Thursday, 17 February 2011

Much Hadham Gardening 15.02.11

Whilst gardening in Much Hadham I disturbed a female pheasant, shown above (thanks to Andrew for the photo.) Clearly not well, it was released back into the garden whereupon it hid itself in a corner. Unfortunately, it had died by the afternoon. No sign of injury but I suspect it had eaten something poisonous.

Morning Walk 15.02.11

An early start this morning with a wander over Brick Kiln Hill, around the polo fields and then across to Acremore Street and down Ford Hill. 29 species in all with several species of gull near Acremans (Black headed, herring and lesser black backed) along with 450+ fieldfares on the polo fields consorting with 25+ redwings and 50+ starlings. Skylarks were in good voice, as were great and blue tits, dunnocks,(shown below) the song thrush that continues to sing in the garden as from 6.30a.m. Several great spotted and green woodpeckers were observed as well as bullfinch, green finch, goldfinch and chaffinch. 18 yellowhammers were noted and a single kestrel.
Really good to have enough light to out and about in the mornings.

First signs of spring were the lords and ladies (cuckoo plant) now pushing through the undergrowth and I reckon it is going to be a glorious spring within the next 4 weeks. Plenty of colour if these temperatures keep on going.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Dawn walk 11.2.11

Left home early this morning for a walk to work at the golf club. By 6.30am birds just beginning to sing and move. Highlight was a barn owl returning to its regular day roost. Seen over the 13th fairway heading south east. I intend to try to get some photos of this magnificant bird during the weekend. Another unusual sight was of 2 canada geese heading north over the clubhouse at 6.50a.m.
A song thrush was at its usual perch in the garden and 2 partridge were wandering around in fields by Chapel Lane. Too dark to identify. Other singing birds were robin, blackbird, yellowhammer whilst both green and great spotted woodpeckers called.
A large flock of fieldfare 300+ strong appeared from a local wood near the golf club and moved off south. Not good light but a couple of ghostly light images. Photo taken in the back garden looking East, with morning jackdaws.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

23.1.11: Full Field

Whilst coming home from the town, I drove past a field by the turning to Cradle End. In this 1 field I noted a large flock of birds (winter thrushes) so popped home, got the optics and headed back. In all, I counted 250 fieldfare, 200 redwing, 8 goldfinch, 1 pied wagtail, 6 greenfinch, 4 chaffinch, 150 starlings, 25 carrion crows, 8 rook and over 150 wood pigeon.
Photo depicts one of the hundreds of fieldfare

21.1.11

A most unusual sight this morning at Ash Valley G.C. As I looked out from the clubhouse a sparrow hawk shot past the window, carrying a female blackbird. I went outside  (no camera!!) to see if I could find it. To my surprise I watched ( from 4 metres) as the hawk drowned the prey in the stream outside the front of the clubhouse. Each time the blackbird struggled the sparrowhawk adjusted its grip and forcibly pushed the unfortunate victim under again. After 5 minutes the bird was dead whereupon it was plucked and consumed. A quick google search of sparrow hawk drowning prey brought up several reports.
Also on the golf course: 25 siskins, 300 fieldfare and redwing, green woodpeckers, blue, long tailed, coal and great tits, resident kestrel and plenty of corvids and pheasants.
Photo taken early in the morning of  the song thrush that has a singing post in the gum tree.

18.1.11

Whilst on a gardening job in the village a tawny owl was heard to call from a conifer in a private garden around The Ford. Also, overhead, a pied wagtail called as it headed for farmland opposite the pub. Here the fields are full of pond sized puddles and the wagtail was pacing around the perimeter of these watering holes.

January update: 15.1.11

Been away from the computer for a while, but shall add a few sightings from the month. Photos to follow. Hopefully, with the birds beginning to sing in the morning now, I shall find time to get out for a dawn wander every now and again.
A walk on the 15th, just around the local vicinity turned up several species not recorded every walk. Firstly, a solitary common gull was observed over Brick Kiln Hill whilst a little later, a single great black backed gull was seen heading south over Chapel Lane. A large flock of siskins were found adjacent to the 18th fairway on Ash Valley G.C.  as was a common buzzard. Numbers of both fieldfare and redwing seem to be on the increase, with over 250 seen around the fairways.

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