Saturday, 8 January 2022

2022 Bird List Updated 09.01.22


Bird List 2022.  

  1. Great crested grebe

2.     Little grebe

3.     Cormorant

4.     Little egret

5.     Cattle egret

6.     Great white egret (Dungeness)

7.     Grey heron

8.     Mute swan

9.     Greylag goose

10.  Canada goose

11.  Bean goose (Dungeness)

12.  Mallard

13.  Gadwall

14.  Teal

15.  Shoveler

16.  Pochard

17.  Goldeneye

18.  Tufted duck

19.  Scaup

20.  Red kite

21.  Common buzzard

22.  Marsh harrier

23.  Kestrel

24.  Sparrowhawk


Peregrine falcons


25.  Peregrine falcon

26.  Moorhen

27.  Coot

28.  Redshank

29.  Black headed gull

30.  Herring gull

31.  Caspian gull

32.  Lesser black backed gull

33.  Great back blacked gull

34.  Kittiwake

35.  Stock dove

36.  Green woodpecker

37.  Great spotted woodpecker

38.  Nuthatch



39.  Wood pigeon

40.  Collared dove

41.  Tawny owl

42.  Little owl

43.  Meadow pipit

44.  Pied wagtail

45.  Wren

46.  Robin

47.  Black redstart (Dungeness)

48.  Mistle thrush

49.  Fieldfare

50.  Redwing

51.  Blackbird

52.  Cetti’s warbler

53.  Goldcrest

54.  Great tit

55.  Blue tit

56.  Long tailed tit

57.  Bearded reedling

58.  Magpie

59.  Jay

60.  Jackdaw

61.  Carrion crow

62.  Rook

63.  Starling

64.  Chaffinch

65.  Goldfinch

66.  Bullfinch

67.  Greenfinch

68.  Siskin

69.  Reed bunting

70.  Yellowhammer

71. Marsh tit

72. Pheasant

73. Raven

74. Skylark

Red Kite on a bright January morning

75. Linnet
76. Song thrush
78. Common gull
79. Lapwing.
80. Stonechat
81. Mandarin

Dungeness Day trip

 6am start with Rick doing the driving. Only the 2nd time ever I have been driven for a day's birding as we headed off to the beach near Dungeness Bird Observatory. Coffee at Maidstone before parking near the Old Lighthouse and heading to the Seawatch hide on the shingle beach.

Huge numbers of gulls and literally 1000's of cormorants. 50+ Great crested grebe bobbing on the sea but not too much else of note so we walked to the 2nd hide, overlooking The Patch. This is an area where outflow warm water comes from the power station and attracts gulls in their 1000's everyday. A scan through this lot took time but several kittiwakes and what I thought to be 2 Caspian gulls, later confirmed by warden David Walker whom we met as we wandered back to the lighthouse to check around the Desert, Trapping area, Moat and Long Pits. Renewed my membership to Friends of Dungeness Bird Obs with him.

Not too much here: a female sparrow hawk flew off whilst overhead, a continual stream of cormorants flying west towards the RSPB Reserve. 

Back near the Lighthouse I scanned the power station and found a Peregrine high on Dungeness B. This was soon joined by a 2nd one. Huge distance away for some poor quality photos. One of several kestrels was also noted. This flew in trying to take a female chaffinch, which eluded capture by a split second

The Patch

Gulls feeding at The Patch

Female sparrowhawk

Just a few of the 1000's of cormorants
Back to the car and off to the ARC pit. The willow trail was closed as the Hanson Hide was closed for repairs so we took another route to the viewing screen overlooking the Pit from the northern side. Not such good views but still scored with a Scaup as well as the regular wildfowl that can be found here before back to the car and on to the RSPB Reserve. A much needed coffee before setting off to check all the hides. a Great white egret lazed by from the Dennis hide where we also got 3 female Goldeneye along with shovelers, tufted duck, coot and pochard. The reserve was not quite birdless but nothing of note until Rick got a bearded reedling from the viewing area north of the Dengemarsh Hide. Also, a small party of Tundra Bean geese in the distance with large numbers of the ever present Greylags. 

Back to the car and off towards Lydd in search of Bewicks, Cattle egret and Glossy ibis. We found 6 Cattle egrets in a horse field but they flew off before any decent photos could be found. Another birder said he had not seen the swans or ibis, so a quick search along Dengemarsh Lane as far as the tarmac road ending. From here, the road is gravel and sand, containing far too many potholes for the car. Common gull and Rook were added to the day list. 

Cattle egrets

Solitary Cattle egret

Female chaffinch seconds before a kestrel attack

Great white egret

Great white egret

One of several kestrels. This one near the ARC Pit

Pair of very distant peregrines

3 female Goldeneye, one just diving.

Into Lydd for some sandwiches before a trip west to Scotney Pits. Here a redshank, our only wader of the day along with plenty of wigeon and lapwings. A Marsh harrier glided in the distance. By now it was too late for our planned trip across the county to Oare Marshes near Faversham. Another time for this brilliant and compact reserve. We decided to return to get some photos of the cattle egrets which we found  after looking in the wrong direction. They were 20 yards away from us! Then back to the Bird Obs to search the power station wall for the reported Black redstarts. No sign until one popped up, posed briefly before dropping out of site. A lifer for Rick and a good way to end a brilliant trip. In total, a slightly disappointing 60 species noted.

The journey home was the best I have ever had: no hold ups and straight through the Dartford tunnel.

Some of the cormorants at the RSPB Reserve

Great Black backed gulls with a smaller Herring gull

Herring gull silhoutte

House sparrow

Sunset over The Channel

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

October Moth review

 As the temperatures begin to drop, so the moth numbers reflect these changes. In October, I trapped on all but two days for the month, taking just 187 moths.

New macro species for the year were all as expected: In total, 9 species made up of: Blair's shoulder knot (2nd Oct,) Red green carpet (3rd,) Merveille du Jour (7th,) Black rustic (10th,) November moth (all gen detted 13th,) Yellow line quaker (20th,) Feathered thorn (24th,) Red line quaker (27th) and Brick on the 31st.

Black rustic


Blair's shoulder knot

Feathered thorn

Red Green carpets

Red line quaker

Merveille du Jour

November moth

Yellow line quaker

Only 3 new micros were recorded in October: Acleris rhombana (7th,) Lyonetia clerkella (9th, leaf mine evidence upon the garden apple tree) and Udea ferrugalis on the 20th October.

Acleris rhombana

Leafmine evidence of Lyonetia clerkella on apple

Udea ferrugalis

The October additions took me species list for 2021 to a reasonable, but no where near record breaking 402 species for our small garden with a Skinner 125 MV trap placed at the bottom of this long and thin habitat. This number made up of 243 macro species and 159 micros.

Only a few more possibilities to add to the list, plus a little more checking for leaf mines over the next week. I am expecting Sprawler, Winter moth and December moth plus always the chance of a good micro and a rarer migrant. However, the first night trapping for November coincided with the first frost of the season, consequently an empty trap and night time temps look to remain low for the next week or two.

By the 31st October I had recorded 8036 moths and only anticipate this total rising by 50 or so by the end of the year. 

Sunday, 3 October 2021

September moth review

 East Herts garden running a Skinner 125MV trap. Trapped every night with the middle part of the month supplying good numbers, albeit similar species.

New for year macros were: Centre barred sallow, Hoary footman, Brindled green, Frosted orange, Green brindled crescent, Feathered gothic, Brown spot pinion, Cypress pug, Lunar underwing, Deep brown dart, Barred sallow, Mallow, Beaded chestnut and Sallow.


Brown spot pinion

Barred sallow
Only 3 new micros for September: Acleris emargana, Cochylis molliculana and Cochylimorpha straminea.

Acleris emargana

Cochylis molliculana

In total, 1878 moths were recorded with big numbers being supplied by Setaceous hebrew character (314) Square spot rustic (120) Lesser BB yellow underwing (184) Lesser yellow underwing (100) Snout (173) Large yellow underwing (146) White point (134) and Common wainscot (662)

These numbers are totals for the year, not just September.

In all, the total moths for the year stood at 7879 on 1st October, made up of 156 micro species and 234 macro species. Should pass 400 in the next couple of weeks. Still a fair few often taken by now that have not showed eg Black rustic, Red line quaker, Yellow line quaker, Merveille du Jour, Pink barred sallow etc.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Long Day in North Norfolk 21.09.21

 Setting off at 5am, arrived in Wells Next The Sea for a coffee at 7.15. Slow journey due to fog in places. After the coffee I headed to North Point Pools where it was apparent is was going to be a bright day. Great for photos but meant that I was unlikely to come across any rarer migrants that may have been pushed inland off the North Sea due to the very calm conditions.

Usual fare at NPP, a ruff flew in, several snipe and herds of greylag and Pink footed geese. I checked the dense hawthorn but just a few chiffchaffs. A reed warbler scratched a call, unseen before I headed back to the car. The sun was still low so viewing to the east was not good whereas looking west was superbly lit. However, far to the east, a Spoonbill was noted.


3 of 100's of greylag geese

Upbeat and noisy Black headed gull

Still noisy on the downbeat

I now headed to Cley beach where I first checked the sea. A sandwich tern went by with a food item, 3 Guillemots dived relatively close in and a Red throated diver headed west. From here, I wandered east along the shingle. I checked the wire fence and posts for the inevitable Wheatear, at least 3. Also, a solitary Whinchat and plenty of Meadow pipits. Back at the sea, I noted another 2 Guillemot close in and a Common seal popped up to check me out.

Typical Wheatear pose

Another distant Wheatear


Guillemot, showing small wings that are used as flippers underwater.

Gone again

Back up

Common seal, youngster, I suspect

Common seal.

Back to the car and parked at Snipe's Marsh to check Walsey Hills before a wander along the East Bank. Not too much around, finches at Walsey Hills and plenty of butterflies and Colletes hederae (Ivy bee) on flowering ivy. Plenty of Black tailed godwit around the Serpentine but the sun meant views over Arnold's Marsh were silhouettes and heat hazed. I headed back to the car and off to Gramborough Hill.

Here, a large flock of Goldfinch along with more Meadow pipits, Wheatears and very territorial Pied wagtails. I sea watched from the top of Gramborough Hill. A very distant Great Skua headed into the sun towards Sheringham whilst an Arctic skua chased a Sandwich tern, too fast for the camera.

Red admiral



Juvenile Little grebe

Battling with a shellfish

Pied wagtail on Salthouse beach

Meadow pipit, Salthouse beach

Time to head west, so off to Brancaster Staithe for a check on the mud as by now the tide was out. Black tailed godwits, Turnstones and a Little egret all present, plus a selection of gulls. Chatted to a photographer, Sheila who was busy getting great images of a confiding Turnstone. By now the temperatures were approaching 20C and the sun was at its highest, a little too sharp for photos but all was enjoyable.

Adult Turnstone

Herring gull

Black tailed godwit

Common gull

Turnstone, another adult showing the last few summer plumage feathers

Little egret

Off to the final destination: Titchwell RSPB Reserve. If you have not been here for a while, plenty of changes with diggers putting in new channels in the reedbeds and plenty of new islands upon the Freshmarsh. This area was full of birds: 100's Golden plover, Lapwing, Ruff, several Dunlin and Avocets. In one corner of the Freshmarsh near the path to the Parrinder Hide, Meadow pipits, Pied wagtails and a flock of linnets sat on the mud whilst a skulking Reed warbler was noted in the reeds.

From the Parrinder hide more of the same along with Ruff and Teal. A Little stint busied itself in the newly turned mud, distant and tiny.

Off to the beach. A Grey plover on the Tidal Marsh before a trek out to the mussel beds which are uncovered at very low tides. These were covered in waders and gulls but nothing on the sea apart from a small raft of Common scoter. A wonderful place to be and by now the light was just beginning to fade as the sun began to set over towards Holme. Another check from the hides to see if the Stint had moved closer, it hadn't, before I finished the day with a few photos showing pleasing reflections in the calm conditions and low sun.

Back to the car and home by 9.30 after a coffee stop on the way. Super day out. I shall be returning on Saturday with a birding friend. I would like the weather to be a little more damp and stormy on Friday but presently, that does not look likely, so more of the same species, I suspect.

Incoming Golden plover

Another ruff

Moulting drake Teal



Juvenile Herring gull at the beach

Group of Knot


Curlew on Thornham Marsh

Spot the Little stint, about the size of a greylag's webbed foot!

Meadow pipit

Reed warbler

Yet another ruff.

Species List for the day

  1. Red throated diver
  2. Little grebe
  3. Cormorant
  4. Little egret
  5. Grey heron
  6. Great egret
  7. Spoonbill
  8. Mute swan
  9. Pink footed goose
  10. Greylag goose
  11. Canada goose
  12. Brent goose
  13. Shelduck
  14. Egyptian goose
  15. Mallard
  16. Gadwall
  17. Shoveler
  18. Wigeon
  19. Teal
  20. Tufted duck
  21. Common scoter
  22. Red Kite
  23. Marsh Harrier
  24. Common buzzard
  25. Kestrel
  26. Peregrine falcon
  27. Pheasant
  28. Moorhen
  29. Coot
  30. Oystercatcher
  31. Avocet
  32. Grey plover
  33. Golden plover
  34. Lapwing
  35. Knot
  36. Sanderling
  37. Turnstone
  38. Dunlin
  39. Little stint
  40. Redshank
  41. Black tailed godwit
  42. Bar tailed godwit
  43. Curlew
  44. Snipe
  45. Ruff
  46. Great skua
  47. Arctic skua
  48. Black headed gull
  49. Common gull
  50. Herring gull
  51. Lesser black backed gull
  52. Greater black backed gull
  53. Kittiwake
  54. Sandwich tern
  55. Guillemot
  56. Wood pigeon
  57. Collared dove
  58. Green woodpecker
  59. Great spotted woodpecker (heard)
  60. Skylark
  61. Swallow
  62. Meadow pipit
  63. Pied wagtail
  64. Wren
  65. Robin
  66. Wheatear
  67. Whinchat
  68. Blackbird
  69. Cettis warbler (heard)
  70. Reed warbler
  71. Willow warbler
  72. Chiffchaff
  73. Great tit
  74. Blue tit
  75. Coal tit (heard)
  76. Long tailed tit
  77. Bearded reedling (heard)
  78. Magpie
  79. Jackdaw
  80. Rook
  81. Carrion crow
  82. Starling
  83. House sparrow
  84. Chaffinch
  85. Greenfinch
  86. Goldfinch
  87. Linnet
  88. Reed bunting

Black tailed godwit with a single Lapwing


Final ruff.

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