Tuesday, 22 April 2008

New species' on a glorious spring morning




















A long walk today, combining all my routes began by heading up Chapel Lane and then over the golf course. Picnic and cider packed I was off by 9.00am. Weather was superb, leading me to believe I was in with a chance of adding to my bird list, hopefully seeing some spring migrants. I was not disappointed.
A herring gull headed north as I wandered west. Tits and usual finches were recorded in the hedgerow along the Lane. Skylarks and yellowhammers were heard before I turned south along the footpath at the top of Chapel Lane. Here, I heard a strange call, similar to a thrush but not the same. I hoped for a ring ouzel and after 5 minutes of scanning the trees all around I discovered the bird. Indeed, a superb male ring ouzel, calling and flapping its wings. Basically similar to a male blackbird, with a different call and a tell tale white horseshoe on its chest. Also, in good light, as this was, they show a silvery sheen to their dark wings. A super bird to observe and one that I had thought was a slight possibility. I think the 3rd or 4th recorded in Hertfordshire this year, so indeed a good bird. Buoyed by this I headed off in search of more migrants. I took a break adjacent to the 2nd green on the golf course, where there is a splendidly placed bench. Here much song emanated from Caley Wood with 2 pairs of blackcaps being observed. By now the species total for the walk had reached an impressive 30 and I soon added swallow, nuthatch, starling and goldfinch. I stopped to photograph the carpet of bluebells in the wood before heading off for my customary coffee at the club house.
Following this I took the path along the Ash and then up to Bush Wood where I had my picnic. A kestrel hovered overhead, and later, so did a police helicopter. Obviously, they were not looking for me as they moved off after surveying me for a minute or two. I waved merrily and proffered my bottle of Timothy Taylor's pale ale.
A common whitethroat sang as I lunched, my first of the year, before I headed off along the Ridge back to Acremore Street. Here, surprisingly, I flushed 7 fieldfares which I would have anticipated being further north, heading for their Scandinavian breeding grounds. Very late stayers, I think.
Butterflies kept me company all day, with over 12 peacocks being recorded, 3 brimstones and 2 small whites. However, the highlight was first orange tips of the year. Still too flighty for photos, but I include a reasonable one of a peacock. I hope to improve on this as the summer progresses. New plants in the shape of Field forget me not (myosoti arvensis) charlock (sinapis arensis) and red campion ((silene dioica) were all photographed and recorded. The latter in its first bloom in Bush Wood. Finally, colt's-foot (tussilagofarfara) was found in Acremore Street.
3 hares, grey squirrels and barking muntjac were also witnessed making this 38 bird species walk a most rounding success. The first ladybird of the year was also seen near Caley Woood
I doubt whether I shall record a rarer Hertfordshire bird than the ring ouzel all year and I include a photo here; not my own, one from the web. The first photo shows a pond skater, whilst the plants are red campion and the yellow colt's-foot

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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