Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Moth round up

Been a busy time mothing, with numbers in the garden trap frequently topping 100 of up to 40 species.
New for year have been centre barred sallows, brindled green, Dioryctria sylevestrella, Digitvalva pulicariae, Udea lutealis,  frosted orange and feathered gothic.
Numbers of setaceous hebrew character and square spot rustic often top 30 per night and on the 29th a visit to Little Hadham Place. Here, 140 moths of 31 species were identified and, whilst nothing new for the year, several species new for this site, last trapped in early July.
A late and slightly faded Black arches

Frosted orange

Feathered gothic

Frosted orange and Vestal

Dusky thorn

The Vapourer

Treble bar roosting on a garden deckchair

Centre barred sallow.

North Norfolk Day

Thursday 25th found me checking the moth trap at 4.30 before setting off for a birding day in Norfolk. Having collected Gary from Egmere near Holkham, we headed off to Titchwell.
Light quality was appalling so few photos taken. From the island hide, ruff, dunlin, avocets, moorhens and distant curlew sandpipers. We moved on and got great views of curlew sandpipers from the footpath, feeding busily on the Freshmarsh. Ringed plover were noted here and a flyover grey plover.
On to the beach hoping for some good sea movement but, having lingered for a whinchat, we noted the darkening sky. This observation was followed by several close by lightning bolts so we headed back towards the Parrinder hide to shelter from the probable torrential downpour that appeared to be heading our way. No such luck with the shelter, the rain threw it down for the last 800 yards to the hide and we were both consequently soaked to the skin, wearing as we were, shorts and shirts! Several spoonbills and more curlew sandpipers from the hide as we waited for the rain to cease, which it did after half an hour. We dripped our way back to the car and applied the heaters on full blast!
Curlew sandpiper

Another curlew sandpiper

ruff

curlew sands in worsening light

little egret

Black tailed godwit with 1 feather of summer plumage still to moult.
As Gary had to be home for an afternoon of work, we headed straight for the path at Burnham Overy. We wandered along, noting Egyptian geese with greylags and calling bullfinches. A stile was blocked but the farmers said they were bringing cattle down later, but it was Ok for us to climb over. We got as far as the coastal footpath without noting any hoped for migrants so we headed back in now dry clothes as the sun was now out. We returned along the path to find it completely blocked by a large herd of cattle! Very noisy as we waited half an hour for the farmers to collect the 2 bulls from the field and put them in a cattle truck. A few flyover house martins, swallows and more greylags were noted.
No way through!
A quick whistle stop trip to Stiffkey fen before I returned Gary to home. At the Fen, 6 spoonbills, many canada geese, greylags, golden plover and redshanks but again, no migrnats in the trees along the overgrown footpath.
Once Gary was home I headed off to Jon Clifton's in Hindolveston to pick up moth supplies, but he was out so I headed down to Cley for a coffee and to note if anything was about. A hobby was hunting behind the VC and a caspian gull on Pat's Pool along with common and green sandpipers. 
From here, a quick whizz to Kelling Water Meadows where a pair of wood sandpipers were present, stonechat, linnet and flocks of goldfinches, along with calling chiffchaffs but again, due to the wind being in the wrong direction, nothing unusual.
I finished off at Cley beach where gannets were heading west, mainly juveniles, before a visit to see Jess and family at Stiffkey Campsite. A quick check around the site for moths with the as ever enthusiastic Sidney. We found several and I managed to find some leaf mines on hawthorn that had him searching for more.
Back on the road and home by 9.15pm. A long day.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Amazing Moth night


After a long and extremely hot day, I switched on the garden Skinner 125W trap and set off for Hadham Hall with the battery powered Heath 15W trap. I planned to return to the same spot visited last month, between 2 ponds and surrounded by mature trees, some of them native.
Trap set to the right of this picture, on the edge of this well vegetated pond
By 8.30 the lights were on and, as it was not quite dark enough, I sat down and opened a beer. By 8.45 it was dusky and so off wandering with a bag of pots and headtorch and net. Agriphila tristella were everywhere, with well over 100 netted. After checking the first 30 for Ag. selasella (very similar) I became too busy to check anymore. I recorded 30 as the number encountered.
Things were slowly coming to the sheet next to the trap and I was potting these, then listing. I divided them all into 2 groups, release ones and need to take home for photos/identification confirmation.
I spent some time wandering the older woods near the carpark: green carpets and Pleuropyta ruralis but not too much else.
By 10.30 I had nearly run out of pots with several good species potted for photos, including Oak hooktip, lime speck pug, Tree lichen beauty, Achroia grisella (lesser wax moth) and Galleria mellonella (wax moth.) Clearly a bees' nest nearby. However, the highlight was what looked like Depressaria radiella (parsnip moth) which is listed as uncommon for Herts. Latter confirmed at home to be this species.
The lights were turned off at 11.15 and I headed home to check those I had retained. An excellent night. In all 98 moths of 32 species and 1 new for parish records and 2 new for 2016.
A surprise netting at 10.00pm, a flushed Holly blue!

Tree lichen beauty

Female Cataclysta lemnata


Achroia grisella

Galleria mellonella

Oak hooktip (NB This is a first gen insect, not the specific 2nd gen taken last night)
Hadham Hall Numbers and species.

Micros:

5 Agriphila geniculea
30+ Agriphila tristella
3 Pleuropyta ruralis
1 Blastobasis adustella
1 Pyrausta aurata
1 Evergestis forficalis
3 Crambus perlella
1 Depressaria radiella (new for parish records)
1 Cataclysta lemnata
1 Achroia grisella (new for year)
2 Galleria mellonella
1 Acleris forsskaleana
1 Acrobasis advenella

Macros:

1 Yellowshell
6 Green carpet
3 Snout
7 Brimstone
3 Square spot rustic
3 Orange swift
1 Six striped rustic
1 Angle shades
4 Setaceous hebrew character
1 double striped pug
1 Lime specked pug
1 Straw dot
1 Oak hooktip (new for year)
5 Flame shoulder
1 Small square spot
1 Tree lichen Beauty
5 Lesser BB yellow underwing
1 Garden carpet
1 Red twin spot carpet


Once home, I began potting all the insects that were on the fence and the top of the garden trap. There were a fair few and everytime I retrurned from identifying them and recording them in the moth shed, there were more. At 1.15 I had one last session ans potted a very bright micro. Confirmed as Enarmonia formosana, another new moth for the records.
This morning, slightly later than usual, I emptied the trap and in total, recorded, (including last night's garden haul) 86 moths of 41 species. These included new for year records of Treble Bar, Udea ferrugalis and Marbled Beauty. However, undoubted highlight, a Vestal. This a migrant moth from Europe that usually migrates north as from mid August, but an uncommon visitor as far inland as Hertfordshire. A pleasing capture indeed.
Vestal

Enarmonia formosana


Udea ferrugalis

Dusky Thorn
Moth species and Numbers from the garden

Micros:

2 Carcina quercana
1 Ypsolopha sequella
8 Emmelina monodactyla
5 Agriphila geniculea
2 Pyrausta aurata
1 Hypsopygia costalis
1 Pandemis corylana
5 Agriphila tristella
1 Enarmonia formosana (new for parish records)
2 Cochylis hybridella
1 Argyresthia goedartella
1 Agapeta hamana
1 Pleurpoyta ruralis
1 Yponomeuta malinellus
2 Celypha lacunana
2 Monopsis weaverella
1 Catoptria falsella
1 Acrobasis suavella
1 Udea ferrugalis (new for year)
1 Blastobasis adustella


Macros:

1 Green carpet
8 Brimstone
2 Scorched carpet
1 Dusky thorn
1 Snout
4 Straw dot
1 Light emerald
9 Square spot rustic
3 Lesser BB yellow underwing
1 Common carpet
1 Marbled beauty (new for year)
1 Maple pug
3 Flame shoulder
1 Common wainscot
1 Yellowshell
2 Small square spot
2 Six striped rustic
1 Common rustic
1 Copper underwing
1 Treble bar (new for year)
1 Vestal (new for parish records)

All these additions take the total to in excess of 5700 moths identified this year of 428 species for 2016, made up of 205 micro species and 223 macro species.
The new additions to the parish list mean I have now recorded 635 species in total in Little Hadham, made up of 326 macro species and 309 micro species. With a bit of luck and hard graft, could get to 650 species for the village by the end of this year.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Hadham Hall lagoon

Quick visit this afternoon to check around the lagoon. Much as before with common blue damsels in big numbers, 2 emperor dragonflies as well as 1 migrant hawker, black tailed skimmer and brown hawker.
Bird wise, no sign of the common sandpiper noted on the 18th, but a cormorant and 2 little grebes were on the water. In the willows, small flocks of linnet whilst swallows and house martins scooped water in flight.
Moorhens and coots were on the small "dragonfly pond" and flying around, small whites, common blues, gatekeepers, small tortoiseshell and meadow brown butterflies.
A silver Y moth fled as I walked through the grass. An enjoyable hour with a picnic. I plan to return to the hall tonight with the moth trap. Weather indicates it could be a good night, but would benefit from a bit of cloud cover and a drop in the breeze. Temperatures reached 30C this afternoon, so it would be good if this only dropped by 10 degrees this evening.
2 juvenile coot

black tailed skimmer

same insect

Common blue damselfly


Moorhen

Silver Y moth darting for cover

small white

Male common blue

meadow brown

Distant common sandpiper

rook


overhead cormorant after take off
A damselfly weather vane

Linnet

Sunday, 21 August 2016

General round up

Birds:
Highlight was a single common sandpiper at Hadham Hall lagoon on 18.08.16. Obsevred for an hour before flying high and heading south, calling continually. Other birds present at this site were coots, moorhen, linnets and corvids.
Overhead, the gull movement in the evening, normally an hour before dusk, continues to increase in number, with 125 lesser black backed, herring and black headed birds flying south down the Ash Valley. Suspect heading for overnight roost at Amwell Reserve. Also overhead, a kestrel on the 13th, hobby on the 16th and red kite and common buzzards daily.
Green and bull finches call in the garden and on 14th August a willow warbler was calling from a garden tree at 6.30 as I checked the moth trap. Autumn definitely here.

Moths:
Several additions to both the year and parish list since last update:garden trap if not stated.
New for parish records were coxcomb prominent (15th) Gelechia seticetella (15th) Cochylimorpha straminea (11th) and Cochylis hybridella (18th)
New for the year records: Cloaked minor (11th) Svennson's copper underwing (Millennium Wood 11th) Apotomis betuletana (MW 11th) Plutella porrectella and Parornix anglicella (12th) Eudemis profundana (Chapel Lane 13th) Toadflax pug (13th) Juniper pug (13th) Nutmeg (15th) Currant pug (15th) Rosy rustic (Alder Wood 16th)Copper underwing (Brick Kiln Hill 18th) Vapourer (Brick Kiln Hill 18th)

These additions take me to 5469 moths, made up of 199 micros and 218 macros, total of 417 species. If dry tonight, Heath trap on the footpaths on the local golf course and then Tuesday night I plan to return to the ponds around Hadham Hall for netting and running the Heath. Could be good for wainscot sp and pond based micros.

Coxcomb prominent

The Vapourer

Plutella porrectella


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Butterfly check

As the weather was warm and sunny I thought a check on the butterflies around Stocking Wood was in order. On this day last year I discovered the latest butterfly for parish records, a silver washed fritillary and wondered if they would be present again.
Upon arrival the sun was behind cloud and no butterflies were on the wing. Within 15 minutes, the sun appeared along with large whites, a comma and a peacock. Shortly after, a white letter hair streak alighted on nearby vegetation and a presumed purple hairstreak flew past.
I wandered further up the overgrown ride, noting green veined white and a common darter dragonfly. A migrant hawker dragonfly flew up and caught a purple hairstreak, the wings of the butterfly quickly detached.
Upon greater knapweed, the first of three silver washed fritillary before more hairstreaks appeared and some posed for photos, the purple hairstreak being the least enthusiastic to have its photo taken.
Overhead, 2 juvenile hobbies called. before darting into the middle of the wood and calling vociferously. Clearly, successful nesting for the 3rd consecutive year in this wood.
All in all, a most worthwhile couple of hours.
Copulating small whites

White letter hairstreak

speckled wood

white letter hairstreak (2nd individual note clip on forewing of 1st insect)

green veined white

Silver washed fritillary

silver washed fritillary

Plenty of knapweed for nectaring

Distant purple hairstreak

white letter hairstreak

Common darter

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