Saturday, 29 September 2012

Parish wander

A glorious morning, warm with clear skies meant a morning walk. Stopped off at the wonderful Farmers' Market in the village for a coffee before a walk around the north of the parish. Common buzzard (photos 1 and 2) were about along with a distant red kite (3.) On the small pond were 2 coots, a greylag and a little grebe whilst the sky was full of swallows and 100's of house martins. 2 chiffchaffs called and a lesser black backed gull moved overhead (4.) Good numbers of red admiral (5) and comma (6) along with a few large whites and a single small tortoiseshell.
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Friday, 28 September 2012

Updated Bird year list

Recent visits to Norfolk and Portland Bill have added several species to my year list. Up until July 2012, the list was;
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, knot, peregrine, ring necked parakeet, mandarin,red kite, chiffchaff, ruff, sandwich tern, med gull, red breasted merganser, reed warbler, water pipit, white wagtail, sand martin, raven, blackcap, garden warbler, goldcrest, willow warbler, swallow,wheatear, house martin, whitethroat, cuckoo, sedge warbler, swift, common tern, lesser whitethroat, little ringed plover, common sandpiper, nightingale, nightjar,  hobby, yellow wagtail, stone curlew, spotted flycatcher.

To this I have since added:
grey wagtail (Little Hadham) little stint (Dungeness) garganey (Dungeness) greenshank (Dungeness) little tern (Dungeness) black tern (Dungeness) redstart (Amwell) crossbill (Broxbourne Woods) spoonbill (Titchwell)eider (Titchwell) arctic skua (Titchwell) manx shearwater (Titchwell) common scoter (Titchwell) spotted redshank (Titchwell) curlew sandpiper (Cley) Pectoral sandpiper (Cley) whimbrel (Cley) arctic skua (Sheringham) fulmar (Portland Bill) balearic shearwater (Portland Bill) shag (Portland Bill) rock pipit (Portland Bill) short billed dowitcher (Lodmoor and my 3rd lifer of the decade) tree pipit (Portland) wood warbler (Culverwell) firecrest (The Grove, Portland)

This makes my running total 173 for the year. Trips to Flamborough Head and several Norfolk visits to come may well see 200 broken this year, but no where near my 226 from many years ago and no twitching!!
Archive photo from Autumn 2008 showing a leucistic jackdaw that arrived on the chapel roof at the bottom of the garden. Seen for about 3 months after, but not again. Jackdaws were tolerant of its presence, but magpies and jays attacked it incessantly.

New moths for the garden

Very few moths, but what was lost on quantity was certainly made up for in quality. A mallow (photo 1) and pink barred sallow (2 and 3) were new moths for the garden whilst another barred sallow was another pleasing record. Photo 4 shows differences between to 2 sallow species with barred sallow on the left and pink barred on the right.
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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Moth round up

Quite good numbers of moths over the last 5 nights but no variation in species attracted to the light trap. Mainly setaceous hebrew characters, but also lunar underwings (photos 1 and 2 showing different ground colour,) brown spot pinion (3) and a few light emeralds, lesser and large yellow underwings. Somewhat unexpected, a garden carpet this morning but, as yet, no sallows, merveille du jour or chestnuts that should now be on the wing.
Final photo, an, as yet, unidentified spider.
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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Very Cold

Must have been very cold last night as only 16 moths. 10 setaceous hebrew characters, 2 brown-spot pinion (photo 1) 1 brindled green (2,) 1 broad bordered yellow underwing, 1 large yellow underwing and 1 lunar underwing. Forecast is not much better for the next few nights as there appears to be little cloud cover.
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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

2 new moths for 2012

Both a lunar underwing (photo 1) and a sallow (2) were new for the year this morning. Both expected moths with the lunar underwing arriving one day earlier than last year. Also in the trap, 33 setaceous hebrew characters and the 2nd centre barred sallow of the autumn.
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Sunday, 16 September 2012

Portland List

Had a good couple of days birding, adding several to my list this morning. All good birds after a very quiet and slow start, beginning at The Bill at 6.30am. In total species list as follows:
Wood pigeon, magpie, balearic shearwater (year lister [YL]) manx shearwater, fulmar (YL) shag (YL) great black backed gull, linnet, blackbird, little owl, kestrel, herring gull, buzzard, great tit, wheatear, house sparrow, yellow wagtail, meadow pipit, lesser black backed gull, swallow, stonechat, goldfinch, rock pipit (YL), starling, jackdaw, skylark, oystercatcher, stock dove, med gull, turnstone, ringed plover, dunlin, black headed gull, mallard, lapwing, grey heron, canada goose, mute swan, little egret, short billed dowitcher (YL) pied wagtail, cetti's warbler, blackcap, dunnock, water rail, teal, moorhen, tufted duck, house martin, cormorant, gadwall, raven, tree pipit (YL) wood warbler (YL) common scoter, arctic skua, firecrest (YL) lesser whitethroat, whitethroat. Missed out on a few by not spending all my time at The Bill, but nevertheless, a list that contains a few good birds. Some photos attached, raven, wheatear and shag, all this morning in not particularly good light.
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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Portland Bill

A fine day just got better as the day progressed, if only the birds had done the same. An early start, seawatching at The Bill at 1st light, but not much sea migration, so off around the Bill quarries. Pipits (tree, rock and meadow) along with 35+ wheatears and 100's of linnets. Stonechats and yellow wagtails before a visit to Lodmoor in Weymouth. A brief stop at Ferrybridge gave 32 med gulls, ringed plovers and dunlin, before I joined the 50+ throng waiting to see the short billed dowitcher. It obliged and I moved on. Warblers and a few duck, both here and Radipole Lake. A stop on my return journey at easton for the stunning monarch butterfly (photos 1, 2)
Back at the bill still not a lot7n so a walk along the cliffs which gave raven, lesser whitethroat and a wood warbler at Culverwell. Super day, now rather burnt and in need of a pint or two at The Pulpit Inn.
Photos
3 the bird observatory
4 juvenile kestrel
5 raven
6 stonechat
7 Chesil Beach from Portland
8 migrant hawker
9 med gull and black headed
10 shags
11 wheatear
12 The Bill and lighthouse.
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Friday, 14 September 2012

New moth for year

A reasonable haul this morning, with a garden record of 56 setaceous hebrew characters along with 7 angle shades and 7 large yellow underwings. However, the first red underwing (photo 1 and 2)of the year, taking the garden moth species total for the year to 220.
Also, an uncommon micro, a tiny moth, Plutella porrectella, some 5mm in length.
Other photos:
Flounced rustic (right) rosy rustic (left)
Rosy rustic
Common marbled carpet.
Brindled green
Plutella porrectella
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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

New moth

Very cold this morning and, consequently, few moths. A brown spot pinion was new for the year, shown above, but little else. 4 angle shades, 7 setaceous hebrew characters and a few square spot rustics, second generation uncertains and large yellow underwings.
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Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Moths

Some cold and cloudless nights recently have meant little moth activity. However, a dusky thorn and black rustic were year listers this morning.
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Norfolkian Odyssey 10.09.12

A whole days birding in North Norfolk, followed by presenting a talk on the Natural History of the Camargue to 100+ members of Norwich local RSPB group.
An early start (4.15am) saw me at Titchwell reserve soon after 1st light. From the island hide great views of standard waders + several silhoutted curlew sandpipers. On to the beach for some year listers: manx shearwater, arctic skua, eider and common scoter. Beach made for good birding with oystercatcher, godwits, grey plovers, sanderlings, curlews and sandwich terns all on the sand. A walk through the reserve gave a view of flyover spoonbill, joining 7 others near the new monstrosity of the Parrinder Hide. I have landed at smaller airports, and more pleasing to the eye!! Also, on a lagoon on the shooting side of the path, a spotted redshank. A board walk wander took me to the recently opened section, with little grebe, coot, garden warbler and chiffchaff being added. With the 7 birds seen en route, including barn owl near Fakenham, my day list was 66. Next, as I was driving through Brancaster, the highlight of the day: an Osprey heading towards the reserve. Superb car views.
At Stiffkey a short walk around Warham greens added jackdaw and whitethroat! On to Cley where a pectoral sandpiper, green sandpiper, curlew sandpipers, barnacle goose, pintail, little ringed plover were added before a wander to Arnolds. From the east bank the land to the east, hopefully soon to be acquired by the reserve gave views of a whimbrel, 100+ curlew and 250+ black tailed godwits. A turnstone and kestrel were also added to the list, now at 81sp.
Next stop, a quick check for dartford warblers at Kelling Heath, but all that were added were jay and grey heron before a drive to Sheringham cliffs. Juvenile fulmars were hoped for but not seen. However, an arctic tern became the 10th year lister along with views of house sparrow. 85 sp as I set off for Mundelsey beach. Here, sand martins, house martins and dunnock took the list to 89 for the day and by now it was time to head off to Norwich to set up for the talk. This went well and I was home by 12.15am, some 18 hours after leaving. Superb day.
Photos; a few black tailed godwits in poor early morning light at Titchwell, a meadow pipit, a ringed plover with 3 dunlin, juvenile shelduck and green sandpiper.
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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