Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Glorious weather 30.11.11

Another wonderfully bright morning for a local walk before preparing to set off to give an illustrated talk to St Ives RSPB group this evening. Goldcrest, treecreeper and 6 bullfinches being the highlight birds. The 2nd goldcrest of the morning as one was observed in our garden at first light. Photos of a view, a robin in take off leap and 2 more regular views of a robin, taken in Millennium Wood. It was here that the party of bullfinches were also witnessed.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sunday wander 27.11.11

A pleasant walk in unbelieveably warm weather today. Highlight sightings were a flushed woodcock, on the footpath off Chapel Lane, 3 mandarin on the old gravel pit, photo taken from a distance, an unseasonal red admiral butterfly and flowering herb robert, cut leaf crane's bill and red campion. Other notables were 11 skylarks over AVGC, 24 pied wagtails on a newly ploughed fields and several sightings of both kestrel and sparrow hawk. 2 parties of bullfinches were seen and a solitary treecreeper in Chapel Lane. Photos show herb robert, red campion, mandarin duck, view east over AVGC and some of the black headed gulls that were witnessed on the 15th fairway

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Rainham Marshes: 24.11.11

A day visit to Rainham Marshes RSPB reserve today. Quiet around the reserve trails in poor light, but still some noteworthy birds. Linnets, lapwings and starlings were seen in their hundreds with good numbers of teal, wigeon, canada geese and grey lags. However, highlight birds were 2 bearded reedlings, photographed from distance. Both look like 1st year individuals. Also a snipe, cettis warbler and 5 spectacular drake pintails. The most memorable moment was watching 2 carrion crows attacking a lapwing. Firstly they attacked it at the water's edge, holding it down before it broke free. They then dive bombed the lapwing, knocking it into deep water. They then ignored it until it tried to fly from the water, whereupon they just knocked it back in again. This went on for 5 minutes before the lapwing was so waterlogged it could not get away from the water, so the crows then kept pushing it under until it drowned. They then paid no more attention to it. Seemed like it was no more than entertainment. This thought was echoed by the warden who said it was a regular occurence. Other photos show greylag, female teal, 2 little egrets, an irridescent magpie, a sunset fly past of canada geese and a view of the QE bridge at Dartford

Monday, 21 November 2011

Sunday Foggy wander

A walk this morning to fields and woods adjacent to the A120 gave good numbers of birds. In one oak tree I heard long tailed tits. On closer inspection I observed 34+ long tailed tits, 2 blue tits, 3 great tits, 1 chaffinch, 1 treecreeper and, best of all, 1 goldcrest. Latter, my first of the winter. Redwing, mistle thrush and fieldfare were ubiquitous whilst a coal tit in a stand of conifers was pleasing. Other birds of note: yellowhammer and common buzzard. Photo of the dead tree used as a jackdaw roost and one of a male chaffinch.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Photos

Photos from today's wander

Unusual sighting 18.11.11

A wander around the north and east side of the parish this morning, in glorious sunshine. In all 30 bird species with the undoubted highlight being a first year teal. First seen on the dragonfly pond east of Hadham Hall but dog walkers flushed it before I could get a photo. Flew off high to the west and looked like it dropped down on to the pond at the Hall. 2 distant flight shots here, along with moorhen, black headed gull and a pair of goldfinches. The teal is only my 2nd paqrish record, following a similar 1st year bird recorded 7th October 2009.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Fungi festival





A neighbour popped around to let me know she had some strange fungi growing in her garden. She has lived at the same house for over 40 years and this is the first occasion these fungi have appeared. Huge numbers. Probably connected to this is the fact that sometime ago in the last 2 years, she had a horse chestnut tree removed, apart from the stump as shown in one of the photos. I suspect these may be growing on the rotting roots underground. Very spectacular and now the search to identifiy them.

Parish boundary wander 16.11.11

Setting off from Tesco I picked up the westerly and then southerly footpath that skirts around Bury Green before reaching Hadham Golf Club. From here I continued along paths until Bush Wood and the Ash Valley. In all 4.5 hour wander.
A total of 32 bird species recorded, with quantity being supplied by wood pigeons (1000+), jackdaws (500+) redwing and fieldfare (300+) and starlings (250+.) The light was atrocious, as the photo above of a rabbit proves. Good birds were treecreeper, sparrow hawk, a covey of 17 red legged partridge, a grey heron, 2 kestrels and a pair of bullfinches. A check on a pond on private land that I now have permission to visit gave views of only mallards(3.) I also popped in to a disused barn where I disturbed a little owl: too quick for the camera. Throughout the walk I kept hearing and seeing pied wagtails heading west. All was revealed in a ploughed field near the River Ash, where I encountered a feeding party in excess of 27. The sparrow hawk, top photo, put these birds up, before they returned to the plough. In all, a pleasant walk.

Monday, 14 November 2011

1st new moth of the month, 14.11.11

A spectacularly marked December moth was found in the trap this morning, along with regular visitors a silver y and feathered thorn. The December moth is a common late autumn/winter moth so I anticipate discovering more of these over the following weeks. 2 photos here, along with the aptly named silver y and the orange feathered thorn

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Out owling 13.11.11

An evening wandering around Bury Green in search of owls. A final total of 4 little owls and 2 tawnies. No hoped for barn owls. However, it was a grey and dark dusk. Plenty of thrush species disturbed from hedgerows. At the start a common buzzard, great, blue and long tailed tits, great spotted and green woodpeckers as well as large numbers of corvids and wood pigeons. Photo here of a welcoming sight as I came down Brick kiln hill in the dark at 5.30pm

Friday, 11 November 2011

Barn Owl

A barn owl, reported to me on 8th near the polo and cricket fields, was searched for last night. No joy but search around local barns etc turned up 1 little owl, 1 rabbit skull and several barn owl feathers, but no pellets

Sprawler

A single moth in the trap this morning. A sprawler; a common autumnal moth found between October and December, preferring woodland and scrub.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

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