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Friday 31 May 2019

Skytrain and the ISS pass over Norfolk

Last chance to enjoy the International Space Station for a while: it passed across the southern sky at around 10.15. An hour later one or more of Elon Musk's 'Skytrain' satellites passed through Ursa Major: a high ISO image seems to show either a few of them 'flashing' as they catch the sunlight, or a whole chain...

Video of a local Turtle Dove.

Short video of one of the Turtle Doves (five pairs!) that are on territory locally.

Thursday 30 May 2019

Slim pickings on the north coast saved by a Quail!

An early start saw Brian and me looking out at Pat's Pool before 8.00am: as before, however, there was little new to enjoy, apart from a trio of Greenshanks and a few Godwits. A Little Egret fishing close in front of the hide was interesting to watch...

We moved up the coast to Wells, where it was pretty much the same story: hardly any waders other than the ubiquitous Avocets and Lapwings. Carrying on to Burnham Overy, we walked down from the coast road, coming across several more Little Egrets and a couple of Spoonbills. At one point they took off and performed a really impressive display flight, before landing out of sight on the saltings.

Titchwell was, as expected, full of half-term birders who enjoyed the Black Headed Gulls a bit more than we did! After lunch we returned eastward to Kelling Water Meadows where the biggest surprise of the day was a Quail calling close by the path: the first I've heard for a decade!

Ely Science Festival

Linda and I were back at Ely yesterday evening: despite the rain there was a larger attendance than last week. Plenty of fun and a few pounds in the coffers!

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Turtle Doves: 'somewhere in East Norfolk'!

Linda and I had to visit Potter Heigham this morning (more bird food!) and on the way back visited a nearby  traditional Turtle Dove site. To our delight we heard three birds purring away as soon as we arrived, while another bird sat quietly in a hedge!

I may be wrong, but this seems to be turning out to be the best year for a while for this species: I know of at least five pairs locally and several more within the county...

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Monthly bio-survey at Hemblington Church

Despite the very unpromising weather, Linda and I joined Joyce, Sue and the two regular video-archivists to conduct the monthly survey of the churchyard.

Nothing spectacular or new, but plenty of birds and wild flowers to enjoy: Buzzard, Swift, lots of Swallows, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Chiffchaff and both Blackcap and Garden Warbler. Pick of the flowers were Crosswort, Star of Bethlehem and Yellow Rattle.

Very few insects to record, but plenty of moles! Last interesting find was a Common Toad under the church organ!

Starlink 'train' fails to arrive (due to cloud!)

Elon Musk's 'SpaceX' has commenced launching a series of commsats: the first 60 of 720 or so are currently gradually spreading apart following their 'bunch launch' a few days ago. Last night (and for the next few nights) they pass over the UK just before midnight, so I was hoping to get some photos of this impressive (yet astronomically disastrous) sight.

Needless to say, it was cloudy! I did manage some close-ups of Alcor and Mizar and views of  Jupiter hanging just above the eastern horizon. Alcor is visibly bluish in the photos: of course, stars cannot be seen as discs from Earth (except in the case of Betelgeux, if you have access to the Hubble!) so the apparent sizes are really factors of  the relative brightness of the pair.

Monday 27 May 2019

Black Redstarts in the centre of Norwich

Linda and I popped into Norwich this morning: it being a fine morning, I took the camera in my 'man bag'! After a bit of shopping, we staked out the area at the top of Westlegate and, after a short wait, heard and then located a singing male Black Redstart. He spent a lot of time on the roof of the 'Big C' charity shop and it seemed to us his nest can't be far away...

Sunday 26 May 2019

Acle jam session: now that's what I call music!

This afternoon was the fortnightly jam session at the Hermitage, Acle. Some of the best semi-pro musicians in Norfolk attend this event: Tim, Garth, Barry and Olly, a multi-talented guitarist / drummer.

I've played at lots of jams, but this is without doubt the best: long may it continue. I tend to do the vocals and play rhythm with odd bits of lead: Tim (a genuine pro) is just the best lead player, while Garth is without doubt among the top harmonica players in the eastern region. Old friend Paul turned up unexpectedly: we were in a band together for years and it was as if the years had never intervened!

Thanks to the lovely Jenny for taking the pictures!