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Monday, July 31, 2006


Apologies for the language BUT Mum's bone scan has come back and its cancer.

So the poor thing has two more weeks of radiotherapy. She can continue the herceptin which is good. She is still in some pain so they have given her something powerful for that. The radiotherapy should stop the cause of the pain.

Mood - fucked off. (Sorry to Boo and EB for the language but I am!!)

You're never alone with a plastic duck.

In 1992 a consignment of plastic ducks were being shipped across the pacific from Hong Kong to the USA. On 10th January the Ship hit heavy storms and several containers went overboard, most stayed intact but one split open an released its contents of toy ducks (and frogs, turtles and beavers). They are easily recognisable, they have the words 'The First Years' printed on them.

For the past 14 years these duck have been bobbing along the world sea lanes. The largest group headed down the pacific towards Austrailia and indonesia.

Scientists tracking the ducks reckon that significant (10,000) duck numbers have gone round the North Pole and made their way south through the Arctic circle into the Atlantic. For much of the time the ducks were trapped in ice, moving at just a mile a day. As the ice melted south of Greenland the ducks were released from their hibernation to bob and weave their way on their journeys.

Some toys have already turned up in Iceland, Norway and Scotland but the majority headed south. The ducks are quite valuable becoming collectors items at over £1000 each. Clive Anderson has done a radio programme about this.

Oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer is using the ducks to study ocean currents.Apparently the ducks will soon be hitting the gulf stream and the ducks will help us monitor the potential impact of climate change on tthe gulf stream. The gulf stream is what causes the UK to have mild winters. Global warming could move the gulf stream so we get significantly colder winters.

The invasion is about to commence..............

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Pottering about

I really didn't know where to go today. I eventually decided to go to Chigborough Lakes near Maldon in Essex.

My one previous visit was in winter and it was a bit chilly. Today it was lovely not as hot as it has been thankfully.

It was a nice walk lots of common birds whitethroat, Green Woody, Great Spot, lots of ducks and juve grebes. About 8 Herons and 4 Little Egrets.

Also lots of darters and Brown Hawkers. One of the darters was interesting but I didn't get a decent photo. Think this one is a female/immature Ruddy Darter. I think!

After lunch I went down Rye Meads. Much of the usual stuff about. Brief view of Kingfisher, lots of Terns, juve Little Grebes, juve Great Crested Grebe (unusual at RM!). Also loads of young ducks.

Four Little Egrets reported, I saw 3.

There were loads of Painted Ladies.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Friends Reunited

School days were not the happiest of my life. I have found my adult life far more satisfying.

I mention this because 5 years ago I joined Friends Reunited. I should say as a lurker since I joined under an assumed name. I will admit to morbid curiosity as to what old friends are up to.

I didn't learn much many of them are married with kids and that's about all I learned. Barry Sanders has gone to Austrailia. The thing is I have no desire to meet any of them. I tend to take the view that as I haven't seen some of them for 24 years do I want to now? If I was that bothered i'd have made an effort wouldn't I (There are work colleagues became friends with and after we parted ways we still keep in touch).

Its odd though that you read stories of 1st loves meeting up and then getting together ditching their existing partners. I'd love to know if these relationships work out. You read the initial story in a newspaper but they don't tell you what happened in the longer term. I suspect many don't work out.

Strange Portents

Well something strange happened. There was lots of banging and crashing and light flashed across the sky. Then water fell from the sky. What does this portend? Is this the end of the world? Oh hang on I remember its Thunder Storm with rain. Rain ! Rain! Sorry haven't seen any for a while. I came over all excited.

Whilst looking out the window (ok I was washing up!) I noticed three Frogs hopping across the back lawn? Now where did they come from? Someone has a pond. Still nice to watch!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Well that's unexpected!

as you will have read I'm new to the world of dragonflies so I'm coming across new species quite often.

While it I went to Dersingham Bog to see a Black Darter, whilst coming back through the woods I came across a "Hawker" Dragonfly. It was black and blue so I could discount Southern Hawker and the amount of black on the side discounted Emperor. Unfortunately I couldn't get on any id pointers. I know you can separate Common and Migrant Hawker on size but I wasn't sure. I thought it was largish and the habitat also suggested Common. And the field guide suggested that Common also frequents woodland rides well away from water...... but i didn't tick it.

Now scroll forward a week. I have JUST got out of the shower !! I walked to the bathroom window and start to close it. I hear movement. And there on the window is a blue/black hawker dragon. I reopened the window and it flew off. If I had noticed it before touching the window I could have got a photo!! BUT the size was not big so this was Migrant Hawker and I'm now sure that the Dragon last week was bigger so was a Common.

Anyway first time I've found a lifer in my bathroom!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A minor rant

Whilst driving to work I heard about a study done in Newcastle which showed Bumblebees can navigate up to 8 miles. I always thought they were quite local.

Anyway the above link has a another link to a story about rare species of Bumblebees facing extinction. This is all due to the building of houses for our "ageing and growing population". Now surely a more sensible option would be to build the houses somewhere else i.e. somewhere with less population density. What is this desire to concrete over the South East? That would encourage jobs as well.

Of course you often hear people from outside complaining about "all the good things" being built down South e.g. Wembley and that the Olympics are a London thing. Well people you can have the Olympics you can have the national stadium. Happy? Well you can also have that bloody airport they are building and the traffic congestion and.... no of course not. You'll continue to drive down from Stoke to use Stansted Airport.

I daresay we'll get all the window turbines as well. Mutter Mutter Mutter

Happy Anniversary Mum & Dad

well today is my parents wedding anniversary. For the record it's their 54th Wedding Anniversary.

I suspect they'll be spending the day much as they have everyday for the last few weeks.... moaning about the heat!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Introducing the new face of thequacksoflife

Many thanks to EB for this chap. He is my blog avatar.

The Natural World

When my dad was a lad the UK was a land of plenty. He tells stories of the hedgerows being awash with birds. Urban sprawl and intensive farming has greatly impacted the wildlife scene. Climate change has not helped, whatever the causes there can be little doubt that "something" is happening.

For your perusal I'll offer Butterfly decline, Bees and flowers decline in step and of course the following cuts both ways Island Dilemma over wind farms.

Things have changed. The Linnet, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting may still have sizeable populations but common they are not. Hawfinches now take real effort to find and worthy of a detour to see one.

I remember seeing nesting House Martin's as a kid but they are not as prevalent as they were.

I don't have any answers but at least I'm acknowleding there is a problem. All is not doom and gloom, whilst in Norfolk I noticed some farmers were leaving borders around fields full of wild flowers.

We have to start asking questions about how our food and clothes are produced. Its all very well going into a supermarket for a t-shirt for a £1, but if that's been produced as the results of mass pollution in Africa, to produce a cheap cotton crop, we'll pay the "price" of less Swallows, Martins, Warblers and Flycatchers each year. It's not only the initial cost that we end up paying.

I think we have lost something. We are the "me me me me I want it now I deserve it generation". Holds hand up!

Nature can cope with the natural ebb and flow of climate change but Man's interference is a different matter.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Being a blogger is dangerous its official

Whilst on holiday I came across this story about a blogger who was sacked becuase her blog Petite Anglaise apparently identified the company she worked for and that she updated it on company time (please note I'm at lunch!). Its not the first instance of someone losing there job because their employer took exception to a blog either.

Now I am very careful NOT to mention anything about my employer and this is a trend I will maintain. I don't fancy losing my job!

That said I hardly see what she has done wrong. To me it seems like the firm could do with a sense of humour transplant. Her employers claim that by posting her picture people could identify the company. Methinks they doth protest to much. The clientele of the company Dixon Wilson Associates (who the eff are they anyway?) are unlikely to be reading it and anyway they have shown themselves to be a bunch of humourless nerks and I bet they are cringing under the bad publicity they are getting.

I suspect that La Petite Anglaise herself has litte to fear. She'll probably get a book deal and make a packet.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I'm going to regret this

Given cherrypie was willing to put up a picture of herself when just a pipsqueak here for you to laugh at is the young quacky. Thanks to Malcolm.

I'm hoping for you Boo's, Nic's, Twitchybirder, Anna, Blonde one, Kate, Ally, Kaz and Diddums amongst others to embarass yourself.

Sunday 23rd July

Decided to come straight back (brief stop at Welney).

My hotel was Briarfields at Titchwell. I stay there 3 times a year and the staff are very friendly food is good and I obviously like it ****

I spent my evenings on the decking glass in hand winding up friends about Sea Breezes.......

Go back and read the post about Minsmere I have shamelessly stolen a picture of Anna and Michaels of me with my cake! Thanks again xxx

Saturday 22nd July

I met Dave & Joy before breaky at Titchwell. At the time I had a Wood Sandpiper in my scope so Dave could year tick it. We wandered down so Dave could tick the Red Neck Phalarope and then headed back to my hotel for brekfast. Dave was able to point out an Arctic Skua over the reserve for me to tick!

After breaky we went back to Titchwell to the sea to watch a/the same Skua harass Terns and for Dave and Joy to have a paddle.

We went on to Great Ryburgh to find Joy a Honey Buzzard but no luck. As we got back to our car we heard a loud bang and just a long the road found the mess. Luckily no one hurt and airbags do work boys and girls!

After an enjoyable lunch at the Ostrich back to Titchwell to watch waders including Summer plumage Golden and Grey Plover. Another enjoyable day with Dave & Joy.

Friday 21st July

A chap I met the previous night gave me a tip on the Black Darters' and ... YES! Then onto Flitcham Abbey Farm. The Farm is owned by RJ Cross & Co and has a small reserve. It has a reputation for Little Owl which it failed on in January but today one of the little chaps was sitting on a post!

On to Holkham Hall and I chose to take a boat trip on the lake!

Holkham hall is one of the finest buildings. Normally you would have to trust me on this but the Leicesters let you take photos.

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