©BSNHS 2014

Andy Sapsford’s blog about Sawbridgeworth Marsh Reserve

Daphne Wallace-Jarvis’s blog about Birchhanger Wood

View from the Marsh

Hatfield Forest has some interesting activities that might keep the family engaged:

8 June. Try your hand at Archery. 10.30 – 4pm.

22 June. Cross Country Race – 10km or 5km. In aid of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices. 10 or 10.30am.

27 – 29 June. Wild Camping. Camping in the heart of the forest. Bring your own tent or build your own shelter. Tracking, foraging, bonfires. Adults & accompanied children 8 plus.

Birchhanger Wood

This population has steadily expanded and built up, and today we are finally seeing this spectacular bird colonising our home area.
Please let us know if you have any sightings and especially if you have any evidence of them breeding.
Is it a Kite or a Buzzard?  These pictures and this website link will help you decide.

By 1870 the Red Kite had been exterminated from most parts of the UK. In the Middle Ages it was a common bird and played a useful role in scavenging and clearing up rubbish around our towns and cities. Victorian gamekeepers persecuted the bird so effectively that it was restricted to a tiny population in Wales.
Efforts on the part of conservationists, along with legal protection, managed to increase this tiny population to proper breeding capacity by 1991 and in 1989 English Nature and the RSPB introduced birds from Sweden and Spain to the Chilterns.

Yellow Wagtail GS

Common Buzzard

Yorkshire Kites

Following on from a report of Ravens in the area  some weeks ago there has now been a positive sighting of these same birds giving every intention that they may well be nesting in the Hatfield Forest area.

Over the Farm Gate

Almost halfway through the year already and, at the time of compiling these notes (May), the Ash trees are still not in leaf! This has to be a record?  Certainly, I cannot recall such a late date for the Ash. Could be good news, if you believe the old adage – Oak before the Ash, we shall have a splash. Can it be indicating a very dry summer? We shall see in good time.

Meanwhile the crops in the fields are beginning to catch up with their normal timetables & I noticed a pair of returning Yellow Wagtails holding territory in a wheat field, doubtless taking advantage of lower growth than normal with this year’s crop.

These birds are quite difficult to see, in spite of their bright yellow plumage, but are more usually heard. It has a sharp, single note call, usually from a tall weed in beans or peas, when heard around farms. Spotting it is made more difficult if the field in question has rogue Charlock or Rape – the yellow being very similar. The rule is, if you can hear it but cannot see it, scan the tallest weeds where the pumping up & down of the tail gives it away.

An animal I had not seen for ages showed up earlier in May when I was driving over to Ware. Both on the journey out & the return leg I saw a Stoat bouncing across the road from one side to the other. Unfortunately, being in a car, I was unable to investigate any further. The advantage of walking is that you are able to pause & await another possible view. The have an insatiable curiosity & will often peep out from the very spot they disappeared into.


Red Kite

Things to look for in June

Red Kites continue to move eastwards

Are Ravens nesting in Hatfield Forest?

Views from the Farm, the Marsh and the Wood

Out & About in previous months