Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Year list 29.02.12

A list of 112 bird species seen in this calendar year. The list, which I shall update each last day of the month.
Red throated diver, little grebe, great crested grebe, gannet, cormorant, bittern, grey heron, little egret, great egret, mute swan, greylag goose, canada goose, barnacle goose, brent goose, shelduck, mallard, gadwall, pintail, shoveler, wigeon, teal, pochard, tufted duck, long tailed duck, goldeneye, smew, marsh harrier, common buzzard, sparrow hawk, kestrel, merlin, red legged partridge, grey partridge, pheasant, moorhen, coot, oystercatcher, golden plover, lapwing, turnstone, dunlin, redshank, curlew, snipe, black headed gull, herring gull, caspian gull, common gull, lbbg, gbbg, kittiwake, guillemot, razorbill, stock dove, wood pigeon, collared dove, tawny owl, little owl, barn owl, green woodpecker, gsw, skylark, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, grey wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, stonechat, mistle thrush, redwing, songthrush,fieldfare,blackbird,goldcrest, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, bearded reedling, nuthatch, treecreeper, magpie, jay, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, starling, house sparrow, tree sparrow, chaffinch, linnet, goldfinch, greenfinch, bullfinch, reed bunting, yellowhammer, bewicks swan, whooper swan, red kite, pink footed goose, ringed plover, grey plover, black tailed godwit, bar tailed godwit, snow bunting, cettis warbler, siskin, lesser redpoll, kingfisher, coal tit, water rail, green sandpiper
Photo; North Norfolk: Sept. 2009 walk that gave up 99 species in 3 days: Hunstanton to Cromer.

Moths and new bird for 2012

A selection of moths at the trap this morning. Mostly, micros including 3 tortricodes alternella, a single of either Amblyptilia punctidactyla or Ambilyptilia acanthadactyla ( the plume moth with rolled wings in the photos) plus a acleris notana on the wooden trap. Also, a pale brindled beauty and a single spring usher.
Also; a pair of grey partridges were seen along the Hadham road; species number 111 for the year. List to follow.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Monday 27th; start the week with a wander

A quick check around Hadham Hall this morning. No barn owl but evidence of roosting in the form of over 20 pellets. Several skylarks and reed bunting were singing, along with green, gold and chaffinch from the Hadham Hall area. A solitary coot was on the now full lagoon. Maybe this will attract migratory waders over the ensuing spring weeks? A common buzzard was recorded over Albury and a kestrel at Westland Green. Photos show the moorhens at Hadham Hall, primulas at Millenium Wood and the only moth from last night; a micro called agonopterix alstromeriana.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

New moth

Two examples of the dotted border moth shown here; a common February to March moth. Also 2 items of interest from neighbouring parishes. Firstly, on 23.02.12 I recorded my first brimstone butterfly of the year. This record was sent to the county recorder and constituted the first record of the year for Hert. Secondly, a peregrine falcon has spent several days hunting over Green Tye, Allens Green and Matthams Wood. I saw it yesterday afternoon heading over the wood. As it did, over 500 wood pigeons and 100's of corvids shot out from the trees.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Amwell visit 24.02.12

A pleasant wander around Amwell N.R. this morning with over 40 species recorded, although nothing new on the year list. Good birds everywhere, including large numbers of shoveler, cormorant, grey heron and lapwing. A pair of bullfinches showed well ( 2 photos of the male) and a total of 6 goldeneye. Photos, from the top:
Robin, bullfinch (x2) robin, shoveler in flight, cormorant in flight, a pair of mute swans and a hybrid goose (maybe greylag x canada goose)

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Moth update: 9pm 23.02.12

As anticipated, moths now appearing due to increased temperature. Another pale brindled beauty along with March moth and 1st hebrew character of the year. Also; 2 micros. The one on the concrete post probably an agonpterix sp, the other yet to be id'd.
From top; hebrew character, March moth, p.b. Beauty, agonpterix sp (number 688 or 689) and unknown

Moth finds; 23.02.12

2 moths in the trap this morning, on what is undoubtedly going to turn into the hottest day of the year, so should be a good haul tonight. Upon first inspection they both appear to be pale brindled beauties, species number 158 for the garden. One definitely is whuilst the other, a more faded example may need a little more study later.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

22.02.12

Early start with little to trouble the notebook. Highlight was a solitary reed bunting heard as it flew high over the golf course. Large numbers of redwing, fieldfare and starlings on the par 3 course; and 2 yellowhammers calling in New Road hedgerow; rest as normal. Photos, in poor early morning light show the dry river bed of the River Ash. Only 3-4 years ago I was recording mallard, moorhen, marsh tit and kingfisher on this stretch: now bone dry and these birds have gone.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Rye Meads 20.02.12

A quick visit to Rye Meads around midday to see if the elusive Great Grey Shrike was still on site. It wasn't, but plenty of birds about including year listers green sandpiper and water rail. Good views of most of the wildfowl on offer; shoveler, gadwall, teal,sahelduck, mallard, little grebe, coot etc. Few reed buntings and a snipe also made the list. Photos here of the green sandpiper, teal, little grebe, gadwall and coot.

Ash Valley GC. 20.02.12

Setting off at 7.15 from Much Hadham, I wandered along the valley and over the dry river bed before crossing the road and heading up to the woods and the golf course. A cold morning meant only the regulars on show. A few fieldfare, their numbers greatly diminished, a buzzard and 9 drumming great spotted woodpeckers were noted. Little else of note apart from a squealing little owl, a treecreeper and 3 nuthatches. Photos show sun rise and a coppice of frosty trees adjacent to the golf course.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Macro moths 18.02.12

A check on the contents of the moth trap was successful this morning. These were discovered, 2 spring ushers. This is a common moth during the months of February and March, so I anticipate trapping many more. As can be seen in these 2 photos, they can be variable in marking and colour.

1st garden moths of 2012

The 1st moths in the garden were recorded last night, both common and expected. Firstly a micro moth Tortricodes alternella and then the unimaginatively named March moth. Both at the trap around 8.30pm. Also, an ichneumon wasp, but more work to gain a positive ID. Good to be back identifying moths, the March moth being the 156th species for the garden. Photos from the top: the tortrix, March moth and wasp.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Ash Valley 17.02.12

An early morning wander for an hour today, beginning at Winding Hill, Much Hadham at 7.15. Usual fare observed, but with the milder temperatures, many more birds were singing. Particularly vociferous were great and blue tit, chaffinch, greenfinch, robin an dunnock. Also heard: green woodpecker and 3 great spotted woodpeckers drumming. Kestrel and common buzzard gave flyby views. Lovely start to a Friday. Photos show a silhouetted dunnock, the dry River Ash and sunrise.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Warm walk: good birds 15.02.12

This morning gave an increase in temperature; no gloves required. From Tescos to home via Hadham Hall gave excellent, albeit brief views of a flyby kingfisher (1st since 2010) and a barn owl roosting in a tree hole. The owl, having seen me, quickly disappeared further into the tree so just 1 disappointing photo taken. However, judging by pellets (20+) it is at a favourite roost spot so I shall return to improve on the photo. Also seen, coal, great, blue and long tailed tits, common buzzard, kestrel, gold, green and chaffinch along with yellowhammer, skylark, stock dove and black headed gull. A great spotted woodpecker was heard drumming at Hadham Hall. In all 30 species, with the kingfisher and coal tit being new for me in 2012, taking my year list of British birds to 108 species

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