Sunday, 23 November 2008

Snowy morning in the garden











Awoke to a scattering of light snow and spent an hour birding the garden. A jay was an unusual visitor as I watched great, coal and blue tits at the feeder. Carrion crows, jackdaws and rooks moved overhead as a blackbird enjoyed the windfall apples. Several starlings, along with a greenfinch also fed on the peanuts and a brightly plumaged male chaffinch scavenged in the flowerbeds for pieces of nut that had been spilt.
Fieldfares and redwings headed south, whilst collared doves, numbering up to 8 roosted in local trees.
Photos here show the highlight of the time, a goldcrest feeding rapidly in a conifer. Unfortunately, the light was poor so not a great shot, but a pleasing record all the same. Other photos depict the jay, again in very grey conditions.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

22nd November







A walk in cold but bright conditions this morning. I enjoyed great views of a common buzzard being mobbed, as usual, by the local crows. House sparrows appear to have arrived in Chapel Lane in good numbers (50+) whilst overhead a pied wagtail called. A kestrel was seen towards Bush Wood whilst crows and jackdaws filled the airspace between Bush Wood and Lordship Farm. Redwings and plenty of fieldfare were witnessed at the golf club where I enjoyed a restorative pint of guiness. A green woodpecker flew over the 9 hole course and parties of long tailed tits were witnessed on several occasions. A single yellowhammer was heard along the Ridge Path north of Bush Wood but noted that last year's golden plover flock has yet to arrive in these fields. Something to keep an eye on in the New Year. In all 22 species were counted.
Photos attached show hawthorn against the clear sky, a flock of crows and jackdaws a a pair of jackdaws leaving Bush Wood

For Ellen's mum
















A walk around the Ash Valley Golf Course and the Ford on Sunday 16th November produced more of the same. Both green and great spotted woodpeckers were observed south of the village, but not much else of note. Good numbers of winter thrushes along with small flocks of finches, especially goldfinches. Several skylarks called overhead.
Photos show a greenfinch, several views in Caley Wood and a splendid dewy cobweb. The fungus found in Caley Wood is probably a wood blewit , a good eating mushroom, with the taste of veal. However, I am not too hot on mushroom identification, so tend to leave alone unless 100% confident of the i.d.
Last Tuesday I delivered my talk at the Village Hall and well attended it was too. A special mention to Ellen's mum who is an eager reader of this diary. Many thanks for your enthusiasm.




1st November wander











My first walk for a while, due to work, inclement weather and increasing darkness was made on the 15th November. A wander up to Millennium Wood gave a few sightings, with fieldfare and redwing being prominent. A great spotted woodpecker was observed at Millennium Wood, but on the whole a quiet walk with little of note. Goldcrests called frequently as I came along Hoecroft Lane; they appear to be around the village in small flocks at present. Maybe the harbingers of a cold winter?
Photos here show a distant fieldfare, local grey squirrel and two shots from the local woodland

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