Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Last new moth for the month

July ends as it began, with heavy rain and a very soggy moth trap. Consequently, low numbers, but this §pectacular magpie moth was new for the year.
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Monday, 30 July 2012

Butterflies and dragonflies; 28.07.12

A wander up the hill opposite the lane and around fields and green lanes was the order for Sunday morning. A female common darter was found close to the dry River Ash (photo 1.) Further on migrant hawker and brown hawker were observed but too speedy for a photo. Butterflies were still in worryingly low numbers. Meadow browns were ubiquitous (2,) gatekeepers were in low numbers. Photo 3 and 4 depict gatekeeper. Note the 2 white spots in the eye ring, whereas the meadow brown only has the single dot; a diagnostic feature for identification. Also, small white (5,) red admiral and a few small skippers. No speckled woods, small tortoiseshells or peacocks were noted and, even though a detour to a local common blue habitat, none were recorded. Last year over 50 at this site. Finally, near home, a comma (6,) before it began to rain and a rainbow lit the darkening sky.
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Saturday, 28 July 2012

Moth morning 28.07.12

Considering the perfect conditions I expected a better moth haul this morning. However, a combination of not getting to the trap until 8a.m. And the fact a house sparrow was hoovering up all that were not actually in the trap meant only 35 species of 62 moths. A Small fan foot wave (1) and small scallop (2)were new for the year and a latticed heath was only the 2nd garden record for 2012. Amazing as last year they were a daily occurence. A new micro (photo 4) was an Argyresthia bonnatela. This moth is 5mm in length! Finally, an immaculate lesser broad bordered yellow underwing, photo 5.
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Spotted Flycatcher

Another photo of a local celebrity, the spotted flycatcher.this good record has been forwarded to the county recorder.
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Moth Round up

Busy times at the moth trap recently and not enough time to update blog
A gold triangle, Hypsopygia Costalis was a new micro for the garden (photo 1) whilst a ruby tiger was an expected mid July arrival (photo 2). However, more unexpected, on the same night was a buff footman (3). The following night a v pug (4) and waved black (5) were good to see along with a dagger sp (6.) Also, a new micro, albeit common, a Hypsopygia glaucinalis (7) and a large emerald, another new garden record (8).
In Chapel Lane, outside the house, I came across several 6 spot burnet moths, 1st of the year (9 and 10). Whilst the following morning (Friday 27th) another new micro was recorded in the garden; a Lozotaeniodes formosana (11) along with a twenty plume moth (Alucita hexadactyla 12) All in all a good few days.
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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Bird list from boundary walk 23.07.12

A list here of all birds recorded on the walk on Monday:
Black headed gull, blackbird, song thrush, chiffchaff, magpie, wood pigeon, wren,carrion crow, green woodpecker, yellowhammer, jackdaw, swallow, blue tit, pheasant, sparrow hawk, house sparrow, rook, kestrel, jay, blackcap, dunnock, great spotted woodpecker, skylark, robin, great tit, linnet, bullfinch, linnet, goldfinch, swift, house martin, chaffinch, greenfinch, cormorant, coot, white throat, tufted duck, mistle thrush, starling, collared dove, lesser black backed gull, spotted flycatcher
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Monday, 23 July 2012

Long wander

I set out this morning to cover many miles of the parish boundary, beginning on the west side of Bishop's Stortford. In all, 6 hours to the house and then a few more around Hadham Hall. Still several footpaths and boundaries to survey. In all, I recorded:
40 species of bird, 13 butterfly species and 7 dragon and damselfly species. Highlight bird was undoubtedly discovering a spotted flycatcher was indeed a pair and feeding young. Not many of those in Herts. Plus, cormorant and a fine male sparrowhawk. Butterfly wise, it was a case of what I didn't record rather than what I did. No blues at all, no peacocks, only 2 small tortoiseshells and 10 gatekeepers. These are worryingly low numbers, considering that I had 15 marbled whites, a butterfly considered as uncommon for East Herts! Dragonflies were: 5 emperors, 5 brown hawkers, 1 migrant hawker and 4 black tailed skimmers. Damsels were common blue ( 100's) and over 25 blue tailed. All damsels I netted to check for azure were common blues, but I am sure that azure were present.
Photos from the top:
Common blue damsel in hand
Common blue, dorsal view
Black tailed skimmer, male
Black tailed skimmer female
Heat hazed spotted flycatcher
Comma
Small tortoiseshell
Green veined white
Marbled white
Gatekeeper
Small skipper
Battered red admiral
Narrow bordered 5 spot burnet moth
Puffball ( note £ coin for size reference)
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Moth morning 23.07.12

A good array of moths this morning with several irregular visitors, albeit common for Herts. A chinese character ( photo 1) was good to find, along with the 1st straw underwing for me(2.) In the micro department, the first Acleris holmiana was taken (3) along with a new one for me Swammerdamia albicapitella (4.) At least, that's what I think it is! Also, a regular micro, endotricha flammealis (5)
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Friday, 20 July 2012

Westland Green mothing 19.07.12

A night in a 6acre mature and natural garden in Westland Green last night. Huge numbers of moths with plenty new species for the parish record. Many thanks to Mary for permitting us access and being able to use 3 traps, skinner 125 MV, heath 15V and one other. In all, more than 150 macros of over 50 species, as follows: nfm = new for me, nfy is new for year.
These are in order as they came from the trap which ran all night. I was in attendance until 1 a.m. And returned at 5.45a.m.
1 light arches
14 common footman
1 small blood vein (nfm)
3 buff ermine
4 broad bordered yellow underwing
Small rivulet (nfm)
3 mother of pearl
2 peppered moth
1 blue bordered carpet (nfm)
2 smoky wainscot (nfm)
12 large yellow underwing
13 uncertain
8 mottled rustic
1 yellowtail (nfy)
1 beautiful golden y (nfy)
1 lime hawkmoth
5 dark arches
7 dunbar
3 heart and dart
6 rustic
5 swallowtail
1 elephant hawkmoth
6 scarce footman
2 beautiful hooktip
1 buff tip
3 cloaked minor (nfy)
2 snout
1 brimstone
1 mottled beauty
1 minor sp
2 spectacle
3 common rustic
2 privet hawkmoth
2 setaceous hebrew characters
10 double square spot
1 clouded border
1 pine hawkmoth
1 bright line brown eye
1 early thorn
3 v pug (nfy)
1 green pug
2 lesser yellow underwing
1 flame
1 flame shoulder
1 scalloped oak
2 buff arches (nfy)
2 small emerald
1 common emerald
1 buff footman (nfm)
1 blood vein
Several specimens still to have confirmation on them. All these were from the Skinner trap
At the heath trap:
4 dark arches
1 yellowtail
2 july highflyer
1 double square spot
5 common footman
1 uncertain
1 privet hawkmoth
1 ringed chinamark
1 broad bordered yellow underwing
Photos fromthe top:
July highflyer
Buff arches
Pine hawkmoth
Early thorn
Broad bordered yellow underwing
Small rivulet
Cloaked minor
Beautiful golden y
Hawkmoths on conifer bark
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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