Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Another new species 09.09.09


A walk up Chapel Lane, round Westland Green and over Ash Valley Golf Course this morning gave views of my first spotted flycatcher in the parish. This was witnessed on wires in Westland Green. 2 photos attached here, taken in poor light. This makes the bird species total for the parish an impressive 95!
Also seen was a solitary nuthatch, calling from the top of an oak, along with a single willow warbler, an immaculately plumaged whitethroat, several yellowhammers, 1 lesser black backed gull and a few migratory swallows. All in all 27 species for the walk.

Migration watch from garden 08.09.09




An hour in the garden from 4.30pm gave views of 125+ swallows heading south along the River Ash valley. The gentle southerly breeze and clear, warm sky obviously encouraging them to begin the migration. Also witnessed was one common buzzard, high and gliding south. In the garden were several red admirals, commas and large white butterflies as well as 1 female common darter and a solitary migrant hawker. Photos attached show the red admiral and comma feeding on buddleia

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Hadham Hall wander 08.09.09


An early start to see if there were any migrants around the fields north and east of Hadham Hall. Over 200 sand and house martins were seen over the Hall grounds, along with another party of 100+ over Chapel Lane. The latter also included several swallows. Also of note was a grey heron near the ponds, but the highlight was a fleeting glimpse of a kingfisher heading away from the large lake at 8.10am. A great, if brief sight and only the 2nd record for the parish. Other noteworthy sightings wer a flock of 100+ linnets, some shown here. A chiffchaff called from the hedgerow whilst a few gulls headed both north and south. A black headed was seen heading south whereas a small party of lesser black backed gulls winged their way north. Also, 1 immature herring gull was mixing with the martins, obviously fly catching. A kestrel watched from the power lines as yellowhammers darted into the hedges.

To Tescos and back 06.09.09




A fine 2 hour hike to the shops and returning via Green Street and Bury Green. Very little on show, with a soaring common buzzard being the highlight. Plenty of tit and finch flocks now increasing in number. However, at The Ford, both a ruddy darter, (shown here) and a mobile southern hawker were witnessed. Other photo attached show an immaculate, recently emerged comma butterfly.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Species number 94 for the parish 01.09.09

An early start found me en route to Stortford Tescos via Muggin's Wood, Bury Green and Cradle End. The return journey was to the north of the A120 to Hadham Hall lakes. On the recently turned over stubble fields a solitary wheatear, either first year bird or female, was observed. Good binocular views but too distant and mobile for a worthy photo. A good bird, albeit expected. A migrant, this specimen will be heading south for Africa and will, within 4 days, be on the Mediterranean coast, before hopping over the Straits of Gibraltar. Always amazing to think a bird of this size, maybe weighing 15 grammes, can manage such an arduous journey.

Chapel Lane, 10 Acre Wood and Foxearth Wood 30th August.







A longer walk this morning, beginning with a wander to 10 Acre Wood on the extreme North East corner of the parish. Not too many birds of note, but a party of 100+ starlings was a good early morning sight. House martins and swallows continue to head south, occasionally being chased by a solitary hobby. The latter has been seen on several occasions around The Ford. A breeding pair towards Stortford have 3 juveniles and it is likely that one of the adults makes its way over here to hunt. A wander along the side of Queer Wood gave good views of pheasants, one shown here highlighting the good camouflage. Also depicted several views of Queer Wood in good light.

August 27th Over the golf course.
















A short walk around New Road and the golf course footpaths gave good sightings of regular birds. A yellowhammer: shown here, was most confiding and it was refreshing to observe a party of 50+ house sparrows around Home Farm. A much declining species. Also of note, a party of mixed finches along the River Ash valley, predominantly linnets and goldfinch. A male linnet is shown here in New Road. A lone herring gull and 3 lesser black backed gulls were all seen loafing around recently disturbed fields. Other photos here show a splendid show of ox eye daisies and poppies as well as a close up of a poppy.

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