Answers

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

INTRODUCTION

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

BIG AVIAN FIND

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

SUPERPRIME RESOLVED

I offered up this problem from brilliant last night:

SP

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:

SPS

PHOTOGRAPHS

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?

INTRODUCTION

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…

BIG NEW AVIAN FIND

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.

Birds

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

INTRODUCTION

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.

CORMORANTS

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

AN ASPI.BLOG FIRST

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

Penzance

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

INTRODUCTION

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.

GETTING MY BEARINGS

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

BN1
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.
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

POST LUNCH EXPLORATIONS

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…

Headland

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…

ST MICHAEL’S MOUNT

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…

BIRDS

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.

INTRODUCTION

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

BMBs FCBMBs - BC

MAKING THE DISCOVERY

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. 

THE BOOKS

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!

SOME NORFOLK BIRDS

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

Bird MootBirdsCormorand and gullCormorant and gullsCormorant close-upCormorantGGGullsMagpieMoorhenPoserWingspan

Bird Pics on the #Inglorious12th

A post for the #Inglorious12th, featuring the right kind of bird shooting – that done with a camera.

INTRODUCTION

Today is August 12th, which is for well-heeled British hooligans the start of the grouse shooting season, known to them as “The Glorious 12th”. For folk like me, who view those who derive pleasure from taking pot shots at birds with utter contempt it is therefore the #Inglorious12th.

SHOOTING BIRDS THOMAS STYLE

I choose to mark today by posting pictures of birds shot the only acceptable way – with a camera. Most of these are from this morning, but I am also including some older pics.

Little Egret 1
The Little Egret that featured a couple of weeks back.
Magpie
A magpie on the path alongside the Great Ouse
wagtail
I was at the racecourse before my colleague arrived with a key, and this wagtail caught my eye while I was waiting.

small wadersmall wader2small wader3small wader4small wader5small wader6

CP1
The first of the new pictures – this and the final cormorant pic are in their correct positions, but some of the rest of the cormorant series are out of order.

Cormorant posing 1Cormorant posing 2Cormorant posing 3CormorantCP2CP3CP4CP5CP6two cormorantsCP and West Lynn churchFlying gullsRavenMoorhen in algaeJuvie moorhen

Jay1
I finish with this Jay – two live photographs and the relevant page from my bird book.
Jay2
The close-up shot.

Jay book page

 

 

A Variety Post

A mixed bag of a post, featuring local politics, libraries, autism, science, nature and photography.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this post in three parts. I am going to start by mentioning a local election that took place in my area today and in which I voted, then I will be mentioning an event that will be taking place at Gaywood Library (one of four such establishments in Norfolk that I visit at least semi-regularly) and I will finish up with some links to do with nature which will lead naturally to some of my photographs.

A FORCED BY-ELECTION

The election in which I voted today happened due to the laziness and arrogance of the incumbent councillor, who in spite of living just across the road from the Town Hall never attended meetings.

Four candidates were in the contest, in alphabetical order:

Rob Archer of the Green Party
Francis Bone of the Labour Party
Helen Russell-Johnson of the Liberal Democrats
Mike Taylor of the Conservative Party

In the ordinary course of events my inclination, especially given that the displaced councillor had been from the Labour Party would have been to vote for Mr Archer. However, the Liberal Democrat candidate happens to be my aunt. Therefore I voted for her.

I have started this post by covering this election for two reasons:

  1. I want to make it clear to the Liberal Democrats that I voted for my aunt IN SPITE of the fact that she was representing them not because of it.
  2. Also, just in  case Mr Archer happens to be reading this, I hope he will take it as both explanation and apology for not having voted for him on this occasion.

I conclude this section of the post with a picture of my Political Compass certificate (it is free and does not very long to answer the questions which are used to assign your score):

Political Compass Certificate

THE GAYWOOD LIBRARY EVENT

The event at Gaywood Library is a Business Evening at which I hope it will be possible to raise the subject of the Autism Hour, one of the National Autistic Society’s recent initiatives. I have already confirmed that I will be in attendance. Here are a couple of pictures to end this section:

Personalised SymbolPublic Libraries DisplayPL coinPL stamps

SOME NATURE PIECES

My nature links naturally divide into three segments, with a few photographs of my own forming a fourth. We will start with…

A NEW DINOSAUR FIND

This story courtesy of scienmag.com is about a dinosaur that has been named Albertavenator Curriei (“Currie’s Alberta Hunter”, named in honour of Canadian paleontologist Dr Philip J Currie). Below is a representation of this creature by Oliver Demuth:

IMAGE
Credit: Illustrated by Oliver Demuth. © Oliver Demuth

OPPOSITION TO TROPHY HUNTING

Stan Kroenke, current owner of Arsenal Football Club, has just launched a new TV channel devoted to blood sports. I have two links to share, and some words for Arsenal fans at the end:

  1. A Guardian piece titled “Trophy hunting is vile. Stan Kroenke’s TV channel must be banned” which gives full detail on this.
  2. A change.org petition aimed at the sponsors of Arsenal Football Club asking them to withdraw support and so help force Kroenke out, screenshot below:
    KroenkeOut

For ordinary Arsenal fans my suggestions are simple – boycott all home matches until Kroenke goes, and if you are a season ticket holder return your ticket and demand a full refund, making it clear that you will return if and only if Kroenke is no longer involved with the club.

MORE ON THE FIGHT TO PROTECT TROSA NATURE

This morning I reblogged Part 4 of Anna’s series of “Paradise on Earth” posts highlighting the wildlife that can be seen around Trosa and the Tureholm Peninsula. Since then she has added yet another post to that series, and I include links below:

  1. Part 4, concentrating on birds including the Osprey shown below.
  2. Part 5, also dedicated to birds. I have chosen as my sample image a Linnet.

Finally, to end this section, and the post as a whole we have some of…

SOME OF MY LOCAL NATURE THEMED PICTURES

Mother and childMoorhen3 CormorantsCormorantCormorants at waters edgeCormorants and gullsMoorhen in upper purfleet

Little Egret 1
I close this post by revisiting the Little Egret.