Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Only one moth

As autumn turns wintry moth numbers have dropped to a bare minimum. Only a few species will fly between now and March. Today, a mottled umber roosted on the sheet adjacent to the trap. Only my 2nd garden record for this species.
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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Algarve trip

A quick trip to The Algarve for a few dyas birding and photography. Arriving late on Monday 22nd and leaving in the afternoon of Friday 26th.
Tuesaday was spent birding on the salt pans around Tavira in the East, before a train and bus journey to Lagos in the west on the Wednesday.
In all 83 species of birds were seen, which, considering the dreadful weather on the Thursday, was most pleasing. Thursday was an early start to Sagres and then a walk to Cabo de Sao Vicente. It was hoped that a sunny day would mean successful raptor watching at the special watchpoint. However, leaden skies and continual heavy showers meant no sensible raptor would be on the wing, so time was spent sea watching. Cory's, sooty, great and balearic shearwaters were seen along with 10,000's of gannets. Other good birds around here were serin, black redstart, caspian tern (1) plus several at Tavira, zitting cisticola, whinchat, stomnechat and wheatear.
From the bus near Vila do Bispo a bonelli's eagle was seen quartering fields whilst back at Lagos a walk up the river gave views of plenty of gulls and waders, plus a kingfisher. The latter being a first for me in Portugal!
At Tavira, spoonbills, a variety of terns (little, whiskered and sandwich) were watched along with a black tern near Fuzeta.
Disappointingly, whilst sea watching the weather was so dark and overcast that photography at range was virtually impossible. The photo below of a distant juvenile gannet showing the poor quality of the light. The last photo, taken on my phone, shows the sky at 11a.m. I was a few minutes away from being soaked!
white stork

white stork

common sandpiper

redshank

turnstone

yellow legged gull

gannet

wheatear

Thekla lark

Tavira view from beach track

Sagres cliffs

Sagres Forteleza
Dark sky between Sargres and Cabo da Sao Vicente. No cover!!
All in all a great trip.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Large moth

A red underwing was only the third garden record (photo 1.) Also, several regulars including 2 beaded chestnut (2), 2 merveille du jour (3) and a few setaceous hebrew characters. However, a winter moth was a new garden record but it legged it before I got a photo. This was moth number 251 for the garden and number 233 for 2012.
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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Amwell Visit

A wander round Amwell reserve in the company of members of Chorleywood RSPB group. An enjoyable few hours with several good birds being seen. 3 snipe were at the water's edge upon arrival along with greylags, lapwings, assorted gulls and waterfowl. Good to see the recently arrived wigeon. A walk to other waters gave views of tufted duck, gadwall, great crested grebe, coot etc as well as great spottedf woodpecker, robin and dunnock. 30+ siskins and at least 1 redpoll were watched in alders before arriving back at the viewpoint. A yellow legged gull was in amongst the lesser black backed gulls and a hybrid teal/wigeon cross was seen. All in all a pleasant time.
Photos:
1 and 2 grey heron
3. Cormorants on tern raft
4 and 5 grey heron in flight
6 upending shoveler
7 wigeon
8 common buzzard
9 and 10 reserve views
11. Garden cross spider
12 distant snipe
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Friday, 19 October 2012

Late moth update

This morning's burnished brass shows the H shape which is either the form tutti or juncta. The form tutti may indeed be a specific species rather than a form. DNA extraction will be necessary and so my voucher specimen has been given over for DNA analysis. This will be sent to Canada for study in the on going research to see if it is indeed a new species. Results will be posted here when I hear.
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Late moth

A reasonable selection this morning. The surprise was a very late burnished brass, normally finished by end of September after a peak period around early July. Up to 2006, no Herts records for week 42. Details sent to Colin, the county recorder. Also in the haul: 2 lesser yellow underwings, 5 setaceous hebrew character, 1 red green carpet and 1 green brindled crescent.
Burnished brass photo above.
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Thursday, 18 October 2012

Few moths

After the warm night, a disappointing collection this morning. A merveille du jour (photo 1) was good but only a beaded chestnut, 4 setaceous hebrew character and yesterday's large ranunculus (2.) Plenty of crane flies and several caddis flies were also present.
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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Another new 2012 moth + new micro

A wet but warm night has so far given up the 1st large ranunculus of the year (photo 1) along with a new garden record of Acleris rhombana (Rhomboid tortrix) moth number 1042. The latter escaped from the pot in the lounge and was eventually tracked down to the brass fitting of a wall light, as shown in photo 2.
Garden species list for 2012 now extended to a creditable 232. Only a few more species possible, with a chance that the warm night may bring in a couple more new ones.
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Monday, 15 October 2012

Walk home from Tescos

Dropped off on the outskirts of town, so a footpath based walk over the 5 miles home. For the first 2 miles all I recorded were magpies, carrion crows, jackdaws, blue and great tits and wood pigeons. Slowly birding imroved, but only just. A little owl (photo 1 and 2) was found by Clintons Farm, a great spotted woodpecker was flushed in Ford Hill and a couple of green woodpeckers called. Otherwise, blackbirds, house sparrows and robins was about it. I resorted to several autumnal photos. Many thanks to Jill and Michael for permitting me access to their farm to see the little owl.
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2 new moths for the year list

A cold night so wasn't expecting a great deal. However,first merveille du jour (photo 1) and yellow line quaker (2) were added to the year list, which now stands at 231 species. Also on show, a lesser yellow underwing, setaceous hebrew character, angle shades and Blair's shoulder knot.
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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Hadham Hall lagoon

A brief morning walk around the north east area of the parish gave views of a juvenile mute swan (photos 1 and 2). Only 2nd parish record, following the 2 adults and single juvenile that were on the lagoon between December 2009 and Feb 2010. Also of note, 2 adult little grebes with 2 juveniles (3) and a juvenile moorhen (4.)
Other birds included sparrowhawk, tufted duck, kestrel, common buzzard and several green woodpeckers.
Local farmer was spraying newly sown foeld so no bugs, insects around here for a while, I suspect. (5)
The colours of the autumnal trees are superb at present (6) and finally, an unusual guest to the garden this afternoon. A non ring necked pheasant ( colchicus group) originating from Asia and Caucasus. (7)
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Moths

First frost of the autumn cut numbers. A barred sallow and green brindled crescent (photo 1) were all that ventured to the trap.
The unidentified plume moth turned out to be an extremely late common brown plume. These moths normally aren't seen after August, but with the bindweed still growing they can still be found. However, a very late Herts. record.
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Friday, 12 October 2012

New moth for the year

From nowhere, I trapped not 1 but 3 green brindled crescent this morning. A common and expected moth, but nevertheless, for 3 to appear is unusual on the 1st showing of the year. (Photos 1 and 2.)
Also a barred sallow (3), a blair's shoulder knot (4,) another mottled umber (5) and several large yellow underwings and setaceous hebrew characters
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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