Failing to Convert

A post provoked by an asinine comment I saw on cricinfo yesterday, dealing with the question of failure to convert in cricket.


This post was provoked by something I saw yesterday morning on cricinfo’s online coverage of the second ODI between England and Australia (I was at work, so could not listen to the commentary, but having this tab open and peeking occasionally in between doing other stuff was manageable – I was constantly using the internet for work purposes anyhow). 


England won this match by four wickets, with plenty of time to spare. Joe Root was there at the end on 46 not out. In the first match he had been there at the end on 91 not out. This coincidence that both times he was just short of a personal landmark led to a character posting under the name Dave (knowing what I do of such types I am not prepared to say that this is actually their name) to post a comment about Joe Root failing to convert. My response to this display of asininity is as follows:

  1. Failing to convert implies regularly getting out before reaching important landmarks and Joe Root was undefeated in both innings.
  2. Individual landmarks are valuable, and generally to win one needs someone to go to and well beyond several such, but cricket is a team game, and on both occasions Root missed his landmarks through playing a support role to people who were going more fluently at the other end (Jason Roy in game one, and Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes in game two).
  3. Joe Root has proven frequently that he can go on to and well past significant personal landmarks.

To end this section I quote a post from a few minutes after Dave’s which provides an indication of how good Root actually is in ODI chases:

Hypocaust: “Joe Root now has the 3rd highest average (87.06) in victorious ODI chases (min. 20 innings), behind Dhoni (102.72) and Kohli (93.64) and just ahead of Bevan (86.25).”


Here courtesy of brilliant is a puzzle:



Here is the solution to the problem that I included in my post England One Day International Record:



As usual we end with some photographs:


Different Bird Species – Same Pose

Two birds of different species exhibiting similar behaviour (which I have previously only ever observed in cormorants).


This is whimsical little post inspired by an odd coincidence I observed while out walking yesterday.


While I was out walking yesterday afternoon I saw a Muscovy duck in the stretch of the Gaywood River that is currently serving as home to a small colony of these unusual visitors to our shores posing in the fashion that cormorants sometimes so (for an amusing take on this see Anna’s recent cormorant drawing). Here is a composite picture featuring both posing birds:



Answers to a query of mine and to a puzzle that I set, accompanied by some photos.


This little post features answers to two problems and at the end a few photos.


A couple of hours ago I put up a post featuring some large water birds that were new to me. Since then two people in the comments section (Cindy and Vicki) have suggested Muscovy Ducks as a possibility, and my twitter friends @team4nature have made a similar though more detailed suggestion.

This level of consensus is sufficient for me – these are Muscovy ducks, possibly domesticated and possibly crossed with some other breed (possibilities raised by @team4nature). Here to conclude this section is the feature image from the previous post:

Swimming Bird II


I offered up this problem from brilliant last night:


This is my own solution, posted as such on brilliant, and reflecting mu frustration at the sheer number of people commenting based on failure to fully read the terms of the question:



To finish here are some more of my photos:

Gull on flagpoleaerial action!starlingsBlackbirdMIaowGull on logMoorhenMoorhen 2

Can You Identify These Birds?

Can you identify these large water birds that I saw near Kettlewell Lane, King’s Lynn, today?


I was out walking this afternoon, and one of the places I walked was a section of river that runs parallel to Kettlewell Lane in King’s Lynn. It was there that I saw some birds I have never seen before…


These are large birds, similar in size and build to a goose, but with colouring unlike any goose I have ever seen, and not matching any of the goose species listed in my bird book. They were probably about half as big again in each direction as the mallards that I also saw (and due to being overfed King’s Lynn mallards are bigger than average mallards!). I have lots of photos for you…

Geese 1Geese 2Piebald birdWhite birdMixed plumagesVariegated birdsMixed birdsSplendid birdshiny birdMainly white birdMainly white bird IIBlack bodied birdPink billed birdBrown birdDark birdMainly Brown BirdSwimming Bird ISwimming Bird IISwimming Bird IIITwo birdstwinsFront ongrey and blackDouble actHeadBeakFront on shot

Based on the size of the birds and all the features that my camera managed to pick up can you identify them? If you can please let me know by commenting.


A bird post provoked in part by the Angling Trust seeking permission to double the rate at which they cull cormorants.


This post has two elements: first, I saw on twitter something about the Angling Trust calling for cormorants to be shot “to protect stocks of coarse and game fish”, and following the link located the details which you can see here, and second while out looking for cormorants to photograph for this post I saw something else that I had not previously captured.


I would take a lot persuading that increasing the number of cormorants licensed to be shot copuld be justified in any case, but the grounds given, which amount to a statement that “our sport counts for more than cormorants” fail to come even remotely close. There is a cormorant colony within walking distance of central King’s Lynn, and although they were not about in big numbers when I went looking, there were four of them in evidence. Here are the pictures:

Posing Cormoranttwo cormorantsCormorant sandwichFour cormorantssingle cormorant close up


While observing the cormorants I also a got a couple of pictures of this:

LapwingLapwing 2

Going through my bird book I could find only two birds with black wings and a white bar across their tail. The first, the Storm Petrel was an unlikely option given how far King’s Lynn is from the nearest ocean (it is an ocean going bird). That left me with the second, the Lapwing, a medium sized wader that likes marshy or muddy conditions (not a problem in the vicinity of the Great Ouse!). Here to conclude this post is what my bird book has to say about Lapwings:

Lapwing - book


An account of the time I spent in Penzance on the Saturday of my Cornish holiday.


I have finally edited all the pictures from my recent Cornish holiday and have now at last got time to get back to blogging about it. My last post described my journey down to Penzance, and this post provides the story of the rest of the day.


Having arrived in to Penzance pretty much bang on schedule I visited the local information office, purchased a detailed and very cheap souvenir map (I will conclude this series of Cornish posts with one featuring all the publicity materials that I collected while down there), and set out on the first part of my exploration of the town. An early necessity was finding somewhere to eat lunch (although I am not entirely inflexible on the matter I generally aim to eat lunch some time close to 1PM), and having walked past the Harbour and the Chapel I found an establishment suited to my needs. The Turk’s Head was not too extortionate (there are no cheap places in Penzance). I opted for a BBQ Chicken, Bacon and Davidstow Cheese melt, and enjoyed it, although I felt that it did not really live up to its name on two counts:
1. There was precious little evidence of bacon (though they had used good quality chicken)
2. Davidstow is supposed to be a strongly flavoured cheese and yet I barely noticed it over the other flavours – if I ask for something of which cheese is a featured ingredient I want to taste said cheese.

Here some photos taken between leaving Penzance station and having lunch:

PenzanceFerryWall painting PenzanceWall Paintings, PenzancePenzance WalksMap, Penzance Info OfficePenzance HarbourPenzance ChurchOld lifeboat station, PenzanceView from the Bridge1View from the bridge 2Mermaid Pleasure TripsMermaid Seal Cove CruisesCornish IFCAWildlife Display BoardShark TripDisplay BoardPelagic TripsChapel

Egyptian House
The Egyptian House

The GlobeTGChurch Tower

Air pressure
The first of a number of shots of interesting items on display at The Turks Head

Decorative plateBrass implementsInternal DecorTurks Head

There were five sets of framed banknotes starting with this one.

BN2BN3BN4BN5BeermatsHorsebrass 1LanternHorsebrass 2Toby JugsCopper Plate

Devon and Cornwall
Poor lighting prevented me from doing full justice to this map.
This, and the two set of framed cigarette cards the follow it were in a narrow passage that meant that I could not get them fully in shot from front on – had to photograph at an angle.

Cig Cards 1Cig Cards 2otter aleCopperwareBed warmerCopper Pot


Having consumed my lunch I headed for the Promenade, and walked along it. From the other end of the Promenade I walked back to the train station and then did some exploring on the other side of the train station, locating a path that ran between the tracks and the sea. Here are some photographs…


Jubilee Pool 1
In November one would not expect an open-air pool in Engalnd to have much custom, and indeed the Jubilee Pool was empty.

PromontorywavesChurch from PromenadeJubilee Pool 2Penzance Town trailJubilee Pool RestorationJubilee Pool 4MemorialMayor Stuchbery1839 RC

Helen Glover post box
A number of post boxes were painted gold to honour people who were successful at the London 2012 Olympics – this one Penzance is dedicated to rower Helen Glover.

Plaque close upHG Postbox - frontThe BuccaneerPearly Nautilus from the BuccaneerAcross the bayAcross the bay 2walks from PenzanceBranwell's MillAtlantic CoastersBus infoPZPZ support 1PZ Support 2Looking across the stationSurfDomeGothic TowerThe LongboatOutside Penzance Station

I conclude this post with two special sections, firstly…


Being grey the whole time, and misty for most of it this was not a great a day for taking long-range photographs, but St Michael’s Mount was not a target I could resist, even under those circumstances, so here are the results:

St Michael's Mount through mistSt Michael's MountSt MNichael's Mount IIISMM4SMM5St Michael's Mount and Flying GullSMM7The St Aubyn Estate, atop St Michael;s MountSMM8SMM close upSMM close up 2

You will notice gulls in a couple of these shots, which leads to the second special section, which concludes this post…


There are many seabirds to be observed in Penzance and I was able to capture some of them on camera…

Small Wadersbirds and boatsbirds on a rockPosing cormorantBirds on a rock 2bold gullRock and birdsOne gull, two corvidsGull and corvidGathering of gullsSwimming gullsGullsGulls on seaweedMarine CorvidFlying CormorantSea CorvidMany Gulls

The journey back was uneventful, and with the train departing Penzance at 16:41 on a November afternoon it was too dark for photographing through the windows of that train.



Detective Fiction Meets Ornithology

A review of a new find – Steve Burrows’ Birder Murders, with some Norfolk bird pictures of my own for company.


This post concerns two books by a writer I discovered in the last few days:



When I saw these in the library there was never any doubt about borrowing them – detective stories set in Norfolk and heavily concerned with birds looks a darned good mix. 


There is much of interest about birds and about North Norfolk in these books, and the strikingly different characters of each of the police officers makes for some good interplay between them. 

In the first of these two books, “A Siege of Bitterns”, the first victim is actually a birdwatcher. The second victim is a suspect in the first case until he is found dead. It eventjually turns out that the first case was not murder but suicide, and that the murderer in the second case was the MP.

In “A Cast of Falcons”, the hero’s boss, DCS Shepherd, is shown up in a very poor light when she initially refuses even to entertain the notion that the exceedingly rich Sheik who has bought an old dairy farm for his pet project (research on method of carbon capture) could be guilty. She shows herself to be more concerned with not annoying someone who is rich and powerful than with justice, which given her job is entirely unacceptable.

There is a third book in this series that I know of, called “A Pitying of Doves”, and it is sufficient comment on just how good these two books are that I have reserved a copy (costs 60p) and am awaiting it’s arrival at King’s Lynn library.

Siege of BitternsCast of Falcons

If you get the opportunity to pick up a book with the name Steve Burrows on the cover please take it!


To finish this post here are some new pictures of Norfolk birds…

Bird MootBirdsCormorand and gullCormorant and gullsCormorant close-upCormorantGGGullsMagpieMoorhenPoserWingspan