Friday, 19 August 2022

Long Day in Norfolk 18.08.22

 Up at 4.45am to check the moth trap, record the contents before off with Rick to North Norfolk at 6am. Traditional coffee at Wells Next The Sea Co-Op before first stop at Wells Woods. After a quick check around Wells Meals we headed into the wood where the trees were dripping with migrants: Pied Flycatcher, Lesser whitethroat, Willow warbler, Goldcrest, Blackcap and loads of Chiffchaff, all very busy and moving rapidly through the birches.

On to a very dry North Point Pools but little to record here apart from some hares and Common buzzards along with customary waders and geese so off to Cley for another coffee before checking Snipes Marsh and a wander down the East Bank. A Water rail on Snipes was good and several glimpses of Bearded reedling from the East Bank. A Pectoral sandpiper on The Serpentine and terns and waders on Arnold's Marsh.

Off to Salthouse beach and Gramborough Hill where Wheatear, Meadow pipits and another Pied flycatcher were seen along with a very fresh and vibrant Willow warbler feeding in flowering tamarisk. A Stonechat popped up and 5 curlew flew overhead. A strangely marked wader had me thinking, found in the pool near the beach. Juvenile Sanderling, showing a light buff breast, dark legs and beak as well as a black blotch on the wings.

Final stop, after an unsuccessful check for Grey partridge at Choseley was Titchwell. Very quiet here, as it frequently is in mid August but added Coot, marsh harrier, whimbrel and pochard to the day list whilst also recording plenty of ruff in a wide variety of plumages.

A pint of Wherry in the lovely Gin Trap Inn at Ringstead before heading home, arriving back at 10pm. Been a long day. 

Species list:

  1. Little grebe
  2. Cormorant
  3. Little egret
  4. Great egret
  5. Grey heron
  6. Mute swan
  7. Greylag goose
  8. Canada goose
  9. Shelduck
  10. Mallard
  11. Teal
  12. Pochard
  13. Red kite
  14. Marsh harrier
  15. Common buzzard
  16. Kestrel
  17. Red legged partridge
  18. Pheasant
  19. Water rail
  20. Moorhen
  21. Coot
  22. Oystercatcher
  23. Avocet
  24. Little ringed plover
  25. Ringed plover
  26. Golden plover
  27. Lapwing
  28. Sanderling
  29. Dunlin
  30. Redshank
  31. Black tailed godwit
  32. Curlew
  33. Whimbrel
  34. Snipe
  35. Ruff
  36. Pectoral sandpiper
  37. Black headed gull
  38. Herring gull
  39. Lesser black backed gull
  40. Greater black backed gull
  41. Sandwich tern
  42. Common tern
  43. Wood pigeon
  44. Collared dove
  45. Great spotted woodpecker (heard)
  46. Sand martin
  47. Swallow
  48. Meadow pipit
  49. Pied wagtail
  50. Yellow wagtail
  51. Wren
  52. Dunnock
  53. Robin
  54. Wheatear
  55. Stonechat
  56. Blackbird
  57. Blackcap
  58. Lesser whitethroat
  59. Whitethroat
  60. Willow warbler
  61. Chiffchaff
  62. Goldcrest
  63. Pied flycatcher
  64. Great tit
  65. Blue tit
  66. Long tailed tit
  67. Coal tit (heard)
  68. Bearded reedling
  69. Magpie
  70. Rook
  71. Jackdaw
  72. Carrion crow
  73. Jay
  74. Starling
  75. House sparrow
  76. Linnet
  77. Goldfinch
  78. Bullfinch.
Not too bad for mid August. Few more weeks and there will be plenty more.

Little grebe

Checking settings in Wells Wood on a Wood pigeon

Little ringed plover

Water rail

Male ruff

Juvenile ruff

Male ruff

Flycatching Pied flycatcher in tamarisk

Pied flycatcher

Juvenile Sanderling



Juvenile Shelduck

Golden plover still sporting breeding plumage

Pair of ruff

Juvenile Black headed gull


Little ringed plover

Ruff at the end of the day.

Friday, 8 July 2022

Southen Country Park, Bishop's Stortford

 Yesterday was warm and intermittently sunny so I went off in search of an uncommon micro moth, Nemophora metallica. Fairly easy to find if present, as invariably found on their larval foodplant, Field Scabious. There is a whole bank of this plant in the park and it wasn't long before I recorded 2 of them present. 

Other insects also there along with a Common tern over the lake. A good couple of hours and pleasant chat with a chap on the bridge at the northern end of the lake.

Nemophora metallica

N. metallica on Field scabious

The 2nd specimen, more worn than the first.

Syrphus ribesii, hoverfly, a female

7 spot ladybird

Rhagonycha fulva, one of the soldier beetles

Oedemera nobilis, Swollen thighed beetle, a male

Bombus lucorum, White tailed bumblebee

Large white

Mallard duckling

Common tern

Wrong settings to record the only time it dived for fish.

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Species List from Weeting Heath and Lakenheath 01.06.22

 Just a quick list as a reminder from today's trip:

  1. Cormorant x3
  2. Bittern x 5 sightings, all very brief flybys. Year lister.
  3. Little egret x2
  4. Grey heron x2
  5. Mute swan
  6. Greylag goose
  7. Shelduck
  8. Mallard
  9. Red kite
  10. Marsh harrier
  11. Common buzzard
  12. Sparrowhawk
  13. Kestrel
  14. Hobby x4
  15. Pheasant
  16. Water rail 1 Year lister
  17. Moorhen
  18. Coot
  19. Common crane Year lister
  20. Oystercatcher
  21. Avocet
  22. Stone curlew Year lister
  23. Lapwing
  24. Redshank
  25. Curlew
  26. Black headed gull
  27. Herring gull
  28. Stock dove
  29. Wood pigeon
  30. Collared dove
  31. Cuckoo x2 sightings Year lister
  32. Barn owl x1
  33. Swift
  34. House martin 
  35. Swallow
  36. Kingfisher x3 flybys
  37. Great spotted woodpecker x2
  38. Skylark
  39. Pied wagtail
  40. Wren
  41. Dunnock
  42. Robin
  43. Song thrush
  44. Blackbird
  45. Garden warbler x1
  46. Blackcap x4+
  47. Whitethroat, plenty
  48. Sedge warbler x3
  49. Cetti's warbler x5+
  50. Reed warbler, plenty
  51. Chiffchaff
  52. Spotted flycatcher x4
  53. Great tit
  54. Blue tit
  55. Long tailed tit
  56. Magpie
  57. Jackdaw
  58. Carrion crow
  59. Rook
  60. Starling
  61. House sparrow
  62. Chaffinch
  63. Goldfinch
  64. Greenfinch
  65. Reed bunting

Friday, 20 May 2022

Couple of days in Dorset


Rock pipit in amongst Thrift

Set off Wednesday 18th at 6.30am for Weymouth with a plan to spend time birdwatching around the Island of Portland, particularly The Bill for sea watching.

After a few hold ups I was birding by 10am and straight into a few year listers. Some good birds before back to Weymouth to visit the two local reserves, RSPB Radipole Lake in the centre of Weymouth and RSPB Lodmoor, a few miles east of the town centre.

Finally finished the day and checked into my hotel, processed over 300 photos and headed out for a Thai curry.  Glass of rum and bed as I planned to be back at The Bill for a long sea watch by 6.30am

Thursday dawned bright with a promise of sun and warm temps. Great for photos but not good weather for bringing in any migrants from the sea and this proved to be the case. Few swallows and martins along with a solitary wheatear on the rocks at The Bill. Out to sea a Great northern diver flew east and a Balearic shearwater hung around,  both too far out for a photo. A solitary Arctic skua headed west. Birding at The Bill can be very good but today appeared not to be a day for large passage. 80+ gannets west and a constant flurry of Guillemots and razorbills coming to and from the West cliffs where they are breeding. Mixed in, Kittiwakes and Fulmars.

A wander along the West cliffs, Thumb Lane, The Grove, Culverwell and Sweet Hill didn't give up anything unexpected, so back to The Bill for more photos of the residents.

Off to Ferrybridge where the Little Tern colony continues to expand but devoid of waders save for an Oystercatcher and Little egret so a return to Radipole Lake. The previous day it had been grey and drizzly, so today offered better photo opportunities and several species made the trip list.

On the Friday I was back at The Bill by 6.30am but it was grey and drizzling. The forecast was for continual rain until the afternoon, so after a brief wander, I headed home. Jams at Southampton to Winchester and an accident on the M11 meant the home journey took well over 5 hours.

Wonderful few days, always worth a visit.

Day 1 photos: Many of the sea bird photos were taken over a long distance. Nothing flies close to the coast apart from the gulls.

Herring gulls

Herring gull in good light

Rock pipit



Tufted duck, drake


Common tern with sand eel

Common tern



Blackbird in full voice

Great black backed gull


3 Razorbills and a Guillemot

Yet another Rock pipit


Raven with his packed lunch


Female tufted duck

Species List:

  1. Great Northern Diver
  2. Great crested grebe
  3. Fulmar
  4. Balearic shearwater
  5. Gannet
  6. Cormorant
  7. Shag
  8. Little egret
  9. Cattle egret
  10. Grey heron
  11. Mute swan
  12. Canada goose
  13. Shelduck
  14. Mallard
  15. Gadwall
  16. Pochard
  17. Tufted duck
  18. Kestrel
  19. Red kite
  20. Pheasant
  21. Moorhen
  22. Coot
  23. Oystercatcher
  24. Ringed plover
  25. Black tailed godwit
  26. Lapwing
  27. Arctic skua
  28. Black headed gull
  29. Herring gull
  30. Lesser black backed gull
  31. Great black backed gull
  32. Kittiwake
  33. Little tern
  34. Common tern
  35. Guillemot
  36. Razorbill
  37. Wood pigeon
  38. Collared dove
  39. Swift
  40. Swallow
  41. House martin
  42. Sand martin
  43. Skylark
  44. Rock pipit
  45. Meadow pipit
  46. Pied wagtail
  47. Wren
  48. Dunnock
  49. Robin
  50. Wheatear
  51. Stonechat
  52. Song thrush
  53. Mistle thrush
  54. Blackbird
  55. Garden warbler
  56. Blackcap
  57. Whitethroat
  58. Sedge warbler
  59. Reed warbler
  60. Cetti's warbler
  61. Chiffchaff
  62. Spotted flycatcher
  63. Great tit
  64. Blue tit
  65. Bearded reedling
  66. Magpie
  67. Carrion crow
  68. Raven
  69. Rook
  70. Jackdaw
  71. Starling
  72. House sparrow
  73. Chaffinch
  74. Goldfinch
  75. Linnet
  76. Greenfinch
  77. Reed bunting.
Photos Day 2: More distant auks etc and by 12pm, heat haze was a problem as the temperatures reached 20C+

Rock pipit


A Razorbill disagreement


Seabird colony

Clifftop Thrift

The Bill

Post breeding moult Raven


Herring gull

West Cliffs

Ringed Goldfinch. Unable to read the ring

Distant Stonechat

Skylark with lunch

Male Linnet

The Bill looking from Sweet Hill direction


Same bird








Little terns

Little egret


Evening Reed bunting

Great crested grebe

Herring gull flock

Butterfly species:
  1. Common blue
  2. Adonis blue
  3. Small blue
  4. Holly Blue
  5. Small tortoiseshell
  6. Red Admiral
  7. Brimstone
  8. Speckled Wood
  9. Painted Lady
  10. Small heath
  11. Large white
  12. Green veined white
  13. Small white
Adonis blue

Small blue

Adonis blue

Small blue

Adonis blue

Painted lady

Red admiral

Painted lady

Small Heath


Speckled wood

This is me

This is me
At the end of another Norfolk Coastal footpath walk. 47 miles, 3 days 99 species of bird. September 2009

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


Study of petals 11.06.08

male yellowhammer

male yellowhammer

common blue butterfly

common blue butterfly

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

Millenium Wood fox

Millenium Wood fox

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

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)


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

Fellow birder, Gary Whelan's blog. Gives reports from our trips out together plus reports from his trips abroad. 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. 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. 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.
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

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