Saturday, 30 November 2013

updated year list: 30.11.13

silhouetted goldcrest from Little Hadham 2008

red legged partridge, Little Hadham 2013
great crested grebe, cormorant, grey heron, mute swan, greylag goose, canada goose, mallard, gadwall, shoveler, teal (10sp) wigeon, pochard, tufted duck, scaup, goldeneye, smew, red kite, common buzzard, kestrel, moorhen (20 sp) coot, lapwing, black headed gull, common gull, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, greater black backed gull, collared dove, wood pigeon, dunnock (30sp) robin, blackbird, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, jay, magpie, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow (40 sp) house sparrow, starling, chaffinch, goldfinch, siskin, reed bunting, waxwing, fieldfare, redwing, pied wagtail (50 sp) egyptian goose, great spotted woodpecker, treecreeper, mistle thrush, wren, bullfinch, red legged partridge, yellowhammer, stock dove, pheasant (60sp) green woodpecker, nuthatch, marsh tit, song thrush, tawny owl, little grebe, barn owl, little owl, woodcock, sparrowhawk (70 sp) coal tit, little egret, red throated diver, guillemot, razorbill, common scoter, gannet, kittiwake, brent goose, turnstone (80 sp) great northern diver, tree sparrow, oystercatcher, shelduck, pintail, cetti's warbler, stonechat, marsh harrier, snipe, great white egret (90 sp) water rail, dunlin, golden plover, snow bunting, dartford warbler, linnet, greenfinch, redshank, ring necked parakeet, ringed plover (100 sp) pink footed goose, chiffchaff, lesser redpoll, meadow pipit, grey partridge, great grey shrike, merlin, caspian gull, green sandpiper, skylark (110 sp) grey wagtail, brambling, little stint, fulmar, curlew, spotted redshank, black tailed godwit, bar tailed godwit, knot, whooper swan, (120 sp) sanderling, grey plover, avocet, ruff, corn bunting, long tailed duck, purple sandpiper, shore lark, hen harrier, hawfinch, (130 sp)Jack snipe, .
Added since April
black redstart, greenshank, goldcrest, mandarin, kingfisher, swallow, yellow legged gull, water pipit, house martin, (140 sp) sand martin, cuckoo, blackcap, goosander, grasshopper warbler , little ringed plover, sandwich tern, arctic tern, rock pipit, white wagtail, (150 sp) yellow wagtail, wheatear, whinchat, sedge warbler, reed warbler, willow warbler, lesser whitethroat, corn bunting, swift, common tern, (160 sp)garden warbler, turtle dove, hobby, bittern, golden oriole, savi's warbler, stone curlew, spotted flycatcher, little gull, little tern, (170 sp) bearded reedling, spoonbill, garganey, red crested pochard, common crane, curlew sandpiper, wood sandpiper,, mediterranean gull, common sandpiper, whimbrel,(180 sp) red necked phalarope.
Added since August
arctic skua, redstart, pied flycatcher, wryneck, citrine wagtail, red backed shrike, raven, pomarine skua, tree pipit, (190 sp)nightingale, balearic shearwater, peregrine, shag,spotted crake, black tern
196 species at 02.10.13.

Added since October
common crossbill, yellow browed warbler, red breasted flycatcher, ring ouzel  (200sp) velvet scoter, grey phalarope, glossy ibis, black necked grebe, barnacle goose, mealy redpoll, whooper swan, slavonian grebe, red breasted merganser, short eared owl (210 sp)

Still a few to get: great skua, bewick swan, red necked grebe, long eared owl, parrot and 2 barred crossbills. If I get near my best total 232 (mid '80's) I will be most surprised.

A week's round up

Have been busy this week with 2 talks for the RSPB groups. Firstly, Aylesbury on Monday evening. En route I popped into Wilstone reservoir where, in gathering gloom, I recorded my 2nd water pipit of the year, along with many waterfowl and a few waders including 2 black tailed godwits and a redshank. Great crested grebe shown here in clearly fading light.
great crested grebe
Having travelled 60 miles west on the Monday, I had a 100 mile trip east on Tuesday to Thanet RSPB group for a talk on the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo. Again, in the evening light, I managed a brief visit to Oare Marshes. This splendidly compact reserve is always worth a visit and it did not disappoint. The highlight was adding my 211th bird for the year, a distant short eared owl being mobbed by corvids. This owl eventually put down in some long grass and did not reappear. Another SEO was briefly seen over the road whilst also a hen harrier patrolling the estuary margins and a barn owl over the scrape near the North Hide. The sunset was spectacular, too. Great place to be.


Oare Marsh sunset


Yes, it is an SEO!

Looking north from the estuary
I managed one wander around Hadham Hall to check the lagoon, but just a party of tufted duck present. One female had extensive white around the bill, which meant a quick check to rule out scaup. I did and it was ruled out! On returning home I was greeted by a solitary lesser redpoll in the birches outside my front door. Only my 4th parish record and the 2nd time I have seen them in these trees. Suspect they are there more often than I see them, so need to check this winter.
lesser redpoll

lesser redpoll from front door

interesting tufted duck (centre)

but a tufted duck is what it is. Here with another usual female

Sunday, 17 November 2013

More year listers

Another Saturday trip with Gary to North Norfolk. Picking him up in Stortford at 5 a.m., we stopped for coffee near Ely before arriving at Thornham Point at first light. Few waders (black tailed godwit, redshank, curlew) + gulls were noted but no sign of a hoped for short eared owl. We then headed for Titchwell, still hoping for an SEO. There was a low, damp mist which meant photos were poor and distance viewing not possible, but plenty of birds about. 3000+ golden plover on Fresh marsh whilst 10+ common snipe on Betts pool. Overhead, 3 whooper swan heading west; year lister number 208 for 2013. The hides were left for later as we headed for a rather breezy and cold beach. Not too much moving: few scoter, plenty of gulls including a single med gull and a couple of red throated divers and great crested grebe.
On the beach, a pair of golden plover, plenty of turnstone, godwits, sanderling, oystercatchers, dunlins but after 45 minutes the cold got to our ungloved hands, so off to the Parrinder Hide.

oystercatchers

golden plover

same bird

busy sanderling

sanderling

lapwings
As we left the beach a solitary snow bunting called and flew over and more searches of Thornham Marsh still didn't give up the SEO. A bar tailed godwit was noted on the Brackish Marsh and a water rail squeaked from the reed bed. Into the Parrinder Hide where we noted huge numbers of birds. Wildfowl as expected, shoveler, teal, gadwall, mallard, greylag etc + the golden plover and lapwing. Few waders apart from redshank and dunlin along with 1 knot. Spot shanks had already been noted on the Lavender pool. We moved on, checking Betts pool for the water pipit which was seen, briefly, right at the back on mud. Bearded tits called and one flew over the beach path. we returned to the HQ where another coffee was taken. This time, I opted not to add hazelnut syrup. An error not to be repeated.
bar tailed godwit

a small part of the golden plover flock

shoveler

shoveler drake from the Parrinder Hide
We got back to the car park and time for roasted pork rolls and a porkie pie. Good sustenance before a drive to Holkham. £3.00 paid to park for 2 hours, noting large numbers of wigeon and pink footed geese down Lady Anne's Drive before we wandered east along the beach towards Holkham Gap. No shorelark, twite, snow bunting or Lapland bunting, but a spot of sea watching was most rewarding. 2 slavonian grebe (Gary lifer) and year lister number 209 for me. Also, a male and female red breasted merganser, reasonably close in. Year lister 210. Also, huge numbers of scoter, mainly common but with some velvets as well as great crested grebe, a single kittiwake, several grey seals. Great place, if rather large area to cover. Still no buntings etc as we headed back along the beach and once back at the car, more bread buns (the default type, cheese and pickle.) A chat with another birder showed us that the lapland and snow bunts had been present a little further towards Wells' However, I came across a distant bop on a post from Lady Anne's Drive. Out with the scope and a buzzard sp. Very clear horseshoe white blaze across the breast gave the impression of rough legged but it flew off as we watched a marsh harrier overhead. Gary digiscoped it so maybe id it from these snaps, but very distant.

pink footed goose

distant wigeon

pink foots

pink foots put up by marsh harrier

returning geese


geese on the move

resting pink foots
Following Holkham we headed to Cley, where we refuelled on another coffee before off to the beach. A twitch was going on with several over excited gentlemen!! Felt if I jokingly called a Myrtle Warbler one of them would have keeled over with a heart attack! Anyway, the red breasted flycatcher had moved on, flushed by, yet again, a selfish photographer, not to be reseen. Off to the North Hide where 10 pintail and plenty of brents were seen. The scrape was full of birds, all great to see before we returned to the car after a brief sea watch which gave up 1 red throated diver.
At the beach carpark were plenty of birders arriving for the long gone rbf but more interestingly, was a wedding photo shoot taking place. From my angle they appeared to be sitting next to the dog bin!! Off to East Bank where more bearded tits were heard and usual waders on Arnold's Marsh. By now the sun was setting so back to the car. Remarkably, the last bird of the day was a swallow, over Walsey Hills and North Foreland Woods. A very late record. A stop for Mars bars and drink at Brandon and we were back home by 6.15pm. Yet again, an excellent day.

several drake pintail

from the North Hide

Looking south

Black Headed gull


bhg

same bird on Cley beach

wedding on the beach

dunlin

little egret in setting sunlight

busy feeding
 Species list:
red throated diver, slavonian grebe, little grebe, great crested grebe, cormorant, little egret, grey heron, mute swan, whooper swan, pink footed goose, (10 sp) greylag goose, brent goose, shelduck, mallard, gadwall, pintail, shoveler, wigeon, teal, eider,(20 sp) common scoter, velvet scoter, red breasted merganser, marsh harrier, common buzzard, kestrel, red legged partridge, pheasant, water rail, moorhen (30 sp) coot, oystercatcher, grey plover, golden plover, lapwing, knot, sanderling, turnstone, dunlin, redshank, (40 sp) black tailed godwit, bar tailed godwit, curlew, snipe, ruff, black headed gull, common gull, mediterranean gull, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, (50 sp) great black backed gull, kittiwake, wood pigeon, collared dove, skylark, swallow, water pipit, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, wren, (60 sp) dunnock, robin, stonechat, redwing, fieldfare, blackbird, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, bearded reedling, (70 sp) magpie, jay, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, starling, house sparrow, chaffinch, linnet, goldfinch, (80 sp) greenfinch, siskin, reed bunting, snow bunting.

Local birding

A quick check on Hadham Hall and surrounds gave great views of common buzzard. This was on its regular lookout, a dead tree near the drive to Hadham Hall. 2 little grebes and 8 mallards on the lagoon with linnets, goldfinch, reed buntings and a variety of tits were also seen. Several gulls, including this 1st year lesser black backed. Also, a small (12) flock of fieldfare with a few redwings were noted over the hall.
Goldcrests were also in the conifers but a quick check showed no firecrests were present.
common buzzard over

common buzzard, Hadham Hall

fieldfare

1st year lesser black backed gull

Friday, 8 November 2013

Updated year list Nov 8th

Ones in red were not recorded in 2012.
great crested grebe, cormorant, grey heron, mute swan, greylag goose, canada goose, mallard, gadwall, shoveler, teal (10sp) wigeon, pochard, tufted duck, scaup, goldeneye, smew, red kite, common buzzard, kestrel, moorhen (20 sp) coot, lapwing, black headed gull, common gull, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, greater black backed gull, collared dove, wood pigeon, dunnock (30sp) robin, blackbird, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, jay, magpie, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow (40 sp) house sparrow, starling, chaffinch, goldfinch, siskin, reed bunting, waxwing, fieldfare, redwing, pied wagtail (50 sp) egyptian goose, great spotted woodpecker, treecreeper, mistle thrush, wren, bullfinch, red legged partridge, yellowhammer, stock dove, pheasant (60sp) green woodpecker, nuthatch, marsh tit, song thrush, tawny owl, little grebe, barn owl, little owl, woodcock, sparrowhawk (70 sp) coal tit, little egret, red throated diver, guillemot, razorbill, common scoter, gannet, kittiwake, brent goose, turnstone (80 sp) great northern diver, tree sparrow, oystercatcher, shelduck, pintail, cetti's warbler, stonechat, marsh harrier, snipe, great white egret (90 sp) water rail, dunlin, golden plover, snow bunting, dartford warbler, linnet, greenfinch, redshank, ring necked parakeet, ringed plover (100 sp) pink footed goose, chiffchaff, lesser redpoll, meadow pipit, grey partridge, great grey shrike, merlin, caspian gull, green sandpiper, skylark (110 sp) grey wagtail, brambling, little stint, fulmar, curlew, spotted redshank, black tailed godwit, bar tailed godwit, knot, whooper swan, (120 sp) sanderling, grey plover, avocet, ruff, corn bunting, long tailed duck, purple sandpiper, shore lark, hen harrier, hawfinch, (130 sp)Jack snipe, .
Added since April
black redstart, greenshank, goldcrest, mandarin, kingfisher, swallow, yellow legged gull, water pipit, house martin, (140 sp) sand martin, cuckoo, blackcap, goosander, grasshopper warbler , little ringed plover, sandwich tern, arctic tern, rock pipit, white wagtail, (150 sp) yellow wagtail, wheatear, whinchat, sedge warbler, reed warbler, willow warbler, lesser whitethroat, corn bunting, swift, common tern, (160 sp)garden warbler, turtle dove, hobby, bittern, golden oriole, savi's warbler, stone curlew, spotted flycatcher, little gull, little tern, (170 sp) bearded reedling, spoonbill, garganey, red crested pochard, common crane, curlew sandpiper,wood sandpiper, grasshopper warbler, mediterranean gull, (180 sp)common sandpiper, whimbrel, red necked phalarope.
Added birds:
arctic skua, redstart, pied flycatcher, wryneck, citrine wagtail, red backed shrike, raven, pomarine skua, tree pipit, nightingale, balearic shearwater, peregrine, shag,spotted crake.
New birds to add:
common crossbill, yellow browed warbler, red breasted flycatcher (200 sp) ring ouzel, velvet scoter, grey phalarope, glossy ibis, black necked grebe, barnacle goose, mealy redpoll.
Running total 207 with still a fair few possibilities e.g. great skua, lesser spotted woodpecker, 2 barred crossbill.

Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory

This morning, after an apparently well received talk and a couple of pints in the Crispin Inn, I woke early ready for some bird ringing with the bird obs group. The nets were set in willows over the road and first catch brought one lesser redpoll and a chaffinch.
Upon returning, in excess of 25 redpolls, with the haul containing 3 common or mealy redpolls which had earlier been noted in the trees. A lot paler than the lesser jobs. Common redpoll being year lister 207.
Other birds taken were just dunnock, chiffchaff and a couple of robins, both controlled.
Canada geese were overhead and plenty of curlews in an adjacent field whilst a grey wagtail got on to the list as it flew over the bird obs as I was about to leave.
Lovely stay at a really busy bird observatory.

mealy (common) left and lesser redpoll right


front view of the two species

Cardeulis flammea


Carduelis flammea

same bird

Carduelis cabaret

A calmer Dungeness

Another trip over the Thames and down to Dungeness for a day's birding before heading on to Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory to give a presentation on birding in The Algarve and Baixo Alentejo regions of Southern Portugal
A very calm and mild Dungeness sea watch with a little drizzle. Not too much on the channel apart from the usual suspects; gull varieties, including good numbers of little gull, common scoter, great crested grebes, kittiwakes, few gannets etc. Later apparently a reasonable movement of great skuas, which I missed as I headed off to the RSPB reserve. On the power station wall was a female black redstart but a trip up to the moat and trapping area didn't add to the day list apart from house sparrows, robin and starling.
cormorants

carrion crow

distant little gull


herring gull

Busy on the patch
First stop, after yet again learning how to operate the coffee machine at Reserve HQ, off to Dennis' Hide where both a great white egret and distant black necked grebe were observed. Latter being number 205 for the year list. Also present, pochard, wigeon, teal, coot etc but no hoped for red necked grebes.

distant black necked grebe

great white egret with lapwing, wigeon and flyover black headed gull
As I headed around the reserve it appeared as quiet as my previous visit, with very few passerines. More great egrets and I came across another, still distant, black necked grebe. A marsh harrier patrolled Denge Marsh and a marsh tit was heard near the Christmas Dell hide.

black necked grebe


great crested grebe

great white egret

little egret
After this I took myself over the road, stopping for the tree sparrows at Boulderwall Farm, but they weren't keen to have their photograph so along to the Hanson Hide. Plenty of water here with golden plover and lapwings in large numbers. Another great white egret! but nothing else of note. From here, I drove through Lydd to Scotney Pits where I scored number 206 for the year, barnacle goose. Plenty of plovers, greylags and a fair few hybrid geese but nothing else of note.

barnacle goose

more of the same, the gaggle numbered 40+

late flowering evening primrose

view from Hanson Hide.

the Old Lighthouse 143 feet tall, one of the UK's tallest lighthouses.
All in all, a good 5 hours of birding. The species list:
black necked grebe, little grebe, great crested grebe, gannet, cormorant, little egret, great egret, grey heron, mute swan, greylag goose, brent goose, barnacle goose, mallard, gadwall, shoveler, wigeon, teal, pochard, tufted duck, common scoter, marsh harrier, common buzzard, sparrowhawk, kestrel, red legged partridge, pheasant, water rail, moorhen, coot, oystercatcher, golden plover, lapwing, dunlin, black headed gull, common gull, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, great black backed gull, little gull, sandwich tern, wood pigeon, collared dove, green woodpecker, skylark, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, black redstart, blackbird, chiffchaff, cettis warbler,great tit, blue tit, marsh tit, long tailed tit, magpie, jay, jackdaw, carrion crow, rook, starling, house sparrow, tree sparrow, chaffinch, goldfinch, greenfinch, reed bunting (70 sp)

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