Archive for September, 2018

A morning trip to the RSPB reserve on the coast at Titchwell, prompted by the reports of a couple of good birds the night before. As we walked down the track to the freshwater marsh a Great White Egret flew across the reeds giving excellent views. Scanning the marsh from Island hide Sue picked out some small waders, Dunlin, but on checking one had a down-curved bill and a reddish tinge to its body, a Curlew Sandpiper. Back on the path, and with the help of others we had soon located the first of our targets, a Red-necked Phalarope. It was distant and only its behaviour of feeding at a frantic pace made it stand out at that distance. There was no sign of our second target, a Glossy Ibis, which had arrived the evening before and had last been seen flying into the reed-bed. Also present was a flock of 18 Eurasian Spoonbills, over 200 Black-tailed Godwits and 20 Ruffe.

41772527010_edfc93e197_z

Red-necked Phalarope. Photo by Tom Wilberding (https://www.flickr.com/photos/twilberding/)

As we walked back to the centre scanning the salt marsh, a bird flew across my view and immediately disappeared into the marsh vegetation. It was slender winged, grey with black wing tips and it had a white rump. Although it did not reappear to confirm its identity I am pretty sure that it was a male Hen Harrier, the rarer of our two Harrier species.

8272523975_3dccea1593_z

Male Hen Harrier. Photo by Radovan Vaclav (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rado_vaclav/)

An excellent mornings birdwatching

Taking a break from nature watching Sue and I went shopping at the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival held in the walled garden at Holkham Hall.

There were around 60 stands from local producers and on display were everything from meat to cheese; from vegetables to fruit; from cordial to gin and whisky. The great delight about these festivals is going from stall to stall testing and tasting the goods on offer. We brought some provisions for the holiday before stopping at a farm shop in Walsingham to complete our shopping. It is always good to savour the local produce.

 

Red Admiral and Comma

Back at our cottage in the afternoon, the garden contained a host of butterflies – Red Admiral, Large and Small White; Comma and Small Tortoishell along with a Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Later in the evening, we saw a Barn Owl flying across the field and around 1030 we heard a Tawny Owl calling and then at least two Barn Owls calling, well more like screaming, as they objected to its presence in their territory. Amazing sound – I have never heard then call before.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruff (Calidris pugnax)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Tawny Owl [sp] (Strix aluco)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

On the way to 2 weeks in North Norfolk, our lunch stop was at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Welney. This reserve is famous for its wintering geese and ducks but can be good at other times of the year as well.

DSCN0072-3

Overlooking Lady Fen it is clear that the hot summer has been a real problem here as o be there is no water to be seen. This means that there are no pools and as a consequence no birds! The feeder station, however, does not disappoint and there are a large group of Tree Sparrows along with the Goldfinches and House Sparrows. A Brown Rat entertained us as it tried, and succeeded in climbing up the feeder frame to get to the feeder tubes.

DSCN0070-2

On entering the main hide we saw that the main reserve area was also very dry. This is something of a concern as it not many weeks before the wintering swans, geese and ducks begin to return from the breeding grounds and this will not be a suitable environment for them. The highlight here was a party of Yellow Wagtails, mostly this year’s birds but with one very bright adult.

34015882496_e0c5e13354_z (1)

Yellow Wagtail. Photo by Don Sutherland (https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapperg/)

 

AS we walked to the northern set of hides we were accompanied by Small White butterflies, with the occasional Speckled Wood, Large White and Small Tortoiseshell. A large number of migrant Hawker dragonflies were also present together with some Common Darters.

Speckled Wood and Common Darter

Arriving at the first hide we had a view of the water channel and a Kingfisher alighted in front of the hide but disappeared before I could get a photograph.

DSCN0078-7

At the next hide we immediately saw a Great White Egret and located a Common Sandpiper, but the Garganey reported as present here remained elusive. Again the lack of water was very noticeable

.

DSCN0077-6

Then it was time to recommence our journey. Arriving at the cottage that is to be our base over the next two weeks, we were delighted to find a Painted Lady Butterfly sunning its self on the patio. Later a Barn Owl was seen sitting in a tree in the field beyond the garden.

3821760274_66d459a97a_z

Painted Lady. Photo by Dan Davison (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dannyboymalinga/)

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [sp] (Passer montanus)
Western Yellow Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla flava)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

The stained glass in Southwark Cathedral dates from Tudor times to that replaced after the damage caused by bombing in the Blitz during WWII.

DSC00332-14

Fragment of Tudor stained glass window

DSC00329-13

Window above the high altar

York Railway Station

Posted: September 14, 2018 in History, Trains, UK, York
Tags:

York has one of the busiest Railway interchanges in the country with trains to all parts of England, Scotland and Wales

Video by Michael Jiroch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQksZSC6YIc)

York Castle Prison

Posted: September 13, 2018 in History, Post medieval history, UK, York
Tags: ,

DSC02861

Following its demise as a military base, York castle was used a prison. New buildings were added throughout the 18th century including a county prison, a new courthouse and a female prison. The last civilian prisoners were transferred out in 1900 although it continued to be used as a military prison until 1929.

DSC02860

Prisoner Graffiti

Prisoner Graffiti

DSC02854

Exercise Yard

Exercise Yard

DSC02862

The courthouse remains in use as the headquarters of York Crown Court, but the prison buildings were transfered for use as a museum and today house The York castle Museum.

The most famous prisoner to be held in York was the Highwayman Dick Turpin, who had fled from Essex to Yorkshire when it became likely he would be arrested. He lived under the assumed name of John Palmer. However some local magistrates were suspicious of how he funded his lifestyle and he was arrested in 1737 on suspicion of horse theft. His true identity became clear when he made the mistake of writing to his brother in law from prison and the letter was read by the local magistrates. He was tried at York in March 1739 and executed the following month.

HERE LAYS - DICK TURPIN
Photo by Carl Spencer (http://www.flickr.com/photos/82887550@N00/)

Dick Turpin's Gravestone
Photo by Xerones (http://www.flickr.com/photos/xerones/)

York City Walls

Posted: September 12, 2018 in History, Medieval History, UK, York
Tags: ,

I think one of the most attractive things about York as a city is the city walls. These are almost complete except for one section to the north of the city and you are able to walk around the city upon them. It merely gives you an idea of what a medieval walled city might have been like.

???????????????????????????????

DSC02782

One of the fascinating aspects of the city walls is that they have been refurbished and rebuilt over a number of years and as a result show a number of different styles of defensive wall building.

DSC02780

DSC02785

Yorks Museums

Posted: September 11, 2018 in History, UK, York
Tags:

Video by Dennis Callan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fPtrDrRa8E)

Completed in 1937 this was the 100th Gresley designed Pacific locomotive to be built. It worked its life on the East Coast mainline and holds the post war steam speed record of 112 mph set on 23/5/1959. This was achieved over the same stretch of track the Mallard had used for the world record run pre-war, but the difference was that 4498 was pulling a full passenger train. It was withdrawn from service in February 1966 and sent to Crewe for refurbishment as it had been purchased by a preservation trust. Following this it was used to run railtours out of Steamtown at Carnforth. In 1994 it transfered to Great Central Railway and also did a spell at the East Lancs Railway before being based on the North York Moors railway. In 2012 it took part in the Olympic torch tour of the UK.

DSC01549

DSC01542


video by Grantham8 (http://www.youtube.com/user/grantham8?feature=watch)


video by steamvideo (http://www.youtube.com/user/steamvideo?feature=watch)

Views of York (2)

Posted: September 7, 2018 in History, Roman History, UK, York
Tags: ,
Column from Roman headquarters building (4th century AD)

Column from Roman headquarters building (4th century AD)

DSC02940

DSC02885

DSC02882

The birthplace of Guy Fawkes

The birthplace of Guy Fawkes

York Minster

York Minster

York Minster close

York Minster close

York Minster

The first recorded church on the site was in 627 in a record of the baptism of a King of Northumbria. This church was rebuilt and extended over the years but was finally destroyed by Danish raid in 1075. it was rebuilt in 1080 in the Norman style. The current Gothic cathedral was begun in 1220. Building continued over the next 250 years and it was eventually completed and consecrated in 1472.

DSC01673

DSC01659

DSC01661

DSC01666

Statue of Roman Emperor Constantine, who was proclaimed Emperor by the Army at York whilst he was commanding them in 306. The statue stands outside the Minster as a reminder that Constantine, as well as being proclaimed in York, was the Emperor who made Christianity an official religion in the Roman Empire.

???????????????????????????????