Sunday, 29 April 2012

Rain: 29.04.12

Heavy rain throughout the night meant I cancelled the planned dawn chorus walk, rearranging it for 4.45a.m. next Sunday. All welcome. Few photos here of the River Ash flowing through Hadham Ford. This used to flow all year but over the last 4 years is now no more than a storm drain. Certainly flowing rapidly through the village at present.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Morning wander. 27.04.12

A walk from Much Hadham to home via the Ridge footpath as from 6.30. Due to the paucity of bird life (2 chiffchaffs, 7 yellowhammers being the highlights!) My attention turned to the wild flowers in the hedgerows. As shown from the top:
Herb robert
Greater stitchwort
Ground Ivy
Cowslip
Jack in the hedge
White dead nettle
Primrose
Only 3 moths in the trap, but at least that is 3 more than the whole of the week so far. Firstly clouded drab and then a photo of 1 of 2 hebrew character.
Finally, a camera shy male yellowhammer,

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Weather!! 25.04.12

Hose pipe ban + cricket season starting = constant rain. Another damp walk around the local patch. 42 linnet and 2 adult lesser black backed gulls were somewhat unexpected on the 6th green at the golf course but otherwise, as you were. Blackcap (3) and chiffchaff (4) were singing but the none arrival of whitethroats, lesser whitethroats and other associated warblers is now becoming cause for concern. Reports from Portland Bill Bird Observatory notes lack of whitethroats as unexplained. Usually by this time they would have counted over 1000, so far, not even 10!
Greater stitchwort now flowering along New Road and Chapel Lane, along with Jack in the Hedge. Latters leaves make a great pesto when crushed with pine nuts and olive oil and add extra clove of garlic and a little fresh basil for stronger flavour.
Photos show a view along the Ash Valley, a carrion crow in poor light and greater stitchwort.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Portugal Trip 16 - 19th April

Leaving Stansted at 6.45 and landing at Faro before 9.00 a.m. meant I was birding from Faro train station before 10. From this vantage point I clocked whimbrel, grey plover, little egret and white stork. The train journey of 70 minutes to Lagos gave views of, amongst others, black winged stilt, hobby, beeater and a superb caspian tern at Portimao harbour.
Once a room was organised I set off for a wander to the cliffs and local wooods, seeing thekla lark, azure winged magpie, serin, alpine swift, red rumped swallow and sardinian warbler along with many more common residents. The next day a train to Mexilhoeira Grande and a wander through cork woods and open fields offered more views of the previously recroded birds, plus a common sandpiper, bonellis eagle, short toed lark, cirl bunting and a distant short toed eagle. By the end of day 2 species total was well over 50. Day 3 and after an early morning wander around the Rio Alvor a coach to Sagres and walk to Cabo da Vicente, the most south westerly point of Europe. Great birds including black redstart, stonechat, pied flycatcher, chough, cory's shearwater, gannet, rock dove, peregrine, yelkoan shearwater, spotless starling and blue rock thrush, a new bird for me. Finally, day 4 and a train journey back to Faro, some birding around the airport saltpans and beach before a flight home, in all 89 species of birds seen and over 250 photographs, a few of which are attached. I have a series of talks for the RSPB to give, including ones at Gravesend, London, Norwich and Luton on the Algarve. Should be good fun.
Photos from top:
Chough
Peregrine
Black redstart
Black redstart
Stonechat
The busy station at Mexilhoeira Grande
Blue rock thrush
Azure winged magpie
Beeater

Friday, 13 April 2012

Westland Green moths 12.04.12 + year list birds

I set the trap up in a wooded area in Westland Green last night as I wanted a selection of moths for a group of children that I was taking on a nature day at Hatfield forest. The trap took over 30 moths mainly quaker, twin spotted quaker and small quaker. Also a couple of clouded drabs and a single lunar marbled brown. The latter, a common April moth was new for the parish list. A photo of a rather battered specimen here along with 2 of the clouded drab.
On the nature wander we saw and heard plenty of birds, including both swallow and house martin over the lake which have been added to my year list. A super day with enthusiatic children.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Rewarded: 12.04.12

An early start again, being at Much Hadham at 6.30a.m. for a walk along the valley and over the golf course. Usual fare, with a singing blackcap being particularly pleasing. However, as I was just leaving the G.C. I noted a bird in a tree some 100 yards in front: orange tinge to breast plumage led me to id it as a female wheatear, a bird on migration passage and heading for northern moorland. Only the 3rd time I have recorded this species in the parish. Good views and some distant photos. Soon after, a singing willow warbler at The Ford. 5 photos of the wheatearn plus a green woodpecker and singing dunnock.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Morning Walk: 10.0.12

Clear skies arrived early after a night of strong breeze and rain. Consequently, no notable moths, just a small quaker and a hebrew character. I thought the weather may have put down some migrants, but this appeared not to be the case. Several chiffchaffs, a few common buzzards were highlights along with linnets and yellowhammers on the golf course. Photos of a chapel roof pied wagtail and a golf course hare. In all 27 species for the walk.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Moths 09.04.12

4 species of moth in the trap this morning: 2 hebrew characters, 2 twin spotted quakers (shown), 1 Emmelina monodactyla and 1 chestnut (shown.) It looked to be a good night for moths, with the temperature around 7C, but rain throughout the night limited flights to the light. Roll on a warm and dry night.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Long wander 08.04.12

A long Easter Sunday walk covering the golf club, Westlland Green, Hadham Hall and Millennium Wood. It was hoped to catch up with some of the more seldom seen migrants, but this was not to be. New to my yearlist were goldcrest and willow warbler with the 1st blackcap of the year for Hadham being recorded. However, in total, 40 species for the day, which is good. In all, I recorded: linnet, Great spotted woodpecker, goldfinch, skylark, robin, collared dove, jackdaw, lesser black backed gull, great tit, bulfinch, wood pigeon, chaffinch, pheasant, mistle thrush, blackbird, carrion crow, mallard, blue tit, fieldfare, blackcap, nuthatch, jay, song thrush, dunnock, green woodpecker, greenfinch, goldcrest, pied wagtail, yellowhammer, long taied tit, magpie, house sparrow, skylark, coot, moorhen, rook, reed bunting, starling, willow warbler
Photos: 2 chaffinch, 1 blackcap, 1 hidden goldcrest, 1 local scarecrow and 2 of the bumble bee Bombymus terrestris, a common bee. Plus 2 more of last night's purple thorn.

New moth 08.04.12

The only moth trapped last night was a new one for the garden list, a Purple thorn. Similar to the early thorn but easily distinguished by the fact the purple rests with wings half open whereas the early thorn closes its wings when resting. Both are common Hertfordshire moths, but still a colourful specimen. First three photos of purple thorn and last one early thorn for a comparison.

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