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Saturday 30 January 2016

RSPB garden birdwatch at Hemblington Church.

Our good friends Sue and Peter had asked us if we'd like to take part in their event at the local church: Linda & I are always up for something different, so readily agreed.

Lin had donated a couple of feeders which Sue has been keeping topped up for a fortnight: these proved very attractive to a flock of 8+ Long-tailed Tits, as well as Blue and Great Tits, Chaffinches and Robins. In total we counted sixteen species in just over an hour, best of which, probably were the two Buzzards that drifted over.

Hemblington is a lovely little church, with an astonishing mural of St Christopher, as well as a beautifully decorated medieval font.

Green-winged Teal at Ranworth

There's an attention-grabbing headline! In fact Linda and I failed to pick out the reported Yank among several hundred distant Teal, Wigeon and Shovelers: the light was appalling and the duck raft was about 400 metres away. Looking through the 100+ images I took, there was just a single dodgy possible.

We did see three Buzzards, a couple of Marsh Harriers and meet the excellent chap (and awe-inspiring photographer!)  Keith Bilverstone.

This afternoon Linda and I are 'birders in residence' at the RSPB Garden Birdwatch at Hemblington Church: will we manage five species? Results later!

Thursday 28 January 2016

Down in the Brecks

Brian and Norman were both unfortunately on tight time budgets, so only a morning available for a quick sprint around Lynford and Santon Downham. Despite the shorter-than-usual expedition we had a great time and saw some decent - if common - birds. At the Arboretum there was no sign of any Hawfinches or Crossbills, but there were plenty of Nuthatches, Siskins and Mistle Thrushes.

A move to Santon Downham for the last hour seemed worthwhile and produced a Buzzard, a pretty little Song Thrush, more Siskins, a distant Raven and a confiding Little Egret on the river bank. We drove home past the layby for Grimes Graves and I mentioned the strong possibility of a Great Grey: sadly, there was no time to stop. A glance at the RBA map when I arrived home showed this to have been unfortunate!

This morning Venus was prominent and Jupiter was close to the Moon...

Wednesday 27 January 2016


Poor Linda wrote off the car yesterday: luckily (and amazingly, seeing the condition of it) she was totally unhurt.

For the time being, therefore, I'm in the office cataloguing and labelling our new season meteorite stock: we have never had such good items on our inventory, ranging from large (1cm x 1cm) slices of lunar and Martian meteorites, to large irons from a number of falls to polished slices of some rare and beautiful pallasites. Prices start at as little as £5 for a small common chondrite up to thousands for kilo-mass irons. Our customers have included astronauts, famous astronomers, TV presenters and a few film and pop stars!

Here are a few of the new items - many more at our website, plus a full range of meteorite jewellery!


Pallasite (From the core-mantle layer of a shattered planet)

Campo del Cielo iron meteorites

A carbonaceous meteorite containing 100+ amino acids!

Lunar meteorites

Diogenites from the asteroid Vesta

Framed meteorite from the famous Russian fall

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Allignment update!

Still no sign of Mercury in the pre-dawn skies, although it should in theory be visible...
This morning Jupiter, Mars, Saturn & Venus were all easy to pick out.

Moon & Jupiter

Jupiter & Mars



Monday 25 January 2016

Ride a white Swan - or White-fronted Goose, if you'd rather!

After the Post Office run, I thought I'd take a quick run around a couple of my favourite spots for a winter walk. First of these was Buckenham, where it was actually possible to view seven species of goose (if you count the ferals!) These were:

Pink footed
Snow Goose
Ross's Goose (Hybrid!)

The ever-present Peregrines watched over the marshes, as did several Buzzards and Marsh Harriers. A Water Pipit by the path surprised me, but I was too slow for a photo....

I moved on to Ludham Airfield, where a large mixed herd (mostly Bewick's) of 183 wild swans remained totally unmoved by an autogyro landing next to them and a Buzzard swooping low over their heads.

Quick point of interest for Ben L: this Buzzard hovered for ten seconds or more on several occasions, so hovering wouldn't seem to be a good field-mark for a Rough Leg!



Planetary alignment

Since the next few mornings are scheduled to be cloudy / rainy, today was an opportunity to check out the beginnings of the five planet alignment (involving Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) that will occur towards the end of January.

The sky wasn't particularly clear and a near-full Moon made seeing less than optimal, but I could see four of them - Mercury was still loitering invisibly in the glow from the below-horizon Sun...