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Monday 31 October 2022

October bird survey at Hemblington Church

Sue, Linda, Peter and I met at the church at 10.00am to carry out the monthly bird survey: we've been doing this a few years now, and the results make fascinating reading...


For those of you who enjoy that little frisson of fear: my paranormal website - the longest continuously on line in the UK - might be worth a look!


Sunday 30 October 2022

Synergy and the Divide rock the house!

A fabulous joint gig last night: faultless musicianship, terrific sound (courtesy of 'Titch' and his PA gear) and a most appreciative crowd. I thought Synergy were loud until I heard The Divide!

Saturday 29 October 2022

Barn Dance for Synergy and The Divide

Another tasty gig for Synergy tonight: a big birthday bash in an event barn out in the Broads. We'll be sharing the stage with legendary rockers The Divide: their lead singer happens to be my co-vocalist and harp player Garth 'The Flyman' Coupland. I'm intrigued to discover how his two completely separate alter-egos work out!

Thursday 27 October 2022

Strumpshaw Fen: nostalgia isn't what it used to be....

Since I had to drop Linda off for an early train at Brundall, I carried on round to Buckenham and Strumpshaw Fen - the first time I've visited either for months. In the past both sites have provided good returns for a pleasant walk in the Yare Valley, but during the summer both were infested by dog walkers and family groups, hardly any of whom displayed any interest in the wildlife of the two reserves. Since the weather was somewhat threatening, I thought I'd probably be able to enjoy the stroll without too many distractions (Despite it being half term)

In the event I was correct in that assumption: just a few small families arriving as I left. But where were the birds? Apart from the inevitable skeins of Pinkfeet, the regular Wigeon and a Peregrine or two, Buckenham was a bird-free zone. Strumpshaw was even worse: I didn't see a single passerine in the woods or reedbeds and the only fly-overs were more Pinks. No Marsh Tits, Nuthatches, Treecreepers, King Fishers, Egrets, Herons, Siskins, Beardies - nothing! The only 'highlights' were a mixed group of white and 'black' Pheasants.

I mentioned this to the newly-arrived middle-aged volunteer at the new ticket kiosk. He shrugged and said 'Global warming, innit?' I asked him what that had to do with the lack of resident species: he just shrugged and replied that it was too warm in the Arctic for birds to fly south. I repeated my point about the lack of woodland birds, and asked if he knew where the Pinkfeet had arrived from. No reply. (I personally think that turning the once-excellent reserve into a corporate training site and a family fun park has had more than a little to do with the decline of the Fen)

The International Space Station

Some bright, early morning passes by the ISS over the next couple of weeks: don't forget - the lower the number, the brighter the pass. (So -3 is much brighter than 3)

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Jack Snipe and Dowitcher at Cley

A morning on the North Coast with Brian and Norman added two birds to the year list: most welcome was the Jack Snipe that I managed to locate among the stubble on Snipe's Marsh almost as soon as we arrived. A walk up the East Bank added Bearded Tit and Long-billed Dowitcher (still trying to remain a silhouette!): other birds included an 'interesting' Stonechat,  a large flock of Meadow Pipits and a Water Pipit. 

The pager sent us eastwards to two different car parks at West Runton, neither of which held the promised Shorelarks. We retraced our steps to Kelling, where from the tearoom carpark I managed a couple of shots of the eclipse by stopping everything down, thinking that I'd lost my Baader filter (it was tucked away in my camo jacket!) I didn't realise the shots had come out until I got home and played with PSP! (I had decent views of what was absolutely a Pallid Harrier at Salthouse as we drove east, but Norman couldn't stop, unfortunately)

Nothing on the pool at Kelling, apart from scores of dragonflies. The sea was slightly more productive with a raft of Common Scoter (flight views revealed at least one Velvet among them) and another raft of mixed Auks.

Saturday 22 October 2022

New look for Frosty the Snowman

Regular readers may recall that the little snowman first made an appearance in March 2021, so he's not doing too badly, having endured fourteen months in the freezer! Like Trigger's Broom, he has had a few modifications: new arms this summer and, for his exploration of my office this week, new eyes. I feel they give him a more rock 'n' roll look!