Monday, 9 May 2016

Bio Blitz Day; Millennium Wood

The plan was to spend as much time throughout the day in the wood recording all aspects of the natural history of the habitat.
Consequently, I began with a dawn chorus walk, beginning in the village at 4.30a.m. and wandered up the footpaths to the wood, via the polo fields and Millfield Lane. Usual suspects were singing, with plenty of chiffchaff, blackcap and whitethroat. In Hoecroft Lane as we returned to the village at 6.30, the 1st of 3 garden warblers was heard. This is a bird that I have yet to record in Millennium Wood but worth checking for over the next month as they are nearby.
After a quick breakfast, I headed back to the wood with nets, pots, sheets etc and began recording insects, further bird species, including a lesser whitethroat, found by Graeme near the polo field entrance and seen later on by the gate.
Plenty of families joined the recording and we had a huge number of pots containing caterpillars, spiders, bugs, beetles etc that all required identification. As the afternoon went on, in increasingly marvellous temperatures, the list increased and by 2.30, we concluded with a brief walk around the whole wood, listening to bird song and recording the flowering plants.
I returned at 8pm to set the moth trap on what I hoped would be a most productive evening. However, when I came back to check the trap at 10.30pm and have a wander to try and encourage moths to a headtorch and net, it was clear very little was flying, with just 2 moths in the trap. Disappointing as I had 10 moths in the garden trap,
In between times, I spent the hours identifying as many of the potted creatures as possible. Several spiders were not feasible, along with a few flies that were rather worse for wear.
Caterpillars were placed in tubs with their larval foodplant and these will emerge as adults over the summer, when an accurate identification can be made.
All in all, a superb time and wonderful to see so many families participating, with children helping with log searches, netting, sweep netting and  beating trees where white sheets were placed underneath to permit good view of all the insects that were knocked out from the branches.



Back in the moth shed, awaiting identification

scorched carpet

green carpet.
List of those creatures identified.
Bio Blitz Day at Millennium Wood
Date: 08.05.16
Weather: high temperature of 26C, still, cloudless. Hottest day of the year
Recording periods:
5a.m. following a dawn chorus walk from the village as from 4.30a.m. 1 hour spent in wood listening to bird song and identifying birds, both by sight and sound. Note: list contains a few birds that were recorded as flying over, such as lesser black backed gull and common buzzard.
11a.m. – 2.45p.m. Families searching for invertebrates using several methods;
·        Checking under logs
·        Beating trees
·        Sweep netting nettles and grasses
·        Butterfly netting flying insects.
8.00p.m. -11.00p.m: Heath 15Watt actinic moth trap set in centre of wood. Accompanying sheet, illuminated attracted ichneumon wasps and giant craneflies.

Note on English names: where there is no used English name, the species is given, such as Notostira elongata (Mirid bug sp) There are over 220 species of miridae bugs and many have not been given an English name, so the general species is noted. Others are named to specific species name, both the Latin taxon and precise English name.

Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)
1.      Pyrrhosoma nymphula (large red damselfly)
Dermaptera (earwigs)
1.      Forficula auricularia (common earwig)
Hemiptera (Bugs)
1.      Dolycoris baccarum (Hairy or sloe shieldbug)
2.      Eurydema oleracea (Crucifer shieldbug)
3.      Liocoris tripustulatus
4.      Notostira elongata (mirid bug sp)
5.      Eupelix cuspidata (leafhopper sp)
6.      Aleyrodes proletella (Cabbage whitefly)
Neuroptera (Lacewings)
1.      Chrysopa perla (green lacewing)


Coleoptera (Beetles)
1.      Carabus arvensis
2.      Stomis pumicatus
3.      Poecilus cupreus (Copper greenclock)
4.      Pterostichus madidus (black clock)
5.      Pterostrichus niger
6.      Syntomus foveatus
7.      Meligethes aeneus (Common pollen bettle)
8.      Dalopius marginatus (click beetle sp)
9.      Propylea quattuordeciimpunctata (14 spot ladybird)
10.    Coccinella septempunctata (7 spot ladybird)
11.   Harmonia axyridis (Harlequin ladybird)
12.   Cionus scrophulariae (Figwort weevil)
13.   Nedyus quadrimaculatus (weevil sp)
14.   Phyllobius pyri (Green nettle weevil)
Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies)
1.      Esperia sulphurella (micro moth)
2.      Stigmella aurella (micro moth)
3.      Gonepteryx rhamni (Brimstone butterfly)
4.      Pieris brassicae (Large white)
5.      Pieris napi (Green veined white)
6.      Anthocharis cardamines (Orange tip)
7.      Parage aegeria (Speckled wood)
8.      Celastrina argiolus) (Holly Blue)
9.      Colostygia pectinataria (Green carpet moth)
10.   Ligdia adustata (Scorched carpet)
11.   Eupithecia abbreviata (Brindled pug)

Of Note: several species of moth, fly and maybe butterfly larvae were beaten from oak, hawthorn, hornbeam and spindle. These are now feeding in rearing pots where most will pupate within the next couple of months and emerge as adults later this year. A rough estimate shows there to be at least 7 species present. Leaf mines on bramble were also noted and suspected to be that of Stigmella aurella, a common micro moth associated with bramble.



Diptera (Flies)
1.      Nephrotoma appendiculata (spotted cranefly)
2.      Tipula lunata (Giant cranefly)
3.      Cylindromata distinctissima (damsel cranefly sp)
4.      Bibio marci (St. Mark’s fly)
5.      Dilophus febrilis (Fever fly)
6.      Xylophagus ater (Common awl fly)
7.      Empis stercorea (dance fly sp)
8.      Cheiosia vernalis (hoverfly sp)
Hymenoptera (Ants, bees, wasps and relatives)
1.      Tenthredo mandibularis (sawfly sp)
2.      Ophion luteus (Ichneumon wasp sp)
3.      Vespa crabro (hornet)
4.      Vespula vulgaris (common wasp)
5.      Lasioglossum morio (brassy mining bee)
6.      Bombus lapidaries (large red tailed bumble bee)
7.      Bombus lucorum (white tailed bumble bee)
8.      Lasius niger (black ant)
Flora (Flowers)
1.      Urtica dioica (common nettle)
2.      Stellaria holostea (Greater stitchwort)
3.      Silene dioica (Red campion)
4.      Ranunculus acris (meadow buttercup)
5.      Chelidonium majus (Greater celandine)
6.      Allaria petiolata (Garlic mustard)
7.      Hedera helix (ivy)
8.      Anthriscus sylvestris (cow parsley)
9.      Primula vulgaris (primrose)
10.   Lamium purpureum (red dead nettle)
11.   Glechoma hederacea (ground ivy)
12.   Veronica chamaedrys (germander speedwell)
13.   Bellis perennis (daisy)
14.   Taraxacum officnale (common dandelion)
15.   Arum maculatum (Lords-and-ladies)

Isopoda (woodlice)
1.      Porcellio scaber (woodlouse)

Arthropoda (centipedes and millipedes)
1.      Tachypodoiulus niger (white legged snake millipede)
2.      Lithobius forficalis (common centipede)
Arachnida (Spiders)
1.      Salticus scenicus (zebra spider)
2.      Xysticus cristatus (crab spider sp)
3.      Segestria senoculata (snake back spider sp)
4.      Araniella cucurbitina (green orb weaver spider sp)
5.      Metellina segmentata (common orb spider sp)
Ornithurae (Birds)
1.      Anas platyrhynchos (mallard)
2.      Buteo buteo (common buzzard)
3.      Phasianus colchicus (pheasant)
4.      Larus fuscus (lesser black backed gull)
5.      Columba palumbus (Wood pigeon)
6.      Strix aluco (tawny owl)
7.      Picus viridis (Green woodpecker)
8.      Dendrocopus major (great spotted woodpecker)
9.      Troglodytes troglodytes (wren)
10.   Prunella modularis (dunnock)
11.   Erithacus rubecula (robin)
12.   Turdus philomelos (song thrush)
13.   Turdus merula (blackbird)
14.   Sylvia atricapilla (blackcap)
15.   Sylvia curruca (lesser whitethroat)
16.   Sylvia communis (whitethroat)
17.   Phylloscopus collybita (chiffchaff)
18.   Parus major (great tit)
19.   Parus caeruleus (blue tit)
20.   Aegithalos caudatus (long tailed tit)
21.   Pica pica (magpie)
22.   Garrulus glandarius (jay)
23.   Corvus monedula (jackdaw)
24.   Corvus frugilegus (rook)
25.   Corvus corone corone (carrion crow)
26.   Sturnus vulgaris (starling)
27.   Fringilla coelebs (chaffinch)
28.   Pyrrhula pyrrhula (bullfinch)


Mammalia (animals)
1.      Oryctolagus cuniculus (rabbit)
2.      Vulpes vulpes (fox)

3.      Pipistrellus pipistrellus (pipistrelle bat)


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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