Archive for December 2012

26th – 31st December – It’s been a great Christmas and here’s to a Happy New Year   Leave a comment

After a lovely Christmas Day with the family we had a relaxed Boxing Day, but in the evening we invited our friend Christine Arnold around for a meal. Christine goes to the choir with Margaret and in spite of the age difference, we get on well with her.

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Christine Arnold

Before we could leave for Derby on the 27th there was a sad duty to perform, saying a final farewell to an old colleague. I worked with Mike Brebner at the lab in Poole from 1978 until his retirement in 1995. Mike was an ‘old school’ microbiologist who worked in an era before Standard Operating Procedures and Risk Assessments. Mike would look at a problem and use his experience to find a way round it, something that is not encouraged today. After the funeral our group of six ex-colleagues reminisced, each describing of the some of the novel solutions that Mike employed. I remember when we thought the tissue cultures that we used to grow viruses where chronically contaminated with a resistant bacteria. Mike thought he could cure it a good dose of erythromycin, but he got the antibiotic from the Paediatric ward and it had a fruity flavour to make it more palatable to the kids, thus every time we opened a tissue culture flask or test tube it smelled of bananas!

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Four lab retirees taken at Gio’s retirement a year ago. L-R: Me, Mike Brebner, Gio Pietrangelo, Geoff Westwood.

The journey northwards in the afternoon of the 27th was difficult in the extreme.  Heavy traffic meant that the journey that normally takes three and a half hours took five and we only averaged 40 mph. We didn’t go straight to my brothers place but instead booked into a Travel Lodge near Alfreton. Back in early December we tried to meet up with my school and university friend Nigel in Leeds, but the arrangements didn’t work out. Nigel had joined his two brothers and his sister for Christmas and they had hired a large house in the wilds of Nottinghamshire for the entire family and we were invited around for the evening. I hadn’t seen his brothers Stewart and Iain or his sister Elaine since 1981 so it was really great to see them again and meet their various spouses and offspring. All together there were 13 of the family, there plus the two of us..

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Nigel, Margaret and me.

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Stewart, Iain, Elaine and Nigel Mackie

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Another present unwrapping ceremony. It was a huge house with enough room for the 13 family members staying……

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…. it even had an indoor swimming pool.

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As we left we noticed there was a huge halo around the Moon. This is caused by moonlight passing through ice crystals in high altitude cirriform clouds. The halo is usually at a 22 degrees radius from the Moon.

After nearly seven hours in the car yesterday we intended to take it easy on the 28th but after a bit of a lie in we drove north to Chesterfield so Margaret could see the famous wonky church spire. From here we heard that Nigel, Elaine and Iain were visiting the minster at Southwell, a small town in north Nottinghamshire and in spite of the fact that it was another hours drive, we decided to join them. Later we drove south towards Derby to stay at my brother’s place in Duffield.

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There are two theories as to why Chesterfield’s 13th century church spire is twisted, One says the Devil perched on it on his way to visit Sheffield and the other is that they built it with unseasoned timber which warped after construction. I know which one I believe!

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The Minster at Southwell  (pronounced Suth-ull) in Nottinghamshire. A little known architectural gem well off the normal tourist route.

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The Nave dates from 1108 and is a classic example of the three tiers of early Norman design which preceded the more famous and elegant Gothic style seen in many famous cathedrals of England and France.

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The splendid sculpture of Christus Rex overlaid with copper and gold hanging above the congregation was erected as recently as 1987.

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Another recent addition is this huge stain glass window at the west end of the Nave which was installed in 1996.

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The original Quire at the east end of the church as demolished in 1240 and replaced with a larger version in English Gothic style.

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The incredibly detailed carving in the Quire. The Great West Window is visible at the end of the Nave

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A close up of the carvings.

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A series of modern sculptures depicting the 12 Stations of the Cross were on show.

By the 29th Nigel and Iain had moved down to their late mother’s house in Allestree, just south of Duffield, so we picked Nigel up in the morning and took him round to two more friends of ours, Martin and Tricia Gadsby. Nigel, Martin, Tricia and I were at school together and apart from my brother and a few of my cousins (whom I hardly ever see) they now represent my oldest acquaintances. I was shocked to hear that  recently Martin had been so ill with a UTI that he ended up with renal failure and almost died. It is reminder, if one was ever needed,  that as we get older simple clinical conditions can have very severe consequences. It was lovely to see my friends again and catch up on news and reminisce about old times in Derby and Leeds.

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L-R: Martin, me, Nigel and Margaret. Photo by Tricia Gadsby.

 

Margaret’s daughter Anita and her  husband John have friends from South Africa who live in north Derbyshire and they we re visiting them over New Year. As they would be driving through Duffield, I suggested they call into Simon and Viv’s to say hello, so we spent a pleasant afternoon all together.

 

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Margaret, Anita and John at Simon and Vivian’s house.

 

In the evening we all went round to Viv’s parents, Ida and Dennis, although both in their eighties they always host a family get together. With us, Simon and Viv, my nieces Miriam and Jennifer, Viv’s brother Graham and his wife Sally, their three daughters and  their husbands and children (each of Graham and Sally’s girls has one young child) there were 19 of us.

 

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Ida and Dennis have known each other for 76 years and have been married for 59. They always make us very welcome. They have installed a glitter ball in one room for the kids but someone has to shine a torch on it.

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Choy with his son Arlo

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My niece Jennifer would do anything to get in a photo until she turned 14, now she’s gone all shy.

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Now three and a half, Lauren soon became the centre of attention.

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Arlo dodges a pillow thrown by his cousin whilst Choy looks on.

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Eight-month old Archie can now crawl and is almost as mobile as the other two kids,

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Arlo is banging a drum so Lauren protects her ears whilst Archie looks on. In spite of my best efforts I couldn’t get the kids to stay still long enough to get all three in the same photo.

 

We left early on the 30th and were back in Poole by early afternoon where after the hectic schedule of the last few days, not to mention the prodigious quantities of alcohol and food, we took it easy. We plan to have a quiet New Year’s Eve with Janis and Andy and will probably just watch Jules Holland to see 2013 in.

 

Posted December 31, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

24th – 25th December – it’s Christmas !   1 comment

One nice present this Christmas is that WordPress have changed the options for uploading pictures. There used to be three options, ‘large’ which was massive, ‘medium’ which was a bit too small and ‘thumbnail’ which was tiny. Now there is a much wider choice of picture sizes.

On the evening of the 24th we all went round to John and Anita’s for a Christmas Eve feast. On the way I photographed some of the Christmas lights on our neighbour’s houses.

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John and Anita had produced photos of us all as place mats …..

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… so we had to pose with them. Back row: Ian, Margaret, Janis, Andy and John. Front row: Kara, Anita and Amber.

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John and Kara

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Andy has the remains of a party popper in his hair whilst Kara does a Rudolph impersonation.

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Amber looks a little glum……

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… perhaps getting a makeover from Anita would cheer her up.

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The girls were soon performing headstands  so it must have worked.

Christmas Day brought a most unusual treat. Our friends Nick and Jackie Hull who live close to Lytchett Bay reported on the 24th that a neighbour had found a duck in his garden. The duck proved to be a Red-breasted Merganser, a fairly common sea duck, with a child’s hair band wrapped around its bill. It had presumably picked up the discarded hair band when diving and had got entangled in it. The bird seemed in good condition but they contacted an animal rescue center who agreed to hold the bird overnight and check it out.

Nick contacted me and asked if I’d like to ring the bird. Having checked in the ringer’s manual that this was permissible I headed to their house on Christmas Day morning. The lady from the center came a bit later than expected and I felt I was in the way as their family was arriving for Christmas dinner. However the duck soon arrived and was  ringed and released at Lytchett Bay. It was in good health, if a little thin and we hope it had a good Christmas dinner as well.

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Jackie Hull and her six month old granddaughter Leia

 

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Female Red-breasted Merganser

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Holding the Merganser just prior to release at Lytchett Bay. Photo by Nick Hull.

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Returning to more traditional Christmas activities, I got home to find all the family had arrived. The grand opening of presents followed. Margaret and I had joined forces with John and Anita to buy them a computer tablet each. To say they were delighted was an understatement ….

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… we hardly heard another thing from them all day.

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… indeed everyone seemed fascinated by them. The capacity of tablets has greatly improved in recent years, as Moses required two of them just to download the Ten Commandments.

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But the highlight of the day was the wonderful Christmas meal that Margaret cooked and being able to get together with my new extended family.

 

Posted December 26, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

20th – 24th December – Merry Christmas to all readers of this blog.   Leave a comment

With continued wet and often windy weather we have just about given up ringing for the rest of the year, in addition several of the group have left to visit various relatives/friends for Christmas. Birding also has been pretty quiet apart but a break from the torrential rain allowed me to spend a nice hour at Holes Bay. A Common Sandpiper, a group of Avocets, a few wintering Chiffchaffs and the usual range of ducks were the highlights, but the Spoonbills have returned to their usual spot at Arne and there are no Spotted Redshanks around.

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The outfall from the sewage works flows into Holes Bay and keeps the bay ice-free in very cold weather.

Later in the day I had a phone call from Steve W Smith to say he had found a Whooper Swan and Bean Goose on the flooded fields at East Holme near Wareham. I have seen both species this year but both are rare in Dorset so I headed down there ASAP. On arrival the Whooper, although distant, was easy enough to locate but the Bean Goose remained obscured by a flock of Greylags. After watching for some time, the balance of opinion changed to it being a Pink-footed Goose, but confirmation was impossible at that distance. The following day Steve was able to get better views and confirm that it was indeed a Pinky. Although Pinkies are much, much commoner than Beans in the UK as a whole, I have seen only one of each in the Poole Harbour area before, showing that they are both very scarce this far south.

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In spite of recent rain the fields at East Holme weren’t quite as flooded as on my last visit on the 10th when they threatened to cover the road.

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Whooper Swan photographed earlier this year at Harbridge. I can easily fail to see Whooper Swan during the year, but in 2012 I have seen them in Dorset, Hampshire, South Wales and breeding and wintering in Shetland.

Margaret finished work on the 21st until the New Year. We seldom have much free time together except when we are away on holiday, so we looked forwards to a relaxing time over Christmas. Many years I fail to get into the Christmas spirit.  For half of the years between 1978 and 2010 I have had to work or be on call from home over Christmas or New Year. Other years, such as 2011 when I went to Ethiopia, I have returned from a foreign trip in December and whilst everyone else is talking about gifts and parties, all I want to do is wind down from the trip. This year I am really looking forwards to the family getting together for a meal tomorrow and the ritual present opening and visiting my brother and family later in the week.

Generally we avoid TV soap operas and talent shows, preferring wildlife, historical and scientific documentaries, enlivened by the odd science fiction program or comic quiz like QI, but we have both become quite fascinated by this years Strictly Come Dancing. The final was a real cliff hanger and we spent most of Saturday evening glued to the screen.

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The three couples in the final, personally I wanted Denise van Outen to win, but all three were excellent.

On Sunday 23rd we were paid a quick visit by Janis and family (who were on their way to visit Andy’s daughter in Sussex) and a longer one by John and Anita. In the evening Margaret and I went to the Parish Church for the Christmas carol concert. As always the church was packed and we ended up sitting behind the choir besides the altar along with a bunch of young kids. As the kids got restless Margaret entertained them by making paper hats and other origami with the hymn sheets.

Rather than wait until after Christmas when the cinemas will be packed we opted to go and see The Hobbit this afternoon. I think by making it into three films Peter Jackson has strung the story out somewhat, as The Hobbit was only a single book compared to the Lord of The Rings trilogy. The special effects, fight sequences and locations were superb but I think it would be fair to say that the film lacks the depth and complexity of Lord of the Rings, but there again so does the book.

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Unlike The Lord of the Rings, Tolkein wrote the prequel, The Hobbit, as a children’s book.

This evening we have all been invited to Anita and John’s for a meal but I’ll report on that in the Christmas Day update.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL

Posted December 24, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

15th – 19th December – Christmas dinner dance, a concert, several pubs and the end of the world.   1 comment

The weather has turned again and it looks like 2012 will end in a rather soggy manner. I have not been inspired to do much birding recently but as often happens at this time of year, I’m looking forwards to starting all over again in the New Year.

On Saturday 15th we went to the Nexus Christmas meal at the Queen’s Hotel in Bournemouth. Considering how many quests there were throughout the hotel, the food was good, served promptly and hot. There were several other groups sharing our dining room including a very boisterous group of young ladies and a another group dressed up as film characters. Considering that the Nexus organisation is being wound up there seems to be plenty of enthusiasm for keeping the local group going.

 

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The Dorset Nexus group joined with the Salisbury group and about 40 members attended the Christmas dinner dance.

 

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Don’t we scrub up well?

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Rosemary struggles with one of those noisy party balloons.

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Margaret

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Another group in another room had a James Bond theme as shown by this ice sculpture.

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One group dressed up as film characters. By far the best was this Princess Fiona from Shrek.

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Margaret enjoys a bop

On Sunday it was Margaret’s choir’s Christmas concert at St Peter’s Church at Ashley Cross. Unfortunately the heating had broken down and although they used some industrial heaters before the start it was still chilly. The choir and orchestra were excellent, although I found Benjamin Britten’s ‘ A Ceremony of Carols’ at bit tedious. Anita, John, Janis, Andy, Amber and Kara all went, along with our friends Gio and Jessica Pietrangelo and Ann Bunn. Afterwards Gio, Jessica, John, Andy and I went across the road for a drink where John and Gio had a humorous conversation comparing how the same English phase was pronounced in a South African or Italian accent.

 

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Barclay House Choir at St Peter’s Church

Tuesday was a nice sunny and still day and Kevin, Simon and I went ringing at Holton Lee. We had such a lot of new birds last time that most of today’s catch was retraps,which of course produces valuable data about site fidelity and given that 14 of the retraps were from last winter, about longevity and survival rates. As before, tits made up the bulk of the catch with a surprisingly high number of Coal Tits, but two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, four Nuthatches and a Siskin were also caught.

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The pond at Holton Lee with the Lytchett Bay reedbeds beyond

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Female Siskin

 

After a couple of years of little support for the New Year bird race, this year we have a lot of interest. My team of Nick Urch and Trevor Warwick have been joined by Paul Morton and we had planning meeting at the Baker’s Arm at Lytchett Minster on the 18th. The evening was going well until the pub quiz started, so wishing some peace and quiet we left and reconvened at St Peter’s Finger just up the road. Guess what, the had a pub quiz on as well! so there was nothing to it best to retire to my house where we could plan in peace.

 

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L-R Paul, Nick and Trevor. At least there was no pub quiz back at our house.

We had another pub get together on the 19th at the Blue Boar and many came wish their friends a Merry Christmas  I think it was the biggest turn out we have ever had in 20 years of  ‘Bird Pub’ with 18 birders present. The pub was quite crowded anyway and with such a large group it was very noisy but really good fun.

 

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The biggest Bird Pub ever. Another six birders are out of shot.

 

 

And finally this could be, if some are to be believed, the last Bird Pub, my last blog entry and the end of the World altogether. Apparently the World will end on the 21st if the Mayan calendar is correct. I have lived through a number of these bizarre ‘end of the World scenarios’, although I must admit the Cuban Missile Crisis seemed pretty real. There are many threats to life on the planet, both natural and man-made, but I am confident that Earth itself will survive until it is swallowed up when the Sun becomes a Red Giant some five billion years from now!

Posted December 20, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

5th – 12th December – Nexus, Holton Lee, Blue Boar and Waxwings.   2 comments

Margaret and I met in 2006 via a singles organisation called Nexus. Although we are no longer single we have remained members and although these days we only go to a few events. It was a bit of a shock therefore to hear that the owner of Nexus had passed away and the organisation had ceased to be. We had no idea that it was owned and run by a single person and had presumed it was run by a committee with clear plans of succession.

We joined other Nexuns for a meal in Wimborne on the 5th. All the members were clear that they wanted Nexus to continue locally in some form. A meeting has been called in January to discuss the future.

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An enjoyable meal at the King’s Head in Wimborne Square with our Nexun friends.

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Wimborne Square at night.

The 7th was Kara’s 14th birthday and of course John, Anita, Margaret and I went round to see her.

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Kara with Andy. She is holding the perfect gift for a 14-year-old: a Jessie J CD.

On the 15th Margaret, John, Anita and I joined a number of Nexuns for an evening out at Gaunt’s House . Gaunt’s House is a stately home to the north of Wimborne that is run as a spiritual retreat by the Gaunt’s House charitable foundation http://www.gauntshouse.com/ .  After a substantial vegetarian meal we enjoyed a musical event. Over the two sessions about 10 musical acts performed varying from classical guitar to some quite avant-garde. The session ended with a young hippie character who sang several Beatles songs, like Strawberry Fields For Ever and All You Need IS Love. I felt he had been born 45 years too late.

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Gaunts House has a series of rather strange paintings on the wall, which I presume have some sort of spiritual meaning. The food was nice but I always feel that a vegetarian menu leaves me feeling somewhat unfulfilled.

 

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A bit of classical guitar in the first session

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Anita and Margaret getting close to the open fire during the break.

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In the second session acts varied from African style drumming to two young ladies who played some imaginative pieces with a range of instruments ..

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…. to our aforementioned hippie friend.

On Sunday I did the WeBS count in the late morning and later went round to Janis and Andy’s. Their friend Adrian and daughter Francesca had come over from Southampton and we  went round to see them. Amber and Kara have known Francesca for as long as they have being to school and where very pleased to see her again.

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Francesca and Kara

 

On Tuesday Sean Walls and I had the first of our winter ringing trips to Holton Lee. It was a bitterly cold morning but it was still and quite ideal for ringing. Around the feeders we trapped four Great Spotted Woodpeckers, five Nuthatches (two of which were retraps from last winter) and 13 Coal Tits. In total we ringed 44 new birds and had 11  retraps.

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A severe frost at Holton Lee

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One of five Nuthatches trapped

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Nuthatches cannot be aged once they have completed the post-juvenile moult but they can be sexed on the colour of the undertail. This is a female and has undertail coverts of similar colouration to the belly.

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… compared to the rich chestnut and white undertail of the male.

 

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Female Great Spotted Woodpeckers lack the red nape of the male.

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The males red nape is clearly visible. I would have liked to photograph the woodpecker without my fingers in the shot but if I let go it would ‘drum’ on my knuckles!

On Tuesday night we had a get together down the pub but Margaret was busy with the choir. It was a very enjoyable evening with a wide range of bird related subjects covered.

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Clockwise from the wooden pillar: Marcus Lawson, Trevor Warwick, Steve F Smith, Mark Constantine, Mo Constantine, Marie Smith, Shaun Robson, Paul Morton and Nick Hull.

 

Although I had seen a Waxwing at Oxford on the way up to Ripon, news of three feeding beside the road in Tolpuddle had me driving over in the afternoon of the 12th. I was not disappointed as the birds kept flying down from nearby trees to feed on a Cotoneaster bush.

 

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Winter irruptions to the UK have been recorded as long ago as 1685 but they seldom reach Dorset. Good numbers were seen in 2010/11 but only a few have been recorded in 2012.

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One of the most photogenic winter visitors to the UK.

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As well as the three Waxwings a number of Blackbirds were feeding on the Cotoneaster berries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted December 12, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

1st – 9th December – this weeks birding – has the year listing attempt come to an end?   Leave a comment

At the start of the year I set myself the target of seeing at least 300 bird species during 2012. The 300th bird was seen on Scilly on 13th October, but progress has been fairly slow since.

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Number 300: Solitary Sandpiper on Scilly in October

On late autumn bird that I had hoped to see was Waxwing. Waxwings are irruptive, pouring into the UK when the berry crop on the Continent fails. The trouble is the berry crop seems to have failed here as well, so many flocks have moved on rapidly and hence have been untwitchable, at least here in Dorset. A small flock had been seen in the centre of Oxford at St Giles churchyard. It was only a short detour from the A34, so on our journey up to Ripon on the 1st we headed into Oxford where a single Waxwing was on show.

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A quick stop in Oxford produced a single Waxwing. There has been a sizable influx this year but most of those that have reached the South Coast have quickly moved on.

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Red Kites have been successfully introduced to several areas of Britain, they are regularly seen in the area around Oxford but we also saw one on the 1st in the Vale of York, the first time I have seen one in the north of England.

Whilst we were away in Yorkshire news came through of a White-rumped Sandpiper at Longham Lakes just outside of Poole. This species breed in arctic Canada and Alaska and winters all the way down to southernmost South America. It is a rare visitor to the UK, it is the 6th I have seen in the UK and the second in Dorset. There had been a claim on Brownsea in the summer but it had gone when I got there and further research showed that it had to be an aberrant individual or a hybrid, so I was very glad that it was still at Longham Lakes on the morning of the 3rd. Unfortunately the island on which it had taken up residence was a bit distant and my photos were useless, however Christchurch birder Alan Hayden allowed me to post one of his.

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White-rumped Sandpiper at Longham Lakes. Photo by Alan Hayden

The White-rumped Sandpiper was year bird number 308. There might be another major rarity before the end of the month but I don’t think that is very likely, so it probably will be the last bird of the year. If so, there is a certain poetic justice to the situation as I started the year at Longham Lakes where I saw my first rarity of 2012, a Blue-winged Teal.

A visit to Holes Bay on Thursday 6th was very successful. Freezing conditions may have pushed a lot of birds off Brownsea (the lagoon was partially frozen) and Holes Bay was stacked with birds. 15 Spoonbills, over 100 Avocets plus 500+ Wigeon and Teal were just some of the birds on show, but there was a bitter eye-watering wind which made it hard to keep the scope steady.

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Part of the flock of 15 Spoonbills in Holes Bay. Once a local rarity, numbers have increased greatly in the last decade. These birds originate in Holland and come to Dorset for the winter.

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Spoonbills feed by sweeping their bills (held open) from side to side in shallow water.

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The flesh-coloured bill indicates that this bird is a juvenile. Juvenile birds show black tips to the primaries in flight.

On 8th a group of us went to Durlston for one last ringing trip of the year. Predictably we only caught six birds but the main reason for going was to collect all the gear and put it in storage for the winter.

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Durlston lighthouse on a clear but cold day.

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This Goldfinch was one of the last birds we ringed at Durlston this year. The 2012 total was 2114 compared to 3032 in 2011. The recovery rate however remains remarkably low.

The 9th was another WeBS count (only two weeks after the last, presumably to prevent us having to go out the Sunday before Christmas).  Highlights in my area of Holes Bay were similar to the 6th, with the addition of a few Turnstone, a Greenshank and a Spotted Redshank.

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Large algal mats cover parts of Holes Bay and provide feeding areas for these Wigeon. The dark background is the railway embankment in shadow.

Posted December 9, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

1st – 2nd December – Fountains Abbey and Ripon, North Yorkshire   Leave a comment

Margaret’s older brother Martin and his wife Jean have retired to Australia. During his working life he has mainly worked in the UK, Japan and Australia. Their daughter Caroline, who has married a major in the British army, now lives in Ripon, North Yorkshire. Martin and Jean had flown over to the UK to spend some time with Caroline, as her husband is currently stationed abroad.

As they have been living in different countries, Janis and Anita have never met their cousin Caroline and Anita has never met her aunt and uncle (except as a tiny baby), so we planned a  reunion. Margaret only met Caroline for the first time at her wedding some six or seven years ago.  Amber was keen to come but Janis couldn’t find anyone to look after Kara at the weekend and stayed in Poole, so it was Anita, Amber, Margaret and I that made the 320 mile drive on Saturday morning.

We stopped at my brother’s place in Derby on the way up and arrived at Ripon in the early afternoon. It was a glorious, if cold winter’s day, our first port of call was the impressive ruins of Fountains Abbey. Founded in 1132 by Cistercian monks, the Abbey became one of the most influential and impressive monasteries in England. it was destroyed during Henry VIIIs dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. It is now a World Heritage Site.

With all the ways you can manipulate a digital image, I wish there was an easy way to stop a building ‘falling backwards’ when you use a wide-angle lens.

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Amber at Fountains Abbey

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Margaret at Fountains Abbey

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The ruins of the church

PC011073-Fountains-Abbey

Cloisters

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Fountains Abbey church tower

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The Chapter House

PC011090-Amber-walking-back

Amber is walking backwards for Christmas

PC011092-Gardens

The light was fading as we walked around the extensive gardens

PC021111-Bay-Tree-farm

Bay Tree Farm, our charming, if cold, B&B

Later we drove to Caroline’s place in Ripon and met up with the family. Later, in spite of the sub-zero temperatures we walked into town and had a very pleasant meal at a pub. Martin and Jean, who had only arrived the day before, were clearly suffering from jet lag, so we left soon after the meal. I was pretty tired too, after five plus hours behind the wheel.

PC011094-Family-in-Ripon

L-R: Jean, Caroline, Margaret, Amber, Anita and Martin

PC011100-Ripon

The central square in Ripon at night

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Ripon at night with the Cathedral just visible at the end of the street

PC011102Margaret-and-Martin

Margaret and her brother Martin

PC011105-ET-Amber

Amber using a lit candle to do an ET impression

On Sunday we visited the beautiful Ripon Cathedral and town center before warming up in cafe. We later headed for Leeds in an attempt to meet up with my old University friend Nigel, but due to various factors that didn’t prove possible. We arrived back home at about 6pm, after a tiring but most enjoyable weekend.

PC021119-Ripon-Cathedral

Carvings on the pews at Ripon Cathedral

PC021117-R-ipon-Cathedral

Ripon Cathedral

Posted December 4, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized