Friday, 31 August 2012

Migrant search

An early evening wander to see if there were any passerines settling down for a migration rest. Hoped for redstart, wheatear and whinchat didn't materialise but 2 yellow wagtails in a flock of at least 52 pied wgatails was a pleasing find. As usual, they were feeding around livestock's hooves. Also, as I returned a juvenile yellowhammer popped up, as shown here. Photos 1 and 2 yellow, photo 3 pied wagtail and lastly yellowhammer
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Coldest night for August

Can't have been more than 4C last night so I was in no hurry to visit the trap. However, after sifting through the few regulars, square spot rustic, setaceous hebrew character, silver y and yellow underwings I discovered an new moth for me. I suspect a Webb's Wainscot, an uncommon moth for Hertfordshire. Photos here, which have been forwarded to the county recorder for verification. Up to 2006 17 records for this moth that requires reedmace as its larval foodplant. First found in Herts in Bishop's Stortford in 1994.
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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Herts bird trip

A trip around Herts hotspots today, beginning in good sunshine at Amwell and then Kings Mead, Broxbourne Woods and ending in horizontal stair rods at Tyttenhanger gravel pits. Good birds at each stop. At Amwell I came across a female/1st year redstart which I excitedly reported to the text service for good birds only to be informed it had been present since Sunday! 3 photos here, the first showing the elder bush it favours. A few teal, 100's of canada geese and coots + several lesser black backed gulls, lapwings and great crested grebes. 2 common sandpipers flew through, the only waders. At Kings Mead, under the A10 flyover, stock dove, sand and house martin and reed bunting were added to the list before a quick trip to Broxbourne Woods near Brickendon. Very little before 4 crossbills flew overhead, calling continuously. Excellent. This was, as is the redstart, new for my year list. Glowering skies greeted my arrival at Tyttenhanger where a quick scan of some 500 black headed gulls gave views of a single mediterranean gull; a juvenile. Another, perhaps the same, was seen from the hide before heavy rainfall meant a soaking as I wandered, head down to the car in shorts and sunglasses! A visit to Rye Meads RSPB was postponed due to inclement weather. A juvenile goldfinch posed near the carpark before the rain (4.) At Kings Mead both a common darter (5) and a ruddy darter (6) were recorded along with a brown hawker and migrant hawker. An emperor had beeen observed at Amwell. A juvenile 1 day old coot (7) seen at Tyttenhanger. In all 52 species including oystercatcher, common tern,little ringed plover (juv) at Tyttenhanger. I missed the fly through greenshank at the main pit, reported
on the Herts bird site found at http://www.hnhs.org/birds/
I arrived home to be presented with a dead female oak eggar, passed on by a local villager, found in their light fitting. Not a common moth for this area, last photo, taken on my phone, giving an idea of its large size. The only other moth seen was a shaded broad bar at King's Mead (9.) A few butterflies were seen, small tortoiseshell, large white, speckled wood, peacock and a single red admiral. All in all a pleasant day.
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Another good number of moths

An 86 moth haul including 2nd generation emergence of swallowtail and light emerald (photo 1.) Usual suspects were all present: 22 setaceous hebrew character, 8 brimstone, 7 silver y and 5 green carpet. A flounced rustic (2) was also present and only the 2nd straw dot of the late summer (photo 3)
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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Red kites

Just missed some great kite photos as 2 soared low overhead, but no camera as I drove down Chapel Lane in the village. Got camera and shot back: these were the best + a yellow barred brindle on a fence post.
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Good collection

86 macros in the trap this morning with 23 setaceous hebrew character (photo 1,) 9 square spot rustics, 8 flame shoulder, 7 green carpet and 6 brimstone. However, a September thorn (2 and 3) was a new moth for the records whilst a grey pine carpet was new for 2012. Also, a common wainscot (4) which have been in very low numbers this year. A light brown apple moth was a new micro. This moth first appeared in the UK, Cornwall in 1936, coming from Australia. Finally, a hungry jackdaw on adjacent aerials.
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Monday, 27 August 2012

Bank holiday round up

Very quiet at the moth trap, probably for a variety of reasons. Firstly, temperature has dropped at night, secondly, I have been attending to it later than usual, after 7 a.m. And lastly, my companion the juvenile robin is still present. Now moulting into adult plumage it is still adept at taking moths from the sheet and in flight after release. Last photo shows the demise of an angleshades moth. No really noteworthy moths, a lesser swallow prominent shown here (photo 1 and 2) and a couple of angleshades and finally a broad bordered yellow underwing.
2 walks, yesterday around Hadham Hall gave views of the resident barn owl but little else. Brown hawker, migrant hawker and ruddy darter dragonflies were on the wing as well as red admirals, whites and a solitary comma.
In overcast/damp conditions I set off this morning for a westerly walk. Highlight were 3 nuthatches and a small party of linnets. A flock oflesser black backed gulls were loafing around, irritating corvids. One shown on a telegraph pole and then in flight. A poppy, newly opened, was worthy of a photo.
In the garden, records of coal tit, overhead buzzard and hobby were the best of a reasonable list that also included chiffchaff and willow warbler.
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Saturday, 25 August 2012

Soggy trap

A visit to the trap last night alerted me to proceed with caution when emptying it later: 3 hornets were present! A selection of regular moths were caught including 10 setaceous hebrew characters, 5 brimstone and 6 large yellow underwings. However, a 1st square spot clay for the year (photo 1.) A green lacewing Chrysopa pallens was also noted, identified by the black spots between the antennae (2)
A clay (3) was only the 5th year record and an immaculate female orange swift (4) were both worthy of a photo.
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Friday, 24 August 2012

Selection of moths

A warmer night meant I was hopeful of a good haul, but, apart from the large Old Lady (photo 1) most remained as usual. A yellowshell (2) and plenty of setaceous hebrew character (3) were around the trap whilst a turnip moth (4) was only the 3rd record of the year.
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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Amwell visit

A few hours at Amwell NR this afternoon to see if there were any signs of vis mig. 3 common sandpipers were present, all newly arrived and the first wigeon of the Autumn was also recorded. A spotted flycatcher, garden warbler, willow warbler and several common terns were also noteworthy.
A trip around the dragonfly trail gave views of common darter (photos 1 and 2) migrant hawker. Brown hawker and common blue damselfly (3.) A solitary comma (4), several large and small whites and red admirals were the only butterflies. An unusal bee caught my attention, nectaring on teasel, a Psithyrus sylvestris, I think!
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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Quiet night, again

Moths were few and far between last night, so I searched local buddleia by torchlight. Not too much success, an angle shades (photo 1) and several brimstone found. This morning a couple of silver y, a black arches (2), a flounced rustic (3) and orange swift (4) whilst brimstone and riband wave boosted the numbers. At least 8 of the former
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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