Archive for February, 2013

Whirlpool galaxy

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Astronomy

Todays pictures from Harvard NASA

Whirlpool

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And for another suprise!

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Birds, Natural History

I move onto the Greenwich Peninsula. My first stop is the peninsular ecology Park.

http://www.urbanecology.org.uk/gpep.html

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Apart from the activity of Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Great Tits and Blue Tits it is very quiet and the only other highlight is two Little Grebes.

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Leaving the ecology Park I walk on up the east side of the peninsular, checking the usual gull roosts. There are only a few birds on the stone pier, but I am surprised to see a sleeping Oystercatcher roosting on the pier.

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I move onto the gull roost by the 02 River Station, but this only seems to be populated by Black Headed Gulls, together with a few Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. I keep a good lookout but no sign of a Peregrine around the Dome

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

The last day of February and according to radio five this morning also the last day of winter. It is bright and clear and so good day to check some of the local sites.

First stop is Sutcliffe Park LNR.

Sutcliffe Park LNR has been created from playing fields as part of the local flood prevention measures. The river Quaggy ran underneath the Park through a drain, but in recent years the river has been restored to the surface and an area of the park allowed to act as a flood-plain

http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/uk/sutcliffe-park.html#cr

http://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/directory_record/3791/sutcliffe_park

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Excellent views of a Wren, but little else to be found in the marsh area. The reed bed is a little more active, but mostly with Blue Tits feeding on the reed heads.
Unfortunately too far away to get a good photo of them. I move onto the lake which has its usual occupants.
Rounding the lake I decide to walk back through the marsh area instead of taking my usual route out. I was musing on the day in December 2011,when I found a Little Egret on the Marsh. My attention is snapped back to the present when I see a large white bird standing on the ground at the edge of the Marsh. It’s a little egret.
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I shall have to try that technique again. O that you could just think the bird and suddenly it would appear!

Ring Nebula

Posted: February 27, 2013 in Astronomy

Latest pictures from Harvard NASA telescope

Ring Nebula

A mixed up goose family

Posted: February 27, 2013 in Birds, Natural History

Morning meeting in central London but before I left had brief views of both Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker in the garden

This afternoon as it was bright and sunny although still quite cold I went for a walk around the Tarn. Quite a lot of activity and bird numbers are certainly up on the past week. Good numbers of Tufted Ducks and Moorhen and lots of small bird song, mainly Blue Tits and Great Tits.
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The Canada goose x Greylag goose hybrid is still present with its parents

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Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser) 5
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis) 4
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata) 1
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos) 18
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) 5
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus) 9
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra) 2
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 1
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia) 18
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus) 8
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri) 6
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major) 1
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius) 2
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica) 6
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone) 4
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major) 1
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus) 4
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea) 1
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula) 1

Harvard NASA telescope

Posted: February 27, 2013 in Astronomy

For anyone interested in using the Harvard NASA telescope the web address is

http://mo-www.cfa.harvard.edu/OWN/index.html

Its easy and its free!

Starling roost 4

Posted: February 26, 2013 in Birds, Natural History

A truly wonderful sight. I remember when there used to be a fantastic starling roost in Trafalger Square

Radnor Bird Blog

starling roost 1

starling roost 2

starling roost 3I have often wondered where Salvador Dali managed to get his inspiration from?  I think I have found the answer.

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This needs our support

Green Living London

The RSPB has called for tighter international regulations to prevent a substance that is lethal to seabirds from being released into our seas.

The substance, polyisobutene (PIB), was identified by scientists at the University of Plymouth from samples taken from seabirds washed up along the south-west coast of England. PIB is believed to have been responsible for over 4,000 seabird deaths in at least four incidents around European coasts in recent years, yet is currently given one of the lowest hazard classifications under The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships.

The RSPB raises questions about the validity of this classification, as the effects of the chemical are only tested under laboratory conditions which do not take into account harmful effects on seabirds and the marine environment when it mixes with seawater.  As a result, PIB can still legally be dumped into the sea when vessels wash out their…

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A quiet day in the Garden

Posted: February 26, 2013 in Birds, Natural History

Working at home today. There is little sign of activity in the garden. The cold snap seems to have slowed all the birds down from their frantic activity of last week. The Nuthatch was on his favorite tree this morning but had gone by the time I returned with the camera!

Trifid Nebula

Posted: February 26, 2013 in Astronomy

Another picture from Harvard NASA Telescope which I have just processed

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Have also signed up to use Bradford Telescope but no images have come through yet. Harvard seems much more efficient if not as flexible and its free!