which sometimes can be helpful whilst other times I can live without it.
There was certainly a steady stream of birds: Great skua, Little auk, Guillemot, Red throated diver, Great crested grebe, Little gulls, puffin and brent geese. Ringed plover and wigeon, along with cormorant were particularly visible and there was a steady stream of gannets. It was too windy for hand held photos so I set off for a check around Walsey Hills and East Bank with a view to check Arnold's Marsh. A snow bunting was noted on the Beach Road.
Ominous clouds at Cley Beach, early morning

Little egret, East Bank, Cley

Herring gull, Brancaster Harbour

Turnstone by name, Turnstone by nature

Brancaster Harbour in good light

Another turnstone

Very little seen, a few Bearded reedlings "pinged" from the reeds and a Spotted redshank dropped into The Serpentine but everything else was as expected, so off to the Visitors' Centre for double espresso.

With the clocks having gone back, I knew I only had a few hours for photos so headed west, checking Lady Anne's Drive before arriving at Brancaster Harbour. Here the first Black tailed godwit of the day as well as turnstones, redshanks, a variety of gulls and two distant bar tailed godwits.
I moved on, checking Choseley Drying Barns but just added finches to the day list so off to Titchwell. I arrived to find a very full carpark having forgotten it was half term.
I checked the day list in the centre and headed off to the Island hide. All as expected here, with the sun appearing giving an afternoon blue light tinge to photos of regular waders and wildfowl.
I headed for the beach, checking Thornham Marsh on the left. Plenty of Brent geese and Little egrets as more bearded reedlings pinged away, out of site.
Sleeping drake teal

Bright eyed shoveler

Overhead Golden plover

Superb plumage on a drake teal

Dunlin

Ruff

Meadow pipit

Suspected Water Pipit

The beach was superb with a great variety of waders on the tide line including the first Sanderling, Grey plover and Oystercatchers of the day.
Then, with the sun sinking, off to the Parrinder Hide. Here, pipit confusion as several birders were all calling pipits but different ones and trying to explain which ones were where. A quick check revealed 1 Water pipit, 2 Rock pipits and a fair few Meadow pipits. 200 Golden plover descended on to the island and an unseen predator put everything up. I checked the dunlin but they were just dunlin! Plenty of ruff, avocets, a few Ringed plover  and numerous teal and shoveler. A flock of 30+ linnets landed in recently cut reeds for the seed heads before I wandered off back to the car.
I finished the day hoping for a short eared owl at Thornham where I got a pair of twite instead and then popped down to Hunstanton to see if the red rumped swallow was still about. No birders at the Sea Life Centre hinted that it probably wasn't and no sign in the 20 minutes I spent there in ever decreasing light.
Goose stepping Greylag

Curlew in blue afternoon light

Distant grey plover

Brent geese over the beach

Rockpooling Oystercatcher

Black tailed godwit

Preening redshank

Golden plover

One of many drake shoveler

A great day to visit with the weather conditions making photography tricky as one minute it was sunny followed by light clouds, heavy grey clouds, drizzle and then sunny with a rainbow.

Species list

  1. red throated diver
  2. great crested grebe
  3. gannet
  4. cormorant
  5. Little 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. Shoveler
  17. Wigeon
  18. Teal
  19. Pochard
  20. Tufted duck
  21. Common scoter
  22. Red kite
  23. Marsh harrier
  24. Common buzzard
  25. Kestrel
  26. Red legged partridge
  27. Grey partridge
  28. Pheasant
  29. Water rial (heard)
  30. Moorhen
  31. Coot
  32. Oystercatcher
  33. Avocet
  34. Ringed plover
  35. Grey plover
  36. Golden plover
  37. Lapwing
  38. Knot
  39. Sanderling
  40. Turnstone
  41. Dunlin
  42. Redshank
  43. Spotted redshank
  44. Black tailed godwit
  45. Bar tailed godwit
  46. Curlew
  47. Ruff
  48. Great skua
  49. Black headed gull
  50. Common gull
  51. Herring gull
  52. Lesser black backed gull
  53. Greater black backed gull
  54. Little auk
  55. Puffin
  56. Guillemot
  57. Stock dove
  58. Wood pigeon
  59. Collared dove
  60. Kingfisher
  61. Skylark
  62. Water pipit
  63. Rock pipit
  64. Meadow pipit
  65. Pied wagtail
  66. Wren
  67. Dunnock
  68. Robin
  69. Redwing
  70. Mistle thrush
  71. Song thrush
  72. Blackbird
  73. Cetti's warbler (heard)
  74. Great tit
  75. Blue tit
  76. Coal tit
  77. Long tailed tit
  78. Bearded reedling (heard)
  79. Magpie
  80. Jay
  81. Jackdaw
  82. Carrion crow
  83. Rook
  84. Starling
  85. House sparrow
  86. Chaffinch
  87. Greenfinch
  88. Linnet
  89. Goldfinch
  90. Twite
  91. Reed bunting
  92. Snow bunting
  93. Yellowhammer
    Yet another redshank

Updated Year List 2019 28.10.19

Following several local walks for my Bishop's Stortford Independent fortnightly column and a trip to a very cold North Norfolk I thought it was time to kickstart my 2019 year list of all the birds I have seen this year.
Recent updates include several autumnal trips to North Norfolk along with my 9 day, 152 mile walk from front door in Little Hadham to Cromer pier. Whilst not a bird watching walk, I did record over 85 species of birds including several year listers.
Bullfinch: Wells Next The Sea harbour, feeding on sea buckthorn

Black headed gull: Brancaster harbour

  1. Red throated diver: Holkham beach
  2. Black throated diver: Titchwell
  3. Great Northern Diver: Holkham beach
  4. Black necked grebe: Holkham beach
  5. Little Grebe: Bishop's Stortford
  6. Great crested grebe: Cambridge/Waterbeach
  7. Gannet: Cley beach
  8. Cormorant: Cley beach
  9. Little egret: Cley NWT
  10. Grey heron: Holkham
  11. Mute swan: River Stort
  12. Whooper swan: near Ely in fields
  13. Pink footed goose: Holkham
  14. Greylag goose: Trimms Green
  15. Canada goose: Holkham
  16. Brent goose: Warham Greens
  17. Shelduck: Titchwell
  18. Egyptian goose: Holkham
  19. Mallard: River Stort
  20. Gadwall: Titchwell
  21. Pintail: Titchwell
  22. Shoveler: Titchwell
  23. Wigeon: Holkham
  24. Teal: Titchwell
  25. Pochard: Titchwell
  26. Tufted duck: Fuller's End
  27. Eider: Titchwell
  28. Common scoter: Titchwell
  29. Velvet scoter: Cley beach
  30. Red kite: Little Hadham 
  31. Marsh harrier: Cley
    Red kite: Holkham
  32. Common buzzard: Little Hadham
  33. Sparrowhawk: Thorley Wash
  34. Kestrel: Little Hadham
  35. Red legged partridge: Little Hadham
  36. Grey partridge: Little Hadham
  37. pheasant: garden
  38. Water rail: Titchwell
  39. Moorhen: River Stort
  40. Coot: Titchwell
  41. Oystercatcher: Titchwell
  42. Avocet: Titchwell
  43. Ringed plover: Titchwell
  44. Grey plover: Titchwell
  45. Golden plover: Titchwell
  46. Lapwing: Amwell
  47. Sanderling: Titchwell
  48. Turnstone: Titchwell
  49. Dunlin: Cley NWT
  50. Redshank: Titchwell
  51. Black tailed godwit: Titchwell
  52. Bar tailed godwit: Titchwell
  53. Curlew: Titchwell
  54. Woodcock: Millennium Wood
  55. Black headed gull: Little Hadham
  56. Common gull: Sheringham
  57. Herring gull: Little Hadham
  58. Lesser black backed gull: Little Hadham
  59. Great black backed gull: Cley
  60. Guillemot: Cley beach 
    Curlew: Thornham harbour
  61. Wood pigeon: Little Hadham
  62. Collared dove: Little Hadham
  63. Tawny owl: Much Hadham
  64. Barn Owl: Little Hadham
  65. Little Owl: Green Tye
  66. Kingfisher: River Stort
  67. Green woodpecker: Little Hadham
  68. Great spotted woodpecker: Little Hadham
  69. Skylark: Tye Green
  70. Shore lark: Holkham beach
    Shore lark: Holkham beach 
  71. Water pipit: Titchwell
  72. Meadow pipit: Cley
  73. Pied Wagtail: Bishop's Storford
  74. Grey wagtail: Little Hadham
  75. Wren: Garden
  76. Dunnock: garden
  77. Robin: garden
  78. Song Thrush: Bishop's Stortford
  79. Mistle Thrush: Bishop's Storford
  80. Redwing: Little Hadham
  81. Fieldfare: Little Hadham
  82. Blackbird: Garden
  83. Chiffchaff: River Stort
  84. Goldcrest: Hadham Hall
  85. Great tit: Garden
  86. Blue Tit: Garden
  87. Coal Tit: Garden
  88. Marsh Tit: Fuller's End
  89. Long tailed tit: Garden
  90. Nuthatch: Turner's Spring EWT Reserve
  91. Treecreeper: Little Hadham
  92. Magpie: Garden
  93. Jay: Little Hadham
  94. Jackdaw: Garden
  95. Rook: Little Hadham
  96. Carrion Crow: Little Hadham
  97. Starling: garden
  98. House sparrow: Little Hadham
  99. Chaffinch: garden
  100. Brambling: Titchwell
  101. Linnet: Thornham harbour
  102. Twite: Thornham Harbour
  103. Goldfinch: Garden
  104. Greenfinch: Fuller's End
  105. Siskin: River Stort
  106. Bullfinch: Wells Next the Sea
  107. Reed bunting: Thorley Wash HMWT
  108. Snow bunting: Holkham beach
  109. Raven: Little Hadham
  110. Peregrine falcon: Bishop's Stortford
  111. Smew: Amwell
  112. Siskin: Bishop's Stortford
  113. Goldeneye: Amwell
  114. Mediterranean Gull (Titchwell)
  115. Wheatear (Cley, Eye Field)
  116. Rock pipit (Cley, East Bank)
Snow bunting: Salthouse beach/Gramborough Hill 2018
Teal: Titchwell RSPB Reserve
Barn owl at Holkham

Water rail: Titchwell
117. Sand martin (Amwell)
118. Little ringed plover (Amwell)
119. Willow warbler (Amwell)
120. Blackcap (Sawbridgeworth Marsh)
121. House martin (Amwell)
122. Swallow (Rushy Mead)

Blackcap singing at Amwell
Willow warbler (Amwell)
123. Common tern (Oare Marshes)
124. Whitethroat (Dungeness)
125. Sedge warbler (Dungeness)
126. Common crane (Denge Marsh)
127. Great skua (Dungeness)
128. Arctic skua (Dungeness)
129. Whimbrel (Dungeness)
130. Lesser whitethroat (AVGC)
131. Spotted flycatcher (Westland Green)
132 Garden Warbler (Cradle End)
133. Sandwich tern (Titchwell)
134. Stone curlew (Weeting Heath)
135. Swift (Little Hadham)
136 Cuckoo (Holme NWT Reserve)
137. Red crested pochard (Titchwell)
138. Hobby (Titchwell)
139. Dusky warbler (Warham Green)
140. Great Grey shrike (Castle Acre)
141. Black redstart (Burnham Overy Staithe)
142. Dartford Warbler (The Brecks)
143. Wood lark (The Brecks)
144. Little Stint (Titchwell)
145. Wood sandpiper (Stansted lagoons)
146. Common sandpiper (Stansted airport lagoons)
147. Green sandpiper (Stansted airport lagoons)
148. Whinchat (Stansted airport lagoons)
149. Kittiwake (Cley beach)
150. Spoonbill (Stiffkey Fen)
151 Greenshank (Stiffkey Fen)
152. Stock dove (Bishop's Stortford)
153. Reed warbler (Titchwell)
154. Yellow wagtail (Titchwell)
155. Snipe (Stansted airport Lagoons)
156 Yellow browed warbler (Wells Woods)
157.Little auk (Cley beach)
158. Bearded reedling (Cley harbour)
159. Ruff (Titchwell)
160. Spotted redshank (Arnold's Marsh)
161. Knot (Titchwell)
162. Purple sandpiper (Titchwell)
163.Little tern (Burnham Overy Harbour)
164 Stonechat (Kelling water meadows)
165 Cetti's warbler (Amwell)
166. Yellowhammer (Allen's Green)
167. Curlew sandpiper (Titchwell)
168. Puffin (Cley beach)
169. Little gull (Cley beach)




Little Ringed plover

Juvenile Marsh tit
pair of Stone curlew

Friday, 20 September 2019

Great Day in Norfolk

Last Wednesday (18th) I picked up Rick in Bishop's Stortford at 5am for a day birding along the North Norfolk coast. Whilst the weather forecast was superb for being out and about (a predicted high of 22C and clear sky) this weather is not conducive for bringing in rarer migrants off the North Sea. Not to worry, a super day was instore.
After a coffee in Wells Next the Sea, where we had both pink footed and brent geese over, we headed East to Kelling Water Meadows and wandered down the green lane to check the flooded area, reeds and hedgerows. Plenty of birds were  apparent immediately with huge numbers of goldfinches feeding upon teasels and thistle heads. A good number were juvenile, indicating a successful 3rd brood had recently fledged. We listed over 30 species at this peaceful and rarely visited site, including stonechat, greenshank, shoveler, snipe and a whimbrel. All good birds to get on a day list early on. A pair of Egyptian geese posed for a photo. However, apart from black headed gulls and goldfinches, the most common bird was several coveys of red legged partridge in adjacent fields. In amongst these, a few Grey partridge, too. We fired off photos of several species before returning to the car.
Juvenile goldfinch

adult goldie on the left removing teasel seeds for the juvenile on the right

Juvenile with stunning wing plumage

Yet another juvenile goldfinch

Full adult sporting the familiar head pattern

Egyptian goose

Overhead shoveler

Shoveler, displaying bill shape that gives this bird its name

Dunnock
We headed west with the next stop being Salthouse beach Road for a quick wander to Gramborough Hill for migrants. Here we encountered a typical serious Norfolk birder moaning about the lack of birds. He told us there were just wrens, which we didn't see! However, we managed to get: Little egret, dunlin, skylark, curlew and  meadow pipit on to the list along with gulls. Well worth dropping off for a half hour session. The suspected wheatears that are regulars here in autumn failed to show. We headed off to Cley East Bank a few miles further west.
Adult Meadow pipit. Note long hind claw that is a diagnostic feature .
Once parked, we wandered along the world famous bird track that is Cley East Bank. A party of 4 Bearded reedlings pinged overhead and were gone before our cameras could capture them. We arrived at the Richie Richardson Hide, named after a great chap who could always be found here. Sadly, he passed away far too early in 1977. An excellent self taught ornithological artist, I had the pleasure of chatting with him on several occasions in the '70's. From this hide we scored with several species: shelduck, grey plover (in excellent breeding plumage,) knot, redshank and Cetti's warbler. A kingfisher darted along a channel as we headed back where more bearded reedlings were seen, albeit briefly.
We popped into the Visitors' Centre for a much needed coffee before stopping off at Cley beach, having driven slowly along Beach Road, checking fields for wheatear. Still not apparent. A chat with a sea watcher and time spent searching the North Sea for passing birds proved fruitful. A summer plumaged Red throated diver, a party of Common scoter, 2 Great skua, juvenile kittiwake, Mediterranean gull and sandwich tern all made the day list. We went off to check the fence posts for wheatear. Third time lucky, one popped up not too far away, but now the sun was bright and the temperature rising so heat haze for photos was becoming an issue. A marsh harrier rose over the reeds in the distance. A wonderful place to be on a calm, sunny and warm Wednesday morning.
The ever present Meet and Greet Black Headed gull, Cley Beach car park

Wheatear on migration route south

Same bird. The white eye stripe stopping before the bill indicates a first year bird.
We continued West with the next stop being for Stiffkey Fen. Another good spot not often visited by the majority of birders. Always worth a check. Little egrets and redshanks in the salt creeks and in the distance at Blakeney Point, a binocular check revealed big numbers of grey and common seal hauled up. We turned our attention to the fen. A remarkable count of 36 spoonbill, a few wigeon, two more flyby kingfishers were of note along with many waders, mute swans, greylag geese. A chiffchaff called from willow before we yet again, made our way back to the car.
Very distant and heavily cropped shot of some of the spoonbill. Lapwings in the foreground

Little egret
A brief look on Holkham Freshmarsh from Lady Anne's Drive gave little so our next stop was Burnham Overy Staithe where we parked close to the creek as the tide was out. Here, great black backed gull, black tailed godwit, turnstone is different stages of moult as well as regulars such as common, herring and black headed gulls.
Black tailed godwit

Typical feeding posture for Bl T G

Diagnostic white wing bar on black tailed godwit, not apparent on similar bar tailed godwit

Redshank

adult turnstone moulting from breeding plumage

Turnstones: centre bird still with remnants of the ruddy breeding plumage.
On we went with the next stop just off the coast at Choseley Drying barns where I had promised Rick he would get decent close up shots of red legged partridge from the car. Fortunately, the birds performed in the grass verge for some wonderful portraits. We checked the roof of the barn but just 7-8 pied wagtails. Chaffinches on the wires and 8 Common buzzards circling upon thermals overhead. A rook made the day list. Linnets and more goldfinches made the detour worthwhile.
Overhead, soaring Common buzzard

Same bird, suspect 2nd year as no black terminal edging on the tail feathers but the beginning of black edging to the trailing edge of the wings.

We drove back down to the coast road to our final destination; Titchwell RSPB Reserve. Plenty had been recorded early in the morning from the beach, but unlikely these birds would still be present. I invariably leave Titchwell to last as the light over the Freshmarsh is best for the last few hours of the day, the sun behind you as you scan the marsh. We entered the island hide from where many 100's of birds were noted. I checked the black headed gulls  (400+) for anything else: there wasn't whilst Rick photographed a Bearded reedling in nearby Australis phragmites reeds. Ruff, dunlin, Little ringed plover, teal, pied wags, avocet, little grebe, coot, tufted duck, ringed plover, golden plover (200+) a little stint and a garden warbler singing in the willows all were noted before a walk to sea watch and check the beach waders. Out to sea, 2 great crested grebe, oystercatchers at the low tide rock pools, sanderling running along the surf and a whole load of other waders: grey plover, black tailed godwits, curlew, knot etc. We returned along the beach path, a reed bunting overhead before a final stop in the Parrinder Hide for a few photos of dunlin, pied wag etc.
We eventually tore ourselves away, checked the picnic area for a yellow browed warbler with no success. It was probably too late in the day, just a chiffchaff called before getting back to the car and packing away the optics.
Skulking juvenile male Bearded reedling

Juvenile ruff on migration

Pied wagtail

Little ringed plover


Little stint, just showing the "tramlines." These are the parallel white stripes down the back, indicating a first year bird.

Shelduck

One of many redshank

Grey heron

Moulting  adult dunlin

Avocet

Linnet

Pied wagtail in late afternoon soft light

From the footpath looking over the Freshmarsh

A really superb day with Rick. He had donated a very generous amount to my MindGarden fundraising effort, a Learning Centre in Sri Lanka I have helped establish. It was a pleasure to show him some new habitats a little off the usual beaten tracks for birders to North Norfolk.
Little ringed plover

Bearded reedling

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