Posts Tagged ‘Mallard’

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4468 Mallard was built at Doncaster in 1938. The A4 class was designed for the North-Eastern Railway by Sir Nigel Gresley to pull high speed express trains. Mallard remained in service until 1963 working the route between London and Edinburgh. Mallard is the holder of the record for the fastest steam train in the world at 125.88 MPH. This record was achieved on 3rd July 1938 on the Stoke bank section of the east coast line near Grantham. It was a risky business as a curve occurred in the line just beyond the Stoke bank and the engine needed to break heavily to ensure it remained on the rails, During this the engine overheated (a problem that had been foreseen) and the engine had to be removed from service for repairs. Mallard also took part in the 1948 Locomotive exchange trials when locos from different regions of the newly formed BR were trialed on routes they did not usually run. Mallard hauled a train from London Waterloo to Salisbury but failed following the run and was removed from the trial. Mallard also pulled the last Steam hailed flagship ‘Elizabethan’ express from London to Edinburgh on 8th September 1961.

In the 1980s the engine was restored to working order and after being used for a number of years for pulling railtours become part of the static collection at the National Railway Museum, firstly at York (till 2008) then at Shildon (2008-2010) and subsequently back at York.

The plaque on Mallard commemorating the Stoke bank record

The plaque on Mallard commemorating the Stoke bank record

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4468 Mallard was built at Doncaster in 1938. The A4 class was designed for the North-Eastern Railway by Sir Nigel Gresley to pull high speed express trains. Mallard remained in service until 1963 working the route between London and Edinburgh. Mallard is the holder of the record for the fastest steam train in the world at 125.88 MPH. This record was achieved on 3rd July 1938 on the Stoke bank section of the east coast line near Grantham. It was a risky business as a curve occurred in the line just beyond the Stoke bank and the engine needed to break heavily to ensure it remained on the rails, During this the engine overheated (a problem that had been foreseen) and the engine had to be removed from service for repairs. Mallard also took part in the 1948 Locomotive exchange trials when locos from different regions of the newly formed BR were trialed on routes they did not usually run. Mallard hauled a train from London Waterloo to Salisbury but failed following the run and was removed from the trial. Mallard also pulled the last Steam hailed flagship ‘Elizabethan’ express from London to Edinburgh on 8th September 1961.

In the 1980s the engine was restored to working order and after being used for a number of years for pulling railtours become part of the static collection at the National Railway Museum, firstly at York (till 2008) then at Shildon (2008-2010) and subsequently back at York.

The plaque on Mallard commemorating the Stoke bank record

The plaque on Mallard commemorating the Stoke bank record

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No trip to York is complete, at least for me, without a visit to the National Railway Museum.

My first stop this time was the South Yard where 60103 Flying Scotsman was parked up in between trips on the mainline. Unfortunately, it was parked around a corner of a building so it wasn’t accessible for good photographs.

Next stop was the Station Hall which as its name suggests is set out like a large station with trains in bay platforms, enabling you to walk alongside them.

At the moment it is hosting a display of Royal Train carriages from different periods of history.

In the Grand Hall, there is a display on Express trains featuring the Eurostar (which runs between London, Paris and Amsterdam) and the Japanese Bullet train, the Shinkansen.

It is now over 50 years since steam was phased out on UK railways and so aside from the steam locomotives more diesel and electric locomotives are being added to the national collection for preservation.

But finally, no visit would be complete without a stop at my favourite class of locomotive, the Gresley A4 Pacifics, here represented by 4468 Mallard. Last time I was here was to see all 5 of the worlds remaining A4s together to celebrate Mallard’s record-breaking run.

A bright sunny day and a chance to do the weekly butterfly and dragonfly survey on my home patch. It has been a somewhat slow start to the year with sporadic butterflies and just two records so far of Large Red Damselfly (two weeks ago – which was an early date for this site) and nothing since. As I made my way down to the Tarn I found a female Brimstone and then by the pool a Holly Blue.

Holly Blue

 

Approx 6-8 Large Red Damselflies were on the pool and 2 pairs were busily laying eggs. A single Azure damselfly was also present.

Large Red Damselfly

Azure damselfly

 

 

 

 

 

This was to be the highlight as the remainder of the walk only yielded a single Green-veined White and a second Brimstone.

Green-veined White (1st brood Female)

The nesting season for birds is well underway and today there were young Coots, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese and Mallard around the Tarn.

Coot and young

Greylag Geese and young

Canada Goose and young

Mallard and young

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)

 

 

 

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Later in the day, I went to our local nature reserve at Sutcliffe Park. It was a bright sunny frosty day. There was little to see in the marsh area, other than a couple of Moorhens, but the partially frozen lake was busy with a group of Canada Geese along with 2 Mute Swans, a flock of Mallard and some Coot. Both Black-headed and Common Gulls were also present.

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Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mallard (m)

Mallard (m)

Black-headed and Common Gulls

Black-headed and Common Gulls

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alongside the lake, a group of House Sparrow moved through the vegetation. Once numerous and the commonest garden bird in London they are now just recovering from a calamitous decline which saw them become a rarity. This is still the only place in my patch where they are regularly found.

 

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
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)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

 

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Made a detour on the way home for a walk around the Tarn. I was looking to see if I could find the Grey Wagtail which has been frequenting the feeding station in the garden for the last couple of weeks and which I presume is over-wintering on the islands in the Tarn.

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

I couldn’t see the Wagtail but a real delight was a pair of Gadwall on the lake. This is a first record here for me in 16 years of observation.

Gadwall

Gadwall

Another interesting sighting was a total count of 30 Moorhens around the lake. The previous high count was 13 in October 2014 and only 3 counts over 10 in the last 6 years. So where have they all come from?

Moorhen

Moorhen

Ring-necked Parrakeet

Ring-necked Parrakeet

Mallard

Mallard

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

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Popped into Sutcliffe Park Local Nature reserve this morning for a quick visit to see what was present on the marsh.

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The river is in flood due to all the rain we have had (this is the main reason the wetland was created to be a flood-plain for the river). So it was difficult to pick your way round the edges avoiding the very boggy bits.

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Spent a lot of time scouring the channels in the marsh looking for Snipe (regular) and Green Sandpiper (seen earlier in the week) but to no avail. Some of the more common residents were still to be seen though.

Robin

Robin

 

Coot

Coot

 

Tufted Duck

Tufted Duck

 

Mallard

Mallard

The highlight of the visit was a group of 5 Common Gulls on the Athletics field. Despite it’s name it is not that common locally.

 

Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
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)
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 Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)

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A misty morning as I arrived at Footscray meadows for a local RSPB walk. Whilst waiting for the group to assemble saw Song Thrush and Little Egret which were to be common sightings throughout the morning. As we set off towards the River Cray we could hear the Ring-Necked Parakeets shrill calling through the mist, which soon diapated leaving us with a bright sunny morning.

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Ring-Necked Parakeet

Ring-Necked Parakeet

Walking along the banks of the River we encountered a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail, both allowed good views although only the latter was within photographic range.

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Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

 

Crossing the bridge at the northern end of the site we made our way back down the river through grassland and stopping to look at the woods. Apart from groups of Long-tailed Tits there seemed to be a marked absence of small birds. Arriving back at the river by the Five Arch Bridge we added Mallard, Coot, Moorhen and Tufted Duck to our list.

Mallard

Mallard

 

A Great Comorant was seen flying over as we set off to the south following the bank of the river. A pair of Little Grebe and a pair of Gadwall were found amongst the Islands and a Water Rail was heard from deep inside the vegetation as we made our way back to our starting point.

 

A very pleasant mornings walk. Thanks to Ralph and Brenda the leaders.

 

Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)

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Back to the weekly butterfly and dragonfly survey of the patch. Its a beautiful day and so am hopeful for plenty to record.

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My first stop is the Damselfly pool. Its a good start as there are 6 Large Red Damselflies including a tandem pair. This really is excellent as I had been worried that the water quality issues might have killed off all the nymphs. Large Red are the earliest species to emerge on this site and so I am hopeful that the other Damselfly species (4 recorded last year) will also be OK.

Large Red Damselfly

Large Red Damselfly

Moving on the lake edges are thick with vegetation. Large White; Orange-Tip and Brimstone are all present in good numbers, but no blue butterflies. At the western end I also found a Comma butterfly.

Comma Butterfly

Comma Butterfly

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There is still much breeding activity going on with Moorhen and Coot still on nests.

Moorhen

Moorhen

The Greylag geese still have 7 young, now growing fast and there are 5 Mallard young. But no evidence that any Canada Geese have bred this year.

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

Mallard

Mallard

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Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
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)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)

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Its been two weeks since I have done the butterfly and dragonfly survey on my patch, so I am keen to see what changes there may have been. It is a warm afternoon but there is a stiff breeze which is obviously not ideal.

The Garden draws a blank and so I set off towards the Tarn. As I reach the entrance a Peacock butterfly drifts across my path. Common Carder Bees and White-tailed Bees are actively feeding on the flowers. A Small White Butterfly flies across a patch of flowers, but along with another seen later in the walk that is to be the sum of the butterflies seen today.

It looks like it has been snowing but it is actually a fall of seeds from one of the trees.

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The Damselfly pool is looking in very poor state at the moment with almost no living pond vegetation. Still looking back over the last couple of years I have not had records till June from here so it is to be hoped that there will still be some live larvae to emerge in the coming weeks,

Mallard and Greylag Geese have both got young. I could only count 7 Greylag goslings (11 two weeks ago), but they are well tucked away so it may be that the remainder may just be out of view. Strangely the Canada Geese seem to be making no attempt at nesting although they are hanging around in pairs. The 2 Egyptian geese, which arrived about a month ago, are still present.

Mallard with young

Mallard with young

 

 

Egyptian Geese

Egyptian Geese

I find the resident Terrapin sunning himself on the retaining wall of one of the islands. Its been a few visits since I last saw him and I did wonder if he was still around.

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Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)