Archive for November, 2013

Blood Moon

Posted: November 30, 2013 in Astronomy
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Blood Moon 2
Photo by Paul Russell (

I had never really given a lot of thought to the term ‘Blood Moon’ until I came across this fascinating article

Blood moon
Photo by Jasen Miller (





Views of Amsterdam (4)

Posted: November 28, 2013 in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Having looked at the canal side houses here are some pictures from our recent trip to Amsterdam of the dwellings actually on the canals – The house boats








3650 is a representative of the class 57 shunting engine, which operated on the Great Western Railway. It was built at Swindon in 1939 and worked through to 1963 when it was sold to Stephenson Clarke Ltd to work on a colliery in South Wales. It was purchased from there by a member of the Great Western Society in 1969 and was transferred first to Hereford and then to Didcot. Restoration took nearly 20 years but it was finally returned to working order in 2008.

These small shunting engines were among the commonest on the railway. 863 class 57 engines were built in total and like the diesel class 08 shunter which I featured a few days ago they formed the invisible work horses which kept the railways running.

3650 at Didcot
3650 in Stephenson Clarke livery
Photo by Roger Marks (

12-310  A Pannier Tank at the Bluebell; three of four - Didcot's 57XX 0-6-0PT No. 3650 at Sheffield Park  with the 14.00 to Kingscote
3650 in steam at Sheffield Park
Photo by Hectate 1 (

3650 in action at Didcot
Video by SimonTrains (

Naturelog: Tuesday 26th November

Posted: November 26, 2013 in Birds, Natural History
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Working at home today so able to see two unusual visitors to the garden. Eurasian Treecreeper is an uncommon bird in the garden (This being the third garden record this year). They always frequent the same part of the garden, indeed the same 2 or 3 trees so I wonder if we are on the edge of their territory and they only feed here from time to time.

Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (

Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (

The second pleasing sighting was a first for the garden – Pied Wagtail. They used to be fairly regular on the patch from the area to the West of the Tarn around Mottingham Station but seemed not to have been present this year so it was great to see one getting up to the Northern end of the patch and spending a little while in our garden.

Pied wagtail
Photo by David Quick (

Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Treecreeper [sp] (Certhia familiaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)





Today I went to do the Winter Thrush Survey for November at Sutcliffe Park LNR and surrounding area.

After the amount of activity during the patch survey last Friday I had expected more but apart from a few Blackbirds and a flock of 12 Starlings there was little Thrush activity in the area. One interesting sighting was a Mute Swan on the lake at Sutcliffe Park, my first record of this species here. It seemed quite tame and was coming to the people feeding the ducks so I presume it has relocated from one of the nearby Parks perhaps Greenwich. maybe we will get one on the Tarn – my only patch record for this species being a fly-over this year.




Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
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)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

Ring Nebula

Posted: November 25, 2013 in Astronomy
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Some filtered shots from the Harvard NASA telescope showing the Red hues at the outside of the ring and the Green and Blue hues in the central part of the Nebula.




A copy of a Hubble telescope image of the Ring Nebula

Ring Nebula M57
Photo by Hubble Heritage (


This image of a doctor’s surgery is taken from a Greek vase made in Athens about 480 to 470 BCE. On the left the dwarf can be seen ushering the patients into the surgery, where people are waiting to be seen by a physician. In the centre a seated Physician is seen treating a patient’s arm. Another patient who was already been treated and has his arm bandaged looks on. The hare or rabbit held by the dwarf may be the patients payment to the physician for the treatment he is receiving.

This frieze can be seen in the British Museum and the vase in the Musee du Louvre in Paris