Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Norfolk Day 30.07.14

A day off so a chance for an early start for North Norfolk. Having checked the moth trap at 4.00a.m. and closed it, I set off and was at Titchwell by 6.45. Good early morning light made photographing Thornham Marsh easy but hard on the Fresh marsh. I headed for the beach, having checked the reedbed by the island hide for the reported spotted crake. Nothing there apart from lapwings, moorhens, avocets and black tailed . On the brackish marsh I surprised a spoonbill and actually managed to get some photos of the bird actually moving, rather than a flight shot or one of them sleeping.
Early morning over Titchwell Fresh Marsh

confiding spoonbill

But not for long!


soft light on a little egret

same spoonbill
At the beach there were some eiders quite close in and sanderling and dunlin along the surf. In the distance towards Brancaster were 100's of sandwich terns fishing whilst in the opposite direction, 11 arctic skuas towards Thornham, but too far for a worthwhile shot. The recently reported long tailed skua was not to be seen, so back to the Parrinder hide. Here, numerous ruff, avocets, greylags and a few little ringed plover. All good birds and now a few other birders were arriving.
eider from the beach

sanderling

juvenile shelduck

godwits, dunlin, knots and avocets

pied wagtail

sandwich tern, dunlin, ruff etc

meadow pipit

ruff

little ringed plover

adolescent avocet

avocet flypast

redshank
I left the Parrinder hide after quite a while where I had grilled all the waders but only had regulars. However, from the path, a smaller wader with ruff; a wood sandpiper. New bird for the year and gave good binocular views, showing a bright spangled plumage. Off to the island hide where the spotted crake had still not been seen. The hide was reasonably full but no one was actually looking for it. After 10 minutes, it showed, but still within the confines of the reeds. It was on view for about 20 seconds before heading back and out of sight. Apparently, it showed really well in the late afternoon, by which time I was elsewhere.
wood sandpiper

chinese water deer on Thornham Marsh


wood sandpiper

spotted crake

as far as it emerged.

top shot: my depiction of a common tern diving. Missed!
After a quick wander around the meadow trail I had a quick look through the contents of the moth trap before having a walk along the footpath at Choseley. Yellowhammer added to the list along with wren, robin and blackbird but plenty of activity with harvesting probably disturbed the birds, so off to Holkham. After a wander of several hundred yards, it was clear there was very little about apart from blue and great tits, so back to the car and off to Cley.
Picnic bought and eaten at Arnold's Marsh along the East bank. A bearded tit flew by and there were several 100 sandwich terns on Arnold's along with regular waders. I then fancied a bit of sea watching and although there was little movement: sandwich and common tern, cormorant, solitary knot, oystercatcher and curlew and several cormorant, I enjoyed just resting on the beach and watching the world go by.
oystercatcher

sandwich tern, as below



From here, I returned to the visitor's centre for a coffee before visiting the hides. Green sandpiper was added to the list as was a fly through hobby, too quick for my camera. More regular waders, with good numbers of ruff and black tailed godwit.
From here, I went around to the beach for another sea watch, but more of the same so a quick trip to Kelling Heath, which was birdless so a brief visit to Gramborough Hill where again, nothing new was added.
By now, my 4a.m. start was beginning to tell, so back to the car and home by 8.15pm.
In all, 72 species which is not too bad for July and 3 year listers in spotted crake, wood sandpiper and arctic skua.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

100th Garden micro for 2014

Milestone reached today, with the 100th micro being recorded from the skinner trap in the garden. A good selection of new micros in quite an empty trap, as expected after the previous night's torrential rain.
New for me were: Dioryctoria abietella and Dioryctoria simplicella whilst Yponomeuta malinus, Acleris corylana and Acleris variegana were new for the year. The only new for year macro was a small waved umber.
In all 35 species (17 macros/18 micros.) Another unusual macro was a superb flame carpet that was posing well for a photo until I reached for the camera.
Acleris variegana

Blastobasis adustella

Dioryctoria abietella (and below)


Presumed Dioryctoria simplicella (and below)


Monday, 28 July 2014

Electric storm mayhem

The trap was running well at midnight, with several interesting moths potted and many recorded upon arrival. However, a huge overhead electric storm and torrential rain meant that I couldn't get to the trap at 4.30a.m. as planned, so back to bed and a late arrival.
Inside, was carnage. Many were just unidentifiable, no scales left and translucent, albeit still able to fly. Unfortunately, many roosting on the lower parts of the egg boxes had drowned or were stuck to the cardboard and also unidentifiable. All in all, I was lucky to get to 43 species (20 macros, 23 micros) of 71 moths, with several new for the year records and one new for me:  Ypsolopha scarabella. A well marked individual at that. See below. Also, new for me was a Coleophora hemerobiella.
New for the year were barred red which was badly worn but recognisable, Acleris asperana which a bird had tried to eat so some missing, see below and a late id from yesterday, Scorparia subfusca.
Numbers were supplied, inevitably,
 by riband wave, dingy footman and Pleuropyta ruralis
Ypsolopha scarabella

Acleris asperana


Sunday, 27 July 2014

New micros and a recount of totals this year

A busy trap, both last night up until 12.30a.m. and then again this morning. In all over 80 moths of exactly 50 species. New macros for the year were hoary footman and cabbage moth whilst Strophedra weirana, Cochylis atrcapitanaYponomeuta padella, Agriphila tristella, Catalysta lemnata and Pyrausta aurata were new for the micro department.
SAfter checking through all records for this year, I have revised figures due to counting certain species more than once etc. Now at 163 macros and 93 micros for the garden this year, made up of 2059 moths.
Acleris forsskaleana

Agriphila tristella

Blastobasis adustella

Phtheochroa rugosana

Pyrausta aurata

Presumed Strophedra weirana

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Dragonfly afternoon

Another hot and sunny afternoon, so I wandered over to the lakes around Hadham Hall with cameras, binoculars, pots and insect net.
Plenty of common blue damselflies (1000's) as well as a few darters, black tailed skimmers and emperor dragonflies near or over the water. Plenty of photo opportunities.
At the main lake, a cormorant and several large but dead rainbow trout. Shall report this to the landowner tomorrow. Maybe the heat but may be something more sinister.
Green woodpeckers, linnets, a barn owl. goldfinches, swallows and house martins were all knocking about and the song of the yellowhammer was a constant companion.
On the butterfly front: gatekeeper, common blue, small and large white, peacock and meadow brown.
A lovely, peaceful couple of hours just sitting, watching and drinking a bottle of beer.
ruddy darter, as below


black tailed skimmer

cormorant drying its wings

cormorant flypast

silver y moth

common blue damselfly

mating common blues

gatekeeper butterfly

egg laying female 
emperor or female black tailed skimmer?

peacock

breeding black tailed skimmers.

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