Saturday, 27 June 2009

New records everywhere. 27th June
























































A remarkable afternoon out around Hadham Hall. The intention was to capture dragonfly photos but the day became more successful than anticipated. Firstly, a marbled white butterfly appeared (1st for year). Unfortunately, after 25 minutes of trying to get a photo it headed off over the rape. Secondly, 10+ black tailed skimmers ( blue bodies) were observed and photographed (a first for the parish list) then remarkably 2 ringed plovers dropped down, alighted on the "shore" for a few seconds before heading off north, rapidly gaining height. Again, a first for the parish. An large skipper ( shown here) was then witnessed (1st for year) along with numerous meadow browns, a common blue, several small and large whites, 1 peacock butterfly and 1 ringlet. 3 emperor dragonflies ( blue and green) were also observed and photographed
Other highlights were linnets, yellowhammers, green woodpecker, a heron, a flyover cormorant, a common buzzard and a pied wagtail. A super few hours before the thunderstorm.
Also depicted are a pair of soldier beetles, (rhagonycha fulva) a one legged blackbird, and the local heron. The flyover cormorant and the rather tatty common blue are also shown.
Late news: last night 2 lapwings headed west over my allotment. Another first for the year.

Hadham Hall walk 26th June











An eveing walk under heavy grey skies, looking for dragonflies. As I arrived at the pond the heavens opened and little was recorded. 1 emperor dragonfly was a new addition to the parish list but little else apart from several azure damselflies.
Birds were in good numbers, with both coot and moorhen feeding young. 2 grey herons alighted in a local tree and a reed bunting sang from on top of the rape. Skylarks were also in good voice once the rain stopped and plenty of swallows and house martins sat on the wires or drank from the lake. A song thrush (shown here) was heard near The Hall.
A good find was a bee orchid on the banks of the largest lake, shown here. Other photographs show the distant reed bunting and a peacock! The latter will not be on my bird list.

Millennium Wood 25th June
















An evening wander to Millennium Wood for a spot of early evening butterfly photography. 1st for the year were small skipper (shown here) and ringlet (above), with also meadow brown, small tortoiseshell (above), painted lady, speckled wood, comma (below) and small white. A successful evening.
On the bird front, nothing unusual with chiffchaff and blackcap being vociferous. Plenty of swifts feeding and screaming overhead.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

To Much Hadham and back











An evening walk, in fine weather took me along the ridge path and then back along te River Ash Valley. In all 20 species recorded, with highlights being a solitary lesser black backed gull heading north west, and swifts and swallows over the barley fileds.
Several painted lady butterflies, 4 meadow browns and a particularly impressive white plume moth were also witnessed.
This evening's photos show the white plume moth in take off mode, as well as alighted, a greying sky full of jackdaws and rooks at pre roost and, an as yet, unidentified moth.
UPDATE: moth now identified as Yellow Shell, a new moth for me, as in fact are nearly all of them as I am just beginning to study these with a view to identifying to species.

Short evening walk along New Road

A quick evening wander gave up all the usual local species, with 3 herring gulls being recorded heading north west, numerous painted lady butterflies. However, the highlight being 2 turtle doves purring on my allotment.
Late news. A red kite was well observed over the Nags Head pub and Brick Kiln Hill on the 14th.

Brick Kiln Hill and Millennium Wood







A recording walk on the 18th June was successful in as much as I recorded a respectable 26 species of bird along with several insects.
Swifts were noisy overhead and yellowhammers equally so from local hedgerow. At Millennium Wood the evening chorus started with great tits and blue tits before blackcaps, whitethroats and willow warblers joined in. These were soon joined by a few chiffchaffs, before a noisy lesser whitethroat began calling from near the polo field in Hoecroft Lane. Only the 5th recording of this species this year. An adult lesser black backed gull headed south in the evening light as long tailed tits, a family party, "buzzed" from the hedges that border the bridleway.
A newly emerged nest of peacock caterpillars was observed, shown here and meadow brown and painted lady butterflies were evident. Ladybirds, both the invasive harlequin and the regular 7 spotted were also found in nettle patches by Muggins Wood. Both dog rose and honeysuckle flowered in hedgerows, as shown here.

Chapel Lane wander 06.06.09




A brief morning walk up Chapel Lane in search of reported Little Owls. None were on offer, and in all a very quiet bird morning.
Skylarks sang over the golf course as a common buzzard mewed overhead. A sparrow hawk disturbed the peace in a roadside hedge whilst linnets and blackcaps sang along the bridleway towards Westland Green.
Photos attached show a goldfinch near the stables and the first harlequin ladybird for 2009

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