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Monday 31 January 2022

Venus: as bright as it gets!

At magnitude -4.5, Venus is almost as bright as it ever can be: so much so that it was easily visible in broad daylight at 8.00am today. Even a small telescope or binoculars show it as a crescent: well worth looking out for in the south east over the next few days!

Sunday 30 January 2022

Birdwatch at Hemblington Church

A gratifyingly good turnout for the annual birdwatch this morning: over 30 individuals, including several youngsters. Given the hard work put in by Sue, Linda, Peter, Lynda, Gwendoline and Katherine in the organization and promotion of the event (as well as the scrummy home-made cakes they baked!) it was a relief that their efforts were rewarded.

We saw 16 different species, with good numbers of Buzzards but no Red Kites today. The watch was divided into two one-hour sessions, as you'll see from the tables below.

It was lovely to see friends Joyce and Andrew, for many years stalwarts of everything to do with the Church before their move to Westleton.

Radio Norfolk

Today (Sunday!) I'm doing a brief interview with Matthew Gudgin on Radio Norfolk: it's to promote the Birdwatch at Hemblington Church.

Over the years I've 'done' quite a few radio and TV interviews: always enjoyable, because I like the immediacy of it all! 

Saturday 29 January 2022

The return of the Garden Assassin

Never far from our feeding stations, this female Sparrowhawk has acquired the strategy of lurking deep in the sycamore to ambush our garden visitors...


Beautiful crescents close together in the dawn sky: the Moon and Venus showing more or less the same phase!

Friday 28 January 2022

The International Space Station: some great passes coming up!

Here we go, Space Fans! These are the scheduled transits of the ISS for the next few days. Bearing in mind that negative magnitudes are the brightest, you can see that some of these passes are very bright indeed: only Venus (mag -4.8) is currently brighter! Also, they occur conveniently soon after sunset, so no need to stay up late. The ISS generally appears in the west, moves in an arc across the southern sky and sets (or goes into eclipse) in the east.

Lots to see 'up there'!

There was a good transit of the ISS last night: it drifted close past the Andromeda Galaxy, M31 (Arrowed). I was in a bit of a rush (being on my way to have a bit of a musical thrash at the Freethorpe jam session!) so the camera settings were a compromise between under-exposing M31 or over-exposing the ISS! This morning, the crescent Venus shone brightly through a pre-dawn cloud bank...

Thursday 27 January 2022

Finding Nemo!

Linda decided the tank needed a little extra interest, so we added these two delightful Clown Fish. Fascinating creatures: one or the other will quickly become a female, growing larger and dominant.

Short-eared Owl: the movie!

Just a short video of yesterday's Short-eared Owl: cats with wings!

Wednesday 26 January 2022

Short-eared Owls: finally!

An encouraging comment last night made me decide on a final visit to St Benet's in search of a Short-eared Owl. When I arrived at around 3.15, there hadn't been any action, but the gentleman who'd inspired the visit was already on site. After a further half hour all I'd managed was a distant Hen Harrier and some Pink-footed Geese. I was beginning to think I was going to be disappointed yet again when a gorgeous Barn Owl drifted in from the north. Then, perhaps fifteen minutes later, finally a superb Short-eared Owl arrived and began patrolling. By now the light was marginal for photography, but I had a bash anyway! What a bird! What a relief! So: many thanks to Roger for the encouragement...