Thursday 7 June 2018

Updated Year List (

So far this year, I have had 2 trips to North Norfolk, a visit to local reserve at Amwell and a few walks around my patch. Also, a frequent walk, somewhere within 5 miles of the Bishop's Stortford town centre for my fortnightly column in the Bishop's Stortford Independent. Wednesday 14th Feb, a trip to Frampton Marsh RSPB Reserve added 3 to the year list. On 17th Feb Gary and I had a Saturday in North Norfolk where I added 2 more species to the year list, both at Holkham.
Consequently, year list is as follows, with first sightings listed.
Several more trips to North Norfolk, plus a successful Dungeness trip have added several more to the list. Now updated 03.05.18
Red breasted merganser (Brancaster Harbour)

  1. Red throated diver (Holkham)
  2. Little Grebe (Titchwell)
  3. Great crested grebe (Titchwell)
  4. Cormorant (Cley)
  5. Little egret (Cley)
  6. Grey heron (Little Hadham)
  7. Mute swan (Cley)
  8. Pink footed goose (Holkham)
  9. Greylag goose (Cley)
  10. Canada goose (Amwell)
  11. Barnacle goose (Holkham)
  12. Brent goose (Cley)
  13. Shelduck (Titchwell)
  14. Egyptian goose (Cley)
  15. Mallard (B. Stortford)
  16. Gadwall (Titchwell)
  17. Pintail (Cley)
  18. Shoveler (Cley)
  19. Wigeon (Cley)
  20. Teal (Titchwell)
  21. Pochard (Amwell)
  22. Red crested pochard (Titchwell)
  23. Tufted duck (Amwell)
  24. Common scoter (Titchwell)
  25. Long tailed duck (Titchwell)
  26. Goldeneye (Titchwell)
  27. Smew (Amwell)
  28. Red breasted merganser (Brancaster harbour)
  29. Red kite (Little Hadham)
  30. Marsh harrier (Cley)
  31. Common buzzard (Little Hadham)
  32. Kestrel (Little Hadham)
  33. Peregrine falcon (Green Tye)
  34. Merlin (Brancaster)
  35. Red legged partridge (Little Hadham)
  36. Grey partridge (Standon)
  37. Pheasant (Little Hadham)
  38. Water rail (Titchwell)
  39. Moorhen (Little Hadham)
  40. Coot (Little Hadham)
  41. Oystercatcher (Wells)
  42. Avocet (Cley)
  43. Ringed plover (Titchwell)
  44. Grey plover (Titchwell)
  45. Golden plover (Cley)
  46. Lapwing (Cley)
  47. Knot (Titchwell)
  48. Sanderling (Titchwell)
  49. Turnstone (Salthouse)
  50. Dunlin (Cley)
Knot (Titchwell)

51. Redshank(Cley)
52. Black tailed godwit (Cley)
53. Bar tailed godwit (Titchwell)
54. Curlew (Cley)
55. Woodcock (Little Hadham)
56. Snipe (Holkham)
57. Ruff (Titchwell)
58. Black headed gull (Little Hadham)
59. Common gull (Little Hadham)
60. Herring gull (Little Hadham)
61. Lesser black backed gull (Little Hadham)
62. Great black backed gull (Titchwell)
63. Stock dove (Holkham)
64. Wood pigeon (Little Hadham)
65. Collared dove (Little Hadham)
66. Tawny Owl (Little Hadham)
67. Barn Owl (Little Hadham)
68. Little Owl (Little Hadham)
69. Kingfisher (B. Stortford)
70. Rose ringed parakeet (Alexandra Palace)
71. Green woodpecker (Little Hadham)
72. Great spotted woodpecker (Little Hadham)
73. Skylark (Little Hadham)
74. Shore lark (Holkham)
75. Rock pipit (Cley)
Rock Pipit (Morston)

76. Meadow pipit (Cley)
77. Pied wagtail (Little Hadham)
78. Wren (Little Hadham)
79. Dunnock (Little Hadham)
80. Robin (Little Hadham)
81. Black redstart (Sheringham)
82. Stonechat (Holkham)
83. Song thrush (Little Hadham)
84. Redwing (Little Hadham)
85. Mistle thrush (Little Hadham)
86. Fieldfare (Little Hadham)
87. Blackbird (Little Hadham)
88. Cetti's warbler (Holkham)
89. Goldcrest (Little Hadham)
90. Great tit (Little Hadham)
91. Coal tit (Little Hadham)
92. Blue tit (Little Hadham)
93. Long tailed tit (Little Hadham)
94. Nuthatch (Little Hadham)
95. Treecreeper (Little Hadham)
96. Magpie (Little Hadham)
97. Jay (Little Hadham)
98. Jackdaw (Little Hadham)
99. Carrion crow (Little Hadham)
100. Rook (Little Hadham)
Black redstart (Sheringham)
101. Starling (Little Hadham)
102. House sparrow (Little Hadham)
103. Chaffinch (Little Hadham)
104. Brambling (Titchwell)
105. Linnet (Little Hadham)
106. Lesser redpoll (B. Stortford)
107. Goldfinch (Little Hadham)
108. Greenfinch (B. Stortford)
109. Siskin (B. Stortford)
110. Bullfinch (Little Hadham)
111. Reed bunting (Titchwell)
112. Snow bunting (Salthouse)
113. Yellowhammer (Little Hadham)
114. Whooper swan (Frampton Marsh)
115 Tree sparrow (Frampton Marsh)
116. Spotted redshank (Frampton Marsh)
117. Rough legged buzzard (Holkham)
118. Black throated diver (Holkham)
119. Marsh Tit (Turner's Spring)
Lesser redpoll (Bishop's Stortford)
On 19th March I ventured down to Dungeness for a superb day's birding. As well as adding a fair few expected year listers, I got my first UK lifer since a flyover white stork at Cley in August of last year. However, this bluethroat was a first for me anywhere and a bird I had given up expecting to see. 4 trips to Poland, numerous occasions in The Camargue and Portugal and not a sniff of bluethroat. Also, many near misses in the UK, so this was certainly a red letter day. Apart from Sri Lankan birds (white rumped sharma, Kottawa Rainforest Jan 2018 being my last world wide lifer) the bluethroat was my first international lifer in the UK since the 2011 Western sandpiper at Cley.

adult male Bluethroat
120. Slavonian grebe (Dungeness)
121. Gannet (Dungeness)
122. Caspian gull (Dungeness)
123. Guillemot (Dungeness)
124. Razorbill (Dungeness)
125. Bluethroat (Dengemarsh Gully)
126. Firecrest (Dengemarsh Gully)
127. Chiffchaff (Dungeness)
128. Mandarin (Little Hadham)
129. Blackcap (Bishop's Stortford)
130. Wheatear (Bishop's Stortford)
131. Sedge warbler (Thorley Wash)
132. Cuckoo (Thorley Wash)
133. Whitethroat (Thorley Wash)
134. House martin (Bishop's Stortford)
135. Reed warbler (Amwell)

Dengemarsh Gully Firecrest

Bluethroat at same site, a different bird from one shown above.
136: swallow (Bishop's Stortford)
137. great white egret (Cley)
138. spoonbill (Titchwell)
139. whimbrel (Burnham Overy Staithe)
140. sandwich tern (Titchwell)
141. Wood lark (Kelling Heath)
142. House martin (Salthouse)
143. whinchat (Kelling water meadows)
144. garden warbler (Kelling Heath)
145. lesser whitethroat (Kelling Water Meadows)
146. willow warbler (Kelling Heath)
147. Bearded reedling (Titchwell)

Lesser whitethroat on track to Kelling Water Meadows

148. Hobby (Cley)
149. Common sandpiper (Titchwell)
150. Little tern (Blakeney Point)
151. Arctic tern (Blakeney Point)
152. swift (Cley)
153. sand martin (Kelling water meadows)
154. Grey wagtail (Cley)
155. Little ringed plover (Titchwell)

Little ringed plover (Titchwell from Parrinder Hide)

Little Tern at Blakeney Point

These additions follow a 3 day visit to North Norfolk with friend Anoma, visiting from Galle, Sri Lanka for his 1st UK visit. During this trip we managed over 100 species of birds, staying at the excellent Blakeney Manor Hotel. Highly recommended: great breakfast, clean and tidy rooms, superb bar service and sensible prices (£60 per night for a single room with breakfast.)
Next planned trip is a weekend coming up at Portland Bird Obs. Should add a few more to the year list.
Portland was both very sunny and hot, but also dense fog around Saturday lunchtime. Several year listers as I'd anticipated.
156. Rosy starling (Portland)
157. Manx shearwater (Portland)
158. Kittiwake (West cliffs, Portland)
159. Fulmar (West cliffs, Portland)
160. Shag (West cliffs, Portland)
161. Raven (Portland)

Rosy starling x 2 if you look closely

splendid raven
Next trip away: this Sunday off to the Isle of Wight for a week with Wendy. may get out for a spot of birding but not expecting too much. Norfolk on Friday 22nd June, guiding Trevor around some of the West Norfolk sites may offer a more realistic chance to add to the list.

Update 09.08.18 after a 3 day stay at Stiffkey campsite 5th - 8th August
162: greenshank (Stansted airport lagoons)
163: wood sandpiper (Cley)

After several more Norfolk trips, including 10th December on a bright but chilly day I have added.

164: Pintail (Titchwell)
165: Eider (Titchwell)
166: Great Northern Diver (Holkham)
167: Water Pipit (Titchwell)

Portland Visit

Last weekend I paid a quick trip to Portland, staying overnight in Weymouth. Good to be back in Dorset with the possibility of a few rarities coming off the channel.
I arrived in Weymouth in glorious sunshine, not a cloud in the sky. 7 miles further on and on to the Isle I drove into dense fog. So much so that from the Obelisk at The Bill you couldn't see the sea, never mind birds that may be passing some 400 yards out. I headed to the Bird Observatory for a chat before deciding that RSPB Lodmoor nearWeymouth was a better option. Usual fare here with waterfowl, terns and gulls. Chiffchaffs, blackcaps and whitethroats abounded in the dense vegetation. I checked the view over Portland harbour and it seemed the fog had cleared, so back to The Bill.
A sea watch here gave up gannets, common terns and gull species whilst on the land more regular birds already logged. However, around the Admiralty compound there were reports of a Rosy starling. Far away, in the middle of the compound a flock of 50+ starlings roosted occasionally on a wooden fence, here, a single rosy starling, full adult plumage as you would expect in June.
I checked the west cliffs where razorbill, shag, kittiwake and guillemots were recorded along with a single flyby fulmar.
I headed back to the b and b and enjoyed a tasty Indian.
Following morning was bright so a return for a sea watch. A manx shearwater passed along with numerous gannets. A check for the rosy starling came up trumps as I noted a second bird. 2 had been seen around The Bill but this was the first time they had obviously found each other. Still distant for poor quality record shots. A raven perched nearby.
I checked several less recorded areas around the Isle but didn't come up with any year listers. I headed home only to find out that later in the day a red backed shrike had been found in one of the quarries I had not checked. Nice male, too!
Fog grounded Herring gull

2 very distant rosy starlings!

Found them?



2 razorbill
Razorbill in flight over 3 guillemot

Same raven

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