Archive for January, 2018

When Keith and I visited Gravesend we went to see the Sikh temple. It was opened in 2010 replacing an earlier Gurdwara in the town. It is thought that it is one of the largest Gurdwara in the UK and one of the largest complexes outside India.

We were welcomed inside and encouraged to look around at the prayer rooms which make up the major part of the temple building. It is a very peaceful place.


In the 11th century, the Abbey built a church for the townspeople on land to the east of the Cathedral precinct. However, this site was liable to frequent floods and so in the 15th century, the church was moved to its current site of the west of the Market. The new Church opened in 1407 and was partially built using materials from the original building. It 1651 it, like the Cathedral, was damaged by Parliamentarian forces. The parish records show that in 1665-7, the rector buried 462 people who had died from the plague (out of a town’s population of around 3000).

The tower was to prove troublesome and in 1820 the original spire was removed as builders felt it to be unsafe, During a gale in 1881 part of the Tower broke away and crashed down through the roof of the Church.

The church contains a number of original features including the 15th-century font.

It also contains some fine stained glass windows.

Keith and I spent the day in Gravesend, a town of the south bank of the Thames estuary in Kent. We visited sights of interest (see posts later this week) but also found time for a walk along the riverfront to see what was feeding on the mud exposed by the falling tide.

3 species of Gull and Mute Swans were present together with 3 Ruddy Turnstone, 15 Common Redshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Mute Swans and 2 Shelduck. At the end of our walk, we explored the lake area in Fort Park where we got some excellent views of Eurasian Wren. Returning to the Railway station and moments after Keith had got his train, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk passed overhead. A good way to end the day.


Ruddy Turnstone

Black-headed Gull (left above), Common Gull (left below) and Herring Gull (right)

Common Redshank (left), Black-tailed Godwit (upper right), Shelduck (lower right) and Mute Swan (bottom)

Eurasian Wren (top), Collared Dove (bottom left), Chaffinch (bottom centre) and Moorhen (bottom right)


Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

A Penguin comes to call

Posted: January 26, 2018 in Mammals, Natural History

They weren’t expecting this to happen



1-20-18 I got this image of two Acorn Woodpeckers touching beaks. Was this an adult and young so long after breeding season? Was this some pre-courtship or pair bonding activity as it would be with ravens? I can find NO mention of such behavior in any of my references. Here is suggestion from Pamela […]

via A TOUCHING SCENE, BUT WHY? — Towheeblog

Fascinating when you see things like this. I saw these two Black-tailed Godwits ‘fencing’ last Autumn in Norfolk and still wonder whether that was courtship. Maybe that was the same as suggested here – that they were showing feeding capability.


Black-tailed Godwits

Highlights of 2017: Skies

Posted: January 24, 2018 in Landscape, Natural History, UK

Regular readers will know that I love photographing skies particularly at sunset and I saw some wonderful ones in 2017

Views of Peterborough

Posted: January 23, 2018 in Cambridgeshire, UK

Market Square buildings

16th century home of the Hake family. Thomas Hake was MP for Peterborough 1586-89

Town Hall 1929

Queen Victoria dies

Posted: January 22, 2018 in History, UK

Queen Victoria (1897) By ArishG – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


Today marks the 117th anniversary of the death of Queen Victoria. By the time of her death, she had reigned for more than 6 decades. The 81-year-old Queen spent her last days at Osbourne House, her residence on the Isle of Wight with her family. On the morning of the 21st, she seemed slightly recovered and called for her Pomeranian dog, Turi to come and play on her bed. But this was short-lived and she soon drifted off again. She called for her son, Bertie (soon to be Edward VII) and asked him to kiss her. The Dean of Westminster then recited her favourite hymn and she slipped into unconsciousness. She died at 6.30pm on the 22nd surrounded by her family including her grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

When the news broke, people ran through the streets shouting ‘Queen Dead!’ at the top of their voices which one observer described as ‘ a babel of voices’. I doubt that she would have been amused.

(taken from material in BBC History Magazine)


This is an amazing video of the interaction between a photographer and sea-lions off the coast of British Columbia in Canada


Continuing on from the theme of yesterday. The trip Keith and I had to Minsmere (and those wonderful Bitterns) was also the location for today’s choice. The Marsh Warbler is a rare bird in the UK and so even seeing it was a fantastic experience and even that can be difficult as warblers tend to like to skulk in the bushes but to get to photograph it was a definite highlight moment.

Marsh Warbler