Archive for December, 2013

Amsterdam Bridges

Posted: December 31, 2013 in Amsterdam, Netherlands
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In a city with so many canals, there are of course a great many bridges

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Naturelog: Sunday 29th December

Posted: December 30, 2013 in Birds, Natural History
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A pleasant afternoon watching the birds in the garden. Mid-afternoon a group of about 12 Redwing flew over the garden towards the Tarn. This is roughly the number of individuals I had seen yesterday during the survey. Otherwise the usual residents were mostly present, although the Song and Mistle Thrushes did not put in appearance today whilst I was watching.

Ring-necked Parakeet

Ring-necked Parakeet

Greenfinch

Greenfinch

Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

Naturelog: Saturday 28th December

Posted: December 29, 2013 in Birds, Natural History
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A break in the bad weather allowed me to get out and do the Winter Thrush survey for December on my patch. It started well with Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush and Redwing in the garden.

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Redwing

As I left the garden 5 Redwing flew out from the trees towards Eltham Palace. On arrival at the Palace a sharp high pitched call alerted me to a Peregrine Falcon flying North overhead. This is my first record for the area of a species which is becoming increasing common in London with at least 2 nesting pairs that I am aware of in the relatively close vicinity to home. Maybe it was one of the Peregrines resident at the O2 dome on Greenwich Peninsular? King Johns Walk had a good number of Blackbirds but little else of note. As I retraced my steps towards the Tarn I found a single Goldfinch in an area which is usually a good place for them and I imagine it is these birds which occasionally stray in to our garden.

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The Tarn looks lovely in the winter afternoon sun and good numbers of Greylag (10) and Canada Geese (5) were present. From the bridge over the lake I caught a brief view of the Kingfisher as it sped away and found a party of 6 Redwing in the trees. The recent storms have caused some damage to the Trees around the Tarn.

Blocked pathways by the Tarn due to fallen trees

Blocked pathways by the Tarn due to fallen trees

Damage done by recent storms

Damage done by recent storms

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
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)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Naturelog: Christmas week

Posted: December 28, 2013 in Birds, Natural History
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The weather in London over the past week has been against seeing many birds in the garden. The high winds and strong rain tend to drive the birds into shelter. Despite this however the regular visitors have still put in an appearance over the week in good numbers. Chaffinches (up to 3) and Greenfinches (up to 5) have been daily visitors along with Blue Tits. There have been up to 5 Crows and 8 Jackdaws in the Garden at times. Mistle, Song and Redwing Thrushes have been present throughout the week.

Ring-necked Parakeet

Ring-necked Parakeet

Greenfinch

Greenfinch

Song Thrush

Song Thrush

Redwing

Redwing

Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
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)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

A member of the GWR Castle class, 5080 was originally named Ogmore Castle. It was built at Swindon in 1939 and was allocated to Old Oak Common depot in London. It was responsible for hauling express passenger and goods trains over the GWR network. In 1941, it was transferred to Cardiff and renamed Defiant to commemorate a type of plane which fought in the Battle of Britain. It remained in South Wales for the rest of its service life.

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It was withdrawn in 1963 and initially sold for spare parts. However, eventually it was restored and ran in steam for a number of years until its certificate ran out. It is now on static display at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.

Mandarin Duck

Posted: December 26, 2013 in Birds, Natural History
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The Mandarin Duck was introduced into wildfowl collections in the Uk from its native home in China. Over the years a number of birds have escaped and formed the basis of a ‘wild’ population. They are mainly found in south, central and eastern England although small populations do occur in Northern England, Scotland and Wales. It is estimated that there are 2,300 breeding pairs in the wild and a total population of around 7000 birds.

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female Mandarin duck

female Mandarin duck

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Rijksmuseum (2)

Posted: December 25, 2013 in Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Some other artifacts from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam that caught my eye

Cannons captured in Java 1800

Cannons captured in Java 1800

Plate bearing the Arms of Amsterdam

Plate bearing the Arms of Amsterdam

Plate bearing the Arms of Gronigen

Plate bearing the Arms of Gronigen

Japanese Container in the form of a crane

Japanese Container in the form of a crane

Japanese Temple Guardian

Japanese Temple Guardian

Japanese Temple Guardian

Japanese Temple Guardian

Seasons Greetings to all Readers

Posted: December 25, 2013 in Announcements

Sending you all my best wishes for the Christmas season and a happy and successful new year

Pete

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Some pictures of the Andromeda Galaxy, one of my favourite photo targets.

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Andromeda 1

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Andromeda BVR

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Wishing you all a happy and joyous Christmas

Badgers

Posted: December 23, 2013 in Mammals, Natural History
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The Badger has been much in the news in the UK recently due to the rather botched attempts to control them in the west country as a plan to eradicate Bovine TB. Most scientific sources including leading experts have said that culling will make no difference but of course the politicians and civil servants know better than the experts and went ahead and then couldn’t even manage to cull effectively!

Here are some pictures from a farm in the south of England which embraces its badgers and where you can get really close to them unseen in a hide.

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