Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Early wander


An early morning wander from Hadham Industrial Estate around the back of Hadham Hall, a check on the ponds and to the lagoon. Rather quiet, withthe first house martins of the year being observed over the Hall. Swallows were also evident. A pair of linnets were on the powerlines and 2 blackcaps sang from trees along the Causeway. On the lagoon a pair of tufted duck were photographed. All they had for compnay was 2 coots. The water is high at present, dashing any chance of catching a migratory wader on the mud.
A pair of coots have bred successfully on one of the Hadham Hall ponds, presently having 6 chicks. These looked to be no more than 3 days old. Wonder how many will make it to fledgling status? Two photos here.
Rest were just the usual fare: great and blue tits, chaffinches, greenfinches, rooks, jackdaws and carrion crows, skylarks and house sparrows etc.



Sunday, 25 April 2010

25th April: A morning birthday wander
















Out by 7.30 this morning, over the golf course and back through Westland Green and Chapel Lane. Most of the action happened in the last 20 minutes, with firstly 13 unseasonal fieldfares feeding in field of Chapel Lane and then further down, first hearing and then observing first lesser whitethroat of the year. Almost immediately after, a female wheatear at Home Farm. Two photos here, if somewhat distant.
In all 39 sp. with good numbers of chiffchaff and blackcaps, along with 1 willow warbler and 2 whitethroat. Swallow numbers continue to rise, with over 10 seen but no martins or a cuckoo as yet.
Final birds were 2 herring gulls heading south in the heavy drizzle around 9.30am, hence no early morning butterflies. Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis) was a first for the year, shown here, along with a yellowhammer in poor light and a splendid male blackbird atop the hedge at The Ford.

23rd April: Brick Kiln Hill and Hoecroft Lane







A splendid evening walk between 6.30 - 8.00pm up the hill opposite the pub and returning via Hoecroft Lane and Ford Hill. Nothing outstanding observed, just a pleasant evening stroll. Several blackcaps sang along the lanes as skylarks called from above. Green woodpeckers appeared to be "yaffling" all over the village. 2 mallard headed north and a pair of long tailed tits were busy constructing their intricate nest.
Photos depict a view from above Brick Kiln Hill, cowslips (Primula veris) and a well lit war memorial at the bottom of Ford Hill.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Wheatear 21.04.10

I received a report today of 2 wheatears at Ash Valley Golf Course. Coincidentally I happened to be there before I received the email and was lucky enough to record 1 female near the 5th fairway. An early morning wander tomorrow morning is in order to try and catch a few with the camera.

Visit to Amwell. Evening 21.04.10

This evening I popped over to Amwell Nature Reserve, a local habitat some 8 miles from home. Excellent facilities and great birding. Always good to be there at this time of the year to see and hear new arrivals. The light was superb and I left my camera at home! Immediately, was into a whole pile of sand martins, with a couple of house martins and 2 swallows mixed in. In all, I reckon 275 sand martins. Later a huge flock came through, including 5 swifts.
Reed warblers, blackcaps, chiffchaffs and a solitary garden warbler sang and in the distance a cuckoo could be heard. Redshanks piped as ringed plovers flew over the water along with the usual resident birds such as cormorants, grey heron, tufted duck, pochards and lapwings.
A few gulls, 5 lesser black backed and 1 herring, came into wash and roost as more sand martins piled over. A little ringed plover remained stationary on the island as a snipe appeared in front of the view point. From here, I also recorded a single white wagtail, my first for the year. A super 1.5 hours in warm conditions. A full list of the birds:
great crested grebe, cormorant, grey heron, mute swan, greylag goose, canada goose, shelduck, mallard, gadwall, shoveler, teal, pochard, tufted duck, sparrow hawk, pheasant, moorhen, coot, little ringed plover, ringed plover, lapwing, redshank, snipe, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, wood pigeon, stock dove, collared dove, cuckoo, swift, green woodpecker, sand martin, swallow, house martin, white wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, song thrush, blackbird, garden warbler, blackcap, reed warbler, chiffchaff, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, magpie, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, starling, chaffinch, greenfinch and reed bunting.
Just goes to show what an excellent place it is for a good variety of birds. Over 50 species in less than 2 hours. The birds in bold signify first sightings for 2010. Next time: camera!
More details can be viewed at http://www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/NatureReserves/Flagship/amwell

Monday, 19 April 2010

2nd Dawn chorus Walk




9 of us congregated at the village hall car park in frosty conditions at 5.00am. The route was to take us up Brick Kiln Hill, through Millennium Wood and around Bury Green on paths that led to Great Hadham G.C and Danebridge before completing the circuit via the river valley. A super walk with good bird song and some most pleasant company. 38 species in all, with several highlights, none more so than flushing 2 mandarin ducks from trees near Much Hadham. A moorhen flying over a field near Bury Green also raised a few eyebrows and we were all pleased to record the first swallow of the year, over houses at Bury Green at 6.00am.
Another first for the year was recording a willow warbler in Millennium Wood and with both tawny and little owl heard calling a most successful wander.
Bird List: canada goose, mandarin duck, mallard, pheasant, moorhen, wood pigeon, collared dove, little owl, tawny owl, green woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, skylark, swallow, wren, dunnock, robin, song thrush, blackbird, blackcap, whitethroat, willow warbler, chiffchaff, great tit, coal tit, blue tit, nuthatch, magpie, jay, jackdaw, carrion crow, rook, starling, house sparrow, chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, bullfinch and yellowhammer.
Photos depict the early morning sunrise around Bury Green.
The next walk is planned for Sunday 16th May: 5.00am at the village hall. Please contact me for further details and to register your interest so we don't leave without you.


Saturday, 10 April 2010

Saturday 10th April. Midday walk






















A gloriously bright day, the hottest of the year so far, found me hunting out recently arrived birds as well as butterflies emerging from their hibernation. All was successful, with the 1st whitethroat of the year recorded as well as 5 chiffchaffs and 1 blackcap. Other notable birds included 5 nuthatches around Chapel Lane footpaths and near the golf course, 1 garden goldcrest, a flock of 8 late fieldfares, a common buzzard over the club house at Ash Valley G.C., a coal tit in local conifers. In all, 33 species.




Butterflies were all new for the year. 6+ peacocks, 2 brimstones, 1 small tortoiseshell, 1 comma and 1 common blue. All, apart from the peacocks were too fast and flighty to permit photos.

Plants are now beginning to flower, with plenty of colt's foot (Tussilago farfara), white dead nettle (Lamium alba), common dog violet (Viola riviniana) and germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) all evident on the golf course and in the hedgerows.

A super 4 hour wander. Photos show 1 of the nuthatches, a flyover kestrel, dog violet, a 7 spot ladybird, germander speedwell and a peacock butterfly

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Morning walk 03.04.10




Pleasant morning walk that began in sunshine and finished in drizzle. 31 species of birds recorded with the first blackcaps of the year. 1 singing in Ford Hill whilst another was heard and observed in Millennium Wood. Other migrants were 4 chiffchaffs, whilst other good birds were 3 bullfinches at Millennium Wood, 1 treecreeper in Muggin's Wood and a solitary grey partridge in fields near Brick Kiln Hill.
Photos show a singing yellowhammer and dog mercury, a woodland plant that prefers deciduous copses where it thrives in the shady ground. One of a few British plants with green flowers. Still no butterflies to report. One warm sunny day should rectify this.
A quick view of 3 soaring birds, high, had me thinking and hoping for a migratory bird of prey, but it became obvious that unfortunately they were 2 lesser black backed gulls soaring with a buzzard. 3 of the latter were seen in total over the 2 hour observation period.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

April 1st

Recorded 1st garden warbler today, whilst working in a garden at Westland Green. Singing male accompanied by another bird, presumably female.
Needless to say, great views as it sat in the open, singing and no camera! Also recorded: green woodpecker, 2 great spotted woodpecker, blue tit, blackbird, song thrush, robin, long tailed tit, goldfinch, blue tit, jackdaw, wood pigeon, carrion crow, pheasant, collared dove, robin, dunnock, nuthatch and chiffchaff. Busy garden.

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