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Friday, July 31, 2009

New bird species found.

Scientists have found a new species of songbird in Laos.

What is unusual about the bird is that it is bald! and has no feathers on its face. The bird, unsurprisingly, has been called bare-faced bulbul.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh for goodness sake

Three blogs in a day?

Well I FEEL much better, got energy ! BUT I now have a rash/spots!! The practice nurse has told me to stay off work till they go.

The oldest Mallard?

Edwina the mallard hits 22

DAB - slight misfire

Well I've bought a Digital Radio. It arrived at the office and woo hoo the sound was amazing.

I've plugged it in at home at the sound is still amazing BUT BUT BUT

I don't get any of the main BBC channels!!! DAMN!! Classic FM is amazing though. Luckily it has FM so I can get Radio 4. Oh well we'll get there eventually.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This morning

Not a particularly goodnights sleep I seemed to dose alot!

Still feeling a bit lacking in energy, still not rushing to stick grub down my throat.

Anyway I trudged downstairs this morning (ye gods I didn't want to get out of bed) and stuck a thermometer under my tongue. It evenutally bleeped to say it had finished, the thermometer was removed 37.1. I will check it again tonight but it would appear to be ok.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I noticed yesterday that I seem to have "something", I'm a bit tired and listless. Slight headache, slightly off my food (when I have to say only a small roast beef dinner tonight Dad....), slightly achy, bit of a cough and cold, slight temperature but not hot and clammy.

I mentioned this to sir (a man whose glass is 1% empty) and he said you ought to check it. You will be pleased to know I have phoned the pork flu helpline and apparently its unlikely I have pork flu. No doubt sir will stick a thermometer in my mouth when I go in tonight. No doubt all female readers have diagnosed Man Flu.

An evening laying watching the telly again methinks tonight. Hope there is something good on.

As a general point when I was at school my folks had a sure fire way of knowing how ill I was. If I entered the magic words I don't fancy any dinner they knew I was ill!!

Update temp was 38.1 which is over the 38 they say means a fever. I'll check it in the morning.

Dragonflies are amazing.

Honestly they are! Spend anytime watching them and you'll be amazed how fast they fly, how they stop and turn on a sixpence oh and the bright colours!

A Common Hawker has set a UK record for the species. The female common hawker was seen at 830m on Tom a'Choinich, north of Loch Affric the greatest height it has been found in the UK. The previous record was 650m.

According to the Highland Council's biodiversity officer Jonathan Willet:

This species does breed very high up in continental Europe, up to 2,700 metres in the Swiss Alps, but the summers are a lot warmer there.

The pond is found in a sheltered location in a south facing corrie, so this must create a warm microclimate within the pond allowing the larva to develop, but it may spend five years as a larva before it is fully grown and ready to emerge as an adult, which may only live for three to four weeks.

Dragonflies are one of the older forms of life having been around for 325million years. "Experts" believe that a third of British Dragons are now under threat and a new centre has opened at the National Trusts Wicken Fen nature reserve to study them.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Invasion of the Black Swan

What a tabloid title!

Apparently the Black Swan is spreading so fast it may be added to the British List (for those who don't that means its wild population in the UK is thought to be self sustaining).

The Swans, who originate from Australia, have escaped from collections and now breed at dozens of sites across the UK.

Black Swans are more agressive than native Mute Swans and there are concerns that they may out compete them.

A BTO survey in 2004 found birds at only 73 sites, of which only 11 were breeding sites. The current survey found 500 reports of birds at 170 locations with 37 sites being breeding.

There are currently no proposals to control the numbers. There are controls on species such as ruddy ducks, to keep numbes down. I'd have thought if such action was to take place it would be best to do it now.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A day out

Dad and I went to Ickworth today, we've been there many times over the years. I hope the photos aren't to dull I've taken photos there many times over the past two years.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Somehow Titchwell

I wasn't really sure where to go this morning.

Did I go to somewhere I'd see birds? Somewhere with lots of photo ops?

Somehow I found myself heading North and going to Titchwell, a slight error as I had no scope with me. Hey ho.

Photo ops for birds was limited as everything was fairly distant. The new hide is not open yet and the view looking towards Thornham had more water than I've ever seen.

The tidy was VERY high, highest I've seen at Titch.

A list of birds seen.

Great Crested Grebe, Fulmar, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Spoonbill, Mute Swan, Greylag, Canada Goose, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Pheasant, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Turnstone, Black-Headed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Common Tern, Little Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Sedge Warbler, Bearded Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting.

I missed a few due to have no scope. I thought I had Curlew sandpiper and little stint at one point but looking into the sun with bins I'll have to pass. Not bad for a few hours birding I thought.

Highlights? Little Terns are great to watch, the Spoonbill (asleep naturally), the Whimbrel on the beach and the close in Fulmar.

Not many photos and they are not stunning hey ho. Why is it when I have the camera at Titchwell the birds go far away and when i don't bother they dance in front of the hide.

A record shot of a little Tern (rubbish photos)

Common Darter

There were LOADS of Painted Ladies about! This may explain it.

What is this? Small Skipper?

Black Headed Gull

A sky full of waders

Geese on the wing.


Another Painted Lady

Tomorrow would have been Mum and Dad's Wedding Anniversary so I am taking the old boy out. Photos there will be but you have seen Ickworth plenty of times so don't get excited!

Friday, July 24, 2009

This and that

Well the car's been serviced, that's good.

I had to go into the Bradford & Bingley which must have been the most time I've had to queue in a bank EVER. Apparently they are switching to the Abbey/Santander IT system, I presume it was busy taking a siesta!

It is now HAMMERING down with rain.

Some music.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

So how am I finding Twitter

For those of you who wonder what the point of twitter is?

Well the RSPB's Twitter feed gave a link to this article about Dragonfly migration which is simply amazing!

A photography related feed gave a link to the free alternatives to photoshop (the full version not elements). Gimp as recommended by the minx looks interesting.

The Dogs Trust feed gives an update on the new centre in Dublin and to alert people to a lost dog.

Via the National Trust feed i've discovered it has a you tube feed. This is recipe for Roasted Partridge with Pumpkin soup.

Ok I'm sure there is a lot of rubbish out there, and I only have 32 followers, but actually it has its uses.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Medieval Soldier?

The service records of 250,000 medieval soldiers have gone online.

Apparently the database is of those who fought in the Hundred Years War. It reveals salaries, sickness records and who was knighted. The full profiles of soldiers from 1369 to 1453 will allow researchers to piece together details of their lives.

The website is the result of a research project by Professor Anne Curry of the University of Southampton and Dr Adrian Bell of the University of Reading.

You can search here.

My surname doesn't appear but I know was it is derived from and so I typed in Dokeson and found.

Robert Dokeson, Archer who served under Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester and who was in an expedition to France in 1417.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Show some respect please

There's an interesting article in the BBC online Magazine about Graveyard Etiquette.

There are no rules for visiting burial sites and a number of different groups have fallen foul. Birders for instance can get in trouble when a rare bird arrives at a churchyard, there have been reports of birders trampling on graves to get a good view.

The public probably are unaware that the 1977 Local Authority Cemeteries' Order sets down some basic laws of conduct. Creating a disturbance in a churchyard, committing a nuisance, wilfully interfering with burials or graves, or playing games or sports, are all finable offences.

Personally I'd find it hard to argue with that but i've seen kids use graves as climbing frames as there parents looked on. They got told to show some respect by me though.

There was anger in Scotland recently when a family picnicked on top of one of the grave mounds at Culloden. As someone said such behaviour would not be accepted at World War I battlefields such as Flanders or Ypres.

The National Trust for Scotland and are currently having signs made up to explain that the battlefield is a war grave and asking visitors to behave accordingly

Of course even those who should no better get it wrong.

St Mary's church in Wimbledon Village charged tennis fans £20 a day to park in its burial ground, it justified the decision by saying the graves were 200 years old or more. No living relatives would be offended, it said. It also gave the money to charities.

Are we less respectful? I think we are. Part of that is that previously families stayed in the same area and therefore were able to pay respects and keep graves in good order. Now we all live miles apart and graves are left unattended, of course that is no reason to show disrespect.

Monday, July 20, 2009

One Small Step for Man...

Forty years ago today the world changed. Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon.

Of course there are always changes and to say that one event is the important in human history is hyperbole but in my life time that must be the most important event.

My childhood from the age of 5 was overshadowed by the Apollo missions, it was a living Science Fiction film. Whether I was really aware of the enormity of what was happening I doubt seeing that grainy black and white pictures made me go WOW!!! It was almost a certainty that there would be moon bases and trips to Mars.

Alas it never happened. OK I know it was horrendously expensive but the spins off have been huge and surely it was a better use of money than Vietnam or Iraq? or for that matter spending millions on flipping sportsman and actors.

The bravery of the Astronauts (and let us not forget the Soviet Cosmonauts) was immense. There is probably more computing power in a mobile phone than was used on Apollo 11! They used Slide Rules for goodness sake and Armstrong landed manually.

Many years later the Science Fiction writer wrote an exceedingly good novel about the first manned trip to Titan. One review although enjoying the novel thought it unrealistic that anyone would volunteer for what, in the book, was a one way trip. In a later column he admitted that subsequently one leading astronaut and told him that they would have gone at the drop of a hat.

These people, like Columbus, Magellan and Cook of an earlier era, were/are a different breed to you and I. Not for them 2 weeks in the South of Spain and a pension plan. They sought to expand the frontiers of the human mind and were prepared to risk all to do it.

Will we go back? I do hope so, I'm not bothered who does it but I think its important as man is a questing searching beast. Others argue that the money would be better spent feeding the poor but I tend to the view that the spin offs would have a greater impact.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm back

And so I'm home.

I'm going to spend the evening catching up on you all.

A great trip did a lot of what I wanted to do. South Wales is odd, there is some beautiful scenery but the towns (especially those around Cardiff and Newport) are grey and depressing.

Pembrokeshire is much less heavily built and feels a lot like Cornwall.

My next trip in three weeks is to North wales.

Oh someone has asked for some good beaches for South West Wales. Anyone have any suggestions? I don't really do beaches.

Heading East

well time to move.

After breakfast I headed East. I stopped at the town of Chepstow which is just in Wales

It has a notable parish church that was not open on my arrival (an opening time was posted) so I headed off to the castle. I'd have loved to have seen these as they were when at their pomp, we have an amazing amount of heritage but it is scary what we have lost.

I strolled back and the church was open. It was a priory and has a couple of fine monuments.

And so to the famous Tintern Abbey the views along the road are pretty fine.

I found tonights pub and we'll finish with a couple of churches.

Penalt Old Church, I have to admit this was miles down a side road and was incredibly well sign posted with a number of hand written signs, the reason? a flower festival!

why did this make me go OC!!!!!!

St Nicholas Trelech.