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.
DIFFERENT BIRDS, SIMILAR POSES
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:
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:
PUZZLE 1: LOGIC
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).
PHOTOGRAPHS – THE GREAT OUSE
PUZZLE 2: AREA CHALLENGE
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
PHOTOGRAPHS: THE WALKS
The Walks was still flooded yesterday, although less than it had been when I took my last set of pictures there two days previously.
PUZZLE 3: EVEN AND ODD
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.
PHOTOGRAPHS: MUSCOVY DUCKS 1
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 firstseen 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.
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:
AN ASPI.BLOG FIRST
While observing the cormorants I also a got a couple of pictures of this:
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:
An account of an educational event about the Gaywood River that took place in the Scout Hut on Beulah Street on Sunday.
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.
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:
From there I followed the line of the Great Ouse as far as my favourite cormorant observation point…
…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…
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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:
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…
There was also a story teller outside…
To start this section we look at organisations who were actually involved in some way or other with this event:
I conclude this section by mentioning a couple of bloggers who regularly feature nature in their work:
CindyKnoke – 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.
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.
Letting people know that I will be visiting Cornwall in the near future, and a few other bits and bobs.
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.
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.
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:
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.
From there it was a short walk through the park to the station to pick up the tickets.
The email giving me the code to collect my tickets also included itineraries for both journeys.
This is a little stretched out, but I for one would not care to be on a train the was due to arrive at Kings Cross at 12:35 when I had to make a connection at Paddington at 13:05 – given British public transport’s usual “punctuality” that would be courting disaster.
The journey back could be a little quicker – but note that since there is no pre-booking on the London to Lynn line it is merely an annoyance should I miss the 14:44.
THE BRILLIANT.ORG 100-DAY
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).
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”:
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?
Official publicity for Heritage Day 2017 in King’s Lynn.
I have mentioned Heritage Open Day 2017 several times in this blog, including the fact that I will be stewarding at 11-13 King Street between 12 and 2PM. The official pamphlet for the event is now out, and with just less than two weeks to go I take this opportunity to share it with you.
Here is the map that is in the middle of the pamphlet, to help you orient yourselves:
THE PAMPHLET IN ORDER
This section shows the full pamphlet in all its glory:
A COUPLE OF CLOSE FOCUSES
The first place I havce chosen to focus on is Hampton Court, where my aunt lives:
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.
SETTING THE SCENE –
VICTOR, YANNO & DUNNO
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:
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…
SOME OF MY PICTURES FROM TODAY
I finish this piece with some pictures from earlier today, starting with…
A LITTLE EGRET SEEN IN THE RIVER NAR
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):
By way of an introduction to this post, which is celebrating some welcome good weather here is a video recording of Spring from Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”.
If you enjoy classical music you might like to visit young singer and Royal College of Music student Charlotte Hoather’s website by clicking here.
Since the epic storms I wrote about a while back, the weather has been gradually improving. Within the last few weeks I have been able to leave the flat without a coat, and then yesterday I switched the heating off. Today, for the first time in 2017, I am making use of my outside space:
Also today, although they have been in evidence for a few days now, I managed to photograph some butterflies, again for the first time of the year.
Where did I locate these little beauties? All within walking distance of my little town centre flat – two near Hardings Pits and two near Bawsey Drain, gained during…
It being bright, sunny and reasonably warm I set off on a walk just after 10, and was out for over two hours in total. Here are some of the non-butterfly related pictures I took while out and about.
Some stuff about putting pressure on MPs, some photographs and some general links.
As well as the stuff relating to Sir Henry Bellingham, MP for Northwest Norfolk and therefore my local MP I have a few other links and of course a selection of photographs. Also before I move into the main body of the post I start with…
In my last post but oneI described one the birds I had photographed as a long-tailed tit, when it was actually a pied wagtail. I have as those following the link will note made the correction to the original post, but I am not going to settle for the blogging equivalent of a correction notice in 6pt type at the bottom of page 27!
TACKLING THE MP 1: AN UNSATISFACTORY RESPONSE
I recently contacted my MP as part of a campaign brought to my attention by Alex Runswick of Unlock Democracy. Here is Sir Henry’s utterly predictable and deeply unsatisfactory response to my message about Propotional Representation:
Thank you for contacting me about Proportional Representation (PR).
I am afraid that I do not agree with your views on PR, and fully support First Past the Post (FPTP). This tried and tested system ensures stability and clear governance, preventing disproportionate influence by minority parties with minimal public support, who typically end up holding the balance of power in PR systems.
The British people were clear on this matter in 2011. While the Early Day Motion suggests that the referendum is not relevant, it is clear that the verdict was not only against the Alternative Vote system, but in favour of FPTP. The system is clearly well established and understood by voters, and also provides a very clear link between constituents and their representatives in Parliament.
More often than not, FPTP results in a Government with a working majority in Parliament, making decisive government possible. It allows the formation of a clear opposition that can provide an alternative to, and a check on, the Government of the day. The Government therefore has no plans to change the voting system for elections to the House of Commons.
I note that EDM 591 endorses the principle of votes that count equally. This is exactly what is happening through the Boundary Review, which will equalise the size of constituencies. As it stands, some constituencies have twice as many electors as others, and this cannot be right.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Every Best Wish
Sir Henry Bellingham MP for North West Norfolk House of Commons London SW1A 0AA
The reference to the 2011 referendum is particularly annoying, since the system on offer as an alternative was very nearly as flawed as FPTP. Also in 2011 we had not had the farce of the 2015 General Election which saw a party in receiving the votes of 24% of the electorate enabled to form a so-called “majority government”.
TACKLING THE MP 2: A BUS SERVICES BILL
The Better Transport Campaignare seeking to get people to contact their MPs to gain support for a strong Bus Services Bill. For more details of what this is all about and if applicable to contact your MP (as I have already done, though not in my case with any real hope let alone expectation of support) please click the screenshot below:
Today was a nice sunny afternoon…
Rationalising the Universe have put up an excellent post titled Quantum Numbers. To see the full post click on the diagram illustrating the shapes of electron orbitals that I have included below as a sample:
Ficitional newsreader Jonathan Pie provides a pungent take on the Trump inauguration (be warned there is some seriously strong language):
Finally, to end on light note, here is a link to a Guardian quiz entitled “what is your travel identity?”. When I did it it told me based on my answers that I always followed trends and sought to be cool. Anyone familiar with either me or this blog will realise that this assessment is further off beam than a faulty Trident!
An important letter to be delivered to world leaders on International Women’s Day (8th March) and a few other bits. Read, enjoy and please share widely.
This blog post features two special sections to start, and then some regular aspiblog fare to finish. We start with…
A LETTER TO WORLD LEADERS
Because I am on the mailing list of ONE I received their email containing a letter about education for girls and a button to click to add my name. Here is the text of the letter
A Letter to Leaders
You couldn’t be where you are today without a good education.
But because poverty is sexist, 130 million girls across the world are denied this basic right. Indeed, if the number of girls out of school formed a country, it would be the tenth largest on the planet – bigger than Japan or Germany.
All children deserve a good education, but in the poorest countries girls are denied it more often than boys. Education is vital for moving out of poverty. Every additional year of school that a girl completes increases her future earnings, which is good for her family, her community and her country.
We cannot afford to squander the potential of 130 million girls to cure diseases or end wars, invent brilliant technology or revolutionise an industry…or simply to access opportunity.
We are coming together and uniting across our divides to get every girl into school and to make sure she gets a quality education once she’s there.
But we need you to do the same.
Your education helped you to get where you are today – and it is in your power to help millions of girls to get theirs. Please act now, with the right policies and the necessary funds.
Show us that politics can work for the people – starting with the people who need it most.
To add your name to this letter, as I already have:
The letter will be delivered to various world leaders on International Women’s Day, March 8th.
SOME SPECIAL COINS AT AUCTION
These pictures are of lots 1036-40 in James and Sons’ February Auction. This auction, like our January auction which is Monday-Wednesday of next week is a three day affair, although day three, which the coin lots will be opening, will be at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich, after two days at our shop in Fakenham. Save for the picture of the presentation box for lot 1040 these images are all ultra hi-res (600 dpi) scans…