Wednesday 19 September 2018

Norfolk day Guiding a Canadian Couple

Species list.

  1. Little grebe
  2. Cormorant 
  3. Little egret
  4. Grey heron
  5. Spoonbill
  6. Mute swan
  7. Greylag goose
  8. Canada Goose (over here, eating our food at tax payers expense!)
  9. Shelduck
  10. Egyptian goose
  11. Mallard
  12. Gadwall
  13. Wigeon
  14. Teal
  15. Tufted duck
  16. Marsh harrier
  17. Common buzzard (briefly from car)
  18. Kestrel
  19. Red legged partridge
  20. Pheasant
  21. Moorhen
  22. Coot
  23. Oystercatcher
  24. Avocet
  25. Ringed plover
  26. Grey plover
  27. Lapwing
  28. Knot
  29. Sanderling
  30. Turnstone
  31. Dunlin
  32. Curlew sandpiper
  33. Green sandpiper
  34. Redshank
  35. Spotted redshank
  36. Black tailed godwit
  37. Curlew
  38. Snipe
  39. Ruff
  40. Black headed gull
  41. Herring gull
  42. Lesser Black backed gull
  43. Great black backed gull
  44. Sandwich tern
  45. Stock dove
  46. Wood pigeon
  47. Collared dove
  48. Sand martin
  49. Swallow
  50. House martin
  51. Meadow pipit
  52. Pied wagtail
  53. Wren
  54. Robin
  55. Wheatear
  56. Blackbird
  57. Chiffchaff
  58. Great tit
  59. Blue tit
  60. Coal tit 
  61. Long tailed tit (heard)
  62. Jackdaw
  63. Rook
  64. Carrion crow
  65. Starling
  66. Chaffinch
  67. Linnet
  68. Goldfinch
  69. Greenfinch
  70. Bullfinch (heard)
  71. Reed bunting.
Photos here are of just the species recorded on the day unless site is stated, in which case, they were taken whilst guiding Bruce and Babs. A report to follow.
Sites visited;
Kelling Heath
Kelling Water Meadows
Salthouse beach
Snipe's Marsh
Cley Visitors Centre
Blakeney harbour
Stiffkey Fen
Holkham Hall for Fallow deer
Titchwell Reserve



Black tailed godwit


Black headed gull



Red legged partridge




Little egret

Egyptian geese at Kelling Water Meadow

Wheatear, Salthouse beach near Gramborough Hill

Grey heron, Snipe's Marsh, Cley

Little egret, Snipe's Marsh, Cley

Red admiral, footpath to Stiffkey Fen

Common darter, footpath to Stiffkey Fen

Juvenile moorhen, Island Hide, Titchwell

Teal, Island Hide, Titchwell

Ruff, Parrinder Hide, Titchwell

Wind swept ruff, Parrinder Hide, Titchwell

Linnets, Parrinder Hide Titchwell

Redshank, Volunteer Marsh, Titchwell

Little egret, Volunteer Marsh, Titchwell

Titchwell Beach: 6.40pm

Little Grebe


Friday 7 September 2018

August moth report

After the very hectic July, things calmed down a little during August, but still plenty of new records for the year and several new for Little Hadham Parish.
All didn't start well as I left the portable 15W heat trap in a local wood on the first and returned having given a presentation on The Birds of The Camargue to find the trap switched off and overturned, probably a nosy fox or badger. I set it up again, checked the battery life and returned at 5am to find not a lot had flown in during the night. At home, a straw underwing was NFY. An inauspicious start to the month.
The following afternoon was warm and sunny and I had come across a patch of raspberry canes on a now disused allotment. I set the pheremone trap for Raspberry clearwing and left it there for 24 hours. Upon returning, 8 had flown inside the trap. A new record for the parish, my 737th moth species. Several local lepidopterists requested one for their collection.
One of the 8 Raspberry clearwings
Another Jersey tiger on the 3rd along with a Canary shouldered thorn and Rosy Minor were both NFY as was a Plutella porrectella, Tawny speckled pug, Cabbage moth, Currant pug and Nephopterix angustella, all from the garden 125W MV Skinner trap.
The 4th brought more records: Webb's wainscot, Mouse moth, Stenoptilia pterodactyla and Hypatima rhomboidella, the latter being new for the parish. All remained the same until the first of many Chrysoteuchia culmella appeared in the garden trap on the 9th. The following night was the coldest since May, just 10 moths, but this did include  the first of Agriphila geniculea. Another expected August species arrived on the 13th, a Square spot rustic, followed the following night by the first 6 striped rustic. All as anticipated and nothing too exciting. Centre barred sallow (15th), Flounced rustic (16th) Parapoynx stratiotata (18th) and Cochylis dubitana, also the 18th. The latter being another new species for parish records.
Plutella porrectella

Parapoynx stratiotata

Canary shouldered thorn

Centre barred sallow
Moths were beginning to hint at autumn, with regular catches of yellow underwing sp, Setaceous hebrew characters and Square spot rustics in good numbers.
The Heath trap, set on a village green attracted an Acleris emargana on the 19th along with 2 Square spotted clay, which I don't see too many of. This constituted the 250th macro of the year and was followed by finding a Tawny barred angle at home the same night. Again, not a common moth for these parts, this record being my only one for the year.
A Piniphila bifasciana was a new micro for the parish on the 20th whilst the first Lesser yellow underwing arrived on the 22nd, along with another new for the year, a pink barred sallow.
A new for parish Peacock moth was taken on the 23rd
The P. bifasciana became the 740th species for the parish.
An Old Lady and Small dusty wave were NFY, both on the 27th whilst a Pyrausta purpuralis on the 29th became my 10,000 moth recorded for 2018. No other new records for the month left me with totals of 256 macros for the year and 191 micros, with the total moths 10,092.
Acleris emargana

Old Lady

Pink barred sallow

Piniphila bifasciana

Small dusty wave

Tawny barred angle
These numbers are the most I have had up to the end of August and I shall certainly beat last years record of 10,978 moths made up of 282 macro species and 214 micros, totalling 496 species for 2017. This year it looks likely that I shall surpass 500 species in a calendar year for the first time, especially if I find time for some leaf mining visits to the local sites. By the end of August 2018 I had trapped in the garden 199 times and been out to one of 10 chosen sites 97 times. By the end of August I had recorded 34 new species for the parish, a total that should, come December, be close to last year's total of 43 new parish records. Still await a few that I suspect are around along with Death's Head hawkmoth, Clifden Nonpariel, and Crimson Speckled  (I can but wish!!)

Monday 3 September 2018

Norfolk Birding Day

Yesterday (Sat 1st Sept) I picked up birding friend Gary in Bishop's Stortford and headed off to North Norfolk. Following a coffee at Wells our first stop was Kelling water meadows. We wandered along the lane and it quickly became clear there were very few birds around. The sky was cloudless and the temperature was 20C. High pressure meant that either nothing was moving through or that they were just migrating over and not stopping. Basically, what had been there had left and what was supposed to be there had yet to arrive! A scan across the water meadow gave up numerous sand martins, swallows and a few wildfowl sp. A reed bunting darted into the reeds but nothing else apart from a distant turtle dove, first year lister of the day.  Off to Cley East Bank. Same results here with numerous black tailed godwit on Arnold's Marsh, sandwich terns and redshanks. A quick sea watch gave views of a small party of calling whimbrel, 2 groups of westerly sanderlings.
We headed off to the Visitor's Centre for a coffee where I also bought a new pair of binoculars. My old Opticrons had been knocked and the binocular vision was just not sharp enough, giving a double vision effect, very irritating. After trying out 7 or 8 pairs of 10x42 I chose a pair of Hawkes that seemed to offer a good range, sharp focus and pleasing clarity. Lifetime guarantee as well.
We then popped over to Gramborough Hill at Salthouse. 2 wheatear were all we got so, as we needed to be home by 6pm we decided to spend the rest of the day at Titchwell. Here, a few more species got on to the day list, including red necked phalarope and jack snipe, both on to the year list. 25 spoonbills was an impressive sight and a sea watch gave up a few more wader species: ringed plover, turnstone and knot in particular. These were all noted in parties of black tailed godwits that were roosting on the beach, but being flushed by folk enjoying the now 24C temps.
Species list;

  1. cormorant
  2. little egret
  3. grey heron
  4. spoonbill
  5. mute swan
  6. greylag goose
  7. canada goose
  8. brent goose
  9. shelduck
  10. mallard
  11. shoveler
  12. teal
  13. tufted duck
  14. marsh harrier
  15. common buzzard
  16. kestrel
  17. red legged partridge
  18. pheasant
  19. moorhen
  20. coot
  21. oystercatcher
  22. avocet
  23. ringed plover
  24. grey plover
  25. lapwing
  26. knot
  27. sanderling
  28. turnstone
  29. dunlin
  30. redshank
  31. black tailed godwit
  32. whimbrel
  33. snipe
  34. jack snipe
  35. red necked phalarope
  36. ruff
  37. black headed gull
  38. common gull
  39. herring gull
  40. lesser black backed gull
  41. gret black backed gull
  42. sandwich tern
  43. wood pigeon
  44. collared dove
  45. turtle dove
  46. sand martin
  47. swallow
  48. meadow pipit
  49. pied wagtail
  50. wren
  51. dunnock
  52. robin
  53. wheatear
  54. blackbird
  55. chiffchaff
  56. great tit
  57. blue tit
  58. bearded reedling
  59. magpie
  60. jackdaw
  61. rook
  62. carrion crow
  63. starling
  64. house sparrow
  65. chaffinch
  66. goldfinch
  67. linnet
  68. reed bunting.
Surprised the species list managed to get to 68, but nevertheless, a great day out as always in this region. Am guiding a Canadian couple the week after next so hope that we get a few Easterlies to bring in a few rarer species as well as the regular migrants crossing the North Sea.
Goldfinch at Kelling

Cormorant over Cley beach

Sandwich tern, Cley beach

Wheatear at Gramborough Hill. being watchful

Heat hazed photo of the wheatear

Wheatear still watching the sky because.......

........high overhead, a kestrel. This was mobbed by carrion crows

Distant ruff at Titchwell

Pied wagtail

Pleasant reflection of this black tailed godwit

Little egret at Titchwell
View from Titchwell beach

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