A record of the wildlife in and around Hadham Ford as from January 2008. Please feel free to leave any comments or email me with details of interesting bird, mammal, butterfly, moth and dragonfly sightings.
@jonoForgham on twitter
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Evening wander 28.05.14
An hour wandering around Hadham Hall, firstly, to check on the barn owl pair nearby and also to listen for any newly arrived migrants. Not 2 minutes after leaving the car, I heard and then saw, a spotted flycatcher. This site is one that has had successful breeding in the past, but tonight, I only observed a single male flitting about. It gave the impression of a newly arrived as it didn't seem to have established a feeding post or two. Very busy moving about through the trees. Great record for Herts. all the same. Hopefully, the female will arrive over the next few days.
first shot of spotted flycatcher in poor light
Closer view at what might be it's feeding station
As I wandered around the back of the pond, my attention was drawn to something small moving about in the undergrowth: a juvenile wren, still with the yellow gape on the beak. Constantly on the move, I changed the camera speed and settings to compensate for poor light.
After this I got on to the farm track that leads to where barn owls can be seen. Almost immediately I had distant views of one hunting, looking very white from such a distance, hence their local name; ghost owl.
I wanted to discover whether both adults were hunting and, if so, were they returning to the nest hole with food as this would indicate youngsters. In the 45 minutes I was present, I noted a second one leave the hole, but this could have been the first after returning. I waited for a while but none returned. I shall pop back to check when I have more time. However, the fact that they possibly both out hunting may mean young, albeit rather late in the year.
On the lake were 5 tufted duck and a grey heron. Overhead were skylarks, chaffinches, pied wagtails, linnets and swallows, plus a solitary swift. Both green and great spotted woodpeckers were seen and a reed bunting was heard alongside a yellowhammer. A peaceful hour's walk.
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.
Note the stripes, denoting a bird fledged this year.
Ash Valley G.C. 15.08.08
Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)
River Ash 28.07.08
Discovered at Westland Green 22.07.08
Bush Wood 21.07.08
growing in hedgerow in Chapel Lane
cinnabar moth caterpillar
Photographed on ragwort 19.07.08
Study of petals 11.06.08
common blue butterfly
looking south from the bridge at Hadham Ford
Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)
in rape field 29.05.08
Caley Wood sunshine
Millenium Wood fox
common comfrey (symphytum officinale)
06.05.08 banks of the River Ash
Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)
flowers, leaves and fruit edible . Good in salad and pesto
Double rainbow 30.04.08
Caley Wood bluebells
Chapel Lane (20.04.08)
looking south west from Bush Wood
06.04.08 in Bush Wood
Looking north west
05.04.08 evening shower approaching
Easter Sunday (23.03.08)
Brick Kiln Hill
Looking east (23.03.08)
No play today
The 2nd hole at Ash Valley golf course
Bush Wood (21.03.08)
daffodils at Bush Wood pond (21.03.08)
Swollen River Ash
The river at the bottom of Winding Hill 16.03.08
Daybreak over the chapel
Thursday 13th March
Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)
growing in Bush Wood
Banks of River Ash, north of Much Hadham
From garden 24.01.08
Looking east towards Acremore Street
Looking south before Hadham Ford
rare January blue sky
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
black, normal, red extended walk
South Westerly route.
Black usual, red extended
North Easterly walk
black short, walk. Red, extended
North West Patch
black route regular. Red route the extended wander