A dirty smudge and some dirt

I’ve seen Panstarrs!  Well, it seemed to be a dirty smudge in the right place, towards the northwest close to the Andromeda Galaxy.  I had to find it from Cassiopeia since the trees are too low to see Pegasus at this time of year.  I had to dodge around to get a gap in the trees, too, and to avoid the street lights, but I succeeded. It will get closer to Cassiopeia up to early June, but also fainter.  Maybe I’ll see it again, but if not, so long, buddy, and good luck! Continue reading


Winter Thrush survey

This winter and next, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is carrying out further research into the habits of the thrush family that winter (or live year-round) in the UK.  That means Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Redwing and Ring Ouzel. Continue reading

Venus and Diamonds

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend has been really enjoyable, if frustrating with the ‘typical’ English weather.  It’s unseasonably cold and I’ve had fires lit to get over the chill.  I’m never quite sure whether it’s too cold to put the tomatoes and corn out on the patio bench to harden off, or whether it’s too cold for that.  I hope they survive and I expect they will. Continue reading

April Up-date

As I said in previous posts this year, my new business interests are engrossing me, and I’m putting my energies into promoting them, developing new product lines, blogging about them (making use of the A to Z Blog Challenge for April) and tweeting them!  I just looked at my Year of the Dragon post here which looks astonishingly accurate, but reminded me to pay attention to study.  So it’s a good thing I read a book on marketing in my field at the weekend.  Of course, that just gave me more ideas, but most importantly it made me think about it strategically. Continue reading

No Survey November

It’s the first year since I came to Norfolk that I haven’t had bird surveys to do in November.  First year it was the Plover survey, then the Bird Atlas started.  Today was the sort of day I would have been up and out to do them.  We’ve had some cool cloudy days and the migrants are in, but the cloud has got a hole in it over Norfolk and we have a lovely sunny day. True, there’s a keen east wind, which is putting a little bit of a taint in the air from all the cooking going on at a well known factory, but it’s not as bad as freshly strewn silage! Continue reading

Winterton BBS and Atlas last stand?

Last Friday morning I went over to Winterton to do the last Breeding Bird Survey of the season and also to do a walk round two of the areas I’d had for the Bird Atlas just before recording finishes.  I started the BBS survey at 06:35 and finished the last bit of the rest of the walk at 11.55!  It was a bit of a marathon but very enjoyable, and the weather did just what was forecast 🙂 Continue reading

Keeping busy

I’ve been very busy since George died but it hasnt really helped to get over him.  I’m a bit depressed but I suppose that’s natural.

Hugo, my lovely cheeky chocolate and white boar has been diagnosed with bladder stones and has had a series of treatments for them, some of which involved long journeys and unexpected in-patient treatment followed by long journeys to collect him again.  He has recovered a lot of his cheekiness and activeness, but is still squeaking when weeing, so is still having problems with the stones, poor mite.  I’m thinking of surgery as the next step for him, which is a bit worrying. Continue reading

First Surveys of the breeding season completed

The first spring surveys need to be done in the period 1st April to mid-May, and my three surveys are all done.

I have one Bird Atlas tetrad which I did on a pleasant Thursday a couple of weeks ago, at least it started out pleasant then clouded over and if I hadnt been striding out through the farmland I’d have got pretty cold as I had only gone out in a polo shirt!  There were plenty of birds in the woods, lots of evidence of nesting, and a whole load of blackcap in one corner, males all singing against each other to establish their patches, and females strutting round checking out the talent on display!  I also saw a nuthatch sitting on top of a cherry tree (in blossom) calling against another echoing away across a lawn into the woods.  Just before I finished I heard my first willow warbler of the season, calling rather plaintively in a covert in the farmland.  I expect he’s got company by now. Continue reading