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Thursday 30 March 2023

Amazing nurse-knitting!

While waiting for a pre-op assessment at the N&N, Linda noticed this astonishing piece of work on the wall: it depicts all the Doctors and Nurses of the unit and was hand-knitted by one of them! Linda assures me that the likenesses are very good!

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Farewell to Gallop's Farm...

Our fourth stay at Gallop's Farm comes to an end: bittersweet, because this could well be our final holiday at this beautiful cottage on the South Downs. It's been fun, if a little 'lazy': great to see brother in law Barry and his partner Judy, as well, of course, as my lovely Mum-in-Law Mary, who has stayed with us every time.

Monday 27 March 2023

A few more Findon odds and ends...

For family reasons we haven't strayed far from the cottage during our stay: nevertheless, it's been interesting to watch the Red Kites collecting nesting materials, while Yellowhammers and Great Spotted Woodies have both been 'new for the farm'.

Linda and I carried out an 'owl survey' for the farmer, seeing Barn Owl and hearing both Little and Tawny Owls, all  close by our cottage.

Sunday 26 March 2023

A couple of days in Sussex

Linda and I made the four hour trek to Findon to spend a few days with Mum-in-Law Mary, staying, as usual, at the delightful cottage at Gallop's Farm. We stopped off for breakfast at Shoreham, allowing a sneaky visit to Shoreham Fort so I could add Rock Pipit to the year list!

Despite the constant overcast and drizzle, the view from the cottage rear window was continually enhanced by raptors: Red Kites, Buzzards, Sparrowhawks and a Peregrine!

Saturday 25 March 2023

Venus, the Moon and the ISS meet in the western sky

Last night there was a beautiful conjunction of the three brightest objects in the night sky: one of these is, of course, the man-made International Space Station. Imagine the view of Venus and the thin crescent Moon that the astronaut crew must have enjoyed!

Being closer to the Sun than we are, Venus shows phases like the Moon's: last night it displayed an 80% illuminated gibbous 'oval'.

Friday 24 March 2023

Sunspots and aurorae

Last night there was yet another (faint) auroral display visible from Norfolk - if you happened to be where there was a clear sky! Perhaps not surprisingly, the Sun's face is covered with sunspots today: there is a link between these regions of magnetic disturbance and coronal mass ejections...

If it's clear tonight or tomorrow there may well be more auroral displays, as well as the crescent Moon sneaking up on Venus at twilight.

As always: never look at the Sun directly or with optical aids: I use special filters!

Thursday 23 March 2023

A White Stork before breakfast!

I crawled out of bed at 5.00am to clear up after an excellent dinner party last night: once the washing up was done, I thought I'd drive the few miles to Halvergate to see if yesterday's White Stork had hung around: it had!

As soon as I arrived at Stone Road, I found this delightful Dutch-ringed individual preening just a few yards from the road, allowing me an uninterrupted half hour's photography. Bonus birds were two Great White Egrets and probably half a dozen Little Egrets: an Oystercatcher was somewhat unexpected!

Wednesday 22 March 2023

A very average session on the North Coast!

My turn to drive: we headed north in hope of an Alpine Swift, but despite visiting a few of the more obvious sites we failed to connect 

A walk down to Kelling Quags was similarly unproductive: no Garganey nor any waders (although we did see a Chiffchaff!)

After coffee at Kelling we returned to Cley, walking out along the East Bank. The only birds of any note were numerous Ruff and Dunlin, so we decided to call it a day...

It was a little galling to arrive home and find that the RBA online map (which is, of course, free) was reporting an Alpine Swift and a White Stork on our route back, neither of which were on the pager - which costs me a fortune!