Archive for April 9, 2019



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.


Posted: April 9, 2019 in Birds, London, Natural History, UK

I was pleased to hear our first Blackcap of the year singing in my garden a few evenings ago.

Blackcap (m)

The Blackcap is a small warbler, primarily a summer visitor is easily identifiable if seen. Both sexes are similar but the male, as its name suggests, has a black cap, whilst the female has a brown cap.

Blackcap (f)

It is estimated that around 1.2 million pairs breed in the UK and whilst most depart in the autumn, a growing number (currently estimated at around 3000 birds) now spend the winter here. However, research has shown that these are mostly birds that have bred in Germany or NE Europe rather than UK breeding birds.

Blackcap (m)