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Sunday, 5 February 2023

Snow Moon

Tonight's so-called 'Snow Moon' rising in the East: I'm sure we have our own mythology about the full Moon, without referring to native American traditions...

Friday, 3 February 2023

February bird count

Linda and I fitted in an hour's survey at the Church, in case the four regulars couldn't manage one later in the month. Highlights were a delightful flock of Long-tailed Tits that started to feed on suet while Linda was hanging it up and a calling Nuthatch - new for the Churchyard.

Of interest: a pair of Great Tits are bulding a nest in a small cavity in the Church wall - last year this was occupied by Blue Tits.

So true!

Terrific studio rehearsal session with Synergy last night: it's a privilege to sing and play guitar with such consumate musicians. We have dates free if you need quality live music for your event: we're really not that expensive and we really are that good! (Thanks to whoever produced the meme!)

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Odds and ends!

When I unlocked Hemblington Church at 8.00am I was pleased to discover a flock of 60+ Redwings feeding in the hedges along thge western boundary of the Churchyard: overhead a couple of Buzzards loafed around, while a large covey of Red-legged Partridges were along the road back to the Hall.

Linda and I took a run around Halvergate and along Yarmouth sea front: no Cattle Egret, no Black Redstarts and no Med Gulls - just a few Little Egrets and a Chinese Water Deer!

Come and buy a meteorite!

In a couple of weeks we'll be at the Essex Gem & Mineral Show in Collier Row, Romford. This annual event attracts collectors and dealers from all over the UK and even if you're not likely to make a purchase, there's lots to look at. The guy who 'stalls out' next to us always has some fantastic dinosaur fossils (including T rex teeth) while others have crystals and minerals at very reasonable prices. We, of course, will be offering a complete range of meteorites.

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Final evening passes by the International Space Station

The ISS makes a few evening passes during early February before becoming an early morning object from the 10th. 

Long-eared Owl and Long-billed Dowitcher

Norman and Brian had very little free time, so we spent most of the morning on the North Coast. First stop was a very cold and windy Blakeney, where a walk out to the five-barred gate produced little of note - particularly not the hoped-for Twite.

A move to Cley and a walk out to Pat's gave us distant views of the Long-billed Dowitcher, lounging around with Godwits, Lapwing and Dunlin. In flight the white 'lozenge' made it easy to pick out: not so easy once it was on the deck! Good fun reminiscing with some of the senior Cley birders: all veterans of Nancy's and the Beach Cafe.
Since the delightful Long-eared Owl had returned to Glandford - and since Norman and Brian hadn't caught up with it yet - that was our last stop on the way home.

Monday, 30 January 2023

The Comet: still playing hard to get!

At 4.00am this morning I had another bash at Comet ZTF E3 or whatever it's being called at the moment! The sky was a bit watery and I'm still trying to find camera settings that result in the stars being points of light rather than blobs. Still: at mag 5.8, the comet is easy to find with binoculars: it's halfway between the 'pointers' of Ursa Major and the Pole Star.

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Lunar X, Y and V and Jupiter's Moons all lined up!

There's a well-known optical effect (or 'clair-obscure' to astronomers!) where the rims of some craters and other lunar features produce the shapes of capital X, Y and V. Tonight the X was only just visible - I was a couple of hours late - but the Y and V were both impressive. Jupiter continues to dominate the southern sky: tonight its three largest moons Ganymede, Io, Europa and Callisto were lined up, two each side!

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Latest bit of Astro kit!

The device on top of the 'scope (where the finder scope should be) is a Celestron StarSense AutoAlign.  If you haven't the space for a permanent observatory / shed in the garden, then every time you use a telescope with an equatorial or 'go to; mount, you have to spend half an hour aligning it with two or three bright stars and logging these into the mount's memory. Hopefully this new gizmo should do the job automatically: once it's standing on a flat area, you turn it on and it scans the sky until it works out where everything is! Then you just use the handset to navigate and lock on to hundreds of pre-loaded objects. Just need a clear sky now to try it out!

Garden bird survey at Hemblington Church

Despite the weather (and perhaps tempted by the terrific soups and cakes provided by some of the 'Friends') a decent group arrived at 11.00 to help count the birds that visited the churchyard.

Yellowhammer was a new bird for the RSPB survey: most welcome, as were the Chinese Water Deer and numerous Brown Hares.