Archive for October, 2015

Great little bird!

talainsphotographyblog

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A Black-and-white Warbler singing in the top of a small tree on a warm spring day. The images are from May 7th in the Cannonsville Reservoir area that I visit every now and then.

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Views of St Paul’s (1)

Posted: October 30, 2015 in History, London, UK
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St Paul’s cathedral in the centre of London is one of the city’s most iconic buildings. Photography is not allowed within the cathedral except on designated photography days, which happen 3 or 4 times a year. Keith and I recently took advantage of one of these days to capture some images of this magnificent building.

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Great photos of Redwing and Fieldfare. There have been a few sightings so far down in the south. Last winter was excellent and they were a regular visitor to the garden. Lets hope it is the same this year.

Radnor Bird Blog

046Today Managed to catch up with some winter thrush near hundred house.. they were giving this holly tree berries big licks..I know we are a way off Xmas but it certainly gives that feeling…. also  Kestrel ( Wind hover) near the fossil quarry Rhogo. Had a cursory look for the G.B.shrike earlisih this A.M  Pea souper… had another look in the sunlight this P.M ..no luck. 019

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Wilfred Lawson was born in September 1829, the son of a baronet. Educated at home, he became. like his father a radical Liberal opposing many of the policies of the government of the day. After a couple of failed attempts to win a seat in parliament he was eventually elected as the second MP for Carlisle in Cumbria. Later he represented Cockermouth in Cumbria and Camborne in Cornwall. His political career was interrupted by losing his seat due to the radical nature of his politics. He was a renowned temperance campaigner and once tried to introduce a bill allowing local areas to vote for the cessation of alcohol sales in their area.  It was so unpopular that he found it difficult to find someone to second the bill and although it eventually did get to a vote it was roundly defeated. In 1879 he became president of the UK alliance, one of the largest temperance movements. He was also a strong opponent of the opium trade and a prominent member of the peace society. His views were seen by many as being overly restrictive and against the freedom of the individual. Despite his politics it was written that Lawson was one of the most celebrated and popular person in politics of his day. He died in July 1906, his last act  having been to vote in the house of commons. after which returning home he took to his bed and died the following day,

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This statue was erected in Victoria Embankment Gardens in 1909 by the temperance movements of the UK. It was unveiled by Herbert Asquith, the Prime Minister who commented that Lawson was ‘one of the most remarkable and certainly one of the most attractive political characters of the times. He was an apostle not of lost but of gaining causes, content for most of his life to be in the minority, but watching year by year the minority slowly developing into the majority of the future.’ The inscription on the side of the pedestal reads ‘”A true patriot, a wise and witty orator, a valiant and farseeing reformer, he spent a long life as the courageous champion of righteousness, peace, freedom and temperance”. The statue itself is of Lawson would have been seen debating in the chamber of parliament.

Amazingly beautiful butterfly

talainsphotographyblog

Butterfly 105

A couple of images of the Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterflies that I have in my area. The top picture is of the female that has more blue coloration on her then the male, Image #105. The bottom is the male with bigger and more yellow spots then she does.

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“You can’t wait for inspiration! You have to go after it with a club!”   ~   Jack London

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We have some fabulous trees in the garden and autumn shows them to their greatest effect.

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A great post on London connections of Ian Fleming and James Bond

London Unveiled

Dukes HotelUPDATED:  With the new James Bond film ‘Spectre’ about to be released, I thought a fresh publishing of one of LondonUnveiled’s more popular articles was warranted.

Hidden down a secretive courtyard that most don’t even know exists, the approach to Duke’s Hotel brings out the feeling of intrigue in even the casual James Bond fan.  For it is the lure of Bond that brings many in-the-know to Duke’s Bar within the hotel for the first time, but it is the intimacy and uniqueness that brings them back.

History:  Duke’s Hotel opened in 1908 and is unquestionably one of London’s hidden hotels.  Within the hotel is Duke’s Bar which is now legendary but still evokes a feeling of being ‘found’.  Since the 1950’s Duke’s has had an Italian barstaff, as it does today, and it was during this time that Duke’s became a regular watering hole for Ian Fleming.  Given the focus…

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A chance to get down to the North Kent marshes for a days birdwatching with Keith, Dave and John. We started out from Gillingham and stopped first at the country park where a Brambling had been reported around the car park. Sadly, the increased human activity seemed to have moved it on and we couldn’t locate it. We did see some common birds such as Dunnock and Wren and were treated to a brief glimpse of a Kingfisher as it flew away from its perch.

Next stop Funton Creek to see what was feeding on the mud,

Funton Creek

Funton Creek

There were a good range of wading birds including Grey and Ringed Plover; Lapwing; Avocet and Redshank. But perhaps the star birds here were a couple of male Great spotted Woodpeckers that Dave found eyeing each other up across a fence

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Photo by Keith)

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Photo by Keith)

After a break for coffee it was onto the main target for the day at Oare marshes. A initial look over the pools revealed a large number of Teal together with Shoveller and a few wading birds including Ringed Plover and Common Snipe. In the distance we could see Common Buzzard and Marsh Harrier

Oare Marshes

Oare Marshes

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We then walked down to the sea wall and along to a point at the head of an inlet. Here we found another birder who was agonising over the identity of a small well camouflaged wading bird on the other side of the inlet. It took us a while to locate it amongst the stones but eventually it was identified as a Curlew Sandpiper.

The Swale at Oare Marshes

The Swale at Oare Marshes

Following the inlet we walked inland. John said he heard a Raven calling, but Dave and I thought it was a distant Dog bark. But sure enough a few minutes later it called again, this time much closer, and the bird was eventually located. Sorry John! It came into land on a distant field and through the telescopes we were able to get good views in comparison with the group of Crows that were also present.

Raven. Photo by Jim Bowen (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamiedfw/)

Raven.
Photo by Jim Bowen (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamiedfw/)

We completed our walk and came back to the observation point by the pools. Many of the Black-tailed Godwits we had seen fly in were now resting on the islands, The number of Snipe had risen to 12. Then Dave just happened to be looking in the other direction when he saw a Bittern drop into the reeds. On his call we all turned round but were not quick enough to see it before it disappeared. we waited for sometime but it did not re-emerge. However we did find a pair of Stonechat whilst looking for it.

Shoveller and Black-tailed Godwits

Shoveller and Black-tailed Godwits

An excellent days birdwatching in good company with 60 species recorded !

 

Brant Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Bar-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa lapponica)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Northern Raven [sp] (Corvus corax)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

COLLECTIVELY SPEAKING

Posted: October 22, 2015 in Birds, Natural History
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Really like this blog. Who would have thought of ‘an unkindness of Ravens’

Towheeblog

We all know of the “murder of crows”  and “exaltation of larks.”  Flock is accurate but so general.  There are many fine avian collective nouns flying about in English.

Here are some of my favorites, and suggestions for improvement:

Boblink: chain [get it?  pun on link…hey, I didn’t make this up]
Coot: cover [especially apt when coots are covering the surface of your local sewer ponds in winter]
Cormorant: gulp  [nothing fishy about this one]
Duck: raft, plump, paddling
Dunlin:  fling [so accurate when they are seen in the air]
Eagle: convocation [gives them way too much dignity, a lurk, attack or scavenge might be better]
Jackdaws: clattering [this city-dwelling Euro-corvid is best seen in groups clattering about the rooftops of old town or across Gothic cathedrals]
Mallard: flush, sord, puddling
Ravens: unkindness [Totally misses their co-operative intelligence; I would suggest alliance, conspiracy, clan.   This collective comes from the…

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One of the delights of the walk in Danson Park yesterday was the array of autumn colours on display.

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