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Sunday, 25 September 2022

Frosty enjoys a brief moment of sunshine

To be honest, the little fellow is looking a bit worst for wear: I had to replace his arms before today's outing! (He is nearly two years old, of course!) We seriously need some snow this winter to 'bulk' him up a bit!

Friday, 23 September 2022

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Or Tunisia! Most people will be aware that Luke Skywalker's home planet (in the Star Wars films) is called Tataouine. Probably fewer people realise that it's a real place: not in a distant galaxy, but in Tunisia. Many of the desert scenes were filmed in the town and it has become a bit of a tourist destination (when the volatile politics of the region allow!)

I first became aware of Tatahouine a while before Luke, Leia and Darth Vader first appeared in cinemas: it was the location of a historical meteorite fall in June, 1931. Large numbers of small, greenish stones were seen falling around the town. On examination, these were determined to be diogenites - achondritic meteorites from beneath the surface of the asteroid Vesta.

Whenever I handle these attractive items (or other HED meteorites from Vesta) I reflect on the cataclysmic impact that hurled the material into space, ultimately arriving here on Earth. To use a cliche: if only they could talk!

Thursday, 22 September 2022


My big bruvver 'challenged' me to play Apache: we were both massive Shadows fans back in the 1960s. The hard part was recording a rhythm backing track to play over (Should have used a metronome!)

The International Space Station this month

During the remainder of September there are some very bright passes by the ISS (Remember: the lower the number, the brighter. -3.8 is about as bright as the ISS ever gets)

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Grey Phalarope at Salthouse

With Brian & Norman both away this week, I dashed up to Salthouse on my own to add this delightful little Arctic 'spinner' to the year list: it was feeding happily just west of the Iron Road. It was pleasant (as always) to bump into near-neighbour Keith Bilverstone and swap yarns!

Despite a walk along the East Bank and a drive out to the beach,  the only other birds of note were a few distant Scoters, a trio of Little Stints and my first Pinkfeet of the year.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

A truly beautiful wedding in Topsham

Just a couple of photos of the wedding we drove down to Devon to attend: Linda's lovely niece Lucy and her beautiful partner Amy. Both are national standard hockey players: Amy has played in goal for England. (There were several Olympic gold medal winners at the wedding!)

It was wonderful to bump into many of Linda's family, including three more nieces, Charlotte, Harriet and Kayleigh, son Simon, brother Barry and partner Judy and Linda's Mum Mary.

Topsham is an attractive little town on the banks of the Exe, with some decent pubs and restaurants: it has become a lot more commercial during the forty years I've known it, sadly...
The bench on the Goat Walk was a bit of a shock when I first came across it!

Monday, 19 September 2022

Great Bustards: a short video

A couple more photos and a short video of the Great Bustards in Wiltshire. There are three colonies, all of which are in their second wild generation: there seems no reason not to add them to the UK list in some category or other.

Back to the Bronze Age!

It's been a long time since I last visited Stonehenge (Linda never had) so on the way down to Devon we stopped the night at Andover, spending the afternoon exploring not just Stonehenge, but also West Kennet Long Barrow (and Sanctuary) Silbury Hill and Avebury circle and avenue. My favourite was the barrow: it's a truly atmospheric structure on top of a hill close to the ancient Ridgeway. While we were there a couple of really fascinating 'spooky' things happened: ask me about them sometime!

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Terrific short break in Devon

All good things must end! Following a dash west to our niece's wedding, Linda and I took a day to 'clean up' the Devon specialities. Labrador Bay and Dawlish Warren gave us good views of a dozen or more Cirl Buntings, while Dunsford Bridge added Dipper (and bonus Grey Wagtail) The walk up to West Kennet barrow was enlivened by some 'frisky' bullocks and a female (or juvenile) Red-footed Falcon, as well as Red Kites, a Sparrowhawk and several Buzzards

A last walk down to Bowling Green Marsh completed  our couple of days away with very distant views of an Osprey and Tree Pipit, as well as closer ones of Curlew Sandpiper, Greenshank and squillions of Little Egrets,