Thursday, 30 May 2013

Amwell visit

A quick morning trip to Amwell to make up for the postponement of my planned trip to Lakenheath Fen Reserve. Weather was so poor at 5.15a.m. I deceided against going as the red footed falcon, golden oriole and sav's warbler would not be showing well on a wet and windy day. Maybe next week?
Amwell remained as it has for a fair few weeks: little ringed plover, redshank, little egret, lone out of season wigeon, common terns etc. Plenty of whitethroat, sedge warbler and reed warbler singing, plus reed bunting.
common tern

common tern

moorhenchick, only few days old.

Moth species: a running total

Below are the moths taken already this year. A very low total for this time of year. Weather continues to be dreadful with only a couple of nights in the whole of 2013 where I have trapped more than 20 insects, never mind 20 species!
By this time last year I had trapped 71 species; here is this year's list. (red shows a new moth for me)

dark chestnut, winter moth, pale brindled beauty, grey shoulder knot, march moth, early moth, red chestnut, chestnut, common quaker, oak beauty (10 sp) hebrew character, shoulder stripe, twin spotted quaker, clouded drab, spring usher, dotted border, satellite, herald, early grey, brindled pug, (20 sp) oak tree pug, grey pug, small brindled beauty, early thorn, streamer, engrailled, common swift, garden carpet, white spotted pug, scorched carpet (30 sp), brimstone, waved umber, poplar hawkmoth, latticed heath, pebble prominent, lesser swallow prominent,  pale tussock, heart and dart grey/dark dagger.

A total of 39 species indeed highlights the chronic weather conditions.
dark chestnut

grey shoulder knot

streamer

Common swift moth this morning.

A common swift (above) was the only new moth of the year in an extremely soggy trap this morning. Plenty of ichemon wasps and yellow spotted craneflies, but the only other moths were a brimstone and another cabbage moth. Another disappointing night.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Disappointing moth night

Following on from the pale tussock last night, I had hoped for a reasonable haul. However, as it often the case, after a day of rain, very little had made it to the trap.
A garden carpet and micro moth Epiblema cynosbatella were only noteworthy insects, both being new for the year.
Epiblema cynosbatella


garden carpet

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

New moth for year

A quick visit to the trap this evening gave views of a new moth for the year; a pale tussock. Weather conditions good at present, so hopefully a few more by tomorrow morning. At present: overcast and dry, if still a trifle colder than usual for 3 weeks away from mid summer!
pale tussock

First dragonfly of the Year

 

cock chafer
A 4 spotted chaser dragonfly flew through the garden yesterday (Monday 27th) and a neighbour appeared at the door with a cock chafer beetle.
Would be good if the dragonfly used our new pond for ovipositing (egg laying.) We have put in certain vegetation to encourage such from both damsel and dragonflies. Plenty of small insects already using the pond so there will be food for the larva of such larger insects. Just wait and see over the next few years.

weekend round up

A few new year listing birds and some new for the year moths. Weather wise, 2 hot days, but now back to rain.
A hobby was spotted locally on Saturday whilst a surprise turtle dove was seen as I was driving back from a local village. The turtle dove was flying parallel to the car for a few hundred yards. Very obvious flight pattern gave it away before plumage was noted.
As for moths, it isn't really getting any better. The drop in night time temperatures means very little on the wing. However, a cabbage moth, heart and dart and flame shoulder were all new moths for 2013. All taken this morning in a very wet trap after continual overnight rain.
cabbage moth

flame shoulder

heart and dart (centre)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

First hawkmoth of the year

A warmer night gave me hope for some new moths. A poplar hawkmoth was the only new one, with a brimstone and muslin moth also present. Need some warmth during the day and overcast conditions at night. Seems conferring with other moth-ers that weather conditions throughout the south east is not good for trapping.
poplar hawkmoth

brimstone

muslin moth

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Weekend round up

A visit to Amwell on Saturday 18th produced good views of a rather elusive wood sandpiper, that showed well fr the view point, but too far away for a worthwhile photo. Year lister 161. Also present were numerous grey herons and cormorants, plenty of common tern, a strangely out of place wigeon, few lapwings, 3 redshanks and a pair of little ringed plovers.
redshank

distant little ringed plover


The moth trap remained virtually empty over the weekend evenings, with just a clouded drab and muslin moth roosting on the Saturday morning, whilst a new for year brimstone was discovered this morning. Suspect that it will be the first of many; a common garden moth.
brimstone moth

Thursday, 16 May 2013

New plant for the village

A walk around Bury Green this morning gave good views of both blackcap and garden warbler. The latter being my first record this year. Both in fine voice.
male blackcap

garden warbler


garden warbler: a little camera shy



Other birds noted were the regulars: whitethroats, chiffchaffs, dunnock, green woodpecker etc + a calling reed bunting in Millennium Wood. However, of concern is the continued decline in willow warbler numbers. None were noted today in areas where in previous years they have been virtually guaranteed.
In woods near Bury Green, a new orchid was discovered: an early purple orchid (Orchis mascula.)

 
Butterflies were on the wing, with plenty of orange tips about, plus a singles of peacock, common blue and several speckled woods.
speckled wood

female orange tip

2 of many young rabbits out and about
 
 
 


Saturday, 11 May 2013

New moth for the year

Again, very few moths in the garden trap this morning. 2 common quakers as well as a first for 2013, a pebble prominent. A common moth that is on the wing at present and then a 2nd generation in autumn.
pebble prominent (Notodonata ziczac)

Friday, 10 May 2013

East of Hadham Ford: Plant walk

2 wanders today, firstly from town back to home and then a quick check around Hadham Hall and the lagoon.
Not too many birds due to cold and blowy conditions, but plenty of blackcaps and whitethroats were in fine voice from hedgerows, as were several yellowhammers. A reed bunting and a few linnets around the lagoon took the days total over 30 species and the local barn owl was in such a deep sleep he didn't hear me until I was close enough to get the best photos yet.
My main interest this morning was checking the lanes for May flowering plants. Most of the usual suspects were in bloom.
well hidden lesser swallow prominent moth

red campion (Silene dioica)

Greater stitchwort (Stellaria holostea)

Garlic mustard (Allaria petiolata)

Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)

Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea)

Cowslip (Primula veris)

carpet of bluebells, Muggins Wood (Hyacinthoides non scripta)



At the lagoon a herd of 6 fallow deer made their way, somewhat distantly, across wheat fields.
 
 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Still poor moth numbers, but some new ones!

A  new pug to be added to the garden list. Likely that this common moth has been overlooked rather than totally new. Identified by dissection as the whole pug family is by far the most complex to identify in the hand, unless the moths are in mint condition. An oak tree pug taken on 07.05.13, identified for me by Graeme. Many thanks. Also on the same night, a double striped pug, new for the year.
Also new for the year, a micro, garden pebble and a latticed heath were the only moths out last night.
latticed heath (Chiasmia clathrata clathrata)

)
garden pebble (Evergestis forficalis)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

New moths for the year

A warmer, if damp night, brought a small flurry of moths to the trap. A lesser swallow prominent and dagger species were new for the year. Also, another early grey (now rather late) and an, as yet, unidentified pug species.
Planning on a few hours out tomorrow night in local woods with head torch and net, hoping for good temperatures and cloud cover.
profile: lesser swallow prominent

lesser swallow prominent

dagger species: rather dark or grey. Need dissection to fully identify, or find pupa.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Weekend moth round up

Considering the weather and my attention to the trap (4.30a.m. checks) very disappointing results. Usual suspects in small numbers, common quaker, hebrew character, emmelina monodactyla, clouded drab, but also first for the year in the forms of waved umber, white spotted pug, nut tree tussock, muslin moth and beautiful plume.
One night soon there will be moths in large numbers, just need a warm day and an overcast night. Now have a powerful head torch so plan to wander woods and lanes at night with moth net to catch them on the wing.
white spotted pug (left) and nut tree tussock

head on muslin moth

male muslin moth

male waved umber

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