Thursday, 26 March 2020

Today's suggestions for finding nature in your garden

Good morning,
Please do see the previous post where I have mentioned things that local folk found and the photographs that I received. All great to see.
It doesn't matter how much or how little knowledge you have of identifying creatures to be involved in this and I know so many children that love hunting for bugs, beetles, butterflies etc. If you do get a photo, I am very happy to receive it and make suggestions, if not, send me a description: size, colours, where it was. e.g. Beetle type insect larger than a ladybird that was on the soil, shiny black with ridges on its back. Although there are 2350 beetle species in Hertfordshire alone, just that little bit of info would inform me that it was probably a ground beetle and that it could be a Black clock beetle. Give it a go.

Today is about birds. We all know what a robin looks like, a wood pigeon and a crow or jackdaw. Some of you know the difference between a great tit and a blue tit. So what would be good today would be to get outside for half an hour at a time, perhaps morning and afternoon and just look around for birds. If you don't know what it is, a phone photo may help or just a description of colour, or, of course, just enjoy seeing them and counting different types. Almost all gardens, with some careful watching will give up at least 10 species and don't forget to look in the sky for birds of prey and other species flying over.
Here are a few you may find:
Goldfinch: note red/white/black face and bright gold/yellow on wing when it flies

Chaffinch: grey and pink head, white on wing when it flies

Collared dove: usually in pairs. Fawn colour with black ring on neck

Jackdaw: bright blue eye, all black and noisy. Usually in groups

Long tailed tit: pink/black white with long tail. Usually in pairs or more. Small

Red kite: large, reddy brown and look for the special forked tail. Maybe flying high over your garden, often in a circling pattern and being chased by crows

Goldcrest: Very small and often found in conifer trees and hedges. Usually in pairs at this time of the year

Great tit: yellow tummy with black stripe down the middle

Chiffchaff: small and green. Probably hear it rather than see it. Has a distinct call zip zap zip zap or chiff chaff chiff chaff repeated for a minute or so.

Wood pigeon. Large, grey and with white bar on the wings. Coo Coo call

Blue tit. yellow and blue, no black stripe on tummy

So now, you can be outside, counting birds and seeing if you can identify them, whilst also looking for bees, flies, ladybirds, and butterflies. Plenty to keep you outside on what is going to be another fantastic day. Finally, if you have any yogurt type pots, please keep them for several activities in the future, we'll be making beetle traps. Also, if you have an old piece of carpet, an old doormat or just a brick or stone, put it somewhere in your garden on soil or grass. Do remember, not on your prize lawn, it will kill the grass underneath very quickly. This we shall come back to on another day. 
Remember to send me notes and photos to jforgham"at"hotmail.com or just leave a comment underneath in the comments box. Have a wonderful day and looking forward to hearing about your discoveries. keep sharing these ideas. Take care, Jono.

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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. In 2016 I spent time at Portland Bird Obs and two trips to Aviero, Portugal. 2017 found me back in Sri Lanka in Feb/March, then July and back for New Year's Eve celebrations in December. Also returned to The Camargue in May for a 4 day trip. Few plans for 2018, but nothing yet booked apart from a trip to the IOW.

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