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Thursday 29 February 2024

The Boys are Back in Town!

And with a brand new set! A great way to liven up a Sunday afternoon: see you there!

Common as muck!

I can barely remember the last week when I didn't see a Red Kite: they are probably equally - if not more - abundant as Common Buzzards in this part of Norfolk. Peter informed me at the weekend that there is still a roost of ten or more Kites to the north of Blofield Heath, and Linda and I have encountered at least one while unlocking or locking the church every day. (As was the case this morning)

I'm not complaining: it's not that long ago that Kites, Buzzards and Goshawks were only very occasionally seen - indeed, I still remember driving up to Stiffkey to video my first Norfolk Kite back in the early nineties.

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Hot air!

I seem to be in the middle of a run of in-person and online talks at the moment!
Last night I gave a presentation about ways of adding to your bird lists to the excellent folk at the Norfolk & Norwich Naturalist Society (an extremely welcoming and friendly crowd!) and tonight it's a discussion via Zoom for the Letchworth & District Astronomical Society. The topic is 'Meteorites & Planetary Formation, and is a look at the Earth's past and continuing accretion of mass from meteorites and other space debris. Believe it or not, around 300 tonnes of material lands on our planet every day!

Tuesday 27 February 2024

A distant Shrike and other Brex goodies!

I'm giving a bird talk in Norwich tonight, so decided on a morning session in the Brecks with Brian. In the event we logged more interesting birds than we often do in a whole day!

First stop was Cranwich, where a bit of a walk gave us distant views of a Great Grey Shrike, but better ones of numerous singing Woodlarks. As the crowds began to appear, we moved off to Lynford Arboretum for a bash at the Hawfinches. To our delight there were at least four feeding along the 'tunnel' from the five-barred gate, together with some delightful Yellowhammers and Bramblings.

Last stop was Cockley Cley, where the 'distant' theme continued with long-range views of two Goshawks displaying over the distant belt of woodland.

Monday 26 February 2024

February wildlife survey at Hemblington Church

Despite the just-above-zero temperature and howling wind, we carried out this month's survey as an add-on to unlocking the Church. Perhaps unsurprisingly most of the birds were lurking in the hedges out of the wind or near the couple of feeders we're allowed to hang up.

Sunday 25 February 2024

Incredible sunspots

Before the clouds rolled over this afternoon I photographed what is probably the largest sunspot cluster I've ever seen: there must be a chance of an aurora at some point!

Quiz night at Heathlands

Last night was our annual musical quiz to raise money for Hemblington All Saints Church - and have a bit of fun! Despite earlier concerns the event was a sell-out -we actually had to turn people away. The evening went smoothly and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves: the two live music rounds were very popular. (It was amazing to see the variety of food that people brought along to snack on, ranging from sushi to antipasta!)
Thanks to Linda, Sue, Gwendoline, Peter and Peter for ensuring a smooth production.

Saturday 24 February 2024

Snow Moon

This morning's full Moon: the ISS sailed past it at 5.54...

Friday 23 February 2024

Just the cutest....

A Long-tailed Tit spent ten minutes feeding in a Strawberry Tree just outside my office window this afternoon: aren't they just the best?

Thursday 22 February 2024

Two days off full...

Saturday sees the second full Moon of the year, which Native Americans allegedly call the Snow Moon. This morning, with two days to go, the gibbous waxing Moon was a beautiful sight just above the western horizon.

Wednesday 21 February 2024

I know that face! It's Andy Robertshaw!

Back in the seventies (when I was still at College) I was a member of an English Civil War re-enactment group called The Greate Rebellion Society. In fact, as Col. Ralph Weldon, I was eventually in charge of the Parliamentarian contingent (Roundheads to you!) All good things must come to an end, but it was fun for a few years and took me and some great friends all round the country.

On a recent edition of 'Flog It' there was an item about a man who had built a trench system in his back garden in Surrey: as soon as he spoke, I recognised him as Andrew Robertshaw, who had been a Royalist in the society. Good to see he's made a career from his interest in military history!

Also in the photo:
Ray Kohn - internationally renowned educationalist and philosopher (centre, with beard)
Dr Rob Bryant - globally famous chemist (Head hidden by Ray's left hand!)
Me! Behind Ray, holding my morion helmet on!