The First Ducklings of 2018

Pictures of ducklings exploring the Gaywood River.


I saw two broods of ducklings while on my way to a Musical Keys session on Saturday. 


I was delighted to see the ducklings, particularly in that location, on the Gaywood River, where they are far enough from the Great Ouse that they should not fall victim to large and aggressive gulls (yes, gulls do target ducklings).

Duck family outingDucklingspale ducklingducklingduck and ducklingFemale mallard with ducklingssix ducklings

The Fight to Save Trosa Nature

Some links to posts about the fight to save Trosa nature and a few of my own pictures from today.


It will be no news to regular followers of this blog that I have been supporting Anna in her fight to protect nature in her part of Sweden for some time. In this blog post I share links to some of her recent posts on this issue, and urge you to follow them up. At the end there are some photos of mine from today featuring creatures I saw while out walking this morning.



The beautiful area of Sweden in which Trosa lies is threatened by a proposal to build a big new road which will bring large amounts of money to a few and destruction of priceless natural beauty as an inevitable consequence. This tale sets out the story of the road building plan through three characters, Victor, Yanno & Dunno. The feature graphic shows Yanno & Dunno as puppets being controlled by Victor:


Anna laid out the case for her side in a post published on July 17 with the title “Därför vill vi spara naturen i Trosa – Why we want to save Trosa nature“. Below is the feature infographic from that post:


Anna has produced three posts in quick succession showing some of the nature that is on show in her part of the world. We start with:

Kalla den Änglamarken –

Paradise on Earth part 1

As a sample of what you can look forward to seeing in this post I have selected the Sea Eagle picture:
As you might logically expect the next post is…

Kalla den änglamarken –

Paradise on Earth part 2

This time your sample picture is of a seal:

Finally, to bring you right up to date we have…

Kalla den änglamarken –

Paradise on Earth part 3

This third post about the wildlide of Trosa and the Tureholm Peninsula is devoted to birds. My bait to lure you in is a Heron…


I finish this piece with some pictures from earlier today, starting with…


The point where the River Nar joins the Great Ouse is about 10-15 minutes walk from the centre of King’s Lynn, and I regularly see interesting stuff there, but before today I had not seen a Little Egret there (as well as the two pictures I took of the bird I have a picture of the relevant page of my bird book):

Little Egret 1Little Egret 2Bird Book

My second set of pictures are…



Hovering insect
The footpath above which this little beauty was hovering does not make a great background, bjut I hope you can see the delicate wings that keep that body airborne.




A Couple of Important Nature Links

Links an important petition and an important thunderclap. A couple of other nature related links, a classic nature related meme and some of my own photographs.


A couple of big things to do with nature came to my attention today and I have decided to share them with you. In addition to the two major links there will be some of my own thoughts, a nod in the direction of New Zealand and some appropriate photographs of my own. As you will have noticed by now, the text in this post is green, and that is because it is a post entirely dedicated to nature. Links in the text will in bold and underlined, while images relating to other posts will also be formatted as links.


My own interest in the natural world and concern for nature are both lifelong. I literally cannot remember a time when these attributes were not part of me. Although I grew up in London I had a common practically on my doorstep, lots of natural history books, and of course being in London meant I was within easy travelling distance of the museums at South Kensington. In my childhood the Geological and Natural History museums were two separate entities, though they have long since been amalgamated into one museum, the Natural History Museum. Therefore you can imagine my reaction when I saw something on twitter about…


A petition on the official site created for petitions addressed to the UK parliament to create a Natural History GCSE has been launched. This means that it is only open to those among my readers who are UK citizens to sign, which I regret, but you can still view this petition (there is a screenshot below to whet the appetite) even if you are not a UK citizens. UK citizens please sign and share.

My next major link is to a…


To be part of a thunderclap you have to be on some form of social media (facebook, twitter or tumblr to be precise). This particular thunderclap is about the importance of pollinators and the fact that scientists have established that birds as well as bees are pesticide victims. If you are able to add your voice to this thunderclap please do so. Below is a screenshot for further clarification.


Yes, this thunderclap is well ahead of target, as it should be, but just as the importance of pollinators cannot be overstated, so this thunderclap cannot ever be said to be over-supported. 


Miles King over at anewnatureblog has today produced a splendid piece titled “Time to rename Defra the Ministry of Agriculture and Fieldsports” in which he reveals the extent to which our government is failing in its duties as regards the environment. Below is a screenshot of the section of the post dealing with the downright dishonourable Andrea Leadsom by way of introduction.


Now it is time for…


Jerry Coyne, author of the books “Why Evolution Is True” and “Faith Versus Fact”, and who also runs a blog named after the first of those books is currently in New Zealand, and it is from there that this wonderful picture (click on it to view it in its original econiche) comes:

It is nearly time for some of my own photos, taken yesterday and today, but for the penultimate section of the post I share once again…


This wonderful creation was formed around words that were originally submitted by me as a comment on one of her blog posts.
Nature Meme


birdmootcorvidscysbbirdmootDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5763DSCN5771Goose1ducklngs x 5Goose2gull on jettyHGSquirrelStarling in grassbirdmootcorvidscysbDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5762DSCN5763DSCN5771DSCN5772ducklngs x 5Goose1Goose2gull on jettySquirrelHGStarling in grass

Autism and Ableism

Some thoughts on autism and ableism, and some links relating to the same, topped off with some photographs.


I have a few links to share, and of course some photos will be included, but this post starts with some of my own thoughts before I start sharing links. I have decided that all of my own text in this post will be #RedInstead as it is themed so much around Autism. Links will be underlined and in bold, and any images from other blogs will also serve as links to the posts from which they were taken (these blogs will also have a text link). 


I am #ActuallyAutistic and have experienced mental health issues over the years. Do I consider myself disabled? The short answer to that question is no. However I do consider that the way in which neurotypical society views my condition (please note condition, not disorder) does disable me. To give just one example of this, 74% of all autistic adults in the UK, my country, are unemployed, and that percentage rises to 85% when underemployment is factored in. I am in the 26% who are actually in paid employment but not the 15%. These statistics are shameful ones (if they differ significantly in your part of the world feel free to comment further). They are based on the pathologizing of autism and indeed a more general societal pathologizing of difference. Anyone who has seen at work can confirm that I am more than capable of being a useful employee (indeed I cannot be considered as other than essential to my current employer).

Therefore, although I do not identify myself as disabled as I do identify myself as sharing some of the problems experienced by people with disabilities. 


I start the sharing sections of this post with the latest in Erin Human’s series of posts about ableism. The piece is titledWhat causes ableism?”, and I offer you the infographic/ meme which heads it as an aperitif:

Next, courtesy of disabledgo comes what can only be described as a ‘good news with a massive asterisk’ story. West Yorkshire Police have confirmed that they are willing to launch criminal investigations into bus drivers who refuse to allow wheelchair bound passengers on to their vehicles without good cause. The massive asterisk of course is twofold: the fact that this has to be rated a good news story at all rather than being standard, and following on from that the fact that other police forces do not as yet appear to have made the same commitment. The full piece appears under the title “Police force pledges to investigate bus drivers who ignore access laws” and I urge you to read it in full.


There are a total of four links in this section, with the opener and closer both courtesy of thesilentwaveblog. The opening link is titled “Yeah I’m walking for autism“, and it is her response to yet another campaign to raise funds for purposes that are quite clearly at variance with the actual needs of autistic people. She also her explains how she uses walking. I urge to you to read the full piece, and present the picture that heads it for your further edification.

Some of you may recall that I recently reblogged two posts titled respectively Autism Speaks No Longer Seeking Cure; This Autistic Person Couldn’t Care Less and Autistics Against Autism Speaks | A Civil Rights Movement – Share & Reblog Version. Well the story being told in different ways in those two posts has moved forward with a new post from boycottautismspeaks titled “Autism Speaks Hurts. Real People Speaking.” I offer you this header graphic by way of further inducement…

My penultimate link is to a post on No Stereotypes Here titled “Words are Words“, and taking the form of an open letter to the organisation targetted in the graphic above. I present this site’s header image below.

No Stereotypes Here - Neurodiversity activist blog

My final link is to thesilentwaveblog’s most recent offering, which tackles the subject of eye contact, under the title ‘“Look me in the eye.” (No.)‘, and below is the image which heads it.

Now it is time to conclude this post with some…


ASCormorants and gullsCormorants x 3CormorantsouseDSCN5733ducklingsducklings1merulapurfleetstarlingstortoiseshell



Upcoming Local Elections

Politics and nature combine to form one YUGE blog post!


In my part of the world there are local elections happening on May 4th, so I thought I would use some thoughts about them as the starting point for this blog. I will go on from that to sharing various interesting and important stuff, and of course there will be some of my own photographs.


Although my polling card is safely in my possession I have yet to receive any communication from any of the candidates, and can therefore talk only in general terms. I will definitely be voting. Since I became of voting age more years ago than I care to reveal I have only once failed to vote in an election I was entitled to vote in, and that was in the first election for Norfolk Police Commissioner. I will not be voting for any right wing parties or individual candidates. After their massive betrayal of those who voted for them (myself one of them) in 2010 the Liberal Democrats have much ground to make up and at this moment the odds against me putting my cross in that particular box are of the “write your own ticket” variety. While it is possible that I will be impressed by someone standing as an Independent candidate it is not very likely. This leaves me looking at two options:

  1. Labour – if the candidate is of the right type and not someone who will use their entire campaign to bash their party’s  twice elected leader I may be induced to vote for them.
  2. Green – this party stands for many of the things that I  believe in, and I am not going to hold the entire party to account for a mistake made by one of its co-leaders (Jonathan Bartley endorsing “light it up blue”, which readers of this blog will realise is an absolute guarantee of an entry in my bad books). If they can find a candidate with the qualities shown by Sian Berry in her campaign for London Mayor and subsequently in her work as a Greater London Assembly member I will certainly by influenced in this direction.

I will probably be voting Green because I see the way forward as being in a red/green partnership, and I think the Green side of that partnership needs strengthening. Also, a Green vote has the merit of being a vote cast unequivocally in favour of Proportional Representation. 

After this start it is time for some…


I start with a piece by Richard Murphy titled “Time For a New Political Party?”, in which he looks at a suggestion originally made by Richard Dawkins in a piece in the New Statesman. While I would say that the launch of a new political party should be delayed until FPTP is replaced with PR (under FPTP the Tories have a built-in advantage that would only be strengthened by the addition of a new party) I believe that Professor Murphy is pretty well on the money with his suggestions about this new party. Please click on the screenshot below to access this post, and if so inclined add your voice to those commenting on it:


Next, from the Skwawkbox comes the most recent piece on the story I have dubbed Coynegate – the massive breaches of the Data Protection Act by right wing candidate for Unite general secretary Gerard Coyne. To read this story, titled “EXCLUSIVE: COYNE TELLS BBC HIS LABOUR DATA USE ‘CONCLUDED’. IT ISN’T.” please click on the image below:

coyne stopped amended

My next link is to the homepage of the We Own It Campaign’s website. To find out for yourself what they are all about click on the screenshot below:


Next, courtesy of DPAC comes a public service piece titled “Important information on how disabled people can enforce their right to travel on buses“. Although the title is on this occasion set up as a link, I also provide a screenshot below on which you can click to get to the original:


The focus, including my photographs is about to shift to Nature (note to my many  fellow autistic bloggers although you do not feature in this post I have some of your finest stuff bookmarked for use in the very near future), and the turning point is a campaign against the large scale felling of trees in and around Sheffield. I have two links in connection with this. First, for the benefit of those of you who use social media, a Thunderclap, which you can boost by adding your own connections on facebook, twitter and tumblr. I link to it by way of the screenshot below:


The second link on this subject is to the page that lists all the campaigns in and around Sheffield that are now grouped under the umbrella of Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG). I link by way of a screenshot once again:

Sheffield Tree Action Groups

The last piece of shared content for today before moving towards my photographs comes to you from Sweden, and has a section to itself:


Anna is a Swedish blogger who needs to no further introduction to readers of this blog. As for Emmelina, that will have to wait for the moment. Yesterday Anna put up a post about a very curious little creature she had photographed on her door, which she called “Who’s This?” I thought that the little creature was a stick insect, but the reveal when it came today was far more interesting. It turns out that the creature is actually a moth that resembles a stick insect. Here is a link to the piece in which Anna reveals the identity of the creature. Finally, revealing the Emmelina part of the title, here is Wikipedia on Emmelina Monodactyla.


To end the post here are some of my own photographs…


The first bee I have caught on camera this year.


Using a derelict shop front to explain the importance of King John to King’s Lynn’s history is sensible. My main quibble with the new statue of him being…
That is bad quality work, not that it is of a bad quality human (though he was certainly that, in spades).


The first ducklings of the year. I hope that some at least of them survive the marauding Herring Gulls (this is NOT a joke btw)


I have bagged a number of peacock butterflies of late, but these light coloured ones fly both faster and for a greater percentage of their lives, so for the third time today this is a first of the year.




2017 Photographic Wall Calendar

A sneak preview of the 2017 Photographic Wall Calendar.


As some of you know I created photographic wall calendars last year. I recently mentioned that I was going to do again this year. This morning my inbox contained an offer from Vistaprint that was too good to refuse, so the calendars will be arriving with me some time around October 20th.


This time, there will be no borders, and no added text. It will surprise few who have followed this blog recently to find out that I have chosen an Inlandsbanan picture for the front cover…


The actual calendar will be much bigger than this of course.


Here are the individual pages for each month…


This picture was taken quite recently, but I decided that it looks wintry enough for February.


This picture is one of my Swedish ones, but not inappropriate for the month.


This picture was taken on Heritage Open Day, which in King’s Lynn is always the second Sunday in September.
Two pictures both from October 1st joined together.


Another two pictures from very recently joined together for this purpose.


Cormorants and Calendars

A brief post showcasing some cormorants from earlier today and announcing my intention to produce a calendar.


This post combines showing some new pictures with being the official announcement that I shall be repeating last year’s experiment of producing calendars as Christmas presents.


I decided once I had completed my online NAS branch officer’s training this morning that I would go for a walk, and I was delighted to see the structure I call ‘Cormorant Platform’ was very busy…


The first of the cormorant images – this one shows precisely why I call it ‘Cormorant Platform – notwithstanding the three Caspian gulls also on there, it is the cormorants (five on this occasion) who stand out.


Just before leaving the river I got this picture of a cormorant in flight.
A couple of moorhens to finish with…



The calendars will be large, month to page, each month decorated with a picture. Learning from last year I will be aiming to have no borders, and certainly no patterned borders, just pictures taking up the whole available space. This is very much a work in progress, but here are the pictures I have so far picked out as being good enough (feel free to add your own suggestions of pictures you particularly enjoyed when I first posted them in the comments sections, although remember that I am limited to 13 pictures (front cover plus 12 months):

This picture showing the two Inlandsbanan trains together is earmarked for the front cover
I will use one of these two ducking pictures


Likewise, I will use one these two butterfly pictures.


This photo, from the Stockholm Archipelago, will be July’s


This picture was actually taken in January.
This picture might get the nod for August
This is nailed on for April, since it was in that month that the Positive Autism Awareness Conference was held at this establishment.
This is provisionally September’s picture.

A Bloggers Bazaar

I will be starting as usual by sharing some important links, before moving on to some other stuff…


To start with, a reminder that the autistic community is still awaiting an apology from Katie Hopkins. On this topic, a prominent supporter of our campaign is Lucy Hawking, daughter of Stephen and mother of an autistic child – check out this piece.

Next comes some information about bumble bees.

My penultimate link is to a list of demands to the next government on behalf of disabled people.

Last of all, courtesy of the Anti-bulliying Alliance comes a suggested anti-bullying charter for use in schools.


DSCN4887 DSCN4888 DSCN4889 DSCN4891 DSCN4894 DSCN4895 DSCN4905 DSCN4911 DSCN4921 DSCN4925 DSCN4926

Close up of a swimming cormorant.
Close up of a swimming cormorant.



Middlesex demonstrated in their match against Durham that batting again rather than enforcing the follow-on is no guarantee against a disastrous collapse. Middlesex reached their eventual 2nd innings total of 83 only because Tim Murtagh, batting at no 11 and suffering with a hamstring strain top scored. Chris Rushworth and John Hastings each took five wickets in this remarkable display.

I was sitting outside listening to the commentary on this and periodically enhancing my collection of photos…

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My best aeroplane shot yet...
My best aeroplane shot yet…
...with this one a decent second
…with this one a decent second


A King’s Lynn Walk

As usual, before getting to the main part of the blog I have some links to share…

First of all, a story in the Mirror about housing benefits profiteers (i.e. big landlords) accompanied by a link to list of 20 of West Norfolk’s worst offenders in this regard:


A shocking story from the Independent about a scientific peer reviewer who in the year 2015 said that women should get help with their research from men.

Shocking but not in the least surprising to anyone who knows anything about destructive Dave the debate ducker and his mate Gideon is this story about the effect of Tory cuts on the disabled from the New Statesman.

Now, some political dynamite from Vox Political in the form of story about how the Labour and Green party candidates were omitted from 480 ballot papers sent out to voters in Hull.

Katie Hopkins has been at it again, and is the subject of another petition on demanding an apology to the autistic community for her latest offensive remarks. Please sign and share.

My last story is of a good outcome to a horrible event. The people who attacked and almost killed Malala Yousafzai have been jailed for life, and here is the story courtesy of BBC News.


This afternoon I went out for a walk, which turned out be full of glorious spring sights. The first camera moment came within minutes of setting forth, as I was crossing over the upper Purfleet, in the form of this Moorhen…


The Great Ouse rarely fails to provide some decent opportunities for pictures, and here are some from today…

DSCN4768 DSCN4769 DSCN4770

Neither Hardngs Pits nor the Nar provided much of interest, but the parkland areas (the Walks and the Recreation Field) certainly did…

Opportunities to photograph the South gate with no traffic interfering are not common.
Opportunities to photograph the South gate with no traffic interfering are not common.

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The loco pulling a goods train.
The loco pulling a goods train.
Tree sculptures, at the Tennyson Road edge of the Recreation Field.
Tree sculptures, at the Tennyson Road edge of the Recreation Field.


A front-on view of the loco showing a couple of trucks as well.
A front-on view of the loco showing a couple of trucks as well.


Between Tennyson Road and Bawsey Drain there were a few small things of interest…

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Bawsey Drain provided two examples of a mother duck taking her little ones out on the water and some small birds of the beautiful but frustrating (because they are so hard to capture on camera) variety…

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I took the way home that leads via two ponds and a section of river to the Railway Station and thence home. This last stretch provided some further duckling pictures and as my final shot of the day a blackbird…

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One duckling that is already a fine swimmer.
One duckling that is already a fine swimmer.

Tory HQ in Massive Blunder (Again)

Before I get to my own stuff I have a plethora of wonderful links to share with you.

LINKS A very interesting Indian site. recruiter=102059100&utm_campaign=signature_receipt_twitter_dialog&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=share_petition Two of the people who run this centre talk about it in a must-watch clip. A minor contribution to the discussion of that letter. A very interesting piece about micro-organisms that flourish in sometimes very extreme conditions. A shining example of the gems that can be discovered via twitter


This morning a letter was printed on the front of the Daily Telegraph. Appended to a few lines of body text about why they would be voting conservative were the names of 100 business leaders. Even if this had been entirely genuine, it would have been no more convincing than a letter to the Daily Mirror signed by 100 prominent trade unionists explaining why they were voting labour. However, it was not very long before it was discovered that the letter had been drafted in Tory HQ, and that a sizeable portion of the signatories were already known Tories, in some cases even Tory peers. As the day progressed, this was compounded by somebody noting the presence in that list of a 100 of a number of Mrs Cameron’s cronies (yes, they really are that stupid/ arrogant).

Various people made suggestions through the day about other selections of 100 people with a linked trait who could sign a letter about why they were voting labour (disabled people, and food bank users were two suggestions).

This letter was intended to boost the Tories and harm Labour, but I suspect that like the now legendary “Road to Recovery” poster that started the year its effect will be the reverse. The letter (unsurprisingly since it came from Tory HQ) was riddled with factual inaccuracies, as well as the problems already documented with the so-called signatories. It started out as a non-story given ridiculous air-time (“100 rich b**t**ds are going to vote Tory”) and un-ravelled from there.

Frankly, the use of this kind of tactic suggests desperation. To end this little section I have a couple more links to analyses of this story…

Now for some pictures…

The first three pictures were taken through the window of a moving bus.
The first three pictures were taken through the window of a moving bus.

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four birds in the picture, each of a different species.
four birds in the picture, each of a different species.

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The Red Mount Chapel
The Red Mount Chapel
A close-up of some brickwork, Red Mount Chapel
A close-up of some brickwork, Red Mount Chapel
The Vancouver Garden viewed from near the Red Mount Chapel
The Vancouver Garden viewed from near the Red Mount Chapel

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These tiny ducklings may have been out on their first ever swim.
These tiny ducklings may have been out on their first ever swim.

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The most famous facade in King's Lynn.
The most famous facade in King’s Lynn.

I hope that you have enjoyed this and I encourage you to share it widely.