Archive for September, 2013

After a lovely Sunday morning breakfast at Cafe Fego in Marlow High Street (Highly recommended) we went for a walk along the Thames through Higginson Park to Bondig Bank NR.

Photo by Sue

Photo by Sue

Photo by Sue

Photo by Sue

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Only common species seen but a lovely Sunday morning walk

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As we came back through the wood there were a number of different Fungi on display

Photo by Sue

Photo by Sue

Photo by Sue

Photo by Sue

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

A weekend in Marlow and the opportunity to visit a couple of nature reserves that I haven’t visited before.

In the morning we visit the RSPB reserve at Otmoor, a large area of marshland and water meadows.

RSPB Otmoor

RSPB Otmoor

RSPB Otmoor Photo by Sue

RSPB Otmoor
Photo by Sue

It was reasonably quiet but we did see Red Kite and Kestrel.

Kestrel  Photo by sue

Kestrel
Photo by sue

On the walk back to the car park we saw two doves fly onto a fence. At first I thought they were collared Dove, but in the telescope it was clear that they were a pair of the much rarer Turtle Doves, a species which is becoming rarer in the UK. They are both juveniles, so lack the characteristic neck markings of the adult.

Turtle  Doves Photo by Sue

Turtle Doves
Photo by Sue

Turtle Dove Photo by Sue

Turtle Dove
Photo by Sue

We also saw a really pristine Comma butterfly which was unexpected for so late in the season

Comma  Photo by Sue

Comma
Photo by Sue

Our afternoon stop was Farmoor reservoir.

Farmoor

Farmoor

As we approached the reservoir there were a number of Pied Wagtails together with a Grey Wagtail.

Pied Wagtail

Pied Wagtail

Walking along the causeway between the two reservoirs we located Rock Pipit and Little Ringed Plover in addition to the large numbers of geese, ducks and Great Crested Grebes.

Photo by Sue

Photo by Sue

Returning to the car park I scanned the bottom of the southern basin and located one of the two Black-necked Grebes that have been present there for the last few days.

On the way back to Marlow we were passing Stokenchurch and there were 14 Red Kites in the air at the same time. Quite a sight!

We hadn’t got a large number of species during the day but we had some good sightings.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Black-necked Grebe [sp] (Podiceps nigricollis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Little Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius dubius)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
European Turtle Dove [sp] (Streptopelia turtur)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Eurasian Rock Pipit [sp] (Anthus petrosus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Views of York (2)

Posted: September 30, 2013 in History, Medieval History, Post medieval history
Tags:
River Ouse

River Ouse

River Ouse as it flows through York

River Ouse as it flows through York

The Birthplace of Guido 'Guy' Fawkes

The Birthplace of Guido ‘Guy’ Fawkes

The Shambles

The Shambles

M3

Posted: September 29, 2013 in Astronomy
Tags: , ,

M3a

M3b

M3c

Messier 3 (aka NGC5272) is a large globular cluster. It is estimated to contain approximately half a million stars. it is 39,900 light years from Earth. It has become one of the most studied clusters in the sky, primarily due to the large population of variable stars it contains. Variable stars are stars which when observed from Earth appear to fluctuate in brightness. There are two potential reasons for this – firstly that the actual brightness of the star fluctuates in the amount of light emitted or secondly because although the amount of light emitted from the star is constant, the amount of light reaching the Earth varies due to something blocking its transmission.

York Minster

The first recorded church on the site was in 627 in a record of the baptism of a King of Northumbria. This church was rebuilt and extended over the years but was finally destroyed by Danish raid in 1075. it was rebuilt in 1080 in the Norman style. The current Gothic cathedral was begun in 1220. Building continued over the next 250 years and it was eventually completed and consecrated in 1472.

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Statue of Roman Emperor Constantine, who was proclaimed Emperor by the Army at York whilst he was commanding them in 306. The statue stands outside the Minster as a reminder that Constantine, as well as being proclaimed in York, was the Emperor who made Christianity an official religion in the Roman Empire.

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Horus was one of the most significant of the ancient Egyptian gods. He was usually depicted as a falcon headed man. Most notably, he was regarded as being the god of sun, the sky, war and hunting. It may be from this latter function that the image of the falcon is taken. Horus was the first national god for the kingdom of Egypt and later became the patron god of the Pharaohs, who in turn came to be regarded as a manifestation of Horus during their lives. For this reason, some depictions of Horus shows him wearing a crown similar to that worn by the Pharaohs.

This Horus-falcon statue dates from around 600 BCE and can be seen in the British Museum.

Had spent most of the day working at home. The garden had been reasonably quiet during the day with the usual collection of Crows, Magpies and Pigeons. As I was preparing to pack up and get ready to go out I glanced out of the window and first saw a magpie on the grass in the middle of the grass. I was then aware of a larger darker bird close to it. Quickly picking up my binoculars I saw it was the female Sparrowhawk who rather unusually was feeding on a Common Pigeon (Even the larger female Sparrowhawks tend to go for something smaller like a Thrush or a Starling).

Not knowing how long it would be around I quickly grabbed the camera and took some photos and video.

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After a couple of minutes it flew off with the pigeon still in its talons (only just above the ground) into the secluded area at the back of the garden and was lost to view.

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5051 Drysllwyn Castle is an example of the GWR 4-6-0 Castle class, which was an updated version of their earlier star class and was designed by Collett from 1923. In all, 171 Castle class locomotives were built for the Great Western.

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5051 left Swindon Works in 1936, with its current name, but the following year it was renamed Earl Bathurst. it retained this name for the remainder of its active life. It was based at Swansea and worked trains from there to London and the Midlands. It was withdrawn in 1963 and sent to Woodham brothers at Barry, where it remained until 1970 when it was taken to Didcot. It was restored to mainline condition in 1980, and worked rail tours until its withdrawal in 2008.


video by 45064 (http://www.youtube.com/user/45064?feature=watch)

It is currently on static display at the great Western society in Didcot

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The cult of the goddess Bastet originated in lower Egypt and was centred around the city of Bubastis in the Nile Delta. The Greek historian, Heroditus visiting the city in the fifth century BCE , gave a lengthy description of the Temple of Bastet. Bastet was originally a lion headed goddess of war worshipped from the time of the second dynasty (c2890 BCE). However, when the upper and lower kingdoms merged, there was also a lion headed goddess of war in the pantheon of the upper kingdom and so Batest became a cat headed goddess. Gradually, over time, she lost her association with war and in later periods was associated with family and with perfume. A number of perfume jars have been discovered with the goddess’ image upon them. In the ever-changing pantheon of Egyptian gods Bastet became merged with other deities, particularly Wadjet, the patron goddess of lower Egypt.

This statue, called the Gayer-Anderson cat after its donators is made of bronze and dates from the period 664-332BCE. It can be seen in the British Museum.