Archive for February, 2013

Whirlpool galaxy

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Astronomy

Todays pictures from Harvard NASA

Whirlpool

Whirlpool2

And for another suprise!

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Birds, Natural History

I move onto the Greenwich Peninsula. My first stop is the peninsular ecology Park.

http://www.urbanecology.org.uk/gpep.html

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Apart from the activity of Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Great Tits and Blue Tits it is very quiet and the only other highlight is two Little Grebes.

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Leaving the ecology Park I walk on up the east side of the peninsular, checking the usual gull roosts. There are only a few birds on the stone pier, but I am surprised to see a sleeping Oystercatcher roosting on the pier.

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I move onto the gull roost by the 02 River Station, but this only seems to be populated by Black Headed Gulls, together with a few Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. I keep a good lookout but no sign of a Peregrine around the Dome

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

The last day of February and according to radio five this morning also the last day of winter. It is bright and clear and so good day to check some of the local sites.

First stop is Sutcliffe Park LNR.

Sutcliffe Park LNR has been created from playing fields as part of the local flood prevention measures. The river Quaggy ran underneath the Park through a drain, but in recent years the river has been restored to the surface and an area of the park allowed to act as a flood-plain

http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/uk/sutcliffe-park.html#cr

http://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/directory_record/3791/sutcliffe_park

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Excellent views of a Wren, but little else to be found in the marsh area. The reed bed is a little more active, but mostly with Blue Tits feeding on the reed heads.
Unfortunately too far away to get a good photo of them. I move onto the lake which has its usual occupants.
Rounding the lake I decide to walk back through the marsh area instead of taking my usual route out. I was musing on the day in December 2011,when I found a Little Egret on the Marsh. My attention is snapped back to the present when I see a large white bird standing on the ground at the edge of the Marsh. It’s a little egret.
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I shall have to try that technique again. O that you could just think the bird and suddenly it would appear!

Ring Nebula

Posted: February 27, 2013 in Astronomy

Latest pictures from Harvard NASA telescope

Ring Nebula

Harvard NASA telescope

Posted: February 27, 2013 in Astronomy

For anyone interested in using the Harvard NASA telescope the web address is

http://mo-www.cfa.harvard.edu/OWN/index.html

Its easy and its free!

Starling roost 4

Posted: February 26, 2013 in Birds, Natural History

A truly wonderful sight. I remember when there used to be a fantastic starling roost in Trafalger Square

Radnor Bird Blog

starling roost 1

starling roost 2

starling roost 3I have often wondered where Salvador Dali managed to get his inspiration from?  I think I have found the answer.

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This needs our support

Green Living London

The RSPB has called for tighter international regulations to prevent a substance that is lethal to seabirds from being released into our seas.

The substance, polyisobutene (PIB), was identified by scientists at the University of Plymouth from samples taken from seabirds washed up along the south-west coast of England. PIB is believed to have been responsible for over 4,000 seabird deaths in at least four incidents around European coasts in recent years, yet is currently given one of the lowest hazard classifications under The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships.

The RSPB raises questions about the validity of this classification, as the effects of the chemical are only tested under laboratory conditions which do not take into account harmful effects on seabirds and the marine environment when it mixes with seawater.  As a result, PIB can still legally be dumped into the sea when vessels wash out their…

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A quiet day in the Garden

Posted: February 26, 2013 in Birds, Natural History

Working at home today. There is little sign of activity in the garden. The cold snap seems to have slowed all the birds down from their frantic activity of last week. The Nuthatch was on his favorite tree this morning but had gone by the time I returned with the camera!

Trifid Nebula

Posted: February 26, 2013 in Astronomy

Another picture from Harvard NASA Telescope which I have just processed

TrifidNebula

Have also signed up to use Bradford Telescope but no images have come through yet. Harvard seems much more efficient if not as flexible and its free!

In search of a Diver

Posted: February 25, 2013 in Birds, Natural History

A free day so off early to Staines Reservoirs in search of Great Northern Diver. I haven’t been to this site for years. The large areas of water and the limited access mean that it is very easy to miss birds here. I will be honest and say that I only had hopes of a distant scope view, but I took the camera anyway in case there were other birds I could photograph.

The bus from Heathrow Central to Stanwall goes via Terminal 5. As we were leaving the ring road we pass over some ditches in the area where Perry Oaks SF used to be. In one of the ditches was a Little Egret.

Anyway I arrived at the reservoirs and began to make my way along the causeway which rubs between the north and south basins

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First sightings include Gadwall, Shoveller and Tufted Ducks on the bank. 3 Little Grebes and a Great Crested grebe are also present, but despite scanning the water there is no sign of a diver. I continue along the causeway and then I spot a large bird close into the causeway on the Northern reservoir. Surprise, no distant view but really close and very confiding as it bobs along the water coming towards me. It gets level and I get some photos and then walk with it as it continues back towards the Stanwall end. Eventually it tires of my company and makes its way out from the bank. Now if only all birds were that easy.

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Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Day List 31 species

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Great Northern Loon (Gavia immer)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)