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

Kernow!

Setting the scene for my Cornish holiday.

INTRODUCTION

To explain the title of this post, Kernow is the Cornish name for Cornwall, and that is where I am at the moment, staying for a few days in my parents new home. Here is a map to start things off:

Kernow map

My parents new place is near Kingsand, towards the bottom centre of the map. 

In this post I will tell you about the stage I left the November auction in, describe my journey down from King’s Lynn and finish with a few pictures from the new house.

JAMES & SONS NOVEMBER CATALOGUE

I had booked Thursday and Friday as leave, and in order to be as up to date as possible before going on leave I agreed to work Monday as well as Tuesday. By the end of Tuesday the imaging was as complete as possible, and I had given my colleague Andrew a start towards the printed catalogue, with a front cover image selected and placed appropriately on the page and the back cover completed. I offer links to the files and also screenshots:

CatalogueCatalogue – coin book versionBC screenshotFC screenshotFC Screenshot 2

Why two versions of the front cover? Well my employer did not like my initial choice of front cover image, requesting the coin book in its place, and being me I kept both versions.

KING’S LYNN TO CORNWALL

The first part of my journey was on the 9:54 train from King’s Lynn to London, which mirabile dictu ran to time. As far as Cambridge I had the company of Jo Rust, Labour candidate at the last two general elections in my constituency. Ely Cathedral was, as often, a target for my photographic attentions:

Ely Cathedral 2Ely Cathedral

On arrival at King’s Cross I headed down to the Circle/ Hammersmith & City/ Metropolitan lines to get a train across to Paddington. The first train was heading for Uxbridge, therefore not one for me to take, but the second was bound for Hammersmith, and hence going by way of the right Paddington, the one that is structurally part of the mainline station, as opposed to the Circle/ District line station that should revert to it’s original name of Praed Street. 

Giant Roundel, Kings CrossVic, Met, H&C, CN&PAll KC linesLU mapWestbound, KCPlatform roundel, KCUxbridge departureDistrict lineMapsH&CPaddington

Paddington H&C
Looking across Paddington from the H&C platforms (these are platforms 15 and 16 of the main station).

Paddington all lines

Having a had a decent but not stellar connection at King’s Cross I arrived at Paddington with just under an hour to go before my train for the long-haul section of the journey was due to depart. Although careful to stay close to the information screens that I would not miss the platform number for my train when it came up I did get some photos while I waited for this information.

Paddington InfoSnack Van, PaddingtonPlansStation plan, paddingtonPaddington arched roof 1Paddington, Heathrow ExpressPaddington clockPaddington latticeworkHeathrow Expressironwork, PaddingtonDetail, Paddington

I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked during the train journey to Plymouth, as my camera’s battery ran out of charge just beyond Exeter (so no pics from Newton Abbot, Totnes or the approach to Plymouth). The train arrived in Plymouth exactly on schedule, making it a jackpot-like two train journeys in Britain on one day that had run to time!

Reading
The first stop out of Paddington – from here there was a long fast run to Taunton, then Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St Davids, Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth.
Doom Bar
Some Cornish refreshment from the on-train bar, although at prices that would have made the proprietor of a plush central London pub blush (£4.50 for a half-litre bottle!)

Tiverton Parkway 2Exeter St Davids

Sea View from Train
A first glimpse of the sea on this journey.

Picklecombe Fort, wherein my parents have their new apartment is about 2.5 miles from Plymouth as the crow flies, but the road journey is so roundabout that this portion of the journey took almost the same amount of time as King’s Lynn – London had at the start of the day!

THE FIRST CORNISH PICTURES

This morning, with my camera battery fully charged I took some pictures here at Picklecombe Fort.

En suite
The guest bedroom has an ensuite bathroom cunningly disguised as a set of cupboards.
light fitting
Mean spiritedness from the previous owners.
Book display
My parents library.
View from bedroom window
Three views from my bedroom window…

View from bedroom window 2View from bedroom window 3

View from balcony
The rest of these pictures were taken from the balcony, and show the apartment’s #1 selling point – the sea views.

Lighthouse and boatsLighthouse closer focusHarbourAcross the waterboatsBig ship

Lighthouse special
The third picture I took featuring the lighthouse.

 

Ageing With Autism

An account of the Ageing With Autism conference that took place in Norwich on Wednesday.

INTRODUCTION

The title of this post is the same as the event in Norwich on Wednesday at which I was running a stall for NAS West Norfolk. This post tells the story of that day.

THE PRELIMINARIES

This event was organised by ASD Helping Hands, and they invited us to have a stall there, which we accepted. The intention was that I and our branch chair would jointly run the stall. Other factors intervened, meaning that the branch chair could run me over to Norwich with the stuff for the stall, see me set up and then depart, leaving me to travel back by bus. Fortunately someone else very well known to us was able to take the stall stuff back in their car (although not heavy, the display board even when folded and bagged is bulky and awkward – it would have been very difficult taking it back to King’s Lynn on the bus). This meant that I would be running the stall on my own. Having only one person to run the stall was not ideal, but in the context of people who might run an NAS West Norfolk stall if the stall has to be run by a single person I am the right person to it, since at least that does mean the we have an autistic person present (the NAS in NAS West Norfolk stands for National Autistic Society after all).

GETTING THERE

I had arranged to meet the branch chair on Winston Churchill Drive, near her son’s school (as a single male I did not wish to be seen loitering directly outside a school!), which meant a longish walk (I was not paying a bus fare for a journey of that length). I travelled by way of The Walks, the path on from there in between the two academies, various back roads in Gaywood which led in the general direction of Gaywood Park, and then through Gaywood Park to the latest point at which I could join the main road, which I then followed to the roundabout opposite the entrance to the grounds of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and then walked on to Winston Churchill Drive to await the branch chair. Here is a map that is posted opposite where I waited:

Map

The journey from there to Norwich was uneventful, but having located King Street we discovered that it was blocked halfway along its length, so I took the stall stuff and made my way to the venue while the car was parked. Setting the stall up did not take very long, and I was ready for action.

AT THE EVENT

I talked to various people through the day and also picked up information from other stalls at the event. The first person I spoke to was Daphne Rowlands of Children’s Autism Services, who came over not long after I had set up. During an early quiet period I walked round the room looking at the stalls, which were run by (in no particular order):

As well as all these organisations, a number of ordinary folk attending the conference came over to speak to me, and we may or may not hear more from them. The last session of the conference ended at 3:00, and at 3:30, with no one having come to my stall for several minutes I decided it was time to pack up (in theory I could have stayed another hour). After accompanying the person who would be temporarily looking after the stall stuff to her car and helping her to load I took the opportunity of being in Norwich to visit the Millennium Library before catching the bus home. I arrived home somewhat more than 11 hours after setting off. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are the photographs I took at the event (and a couple taken later in the day).

Agenda
The agenda for the conference.
Thomas
My personal sheet, attached to the NASWN notice board
Acrostic
The NASWN acrostic
Allotment 1
The first of two pieces about our allotment

Allotment 2

NASWN
The whole NASWN stall.

alphaASD helping handsRespectrumRespectrum2StallsStalls2Stalls3Fish pic

Carpet Pattern 2
The patterns in the carpet caught my attention (based on fingerprints?)

Carpet patternCarpet patternsCarpet

Milestone
An unusual signpost in Norwich

Trees in Transistion II

INTRODUCTION

After the success that made original “Trees in Transistion” post has had I am back with another. As in the first one all the trees featured are within walking distance of central King’s Lynn, though there is no overlap between the two.

TREES TO THE FORE

These trees are all in the area between the town end of Bawsey Drain and the junction of Littleport Street, Blackfriars Street and Norfolk Street.

The Gaywood River

An account of an educational event about the Gaywood River that took place in the Scout Hut on Beulah Street on Sunday.

INTRODUCTION

I have had a very busy few days, which is why there have been no new posts here since Saturday. I will mention my activities since Monday in later posts, but this post is solely concerned with the activity that dominated (in a good way) my Sunday. At the end of this post I will be including a variety of links related in various ways to its content. Here is a map showing the course of the Gaywood River:

FINDING OUT ABOUT THE EVENT

I got an email from my aunt a few days before the event was due to happen explaining her role in it and asking if I wished to meet her there and go back to hers for sausage and chips or if I would prefer a saturday supper. I decided that the event could be quite interesting, so I opted for the former course of action.

GETTING THERE

Since the event was taking place at the Scout Hut on Beulah Street, which is on the bank of the Gaywood (Beulah Street ends in a bridge that crosses the Gaywood into the car park that serves the Scout Hut) I was going to walking, and since it was a bright, sunny morning I decided on an extended route. Leaving my flat I headed across Baker Lane Car Park to the bridge over the upper Purfleet, heading across King Street to the north bank of the lower Purfleet. Here are some photos from that early part of the walk:

Moorhensigull with spread wings

From there I followed the line of the Great Ouse as far as my favourite cormorant observation point…

BoatCormorantiCormorantiiCormorantiiibirds 'n' churchcormorantiv

…before heading round by way of All Saint’s Church to the Library and entering the parkland area, following the Broadwalk until the path through the Vancouver Garden splits off from it, when I followed that and then the path out of the Vancouver Garden that joins the Tennyson Road end of St John’s Walk, at which point I was back on what would be the officially recommended walking route to Gaywood. There were squirrels about (in King’s Lynn only the grey ‘bushy-tailed rat’ variety as opposed to the red ‘Squirrel Nutkin” variety), though it is not always easy to get good photos of them…

SquirreliiiSquirreliv

Moorhen Chick
This picture and the next feature the heavily sculpted segment of the Gaywood River that passes through the parkland.

Moorhen parent and child

Traini
Apart from photograph opportunities the other plus side to being held up a by a train at the Tennyson Road level crossing is that you can cross the road itself in perfect safety as the cars are all stationary.

trainii

From Tennysod Road I followed the footpath the runs between the King Edward VII Academy and the Lynn Academy to Gaywood Road, which I crossed, then crossing the Gaywood on a pedestrian bridge before following its bank all the way to the Scout Hut. 

Butterfly
Although darker than their usual colouring I think from the markings that this is a peacock butterfly.
Gaywood river
A section of the Gaywood River

AT THE SCOUT HUT

Immediately outside the Scout Hut the Gaywood Valley Conservation Group had a gazebo and display boards (it was there that I took the photo that appears in the introduction). 

GazeboDisplay boardGaywood Valley 1LeafletsDisplay BoardGaywood Valley 2Gaywood Hidden HeritageGaywood Valley 3Display Board

Inside the hut was the Civic Society Stall, a cake stall, and various river related learning activities (colouring in pictures of river creatures for the artistically minded, an A-Z quiz of which more later). Although it was not the first thing I looked at, because it was my aunt’s reason for being there I start with…

THE CIVIC SOCIETY STALL

They were looking for people who knew about the history of the Gaywood river, because information boards will be going up at various points along it. They already had some good stuff, but wanted more.

Civic Soc display boardCS1CS2CS3CS4183818101960Wall DisplayMKBUrban Trees

Now we turn out attention to…

THE REST OF THE INDOOR ACTIVITIES

The cake stand looked awesome but discipline prevailed, and I did not sample any of the products. Although it was not really aimed at people my age I did the quiz, and predictably got all the answers in short order. The colouring proved popular, and many of the coloured creatures were then stuck on to a large picture of a river on the wall of the hut.

Quiz
I will reveal the answers (just in case anyone did not get them all) in a later post.

Colouring sheetsWall riverCakescolouring table

That is the inside stuff finished, but there was also plenty going on…

IN THE BACK GARDEN

There were two major centres of activity in the back garden, and I make my first port of call there, as I did on the day, at…

THE NORFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST GAZEBO

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust were showing children how to make portable ‘bug hotels’, and they also had a natural history display including a folder full of photographs of animals, and a stash of leaflets, to which I may return in a later post. 

NWTNH1NH3NH2NH4NH5NH6NH7NH8NH9NH10NH11NH12NH13NH14NH15NH16NH17NH18NH19NH20NH21NH22NH23NH24NH25NH26NH27NH28NH29NH30NH31NH32NH33NH34NH35NH36skull

We now come to what was for me the best of all the exhibits, courtesy of…

THE NORFOLK RIVERS TRUST

There were two parts to this exhibit. The minor part was display showing graphically how different treatment of land in the winter affects the soil:

Winter demo 1
These three models were side by side demonstrating what happens to soil when there is nothing there at all – gets washed straight into the river)…
Farm demo 2
When there are dead leaves covering it – still lots of it ends up in the river…
Farm demo 3
…and what happens when something suitable is planted – note the much clearer water at the end – most of this soil remains in place.

The second part of this display was a living exhibit from the river – two large buckets of river water with creatures that naturally live in it there to be seen (the amount of dissolved sediment in the water, the small size of these creatures and the fact that some of them live on the bottom of the river means that this the only way to make them visible). There was also a small sample dish which the person running the exhibit used to show as very small curiosities…

Caddis House
This is one of nature’s smallest houses – within it is a caddis fly larva, and at some point the adult fly will emerge.
Stickleback
The next three shots are of small sticklebacks.

Stickleback 2Stickleback 3

Gudgeon 1
This was described as a gudgeon, but looks different to the other gudgeons we will see later. The silvery sheen to its scales suggests a dace to my eyes.

Water shot

Stickleback 4
I am not sure what this piebald fish is, though it could be a stickleback.

Water shot 2

Sample dish
This shot of the sample dish showing the thumbnail of the dxemonstrator reveals just how tiny that Caddis fly home actually is – it was in this same dish that I saw it.

Water shot 3Water shot 4Water shot 5SaladsPond animals

Gudgeons1
Two gudgeons in the second bucket – note that as would be the case in the river they are at the bottom.

Gudgeons 2Water shot 6two sticklebacksWater shot 7Water shot 8Water shot 9

There was also a story teller outside…

Story

LINKS

To start this section we look at organisations who were actually involved in some way or other with this event:

Now we have a few science and nature websites:

  • Wildlife & Planet – interesting stuff about wildlife from all over the world.
  • WEIT – the website that grew out of Jerry Coyne’s classic book Why Evolution is True. 
  • Science Whys – the blog of Brandeis biology professor James Morris.
  • Rationalising the Universe – sets about accomplishing the big task laid out in its title and does a good job of it.
  • Faraday’s Candle – a science website that will really illuminate your life.

I conclude this section by mentioning a couple of bloggers who regularly feature nature in their work:

  • Cindy Knoke – keen photographer and nature lover. Below is the feature image from (and link to) her most recent post:
  • Anna – her posts about fighting to save nature in her part of the world are always inspiring, and her two recent series of posts “Paradise on Earth” and “Butterflies in Trosa” are both stunning. Below is the feature image from (and link to) her most recent butterfly post.

CONCLUSION

This was an excellent event and I learned a good deal about the history and nature of the Gaywood River. I have one kvetch which is that the event was poorly publicised – I only found out about it through my aunt and then only a few days before it was happening, meaning that anyone else I might have alerted would almost certainly have had other plans. If half of you have enjoyed this post even half as much as I enjoyed the event I have done a good job. I finish by urging you to take the time to follow up those links.

 

 

Coming Up – A Trip to Cornwall

Letting people know that I will be visiting Cornwall in the near future, and a few other bits and bobs.

INTRODUCTION

My parents have recently moved to a place near Plymouth, and all they are currently out of the country travelling they will be back for a month or thereabouts from late October. I will be visiting their place in mid-November. I have asked for leave on the 9th and 10th of November so that I can go down on the 8th and come back on the 13th. 

THE JOURNEY

To get from King’s Lynn to Plymouth (nearest station to my parents’ new place) by public transport one needs to to travel from King’s Lynn to London King’s Cross, get a Hammersmith & City line train from King’s Cross to Paddington and then travel from Paddington to Plymouth (I already knew this). The journey takes in the region of six hours (I expected this to be the case but until I investigated did not know for certain). This why I requested leave for the two days concerned because the two days on which one travels are not going to be much use for anything else. 

THE TICKETS

I discovered via www.thetrainline.com that tickets were available for £57. Thus I have made the booking and picked up the tickets.

COLLECTING THE TICKETS

Having made the booking I was assigned a code I could use to collect the tickets:

KL-PLY

I decided that memorising an alphanumeric code of eight characters would be a bit of an ask even for me, so I called in at the library where I could screenshot the email containing the above, paste into paint and edit as appropriate before printing at a cost of 10p. 

Library (1)Librarylibrary

From there it was a short walk through the park to the station to pick up the tickets. 

KL - PLY ticket
Outbound ticket
PLY - KL ticket
The Homebound ticket

 

Receipt
The receipt.

The email giving me the code to collect my tickets also included itineraries for both journeys.

THE BRILLIANT.ORG 100-DAY
SUMMER CHALLENGE

I recently received (by email) my certificate for having attempted all 100 of the problems (almost 50,000 people attempted at least one of these problems, of whom 1,797 attempted the whole lot).

Brilliant certificate

Here for you to peruse if you like are all the problems:
Brilliant’s 100 Days – All 102 Problems

This version features one problem per page:
Brilliant’s 100 Days – One Problem Per Page

Before moving on to the photographs that will conclude this post I offer you…

A PUZZLE OF MY OWN CREATION

Archaeologist and adventurer Idaho Johnson is near to making the biggest find of her life, but to do so she needs to get past the “Door of Death”:

Door of Death

Can you fill in the missing fourth vertical panel of numbers and get Ms Johnson through the “Door of Death”? As a bonus question can you identify the real door that I have used to create the above image?

PHOTOGRAPHS

Purfleet meets OuseS&TBirdsWaves on OuseThe AllaThe Alla signZBBoatZB nameGullGateway

Hairim Scarim
This ‘story stone’ is in Loke Road Rec.

SquirrelSNDAll Saints