Monday, 31 August 2015

End of August round up

Few bits and pieces before I set off for a few days in The Camargue tomorrow morning. Came across this superb elephant hawkmoth caterpillar crossing our patio yesterday. Not sure if it was dislodged from nearby rosebay willowherb by the heavy rain, or was off to find a place to pupate. Anyway, put it back in a large rosebay patch so it had the choice.
elephant hawkmoth larva
Also noted on the patio, this immaculate, newly emerged red admiral that went on to join several peacocks, a hummingbird hawkmoth and 2 hornets flitting around the buddleia.
before it closed its wings

Upon closing the wings, the red band disappears to aid camouflage.
Finally, a new moth for the year:  a feathered gothic. This takes the number of moth species for this year to 183 macros and 174 micros, 357 moth species in total from a count of 4,863 moths since early spring this year. Certainly will pass 5000 for the year!
feathered gothic

Friday, 28 August 2015

Updated year List

Although I do not take part in any year list competitions etc, I do like to keep a tab on what I see each year. Last year, my total of 221 species was reasonably respectable for a committed non twitching birder who invariably just visits Kent (esp Dungeness,) Portland a couple of times per year and North Norfolk at least once a month as well as a few sites within Hertfordshire (Amwell regularly, Tring a couple of times and maybe Stockers Lake and the Lea Valley.) Having said that, if I happen to be in Norfolk and a good bird turns up or is present, I shall make an effort to see it; just not wait for more than half an hour for it to show. eg icterine warbler at Burnham Overy dunes showed within 5 minutes and not again as I waited the half hour to improve on photos. A sort of twitching, I suppose!
I have just updated this year's list, having noted many omissions of everyday birds, most seen locally and not added.
Archive photo: Little Hadham winter 2008: goldcrest

  1. red throated diver (Holkham)
  2. great northern diver (Portland)
  3. black necked grebe (Amwell)
  4. little grebe
  5. great crested grebe
  6. red necked grebe (Holkham)
  7. fulmar (Portland)
  8. manx shearwater (Portland)
  9. balearic shearwater (Portland)
  10. gannet
  11. cormorant
  12. shag (Portland)
  13. Little bittern (Lakenheath)
  14. cattle egret (Dungeness)
  15. little egret
  16. great white egret (Dungeness)
  17. grey heron
  18. spoonbill (Norfolk)
  19. mute swan
  20. pink footed goose
  21. greylag goose
  22. canada goose
  23. barnacle goose (Scotney Pits)
  24. brent goose
  25. shelduck
  26. egyptian goose
  27. mallard
  28. gadwall
  29. pintail
  30. shoveler
  31. wigeon
  32. teal
  33. garganey (Cley)
  34. pochard
  35. red crested pochard (Titchwell)
  36. scaup (Dungeness)
  37. tufted duck
  38. common scoter
  39. goldeneye
  40. smew
  41. goosander
  42. red breasted merganser
  43. red kite
  44. marsh harrier
  45. hen harrier (Titchwell)
  46. common buzzard
  47. sparrowhawk
  48. goshawk (Swaffham area)
  49. kestrel
  50. hobby
  51. peregrine
  52. red legged partridge
  53. grey partridge
  54. pheasant
  55. water rail
  56. moorhen
  57. coot
  58. crane (Lakenheath)
  59. oystercatcher
  60. avocet
  61. stone curlew (Weeting Heath)
  62. little ringed plover
  63. ringed plover
  64. grey plover
  65. dotterel (Choseley)
  66. golden plover
  67. lapwing
  68. knot
  69. sanderling
  70. turnstone
  71. dunlin
  72. curlew sandpiper (Titchwell)
  73. little stint (Norfolk)
  74. wood sandpiper
  75. green sandpiper
  76. common sandpiper
  77. redshank
  78. spotted redshank
  79. greenshank
  80. black tailed godwit
  81. bar tailed godwit
  82. curlew
  83. whimbrel (Norfolk)
  84. snipe
  85. white rumped sandpiper (Titchwell)
  86. ruff
  87. great skua (Portland)
  88. Arctic skua (Titchwell)
  89. black headed gull
  90. common gull
  91. mediterranean gull
  92. herring gull
  93. yellow legged gull
  94. caspian gull (Amwell)
  95. lesser black backed gull
  96. greater black backed gull
  97. little gull (Cley)
  98. kittiwake (Dungeness)
  99. Iceland gull (Weybourne)
  100. little tern
  101. sandwich tern
  102. common tern
  103. guillemot
  104. razorbill
  105. stock dove
  106. wood pigeon
  107. collared dove
  108. turtle dove
  109. cuckoo
  110. tawny owl
  111. barn owl
  112. little owl
  113. swift
  114. kingfisher
  115. ring necked parakeet (M25)
  116. green woodpecker
  117. great spotted woodpecker
  118. skylark
  119. woodlark (Kelling)
  120. sand martin
  121. swallow
  122. house martin
  123. water pipit (Titchwell)
  124. rock pipit (Portland)
  125. meadow pipit
  126. tree pipit (Norfolk)
  127. pied wagtail
  128. white wagtail (Lakenheath)
  129. yellow wagtail
  130. grey wagtail
  131. wren
  132. dunnock
  133. robin
  134. nightingale (Wiverton)
  135. black redstart
  136. wheatear
  137. whinchat (Portland)
  138. stonechat
  139. song thrush
  140. redwing
  141. mistle thrush
  142. fieldfare
  143. blackbird
  144. garden warbler
  145. blackcap
  146. lesser whitethroat
  147. whitethroat
  148. dartford warbler (Kelling)
  149. sedge warbler
  150. grasshopper warbler
  151. cetti's warbler
  152. reed warbler
  153. icterine warbler (Burnham Overy)
  154. willow warbler
  155. chiffchaff
  156. goldcrest
  157. spotted flycatcher
  158. pied flycatcher (Portland)
  159. great tit
  160. blue tit
  161. coal tit
  162. marsh tit
  163. long tailed tit
  164. bearded reedling
  165. nuthatch
  166. treecreeper
  167. magpie
  168. jay
  169. jackdaw
  170. rook
  171. carrion crow
  172. raven (Portland)
  173. starling
  174. house sparrow
  175. tree sparrow (Dungeness)
  176. chaffinch
  177. brambling (Titchwell)
  178. linnet
  179. twite (Thornham)
  180. redpoll
  181. goldfinch
  182. siskin
  183. bullfinch
  184. greenfinch
  185. snow bunting (Weybourne)
  186. Lapland bunting (Weybourne)
  187. reed bunting
  188. yellowhammer
  189. bittern (Titchwell)
  190. osprey (Choseley)
  191. redstart (Holme)
  192. yellow browed warbler (Wells Woods)
  193. firecrest (Wells Woods)

Yet another day in North Norfolk

On Sunday and Monday heavy rain swept across East Anglia with a south easterly wind. A good direction for grounding southern bound migrants. So it proved with pied flycatchers everywhere, occasional wryneck, several tree pipits and redstarts. By Thursday the wind had moved round to a south westerly, not good for grounding migrants but I thought there may still be some knocking around, so off at 5a.m.
I met Gary at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse and almost immediately it was apparent that nothing of note was present. The 45+ pied flycatchers had all moved on in clear, dry skies earlier in the week. A couple of wheatear were in the fields and a fly over green shank was as good as it got.
Off to East Bank, Cley where bearded tits were pinging in the reeds and waders were silhouetted by the rising sun at Arnold's Marsh. A brief sea watch gave up gulls and some sandwich terns. Not the most auspicious start to the day!
A hobby winged its way over the reedbed, but little else. Gary then had to return home for work, so I decided to head for the hides on the reserve. I dallied with the idea of driving all the way round to Winterton dunes but thought too much time would be spent driving so off the the hides on Cley Reserve.
As I approached a peregrine stooped over the scrape, sending everything off, so that when I arrived, just 7 ruff and a distant greenshank remained. A sparrow hawk over Walsey Hills, a hovering kestrel and 2 marsh harriers were all that were about, so back to the car. Still too early for a coffee at the visitors centre, so I reckoned the track down to the dunes at Burnham Overy Staithe would be as good as anywhere.
kestrel at Cley

peregrine high over Cley 
As I approached the layby, a pied flyctacher (male) flew acorss the road and into the hedge. Once parked, I returned the couple of hundred yards, but no sign, but might indicate a good wander. This was not the case, with a flyover whimbrel, calling incessantly, linnets, tits and a few regular warblers in the hawthorn hedges along the track. A scan of the distant dunes showed there were no birders there, so reckoned it would probably be as void of birds as Gramborough! Back to the car and off Titchwell. At this point I had 4 photographs for the whole morning.
I arrived at a busy Titchwell, quick doze in the car, and then a coffee. The reserve had a fairly comprehensive list of birds reported, albeit nothing startling, so I headed along the beach path and into the Island Hide. This was busy and outside, on the mud, 6 little stints showing well. Dunlin, avocets, ruff and a few distant curlew sandpipers, so at last, I got a few photos.


little stint

underwing plumage of little stint
Little stint
From the island hide, I headed through the crowds to the beach. It was now bright and lovely just to sit in the dunes and watch the sea go by through the scope. Arctic skua, cormorants, a solitary gannet and sandwich terns were all noted along with a single bobbing common scoter. After 45 minutes, drizzle and, without my camera bag, I headed for the Parrinder Hide as a downpour looked likely. On the saltmarsh, 6 magnificent, summer plumaged grey plovers and a single spotted redshank, that mysteriously disappeared once I had extracted the camera strap for being caught up with the scope strap!
Into the Parrinder Hide and 3 curlew sandpipers not too far away. Ruff, godwits, golden plover, oystercatchers etc all viewed. I spent a good hour in here, just enjoying the view and trying to find something a little different. 2 yellow wagtails landed on the mud, amongst the meadow pipits and linnets. but nothing else, apart from 4 spoonbills were seen other than the usual fare of shelduck, teal, gadwall etc.
curlew sandpiper

yellow wagtail

Few waders that needed sorting

another curlew sandpiper
I eventually headed back to the car as it was now mid afternoon and drove along to Holme. A coffee from Jen in the splendid cafe and off into the firs to see if I could track down the pied flycatcher that had been reported. Nothing doing, which was a pity as I could do with some reasonable photos of this species in the UK. Plenty from Poland a year last April, but a Norfolk one would be good. A check from the hide gave views of both green and common sandpiper, dunlin etc before I was back in the car and off to Choseley drying barns. Here, 2 marsh harriers quartered the stubble fields, one putting up corvids, the other being got at by a single hare! Too far for what could have been interesting photos.
By now, it was time to head to Walsingham and to meet up with Jan and Gary for a pint at the Bull before the drive home and fish and chips at Brandon.
A good day and I was surprised to find the species list extended to 98! More than I had thought. Last was a barn owl on the road towards Walsingham near Wighton.
Distant grey plovers, Titchwell

Goldfinch in Holme Firs

Choseley marsh harrier

small tortoiseshell at Holme
So another good day, thoroughly enjoyed even if the birding was quantity rather than quality once again. Be a while before I return as off to The Camargue on Tuesday for a few days birding and walking. Should be interesting time of the year, with several species targeted for photos: squacco heron, great white egret, spectacled warbler, calandra lark (if present) roller, short toed eagle (if not already migrated) gull billed tern, slender billed gull and possible caspian tern moving through the area. Not too much to ask, is it?

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Migration watch

Over the last 2 mornings I have been out early to see if I can find any evidence of migration through the parish. Having had heavy rain on Sunday, Monday morning looked promising so off to Hadham Hall where the willows around the lagoon can be good for keeping migrants. In 2013 I had both redstart and pied flycatcher here, both excellent records for Herts. Yesterday though, just 6 chiffchaff, 1 first year willow warbler, 1 whitethroat and 7 pristine robins. On the lagoon, a record 18 mallard, 2 moorhen whilst the family of barn owls (2 adults and a solitary fledgling) were noted along with usual residents: common buzzard, jays, green woodpeckers, linnets, goldfinches and plenty of wood pigeons.
chiffchaff at Hadham Hall
This morning, I checked the higher areas of the Ash Valley on the local golf course. Previously, I have noted whinchat, ring ouzel and wheatear here and today was good in that a single wheatear was around the 6th green. A regular haunt for autumn passage. A check on the willows near the 5th green gave up a single chiffchaff.
wheatear on the bin at the 10th tee

same bird, perhaps a moulting adult female?
Moth wise, all rather quiet, with new for year macros being Old Lady, 6 striped rustic and orange swift, whilst no new micros since 21.08.15.
Totals now: 181 macros and 174 micros for the year out of a total of 4640 moths recorded within the parish this year.

Old lady
orange swift

Sunday, 23 August 2015

299th macro and 4500 moth record for 2015

Last night looked good, overcast and warm. So it proved with a haul of 74 mothsof  28species. Numbers made up of 12 setaceoushebrew character, 7 square spot rustic, 7 Agriphila geniculea and 11 lesser broad bordered yellow underwing. Surprisingly, only 11 of those species were recorded as a solitary example, so a good emergence over the last few days of typical late August moths.
However, a lesser spotted pinion was new for my parish records, macro number 299 for the parish whilst an Old Lady was my 178th macro of the year.

One of the setaceous hebrew characters also became the 4,500th moth trapped this year, so in with a good chance of recording more than 5000 this year.
Whilst on numbers, with 299 macros and 232 micros since 2011, now on 531 species for the parish.
Pyrausta aurata

lesser spotted pinion

lesser spotted pinion: 299th macro for my parish records.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Back to Norfolk for 2 days

Chance opportunity to return to Norfolk, camping at Stiffkey for one night. Off after emptying the moth trap and straight to Garden Drove between Wells and Stiffkey as this area can be good for migrants. First bird as I got out of the car at the concrete pad, a tree pipit. Hadn't even got the camera from the boot! Year lister 1. A walk to Warham Greens gave views of 20+ red legged partridge, whitethroat and, on the coastal footpath, lesser white throat. Over the marsh, little egrets, golden plover in their hundred, wrens and gulls, but nothing unusual. As I drove back down the muddy track birds were flocking around an oak. Blackcap, great, long tailed and blue tit, willow warbler, whitethroat and chiffchaff all flitting around. Off to Burnham Overy Staithe track where more regular warblers were noted, including a family of sedge warblers. At the end of the track, the icterine warbler showed well as I arrived with one other birder, before disappearing into the brambles and not seen again whilst I remained, hoping for better photos than these! Year lister 2

Icternine warbler

another disappointing shot of this scarce migrant

From here, I set off to the campsite and put up my little one man tent before heading off for a check on the East Bank at Cley. Again, surprisingly, nothing too noteworthy and this remained the situation throughout the 2 days. Very few good waders, just plenty of godwits, ruff and dunlin.
A coffee at the VC before leaving the car at the campsite and a wander to the gibbert roundabout. Few whimbrel on Stiffkey Greens but no migrants in the sueda.
After fish and chips in Wells and a bit of sleep, I awoke to note a stooping peregrine high over the village. Year lister 3. I set off to net moths on the saltmarsh. A clear night and incoming tide meant I stayed to the footpath, but netted around 40 moths, none of which were unusual, with plenty of large yellow underwings and Pleuropyta ruralis, snout, square spot rustic. All of these were shown to some interested youngsters on the campsite.

3 dunlin and black tailed godwit at Cley

avocet and 2 ruff at Cley

2 of the 3 little stints

Juvenile little stint

The next morning and rain! A quick wander around the campsite and along the footpath showed that nothing new had come in overnight, so off again to Burnham Overy to see if anything had arrived here. Just the same, with good swift movement overhead, so back to the campsite, pack up tent and off to check the hides at Cley. From Daukes Hide 3 little stint in with good dunlin and ruff numbers. Year lister 4
I then thought Kelling Quag maybe good, but met a chap who had just returned from there with negative news on anything worthwhile, so a check along the coast road, stopping at Lady Anne's Drive, Morston Quay, Choseley and eventually Titchwell. Here, I bumped into Colin, birder from Stortford and we both commented on lack of quality waders. A pintail made the trip list whilst a sea watch gave year lister 5: an arctic skua chasing common and sandwich terns. 2 spoonbills flew over before I finished the trip with a drive down to Thornham harbour but again, just everyday fare, including linnets, redshanks, black headed gulls etc. A quick stop off at Hunstanton for a view across the Wash. Plenty of oystercatchers, sanderling etc on the exposed mud  and hundreds of common and black headed gulls on the pitch and putt course before the drive home.
A trip list of 91 species is not to be dismissed, but all the same, I would have expected a bit more quality. I plan to return next Wednesday, so fingers crossed for some south easterlies or easterlies on Monday and Tuesday.
male linnet

juvenile ruff

adult ruff

black tailed godwit at Titchwell

few of the 1000's of golden plover that arrived in North Norfolk on Wednesday morning

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Few new moths

A few days camping in North Norfolk and phone lines burnt out in Little Hadham following a power surge have meant no updates recently. Phones and broadband back on this afternoon after a week.
A white satin and square spotted clay have been added to the macro list for the year, whilst Donacaula forficella was a new moth for my parish records. Also, new for the year, the beautiful plume moth, Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, taking my annual totals to 175 macro species and 185 micro species: 360 moth species in total, with 4335 moths having been trapped this year already. Hoping to make 400 species and 5000 moths for the year.
Returning to Norfolk tomorrow morning, camping for the night at Stiffkey before spending Thursday birding and returning home Thursday evening. Hope to get out on to Stiffkey saltmarshes for a bit of netting with headtorch, too.
white satin, head on.

Amblyptilia acanthadactyla

Aethes smeathmanniana

Donacaula forficella

white satin

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Super North Norfolk Day

Another trip to Norfolk as the weather forecast looked good. This was not always the case however, with overcast, if warm conditions most of the day. I decided to begin at Cley and finish at Titchwell as the light is often better there in the late afternoon.
After emptying the moth trap, I set off at 5.15 and was on the reserve at Cley by 7.30.
 The first bird of the day was a strange one: a cormorant flying over the M11, whilst the first year lister was a good tick: goshawk over the road some 3 miles south of Swaffham, near the pig farm with the conifer forest. Huge female flew low over the road.
At Cley a little gull showed well from Daukes Hide, whilst also yellow wagtail, common, green and wood sandpipers. A check from the Bishop's hide gave views of 2 curlew sandpipers coming into land, one in very smart summer plumage. From here, a wander along the East Bank to Arnold's where another wood sandpiper was noted. Greenshank, curlew and little egret whilst out to sea, 5 common scoter flew west. I met with David and Brian and we headed back to the centre for a coffee. Chats about space, astronauts, birding Cley in the '70's etc. All good memories of good birds, such as ortolan, marsh sandpiper, rustic bunting and memories of Richie Richardson.
They then headed for Stiffkey Fen whilst I though Kelling Water Meadows may turn up something good.
red legged partridge as I headed for the hides.

Plenty of birds to check: godwits and ruff, mainly

little gull

Black tailed godwit from Daukes Hide

1st of several wall browns
Having parked at Kelling I wandered along the track: usual fare; chiffchaff, sedge warbler, good selection of usual butterflies, southern hawker, common blue damselfly and common darters. The water levels were exceptionally high due to heavy rain so on the water meadows just black headed gulls and 2 med gulls. Stonechat in a superb state of disrepair whilst I checked for red-veined darters, but not enough sun to encourage them on to the path. However, a female hepatic cuckoo flew from a post before I could get a shot. I had another one of these back in May whilst guiding 3 people, strange to see 2 in the same place. This, as the previous one, a full adult, so possibly the same bird.
Another wall brown, different markings to the Cley individual

Presumed common blue

moulting sedge warbler

common darter

Tatty stonechat

Immaculate red admiral
From here, I drove to Stiffkey Fen, now a good site for spoonbill. Not disappointed with at least 24 on show, along with godwits, gadwall, geese, common sandpiper, ruff etc. A check over to Blakeney harbour showed well over 300 oystercatchers. Butterflies were everywhere, with a small copper and grayling being added to the list. Always a good place to visit, even when the footpath could benefit from a hedge trim. A common buzzard soared as I headed back to the car.
spoonbills at Stiffkey Fen

meadow brown

underwing of meadow brown
Titchwell was just emptying as I arrived about 4.30, so very peaceful. Huge increase in migratory waders whilst avocet numbers, which peaked at 600+ a few weeks ago now considerably lower.
A search for a white rumped sandpiper on Freshmarsh turned up good numbers of dunlin and 2 curlew sandpipers. More wood sands, too along with ruff, godwits, juvenile yellow wagtail etc.
Along to the beach and a quick check on Volunteer Marsh proved useful, in the distance, with a redshank and several dunlin, a smaller bird with bright supercilium, the white rumped sandpiper. Not anything of note on the beach so back to the Parrinder Hide,, where a 2nd summer yellow legged gull was noted. The walk back to the island hide gave good views of dunlin, little ringed plover, ruff and avocet, with more of the same from the hide. Back to the carpark and a quick trip up to CXhoseley for early migrants, but nothing but a few yellowhammers.
A super day and now looking forward to returning tomorrow (Friday 14th) for a few days camping at Stiffkey. Maybe an early morning visit to the gibbert roundabout or Stffkey Fen.
moulting dunlin

first year ruff

sharp plumage!

Posing dunlin

Little ringed plover from footpath

adult ruff

Species List:
littlegrebe, great crested grebe, cormorant, little egret, grey heron, sponnbill, mute swan, greylag, Canada goose, shelduck, mallard, gadwall, teal, pochard, red crested pochard, common scoter, marsh harrier, common buzzard goshawk, sparrowhawk, kestrel, red legged partridge, pheasant, moorhen, coot, oystercatcher, avocet, little ringed plover, grey plover, lapwing, knot, turnstone, dunlin, curlewsandpiper, common sandpiper, green sandpiper, wood sandpiper, white rumped sandpiper, redshank, greenshank, spotted redshank, black tailed godwit, bar tailed godwit, ruff, curlew, black headed gull, Mediterranean gull, common gull, herring gull, lesser balck backed gull, yellow legged gull, little gull, sandwich tern, common tern, wood pigeon, collared dove, cuckoo, barn owl, skylark, sand martin, swallow, house martin, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, yellow wagtail, wren, robin, dunnock, stonechat, blackbird, whitethroat, sedge warbler, cetti's warbler, reed warbler, chiffchaff, great tit, blue tit, bearded tit, magpie, jay, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, starling, house sparrow, chaffinch, green finch, bullfinch, goldfinch, linnet, reed bunting, yerllowhammer.

91 species day.

Butterfly species:
Large white, small white, green veined white, wall brown, grayling, speckled wood, red admiral, peacock, common blue, small copper, gatekeeper, meadow brown.

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