Archive for April, 2013

Some good news for the environment for a change – even though the UK government refused to support it!

Green Living London

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Great news! After months of campaigning by environmentalists, the European Commission has taken action to protect bees by restricting the use of harmful chemicals in pesticides.

Fifteen countries voted in favour of a ban and, even though the vote was split, the Commission imposed a two-year restriction on three neonicotinoids, which research has shown to harm bees  – and the UK cannot opt out.

The ban means neonicotinoids  will not be used on crops that are attractive to bees and other pollinators, there will be a ban on the sale of neonicotinoids to amateur growers.

The Commission says it wants the moratorium to begin no later than 1 December this year. After today’s vote, EU Health Commissioner, Tonio Borg, said “I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over 22bn euros (£18.5bn; $29bn) annually to European agriculture, are protected.”

The UK…

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HMS Warrior had a crew of 705 which comprised three groups – the engineering staff (98), the Royal Marines who responsible for the gunnery (115) and the Royal Navy crew. The conditions under which the crew lived were very similar to those of their counterparts 100 years earlier. They shared their mess deck with the main battery of guns and slept in hammocks strung from the superstructure of the ship

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in the middle of the mess deck is the galley where all the food was prepared for the crew and the officers. The main meal of the day would be taken at noon and each seaman took it in turn to do a week’s duty as a mess Cook. This meant that he had to collect and prepare the days food for his mess and take it to the galley where it would be cooked by the seaman who worked there.

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The galley also provided the food for the captain’s cabin, which was at the rear of the mess deck and the officers quarters and wardroom which were immediately below it.

Captains day room

Captains day room

Captains dining room

Captains dining room

Bird pictures: Gadwall

Posted: April 29, 2013 in Birds, Natural History
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The Orion Nebula (also known as M42, or NGC 1976) is a diffuse nebula located in the constellation of Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae, and may be visible to the naked eye in the night sky. It is located at a distance of 1,344 light years from Earth

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image taken with Bradford robotic telescope

For further images and information see
http://hubblesite.org/gallery/tours/tour-orion/

http://www.universetoday.com/99357/the-orion-nebula-as-youve-never-seen-it-before-jaw-dropping-new-image-from-gemini/

http://earthsky.org/clusters-nebulae-galaxies/orion-nebula-jewel-in-orions-sword

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_Nebula

Went for a stroll this morning starting by visiting the Tarn to check if the Little Grebe is still present. I didn’t locate him at first but later saw it feeding in its favourite area near the western island. As I walked along the side of the Tarn I noticed a small bird in a tree on the eastern island. It was very active and it took me a while to catch up with it as it flitted backwards and forwards through the tree. Eventually I got a good look and it was a Common Chiffchaff, a first site record for the year. Also first Mallard chicks of the year.

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I then went onto Eltham Palace Gardens which were busy with visitors but there are some places in the park are still quiet and unvisited. There were 2 stock Doves feeding with the Woodpigeons on the surrounding fields and a Grey Heron flew over causing some connsternation amongst the birds especially the Crows and Thrushes.

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Still the only butterfly seen was a single Small white

Day List
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
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 Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

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As some of you may have realised by know the A4’s are my favourite steam loconmotives. This year is the 75th anniversary of A4 Mallard setting the world steam speed record and the National Railway Museum is planning a series of events. I plan to be in York for the July celebration when the 5 surviving A4s will all be seen together for the first time ( and possibly the last since one is from the USA and one is from Canada) since they were withdrawn from service.

Further details
http://www.nrm.org.uk/PlanaVisit/Events/mallard75.aspx

A video of A4 Bittern arriving at York yesterdayas part of this years A4 anniversary celebrations.

A great video of A4 Union of South Africa leaving York station yesterday

Your Favourite Steam Loco poll

Posted: April 29, 2013 in Trains
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A change to vote for your favourite Steam locomotive