Monday, 15 May 2017

Bug Hunt: Millennium Wood Sunday 14th May

10 adults and 10 children met in Millennium Wood yesterday at 11a.m for a Big Bug Hunt. Using several techniques, knocking trees and observing what fell out on to a white sheet, netting flying insects over bramble and around oak, turning over log piles placed 2 years ago and generally checking leaves in sunny positions, we managed to create a good list of creatures, several new for parish records.
Without doubt, the highlight was finding 3 great crested newts under several logs. These were photographed and put back under the log. A superb find and one that has been reported to Natural England and Herts and Essex Wildlife Trust. With this find come several important rules for Millennium Wood but it must be noted that they were discovered in an area where we carried out improvement work in the winter of 2015/16. At that time I wished to improve the quality of the grassland by removing many poor and failing trees. By removing these, it meant light and rain could penetrate through the gaps in the woodland canopy and permit grasses and wild flowers to prosper. This work was further enhanced by the placement of many small log piles, under which, we discovered the newts. With the nearest pond some 400 yards away, it is now imperative that we find time and money to scrape out the original pond within the wood, add a quality liner and allow it to fill naturally with rain water. Once certain pond vegetation is added, this could be a superb opportunity to increase the newt population. Newts, as amphibians, only return to ponds to breed. The rest of the time they remain under log piles, hunting by night in grassy areas. Just the habitat we have provided, so all present were very excited by this excellent discovery.
The only other highlight was the flushing of a field mouse that scurried over several pairs of feet before hiding itself away. Another good record as their presence will encourage creatures towards the top of the food chain to move in, such as falcons, owls, foxes etc.
Creatures identified so far from the 2 hour search:

Butterflies: (Lepidoptera)

  • Speckled Wood
  • Brimstone (male)

Micro Moths: (Lepidoptera)
  • Nematopoon swammerdammella (longhorn moth species)
  • Agonopterix arenella
Macro moths: (Lepidoptera. Note these were trapped overnight and released back into the habitat once seen by the children)
  • Green carpet
  • silver ground carpet
  • Scorched carpet
  • common swift
  • nut tree tussock
  • small white wave
Green carpet

Flies:(Diptera)
  • Tipula lunata (cranefly)
  • Tipula maxima (cranefly)
  • Greenbottle (Lucilia sericata)
  • St Mark's Fly (Bibio marci)
  • Dark edged bee fly (Bombylius major)
Bugs: (Hemiptera)
  • Phytocoris tiliae
  • Scolopostethus thomsonii
  • Rhabdomiris striatellus
  • Aphis urtica (Dark green nettle aphid)
  • Common froghopper (Philaenus spumarius)
Nettle weevil


Beetle: (Coleoptera)
  • Violet ground beetle (Carabus violaceus)
  • Stomis pumicatus
  • Pterostichus elanarius
  • Pterostichus nigrata
  • Pterostichus madidus
  • Pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus)
  • Green nettle weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus)
Violet ground beetle

Pterostichus melanarius

Crickets and Grasshopper: (Orthoptera)
  • Common groundhopper (Tetrix undulata)

Earwigs: (Dermaptera)
  • Common earwig (Forficula auricularia)
Centipedes and millipedes (Chilopoda)
  • Millipede (Cylindrolulus caeruleocinctus)
  • Common centipede (Lithobius forficatus)
Mammal: (Mammalia in this case Rodentia)
  • Field mouse
Birds: (Aves)
  • whitethroat
  • chiffchaff
  • blackcap
  • robin
  • blackbird
  • collared dove
  • blue tit
  • great tit
Blackcap

Amphibians :(Amphibia)

  • Great Crested newt  (Triturus cristatus)


As can be seen, the children did a great job of finding and potting creatures. We also tapped trees where we found caterpillars, mainly small green jobs from oak. Very difficult to identify these to specific species at this stage of their development. Consequently, I have potted them with plenty of leaf material and shall await their emergence as moths in high summer.

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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