Monday, 29 February 2016

Wander back home 29.02.16

A wonderful walk back from Tescos to the village this morning. I checked several local woods for possible Lesser spotted woodpeckers but, as with the last 8 years, no success. However, not a disappointment as got good birds all the time. A marsh tit in Plantings Wood and then a blackcap in East Wood were both pleasing finds. Also, in Muggin's Wood, goldcrests, treecreeper and at least 3 nuthatches.
Yellowhammers chipped from the hedgerows as great tits were the soundtrack to the whole walk. A common buzzard and kestrel near Green Street and coal tit in Muggin's Wood, also.
All in all, 32 species for a 2 hour walk: most enjoyable.
200+ fieldfare with a few redwings near Green Street, flocking out of the hedgerow and on to the field where 4 magpies were already feeding.
male yellowhammer

distant common buzzard

great tit

coal tit

long tailed tit

nuthatch

same bird

wren
Species list: Year lister in bold
common buzzard, kestrel, pheasant, wood pigeon, stock dove, collared dove, green woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, skylark, wren, dunnock, robin, redwing, fieldfare, blackbird, blackcap, goldcrest, great tit, coal tit, blue tit, marsh tit, long tailed tit, nuthatch, treecreeper, magpie, jay, jackdaw, carrion crow, starling, chaffinch, greenfinch, yellowhammer,

Monday, 22 February 2016

Millennium Wood

A final work party gathered in Millennium Wood on Sunday 21st Feb. Jobs were fixing 8 nest boxes, 1 bee hotel and generally clearing increasingly invasive blackthorn from the entrance. With 14 folk turning up, including 6 children, these jobs were completed rapidly and the enthusiasm of the children to place the boxes was most gratifying. Signs were placed and all in all, a good time. The wood now looks ready for a great spring and we look forward to seeing how the changes we have made begin to show results in the numbers of invertebrates and maybe bird species. Target bird to hear singing within the first 3 weeks of April is willow warbler. This was a regular singing bird until 2011. I suspect the wood then became too overgrown for it, so, hopefully, our clearances will encourage it to return, even if only to sing and then move northwards due to no female being around.
The nest boxes and a bee hotel I made at home, ready for the wood

Some of the party that help make this wood a real Nature Reserve. Great to see so many children from the village

Just the 1 bee hotel, more to follow.



Moth Update

After a frenetic end to January, things calmed down in February, with no new moths until a Clouded Drab to the garden Skinner on 20.ii.16 and then a Small Quaker on 21.ii.16 in Millennium Wood, also to a 125MV bulb.
However, a few pleasing trappings over the last few weeks, with Pale Brindled Beauty, March moth, Acleris ferrugana (gen det confirmed) and Early moth on the 4th. These were followed by more March moths, a first Hebrew character for the garden trap on the 17th, along with a 2nd Dark Chestnut.
The Millennium Wood Small Quaker represented the 100th moth for my list of the year, made up of 14 macro species and 4 micros. Considering only 2 sites within the parish have been trapped, a good return for such an early time of the year.
Clouded drab
Small Quaker

Monday, 1 February 2016

Successful mothing 31.01.16

Common quaker

Dotted border

A quick trip up to Millennium Wood, where Steve and Graeme had set up 4 traps: 125W mv, 50W mv and 2 15W actinics. Upon arrival a dotted border and Acleris sparsana were netted and this continued for the hour we were present. To nets, or noted roosting, were satellites, dotted borders, chestnuts and Tortricodes alternella. We began emptying the traps around 6.30 and were surprised by the numbers and the variety. I had visited the wood on 2 occasions previously in the week, in admittedly colder conditions and only been rewarded with 2 dotted borders.
Satellite showing orange kidney mark

Satellite showing white kidney mark

The species list is very impressive for January:
1 Acleris sparsana
9 dotted border
6 satellite
3 chestnut NFY
2 pale brindled beauty
2 Early moth
3 Tortricodes alternella NFY
2 brindled pug NFY
5 common quaker NFY
1 March moth NFY
2 Hebrew character. NFY
Chestnut

Hebrew character

That's a fair few of the moths I would expect between January and early March trapped by the end of January.
Upon returning home I noted a small micro on the window. Potted and suspected to be Agonopterix heracliana, but need to rule out Ag yeatiana and Ag ciliella. Edit: now confirmed as Agonopterix heracliana, as expected!Just to complete a superb day, a check on the garden Skinner 125W mv this morning gave first records for the year of Spring Usher and Dark chestnut. Also present, another satellite.
In all: 40 moths of 14 species: not a common occurence for January!
March moth

Brindled pug

Agonopterix heracliana
Spring usher

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