Bird Pictures and Other Stuff

Sharing some of the best recent finds from the internet, and also some of my own photographs.


I have some bird pictures to show you from earlier today, and also a lot of fabulous pieces I want to share with you. I will start with the sharing and finish with the pictures.


I start with a gem from whyevolutionistrue, titled “An open letter to Charlotte Allen, an ignorant, evolution-dissing writer“, which takes the person it is addressed to to task for a poorly written, ill-informed (indeed virtually uninformed) article.

All the rest of the pieces I am sharing with you have to do with…


I start with a piece from a blog which is new to me, anotherspectrum, and a piece title “I am atheism“. The piece tackles a particularly vile commercial put out by anti-autistic hate group masquerading as autism charity Autism Speaks, the title of which was “I am Autism”.

Another  new find is Discovering My Authentic Self, and I point you to “Autism Resources“, which is precisely what you might expect from the title.

My third autism related share comes with a challenge attached. It is Autism Mom’s piece “THE CONFUSION OVER THE LITTLE WHEELCHAIR” which tackles a problem that the recognised symbol for disability reinforces – the assumption that disability always means physcial disability. The challenge is this: can you come up with a replacement symbol for disability that acknowledges the full range of disabilities? If you create a post about your idea, linking back to this post, and I am impressed by it, I will reblog you.

I end this section with a reference to The Autistic Bill of Rights. The success of the original post on this theme from stimtheline has resulted in a shareable image from the same source (I printed one out at the library today), reproduced below:

Autistic Bill of

Please follow my example in sharing this as widely as you can!


For the first time in its 154 year history Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack has a woman on it’s front cover. Anya Shrubsole who bowled England to victory in the 2017 World Cup is the woman thus honoured:


Identifor produced this gem earlier today


Finally we come to my photographs…

gullblackbirdOystercatcher IOystercatcher IIGullsMuscoviesbrown muscovyPair of muscoviesswimming muscovytrio of muscoviesDark muscovytrio of light muscoviesLight muscovyBlack Muscovygrey backed muscovycontrasting muscoviesmotltled muscovyBrown backed muscovyClassic muscovy



Monday Medley

Links to some of the best pieces from today, includign several about autism, a solution, a problem and some photographs.


This post is divided into three main sections – a sharing section, because there has been some truly outstanding stuff come to my attention today, a problems and solutions section and some photographs. 


To clear the deck for the rest of my shares, which are all around the same theme I start with this little gem from Atheist Republic titled “5 Major Reasons Why Creationists are Dead Wrong

For the rest of this section we will be using shades of #RedInstead because all these pieces relate to…


I start this section with an old post from Autism Mom titled “10 WAYS YOU CAN DEMONSTRATE AUTISM ACCEPTANCE

I have already reblogged stimtheline’s magnificent Autistic Bill of Rights, but I take the opportunity to point you all in that direction once again, complete with a jpg of the suggested Bill of Rights…


My remaining shares in this section are all from a new find…


Not many people have produced three full-length posts in the space of a day that I am eager to share, but this blogger has managed it with the following:

  • Think Different, on of the best pieces I have ever seen on the theme of embracing one’s diversity, in this case neurodiversity.
  • The Nuances of Discrimination, which deals with protecting autistic people from discrimination, and is an absolute must-read.
  • Is Autism a Disability? A wonderful post which tackles head on some of the ways in which the conversation about autism is currently cooked against us from the start. I quote the closing lines of the post as an appetiser:

    It’s a label that holds me down and pushes me into a box I can’t escape from.
    Give me some new words to define me.
    Or better yet, let me define myself.


First, a solution to the problem I posed on Saturday in “Failing to Convert“:

Logic Solution

Here is Hamz George’s explanation of why this is so:

Hamz Jeorge 
Jan 6, 2018

Relevant wiki: Truth-Tellers and Liars

Since every statement is false, let us convert them into true statements, and number each statement:

Ann: 1) One of us took the painting. 2) The painting was gone when I left.

Bob: 3) I arrived first, third, or fourth. 4) The painting was still here.

Chuck: 5) I arrived first, second, or fourth. 6) The painting was gone when I arrived.

Tom: 7) Whoever stole the painting arrived after me. 8) The painting was still here.

According to statement #7, Tom is not the thief. #8: Since the painting was there when Tom arrived, he could not have been the last to arrive. Tom must have gone there first, second, or third. #6: The painting was gone when Chuck was there, so he didn’t arrive first. #5: So Chuck got there second or fourth. #4 and #8: As two other members (Bob and Tom) arrived to see the painting, Chuck didn’t get there second, either. So Chuck arrived fourth. #3: This means Bob arrived first or third. #2: Since the painting was gone when Ann left, she didn’t arrive first. Otherwise, no member after her would have seen the painting. So Ann went there second or third and Chuck arrived fourth. But since two other members (Bob and Tom) saw the painting when they arrived, Ann didn’t go there second, either. So Ann arrived third. #3: Therefore, Bob arrived first, and Tom arrived second.

In summary, Bob arrived first. Tom got there next and the painting was still there, so Bob was not the thief, and neither was Tom. When Ann arrived, the painting was still there, but it was gone when she left. So Ann was the one who stole the painting. Chuck arrived last and discovered that the painting was gone.

Yes, Charlotte, you were right.


Another one from brilliant



Although not as dramatic as a few weeks back, The Walks, King’s Lynn’s best known park, is still somewhat lacustrine, which has led to it receiving a most unusual visitor – an Oystercatcher, a wading bird which would normally visit a park and for which King’s Lynn would be the extreme South of its possible living area…

gull and oysercatcher
The oystercatcher in shot with a gull.
A close-up of the oystercatcher
Oystercatcher - vignetted
a second close-up of the oystercatcher
Oystercatcher BB
What my bird book has to say about the oystercatcher
Oystercatcher range
The Oystrecatcher’s range

As you will see there were a few other fine birds on show today…

Library display
Close examination of this display of local publicity materials just inside King’s Lynn Library, will make my contribution to it obvious – it has looked like that for some time.

lacustrine walksmudlump Imudlump IImudlump IIIBlack muscovyGullsMixed muscoviesMoorhenMoorhensmuscovies x 3Muscovy ducks x 4Muscovy ducksMusocyv ducks x 2Swan 1Swan abd drakeSwans and muscoviesSwans IISwans IIISwans IVSwans VSwanstwo muscovy ducksWater birds


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:


National Park Cities Thunderclap

Introducing the concept of National Park Cities, publicising a thunderclap about the same and displaying some of my own photographs.


To take part in a Thunderclap you have to be on at least one of facebook, twitter or tumblr, so for the benefit of those among my readers who cannot take part I am also including some recent photos of my own that tie in well with this particular thunderclap. 


The idea behind this thunderclap, set up the folks at team4nature is that there are recognized health benefits to people having easy access to nature. Among the potential pioneers of the concept of a National Park City is London, and you can declare your support here. To take part in the thunderclap click here, or on the image below, which shows the story in full:



Here are some of my recent nature pictures, which also feature the two main parks in King’s Lynn, The Walks and Lynnsport Park and sections of Bawsey Drain and The Gaywood River.

GullsMerula IWalks IWalks IIWalks IIIWalks IVWalks VMerula IIMerula IIIMagpieGulls IIbirdsSmall birds ISmall birds IISmall birds IIISmall birds IVMerula IVbrown patchesOmniaOmnia IIgrey specklesdark muscovydark muscovy IItwo foron the bridgedark muscovy IIIGreymuscovies and mallardseightPanoramaParting shot

MCG, Photographs and Solutions

Some thoughts on the recent test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, solutions to my lest set of puzzles and some photographs.


This is a two part post – first of all a bit about the test match that finally ended in a draw at about 6AM UK time, and then the companion to piece to “Puzzles and Pictures“, answering the puzzles posed there. 


England had the better of Australia in the fourth test match of this Ashes series, but neither team stood a chance against the real winner of this drab affair – the MCG pitch which offered no assistance to any kind of bowler and was also so slow that batsmen could not play their strokes. Alastair Cook ended his poor run of form emphatically, with an innings demonstrating once again his astonishing powers of concentration. Australia without Mitchell Starc and on a pitch that was utterly lifeless looked an ordinary bowling unit.

At lunch on day 1 Australia were 102-0 with Warner going well and Bancroft surviving, but that was the only session of the game that Australia unequivocally won. Although wickets were in short supply on that opening day Australia reached the close at 244-3 – a definite failure to build on that fast start. The second day belonged to England – Australia were all out 327, losing their last five wickets for 13 runs and England in response reached 192-2, Cook 104 not out, Root 49 not out. The third day was also England’s – 491-9 at the end of it, with Cook 244 not out. On the fourth day rain intervened. Anderson lost his wicket to the first ball of the day, giving Alastair Cook yet another place in the record books – highest score by anyone carrying their bat through a complete test innngs, beating Glenn Turner’s 223 not out v West Indies. Bancroft and Khawaja were both out fairly cheaply, but when the rain finally halted proceedings for the day Australia were 103-2 with Warner and Smith in occupation. On the final day Warner fell 14 short of his second hundred of the game. Smith did reach his own hundred, after seven and a quarter hours, and then declared which officially ended the game as there was no time left for England to chase to 100 they would have needed to win. 

The Melbourne Cricket Ground has a huge seating capacity, and the Boxing Day test is for that reason the best attended of all test matches. In particular, the Boxing Day Ashes test is habitually hugely attended. Because of the failure to produce a proper pitch the biggest crowds test cricket ever sees got a game that was not worthy of the occasion, and that is not acceptable. The MCG need to sort this out – on proper pitches test cricket can be the most fascinating of the three forms of the game, but on lifeless rubbish such as the MCG groundsman produced for this match it is a poor spectacle. The ICC (cricket’s global governing body) should come down on the MCG like the proverbial ton of bricks.

Alastair Cook’s epic innings deservedly gained him the player of the match award. A full scorecard and links to further detail about this match can be found on cricinfo. The final match of this series is in Sydney, starting on January 4th, and I sincerely hope that they produce a better pitch (they cannot produce a worse one – such a thing does not exist).


As we switch focus the the puzzles I presented a couple of days ago, here are some bird pictures from yesterday:

RookLapwing Ilapwing and waderFlying gullsMH1MH2MH3white duckblackbirdsMH4



As I said when I set it, this one is very straightforward. The key is that person B has said “I am the Knave”. The Knight cannot say this as it would be a lie, and the Knave cannot say it as it would be true, so the only person who can say “I am the Knave” is the Jester. Therefore the Jester is person B (note that both Knight and Knave can say “I am not the Knave”, so we cannot say which of A and C is which).


Great OuseGreat Ouse 2


area test

The red sgements in the four corners of the shape are each half the size of the red segments along the sides of the shape, which in turn are each half the size of the blue shapes in the middle of the pattern. Thus counting the smallest segments as 1 there are (4 x 1) + (8 x 2) red segments = 20 red segments. Each blue shape in the middle comprises four segments and the are four of them = 16 blue segments. Thus the ratio of red area to blue is 20:16 = 5:4


The Walks was still flooded yesterday, although less than it had been when I took my last set of pictures there two days previously.



Odd and Even

Instinct suggests that the answer should be no, but this is one of those occasions when one should mistrust one’s instinct. To demonstrate a solution (one of many along these lines), I choose as my three even numbers 6, 8 and 4 in that order. Six divided by eight is 0.75, and 0.75 x 4 = 3 = an odd number.


The Muscovy duck that I had seen in The Walks recently was not there yesterday, so I finished my walk by heading towards the place where I had first seen the species. I waqs rewarded when just on across Littleport Street from that location I saw the entire flock. Here are some of the pictures.

white muscovygrey patched muscovyBlack and white muscovyFive muscoviesFive muscovies IIthree muscoviesdark muscovyblack and borwn bodied muscoviesblack muscovyfour muscoviesblakc muscovy IIMuscovies and gullsthree dark muscovieslight muscovieslight muscovybrown muscovybrown muscovy IIMuscovy and mallardsmottled muscovymainly white muscovyside by side



And here is my own solution posted on brilliant:

Thomas Sutcliffe 
Dec 26, 2017

We have to use the numbers 1,2,3,4 and 5 to make a five digit number. The first requirement is that the first three digits form a number dvisible by four, which can only be achieved from these numbers by using 124 (= 31 x 4), then digits 2,3 and 4 must form a number divisible by five, so the fourth digit has to be 5 as numbers divisible by five end either in five ior zero and zero is not available to us. That leaves us the fifth digit to fill, and the only number we have not used is 3, hence the number is 12,453, and back checking using the last limitation, that the final three digits be divisible by three confirms this (453 = 151 x 3).


These were taken near the end of my walk:

Corn ExchangeMoon IMoon IIMoon III



The minimum starting amount he needs to ensure that it stays growing on these terms is $4. On my subsidiary question, although this starting point only yields a fortune of two billion and four dollars after one billiSuch is the power of exponential growth that if you increase this starting amount by even a small amount it will suffice. According to Denis Husudvac on brillaint even a stgarting point $4.01 will be enough.


dark muscovy IIdark muscovy IIImottled muscovy IIGrey muscovyGrey muscovy IIImuscovy and mallard drakemuscovies and mallardsMottled muscovy IVMuscovy Headfour muscovies IIbrown muscovy IIImottled muscovy Vblack muscovy IIImuscovy head IItwo muscoviesbrown muscovy Vtwo brown muscoviesblack muscovy IVIn convoymuscovy ducklight muscovy II


Puzzles and Pictures

A Boxing Day post composed of pictures and puzzles – enjoy!


I have five puzzles to share (all via the mathematical website Brilliant – I am approaching a double century, my current solving streak now extending to 199 days) and photos that I have categorized in four groups. Therefore I will be interleaving puzzles and pictures.


This is an easy one – Lestrade would probably solve it without amateur assistance!



In preparation for the Christmas Day festivities I went for a walk yesterday morning, and many of the photos you will see were taken during that walk – others were taken at other times of the day. I first came across these birds when they were in a group near Kettlewell Laneand since then I have seen a single specimen, in The Walks, on three separate occasions, most recently yesterday:

Mallard drake and Muscovy duckCairina moschataCm2Mjuscovy Duck and two mallard drakesCm3Cm and mallard drakesCm and mallard drakes 2Cm and mallard drakeCm and mallard drakes 3


This one should not be too difficult either:

area test


When everything is closed the opportunity is there to get unimpeded pictures of buildings that are usually busy.

Town Hall and Old Gaol HouseSt NicksLibraryLibrary frontGreyfriars tower


This is one is tricky rather than difficult per se – and only 37% of solvers on Brilliant managed to crack it:

Odd and Even


Recent renovations in the building that my aunt’s house is part of have revealed some very interesting little details, and I also got some interesting shots from the house of the person with whom we had Christmas lunch.

The first 13 pictures are from Hampton Court (no superstitions and no truck with triskaidekaphobia here!)


beams 1
Two shots of the wooden beams at the house where we had Christmas lunch

Beams 2

An artwork display at that same house that caught my eye…
train pic
…one picture in particular!


Not at all difficult, but very enjoyable to tackle:



We finish our photographs as we started, with a nod to nature:

MoorhenGull on crossMagpie 1Magpie 2Magpie 3Squirrel and birdSquirrel and bird 2Gathering of gullsFlying gullsFlying gulls 2GullsGulls and squirrelGullSquirrel 1Squirrel 2Squirrel 3blackbirdsblackbirds 3Blackbird


We end with a fairly tough problem to which I have added an even tougher subsidiary question.


My follow up, adapted from a question raised by someone named Anne on Brilliant is this: What is the minimum initial deposit required to ensure that Fred’s money grows at a sufficient rate for him to become a trillionaire if he lives for as long as Earth remains an inhabitable planet (the increasing size and temperature of the sun will cause this in 1 billion years, assuming that some stupid species has not already done so,