Sunday, 18 February 2018

All done!

My latest book is now complete and the final PDF will be with the printers early this week. It's my largest volume yet and is the book I've wanted to write for a long time..

I've been lucky enough to have had the foreword written by academic, philosopher, composer, concert violinist and author Ray Kohn, an old Cambridge friend of my older brother Dr Rob Bryant. I first met Ray nearly fifty years ago when I spent some time in Cambridge after I left the Navy: even as an undergraduate, I was aware of Ray's glittering intellect.

Ray has had some very thought-provoking papers published over the years and I was delighted to find that he concurred with many of my ideas about education, politics and the misuse of Science as propaganda.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Essex Rock and Mineral Show

Today Linda and I were down in metropolitan Essex at our first event of the year: the Collier Row Rock and Mineral Show.

There was a fantastic turnout and we had a really good day, selling not just lots of meteorites, but also plenty of meteorite jewellery too. Some of the specimens on sale were absolutely incredible, with some particularly fine fossils.

On the way home we saw a Polecat run across the road near the Devil's Handbasin at Brome in Suffolk, as well as several Buzzards and Kites.



Friday, 16 February 2018

Iceland Gulls at Buxton

Since Linda was busy in the garden, I took a dart out to Buxton to look for the reported Iceland Gull. At first I couldn't find any gulls at all, but after a bit of a drive round, I found a large group on ploughed fields just east of the Aylsham Road.

It took me a good five minutes checking each bird before I found a definite Iceland: a further five minutes produced another strong candidate, as well as a third white-winged gull that had been ringed at some point. This one doesn't look so 'Iceland': opinions gratefully received!

Finally (on the basis that I never learn!) the last bird was one of a couple I thought looked reasonable for Caspian Gull...









Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Great day out in the Brecks!

With nothing new in East or North Norfolk, Brian, Norman and I headed south, stopping first at Santon Downham. No sign of any Crossbills, but we did hear a Lesser Spot, and enjoyed watching Bramblings, a Water Rail a really bright Redwing and lots of Song Thrushes. One interesting bird was a possible Willow Tit: it had all the credentials (scruffy cap, very white neck etc.) It even sounded like a Willow Tit...

Next stop was Lakenheath Fen, where a decent herd of 300+ Whooper Swans came in to feed: later they flew right over our heads towards RAF Feltwell, allowing really good views.

A stop for tea at Joist Fen added Common Crane to the daylist: again, these flew around and passed quite close, so we could see that the group of four included a juvenile.

A long walk upstream failed to add the Great Egret that a couple of friendly Nordic Walkers told us about, but we did see a Little Egret and a herd of Roe Deer near the Reception Centre. A near nine-mile walk in great company with some excellent birds..















Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Strumpshaw Fen

The usual Tuesday walk around the Fen was not without interest (although it will be nice when the Spring brings dry paths once more!)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was giving himself brain damage by reception: if you look closely, you can pick out his little tongue! Fen Hide produced one early surprise: a fly-through adult Kittiwake: apart from that, just several close Marsh Harriers - always good to see - and a Cormorant in full breeding plumage.

Finally, Reception Hide delivered a few Siskins and Bullfinches, a Snipe and the regular Common Buzzard.










Sunday, 11 February 2018

Hello Sailor!

While I was searching through the thousands of images I have saved on external drives, caddies, USB sticks and CD-ROMs over the years, I came across some old pictures from my Navy days! I thought those of you who have met me in the flesh might enjoy seeing them, if only to gain a better understanding of how I managed to induce two women to marry me!

(Looking at the ears, you'll also understand why I've had long hair since 1972!)

 

Saturday, 10 February 2018

New book!

My latest book is with the typesetter: it should be available around about Easter...

Glossy Ibis: still there!

If you're in the area and haven't seen this beautiful and very confiding bird, you really should make the effort!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Sparrowhawk!

I arrived home from the hairdresser's to find Linda and Sue 'oooh-ing and aaah-ing' at a beautiful little male Sparrowhawk waiting in ambush on the fence. He stayed at least half an hour, waiting for the Collared Doves to come for their supper: in the end he couldn't resist chasing off after a Blackbird (which escaped!)






Thursday, 8 February 2018

Up close and personal: Black Brant, Glossy Ibis and lots of Mediterranean Gulls.

Brian and I left Blofield Heath (in my car for a change!) and drove through the frosty lanes to Ludham. No owls, but lots of Bewicks (30+) on the meadows, as well as a group of Whoopers that flew over without stopping.

A walk along the prom at Mundesley failed to reveal the Glaucous Gull, so we carried on to Cley, stopping on the way to check out an enormous flock of Brents: no sign of anything out of the ordinary, so we adjourned for coffee and scones. With nothing new worth travelling west for, we retraced our route back to Salthouse, just in time to see a Hawk fighter putting up all the geese. As it turned out, this worked to our advantage, since a quick backtrack to Walsey Hills gave us excellent views of the Black Brant. (As you can see below, it had the classic complete collar, a lovely white 'flash' and a duskier breast.)

Following another fruitless check out of the beach at Mundesley, we decided to revisit the Glossy Ibis at Bure Park: the Sun was shining, so we hoped for some better colour in the plumage. This lovely bird put on a fabulous show for us, wandering quite close at times and finally looking its best for photos!

Final stop was Yarmouth Beach, where a handful of biscuit crumbs brought in a couple of dozen Med Gulls in a variety of attractive plumages. Several of these wore silver rings: if anyone's interested, just mail me and I'll send pictures!