Thursday, 25 April 2013

New moth for garden. Species total 255.

After what promised to be a really good moth night, I was a little disappointed to find only several moths trapped. However, an early thorn was a new for year record and a mint example of a streamer made the early start worthwhile. An immaculate specimen still showing the violet hue that rapidly fades after emergence. This is the first record of this moth in the garden.
early thorn (Selenia dentaria)

Streamer (Anticlea derivata)

Streamer.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

New moth for the year

A better evening's trapping last night with 2 small quakers, 2 clouded drabs, an early grey, 2 hebrew character and 2 heralds. The latter, shown below, is a new species for this year and also my first spring records of this moth.

herald (Scoliopteryx libatrix)

Monday, 22 April 2013

King's Mead Visit

I had to pop over to Hertford to pick up a payment, so whilst I waited I spent nearly an hour wandering around King's Mead: see here
Usual suspects in the shape of gadwall, mallard, coot, little grebe and moorhen with several tufties, a solitary male pochard and a fly in little egret. A check of the gulls showed they all to be black headed or lesser black backed. However, plenty of sedge warblers, few blackcaps and my 1st whitethroat of the year. Yr lister 157.
In all, a pleasant 45 minutes, but no grasshopper warbler that had been reported.
pair of gadwall

1st whitethroat of 2013

whitethroat in fine voice

flyby grey heron

grey heron

Remains quiet mothing

Just regulars thismorning. A few common and small quakers and a single hebrew character. On the micro front a Diurnea fagella and Agonopterix alstromeriana were the only representatives in the trap.
Forecast for the week looks like mothing may improve, with warmer night time temperatures.
Diurnea fagella

Agonopterix alstromeriana

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Moth update

A few micro moths over the weekend, Emmelina monodactyla mostly plus an early grey. Very cold night meaning that moths are not on the wing.
Unusual angle of the early grey below, plus the micro plume moth Emmelina monodactyla and more orthodox view of an early grey.


Friday, 19 April 2013

Century scored

A full day in Norfolk, leaving 4.30 a.m. and returning at dusk gave views of precisely 100 bird species. Nothing outstandingly rare, but some good birds mixed in with the regulars along with one or two birds found in strange surroundings or odd time of year. In all, 12 year listers.
First stop was Hunstanton clifftop car park where, in the morning light goldfinches, siskins, lesser redpolls etc were moving west in large numbers. Good numbers of meadow pipits, too. A few sanderling, oystercatchers and sandwich terns were also recorded as we scanned the sea and sand.
On to Choseley barns were we scored with singing corn buntings, numerous pheasants and red legged partridge. Also, grey partridge pairs were viewed in several fields before we landed at Titchwell. With showers promised we thought we'd check the sea first and use the hides if it rained. Upon arrival brambling and other finches were noted on the feeders and a water rail adjacent to the path.
Choseley Barn corn bunting

goldfinch

obliging blackbird

brambling at Titchwell

skulking water rail, Titchwell.
 
We arrived at the sea, Gary, Dave and myself and quickly noted very little. A solitary great crested grebe, some distant wigeon and common scoter moving west and some in off curlews and godwits. Back in the hides, usual suspects were noted along with little ringed plover, white wagtail and grey plover. Along the path, a harrier, but this time not a marshie, a male hen. Good bird. This was followed by brief views of a whinchat which refused to emerge from its bush. The wind was strong and most birds were keeping a low profile. A few reed buntings were braving the gusts to sing from their song bushes.
After the boys finished their lunch (8.30a.m.) we popped into Holkham and Lady Anne's Drive but not too much to add and we didn't get to the lake, so no Egyptian goose. We stopped off at Wells Harbour, but the tide was in so all we got were 3 sticks of rock. A good sugar hit! Dave waxed lyrical about their various merits. Gary and I were unable to speak due to our teeth being glued together with rhubarb and custard flavour!
Off to Warham Greens where no migrants apart from a willow warbler were noted. The wind being southerly was spoiling our plans of newly arrived summer stuff, but never mind, on to Cley for more coffee.
little egret

male ruff

Titchwell ruff

summer plumaged spotted redshank

black tailed godwit
At Cley a few things were about, so we went in search of the (ex) long staying purple sandpiper. Gone. A walk in stiff breeze to the Swarovski hide gave views of skylark, meadow pipits, wheatear and not a lot else apart from 100's of brent geese in off. Weather was messing up their migratory flights. Then off along East Bank where a surprise awaited in the form of a female goosander on Arnold's Marsh. Not too much else so off to Salthouse beach where a troublesome pipit was relocated after an initial sighting. A rock pipit in a small puddle! Good bird. A count now revealed we were in the mid 90's species wise and the hunt was on. A grey heron made it 99 and so off to West Runton for hoped for fulmars. Nothing! A search through flocks of wood pigeons and starlings for ring ouzel and stock dove. Nothing. Off to Sheringham clifftops for more of the same. Nothing! Off to The Lobster for a pint and chips for the boys. Tick. Off to the Wyndham Arms for another pint. Tick. By this time the early start was beginning to tell so we set off for home. Near Fakenham a large bird of prey overhead. A red kite. The century bird. Great result and then home, stopping for a double espresso at The Swan, Hilborough. Dave too full of chips and rock to get out of the car. Home by last light, with a possible, but not counted hobby rapidly over the road a few miles from the village. Off to check on this at the weekend.
A super day out and a great bird list. Plenty we could have added had we searched new sites, as we did at Kelling Heat, but no warblers.

Complete Species list

 

great crested grebe, cormorant, little egret, grey heron, mute swan, greylag goose, canada goose, brent goose, shelduck, mallard, (10 sp) gadwall, shoveler, wigeon, teal, pochard, tufted duck, common scoter, goosander, red kite, marsh harrier, (20 sp) hen harrier, common buzzard, kestrel, red legged partridge, grey partridge, pheasant, water rail, moorhen, coot, oystercatcher (30 sp) avocet, little ringed plover, ringed plover, grey plover, golden plover, lapwing, sanderling, turnstone, dunlin, redshank, (40sp) spotted redshank, black tailed godwit, bar tailed godwit, curlew, ruff, black headed gull, common gull, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, greater black backed gull (50 sp) kittiwake, sandwich tern, wood pigeon, collared dove, barn owl, green woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, skylark, sand martin, swallow,( 60 sp) house martin, rock pipit, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, white wagtail, yellow wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, wheatear,( 70 sp) whinchat song thrush, redwing, blackbird, sedge warbler, reed warbler, cettis warbler, willow warbler, chiffchaff, great tit (80 sp) blue tit, long tailed tit, magpie, jay, jackdaw, carrion crow, rook, starling, house sparrow, chaffinch (90 sp) brambling, linnet, lesser redpoll, goldfinch, greenfinch, siskin, bullfinch, reed bunting, yellowhammer, corn bunting (100sp)
 
Salthouse black headed gull

Titchwell song thrush

Titchwell avocets.
 
The ones in bold are year listers, taking my none twitching year total to 156. For another version of this trip, giving more details of Dave's dietary requirements please visit Gary's site:
http://hairybirders.blogspot.co.uk

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Moths and an Amphibian

A wander down to the moth trap l night gave first garden views of a toad in the pond. I only completed the pond project a week ago, planting moth friendly plants around it, so really pleased it attracted an amphibian so quickly.
A warm night meant a good selection of moths. Of the regular species were 5 common quakers, 5 hebrew characters, 3 small quakers and 4 clouded drabs. Also, new for this year, an early grey, a double striped pug and micro moth Agonopterix alstromeriana.
Also, less usual, a satellite and oak beauty. In all 24 moths, best total so far this year.
early grey

satellite

Agonopterix alstromeriana

oak beauty

Monday, 15 April 2013

A couple of micro moths + regulars

14 common quakers, 2 small quakers, 3 clouded drab, 3 hebrew character and a single March moth. More interestingly and more tricky were the identification of 2 micro moths. First one I suspected to be an Acleris ferrugana. This specimen flew off before a photo could be taken. The other, a tricky individual is thought to be Diurnea fagella. 2 photos here, showing it with open wings and its more regular relaxed roosting position

Resting position of Diurnea fagella

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Dawn chorus walk

I met with the 6 enthusiastic dawn chorusers at the village hall at 5a.m. All that could be heard was a solitary pheasant and an early starting skylark. As we walked through the village dunnocks, blackbirds, robins and song thrush all sprang into good voice. We wandered up Brick Kiln Hill, but no tawny owls, just more of the same along with great tit, blue tit and further along at the polo fields, yellowhammers. Carrion crows, rooks and jackdaws appeared to be the first into flight. Good bird song in Millfield Lane before we entered Millennium Wood. Magpies and jays were seen and heard whilst in the wood our first of 5 chiffchaffs as well as a wisping treecreeper. A couple of fieldfares called in flight as we headed towards Bury Green. Here, our first (and only) blackcap. First record for this bird of the year. Greenfinches, goldfinches and chaffinches could be heard in Bury Green along with several flypasts by 3 mallards. A bullfinch was seen fleetingly just before our first swallow. Round the fields of Clinton's Farm where we added more chiffchaffs and squabbling jays. As we left the footpath to walk back down Acremore Street to Ford Hill and the war memorial a yellowhammer burst into good song above us and 3 greylag geese flew overhead.
These were later seen doing several circuits of the village before heading off south.
sunrise at Bury Green

yellowhammer

yellowhammer in song

robin
All in all a most enjoyable walk in good company although not too many summer migrants appear to have yet made it to Little Hadham. Shall do another village walk in early May when we should get many more summer singers.

Complete Species list

greylag goose, mallard, red legged partridge, pheasant, lesser black backed gull, wood pigeon, collared dove, tawny owl (heard) green woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, skylark, swallow, wren, dunnock, robin, song thrush, redwing, mistle thrush, fieldfare, blackbird, blackcap, chiffchaff, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, treecreeper, magpie, jay, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, starling, house sparrow, chaffinch, linnet, goldfinch, greenfinch, bullfinch, yellowhammer (39)

Moth morning

I checked the trap earlier than usual this morning 4.20a.m. as I was up to lead a dawn chorus walk. Usual insects were in the trap: 6 common quakers, 1 small quaker, 2 clouded drabs, 1 hebrew character but also a new moth for the year, a shoulder stripe. This makes the species count now 16 for the year, considerably down on last year when we had a warm and dry spring.
shoulder stripe

hebrew character

Thursday, 11 April 2013

More moth activity

5 moths in the trap this morning, including a new for year species: a twin spotted quaker. Also, 2 common quakers, a chestnut and a satellite.
Temperatures look to increase over the weekend, so, hopefully, more new spring moths will be taken over the following week.
Satellite (Eupsilia transversa)


chestnut (Conistra vaccinii)


Common quaker (Orthosia cerasi)

Twin Spotted quaker (Orthosia incerta)

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Tring reservoirs

An afternoon at Tring before a RSPB talk in Watford. At Wilstone my first sand martin of the year, but little else apart from an immaculate grey wagtail.
grey wagtail: Wilstone reservoir

Startops Reservoir Teal

Wigeon: Startops Reservoir
On to Startops where a water pipit was flitting along the water's edge. Year lister number 141.Over the reservoirs a number of swallows, but also a solitary house martin, year lister 142. Plenty of wigeon, shoveler, coot and black headed and common gulls


Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Quakers

4 common quakers of varying colour + a small quaker in the trap this morning. Note the small quaker in the photo, showing a few dark spots near the top of the forewing as well as being smaller in size. The small quaker is the insect trying hard to leave the photo, stage left. Note also, the distinct cross line on the 4 common quakers

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Oak Beauty

A superb oak beauty was taken in the trap this morning. By far and away the most stunning Spring moth, as shown below. Although a common moth, this is only my 2nd parish record of this, following on from one taken 2nd March last year.

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