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Tuesday 30 January 2024

Crossbills! Finally!

Brian, Norman and I took a drive through the drizzle and mist for a long-discussed trip to the Brecks. First stop was Lynford Arboretum, where the 'tunnel' held a large flock of finches, including Yellowhammers, Bramblings and a Hawfinch. The light was appalling: Norman's camera just wouldn't find a focus and mine wasn't much better! We walked the circuit, before returning to the five-barred gate: the light was marginally improved and I grabbed a few grainy shots and added Marsh Tit to the year list!

Next stop was Mayday Farm: the weather was still dreadful, but amazingly almost the first birds we saw were a flock of fourteen Crossbills! The photos won't win any prizes, but it's been a cool three years since we last saw the species... As we were drinking our coffee by the somewhat delapidated screen, two female Crossbills landed right in front of us, providing prolonged and better views.

Last stop was Santon Downham, where Grey Wagtail became number 96 on the year list!

Monday 29 January 2024

Yesterday's waning gibbous Moon

I always find time to look at the Moon when the sky is clear: it's a fascinating sight with even a small telescope or pair of binoculars

Sunday 28 January 2024

RSPB birdwatch at Hemblington Church

Despite the cool breeze, a decent number of local - and not so local - birdwatchers turned up to count the birds in and around the churchyard. Highlights included lots of Kites and Buzzards and - star of the show - a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Thanks due to tireless organiser Sue and the ladies and gents of the congregation that made us some delightful soup and cakes!

11.00 - 12.00

12.00 - 1.00

Saturday 27 January 2024

Annual music quiz

If you're in the general area of Blofield Heath, you might enjoy bringing a team - or coming on your own - to this year's music quiz.

This isn't a normal 'grubby bits of paper and pencil' type affair: there are two live music rounds, power point questions and answers, good prizes and bar at club prices: a terrific evening's entertainment!

The Space Station in February

Here are the rest of January's passes by the ISS: in February it begins a long sequence lasting right through March.

Friday 26 January 2024

Wolf Moon

Were these names really thought up by Native Americans? Anyhow: once the clouds parted the first full Moon of 2024 was a spectacular sight.

Thursday 25 January 2024

The Rendlesham Forest Incident

Yet another recent TV documentary ('starring' a well-known liverpudlian comedian) trotted out the usual suspects to dismiss the famous December 1980 UFO landing as the Orford Lighthouse seen through the trees. Let's dismiss this ludicrous suggestion once and for all!

Take a look at the photos below: the first is the view across the open Capel Green fields from the edge of the forest. The lighthouse can just be made out in the 'notch' on the horizon. It was demolished a couple of years ago, but was a familiar sight to anyone who walked out to the eastern edge of the Forest: but only from a fairly limited section of the boundary.

The next two photos show increasingly magnified images of the lighthouse: as you can see, it was not exactly dazzling, and wasn't visible - even at night - from the region of the Forest where Colonel Halt (then Deputy Base Commander) and his security team encountered the reported object.
  • A lighthouse could not have moved through the forest between the trees
  • It could not travel upwards through the canopy
  • It could not have hovered over the weapons stores at the airbase
  • It could not have shone a parallel-sided beam onto the ground in front of the searchers
  • After years of service, the majority of the military witnesses were very familiar with the lighthouse (and the Shipwash Lightship)
On numerous occasions I have walked through the forest with Colonel Halt and listened to his recollections: even forty-odd years on, his memory of events is consistent, unexaggerated and impressive.

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Red-breasted Goose at Cley

Still on the Eye Field with Dark-bellied Brents: seen here from the Beach Carpark (through the fence!)

Garden birdwatch at Hemblington Church

If you don't have a garden, or would like to join in with other 'garden birdwatchers', you are more than welcome to come along on Sunday! (Soup and hot drinks available!)

Last year we counted over twenty species!

Monday 22 January 2024

North Coast: all the Egrets, two rare Geese and a bonus Ibis!

With Norman unavailable, Brian and I headed north through the wind and tree branches to Cley. First stop was an abortive look for Waxwings: the road along which they'd been reported was blocked by a fallen tree!

We could see loads of geese on the Eye Field, so we drove out to the Coastguards (nostalgia!) where Brian quite quickly located the often-elusive Red-breasted Goose. After a good 'grill', we moved on to Stiffkey, stopping to admire a Great Egret and vast flock of Curlew behind the delicatessen. Further along, opposite Morston Church, we completed the set with four Cattle Egrets and a Little Egret. No sign of the Stiffkey Ibis, so we reurned to Cley just as the VC opened for tea and scones: as we were finishing, one of the 'vols' told us that a Ruddy Shelduck was visible from Dauke's Hide, so we hurried off to look for it. Richard 'the Hat' was already ensconced, and was able to point us in the right direction: despite the vast numbers of Pinkfeet, we both managed reasonable views.

A fruitless Twite Hunt at Blakeney was followed by a return to Stiffkey: this time a walk alongside the main road produced distant views to round off a terrific day.