Notice Board: the Honey-buzzard Season in Northumberland 2015 as it happened – Nick Rossiter

 

Notice Board: the Honey-buzzard Season in Northumberland 2015 as it happened – Nick Rossiter

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This is the current blog for the 2015 season, updated daily, giving recent activity. An alternative copy is held here.

Significant events in the Honey-buzzard season as it unfolds in Northumberland are given here. Seeing Honey-buzzard in their breeding areas is facilitated by reading about their jizz, knowing their calls and digesting the three BB papers updating Honey-buzzard identification (bottom of page). Listen to these wise words from a former prophet: “to try and identify them from plumage I think is a loser to begin with … you’ve got to identify Honey Buzzards from their shape and structure”. The Honey-buzzard is rapidly increasing as a migrant in Britain with particularly major movements in 2000 and 2008. The analysis cited indicates that a continental origin for the migrants is very unlikely, with various studies on the continent all indicating that the Honey-buzzard is not susceptible to drift while on migration. Focus is now on the significance of orographic lift in the choice of migration routes for birds from more northerly areas where thermals are weaker. The breeding status of the Honey-buzzard in Britain is surely less controversial than it was. Migration totals in the UK have soared in the past decade and attempts to attribute these movements to a Scandinavian origin are in conflict with both 1) the underlying physics of broad-winged raptor migration, and 2) the actual details of the movements. The status of Honey-buzzard in the UK has been highly politicised, as in the climate change debate. A close examination of the Honey-buzzard review performed by the Northumberland County Records Committee is in progress: start with part 1 and follow the links through to later pages. A worrying development in early 2015 was the modification of migration data in a Scarce Migrants paper in BB; while the Editor has promised not to repeat the manoeuvre, erroneous data in the literature is extremely difficult to erase. Fear is the path to the dark side; fear of not being able to identify Honey-buzzard leads to anger; anger leads to hate of those that can; hate leads to suffering in the UK birding community (with apologies to Star Wars!). For full details of the 2012 season see the study area Report 2012 with hyperlinked Appendix containing all field observations. Full details for other seasons are contained in the annual blogs, cited above, with an overall summary in Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland.

This NB is now closed. The new season’s NB is here.

March 9th: visit to Sele Practice for 1st time for quite a while was very brief: having a Shingles vaccination from a nurse took about 5 minutes! Chickenpox is a bit like Ebola (bit being the operative word!) in that it lurks in the body after the initial illness, waiting for a lapse in the immune system to emerge again, in this case, as the variant Shingles which can be very painful. Funds up a rather precarious 1k as battle rages between bulls and bears in commodity shares; commodities themselves are steadily recovering but the bears think it won’t last as China’s economy continues to slow and the bulls think the cycle should be turning, that is we’ve bottomed. Yesterday saw rout in some mining shares as GS put out a full-of-woe research paper. Of course you cannot take anything at face value; quite possibly GS who’ve heavily shorted commodities and their shares is feeling very uncomfortable with the bear-squeeze and is trying to manipulate prices back down again! Made N4c4c after the jab; impressed by the dynamism of tmbo and tmeo – gr8 at the turn-on!! Later made G4g4ss where had good chat with B/M at t (gr8 to meet l again) and with the gang at s. 2moro it’s start of the soaring season: getting out looking for raptors. Should make N4c4t and T&S/R&C4ra/m4s. lok2t beauties!!!!

March 8th: worth noting that did see the Northern Lights as came back on A69 around the Horsley area at 22:20 on 6/3; it was an eerie green glow in the N not particularly shimmering but still quite noticeable. Today had long wait for BT – no sign by 12:20 during official time slot of 08:00-13:00 so when S came then to brighten the place up asked her to do the honours if they turned up. But they didn’t; however finally got a call while sitting in N saying they were on their way from Chopwell. So went home and after an exchange visit the technician arrived and everything worked! So now have land-line ‘phone number 01434 673384. Evidently Slaley exchange is pretty congested with getting on for 1200 connected lines. He said (honestly) that I wouldn’t get anything like the 20 Mbit I get from my satellite BB if I used the local Cu wires even with the fibre to cabinet. By time all done at 15:40 missed the monthly AF, which was a pity for me and the book dealers as sure we could do some business. Did make DrS4g4s later where some cage fighting on BT tele was popular with the locals; some of the lasses on show (on the tele that is) were not the sort to be tangled with! Completely satisfying later on: she’s a gr8 *: the favoured one!!! 2moro have nurse appointment at 10:00 after which will go to N4c4c and later G4g4ss!! lok2tmbo!!!!!

March 7th: big day today with YE 2016 awards. Event went off surprisingly smoothly with everyone turning up and performing; last minute task was recovering one of the cups from SCA at Prudhoe; went to the gate-house and there it was as expected – a good omen for the day. Manager M at the B wound me up over the other cup saying ‘no sign of it’ until I spotted it on a table, nicely set-up! Oh that one, he said! Prize winners all looked pleased and at least we didn’t have the past practice of inviting entrants along to make up the numbers and win nothing; always thought that was rather cruel. Put up photographs and textual commentary/credits on our web site at a new high-lighted (sticky) page for YE. Did some hedge-trimming on roadside towards dusk with about 2/3 done. Had a dry day: needed after weekend! 2moro it’s just possibly the start of a BT land-line service at home but not banking on it. Then may make N4c4l if job done quickly and much later may go E!! lok2t beauties!!!!

March 6th: very lively party for S, lasting from 13:00-17:10 and beyond but had to leave then to catch train at Richmond; again very smooth journey from Richmond – KX (via Vauxhall) and from KX – NCL doing latter in 3 hours. Car parking charge at NCL for weekend is £16, which is good value from the convenience point of view. Party was very well attended with son (just back from holiday in Argentina), big sis and many Anglo-Iranians. Took loads of photos, most with flash, which have come out very well on new camera. S can almost walk; she can stand and move quite well grabbing the furniture. I gave her some extended coaching today walking her up and down to strengthen her leg muscles and improve her balance; she was very keen on the exercise, terrific motivation to walk. Parents obviously welcomed my help as son-in-law’s got a bad back and daughter has morning sickness! S’s sibling is due in September so 19 months in between; so looking forward to grandchild no.2, whatever the gender! Just made G4g4s: mates pleased to see me! 2moro is big day for YE!! Haven’t mentioned the Gulls for ages as they looked doomed for relegation to oblivion (National South) but after being bottom 3 weeks ago with 20 points from 29 games, they’ve now won 4 in a row to give them 32 points from 33 games and some chance of an unlikely escape! Mind you the Gulls manager/coach/midfield player has also been doubling up as bus driver on away trips in a gifted old bus so finances do seem a little fragile! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

March 5th: down in Richmond, London, for granddaughter’s birthday party – no. 1 held tomorrow – though actual date was 17/2. Very smooth journey, parking at NCL, catching 11:00 to KX and arriving at Richmond at 14:41. Very pleased to see everyone again. A sibling for S is on the way evidently!! lok2t beauties!!!!

March 4th: very raw today but the snow was to the S. Spent whole morning sorting out award ceremony on Monday. Made N4c4t and W4ra4s with a lengthy session in between doing the Talking Newspaper recording (I’m the technician!). Must say that’s the best I’ve seen for a while: fantastically motivating!!! Some moths are on the wing in spite of it being so cool: a Pale Brindled Beauty this morning and a Chestnut this evening. Funds took a turn for the better late in the week, finishing up 3k on the week on continued recovery in natural resources; yesterday moved a rather tiny 3k from bonds into some bombed-out UK resource stocks; will continue doing this while the trend continues as the opportunities are huge. lok2tmbo!!!!

March 3rd: weather was dry and a little milder so had another good session in garden sweeping hard surfaces and dumping the humus on the old shed area; also completed cutting some shrubs so just some of the roadside hedge to do now and it’s off to the hills, so to speak, for another raptor season. Am really making an effort to improve the garden so can enjoy it more this coming summer. People think I’m moving but that’s not true!! Went to MP4m4t and S4con with N; was grand concert with RNS very much at home playing for Radio 3 a Mozart symphony (31) and piano concerto (25) plus Stravinksy’s Danses concertantes and Debussy’s Petit Suite. I liked the Debussy – very lively and varied – and both Mozart pieces; the piano concerto was very delicately played by Francesco Piemontesi. The flutes and piccolo starred in the Debussy: looks like some cover will be required in the flutes directly: will miss her!!! Later we went to VcCmt4g4s, which is very smart now. Earlier made N4c4t when very pleased 2 c someone!!! lok2t beauties!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4ll, helping with Talking Newspaper 4R and W4ra4s!!

March 2nd: weather continued very cool and dull, not unusual for early March but long-term forecasts have it continuing through all the month; quite a few twigs blown off trees in some strong gusts in evening from storm Jake. Funds down 1k so far this week on fall in € after last week’s slide in the £ but some mining funds are up again. Did make W4g4ss where met B/J/S 4t and the gang 4s; tea-time session is the liveliest!! Well, pretty and torrid today: a great mixture!!! lok2tmbo!!!!

March 1st: did make N4c4l where met P/J for long chat! Did a lot of ‘gardening’ in afternoon, trimming shrubs around back gate in prep for the long hedge by the road. Milder with rain this morning but becoming colder by the evening. Had brilliant trip E; DrS was venue for big pool match with top 2 teams in P playing each other; DrS sadly lost but it was a good natured match! Affairs went off well later: she really is the greatest!!! lok2tmbo!!!!

February 29th: one of the hazards of talking at Rotary is that your time is variable, liable to be reduced if there’s contentious club business. And there was! We’ve been very generous to a number of causes and are short of the readies so there was a lengthy debate on why some teams hoarded money and shouldn’t we just have a single club fund. Anyway made quick decision to drop the PowerPoint and ad lib the talk with the laptop as a crib. Went brilliantly – much more spontaneous and less ponderous than going through the slides! Final talk is long and polished – here in odp (LibreOffice) and ppt (MS) formats but bit heavy for the genre. Light passages, about my ancestor in Tiverton being up with his wife before the Bishop of Exeter for prenuptial fornication and not ignoring the Irish milkman in Tiverton, went down well! LibreOffice is my favoured development environment for large documents and presentations: it doesn’t suffer from the crashes that affect OpenOffice when inserting large images. Here’s me in dinner suit last Saturday 1 before going out! Didn’t get any proposals today – bit disappointed in that though one or two looked appealing!! lok2t beauties!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4l and possibly a trip out later!!

February 28th: did a lot more work on talk for tomorrow; trying to bring together masses of information, which otherwise could easily let slip! Did though make N4c4l b4 going in on train RDM-NCL to make S4con. Concert by RNS was brilliant: thought Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto 1 was really inspirational with the soloist Denis Kozhukhin and some members of the orchestra such as Sasha (revelling in the all-Russian programme) giving fantastic performances. Scheherazade was the main piece after the interval, suiting Bradley’s style! My * was resting: good 2 c her though!! Finally made G4g4s where plenty of crack so lots of relaxation really. So 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l followed by N4c4ll and catch-up in evening!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 27th: well tonight was President’s Night, very posh, at Great Hall, Hexham Abbey, where had a good meal and company; entertainment was not so hot (glorified karaoke!) so sneaked out to G4g4s where had a very lively hour: gr8 2c tmfso looking so good!!! Earlier made C4c4l where it was a little quiet. Did masses of work on DNA talk in afternoon. 2moro it’s N4c4c followed by trip to S4con in afternoon; popular Russian concert by RNS is completely sold out: looking forward to it!! Should make G4g4s much later. lok2t beauties!!!!

February 26th: made N4c4ll where good to see the lovely sights: J was in for chat, away all next week. Emailed all results for YE! In afternoon broke up cherry branches so larger ones could be removed to back copse and swept up lots more debris for spreading on old shed area. Later made W4ra4s where met D/C and D/M. It wasn’t as good as it gets funds-wise with week finally returning +17k on fall in £ and recovery in natural resource stocks. The 2-week gain of 27k appears to be best to date with the nearest fortnightly gain of 22k (11k in each of 16/05/14 and 23/05/14); comparable weekly gains were 18k on 26/09/14, 14k on 08/08/14, 13k on 14/11/14, 12k on 01/05/15. The £ was way over-valued so don’t expect any quick recovery. There’s been a significant bounce in bombed-out mining stocks in which have accumulated large holdings over the past 6-months. 2moro it’s C4c4l followed in evening at Hexham Abbey by R President’s Night, when getting dressed up in dinner suit (black tie); have to see how scruffy I can look!! Have 2 concerts coming up at S: Sunday afternoon (28/2) and Thursday evening (3/3)! lok2t beauties!!!!

February 25th: finally met P at C4c4c for good catch-up! Then onto B where we had interviews all afternoon: very high standard, so impressed, we had a difficult time picking the 4 winners but did so without much dissent and it’s a good balance! Entrants will be notified tomorrow of our decisions but will not know their placing, if they’ve won a prize, until the ceremony. Relations with B were good: they looked after us well with coffee, tea and biscuits and left a decent tip while having a wind-down g! Was surprised how busy the hotel was as left: lots of business people staying. So back home, then out again to T&S4ra4s, where very pleased to meet the lively mmo for good chat!!! Took A back to S as he can’t drive. 2moro it’s N4c4l and W4ra4s. lok2tmbo!!!!

February 24th: another sunny and cold late winter day, very stimulating really! Completed cutting off top of trunk on flowering cherry tree; took quite a while but that job’s done now; just need to cut roadside hedge and winter jobs complete! Made Hexham late afternoon, not much time for N, so made the most of the attractions: confirmed what thought yesterday, maybe a little more!! Later made G4g4ss where met B/S4t and 6 of the gang4s: lots of good crack! 2moro it’s interviews at B in afternoon for R YE from 13:00-17:00; hope to make N4c4c b4 and maybe T&S4ra4s much later!! lok2tmbo!!!!

February 23rd: didn’t quite meet up with P, he was in C, I was in N! Collected new camera from W and got it all working: very responsive, much better than the old one had become! R cncl went on a while but they seem very pleased with Vocational Team, which is very satisfying. Did get out later, making DrS4g4s where good to meet up with mates again! T said that Bristol was not that friendly to Geordies and he went to a pub there full of Paddies and Jocks, which had a great atmosphere. Think she’s the greatest: worth a million bucks!! lok2tmbo!!!! Funds up 6k so far this week on fall in £ and rally in mining stocks: probably as good as it gets! 2moro it’s N4c4t and W4g4ss!!

February 22nd: made R at B4m4l for long session including 1 interview for YE; relaxed at N4c4ll for afters. Spent much of evening sorting out monthly report to R cncl and putting into a family tree the Wexford lot at Rathmacknee in the 17th century. Camera’s arrived, will collect 2moro at W when also will meet P, back from RSA, at N4c4c and go to R cncl in early evening. Might get out later – who knows!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 21st: looking forward to spring with new camera ordered today, a Panasonic FZ72 super-zoom, plus a fast high-capacity data card Samsung 16GB, all for £219 from John Lewis; attracted by x60 optical zoom and high quality video and sound; can collect from Waitrose at Hexham. Old camera is a little temperamental, no longer suitable when some rare chances present themselves! Also booked a week in Faro in a few weeks time just before Easter, flying NCL-FAO and staying at Hotel Eva, 4 * and right by the harbour front; have double room at single prices so lots of space!! Had a walk along the lanes with neighbour yesterday: she’s really come up in the world – Company Secretary at LON:VM; that’s the good bank from NR!! The ‘Shire has some other connections with NR, including its finance director BB in 2007, though don’t think its CEO at the time AA lived here. Anyway she’s very fit!! Been busy on R matters: interviews are this Thursday for YE. Later made G4g4s where gr8 to have tmfso on: she’s very captivating!!! 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll and maybe catch-up later!! lok2t beauties!!!!

February 19th: feeling a lot more energetic today, must have had some virus! Decided to spring-clean bedroom which did with window wide-open to the breeze, lots of washing down of surfaces and vaccuuming everywhere. Carefully preserved 2 favourite spiders – Hewge and Henrietta – who keep watch under the bed!! Made C4c4l where met J and much later, just before 18:00, went into NCL with N; we had classy 3-course meal at CR before making S4con at 21:00; concert by Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Night Shift was all Purcell, which was beautifully performed, including the singing; lasted an hour, enabling us to get last train home. Called into W4ra4s where met 4 of the gang for nite-cap! Good week for funds, up 10k on rebound in natural resource/emerging market stocks, putting year into overall gain of 2k. 2moro it’s C4c4l, collection of evening suit and maybe catch-up!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 18th: beautifully sunny today; maybe longer days are making me more creative with start today on writing paper up of last summer’s ANPA presentation Abstract Relations as Allegorical Categories, as well as enthusiastically getting talk to Rotary on 29/2 constructed. Made R&C4m4s where good chat with 4 nerds out tonite!! Last night’s concert (17/2) was very good with the 2 Tetzlaff siblings (Christian, Tanja) and Lars Vogt forming a highly talented trio (violin, cello, piano). They said the same concert was on its way to London, Toronto and New York, with the Sage being its première. I particularly liked the dance-like Dvorák Piano Trio Dumky! The concert went on to 22:10 so had to gallop to the station to get last train back to Prudhoe International. Dallied a little: mid-winter break persists but still fancied!!! lok2t beauties!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4l and another concert at Sage, with N, probably making CR before for a change.

February 16th: well a very stimulating trip to Hexham at N4c4l: thought tmbo looked gr8!! Met J there and then posted off card to granddaughter S who’s 1 tomorrow! Spent hours working on talk for R on use of DNA in genealogy; have done 17 slides, broken back of it I think; it’s always great to talk on a subject as you have to research thoroughly all facets and sort out some vague areas. Didn’t go out later – feeling the cold at the moment but should make S4con 2moro after N4c4t and G4g4t, like last week! Markets seem to be settling down with commodity prices surely unlikely to go down any further. Own funds up 3k so far this week on recovery in natural resource stocks. Let’s hope it holds! lok2t beauties!!!!

February 15th: a bright sunny day but freezing all day at Ordley with 2cm of snow on the ground. Made R @ B4m4l where had long chat with team and hotel on YE organisation – all settled now and on web page before contacting people individually. Went for lazy N4c4ll afterwards to have a dessert where good to have s/l on!! Enjoyed purchasing lots of fruit!! Didn’t go out in evening – waiting for it to get warmer! 2moro it’s N4c4l and maybe out later if it’s warmer! lok2t beauties!!!!

February 14th: snow gradually accumulating during day with temperature 0C throughout and very little sunshine so quite chilly. Decided to have a quiet ‘dry’ day for a change! Sorted out masses of piles of paper, which makes the place look tidier and have organised some things more effectively. Will be at R @ B4m4l and N4c4ll 2moro and may go, for a change, to the G4g4s in the nite. lok2t beauties!!!!

February 13th: gr8 day, with N, making MP4m4t and S4con where had the Hallé performing 3 pieces; it was a pretty sombre 1st half with Rachmaninov’s Isle of the Dead and Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder (Songs of Children’s Death); Roderick Williams sang the Mahler well but his resemblance to Nigel Farage was a bit of a distraction! Final piece was Sibelius 1 which gave the massive orchestra a chance to shine, and they did! Didn’t think the flutes were up to RNS standard though! It was good to have Mark Elder conducting; he excelled in keeping it together in the 1st half. Earlier did make C4c4l where good 2 c the meo!! Did realise significance of the weekend – favoured BM’s Just the way u r in a 4M medley of VD tunes!! Left car at Prudhoe International, came back on 10 bus, getting off for a ½ (N looked shocked!) with football strangely not featuring on telly! Managed to move the action into the small hours, which was brilliant from a certain viewpoint!! Car was like a block of ice when picked it up. But great glow: lok2tmbo!!!!

February 12th: continued battle with cherry tree at entrance to drive, pruning all of top except for one (difficult!) branch – next time! Made C4c4l for change, followed by Sele and library: very interesting! Finished another traumatic week in markets with a fall of 2k as bonds continued to be resilient: Friday saw a spirited recovery in the stocks worst affected earlier in week, that is mining and bank stocks; have been buying in the market this week some of the major casualties. Suspect some distress selling from sovereign oil funds as the budgets of quite a few oil-producing countries must be under severe pressure; it’s not the only factor with deflation being a worry for equities but may be an aggravating one. Did think of concert at S tonite on musicals: like Bernstein (and West Side Story) but not keen on R&H: hope it went well, flyer looks gr8!! Am at Hallé @ S with N 2moro evening, having meal at MP b4!! Finally made W4ra4s where 6 of us out for good chat. Here’s cover pages of François Coillard’s On the Threshold of Central Africa 1  2  3  4  5, the book bought at this month’s AF for £40:00. Might well make C4c4l again!! lok2t beauties!!!!

February 11th: feeling more upbeat today, adjusting to the new reality! Also good to complete crown fitting, which went very smoothly, only taking 15 min; thought she might yank the temporary crown out spectacularly but she eased it off very skilfully! Straight-forward session enabled an emergency with obvious raging toothache to see the dentist. Paid 203.70 as balance of bill – bargain, particularly as they’ve given me the plaster casts of my teeth (Why? Could perhaps show them off in the pub!). Gr8 2 c tmbo: she’s looking good!!! Might have to find another pussy to stroke!! Made T&S4ra4s to meet computing mates M/A; we had a good chat, particularly celebrating experimental proof of Einstein’s gravitational theories. 2moro it’s N4c4l and W4ra4s. lok2t beauties!!!!

February 10th: had a busy day, going into unn for a very profitable meeting in the morning on YEDT, which did as hoped define the competition. So we can now go into publicity mode. Made CT4c4l for old time’s sake!! Then back home before social side of day making G4g4t where met B/I for good crack. Into town again but this time trouble: 18:31 RDM-NCL got held at WYM as signalling issues (newspeak) in Blaydon; (oldspeak) the signalman had not turned up for duty! Lost 57 min there and missed 1st 2 numbers in the concert, preformed by a trio led by Timothy Orpen, clarinet, with accompanying viola and piano. Still nice hostess let me in and did hear Mozart’s Trio Kegelstatt before the interval, which was beautifully performed. Favourite piece after the interval was Brahms’ Clarinet Sonata No.2 which was superbly played. Giampieri’s Carnival of Venice had some lovely catchy tunes! At G, B mentioned he knew someone brought up near him in Yorkshire who was called Timothy Orpen and played the clarinet but he wasn’t sure he was the same person as his mother never bragged about him! I said his mother probably (and shamefully) thought it was a wasted career (or maybe he should have been a violinist!). Fortified by a large red wine at the interval at bargain discounted rates. Funds unchanged so far this week, broadly surviving renewed sell-off. 2moro it’s final fitting of crown at dentists followed by N4c4t and T&S4ra4s.

February 9th: did buy a book at AF (from M, £40, listed at £60): Coillard, François, On the Threshold of Central Africa, A Record of Twenty Years Pioneering among the Banyai and Barotsi, Hodder & Stroughton (1897). I like the early travel books! Did make N4c4l where met J. Later starting prep for talk to R on use of DNA in genealogy: read masses of material and good thing I did as things have developed quite a lot in the last 2 years. On the male side confirms the SNPs as mainstream Celt (R1B L21+), meaning an origin from western Europe in the millennia preceding 0 BC; R1B L21+ is at its maximum frequency in Ireland South today. It’s the STR markers covering the last 2 millennia that are interesting though as they correlate highly with both Irish and Basque populations; so the suggestion is that the Rs had been living for some time in the Basque/Pyrenees area in the 1st millennia AD; after the Norman conquest of the area some of the family may have moved N to Normandy where they had property in Boulogne, before joining Strongbow in his conquest of Leinster. Evidently there is a significant population in Ireland South which originated directly from Iberia. But nothing’s proven about my lot. It is though a story that is consistent with much of the documentary evidence. 2moro it”s chairing critical YEDT meeting at unn in morning – defining the competition – before back for N4c4t/W4g4t and then in again to S4con!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 8th: concert organised by FRNS at S went off well with celebration of Chris Griffiths’ service of 25 years as 2nd horn; Chris showed off his skills in the Brahms Horn Trio and JN did well on the violin, including the Bartók dance duo. Meeting finished with a red wine; earlier we made MP4m4t and later S&V for a couple!! Railway line completely open again; NR/NR have done very well to retrieve the situation. Much earlier it was R @ B4m4l where updated members on success entry-wise for YE competition; still open a few more days for latecomers; I’m chairing the selection committee; gr8 to have l on!! Saga with LBG over ECNs goes on and on: had expected forced redemption tomorrow at par but Supreme Court is now going to hear the case so the redemption could be considered as subjudice; will be interested to see what happens. 2moro it’s AF which will be attending after N4c4l with 1-2 antique books the target; parking in ER when in for lengthy time; much needed dry nite coming up!!

February 7th: here’s 1st extract from book on Gilbert White. From White, Rev. Gilbert, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne in the county of Southampton, the Standard Edition by E.T. Bennett, thoroughly revised, with additional notes, by James Edmund Harting, 3rd edition, illustrated with engravings by Thos Bewick, published Bickers and Son, London (1884).

[p.130] Letter XLIII to Thomas Pennant, Esquire.

A pair of honey buzzards, Buteo apivorus sive vespivorus, RAII, built them a large shallow nest, comprised of twigs and lined with dead beechen leaves, upon a tall slender branch near the middle of Selborne Hanger, in the summer of 1780. In the middle of the month of June a bold boy climbed this tree, though standing on so steep and dizzy a situation, and brought down an egg, the only one in the nest, which had been sat on for some time, and contained the embryo of a young bird. The egg was smaller, and not so round as those of the common buzzard; was dotted at each end with small red spots; and surrounded in the middle with a broad bloody zone.

The hen bird was shot, and answered exactly to Mr. Ray’s description of that species; had a black cere, short thick legs, and a long tail. When on the wing this species may be easily distinguished from the common buzzard by its hawk-like appearance, small head, wings not so blunt, and longer tail. This specimen contained in its craw some limbs of frogs and many gray snails without shells. The irides of the eyes of this bird were of a beautiful bright yellow colour.

Love the bit on how easy it is to tell Honey-buzzard from Common Buzzard in flight: difficult to know why people make such a meal these days of telling them apart! After all it’s not Eurasian Curlew vs Slender-billed Curlew!! You do get a glimpse of the difficulty of Honey-buzzard colonising parks in the 18th century: you may get your egg(s) pinched and may get shot yourself. Did go to W4shop where surprised to meet, with 2 kids in tow, SR: violin 1 with a certain orchestra!! On to C4c4l for yet more coffee before good session in front yard sweeping out junk for placing on old shed site to make it more fertile. Booked up 8-day trip with N to Ireland in mid-May, going Pembroke-Rosslare and Dublin-Holyhead, with stays in Wexford and Cork in between. Finally after seeing end of War & Peace (Pierre and Natasha do make it!), made G4g4s where good crack. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 6th: did make C4c4l where gr8 2c the rhwso!! In evening 6 of the gang were out at W4m4s to celebrate 2 birthdays over the past month (1 mine!); we had gr8 chat, good how we keep together! Weather is pretty benign, keeping just above freezing with drizzle, quite a common weather situation at this time of year, bringing out the 1st moths. 2moro it’s W4shop, C4c4l, G4g4s, with maybe a walk out looking for signs of spring!

February 5th: Cleo passed away peacefully at 02:00 this morning and was buried in the orchard near other family-cats’ graves at 10:00; very sad, she has been difficult over the last few months but house seems empty without her! Not a bad week for my stocks making +3k on bounce back in some mining stocks on frantic short-covering; over the week the ftse was down 3.9%, making fall on year 6.3%. My funds are down 5k on year or about 0.65% so adapting a bit to the current ultra risk-off environment. If this environment persists for long, then capitalism in its current form should be declared unfit for purpose, requiring urgent reform in the extreme inequality found today, which is deflationary (rich people save, poor people spend), and the sharing of the tax burden, which falls heavily on middle-income individuals rather than companies, particularly multinationals (again deflationary, the workers spend, the companies hoard).

Loved rehearsal and concert at S. Had a lengthy visit there from 01:45-09:35, meeting N4t and the actual performance. We went later to Cnt4g4s before getting last train back to Prudhoe International. Very good concert with RNS: attended rehearsal with PP in afternoon where good to see the preparation in action. The Beck piece was over very quickly! Steven Hudson excelled in R Strauss’ Oboe Concerto, which had further starring woodwind e.g in the flutes! Main work was Mozart’s Great Mass where the RNS Chorus featured prominently, the soloists did well, particularly the ladies, and JB was brilliant in the woodwind trio in the Credo. Thought the playing/singing in the actual performance was a step up from the rehearsal but that’s presumably what you would expect: “it’ll be all right on the night”. Nothing like the excitement of a live performance!! Back on Monday for the Friends’ evening. 2moro should make C4c4l and W4ra4s with the gang for birthday meals!!

February 4th: had another Mistle Thrush singing in the Sele at lunchtime along with a singing Blue Tit – signs of late winter! Did some more clearing-up in front yard in much milder conditions. Did make N4c4l and R&C4m4s; latter was really lively – shareholders’ meeting, all doing their bit to boost profits! 2moro it’s N4c4c, S4s4l followed by attendance at rehearsal of RNS in afternoon, S4m4t with N, actual performance in evening. After running around outside last week, Cleo’s going …. off her food for 1st time today in 18 years, lost weight, cannot walk properly, cold, lying on her bed, above all stopped purring ….

February 3rd: moth records sent off this evening. Grand day today so spent a couple of hours in garden, completing cutting of long party hedge and pruning flowering cherry tree by entrance to drive, to stop its upper branches brushing the ‘phone cable. Doesn’t look so sunny tomorrow but will carry on, smartening up front yard and maybe lopping a couple more branches off the flowering cherry. Had 1st real birdsong of late winter: a Mistle Thrush in full song in ash trees by house in the ‘Shire. Funds up 1k so far this week which is not bad, seeing ftse is off a massive 4%; $ has been falling on feeling that US interest rates will not go up further as planned in light of weakness in world economy: may be a game changer for beaten-up natural resource stocks; U308, Pd and Zn are current favourites. Made N4c4t where gifted an extra cheese twist by s before making G4g4t, where met B/M for good chat. Good showing by gang for close at G4g4s, where TV off after the footballing debacle! lok2t beauties!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4l and R&C4m4s!!

February 2nd: moth records off tomorrow after final check today. Wind still quite strong and cool but did do some clearing-up in the front yard, scraping up grass and bits of twig for scattering over the old shed area; grass that can survive growing over tarmac will grow anywhere. Made N4c4l where pleased to meet the mfso!! Much later went to DrS4g4s where good to meet my mates! Almost got locked in but managed to escape; gr8 end to day, she’s fantastic, we do have some understanding!!!! 2moro weather looks better and hope to complete cutting of party hedge before N4c4t and G4g4ss. lok2 tmbo!!!!

February 1st: completed the moth records for 2014 so just need a check now; then can submit along with the 2015 records already done. Moving back to Honey-buzzard soon. Made R for business meeting where presented Vocational’s latest report: supportive atmosphere, which was encouraging! Good to have l on at B and s on at N!! Loosing Hill car park closed for new bus station so moved to Co-op’s (’tis still owned by them!) where paid £1.20 for 3 hours; evidently hospital car park was overfull as people switched there! Henry’s persistent but not as bad as forecast, nothing like Desmond. Gr8 to see the * looking so vivacious!!! 2moro it’s N4c4l and DrS4g4s!! lok2t *!!!!

January 31st: really enjoyed concert in the afternoon at S: Dvorák’s Carnival Overture gave a spirited opening; Smetana’s Má Vlast was the highlight with Vltava being very moving; the merging of the streams requires great skill from the flautists and the clarinets and they’re pretty exposed: but it was very convincing and they deserved their priority in taking a bow at the start of the applause; think the mffp was the *!! Not so convinced by Korngold’s Violin Concerto; didn’t really get into it but as N said: may have been the good lunch at MP! Went in/out on train service from Prudhoe International: quiet but working well now. Next trip to S is on Friday afternoon. Made W4g4s where good 2 c l on: very bubbly!! Fairly single-minded at the moment though!! With N, booking up 8-days in Ireland in May; would also like to get away in March to somewhere warm; going to granddaughter’s birthday party in Richmond in February, when she’s 1! Henry’s about to strike so prepare for another blast. 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l and N4c4ll!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 30th: good day for the moths, doing 3 more data sheets, including 2 for London area; just one sheet to go now for 2014 for a visit to Bywell on 29/10; 2015 is of course finished but needs checking. Weather was bitter with actual temperature of 1 on sleet showers becoming -6 on wind chill in fresh W breeze. Did make C4c4l where good to see the rhwso: she likes the FT!! Here’s cover pages of Gilbert White’s Selborne 1  2  3  4  5, the book bought at this month’s AF for £30:00. 2moro it’s MP4m4l and S4con with N and G4g4s.

January 29th: did some more processing of moths for 2014: just 4 sheets to do now, 2 of them for London. Very wild overnight and early morning; pleased that BT engineer turned up on time and fixed the outside cable but then on visit to Slaley exchange (green box) he found no spare usable slots so no service today; however, their web site at least acknowledges this: “We’re sorry, your order has not progressed as expected. We are aware of the problem and a specialist team is working on it. We will be in contact as soon as we have further news.” So seems better than EE: we will see! Made N4c4ll after the engineer had left and good to have favourites s/l on!! Very much the sophisticat appearance today: most impressive!!! Made W4ra4s where 4 of us out for good chat!! Much better week on markets this week, gaining 4k: with oil price off the bottom, people are more confident! 2moro it’s C4c4l and sorting out of the antique book on Gilbert White, bought recently. Sunday afternoon, N & I are off to the Sage with another trip next Friday evening, both for RNS full orchestra: looking forward to them!! lok2t beauties!!!!!

January 28th: made dentists for ½ hour of fun with top taken off messed-up tooth and temporary crown fitted; had sat opposite a young lady Portuguese dentist at Tuesday night dinner in London; she told me that £220 was a bargain: it would have cost €700 in Lisbon and if you couldn’t pay that they would build it up with resin! She, daughter of prominent conference official, was a good winker!! Back in Corbridge I asked so many questions about what was going on that it looked as if they were going to have a good laugh as left: being so helpless in front of 2 ladies is a bit of a turn on!! Made N4c4l b4: do love the shaggy look!!! LAF was a little subdued as not done much to earn my keep on it over the last 3 months but reasserting a bit more authority by end and think we’ll have a meeting of my Working Group soon. Final trip at 21:00 was to T&S where met the computing gang: gr8 chat and took A back to S; next week it’s the turn of the R&C!! 2moro it’s land-line ‘phone installation at home for BT, N4c4ll and W4ra4s! lok2t beauties!!!!!

January 27th: smooth journey back from Kings X and straight to N4c4t before going back to check on Cleo! Concert in H2, Sage, was completion of Saleem Ashkar playing all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas; I’ve been to nearly all of them and today he was really brilliant, particularly in the last movement of the Pastoral no.15. In the evening went in/out from Prudhoe International, which is now a major terminus on the line with extra parking in the Riverside Park; N was supposed to be going but had another meeting. Called in for a quickie at Irish bar opposite station: good g! It was sweet return: things are gr8: she’s absolutely beautiful!!! 2moro it’s N4c4t, then day 2 of crown fitting (keep cheerful!) before LAF meeting in evening and maybe T&S4ra4s!! Funds are up 2k so far this week, a rare rise: will it be held? lok2tmbo!!!!

January 26th: well we had a very good day at the Applied Process Thinking meeting at the Open University in Camden Town. Mike and I talked on “Whitehead’s vocabulary realised in the formal metaphysical language of category theory”. Not sure we converted anyone to CT but we did manage to put our story over as best we can. They’re publishing a book on it so we can write up the work properly. The next big meeting of the Whitehead gang is on the Azores in June at Ponta Delgada and we’re thinking of going! We had dinner at Cotes, a French bistro near Camden Town underground station – very chatty with nice company, including quite a few psychology lecturers. Yesterday journey down went well with bus from Riding Mill-Prudhoe well organised now. In evening went to regular Italian Restaurant Da Mario in Gloucester Road, Kensington, where treated son and big sis to a good value meal (for the area!) at £87. 2moro coming back in daytime; should make N4c4t but then off to Sage for a piano recital; quite a few concerts coming up over next 2 weeks. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

January 24th: got everything ready for talk in London; only diversions were C4c4l and some hedge planting in back garden, partially closing gap created by shed removal. Did pop into G but dommies were off the table so didn’t stay long! Interested in FM’s window: quite an increase in asking prices for stand-alone country properties; must be London-driven with discerning sellers, looking at the bubble propped up by oil money from Russia/Middle East, fancying a cash-in and getting much more for their money up here; not sure it’ll trickle down very far. Got a couple of tasks planned for mine this year: replacing wooden back door with uPVC one (making whole house uPVC) + re-pointing some of the W (weathered) side. Hope the lovelies keep fit!!!!

January 23rd: pretty hectic day getting ready for a meeting in London next week where I’m giving a talk (on process theory!) along with my colleague MH. Did make C4c4l where so full decided to switch to N4c4l. Finally got my iPhone 4 unlocked with iTunes and connected to the EE network – strange happened 2 days after I told them I wanted to cancel! Did find time to process a few more moth records, to compile a report for R on YE/YEDT competitions and clear the patio of encroaching grass and moss. 2moro it’s more work on talk but late on some relaxation with dommies at the G (as a reserve!).

January 22nd: very busy with moth records; have got 2015 ones (692 in total) ready for submission to the County Recorder; found the bundle of still-to-process 2014 records was a little heavier than expected so working on those over the weekend. Hope to do final submission next Thursday. Dentist visit yesterday was not so good: tooth is difficult to repair by fillings and a crown is the best idea; that’s a snip at around £220 on the NHS; after taking X-rays yesterday to check the jaws, need 2 more visits: next Thursday for taking the top off the tooth and fitting a temporary crown, and the Thursday 2 weeks after that for fitting of permanent crown. Well, sounds fun! Much milder today so finished trimming the long party hedge on my side and on the top, just need to do the neighbour’s side for a bit of goodwill, which takes just one session! Very nice mover tmbo in late visit to C4c4t today, stimulating dreams !!! Final outcome for funds on week was a fall of 5k, with today’s general rise not reflected in values of some trust funds I own because of forward pricing; £ also rose sharply today reducing value of assets in €/$. Siding with pundits who say this is more like 1998 than 2008: it’s not a financial crisis caused by a property crash but a crisis in commodities and emerging markets; such crises tend to be violent but shorter lived as the solutions are fairly obvious (low commodity prices!). Indeed 1998 was followed by 2 boom years in 1999 and in the dot com bubble year 2000 but it’s optimistic to expect as much effervescence as that with the lingering effects of 2008. 2moro it’s C4c4l and maybe a ½ later!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 20th: added Woodlark piccies from Healey area to this page for 10/7 below so on to finalising moths tomorrow. Did another good stretch on the hedge today: it’s great for getting fit. More indulgent in evening, making N4c4t and G4g4ss; session 1 was very chatty but pub was empty for session 2 except for our gang of 6! Markets in meltdown this week, taking loss on year for ftse to 9.1% and to over 10% for some other markets. Own funds are down 4k in the 3 days so far this week so beta-rating on this dramatic year to date is roughly 0.1, relative to the market (market beta = 1.0). Think markets are over-reacting to the oil price fall: do wonder if there’s a lot of forced selling from oil-rich(poor!) states to add to the short selling, which is now overwhelming but short sellers eventually have to buy back so there could be a crunch coming. Anyway oil at $28.11 a barrel only has another 28 to go! Only moving out of low beta stocks at a snail’s pace but there are many stocks which look very undervalued now; they just may get even cheaper or true catastrophe beckons! Kids have received legacies from their (maternal) grandmother’s estate – 28k each (1/6th each), might be of indirect benefit! 2moro it’s N4c4l, dentist in afternoon for repair, R&C4m4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 19th: grand day today, dry and bright and not freezing. Made N4c4l where met P; enjoyed the sights of the town as moved out!! Did some more hedge trimming, getting the steps out, weather looks good for next 2 days to progress rapidly. Need to process Woodlark piccies for 10/7 before finalising moth records. Did return to DrS even though g is £3.40, 20p more than at ½. Had good long chat with guy called Terry who lives near the Castle and had started work at West Wylam pit before it closed, moving then to Keynsham, near Bristol, to work in a chocolate factory; may get an update next week! Finale was perfect: she’s stunning: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4t and G4g4ss!!

January 18th: gloomy day weather-wise, just right for Blue Monday believers – not one of them, think things are looking up by mid-January with days getting longer! Had busy time at R with Team meeting: a lot to discuss with YE competition coming up! Enjoyed Hexham: like the shaggy look!!! Completed moth records for Northumberland for 2015: all in a spreadsheet, which will prepare for submission to the Recorder; a good trick is to sort the spreadsheet in different ways but all species names are verified against a check list in another sheet and all localities and grid references come from BirdTrack; main check is on semi-rarities and rarities by going back to photographs and the literature. Still doing odd tasks: yesterday re-fitted bathroom towel rail to wall after it had been bumped by someone! Today moved a hawthorn shrub, growing too close to the house, to extend the hedge a little across the new gap on N side. Been having the odd problem with my BT mailbox: decided to archive to the local disk all messages from January 2013-March 2015 to reduce presence on server; will see what happens! 2moro it’s N4c4l, some hedge trimming and maybe DrS4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 17th: sunny morning with 1cm of lying snow but warming up a little by dusk with frost relenting. Made much progress with moth records, mainly autumnal leaf mines, and am close to finishing Northumberland records for 2015. Would still have lepidoptera records for Havant, Italy, Ireland and Jordan to process but would probably leave those until local records all checked and submitted. Am also going to have a look at outstanding 2014 lepidoptera records, some of which may now be sortable with the greater experience in 2015. Did make G4g4s where very pleased to have l on again!! Next week I’m in the dommies team! 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l preceded by Vocational Team meeting at noon. Sweet dreams and xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

January 16th: up late but just time for C4c4l before off to Stocksfield to fetch N to drive to Prudhoe International where caught train-bus into Newcastle; made MP4m4t where normal great service before onto main business of day at TC: Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) an opera in three acts, in a live performance transmitted from New York Met. The duet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PYt2HlBuyI is very well known and has tended to overshadow the rest of the work but found the whole very moving. Bizet, a Frenchman, was regarded by his contemporaries as in the Wagnerian school and found it a very uphill struggle to become established in Paris. Got train-bus back to P (much better organised now), dropped N off at S and returned for a ½ – not been there for quite a while but was very lively with a big party on; g at 3.20 cannot be bad and surprised how many people greeted me as lost friend! Brilliant end to day – opera does put me in the mood – think she’s fantastic: sd and lok2tmbo!!!!

January 15th: cold, sunny spell continued and today’s task was moving tools back from daughter’s room to the new shed: pleased that’s done without her noticing! Definitely getting lighter in late afternoon now, which is very useful. Made N4c4ll and W4ra4s, with 6 of us out at latter for good chat! Must say Hexham looked really beautiful!!! Got caught in tailwind of market slide today, ending 6k down on week but overall position of -0.8% on year compares favourably with ftse fall of 7.0%. Oil is now down to $29.75 a barrel so only $29 to go on some speculators’ logic! Moving small amounts into natural resource stocks, some of which look cheap in the long term but main focus remains bonds to take advantage of noflation. Sounds trite but oil slide will stop when unprofitable production is taken out: the cure for low prices is low prices! £ is plummeting against both $ and €, which is a positive factor (though not if you’re going to Spain!). 2moro it’s C4c4l, MP4m4t, TC4opera with N where seeing the Pearl Fishers by Bizet from New York Met!! We’re going to go on the train-bus to/from Prudhoe International!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 14th: much colder today with frost most of day but sunny and bright so better in many respects. Counted 15 bird types in visit to Sele at lunchtime, including Blackbird (14), Song Thrush (1), Long-tailed Tit (2), Nuthatch (1). Had a Goldeneye redhead at Corbridge yesterday at 16:00 when making a dental appointment next week for a broken tooth (usual Xmas problem!). Made N4c4l: gr8 2 c tmbo!!! Ordered land-line from BT and all looks good with equipment arriving 18/1 and line installed 29/1; it’s ‘phone only as BB offered by BT at Ordley is far slower at 0.8Mb than current satellite via Avonline of 20Mb. EE position looks perilous! In late afternoon did some more hedge trimming, removed stuck gate from old vegetable patch (to set-up easy-to-access moth trapping area) and continued removing small bits of non-biodegradable debris from old shed area. Made T&S4ra4s with M/A for good computing update; D also came along; drove A back to S with roads becoming quite icy where water had run across roads. 2moro it’s N4c4l and W4ra4s!! lok2t lovelies!!!!

January 13th: big day for gardening, doing some hedge trimming around the old vegetable bed, moving some tools to the new shed and tidying up the old shed area for natural regeneration by weeds! Morning was sunny, getting cloudier and chillier in afternoon but without frost. Sociable 2nd half of day with N4c4t and G4g4ss, though just 4 of us out for final session. Markets are still very volatile and am down 1k so far this week (and on year) on catch-up falls after last week’s bloodbath; big fall on Wall Street this evening threatens to make the 2nd half of the week a little tense, particularly for equities. Still without any EE-connected iPhone in spite of requests at start of month for upgrade and unlocking respectively; annoyed that accounts are being charged before services provided; not many industries behave like that. Having read the disastrous on-line reviews of EE, will zap the contracts soon and resort to land-line at home with BT and mobile connections through WiFi. 2moro it’s N4c4l and maybe R&C or T&S later!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

January 12th: met N at Shack4c before going into AF where he bought 2 watches and I bought a book – Gilbert White’s Selborne (The Natural History of Selborne 1788) – a book of letters updated by JE Harting for a second edition with illustrations by Thos Bewick (1884). White was of course a keen naturalist, based in Selborne, near Alton in Hampshire. It has 2 very interesting references for Honey-buzzard, which will publish soon. Got the book for £30, reduced from £65 but suspect the initial asking price was elevated a bit! Had quite a long chat with the lady at the stall: may buy a 2-volume set on bird migration next month. Had t with N at Wentworth before coming back to more familiar surroundings at N4c4ll! Compiled moth and Honey-buzzard data for 2 site visits in July. Made BH4ra4s for 1st time this year: all very matey! Dallied a bit on way home with the lovely one!!! Had a Tawny Owl at Dipton Wood E at 00:05 and a Barn Owl for 3rd day running at Ordley, at 00:20. lok2t lovelies!!!! 2moro it’s possibly hedge cutting, followed by N4c4t and G4g4ss!!

January 11th: very sunny today but frost all day in the ‘Shire: hit some black ice at Loughbrow coming into R and was grateful to the anti-lock system on the Fox! The gritters had cleared the road by time came back. Plenty of work associated with R, including web site and Vocational Team. Enjoyed lunch: good to have l on!! Put in bird records for the 3 site visits from 8/1-10/1 so can get back to last summer’s records tomorrow. 2moro meeting N at the Shack4c before making the AF to look for bargains! Much later will make BH4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

January 10th: out with the Walking Group today doing 12km in the Chollerford/ Humshaugh/ Walwick area; there were 23 of us out, splodging across waterlogged fields but the sun came out a bit in the afternoon and it was dry except for 2 brief showers on a moderate NW breeze. Very good exercise and company and paid annual subscription of £5 to show some intent for the future! We made the Crown at Humshaugh for refreshments after the walk – great pub – very welcoming and we did spend a bit! Walk was led by P with no hiccups even at the badlands of Rye Hill! Birds, in total of 18 species, included 2 Common Buzzard at 2 sites, one bird displaying, and a Kestrel. The Ramblers have cancelled their last few walks because of the clarts: we’re made of sterner stuff! The pace is beginning to quicken! After long soak in bath did make G4g4s with P and N on: evening ended on a crescendo!!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 9th: concert was very good at S; always like Hall 2 as it’s a more intimate setting. Great to have the Wagner Siegfried Idyll played so sensitively; the opening bars were very moving!! Concert also included Schubert’s Octet which held together very well, thought bits of it sounded like Beethoven 6. Thought TG is very well suited to this type of concert, GW is a natural compère and JB was very expressive in the Wagner! We had meal before at MP where packed but they always find us a table. Drove in with no problem; lots of surface water on way back with emergency engineering work underway at Farnley near the top house, maybe to try and sort out the drainage before the whole lot collapses onto the railway line by the Tyne. Much earlier made C4c4l for catch-up with FT. Thought the meo looked gr8!! SH after concert as needed to be up early!

January 8th: a good afternoon with the sun coming out as did another 2-hour walk in the ‘Shire; there’s a little more daylight as well, finishing at 16:10 in the twilight. Found 20 species including Tree Sparrow (23, with flock of 20), Chaffinch (9), Blue Tit (8). Very good to see the beauties in Hexham on visit to N4c4l: mbo on way in and meo on way out!!! Much later made W4ra4s where 4 of us out; had good catch-up on holiday activities. 2moro it’s C4c4l, MP4m4t and S4con (H2) with N. I’m going to drive us in: train service is a shambles as it’s based on the old timetable; they need to run a frequent shuttle service between Prudhoe International and Newcastle (every 30 minutes in each direction) and let the buses from Hexham fit in where they can; there’s masses of parking around Prudhoe Station so they could make it the hub. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

What an amazing start to year on the markets with the ftse down 5.3% outpacing its loss of 4.9% over the whole of 2015 in just 5 trading days. The Shanghai stock exchange, which seemed to be the catalyst, is a casino at the best of times. Do feel a lot of the fall was orchestrated in unsettling waves by short sellers; equities appear cheap but keeping well clear on such unrelenting adverse sentiment. Own funds were unchanged as now hold very few mainstream equities, the losses on which were balanced by gains in Irish € REIT as the £ has started to fall back to more justifiable levels (£1=€1.33, down from €1.44). Now mainly holding bonds, which didn’t move at all this week. If you have an 11% subordinated bond priced at 120% and redeemable in 2025 at 100%, that gives a running yield of 9.17% and gross YTM (before tax) of 8.01%. A few years ago that would have been about right with inflation of 3-4% eroding the capital over time but now with noflation, a situation likely to persist for longer with the slide in commodity prices, the real yield is generous! With the reinvestment of the income, which the YTM calculation assumes, it’s a good way of accumulating capital if inflation is subdued. The qualification is that you need to invest in companies that will keep paying and subordinated bonds are junior, 1st in line for sacrifice in default after the equity. It’s this sort of apparently generous situation with the ECNs from which LBG are trying to escape with their court machinations: the application by the bondholders for a final appeal has now been lodged with the Supreme Court, which can take as long as it likes to deliberate: absolutely no hurry, your lordships!

January 7th: compiled some more moth records and one more Honey-buzzard nest visit, leaving just a few to do. Did make N4c4t but decided not to got to concert after seeing half-hearted attempt at a train service into Newcastle after the landslip. Power cut affected cooking in evening so out to SC4f&c+mp4s; power was on when returned! Got to R&C4m4s for support at a low point to meet A; we did our best! Good 2 c tmbo and A!! 2moro it’s N4c4l and W4ra4s. lok2t lovelies!!!!

January 6th: updated Honey-buzzard page with breeding and migration data for SW Northumberland in 2015 (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland). So some 2-3 months earlier than last year, have brought the records up to date; now processing residual moth records and details of a few remaining Honey-buzzard site visits. Markets have started the year very badly with ftse down 2.7% in just 3 days; suspect that what I said on 25/12 is happening with short sellers re-opening their positions after the holiday break. Own funds are unchanged, benefiting from slide in the £; will be happy to finish the week that way! A sociable day with N4c4t and G4g4ss; good 2 c the meo!! lok2t beauties!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4ll, PCB4con and maybe T&S4ra4s!!

January 5th: did complete 3rd table for Honey-buzzard migration as included below so that completes the main Honey-buzzard results for 2015, which will be added to the home page tomorrow. Today saw more steady rain, so it’s been raining for 60 hours giving much surface water; temperatures are declining and the wind is a moderate SE. Went for 2-hour walk in ‘Shire at dusk in the rain to overcome cabin fever! Did make N4c4l where good to have s/l on and to meet J again!! Didn’t go out in evening with so much flooding in Tyne Valley E. Used time to complete Honey-buzzard results. 2moro it’s getting more into the swing again with N4c4t and G4g4ss!! Going to the Mozart string quartet in Gateshead on Thursday and have 1st concert of year with N at S on Saturday in H2. From the Met Office:

It’s not a surprise to learn that Northumberland suffered its wettest December on record last month. The Met Office said 227mm rainfall was recorded in Northumberland last month, more than twice the normal amount for this time of year. The closest the region has seen to these levels of rainfall was in December 1987, when Northumberland was drenched with 199.9mm of rain. Torrential rain has caused disruption across the North East, in a month which began with Storm Desmond and drew to a close with Storm Frank.

Here’s the Honey-buzzard report:

Table 24 shows the migration picture for Honey-buzzard in 2014. It was a subdued year with detailed analysis and commentary in the last 2 rows.

Date Time Locality Age/Sex Count Direction Movement
-September 6 12:10 Ordley (NY95 P) Adult male 2 2 SE The 1st migrant Honey-buzzard were seen today with 2 males leaving from local sites in the ‘Shire from 12:05-12:15; looking to the N from home, picked up a pale ruddy juvenile Honey-buzzard up to the W, flapping up to some height, when picked up 2 male Honey-buzzard moving SE, one from directly below, the other from further N; both gained height steadily as crossed the Devil’s Water and looked clearly on their way to Africa completely disappearing from sight in the clear blue sky and light NW breeze; these were presumed to be the males from the 2 local sites at Ordley and Dotland; the juvenile seen up initially was at medium height and it was joined by another ruddy pale-phase juvenile, both presumed from the local Ordley site, waving goodbye to dad!
-September 7 16:05:00 Hexham (NY96 H) Adult male 1 1 S Over Hexham Tyne Green from 15:58-16:03 there was chaos bird-wise with all the corvids up in the air and Swallow flying wildly everywhere. There was a mini-funnel of Honey-buzzard up from the Tyne area with a male soaring rapidly to a great height just below the clouds, a female way-up but some distance below and 2 struggling juveniles with wings held straight out trying to soar but not gaining much height (soaring rapidly is an acquired skill as they need to read the thermals very precisely!). The male left decisively, moving just below the high clouds to S, and the other 3 birds after staying up a bit longer, disappeared quickly (presumably diving back to the ground). So that was an impressive exit!
-September 9 14:00:00 Gilsland (NY66 I) Adult male 1 1 S Another Honey-buzzard, also a male, flew S just to W of Gilsland at 14:00, gliding fast at right-angles to the wind, using ridge (orographic) lift for speed. You do sometimes get migrants on the sunnier side of the murk, maybe pushed a little further W than usual in this case.
-September 10 11:55:00 Minsteracres (NZ05 H) Adult male 1 1 S Another migrant was seen: a male Honey-buzzard was climbing from 11:50-11:57 well to the N climbing the ridge into the S breeze; he was using ridge lift to gain incredible height, disappearing from site and presumably going off overhead to S.
-September 19 15:10 Studdon Park (NY85 M) Adult female 1 1 SW An adult female Honey-buzzard migrated through the site at 15:10, moving SW straight into the breeze at moderate altitude; she was clearly exploiting ridge lift to reduce energy use.
-September 19 16:05:00 Sinderhope (NY85 G) Adult male 1 1 SW Meanwhile at 16:05 an adult male had migrated across the Allen moving SW, in the diving phase of the ridge lift strategy, coming low over the moor on the W side of the valley into the breeze. He was moving very quickly, seeing the wind was against.
-September 22 14:05:00 Kirkhaugh (NY74 E) Juvenile 1 rest As approached Alston from Hexham at 14:05, picked up a flock of corvids in an angry swarm over the moorland to SE of Kirkhaugh; such swarms are well worth scanning for a Honey-buzzard juvenile (not adult, as treatment seems to be reserved for juveniles!). On the edge of the swarm was indeed a juvenile Honey-buzzard, dark rufous colour, which drifted towards the Clarghyll mine. This bird was presumed to be a migrant, the 1st juvenile migrant seen this year, but did later check out carefully the Kirkhaugh area for adults as it has been an occasional breeding site in the past.
-September 24 14:55 Newburn (NZ16 M) Juvenile 1 1 SE At 14:55 a juvenile Honey-buzzard migrant was spotted over S end of Throckley to N, at great height in the fresh breeze; it didn’t seem very perturbed and was moving SE before being lost to sight.
-September 27 13:10-14:20 Beldon Burn (NY94 J) Adult male 1

Juvenile 2

3 3 SW Also sorted out Riddlehamhope to some extent with a very weak-flying juvenile up to E of the mature pine plantation at 14:15-14:20, converting this from a >0 to 1+; the male was up at this site at 13:30 and well above the juvenile at 14:20 but he carried on getting higher and higher before departing SW: bye-bye junior! 2 more Honey-buzzard migrants were seen: at 13:10 a large dark juvenile flapped up the Beldon Burn moving W to W of Middle Plantation and then proceeded to soar to a great height before moving off SW. Below it was another smaller, paler juvenile, which came off the moorland and followed it up into the sky so by 13:20 both had disappeared SW.
-October 14 14:35-15:15 Haltwhistle (NY76 C) Juvenile 2 2 rest Had a dark-brown juvenile Honey-buzzard on way out at 14:35, E of Melkridge (lower South Tyne), flying low over rough meadows with scattered trees. At North Wood (upper South Tyne) the Common Buzzard were very anxious with 2 adults and 2 juveniles calling agitatedly. Eventually at 15:14 a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard came out of the wood from which the Common Buzzard were calling and flew a little way NW towards the South Tyne.
-October 15 14:50 Newburn (NZ16 M) Juvenile 1 rest a dark brown juvenile Honey-buzzard over Ryton Willows at 14:50 mobbed by 8 Jackdaw and 4 Rook, before gliding fairly low-down onto fields on Newburn side; it was beginning to look more like an adult Honey-buzzard structurally with long wings and tail as matured somewhat on presumed trip down from Scotland.
-October 18 15:45:00 Bywell (NZ06 K) Juvenile 1 rest At 15:45 a flock of Jackdaw was seen to rise quickly over NW of Cottagebank and sure enough a juvenile pale-phase Honey-buzzard appeared low over the trees, floating around before settling down again; the young birds tend to be restless, flying low from field to field. This is the first bird seen here since 28/9, when a gang of 6 juveniles was present, suggesting this is a new bird, not a lingerer; it looked quite young so late to fledge from Scotland perhaps.
Summary/

Comments:

September: 12

October: 4

11-12: 1

12-13: 2

13-14: 2

14-15: 3

15-16:1

16-17: 2

resting: 5

Tipalt: 1

upper South Tyne: 2

lower South Tyne: 1

Allen: 2

Devil’s Water: 2

Tyne Valley W: 2

Tyne Valley E: 2

Derwent: 4

Adult male: 7

Adult female: 1

Juvenile: 8

16   OUT: 5 SW, 3 S, 3 SE, 5 resting
All records this year are in the main autumnal movement period. Males appeared to leave later than usual, perhaps because of the very high local productivity necessitating their help with food supplies for longer than usual. Numbers in October are relatively low, perhaps because of poor productivity in Scotland. There is no obvious peak in activity this year at a particular hour. The times at which resting birds have been noted are not included in the analysis. As ever observer routines affect the picture here. This year saw broad front migration with no obvious concentrations. In autumn males left first with just one female noted in the whole period. Juveniles very much predominated in late September and October, with some resting in prime feeding areas. A much lower total than in recent years. Poor weather in NE England in spring may have caused many to sneak through at low altitude. The good weather in autumn in NE England meant local birds were readily viewed but maybe productivity in Scotland was well down. In autumn the direction was broadly S, ranging from SW to SE, sometimes a reflection of the topology The absence of observed migration in spring is attributed to the poor weather in spring in NE England, which reduced observer time in the field and may have encouraged birds moving to Scotland to sneak through at low altitude. The low autumn totals, compared to most recent years, may be due to a poor breeding season in Scotland where the turbulent weather continued through into July and August, with strong cold winds and much rain. See for instance these articles in the Scotsman http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/scotland-weather-2015-windiest-year-in-decades-1-3841489 and the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33854146. On the other hand NR did find 4 juvenile Honey-buzzard in the Tay Valley at 4 sites from 14/9-17/9 so an alternative explanation is that the fine weather in mid-autumn facilitated a quick and smooth exit with few birds resting in NE England.

Table 24: Visible Migration Movements noted for Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland in 2015

January 4th: here as promised is the 2nd table for the Honey-buzzard in the study area in 2015: the numbers found breeding in each stage of the season by area with commentary below.

Table 23 gives a breakdown of the numbers of males, females and juveniles in each part of the season. The male:female ratio was, compared to previous seasons, rather flat across the year being only 27:22 (1.23) in the display season, reducing in the rearing season to 17:17 (1.00) and unusually in the fledging season rising again to 34:31 (1.10). It is speculated that the poor weather in the display phase reduced the amount of high aerial activity display in which the males are conspicuous; in the fledging phase the high productivity delayed the males’ departure as they stayed longer to help feed the young. The number of juveniles seen, reported as 92 in Table 23, differs from the 95 in Table 22, because of the 3 hidden broods (recorded as >0). By definition all of the juveniles were seen in the fledging phase. Two gangs, assemblages of juveniles before departure, were noted from 24/9-28/9, totalling 9 birds.

Area

No. sites in season

No. adults in season

Display 21/4-20/6

Rearing 21/6-14/8

Fledging 15/8-27/9

Gangs of juveniles post-breeding

24/9-28/9

Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Juvenile

Devil’s Water

6

5

6

11

4

4

2

2

3

1

10

Allen

9

8

9

17

3

2

3

3

6

8

15

Upper South Tyne

6

5

6

11

4

5

1

1

3

3

10

Lower South Tyne

9

8

3

11

6

1

2

1

5

3

13

Tipalt

4

3

3

6

3

2

0

0

2

2

3

Tyne W

7

6

7

13

4

5

1

2

5

5

13

1×6

Tyne E

7

6

4

10

2

2

3

4

3

2

12

1×3

Derwent

9

9

8

17

1

1

5

4

7

7

16

Total

57

50

46

96

27

22

17

17

34

31

92

2 (9)

Table 23: Number of Male, Female and Juvenile Honey-buzzard found in each phase of breeding season in 2015

Last table on migration normally takes a little longer to prepare but the low number of migrants seen in 2015 at 16 should make compilation fairly straight-forward. Busy day with R, launching Young Employee of Year 2016 with circulation to Hexham Business Forum and North East Chamber of Commerce, as well as to R members; relevant web site url is http://www.rotary-ribi.org/clubs/page.php?PgID=554904&ClubID=144. Very good 2 c tmbo and meo!! 2moro it’s N4c4l and much later BH4ra4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 3rd: here as promised is the 1st table for the Honey-buzzard in the study area in 2015: the breeding totals by area with commentary below.

The detailed results for the 2015 breeding season are given in Table 22. It was yet another record-breaking season for Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland in terms of occupancy with 57 occupied sites (56 in 2014) but the number of confirmed breeding pairs fell slightly to 53 (54 in 2014), mainly because 2 sites did not apparently progress in the Haltwhistle area. The outstanding feature was the high productivity with at least 40 pairs fledging 2 young, 12 pairs at least 1 young and 3 pairs greater then 0 young, giving a minimum fledge of 95 juveniles (84+ in 2014), by some way the highest yet recorded. In terms of successful nests, 55 pairs raised the 95+ young, that is a minimum of 1.73 young per pair.

The weather was very poor at the start of the season with strong cool winds running through late April and much of May into early June; it was then quite variable but without any long periods of dull weather which can affect fieldwork and maybe the birds. The mixed weather over much of the rearing period (mid-June to mid-August) may have actually benefited the birds, giving spells of sunshine and rain to assist insect populations. September and the first part of October were generally fine, enabling the fledging of the birds to be well monitored.

This year the breeding totals increased by just one with a new site at Derwent Gorge on the E side of Derwent Reservoir, which was successful with 2 young fledged. The incursion towards the Newcastle/Gateshead conurbation continues to be of interest. The Ryton site, 9.5 km from Tyne Bridge and 1.5 km from W edge of Newburn, was again successful with 2 young fledged. A female was hanging over the area SE of Dunston, towards Gateshead on 14/8; this bird is presumed to be from Hill Head Wood, a large wood to E of Sunniside, just 4.5km from Newcastle city centre compared to the c9km for the closest known sites to W at Ryton and Throckley. Gosforth Park, not known as a site, is 6km from the city centre so could be colonised before too long, if it isn’t already! Woolsington is another possible site 6km out. Getting closer than Hill Head requires colonisation of a park. The only other change to the sites was a presumed move of the pair at Softley further up the upper South Tyne valley to Williamston; it is remarkable how long the pair had bred at Softley, an area largely devoid of Common Buzzard and on the E edge of the badlands to the W.

Survey effort was maintained throughout the season but there were 2 absences of about a week each in late May and mid-June affecting mainly the display observations; another 2 absences of about a week each followed in late July and early August affecting the rearing observations; there were few absences during the fledging period, which was therefore well covered.

In the target area in 2015, 10 sites were observed for nests (12 in 2014) with 100% success again this year. Scots Pine (6 nests) remains the most popular tree with Norway Spruce (2) and Oak (2) some way behind. The reduction in the number of nests sought was due to time constraints in keeping up with the booming Honey-buzzard population. The two sites eliminated included one using Norway Spruce in the upper South Tyne at Softley, where the birds moved this year and it was thought to be too difficult to relocate them; the other was in Tyne Valley West where the nest in Norway Spruce or Douglas Fir has always been particularly difficult to find.

Area

No. sites

No. adults

No. nests

found

Observed Occupied (no. sites)

Breeding Category

Number young fledged

Trees used for Nesting

Display

Sit/

Rear

Fledge

Conf

Prob

Poss

Devil’s Water

6

11

3

6

3

6

6

0

0

10 (4×2, 2×1+)

Scots Pine x2, Norway Spruce

Allen

9

17

2

3

6

9

9

0

0

16 (7×2, 1×1, 1x>0)

Oak, Norway Spruce

Upper South Tyne

6

11

1

6

1

5

5

1

0

10 (5×2, 1×0)

Oak

Lower South Tyne

9

11

0

7

3

9

8

1

0

14 (5×2, 3×1+, 1x>0)

Tipalt

4

6

0

3

0

3

2

2

0

4 (1×2, 1×1+, 1x>0, 1×0)

Tyne W

7

13

2

7

2

7

7

0

0

13 (6×2, 1×1+)

2 x Scots Pine

Tyne E

7

10

1

4

5

7

7

0

0

12 (5×2, 2×1+)

Scots Pine

Derwent

9

17

1

1

8

9

9

0

0

16 (7×2, 2×1+)

Scots Pine

Total

57

96

10

37

28

55

53

4

0

95 (40×2, 11×1+, 1×1, 3x>0, 2×0)

Scots Pine x6, Norway Spruce x2, Oak x2

Table 22: Results for the Honey-buzzard Breeding Season in SW Northumberland by area in 2015

It’s a marvellous result, which is one important reason for writing the results up in a book. Have 2 more tables to publish, one for activity across the season, which hope to publish tomorrow. Pleased to be back: gr8 2 c the dynamic duo (+dog!)!! Made N4c4l as remembered had free voucher for January as valued customer; met mfso there later with z, very pleased she’s shortly back to G on Sunday!! Finally made G4g4s where good to have l back on!! 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l where 4 new members to be induced (or is it inducted!). Following that virus 2 weeks ago, still wake up feeling stiff: there’s an obvious cure!! Last year’s reckoning on funds shows a 41.9k drop, or about 5%, after withdrawals of 10.4k with 7.3k spent on house structural maintenance. The final week of year showed funds unchanged form the previous week. Maybe 2016 will be a bit better: key question is whether deflation gets more of a hold. lok2t fancied ones!!!!

January 2nd: back in style on two trains from Blakedown to Birmingham NS, where got a more purposeful CC train to Newcastle; not a bad journey, indeed every train was on time; then fetched car from airport and back home to put lots of heating on! Used train journey and odd bits of spare time on trip S to complete the large task of checking all the Honey-buzzard breeding data for 2015; now done with just a few minor changes and final version is on home page; next step is to produce a table of the breeding results by area, which may do tomorrow. It was a lovely atmosphere at the wedding and visit to see daughter and family was very good as well. Have some more piccies to put up. So very pleased to be back and hope to catch up on contacts again!! 2moro it’s back to normal with W4shop, C4c4l and G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 1st 2016: still at Park Hall, having wedding celebration yesterday lasting from 12:00-03:00 this morning, with guests up to 92 (20 kids), great atmosphere, 3+ meals, plenty of booze and a tremendous fireworks display at midnight. Pleased to say I was one of the last still standing!! Up very late today and joined little sis and her family, plus son, for a roast meal at The Dog, on the E edge of Kidderminster; felt better after that. Ordered new iPhone 6s from EE for quick delivery to their store in Northumberland Street, Newcastle. Not sure I’m going to be here much longer! A Happy New Year to the lovelies: hope they’ve had a great time!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

December 30th 2015: yesterday was wedding-eve with some spare time; went for local walk getting 25 species including Common Buzzard (2), Redwing (98, in feeding flocks up to 45). It was sunny, wet everywhere after heavy recent rain, light NW breeze. Looks perfect for Honey-buzzard in Blakedown area with mature stands of trees and unimproved small meadows, many containing horses. To the west of Kidderminster is the Wyre Forest, which looks suitable on paper. On drive up here (28/12) mainly along M40 in dry rather cloudy weather had 29 Red Kite, 4 Common Buzzard, 2 Kestrel. Today at noon was wedding ceremony at Tenbury Wells Pump Room, Worcestershire, where 25 adults and 11 kids as witnesses. A few trees down and driving rain from Frank did not dampen spirits. It was a lovely occasion, with about equal representatives from the Reid (big sis’ side) and the Henry (from Cornwall), continuing the SW theme to the family! The wedding leaves my son as the only outstanding bargain in this generation of 7 (5 boys, 2 girls), grandchildren of my mum and dad! We all dressed up in our finery and the Registrar did a good job in creating a good atmosphere; there were ample bridesmaids and page boys of all ages! Wedding brunch followed in main dining room at Park Hall and tonight we have the Wedding-day dinner with attendance rising to 15 kids and 36 adults. Weddings always make me feel romantic: lok2t beauties!!!!

December 28th: moved 190km NW to Park Hall, a mansion near Blakedown, Worcestershire. Big sis was driving: very steady, up M40, M42 and M5! So here for niece J’s wedding; we’re in build-up phase! Canadian contingent are over in strength, mainly from Calgary with family of J, big sis’ late-husband’s sis; quite liberal with J’s daughter S married to another lady, who’s also here. To date 20 adult and 8 children are here; more expected tomorrow. We had a board meeting this evening: my responsibilities seem very slight! Anyway always enjoy weddings so getting stuck in!! iPhone 6S has lost its ability to charge: may be due to fluff; it’s almost 23 months old so thinking of trading it in anyway for an upgrade. lok2t lovelies!!!!

December 27th: moved a little bit N today from Richmond to Ealing to stay with big sis after brilliant stay at daughter’s, with son-in-law M and granddaughter S!!. Yesterday 26/12 did walk around Ham/Teddington on edge of Kingston getting 33 species, including one new for year of Egyptian Goose. Only one raptor to date: a Kestrel adult male in territory in Richmond Park on 24/12. Here’s some family piccies: party on 25/12 1  2, granddaughter dining today 1 and a Balded Eagle head picture 1 which has been claimed to be a very apt present!! Hope the gorgeous ones are keeping fit: lok2t beauties!!!!

December 25th: exchange of pressies at breakfast, followed by walk in Richmond Park. Then off to son-in-law’s big sis’ place in Kingston for Persian-style Xmas lunch and tea – fantastic spread, including g, turkey and lamb, and very good company. Bit of sparring between granddaughter S (0.85 years) and her 1st cousin R (boy, 3), as always ending with older one being told off and younger one looking smug; bit more relaxed by end! Checking final Honey-buzzard results when get time and appear to have added 1 site to Lower South Tyne, raising overall total by 1 as well, still checking! Funds in penultimate week of year didn’t do badly, remaining unchanged while paid out 3k to kids for Xmas! Week showed useful rise in commodity stocks as oil price fall, at least temporarily, was arrested. Suspect some short positions were closed over Xmas and these may be taken out again in early January if prices recover a little so fall may not be completely over yet. On 9/6 going with son to ENO’s Tristan & Isolde (Wagner’s most romantic love drama!) at the Coliseum in London. With Opera North’s complete Ring Cycle at the Sage in July (5/7-10/7) it’s going to be a thrilling summer: see this cycle is completely booked up now so just as well booked when tickets first came out; son’s joining me for that as well. xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!

December 24th: down in the wild SW (of London) at Richmond, staying with daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. After quick visit to N4c4c yesterday, journey down was very smooth with route KX-VXH-RMD being bother-free! Son came over in evening and we had good meal at daughter’s house: granddaughter S after being so charming and all smiles in day decided to wail much of evening, well you cannot expect them to be good all day! Happy Xmas to all the lovelies: particularly tmbo!!!!

December 22nd: found time to wrap up the Hobby account for 2015 (Population of the Hobby in SW Northumberland). So far on long-term trends: Red Kite +, Hobby 0, Goshawk -. Just the big one to go – Honey-buzzard – which hope to do over the festive period. Did make N4c4l for chill out; much later made BH4ra4s where good crack with D/S over a couple of dark beers. Feeling fitter today and delivered Xmas present to the most fancied one!!! Will really miss her!!! 2moro it’s N4c4c. lok2t beauty!!!!

More details of the Hobby breeding season for 2015 are available in Table 10.

Area

No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category

Juveniles

Conf

Prob

Poss

Local-fledge

Also seen

Devil’s Water

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

Allen

2

1

1

0

1

1

0

Tipalt

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Upper South Tyne

3

3

1

1

1

1

0

Lower South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne W

2

2

1

0

1

1

0

Tyne E

2

2

0

1

1

0

0

Derwent

3

6

1

2

0

1

0

Total

13

15

4

5

4

4

0

Table 10: Breeding Data for Hobby in SW Northumberland by area in 2015

At the end of the season, without having done the calculations on the records, was expecting this to be a poor year for the species. It was certainly one in which sightings were often brief but the totals were not that far from normal with the 13 sites being in the middle of the long-term run from 2001 of 10-15 sites and the number of broods at the lower end of the typical range of 4-9 in the same period. Two of the 18 sightings were of this species mobbing Honey-buzzard, something they’re quite keen on doing. The Hobby continues to make inroads into E Scotland with a pair of Hobby breeding in Perth & Kinross where personally had birds (juvenile male, adult female) at 2 sites in my visit in September; records of this species numbered 10 in July, 10 in August and 3 in September [Scottish Birds 35(4) December 2015 p.375]. Everywhere though on the edge of its range it seems to be difficult to pin down, readily moving sites by a few km each year and being difficult to observe as with many raptors when on eggs or with small young. After last year’s apparent dip, numbers recovered in the upper South Tyne to 3 sites occupied, but Towsbank one of the showcase sites was not apparently used. The same number of pairs were at Derwent and 2 pairs were at each of Allen, Tyne W and Tyne E. This year 8 of the 13 sites occupied were adjacent to heather moorland; the remaining 5 were in or near the main Tyne Valley including the one in the Devil’s Water. Overall in the study area the Hobby shows amazing constancy at a fairly low density.

December 21st: latest issue of Scottish Birds 35(4) December 2015 p.374 has 11 sightings of Honey-buzzard from 1/7-30/9 with 6 on the northern isles (Orkney, Shetland, Fair Isle) from 15/7-14/9 (5 from 15/7-18/8), one Lothian (29/7 Craiglochart), one Highlands (30/7 Kingussie), one NE Scotland (8/8 Logie Buchan), one Fife (29/8 Falkland), one Isle of May (12/9). Summarised a little: 3 probably breeding in inland areas in July and August (Highlands, NE Scotland, Fife), 2 east coast migrants in July and September (Craiglochart, Isle of May) and 6 migrants on the northern isles. Coverage of the inland breeding areas is very incomplete so the records on the northern isles are very much the tip of the iceberg. Pleased to see (at p.375) a pair of Hobby bred in Perth & Kinross where personally had birds (juvenile male, adult female) at 2 sites in my visit in September; records of this species numbered 10 in July, 10 in August and 3 in September; September records were described as late; I would disagree with this as they don’t start laying eggs until mid-June in northern Britain with young fledging from mid-August at the earliest. Whatever the Hobby is gaining ground in Scotland. No Woodlark yet!

Did make R @ B4m4l where we had 3 courses in good spread; ate it all! Drifted home to write out 20 xmas cards and post them 1st class; think need to send a few more! Thought tmbo looked gr8!! 2moro may stir a bit more with N4c4l and BH4ra4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

December 20th: woke up feeling even worse with aching muscles and sinusitis so stayed in bed! Not really much else to report as on own – didn’t make G – but feeling better by evening; did take 1 more ibuprofen but strictly ration them as feel it’s best to let the immune system take charge. Here’s the completed shed 1  2: quite big, think it needs a bit of camouflaging with some willow along the soak-away side to N and letting the dogwood spread a bit more on the S side; could be used to house a few guests! Old shed area flooded again today: glad we’ve relocated it. Did watch BBC SPOY: pleased that AM won but I voted for LB as local lass! 2moro hope to make R Xmas @ B4m4l but probably not much else. lok2t lovelies!!!!

December 19th: woke up feeling stiff!! Did another stint at 4St4coll, faster business than yesterday, some people are very generous, think hospice is a cause that everyone appreciates and some older people may think it’s an insurance premium! It’s a good way of observing the local talent!! Made C4c4l for afters to try and warm up but feeling a bit lousy by tea-time. Bought some new pillows, just in case. Decided to dose up on 2 ibuprofen and make S4con anyway so caught late-running 18:01 train at Prudhoe International, just making S at 18:51 via High-level Bridge for the Messiah at 19:00! Not even time for a discounted drink! Enjoyed the performance: the soloists were very good and the RNS Chorus was as ever magnificent – northern cities have such a grand tradition in producing fantastic choruses. Woodwind was limited to 3 (2 oboe and a bassoon); no flutes though there was a distinguished flautist one row in front of me!! Had a quick red wine before crossing the Bridge again to catch the 10:45 bus 10B back to Prudhoe International. The bus was late at Central Station by 20 minutes and there were so many people getting on and off along the route that we were 30 minutes late into Low Prudhoe. Still the bus is doing a grand service, getting people home, in variable states of wear!! By now the ibuprofen had worn off and felt really rough! Got back home and crashed out.

December 18th: here’s butterfly records for Northumberland for 2015: 22 types as against 20 in 2014 but 248 records as against 314 in 2014, so diversity up a bit and plentifulness down. Poor weather in spring may have affected flight numbers at that time and also inhibited the numbers of second broods. Made N4c4c, 4St4coll (overloading of 4!) giving good opportunity to survey the talent, GardenHouse4m4l with P, W4ra4s with D/D. Funds up 1k this week after paying for the shed and taking a further significant withdrawal of 1.6k as clear decks for Xmas! No Santa rally this year: have positioned portfolio for next year in favour of coupon-paying bonds to benefit from continued low inflation and natural resource stocks, which surely cannot go any lower: famous last words! Including Irish REIT interests now get 0.16837k a day accrued interest. Returning to Green mantra, what good is this wind-farm at Beinn Tharsuinn East, Ross? How can such a project with its disturbance to peat, building of roads over sensitive terrain and destruction of wild moorland have ever been permitted? 2moro it’s more 4St4coll (same time), C4c4l and S4con (-N as got cold). lok2t beauties!!!!

December 17th: shed finished today at dusk – fantastic – will take some piccies. Weather has been very kind throughout for the job though the soaked ground has cut up badly: it’ll soon recover! Paid JC £1.56k for the complete job of removal and replacement bringing amount spent on house in past year to a little over 7k; think prices of more expensive property in Northumberland are going up a bit so worthwhile. There’s no hurry to put the stuff back in the shed; might plan a little with hooks and a cabinet. Did make N4c4l – got an Xmas card from staff, which is nice (but deserved!). Didn’t make R&C, got rather stuck into arranging things with family for the lengthy festivities and didn’t really fancy 6 nights out in a row, starting Tuesday! In the mild weather had walk out to Dotland at dusk; sunset time is about to have a great moment. Completed butterfly record compilation for Northumberland for 2015; will submit them and put a copy here tomorrow; looks like 22 types recorded. 2moro sees P/me collecting for the Hospice at 12 in 4St with maybe N4c4c before; will make W4ra4s later and on Saturday it’s the sing-along at the S4con!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

December 16th: work on shed continues, bit over 1 day left would say with no expertise! Still adding records for last season including insects in mid-August and the Wylam Honey-buzzard site visit on 21/8. Thinking a lot about the climate change talks in Paris over the last 2 weeks: down points for me are the almost evangelical way that matters are discussed, the abuse of deniers, the faith in technologies which are far from proven on a large scale and the ignoring of biodiversity and wildlife except in the broadest of terms. Would like to say that the plus points include the addressing of a serious threat but wonder how much of the problem is really degradation of the planet by humans rather than the global-warming blanket effect: hence efforts are being misdirected. Whatever I’m not a Green on the definitions of the delegates attending the meeting and don’t like the label being hijacked by them. Did make N4c4t and G4g4ss with good gatherings in both sessions! By the way you’re not too late: the N&TBC is still looking for a data manager and only 50 observers in October submitting records; used to be 100+ in peak month October in my stint as County Recorder in the 1990s; very few records from inland but one interesting one of 4 Red Kite near Whittonstall (known site). Feelings did persist!!! 2moro it’s N4c4l followed by R&C4m4s!! lok2tmbo!!!!

December 15th: here’s some piccies of project: old shed area 1  2  3, cleared area 1  2  3, new external power socket 1  2 (put in by me!); hope to have piccies of new shed soon! It’s so clarty up here with the work going on but very pleased that it’s going to be finished soon! Did make N4c4l where met A/J for good chat, gr8 2 c tmbo!! Much later out to BH4ra4s where end of year grub for the regular music nite – advantage of Tuesday! Brilliant end to day with the favoured one: she’s irresistible: keep me straight!!! lok2t beauties!!!!

Extracts from Hampshire Bird Atlas 2007-2012, John Eyre (ed), Hampshire Ornithological Society (2015). Honey-buzzard pp.134-135. Article confirms much about Honey-buzzard known from surveys in northern Britain: exceptional breeding success (c90%) with 1.5-2 young per successful nest, quite catholic in choice of habitat with records from 65 tetrads, more widespread than people suppose, not a southern softy. Above all though it questions the ‘mythical status’ in some observers’ minds, which has bedevilled attempts at having a rational discussion on the species. The worries about Goshawk predation are very interesting: we don’t have that problem in SW Northumberland but it may be a factor in Honey-buzzard not apparently colonising the Border Forests where the Goshawk thrives in the absence of ‘keepers. I disagree with the comment that Britain is on the edge of its range; that was true before the 1990s but now feel that across the whole of the British Isles we are well within the main range, except for Ireland, where colonisation is under way. The statement ‘never been common’ is also questionable: where’s the evidence to make such a comment say on populations in the 18th century? Overall an excellent contribution to the debate.

The Honey-buzzard has always attracted a disproportionate amount of interest among bird enthusiasts in the UK, despite it being one of the commonest breeding raptors in Europe. In Britain, it is at the edge of its range and has never been common. This, coupled with its elusiveness on its breeding grounds, has led to its almost mythical status …

More recent studies on Honey-buzzard have shown that much of our early information on the species had little basis in fact. They are not limited by the need for a warm southern climate nor by light soils to enable them to dig out wasp nests. Neither are they particularly vulnerable to disturbance. Much of our improved knowledge has been gained by colour ringing, nest cameras and satellite tagging. It is, therefore, pleasing to be able to say that attitudes have changed and information is now more forthcoming on the Honey-buzzard’s status in Hampshire. Annual breeding totals have now been published for even those early Atlas years when records were previously withheld (Wiseman 2012) …

It has bred regularly in the New Forest and in other county localities throughout the HBA period. Indeed from 2000 the county has hosted singles or pairs of Honey-buzzard at between five and twelve sites each year (A. Page in litt).

Where it is known to have attempted breeding, the species has achieved an 88.9% success rate and averaged 1.78 young per successful nest (Wiseman 2012).

[mentions potential problems with Goshawk and need for constant monitoring]

During the five years of the HBA survey, Honey-buzzards were recorded in 65 tetrads with breeding proven in 19, distributed across ten different 10 km squares. We know the species can turn up anywhere in the county where woodland is a feature of the landscape and can subsequently bred successfully in these areas. While not thought to be statistically important, it is quite likely that some pairs are going undetected in Hampshire in most years.”

December 14th: copy of Hampshire Bird Atlas 2007-2012 arrived; looks very good with in-depth accounts in a national context; like the one for Honey-buzzard from which will make a few quotes soon. Today saw the shed and lean-to demolished; we decided not to build the new one on the same site because of the wet but on the higher land at the back ‘upstream’ from the main soak-away off the W roof. So I’ve now got fantastic views from the kitchen to the N and the new shed will fit in well on the same ridge as the 2 pony shelters, which I built c1990 and are still standing well on a sandy substrate (mini-moraine). The old site will become a wet grassy nature reserve! A farmer, visiting his sheep opposite, snapped up the corrugated iron off the lean-to roof: always useful for sheds! Farmers even re-use baler twine (to their credit!). The wood from the old shed is in the field to rot and the lino and roof-felt will go to the recycling centre. Construction of new shed starts tomorrow. Made R @ B4m4l (gr8 to have l on) where SB gave a talk on the fascinations of historical Northumberland – very good, bought a signed copy of his latest book at £2 discount and we went to QH4c4ll afterwards. Bought 20 R xmas cards for £20, might send some directly. Modified home page for this site (entry page for Honey-buzzard and Visiting Fellow), adding some more music, mainly from Wagner and the sublime!! 2moro will make N4c4l and out in evening somewhere, maybe BH4ra4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

December 13th: after the promising Red Kite data, here now below are the dismal data for Goshawk. Next up is Hobby and finally Honey-buzzard, for which anticipate poor and good results respectively for 2015. Brightness this morning gave way to rain by evening, melting some of the snow away. Made W4shop where met AS, PVC of Napier, who used to be my boss (dean) at unn; he was telling me about masses of geese flying W at Riding Mill a few weeks ago in Vs – sounds like Pinkfeet. Then up to N4c4t where s away next week! Caught up with some Wagner on DVDs in late afternoon – got all the main operas that way and started with Lohengrin; planning to update Home Page with some more favoured musical clips! Final trip was to G4g4s to meet the ‘lads’! Ended on a high musical note!!! 2moro it’s work on shed by JC, R @ B4m4l, C4c4ll!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Details of the Goshawk breeding season for 2015 are available in Table 9 (from Population of the Goshawk in SW Northumberland).

Area

No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category

Juveniles

Conf

Prob

Poss

Local-fledge

Also seen

Devil’s Water

2

0

0

0

2

0

0

Allen

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Upper South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Lower South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne W

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne E

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Derwent

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

Total

4

1

0

0

2

0

0

Table 9: Breeding Data for Goshawk in SW Northumberland by area in 2015

This was the poorest breeding season since the study started in 1996 with no birds at all noted in the Tyne Valley W and E which had had residual pockets of colonisation from better times. At the 4 sites at which transient occupation noted, only 1 bird was definitely an adult, suggesting that these birds were doomed immature wanderers from the healthy Border Forest population. Game interests have succeeded in virtually eliminating the species from SW Northumberland. The habitat remains very suitable for the species and there is abundant prey with many rabbit and pigeons.

December 12th: here’s 1st raptor report for the last season – Red Kite. It’s been a record-breaking season after more steady progress. Expect Goshawk to follow tomorrow; not much to compile there sadly. Heavy rain turned to snow as storm Eva came over, giving c10cm at home and c2cm in Hexham but absence of gritting caused a little chaos. Went into C4c4l and found the roads on S side of Hexham particularly bad with ice underneath the slush so plenty of spin! Coming back had to crawl past a few expensive cars on the bank coming out of Hexham, just before the area was closed for a while. It was brilliant to see the meo and the rhwso!! Was not going to go to Xmas do because of the roads but it started softening early evening so off to Swan at Heddon where 8 of us (Welly gang) had a very good meal and chat, including carvery and a couple of g. It was freezing again on way back but no probs! 2moro it’s N4c4l followed much later by G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Details of the Red Kite breeding season for 2015 are available in Table 9 (from Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland).

Area

No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category

No. Juveniles fledged

Conf

Prob

Poss

Devil’s Water

2

2

0

2

0

0

Allen

0

0

0

0

0

0

Upper South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

Lower South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne W

8

11

4

1

2

5

Tyne E

4

5

3

0

1

4

Derwent

5

6

2

2

0

3

Total

19

24

9

5

3

12

Table 9: Breeding Data for Red Kite in SW Northumberland by area in 2015

A year of consolidation, with a reasonably prospering core area but no signs of expansion to the W of Corbridge. The weather in spring was very cool and windy but this did not seem to affect breeding success with a record total of 9 fledged broods, totalling 12 young, with 3 broods of 2 birds, all records for the study area in the current recolonisation. The area in which the birds were found was similar to that in 2014 with 24 adults (30 in 2014) seen at 19 sites (18 in 2014); area-wise the pattern did not change significantly with 2 more sites in Derwent offset somewhat by 1 less site in Tyne Valley W. The successful birds were again mainly in a relatively small area bounded by Stocksfield/Bywell to the W (3 broods of 4), Wylam to the E (1 brood of 1) and the area to the S between the Bradley Burn and the Derwent, east of the Reservoir (4 broods of 6). Further success was noted at Callerton to the NE (1 brood of 1). Outside these areas the only birds found were near the Devil’s Water, where birds were seen in the spring at 2 sites. No birds were seen W of Tyne Meet: indeed Riding Mill and Broomleyfell appear to mark the W boundary along the Tyne. There was no recorded or suspected persecution. Overall another year of steady progress in the established core area.

 

December 11th: refined details for R YE in morning and sent off publicity article to BT at HC; big question is how much personal contact information to make public; left that to BT but default is not much! Made N4c4t: great to see tmbo and the meo!!!! Another very bad week for markets, which seem to be tied irrevocably to the oil price; with that now down to $38 a barrel (from $90 a year ago), only 38 more to go! ftse down 4.6% on week and 9.3% on year (following -2.5% in year 2014): no Santa rally this year. Own funds were down 9k on week, making fall of 41k on year or about 5%. Over half the fall was due to the crash in LBG’s ECN on amazing Appeal Court’s decision that LBG can repay them at par, overturning the Lord Chancellor’s earlier view that they couldn’t. I don’t think LBG anticipated the press they got: universally hostile. I commented on TMF http://boards.fool.co.uk/the-times-articles-are-well-worth-reading-and-very-13303996.aspx:

The Times articles are well worth reading and very supportive of ECN holders. I suspect the paper sees the danger of developing-country (Portuguese?) financial machinations becoming adopted in London and damaging its reputation as a financial centre. It may be at this level that the fate of the ECNs will eventually be decided. Tyrie, chair of TSC, is a formidable operator and may have a number of questions for the FCA as well as for LBG.

The chair of LBG is Portuguese and if you want to learn all about that country’s banking system, look at the fate of their largest bank in 2014: Banco Espirito Santo http://www.euromoney.com/Article/3389660/Downfall-of-a-dynasty-The-last-days-of-Ricardo-Salgado-and-Banco-Esprito-Santo.html. The basic story with the ECNs is that LBG are claiming a drafting error in the prospectus, which everyone should have spotted, and which when corrected gives them the right to redeem the bonds early at par. It needs to go to the Supreme Court but not quite enough readies at the moment! Anyway continuing to pick up the odd ‘bargain’ on the way down! Made W4ra4s where 5 of us out but initial company left at 12 so joined another group until 1. 2moro it’s C4c4l and Swan4m4s with 8 of us out at latter for Xmas meal! Hope to publish 1st raptor analysis for 2015: that for Red Kite. lok2t beauties!!!!

December 10th: moved bunker no.2, which wasn’t easy as it had sunk a little into the mud. Made N4c4t where met P/J for good chat, followed much later by T&S4ra4s with A/M where spent quite a lot of time on the blockchain access method for the bitcoin! Dropped A back to S and heard about everyday life at the R&C (A’s car-roof damaged by flying breeze blocks, ex-chef in trouble over motor and maintenance!), where we’re going next week!

December 9th: sorted out details for R YE (Young Employee) competition and posted them on Hexham R website; we should get some publicity from local paper HC. In sunny weather did a lot of outside work knocking back the spreading hedge along the N side of the front yard and moving one (out of 2) coal bunker close to house wall. Made C4c4t and W4g4ss, meeting builder JC at session 1 (all the best business is done in pubs!); had long chat about shed and decided in end to put new shed where the old shed currently sits (nothing like tradition!); work starts next Monday, weather permitting! Heavy rain arrived in evening but nowhere near as bad as last weekend. 2moro it’s N4c4c with P and T&S4ra4s with computing mates!! N arrives back 2moro from south and next S4con is the Messiah!! lok2t beauties!!!!

December 8th: into Discovery Museum where joined Friends (£20 a year + gift aid) and enjoyed a 90 minute intro into what they do and understood the funding position better. Basically with the cutback in government grants to museums, the Friends want to channel more of their money directly into the Museum’s funds but they will still support YEDT at a reduced level. Did make S4s4l in quick time before back to Hexham for N4c4t, where l was on and reminded me that I’d missed the monthly antiques fair: right! Do understand the significance of something now: exciting!! Made BH4ra4s where fairly quiet as music nite is once a fortnight. Perfect end to day: when’s she moving in: lok2tmbo!!!!

December 7th: busy day at R, elections were a bit strange in that they weren’t really! Back at the ranch, clipped the top of the leylandii hedge so that it looks a little more conventional; the sap gives me a rash so always have a shower straight-after but always end up with some red patches. Completed below the records for the south coast area from 14/6-21/6, including the piccies for Honey-buzzard and their habitat. Very interested in Click broadcast over weekend on the BBC News channel; half of it was on the system in bitcoin, the blockchain, for handling distributed database transactions with the presentation DEVCON1: Monadic Design Patterns for the Blockchain – Lucius Greg Meredith highlighted. The method adopted, after watching the whole talk, is virtually identical to one developed by us in 2006: Rossiter, B N, Heather, M A, & Sisiaridis, D, Process as a World Transaction, Proceedings ANPA 27 Conceptions, 122-157 (2006) pdf. Will drop Lucius a line: it’s very interesting to see CT catching on like this: that’s what we wanted to see in Paris but they wasted the opportunity. 2moro it’s RDM-NCL, S4s4l, N4c4t and maybe BH4ra4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

December 6th: rain stopped rather suddenly at around 07:00 after quite a lot more overnight. Met Office said the [official] rainfall total between 09:00 GMT on 4 December and the same time on 6 December was worst in Shap in Cumbria, where 262.6mm fell, but over 13 inches [340mm] of rain in one day at Honister seems to have broken UK records. Update for Northumberland: The River Tyne at Bywell, Northumberland, broke its previous record of 6.33m when it reached almost seven metres in an area that can only withstand a maximum level of 4.6m. The county measured up to 150mm of rain in some places, compared to the December average of 100mm. Tidied up around old shed, now waiting for erection of new one (3.5mx2.5m), built from scratch with local timber, and clearance of old, for around £1500. Thinking of putting new one in front-yard on tarmac, rather than in the low-lying wet patch where old one currently sits; could reduce area of land that is built on, returning the low-lying area to the frogs! Think that fits better with climate change. Cleo’s taken over the old shed as hunting territory. It was very good to make the concert at S (minus N who’s away and by car as train didn’t arrive). BC was in charge and Craig Ogden was the able and witty guitar soloist as replacement for Miloš Karadaglić. Hall 1 was just about full, so that’s c1600 gate! Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings went down well, with some of the audience happily clapping after every movement; thought BC handled that well, giving a cheery smile! Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez proved very popular; its melodies and rhythms are well-known so playing has to be faultless: it was!! Thought the woodwind was superb throughout and particularly, in movement 3, e.g. in the piccolo/flute combo!! Had a large red wine to round evening off before driving back to Hexham, where made G just before 11 in time for a g and good chat with mates. Very pleased to see someone later!!! 2moro it’s R 4 Vocational committee meeting at noon, followed by B4m4l. Tuesday sees visit to Discovery Museum to attend Friends function at lunchtime and have informal chat about YEDT strategy; expect to go on to S4l! lok2t talented ones!!!!

December 5th: sorted out a lot of material for Honey-buzzard from the trip to the south coast in mid-June, including piccies of the birds and their habitat; all labelled and uploaded but need to index, which will do tomorrow. Will also publish final totals for the trip for birds and butterflies/moths. Did make C4c4l as don’t want to get cabin fever! Good to see the rhwso: she does look after my bank account well!! Did some healthy shopping: wholemeal bread at NL and £5.60 of fruit at TL, where do nearly all of fruit shopping now. For weather, see below; it was a bit less wild in Hexham than in the ‘Shire but town was deserted. It’s going to be much better tomorrow so expect to make N4c4l and S4con!! Correction to shed advert below: now minus door, blown off last nite! Have had estimate for demolition of old shed and erection of new one from JC so maybe it will all be sorted soon. lok2t beauties!!!!

Message sent to family down S: “Thought you might like a weather report from the NE … Incredible weather up here with storm Desmond. See attached for river levels on Tyne at Corbridge at all-time record (5.73m by 22:00). The Tyne of course drains from the Pennines, including those in Cumbria, hence the problem but I’ve never known rain and wind like this in the Hexham area; it’s more like scenes in the Philippines! Severe gales driving the rain are making it quite difficult to walk around outside. I think they’ve done a lot since the last major floods in 2009 so hopefully damage will be restricted. This is going on until 6am tomorrow meaning the storm with torrential rain throughout will have lasted for 36 hours with some of the Pennines getting 200+mm of rain in total (over 8 inches!). Good thing is electricity has stayed on and the house is intact. No problems with flooding as on top of hill”. Replies can be summarised as: “don’t go out; good luck in the wilds!”.

December 4th: a rare dry day so out smartly to fit new external power plug on outside wall replacing the one inside the shed; all went smoothly and it works! Had break at N4c4l where gr8 2 c meo!! Shed’s available now with vacant possession: leaks a bit, plenty of mice and spiders, electricity disconnected, any reasonable offer considered! Funds up 3k this week with bear squeeze on €:$ (boosting Irish property values in £) and on pt/pd/rh metals: every short seller eventually a buyer be! It is possible to become insolvent as a short seller as there is no limit to the amount you may have to find to buy back the shares you’ve sold that you didn’t have: personally avoid the strategy. US job figures were good; €land continues to recover; UK consumer is getting more confident; think there’s too much pessimism around as investors are terrified we’re going to have another crash. Crashes are expected once about every 40 years (1929, 1974, 2008), as people forgetting the past, throw all caution to the wind, not once a decade. Worst storm of season so far ‘Desmond’ with severe gale and driving rain this evening, bringing down masses of twigs and small branches. Did make W4ra4s though with D/C; not the best of turnouts but we had good chat! Sorting out Isle of Wight piccies from mid-June at present, will add shots of some Honey-buzzard and their habitat. 2moro it’s final analysis of IoW but will make C4c4l; on Sunday going to S4con with a bit of wine before/after on pp discounts (25%): looking forward to the trip!! lok2t beauties!!!!

December 3rd: YEDT meeting at unn was very frank; we’re thinking of cutting prize money to make competition more sustainable, compensating by giving more honour to the winners in terms of cv and experience. There’s quite a lot of things to sort before next meeting on 10/2. Would like to do the same to our other competition YE! Made S4s4l where there was a meeting for disabled people (IDDP), which was packed; good to see facilities used for such a purpose. Much later, in conditions better suited for amphibians, made R&C4m4s where 4 of us out for good crack! Co-op bonds went xd today, signalling nice divis of almost 12k on 20/12. Will not further boost funds as accrued through the year on a daily basis. Gr8 end to day in S!!! 2moro it’s N4c4l and W4ra4s, not been to latter for quite a while! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

December 2nd: good sociable day in latter part, indeed making N4c4t and G4g4ss with lots of chat all-round. Finished trips to recycling centre and collected a parcel of knives and forks from the PO. Spent some time analysing them (1796) and the trefid spoon (1690) from a month ago: all in order! Was thinking of bidding for a seal-top spoon from Commonwealth period (1650s) but it went for £1075! Outdoor work curtailed by weather: see November 2015 was the gloomiest November on record, only beaten by 2 Decembers as gloomiest month on record. But it’s not long, about a week, until evenings bottom out at 15:38 sunset in NCL, compared to 15:42 today; mornings don’t bottom out until towards the New Year. 2moro sees chairing of YEDT steering group meeting followed by S4s4l and much later by R&C4m4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

December 1st: actually made C4c4l, again with P, don’t like to be a creature of habit! Had another major go at shed in afternoon, removing unit sides and backs to the field, taking scrap metal to the recycling depot and buying an outside power socket to install on the wall near the back door. Will be making another trip to recycling depot tomorrow morning for deposit, mainly of moulded plastics. So that’s keeping me busy! Much later made BH4ra4s where met usual crowd for catch-up! Must say a dry gusty wind makes me feel quite wild: so gr8 end to day with the most fancied one: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4t and G4g4ss (creature of habit!!) but Thursday it’s into the big city!

Continued getting Riga opera sorted: here’s Rheingold comments

[NB 2013, 4/6/13] part 1 (Rheingold) went off brilliantly! Started at 19:05 and finished at 21:30, without a break. Opera House was quite intimate and we had a box, giving great views. Sung in German with super-titles in Latvian and English, style was very much pantomime with larger cast than usual and much clever gesturing (not sure what the serpent really was!) and movement. Rhinemaidens were very appealing and band kept everything together well with moving climaxes. Wotan (Ralf Lukas, German), Loge (Göran Eliasson, Swedish) and Alberich (Oliver Zwarg, German) made a convincing central trio. Here’s ticket 1 and extracts from programme 2  3  4. Size of orchestra (see 4) is impressive: 6 flute, 6 oboe, 6 clarinet, 5 bassoon, 7 French horn, 5 trumpet, 6 trombone, 2 tuba, 3 harp, 7 percussion, 15 first violin, 12 second violin, 9 viola, 10 cello, 6 double bass, total of 105!

November 30th: leisurely chat with P at N4c4l! Arrogant Trespass order cancelled by book-seller – no longer in stock – what a s.d! R took up most of evening; very good meal at Athenas; interesting inside info from an engineer sitting next to me that MIO are still drilling near Nenthead and their current hole is 2km deep! The current market view is that this programme is dormant. Sorted Honey-buzzard field records for 20/8 and prepared some materials from IoW and Latvia Opera for publishing. Did some more shed clearing as rain stopped this afternoon. 2moro it’s N4c4l followed by completion of shed clearing and much later BH4ra4s to celebrate!!

November 29th: pretty laid-back day, making W4shop followed by long coffee reading free DT, N4c4l and watching AM * in tennis followed by the English women football team hammering BIH 1-0; thought the Scottish ladies looked very fit in their 10-0 victory over MCD! Found out at N that client S has been banned (drink problem!, also banned BIN21) and Norman has sadly died of a heart attack. In shopping sardines now down to a low of 40p and mackerel at 70p, so filled my boots with those! Feeling like hibernating in this gloomy weather! Did a lot more work on the Roucestre family (below); this looks (by intuition) the family that went to Ireland! Finally tracked down and ordered an affordable copy of Arrogant Trespass: Anglo-Norman Wexford 1169-1400 by Billy Colfer in Cork (£58) and bought a few much needed Georgian ag knives and forks on Ebay (6 pairs, £161). Also added quite a lot more on the Riga trip to NB 2013 and currently sorting out results in the field from the Honey-buzzard nest-site visit on 20/8. Made G4g4s with P for good crack! 2moro it’s N4c4c with P followed much later by R @ Bunters4m4s, where requesting £500 of club funds for Young Employee; chairing YEDT meeting at unn on Thursday morning followed by S4m4l. See RNS now on capital tour but back for next Sunday!! lok2t beauties!!!!

November 27th: well, exhausted after all that shopping; it’s very good that, to celebrate Black Friday, Northern Rail put on 4 coaches instead of 2 for the 22:35 home; only trouble was that passenger numbers were normal! Did make N4c4l where s/l on! Into NCL on 16:57 from SKS where made MP4m4t with N. Really enjoyed RNS concert at Sage with Sibelius’ Violin Concerto played brilliantly by Christian Tetzlaff; love movement 3 with its lively theme but movement 1 has a lot of depth. Didn’t care a lot for the Schumann overture: really only like his piano concerto. But the Brahms 3 was fantastic, with much variety and scope. This was a great symphony for the woodwind and they showed off their skills well, particularly the flutes, e.g. outstanding in main themes!! Next concert is Sunday evening (6/12), which N will not be making. We made Cnt4g4s but there was no-one out at W so SH! Funds down only 1k this week, with some relief from fall in value of £. Massive short selling, particularly from China, is continuing to drive down metal prices and mining shares but there is one consolation: every short seller is eventually a buyer! This article http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-24/stung-by-oil-distressed-debt-traders-see-worst-losses-since-08 on 2015 being a poor year for distressed asset dealings, indeed the worst since 2008, struck a chord, though my problems have been mainly with €reit and metals, not oil, with losses of about 5%, similar to the hedge funds, and not actually that much different from the general market indices. I’m hanging in there like the nice lady on the video suggests! xxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 26th: lots of work outside today cutting much of leylandii hedge and demolishing some more units! Good way to keep fit! Did though make N4c4l, enjoying the sights on the way (like the shaggy look!!), and T&S4ra4s, latter with M/A for catch-up on the computing world! Took A home to S; next week we return to R&C for one week anyway!! Added some more piccies from Riga trip of city centre on 2/6/13 to NB 2013 and added bird records from 6/6/13 at Jūrmala on the Baltic coast to BirdTrack. Very pleased I recorded everything on the NB, would have had very sketchy records otherwise. 2moro it’s N4c4l, MP4m4t with N, S4con in usual row (L, do have row O for a few concerts), W4ra4s. Looking forward to the concert!! lok2t beauties!!!!

November 25th: completed adding bird entries for last season though there may be a few lurking somewhere! Next pieces of paper discovered on desk were for Latvia visit in June 2013 with son to see The Ring. Do have some bird entries plus various opera mementos so decided to do that next. Main documentation will be on 2013 page but here’s a few shots of the Riga Opera House 1  2  3  4  5 together with the publicity board outside the Opera House for The Ring 6, all taken 3/6/2013. Today started hedge cutting, doing beech one on front of house, and continued shed clearance, now demolishing old units, very satisfying! Sociable end to day, making N4c4t where s on and G4g4s, where a number of celebrations were in progress, including the aftermath of a wedding! 2moro it’s N4c4l, more work outside and much later T&S4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 24th: did all for R that was necessary today, including Cncl meeting at President’s house in Oakwood. Started on visit to Slaley Forest on 26/6 but not completed: bogged down on identifying a micro moth, which did in end as Blastobasis lacticolella! J came round to measure shed, for which he’ll give a quote. Evidently am going to get a lot more wood as taking old shed away would require a skip costing £200; so will locate a suitable dumping ground in field. Did make BH4ra4s where had a couple of Corby Brown, amid some good crack!! Did dally on the way home for the delights of the Tyne Valley: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4t and G4g4ss!!

November 23rd: made R 4 special Cncl meeting where we rejected an R Global grant for Namibia as we thought it was rather unrealistic; I’d exposed some of the problems in an email on Saturday; we’re going to look for another, which stacks up better, preferably using local labour. Added details of visit to Plenmeller Common for birds and insects on 23/6; 1 more list to do for birds, really getting there as can start publishing annual totals for each raptor species, well ahead of last year. ‘Whatever’ to conclude day was not that exciting, making T for routine supplies of paper and batteries, but did remember to get a smoke alarm to replace one outside bedroom, which now fitted! Like to have 2 dry days a week! More R 2moro with preparation of team report and meeting at President’s house 4t; however, must make N4c4l as thrown out then by cleaner s and may well make BH4ra4s!! lok2t s.a.s!!!!

November 22nd: cold spell continued but mostly above freezing during day-time on weak sunshine before sharp frost in evening up to midnight. Added details of visit to Oakpool for birds and insects on 29/6; 2 more lists to do for birds. Made MP4m4l with N off 12:05 train RDM-NCL, dining in style! Was expecting a good concert by RNS and so it turned out; Finlandia by Sibelius was played with great vigour and Sibelius 5 was very moving, particularly the climaxes to movements 1 and 3, bringing tears to the eyes; flutes were superb at the start of movement 2!! Thought the conductor Olli Mustonen was very well suited to the Sibelius but was not so convinced for the Elgar Cello Concerto: would have liked to see a little more angst though not necessarily to the extreme of Jacqueline du Pré; maybe Mario would have been better here, always liked his style! Whatever the mffp excels!! For afters went to Cnt4g4t, home on 18:10 NCL-RDM and G4g4s, where another new stylish bar lass l on! 2moro it’s R special Cncl @ B4m4l at noon, C4c4ll and whatever!! lok2t beauties!!!!

November 21st: much colder today, winter has started to arrive with some overnight snow lingering throughout today; it’s very cosy indoors though with fire lit. Continued clearing out sheds; it’s amazing how much stuff continually emerges! Was going to C4c4l but it was full so made N instead, where gr8 to have s on!! Rendezvous with the rhwso maintained and thought the meo looked gr8!! Given my apologies to Paris:

Dear …

Thank you very much for your email of 3 November and comments on my abstract as appended below [copy of abstract here].

We have been working on natural information systems for a number of years and indeed produced a 39pp paper in the ANPA proceedings this year: Formal Natural Philosophy: Top-down Design for Information & Communication Technologies with Category Theory pdf. A more recent presentation, in August 2015, was “Abstract Relations as Allegorical Categories”, in which I look at the potential of allegories, as developed by Freyd & Scedrov, for information systems.

The singular ‘the’, as in your comments below, refers to the type or intension of which there is only one instance. There may of course be many examples of a Cartesian closed category or topos, which we would classify as the extension. Lawvere (1969) in his Dialectica paper introduced the intension-extension concept to category theory though the idea precedes category theory by many years.

I would be very happy to give a presentation in the CLE seminar series, which looks to have provided a constructive and progressive advance in topos theory and its applications.

I am very sorry but I will not be attending the Topos à l’ IHES meeting this week. I delayed the decision of whether to attend to see how the security situation developed. In the end it is very much a personal decision and I did not feel comfortable travelling from Newcastle to Paris in the current situation, particularly with today’s developments in Brussels.

I do hope you have a good conference.

Regards …

 

They have asked whether I would like to talk in their seminar series in Paris and I’ve agreed. Funds down another 3k, did think November was not going to be good for natural resources; scenting though that turnround may not be far off as no commodity producers are making any money at the moment so closures of capacity are imminent. Added quite a lot of moth records today from 27/6, which was one of the better trapping nights of the season. About to start adding Oakpool bird records for 29/6. 2moro with N it’s MP4m4l and S4con in afternoon, followed later by G4g4s!! Looking forward to the concert: xxxxxxxxxx!!!

November 20th: good to meet R/A for lunch in Haltwhistle, particularly at their place! Transferred lots of piccies onto their new laptop. R is daughter’s god-mother and both R/A attended the wedding last year. Not much time to spare before into NCL to meet N @ MP4m4t where some very nice service! Concert, with Dunedin Consort from Edinburgh, was sublime: Bach’s Magnificat was absolutely beautiful with Julia Doyle an outstanding soprano. The other Bach piece Orchestral Suite No. 1 was also played brilliantly. The Handel Dixit Dominus in the 2nd half was good but tend to think that Bach outshines Handel when they’re put together. All was played on original instruments, giving a great baroque feel, and think the Consort were pleased with their reception and the Sage acoustics. So we were very glad we went! Didn’t make W as nobody from group went there earlier so SH!! 2moro it’s putting in some more records, making C4c4l, writing to Paris and generally laid back before another concert, in Classic FM series, on Sunday afternoon which gather almost sold out; looking forward to that. Snow settling and drifting as writing. Bed could do with warming up: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 19th: fairly laid-back day with long relaxation in N4c4l; good to have l/s on!! Almost completed shed clearance in afternoon; JC is coming round next week to plan the replacement and demolition. Did quite a lot of work on 12th century de Roucestre as below. It’s taking shape now. Made T&S4ra4s with computing mates: good crack, and pleased to meet k!! Took A back to S: aqotsf!! 2moro it’s Haltwhistle for lunch with R/A, MP4m4t, S4con, W4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 18th: completed Beldon Burn bird entries for 27/6 and associated insects, so 3 bird lists to go for 2015. Not sure the NTBC is thriving. The bulletin for September arrived today with comments: “Apologies for the slow issue this month … Are you competent at IT? We still urgently need a Data Manager for club records. Your Club needs you!” Further only 48 observers contributed sightings in September, amazingly low and no sign of any new blood. BirdTrack records continue for the county in decent volume particularly up the Tyne Valley, for where there are hardly any records in the NTBC’s database. BirdGuides probably suffices for some of the coastal twitchers so the NTBC is struggling against 2 adverse tides. Such erosion makes the county record less and less complete, which is a serious problem for reliable monitoring of species’ status. Had good day socially with G4g4ss: nice to meet new bar lass n!! 2moro it’s N4c4c and T&S4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

Keeping up the family history, here are some early mentions of Roucestre from Rotuli de Dominabus, which Google translates to ‘Roll out the Ladies’!; think it should be Ladies in (Legal) Rolls! The inset paragraphs are the evidence with the interpretation in between.

In 1133. One of the jurors on the Bayeux Inquest as Ralf de Roffa [Rotuli de Dominabus 1185, Pipe Roll Society volume 35].

Roffa = Roucestre, may be earliest reference to name, perhaps born c1105. Call him Ralph 1. There is an earlier Turold de Roucestre, who needs following up.

In 12th century. Bourn. Family tree of Robert Peverel and Adelicia (de Ainvurt?): Hammon Peche, dead in 1185, Matilda eldest daughter, thrice married, married Baldwin de Roucestre, with son Ralph. Matilda had brothers Geoffrey (dead 1190) and Gilbert (dead 1212) and mother Alice Peche (nee Peverel). [Feudal Cambridge https://ia800301.us.archive.org/33/items/feudalcambridges00farruoft/feudalcambridges00farruoft.pdf p.160]

In 1166. Bourn. [carta] 1166. Hamon Peche makes a return of his knights in co. Cambridge of the honor of William Peverel of the inheritance of his wife, namely 5 fees of old feoffment and 2 fees which William Peverel gave in frank marriage with his sister, of which Adam de Periers holds of the said Hamon 3/4 fee and the remainder the said Hamon gave to Baldwin de Rovecestria with his daughter in marriage, which Hamon had in his demesne. Of new feoffment Evrard de Beche holds of him 1/2 fee in Mordon, which was of Hamon’s demesne, and William de Hetlega holds 1/3 fee partly in Shropshire and partly in Cambridgeshire; Red Bk. 366-67 [Note 2: These fees were exclusive of the honor of Dover.]. [Feudal Cambridge https://ia800301.us.archive.org/33/items/feudalcambridges00farruoft/feudalcambridges00farruoft.pdf p.161]

.

In 1166. A footnote to Rotuli de Dominabus says this entry effectively supplements the carta of Hamo Pecche (Peccatum) in 1166 (Red Book pages 366-367). Holding in right of his wife, Alice Peverel the chief share of the Cambridgeshire Honour of Bourne, he states therein that he has given to Baldwin of Rochester (Rovecestria) lands from that Honour in frank-marriage with his daughter. The entry in the text here proves that these lands were in Haslinfield and that the son and heir of this marriage was Ralf of Rochester (de Roffa) – possibly a grandson of that Ralf de Roffa who was one of the jurors at the Bayeux inquest of 1133 – who is found as a considerable holder on the Honour of Boulogne under John. Haslingfield descended to his heirs, the Cambridgeshire family of Scales (Additional Ref: Calendar of Inquisitions, I, no 367. Lib Mem de Bernewelle page 253. Dugdale’s Baronage, I, 617). [Rotuli de Dominabus 1185, Pipe Roll Society volume 35 https://archive.org/details/piperollsociety35pipeuoft pp.85-86]

In 1166. PICOT DE GRENTEBRIGE (f. 200 a). The following particulars, contained in the carta of Hamon Peche, may refer to Guilden Morden [Note 2: This is not certain]: “And moreover William Peverell gave quit, in frank marriage with his sister, 2 knights’ fees, whereof Adam de Periers holds of me 3/4 knight’s fee [Note 3: In Harlton] , and the remnant I gave to Baldwin de Roucester with my daughter in marriage, which I have in my demesne”; Red Bk. 367. [Feudal Cambridge https://ia800301.us.archive.org/33/items/feudalcambridges00farruoft/feudalcambridges00farruoft.pdf p.8]

This repeats information on Ralph de Roffa Ralph 1, juror at the Bayeux inquest of 1133, and adds he was a significant holder of lands in Boulogne (Normandy). By 1166 his presumed son Baldwin of Rochester Baldwin 1 had married daughter of Alice Peverel and Hamo Pecche, receiving lands in Bourne, Cambridgeshire. Baldwin 1 may have been born c1130, making him 5 years older than his bride Matilda 1 (1135-). The son and heir of Baldwin of Rochester was Ralf of Rochester Ralph 2, possibly a grandson of the Ralph born 1105.

In 1173. Ralph de Roucestre (alias de Rochester) born Rivenhall, Essex. Died 1249 in Newsells, Barkway, Hertfordshire, England. Wife’s name not known. Father of Piers de Roucestre and Alice de Roucestre [http://www.geni.com/people/Ralph-de-Roucestre/6000000001322507932]

Ralph de Roucestre Ralph 3 (1173-1249) is presumed son of Ralph de Roucestre Ralph 2 (c1155-) mentioned in the 1185 Rotuli de Dominabus below:

In 1185. Rotuli de Dominabus, Cambridge, Hundred of Werle. Mary Pecche, daughter of Hamo Pecche, ….., has 11 children of 3 marriages, Ralph de Rouecestr’ is her heir: she is 50 years old. Land held is in Haslingfeld worth £8 per annum … [Rotuli de Dominabus 1185, Pipe Roll Society volume 35 https://archive.org/details/piperollsociety35pipeuoft pp.85-86]

In 1185. Matilda Peche, who was the daughter of Hamon Peche, is of the king’s gift and has 11 children by 3 husbands. Ralph de Rouecestre is her heir. She is 50 years old. See Haselingfeld; R. de Dominabus (Pipe R. Soc.), 85. [Feudal Cambridge https://ia800301.us.archive.org/33/items/feudalcambridges00farruoft/feudalcambridges00farruoft.pdf p.162]

Ralph de Rouecestr’ Ralph 2 is heir to daughter of Hamo Pecche, Matilda Pecche Matilda 1 (1135-), who is 50 years old, hence born c1135. On ages it appears that the generation of Baldwin 1 (c1130-c1165) may have been the one that went to Ireland, not necessarily Baldwin himself, possibly a younger brother. This younger brother may not have always been called Roucestre; he may have been FitzRalph as son of Ralph 1, e.g. Randulph FitzRalph as speculated in NB 2013. Since Matilda had 3 husbands, it would be interesting to know their order and dates. The HW Bradley tree [http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hwbradley/aqwg2408.htm] claims that

Baldwin de Roucestre was born 1132 in Newsells, Hertfordshire, England. He married Maud PECCHE on 1153 in Newsells, Hertfordshire, England. Maud PECCHE was born 1135 in Great Bealings, Suffolk, England.

The problem with this source is that the source of Antiquities of Shropshire on the web [https://ia802305.us.archive.org/15/items/antiquitiesshro08eytogoog/antiquitiesshro08eytogoog.pdf VIII, indexes to VI-VIII, out of 12] does not provide supporting information though of course the birth date of 1135 for Matilda Pecche is well supported by Rotuli de Dominabus. It may be that the other dates, for Baldwin, are in the other volumes, not yet digitally archived or so freely available. Also searched is [https://ia902703.us.archive.org/16/items/antiquitiesshro01eytogoog/antiquitiesshro01eytogoog.pdf II, index to II, out of 12]. In [https://ia902703.us.archive.org/16/items/antiquitiesshro01eytogoog/antiquitiesshro01eytogoog.pdf IX, no index, out of 12] found the following two entries:

p.68: Family tree of Dover, of Bourne, and of High Ercall: Matilda Peche. Nata [born] 1135. Married first to Baldwin de Roucestre. Had two later husbands. Ralph de Roucestre living 1186.

p.71: Coheirs of Peverel. Hamo Peche was in his own right seized of a Barony in Suffolk, consisting of 12 old fees, which he duly returned in 1165. But there is a long supplement to this return, stating what Hamo Peche held in Cambridgeshire and Shropshire, ” of the Honour of William Peverel, and of the inheritance of his (Hamo’s) wife.” Hamo Peche speaks of two Cambridgeshire fees ” which William Peverel had given him in frank marriage with his sister,” and part of which he himself had since bestowed on Baldwin de Roucestre with his own daughter in marriage. This is quite consistent with the idea that Hamo Peche was married as early as 1134, for William Peverel (II.) probably succeeded to the honour of Brunne, before he succeeded his Uncle, Hamo.

The first entry refers to Matilda I and her son and heir Ralph 2; it indicates that Baldwin 1 was her 1st husband, which is not unexpected as the heir of the marriage is the son of Baldwin. We can tentatively assign Baldwin 1 a death date of c1165 to accommodate Matilda’s further 2 husbands. The second entry refers to Baldwin I (c1130-c1165) and re-iterates the marriage settlement with the Peche family.

In 1199. Alice de Roucestre (1199-1274) was born. As Alice de Rochester, heiress of Sir Ralph de Rochester, she married Robert Scales (son of Robert Scales, 1189-1257). At this time Ralph de Rochester was holding the title Lord of Newcells, so the estate must have transferred by marriage. At any rate, she brought the title back to the Scales family together with the estates at Newselles and much more, including Rivenhall in Essex, which became the main seat of the family for the best part of 200 years. In 1268, after her husband’s death, she arranged that the title Lord of Newcells be passed on to her younger son Roger (b.c.1223). In 1274 she is recorded as having recovered damages for some of her swans being stolen at Hockwold cum Wilton. She died shortly afterwards in 1279 at Middleton, Norfolk. She had a brother Piers de Roucestre but he cannot have survived as otherwise she would have not been an heiress [http://www.allertonoak.com/genealogy/ScalesNet5.html http://www.geni.com/people/Alice-de-Roucestre/6000000008176874629]

From 1185-1199 the Roucestre family continue to flourish in eastern England but they ran out of male heirs on the main line. Alice 1 (1199-) was the daughter and heiress of Ralph 3 (1173-1249).

In 1217-1218. Honour of Boulogne, Radulfus de Rouecestr’ v. milites et dimidium, scilicet in Essex’ in Rewenhal’ et in Hertfordsir’ et in Bercweie et Newehell, et in Sufi ‘ Erewell’ et in Cukeleswrth’ v. milites, et in Essex’ in Lawefare quam Ricardus de Rouecestr’ et Eustachius frater suus tenent dimidium militem. [Liber Feodorum. The Book Of Fees, commonly called Testa de Nevill, Part I, 1198-1242, published 1920, https://ia800309.us.archive.org/34/items/liberfeodorumboo01grea/liberfeodorumboo01grea.pdf p.240]. Translation: Honour of Boulogne, knights’ holdings – Ralph de Roucestr holds 5.5 knight’s fees, situate in Essex in Rewenhal, in Hertfordshire in Bercweie and Newehell [Newesell], and in Suffolk in Erewell and in Cukelswrth thus far 5 knight’s fees, and in Essex in Lawefara that which Richard de Rouecestr and Eustace his brother hold of half a knight’s fee.

This Ralph is presumably the Ralph 3 (1173-1249). The fees indicate the continued flourishing of the main branch up to 1218. Two more Roucestre are introduced: brothers Richard 1 and Eustace 1; it is not explicit that Richard and Eustace are actually brothers to Ralph but the assumption here is that they are indeed so, as use of the plural brothers in Latin fratres appears to be reserved in the Book of Fees for religious entities. It would seem that Richard and Eustace are subordinate to Ralph so in feudal terms they would be his younger brothers. So it appears that Ralph 2 (c1155-) had at least 3 sons: Ralph 3, Richard 1, Eustace 1. These brothers are too young to have gone to Wexford to secure land through the invasion. We need to know more about the family of Baldwin 1 (c1130-c1165).

November 17th: thinking hard about a few things today. Paris situation is paramount with the conference itself giving problems: M and I both submitted abstracts but neither has been accepted. When the programme was published 2 days ago, it’s all pure mathematics in spite of the promise for a conference involving applications, in which we are much more interested. M’s already pulled out with message to organisers including:

Although part of the UK’s solidarité with France at this time of your national mourning, please may I de-register from attendance now I’ve been able to study the details. Originally advertised as ‘presenting new theoretical advances in…..mathematical physics and computer science’ the latter are completely missing from your final programme which I had hoped was to promote the topos in applied mathematics.

My sentiments entirely but may hang on a bit longer to see what develops. The conference attracted EU funding on the basis of its prospectus, which they’ve dishonoured, just accommodating their cronies. I may probe a little! My Greek PhD student at unn, D, who applied category theory to security and is already working in Brussels for EU on strategic security, is in a brilliant position with all the panic over security actually leading to a flow of money to spend on it. It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good!! Added lots of bird records today from the study area for June and July; only 4 lists to go now for birds for the whole season. Chatty at N4c4l with 4 of us out! Did make BH4ra4s where gr8 to catch up with a few mates. Thoughts on way home: “Il ya une différence entre être frais et froid”! 2moro it’s getting shed ready for demolition, N4c4t, G4g4ss!!

November 16th: sorted the bird records for the Irish trip. The summary shows 100 species from 292 records in 13 lists from 15 sites. The map shows where I went, the furthest W being Rosscarbery in Co Cork and the block in the E area being Co Wexford. Here’s the list of bird species found and the full records. Species-wise had 2 types of swan, 4 of goose, 12 of duck, 2 of diver, 5 of raptor, 16 of wader, 5 of gull, 6 of corvid, 5 of thrush, 8 of finch. The high number of waders is as expected for a core area on the Atlantic fly-way. Total for raptors was 13 birds of 5 types: 5 Common Buzzard (at 2 sites, one group of 4), 4 Kestrel (at 4 sites, 1 adult female, 3 1w), 2 Hen Harrier (at 2 sites, both ringtail), 1 Honey-buzzard (juvenile), 1 Merlin (adult male). Visit increased year-list for British Isles from 147 to 169 species so 22 new species for year. Leaf-mine list will take longer – haven’t done last year’s yet for Ireland. Car was sorted at MC for just £54: casually mentioned favourable experience with Peugeot 208 diesel in Ireland; they quickly said they give lots of trouble later on, cross it off your list! R was busy; continue to think team structure doesn’t work in that far too many slackers are carried! Met N before lunch and we had good catch-up at the Shack. Fetched old book from PO: Riviere’s History of the Birds of Norfolk, which has arrived early from USA. I’m studying movements of raptors down the east coast of England in the 19th century. Found interesting article in the Zoologist (1883, p.323) which downloaded from the Internet. Night in to recover from trip. 2moro it’s N4c4l and BH4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 15th: catch-up day after the travels. Made C4c4ll where pleased to see the rhwso!! Much later made G4g4s with P where good to meet the old mates again! In between did some documentation of visit and tried to organise a few things in R with patchy success. Added below my review of the longer hotel stay and the ‘battle’ for Wexford in 1169. 2moro it’s garage for new fuel filter and new headlight bulb mid-morning, followed by vocational committee meeting at B at noon and R @ B4m4l. Betting on making Paris has declined: want to see evidence that the French security forces are not incompetent! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Got my review of Ferrycarrig published at Booking.com:

Brian, United Kingdom, 12 Reviews

Score 9.2

“Friendly Base for Touring the Area”

Leisure trip

Solo traveler

Standard Single Room

Stayed 5 nights

This is a perfect centre for touring the area. The facilities make life very comfortable. The staff are very well motivated and friendly.

The Norsemen in Wexford quickly knew that a Norman invasion force had landed at Bannow. As the Norman force started its move towards Wexford (30 km) the Norseman sent out 2,000 men to confront it. The Norsemen were used to tackling erratic Irish forces and thought this would be much the same but were rather taken aback with what they saw: large manoeuvrable horses (the Normans had bred horses to make them more like modern-day tanks), gleaming armour (the Normans covered much more of their bodies with protective armour) and above all masses of archers with longbows (the hunting bow had been developed to give a much longer range; tactically the archers fired their arrows in volleys, rather than chaotically). The Norsemen decided some reflection was needed and withdrew back within the town walls of Wexford. After some minor skirmishes around the town walls over the next 2 days and the firing of the port, the Norsemen decided to sue for peace. So there was no great battle! The settlement included the townsmen recognising Dermot as their king and the assignment of all their lands to him. In return for the restoration, Dermot granted all the lands in Wexford and the Baronies of Forth and Bargy to Strongbow’s half-brothers Robert FitzStephen (who led the invasion force) and Maurice FitzGerald and his uncle Hervey de Monte Marisco. According to Norman feudal military policy it was thought that each original officer of the invading force obtained a fee of land as his pay, and for future services [J Waterford and South-east of Ireland Archaeological Society V]. [précis by NR from Richard Roche, the Norman Invasion of Ireland pp.125-132 (1970,1995)]. Strongbow, the nickname for Richard de Clare, was not in this force, which was regarded as a mercenary army, not an official one. Strongbow eventually arrived in Ireland in August 1170 leading a force which captured Waterford; he quickly married Dermot’s daughter Eve MacMurchada, on 29 August 1170; they were both brilliantly red-haired. On Dermot’s death in 1174/5 Strongbow became Lord of Leinster but he died soon after in June 1176 Castles of Wales.

November 14th: As forecast weather was very wet at start with fresh SW wind driving the rain hard into the windscreen. Left early at 09:00 so could stop in Co Cork for around an hour so up a bit earlier. Said farewell to friendly staff and left a few bonuses! Weather got a bit more showery as entered Co Waterford and by Cork it was merely damp! Plane left on time at 14:45 but it was fuller than expected: the weather earlier had been so wild that the Edinburgh flight had been cancelled and the affected passengers put on our flight giving a more sophisticated feel! The tailwind was so strong we arrived in NCL 20 minutes early; the Edinburgh passengers were put on a bus, which they seemed quite happy with – think they were relieved to have got this far! Handed car back intact at Cork: the Peugeot 208 diesel is amazingly economical, topped up with €45 of fuel having covered 750 km; never expected to do it all on one tank. The man from Europcar drove me round to the airport front door, not sure why: suspect it was partly courtesy and partly to make sure the car still went and you’d put in the right type of fuel! The man said that quite a number of cars come back with scuffed tyres, which they replace and make a charge. So made home on time. Very good trip!! Still to come is a final trip summary and notes on the battle in 1169.

So did the bird list reach 100? Number 95 was a Mistle Thrush near Ballyshunnock Reservoir in Waterford (spotted on N25, didn’t actually visit the reservoir). With rain easing then stopped at Ballintotis in Co Cork, where stopped on way out, but this time explored the whole lake from 11:10-12:15. Numbers 96-97 were quickly spotted: 4 Shoveler (drake, 3 female/immature), 4 Gadwall (2 pairs). In continued passage overhead of Scandinavian migrants picked up number 98, 2 Brambling moving SW/W. Close scrutiny of the finches feeding on alder mast resulted in number 99, Lesser Redpoll (flock of 13). Then ran out of stream but in final look over the horizon, picked up many birds put up in the air; was looking for a Sparrowhawk but no luck; finally there it was: number 100, a late Swallow, hawking low over the field to W. So final score was 100! Not a good week for assets. Ftse was down almost 4% and my funds fell c1.5% (12k). Deflationary pressures are still strong and it’s all risk-off. Coming week may not be a lot better after the Paris shootings: keep calm

November 13th: today from 11:40-16:00 did favourite walk in the area, the 15km tour of The Raven, a long coniferous strip along the dunes with the Wexford Slobs on the W edge and of course the sea, St George’s Channel, on the other. It was sunny all day but much cooler, around 9C, which had the natives concerned but nothing to bother a visitor from NE England! The wind was a moderate W, perfect conditions for the last Honey-buzzard juveniles to fly across the St George’s Channel to Pembrokeshire (121 km, c2 hours), moving on across the Bristol Channel to Somerset and Dorset, before crossing the Channel to Brittany. That journey is currently low on risk in the right weather (available maybe 2 days a week) but delaying further so that the bird’s energy reserves become depleted could be fatal. It might be asked why the juveniles like places such as Rathmacknee rather than on the coast. Once their migration is stalled the birds have to keep up their condition by feeding well so they use optimal feeding areas near the coast but not actually on the coast itself, which are often bleak. Rathmacknee is optimal habitat with its small fields, high hedges and mixture of pasture, stubble and winter wheat, plus some more sizeable woods nearby for cover and roosting. The few areas on the coast with real woodland might be an exception: have had Honey-buzzard at The Raven twice in November in the years 2012 and 2013. No raptors today but did add a few more species to trip list on Raven walk, including Greenland White-fronted Goose (200), Pink-footed Goose (2), Common Scoter (25), Velvet Scoter (1), Great Northern Diver (1), Bar-tailed Godwit (7), Siskin (2). On the sea also had Red-throated Diver (2), Gannet (6 (all adult, 4S)), Dark-bellied Brent Goose (5 S), Scaup (5 (4 S)). Picked up Bullfinch (3) on return to Ferrycarrig so trip total reaches 94 with just the return drive to Cork to go! Last night in hotel was lively with the Irish soccer game on! Favourite waitress m looked after me very well tonite!! Very sad news from France. That’s my next trip for a topos update: watching the situation closely. Have 3 concerts in the next 2 weeks, 2 before trip: looking forward to the action!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 12th: so visit to the capital for Rossiters – Rathmacknee Castle – from 14:15-15:45 in pretty horrific conditions with driving rain on a SW gale. Was rather intrigued to see 4 Common Buzzard up in this weather over a small wood to N of the Castle at 14:35; the obvious family party looked agitated and it was several minutes before another raptor was seen to emerge from E end of their wood and move S towards the Castle in vigorous flap-flap-glide motion. This bird had long tail and wings and was thought to be a Honey-buzzard on structure and jizz. I moved a little to the W down the lane and saw what looked like a Pheasant feeding in a field to the immediate N. But it wasn’t: it was a dark brown juvenile Honey-buzzard feeding on the field. I took a 6+ minutes video at 14:50 through a gap in the hedge before it moved out of sight. On trying to get it back into view at a gate, I realised there were 3 ‘buzzard’ feeding on the winter-wheat field, the other 2 being Common Buzzard. They all flew off to S to nearby fields. The Honey-buzzard had an unusual feeding jizz, moving forward quickly in between the scraps with wings open as if about to take off but it always kept its feet on the ground in spite of the strong headwind. Here’s piccies (5900) of the Honey-buzzard with long video 1 and stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15, plus those of the Common Buzzard also with video 1 and stills 1  2  3  4. For the Honey-buzzard id points are the horizontal stance with attenuated appearance including the long tail projecting beyond the primary tips, the small head with very noticeable pale yellow cere and the coarse barring on the tail (4 broad bars, including subterminal, slides 3,4) and remiges (4 broad bars, slides 9,10) and extensive black on primary tips. Single adult Common Gull and Black-headed Gull were feeding on the field alongside the raptors. The scraps were presumably small invertebrates.

Here are some piccies of Rathmacknee: the castle itself 1  2  3  4 and the information board 1 describing the erections of Seán Rosaitear c1450!

Earlier had been to the Mecca for wildlife in Wexford, Tacumshin Lake, from 11:00-14:00. Could hardly stand up at times in the wind. Although it was not yet into the heavy rain seen later in the day, the wind was very damp and humidity high. Here had 2 raptors: a ringtail Hen Harrier hunting over the banks on the W side and an adult female Kestrel up in wild flight over the fields on the N side. So total for raptors today was 7 birds of 4 types: 4 Common Buzzard and single Hen Harrier (ringtail), Honey-buzzard (juvenile) and Kestrel (adult female). The all-birds total now comprises 86 types. Very well settled into hotel, they want me back! Might come back in 6 months to have a look for displaying Honey-buzzard in E Ireland. Looking forward very much to return home: lok2t beauties!!!!

November 11th: bright, dry, fresh SW breeze, almost warm 16C, after heavy rain in morning. So much better day weather-wise. Decided to get out to SW corner of Co Wexford, which have not visited before, to see the area where the Normans landed in 1169. As started to drive the 30 km there it was end-of -the-world stuff with the rain hammering against the car in the strong head-wind but took this as a good sign in that it couldn’t carry on like this and sure enough by time reached Bannow, the sun had come out and it stayed dry for the rest of the trip. Irish weather forecast was for rain all day: did wonder whether they make this forecast every day as they’ve a good chance of being right! ‘Forecasts’ for the afternoon then rapidly reflected the change but not really looking ahead this late in the day! Bannow Island was very interesting: it’s not really an island now being connected to the mainland by a causeway and some swampy land but evidently it was so in 1169! Here’s some piccies: the beach 1  2  3  4, the island 1  2  3  4  5  6, the surf 1  2  3, the view over to Hook 1  2. It’s quite flat but then of course if you’re landing an army, that’s what you want such as the wide flat beaches used by the allied forces in the Normandy landings in 1944. I’ve read closely the build-up to the battle:

Around 1st May 1169 Strongbow’s force landed 3 Norse-style long boats at Bannow Island, Wexford, from Milford Haven in Wales carrying a total of 390 men – 30 men-at-arms (esquires), 60 men in half-armour, 300 archers and foot soldiers, plus some horses and provisions. A few days later Maurice de Prendergast landed 2 more ships on the island with 10 men-at-arms and about 200 archers. The combined Norman force was therefore about 600 men from 5 ships, comprising men from Normandy, Wales and Flanders. Soon after, Dermot, king of Leinster, arrived with another 500 men, mostly foot soldiers, all Irish. The target was Wexford town, 20 miles to the NE, occupied since c800 by the Norseman, who were regarded as formidable sailors; hence the move to bypass the seaward areas of Wexford in the invasion and land outside their sphere of influence. In essence the conflict was to be between Norseman, originally from Denmark, using battle techniques from the 8th-10th centuries and Norsemen, from Normandy, using techniques from the 12th century. [précis by NR from Richard Roche, the Norman Invasion of Ireland pp.112-122 (1970,1995)].

This invasion force must have included one of my ancestors, as this was the way to win land. It is possible that the invader was still using a Fitz (son-of) style surname at the time of invasion such as Ralph FitzStephen. Ralph is a name associated with de Roucestre about the time of the invasion. The earliest mention of de Roucestre in Wexford is 1207-1213:

Marshal’s Land Grants 1207-1213: early 13th century, de Roucestre [Rossiters] of Rathmacknee [Colfer, B, Arrogant Trespass, Anglo-Norman Wexford 1169-1400, Wexford: Duffry Press First Edition, 300pp (2002)], cited in [Colfer, B, Wexford Castles: landscape, context and settlement, 272 pp (2013) at p.33].

Billy Colfer has brought forward enormously our understanding of the invasion and its aftermath. He’s sadly died recently. I have the Castles book and will buy the Arrogant Trespass one, which is his PhD study at Trinity College, Dublin. Latter is now a collector’s item so might have to fork out a little! Must have inherited my free access to landed estates from the Normans!!

Had a good day bird-wise with some raptors at last. At Bannow from 13:00-14:30 had a Kestrel 1w hanging over a headland, followed by a cock Merlin plunging into a flock of 120 Linnet and plucking one out, and a ringtail Hen Harrier hunting over a stubble field. Many of the fields adjacent to the coast are still in stubble, which makes them very valuable for wildlife. Also here had a flock of 45 Sanderling on the bay rather than on the seashore, which was far too rough, and 16 Chough on the cliffs. Others of interest were 2 pale-bellied Brent Goose, 80 Shelduck, 400 Golden Plover, 42 Curlew, 2 Stonechat. Went on to Hook Head, the southernmost point of Wexford (but not of Ireland) and a prominent narrow headland. Here in the strong SW breeze from 15:10-16:35 had a cup of tea at the friendly café to get warm in between stints of sea-watching out on the headland. Totals were: Gannet (10, all adult, 8 W, 2 E), Kittiwake (31, 30 adult, 1 1w, all W), Herring Gull (8), GBBG (8, 4 adult, 4 1w), Guillemot (16 E), Razorbill (2, 1 E, 1 W), Red-throated Diver (1 E, flying at some height), Shag (1 W), Cormorant (1, 1w, 1 E), Redshank (4), Turnstone (20), Ringed Plover (16), Rock Pipit (3), alba Wagtail (2). On leaving the headland at dusk had a Common Buzzard actively hunting by road at Churchtown and 2 Kestrel 1w also hunting, all over stubble. So raptor total for day (and trip) is 6 birds of 4 types: 3 Kestrel (all 1w) and single Common Buzzard, Merlin (male) and Hen Harrier (ringtail). Species count for trip rose 14 today to 79. Great find 2moro which you may just possibly guess!! Looking forward to a stimulating return: lok2tmbo!!!!

November 10th: weather today much the same as yesterday’s with fresh SW breeze and drizzle from time to time. Made Forth Common from 11:30-13:30; this common with Bargy Common was an important part of the economy at least before Cromwell’s coming and presumably up to c1750 before some form of enclosure as in Scotland and England. It would be interesting to know whether the commons were used for shooting in the 19th century; the extermination of the Irish raptor population suggests that they were. Today Forth Common is dominated by forestry with much Sitka planting; the area I was in to W of Forth Mountain had much immature Sitka with large clearings in places and some very large rocks protruding. It looked good for Common Buzzard but not so good for Honey-buzzard as insufficient mature timber. However, it was misty today and couldn’t see that far! The common would certainly be suitable for migrant Honey-buzzard though. Forth Mountain would not be called that in many places: at 272m high it does give potentially good views but it’s not got the altitude normally associated with mountains! Met quite a few dog walkers and runners: the commons are clearly popular for exercise.

Moved on to Wexford Town where found an interesting book in the Library on Strongbow (Conor Kostick, Strongbow, the Norman Invasion of Ireland, O’Brien Press, 2013) which will buy when get back; also visited the Book Centre where bought 2 books Wexford’s Wild Heritage and Complete Guide to Ireland’s Birds, plus a couple of local papers Wexford People and Wexford Echo. In the former see Holly Rossiter at an Olympics Dinner Dance (p.42) and in latter a 4-page centre spread on the wonderful Wexford Youths Women, including a lot on Ciara Rossiter; the headline Rossiter rated 50/50 for Oulart’s Mullingar date (GAA 3, The Ballagh may be set to absorb another personnel blow as full-back ace Keith Rossiter is struggling with a hand injury ahead of Sunday’s Leinster Cup senior hurling championship); Craig Rossiter playing for Bree at Gaelic football (GAA 10); Holly Rossiter playing for Piercestown at Gaelic football (GAA 9); Ciara Rossiter’s younger brothers also playing football in a tournament. Bought a few shirts while there – cock-up on packing front! Updated web site (NB 2014) with piccies from Ferns and Tomhaggard last year – better late than never! Moved bird species count up to 65 today with Wren and Great Tit on Forth Common, where there were also some leaf mines. Camera is playing up a bit again by refusing to take, when everything seems OK. Suspect it’s the damp so left all possible openings open overnight in the warm and that seems to be a (temporary?) cure. lok2t favoured ones!!!!

November 9th: fair drive today from Rosscarbery, West Cork, to Wexford of about 250 km; rained all day on fresh SW winds but very mild; started off at about 11:30 and arrived at 17:05. Had 2 good stops, first at Ballintotis lake in East Cork from 12:50-13:50, where picked up 28 species, including Snipe (26), Jack Snipe (5, raising wader types to 13), Kingfisher (1), Red-breasted Merganser (4 including a drake), Little Grebe (1), thrushes moving W – Song Thrush (5), Fieldfare (5), Redwing (1), plus Chaffinch W (10). 2nd stop was at New Ross from 15:25-16:35, being the entry point to Co. Wexford from the W. The town centre is very traditional in appearance with lots of small family-run businesses; had tea and a scone there in a small café with usual charming service! Trip total after 2 days is now 63 species of birds including 0 raptors. So onto Ferrycarrig Hotel at Wexford for final part of trip. Greeted (rightly!) as regular customer (well once a year!) and had a good meal in the Bistro, washed down with a little g. The weak € (1£=1.40€) makes meals very good value: yesterday paid €39 for a 3-course meal (mains – roast lamb) plus 2xm; tonite paid €32 for a 3-course meal (mains – quiche) plus 2xg. So for about £25 a meal you can eat and drink very well! Staff very friendly – settling in well!! Missing the lovelies!!!!

November 8th: very mild, wet in morning on strong SW breeze but with drier interludes, sun came out very brightly and decisively around noon. Walked down the lane in the rain from the Hotel in Rosscarbery, Cork, to the breakwater by the sea, picking up a Black Redstart on the causeway, the well-reported mega-rarity American Golden Plover in a flock of about 1100 regular Golden Plover and the Long-tailed Duck on the edge of the wild surf. Not becoming a twitcher I hope! After lunch walked around the lagoon. By end of day, from 10:30-16:30, had noted 51 species of birds, including 12 types of wader (Black-tailed Godwit 65, Greenshank 4, Snipe 5, Turnstone 3, Dunlin 12, Curlew 7, Oystercatcher 17, Ringed Plover 2, Lapwing 40, Redshank 35, plus the 2 Golden Plover types above), Chiffchaff (4 birds on the lane), Chough (groups of 3+2), Rock Pipit (3), Hooded Crow (11). No raptors were seen even in the sudden fairing-up of the weather at noon. Met a group of birders; they confirmed that buzzards are much rarer in Cork than in Wexford, suggesting hopefully that most Honey-buzzard do reach Pembroke or SW England from Wexford and avoid the trap of moving SW over the S Irish coast to a desperate position for a sea crossing to S. Took piccies of quite a few leaf mines – no spraying down the lane obviously; there were quite a few wasps still present, feeding around the flowering ivy.

While watching national RTE news was interested to see Wexford Youths had won today the national Women’s Cup (2-2 aet, 4-2 on penalties) in Dublin with Ciara Rossiter scoring their 1st goal. The centre of Wexford’s defence comprised Tamara Furlong, Nicola Synnott and CR, giving quite a Norman feel. CR plays for the U19 Irish team. That wonder goal last year was scored by another lady with a Norman surname – Stephanie Roche; but the Irish pronounce her surname like roach in Cockroach, at which the French would shudder as the name means rock and should be pronounced ‘rosh’. Still everyone mangles names to suit local preferences and it didn’t take long for the Normans to fancy the locals so the genetics are well and truly mixed as well! lok2t beauties!!!!

November 7th: Talking Newspaper was better than expected: once they realised I had a real commitment in the evening rather than just getting home early for my tea, they let me out early so could catch 17:52 RDM-NCL and get to S4t to meet N; large wines are good value at S after staff (pp) discount of 25%! It was good to see the mffp was there already!! Concert was very varied ranging from Stravinsky and Shostakovitch through Strauss R to Mozart but the unifying factor was Elizabeth Watts, soprano, singing the Strauss and the 3 Mozart aria; she had an incredible voice, ideal for the Mozart pieces. Had seen the Shostakovitch Chamber Symphony at Inverness a number of years ago with N; remember the Scottish performance as more exaggerated in rhythm, not quite so subtle as the RNS. Thought the woodwind was superb throughout, justifying its high level of pp support!! Funds down another 1k this week, surprised it wasn’t more as natural resources hammered again but £ at last stopped rising. Pretty sanguine about it all, expecting a significant turn-round in commodities next year as developed world continues to grow and it’s realised that the Chinese economy is not in free-fall. Maybe you’d be surprised where I’m writing this!!

Or maybe not! Now in Rosscarbery, West Cork, after very smooth journey by Aer Lingus from NCL-ORK taking off at 16:50 and arriving on time at 18:30. Then picked up hire car (Peugeot 208 diesel) from Europcar and drove 70km to Celtic Ross Hotel, getting there just in time for dinner. Was chatting to a couple of friendly characters at the bar (drinking m (correctly), not g); think they might have been members of the Cork Gaelic Society, or something like that, couldn’t understand a word! All set up for busy day 2moro in this marvellously wild spot. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 6th: continued to make progress on compiling data for last season: for July have now got just one trip to add and then that month’s done for both birds and insects. Have then got 6 trips in June to do for birds and the whole season’s done, except for quite a lot of insect data, which will do more slowly in the background. The idea is to clear the decks for the book! Was in T&S yesterday with M/A for good crack; dropped A back to Slaley as he cannot drive yet. Shed project continues with covered area at back of existing one almost cleared; need such projects to keep fit! Later today have Talking Newspaper with R and S4con, followed by W4ra4s!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

November 3rd: did make N4c4l for good chat with J/P; enjoyed the sights again!! Collected a spoon from Hexham PO, might show it off soon! Also ordered Riviere’s Birds of Norfolk from an American Museum through Abe Books as want to look up old raptor records from there; supposed to take 6 weeks to get here but was cheaper than UK-based copies at £22 even with £20 shipping charge on top! Placed a lot of existing Honey-buzzard historical material into folder entitled Historical – good start! Not out tonite but 2moro it’s G4g4ss preceded by N4c4t and on Thursday it’s return to T&S4ra4s with M/A but taking A home to near R&C. lok2t beauties!!!!

November 2nd: back home catching 11:30 KGX-NCL, all on time for visit to see the lovelies in Hexham E!! Liked the mbo‘s new style – very sophisticated!! Was foggy all the way up until after Durham, when it suddenly turned to bright sunshine. Did some more work on train on Honey-buzzard on way up, looking at the 1993 movement at Minsmere in some detail and putting the flesh on the table of contents; also thinking of lengthy appendices for the detailed data so that the main chapters can be more chatty! Made C4c4t as N rather crowded. Completed bookings for next trip (to Ireland). Only relation that intended to see but didn’t was son A, who turned down a ‘boring’ Bruckner concert on the Friday and went out to eat an infected meal! I actually like Bruckner: think he’s stereotyped rather unfairly as loud and long. Anyway looking forward to concert this Friday at Sage!! Did make DrS4g4s in the fog; 2 regulars appeared to get lost and never turned up – very irregular and unpopular. Memories lingered from earlier: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it’s work on shed clearance am, N4c4l and not sure about later.

November 1st: relation count increased somewhat to 36 after today’s bash in Wiltshire at Marlborough, where counted 27 of the Tapper/Short/Rossiter clan (all descended from the 3 Nicholls daughters in Devon, including partners)! Very good gathering including Tapper: 1st cousin S (host, with partner A), 1st cousin Z over from Cape Town (she’s brought her husband over to see the rugby as well as us!), 1st cousin T (chef in London), 1st cousin D (apologies from Australia); Short: 1st cousins A (lives in St Albans, most northerly of the clans, except for me!), F, N, J (last sadly not present as died); Rossiters: me and 2 sisters G/E; so have 8 1st cousins on maternal side, 0 on paternal side. Star was of course my 88 year old Aunty A!! We had a display of photos and cuttings, particularly of the Shorts, which photographed. Big sis and I gave Aunty A a folder of our findings on her ancestors, back to Sarah Jane Dashper. There’s quite a lot that can be published there, as well as a few piccies of the day! So great day out: think family motto is go forth and procreate!! It was foggy on the drive there and back on the M4, with sis G driving. Had a Buzzard and Kestrel perched on side of M4, former near Chieveley Services on Berkshire Downs, which looked like good habitat for Honey-buzzard. Return is getting closer I feel: lok2t beauties!!!!

October 31st: over to Kew Gardens this afternoon to meet daughter C, her husband M and granddaughter S! Weather was beautiful with continuous sunshine on light S wind and extremely mild for time of year (18C). Went into tropical house where felt like the jungle and had long walk around the trees; it’s very tranquil considering how close the city is. Went back to their house on edge of Richmond Park where had a bit of wine while watched 2nd half of rugby union world cup final, played a few miles away at Twickenham; indeed we saw the jets come overhead and change the colours of their exhausts to red, white and blue while at Kew. S is 8.5 months now, beginning to crawl and still gives a lovely smile! Did journey both ways on 65 bus, nice and quick on a pretty tortuous route for the driver. Son A didn’t make it as had a stomach upset so relative count reaches only 11. Funds down 1k this week as natural resources drifted a little. Expecting some recovery in December after a dull November as investors look forward to some stabilisation next year in commodity prices. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 30th: no new relations sighted today! Big sis and I went to Celts: Art and Identity exhibition at the BM in London. Amazing how busy it was for a country cousin; coming back we had to queue to even get into Holborn UG station but it was 17:30; don’t think I would have commuted long under such conditions. Exhibition was very good in terms of art displayed and descriptions. It’s surprising the Celts were so good at art but apparently never wrote anything down; maybe they had some sort of hieroglyphics on their coins. Was surprised they did not do anything genetically as if you equate the Celts to R1b (male) you can get a more precise idea of the past movements; it is fascinating though that a Greek map of the Celts for 500 BC in the exhibition did correspond quite closely to current R1b distribution! The map did exclude the British Isles though as out of bounds. Thinking of the lovelies!!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 29th: went out to Burnham Beeches midday for walk in the patchy drizzle on mild and light SW breeze with big sis G and son and daughter B/E (now aged 5/3!) of nephew J (G’s son) and wife C; all very enthusiastic particularly for lunch at park café! Had total of 6 Red Kite and 1 Kestrel up in the drizzle at 3 sites near M40/M25 interchange and plenty of leaf mines. Mid-afternoon nephew R, youngest son of little sis L, came round to G’s house with 2 young sons R/A (aged 10/6) for tea; R with 6 sons and 0 daughters by 3 (serial) partners is now single; past interests include the wholesale c… trade! Then round to J/C’s for supper: J’s a civil servant with Ministry of Transport and C’s a data analyst for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Very pleased to meet everyone – that’s 8 relations met so far. Much talk about forthcoming wedding of G’s daughter (J, my niece, research facilitator for a medical school) at end of year to M (civil servant from Cornwall). lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

October 28th: back on the EC line doing RDM-EAL with lift-off 08:54, 1/2 hour late into KGX due to late departure from EDB, no District line to EAL due to Cross-rail works so got off at NFD finally at 14:15, not best of journeys. Good to see big sis again; we went for walk in Pitshanger Park in sunny weather on mild, light S breeze, from 15:30-17:00 where plenty of leaf-mines, indicating a lack of spraying (good!). On train, for Honey-buzzard book, formulated title and contents and identified additional work needed on plumage and structure of juveniles, which will compile from extensive piccies from the 2015 season. Not planning to update web site except for annual survey information, the review of review and this notice board while book is current.

October 27th: well the crate did pass its MOT at MC, with just one suggestion – replace the fuel filter – which booked in for mid-November. So that’s not bad for all the health checks! Had leisurely session at N4c4el while test was done. Later made R for monthly council meeting where vocational team report very well received but it’s proving quite a grind: not too happy with 2 consecutive evenings focused mainly on R happening once a month. Otherwise preparing for next trip! Have researched publishing your own book and it’s not difficult at all or that expensive with help through agencies and ready links for publicity through Amazon’s network, including Abe. So think that’s going to be the priority soon with provisional title and chapter layout first up as well as choice of formatting language. It’s better I’m sure if you pay extra for a smarter, smoother job, with access to publicity. Permissions need to be obtained for including copyrighted material such as weather maps; they need to be got early on. lok2t beauties!!!!

October 26th: had good walk out on Hexhamshire Common at Lilswood Common from 13:55-16:00 in sunny mild weather on light to moderate S breeze. Had in total of 8 bird species 2 Kestrel (adult male, juvenile) and 1 Common Buzzard hunting over the heather moor but no Honey-buzzard or Rough-legged Buzzard, the latter having arrived in numbers on the east coast in the last week or so. Also flushed a Woodcock from a copse. Found some leaf mines on rowan (3 types) and 1 on birch but none on tormentil or bilberry. Had good chat with DN who’s a farmer at Hesleywell, with strong interest in putting on plays, often for charities. Earlier made N4c4l and later R @ B4m4s where we had 2 courses (including dessert) and a great talk by John Johnson on the conception and construction of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge (that’s its official title as Newcastle played virtually no part at all in developing the bridge). We didn’t finish until 22:15 so SH! Not parking in Hexham E with current roadworks. 2moro it’s Fox in for MOT mid-morning, N4c4c, R Cncl @ SM4t and not sure about later.

October 25th: did make Towsbank in upper South Tyne from 14:35-16:20 in rather grey, mild conditions, on light SW breeze. The only raptor seen was a Barn Owl out hunting late afternoon ?? so no lingering Honey-buzzard. Did though find a lot of leaf mines; not sure everyone appreciates the beauty of this branch of lepidoptera! Total for birds was 16 types including Siskin (3), Stock Dove (4), Goosander (5 redheads), Dipper (1, ??). Earlier had major (pleasant!) surprise at SS; can now see better and liked what I saw!! Made N4c4l where amazed at how many churchgoers there are. Completed day at G4g4s with P, where k was on, another temp for 1 week only!! 2moro it’s N4c4l, trip out to edge of moors, R @ B4m4s, and maybe DrS4g4s. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 24th: another trip to W4m4s with the gang, 6 of us; all very good and enjoyed 3-course meal for a little over £20 per head, which is reasonable value. Service was excellent!! Earlier made C4c4l where good to meet the rhwso!! Carried a lot of old leylandii cuttings out to mulch the pine copse and some old wood to the bramble patch. Completed compiling records and clips for the 16/8 visit to Shilford; this was one of the best Honey-buzzard visits of the season, getting some good recordings of calls and clips of the male in fly-pass mode. Just one visit to compile for August now for birds. 2moro it’s SS in morning to collect new specs followed by N4c4l and trip out to upper South Tyne for any late Honey-buzzard and leaf mines. Much later it’s G4g4s with P who’s back from USA!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

October 23rd: installation of new pvc front door 1  2 finished at lunch time, along with repairs to back door, the only wooden exterior feature left! JC is keen on replacing garden shed and lean-to, which he will do with his own materials rather than using a flat-pack; said would need to clear existing structures first of tools/junk; think we’re talking about December. Made N4c4t where good 2 c the lovelies!! Later out to W4ra4s where 6 of us out and we’re having a meal there tomorrow evening to make up for erratic attendances! Making good progress with records, not far off completing August for birds with September/October up to date. Insects are lagging a bit. Funds down 2k this week, mainly on fall in €Z assets as € declines on prospect of more QE; the decline should be good for € assets in the long run. lok2t beauties!!!!

October 22nd: very stimulating day at S with rehearsal from 15:00-17:15 and concert itself from 19:30-21:30. It’s very interesting to see how they manage rehearsals and how intense the process is. There’s a run through of the whole concert, with the conductor picking up on some points. The Weber overture was taken more seriously than expected (professional perfection!). The Wagnerian songs had both the singer and the conductor rounding on a few members for not drawing out the background web of sounds to its full effect. Could hardly believe it when conductor Christian Lindberg started playing his own composition The Tale of Kundraan; Christian played the trombone solo, conducted the orchestra and also shouted out the story, both in his own voice and in what was presumably his own voice recorded at a higher pitch! It was exciting! In the Sibelius 3 the conductor wanted the horns to play even more loudly. Made MP with N for break. In the actual performance the Weber Oberon Overture came over well and the Wagner Wesendonck was brilliant with the Scottish mezzo soprano Karen Cargill very comfortable with the Tristan-style harmonics and the orchestra holding the atmosphere perfectly. The sequel to Wesendonck, the opera Tristan und Isolde (a Breton noble and an Irish princess respectively), had an enormous impact on music, though it was initially very difficult to perform. Indeed the Vienna opera declared it unplayable in the early 1860s despite numerous rehearsals (over 70!). In 1865 the work was finally performed with conductor Hans von Bülow, whose wife Cosima, daughter of composer and pianist Franz Liszt, was having an affair with Wagner, 24 years her elder. Over the years at least 1 Tristan and 2 conductors died while performing Act 2! Cosima went on to marry Wagner (as his second wife) and become the director of the Bayreuth Festival, which is dedicated to Wagner’s operas; she was instrumental in overcoming the playability difficulties and made a massive contribution to ensuring the composer’s success. Missed the favoured EG on the flute. Thought violinist AR (born in Russia) was very lively and committed in the rehearsal!! Made BH4ra4s where had good crack: it’s a very friendly pub and since it’s in Wylam, one you can get a drink in off last train! Found front door in place when got back, still needs to be sealed but looks very solid. Work continues tomorrow, after which will make N4c4t and W4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 21st: door arrived late (c1pm) much to builder JC’s annoyance as he needs a full day to make the place safe at the close; action postponed to tomorrow; material looks very smart! Continued clearing junk from sheds with old boxes and wood going out into corner of field dominated by bramble, which makes a good rotting ground for biodegradables. Plastics, metal and rubber go to the tip. Completed draft notes from YEDT wash-up meeting, which will be circulated tomorrow to steering group. Monumental decision coming up on Honey-buzzard: should I write up my results and findings in a book next year with fieldwork reduced to a watching brief and clear-up of a few issues? I think a printed book is due: it’s easy just to go on collecting results and then have nothing to really show for the effort in the end. I would readily pay for the initial publishing costs and there’s a lot of draft material on the web site. Made G4g4t where met B/S for good crack. Had brilliant rendezvous later with the scintillating one: lok2tmeo!!!! 2moro it’s into S4con, attending afternoon rehearsal as PP before MP4m4t with N and concert itself with RNS; they’ve got some Wagner in the programme, the Wesendonck Lieder with words by Mathilde Wesendonck set to music by Wagner. Mathilde was the beautiful wife of one of Wagner’s patrons, the wealthy silk merchant Otto Wesendonck. It is sometimes claimed that Wagner and Mathilde had an affair; this can be readily believed as the simmering Lieder led to Wagner’s most passionate opera Tristan und Isolde.

October 20th: Hamlet was quite a draw with Benedict Cumberbatch, of Sherlock Holmes fame, playing the title role. Cannot claim any real knowledge of Shakespeare at all but enjoyed it, even staying to the end at 22:24 while N made off, leaving a brisk walk from TC to the Station for last train NCL-RDM at 22:35; everyone dies at the end: slain, poisoned or suicide – so great closure! Earlier we had meal at CR in Grey St, which was good quality, just a bit more expensive than MP. Also made N4c4l where met J for good crack about Paris and at home took down a dove-cote, which was falling to bits. 2moro it’s waiting in for the new door so plans not clear but do hope to make G4g4t!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 19th: busy morning getting draft report out on YEDT to Vocational; then we had meeting b4 lunch at B; good service at B from l!! Made C4c4l and much later DrS4g4s where exactly the same people come in each week at precisely the same time – so fit in well!! Rumours of property being a good buy at the moment in P, particularly for renting out [from landlord who’s a Toon fanatic]. So where’s the action? No shortage though later: she is a *; think the antlers are very s.xy!!! 0.8C was on tele when went out and still on when got back! Front door in pvc is due to arrive on Wednesday and be fitted that day, with concurrent repairs to bottom of back door (step and thresh), which will be only wooden exterior fitting left. Started clearing out shed and lean-to preparing for their demolition and replacement by a smaller shed, which will not block the view from the kitchen onto the back garden; that’s next project. 2moro it’s more culture with N, seeing Hamlet at TC in transmission from Barbican, London, following meal at CR. Have to spot all the famous quotations! lok2tmbo!!!!

October 18th: did make Bywell by the Tyne and Stocksfield Mount from 14:00-15:55 in calm, rather cool, grey conditions on light E breeze. At 15:45 a flock of Jackdaw was seen to rise quickly over NW of Cottagebank and sure enough a juvenile pale-phase Honey-buzzard appeared low over the trees, floating around before settling down again; the young birds tend to be restless, flying low from field to field. This is the first bird seen here since 28/9, when a gang of 6 juveniles was present, suggesting this is a new bird, not a lingerer; it looked quite young so late to fledge from Scotland perhaps. Also had a juvenile Kestrel over the Tyne mobbed by 2 Jackdaw, an adult Common Buzzard calling near the Mount and an impressive 4 Red Kite, with 2 over Eltringham and 2 over Ovington. So that’s 7 raptors of 4 types, not bad for mid-October on a dull day. Total for trip was 31 species, including Goosander (4 redheads), Lapwing (flock 120), Goldcrest (10 feeding), Dipper (1 singing), Blackbird (2 with 1 S), Fieldfare (35 with 27 S, 8 SE), Redwing (2 S), Mistle Thrush (1 W), Grey Wagtail (1), Chaffinch (4 with 1 S). At home had a Marsh Tit feeding on the berries around the front. Made N4c4t and G4g4s where new smart look with dark green exterior; very pleased to have z back on but may have to make the Cnty if want to see more of her!! 2moro it’s R @ B 4 team meeting at noon, lunch a bit later, C4c4ll and maybe DrS4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 17th: did make TC with N where saw Otello on satellite transmission from New York Metropolitan Opera. Very impressed with whole performance and with Verdi’s style, which in his late operas has much in common with his contemporary Wagner, both dwelling on (and making the most of) a poignant moment, such as when Desdemona awaits her husband in bed knowing he’s going to kill her. Fate also seems to play a part in Otello, much as in the Ring, as Otello himself seems helpless in resisting the urge to kill his wife Desdemona, misinterpreting much of the information supplied by the baddie Iago, and Desdemona doesn’t flee the situation. Of course Otello was a Shakespeare play set in Italy (Venetian empire at Cyprus), which was then converted into an opera by the Italian Verdi – good example of Anglo-Italian co-operation! Went in from Prudhoe so could get last train at 21:52 back to Prudhoe International, with opera finishing at 21:13, bang on schedule, then dropped N off at Stocksfield. Did have a look at Ovingham Bridge before catching train in: won’t be ready this year, maybe next! Had a juvenile Kestrel hovering near Prudhoe Station at 14:45. Booked flights NCL-CDG for November, £268 return by Flybe/AF; Orly would have been better as meeting is in Orsay, at Paris-Sud University, but no obvious way there. My exciting attorney suggested that too many games were away: lok2tmgno!!!! 2moro it’s out to the Mount for yet another check for late Honey-buzzard, N4c4t and G4g4s!!

October 16th: quieter day spent sorting out recent records, mainly Lepidoptera leaf mines. Booked car in for MOT towards end of month. Gather new door is to be delivered next Tuesday, which is good news. Lit multi-fuel stove for 1st time this autumn and soon remembered how powerful it is! Received £296 as compensation from purchase of a Sentinel credit card protection scheme, which was redundant, as already covered by standard card terms. Funds moved up 3k this week with natural resources looking steadier, after their traumatic summer. Thought the meo looked really brilliant!!! Did make W4ra4s where met the team for good crack! 2moro it’s C4c4l, MP4m4t with N, TC4opera and the nite is young!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Flow of Honey-buzzard emigrants still in full flow nationally until 14/10 at least.

14/10 12:20 CLEVELAND : Honey Buzzard, Haverton Hill [S] one flew south over Haverton Hole at 11:30

14/10 09:57 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Sheringham [S] probable over the town then flew west (09:35)

14/10 09:49 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Holt [S] one flew over heading east (09:20)

13/10 16:56 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Chartham [S] one flew east at c.TR097555 late afternoon; also Firecrest there (16:25)

13/10 14:14 DORSET : Honey Buzzard, Portland [S] one flew north over Broadcroft Quarry and The Grove this afternoon

12/10 17:39 KENT : Honey Buzzard, New Romney [S] one flew west over Sainsbury’s this evening

October 15th: today was LAF day, lasting from 13:00 when got a lift at National Park offices, Hexham, to Wylam, until 20:50 when meeting closed at the same offices. Walk was shortened as not enough time to do the circular so we just did Wylam-Newburn and back again on the N side of the Tyne. Managed in fine, sunny weather on light SE breeze, to see 2 raptors: a dark brown juvenile Honey-buzzard over Ryton Willows at 14:50 mobbed by 8 Jackdaw and 4 Rook, before gliding fairly low-down onto fields on Newburn side; it was beginning to look more like an adult Honey-buzzard structurally with long wings and tail as matured somewhat on presumed trip down from Scotland. Also had a Red Kite looking very territorial over woods at 15:30 to SE of Wylam Station. We were shocked at notices at Close House: “Keep Off” in enormous signs; while technically correct such signs do not emphasise that there is still public access along the RoW. Since being sold by ncl Close House has become ever more elitist: what a disgrace! We were monitoring cyclists’ behaviour on the shared use track: on my scoring out of 17 passing cyclists, 10 were fine, ringing their bell and saying thanks for letting them through, 2 were so-so and 5 were boorish, including 1 positive psychopath. Back to Hexham for tea and the evening meeting around the table. WGS (my group) put in a well-received report on the RoWIP, which after an initial luke-warm reception from NCC was being viewed more positively later as doing nothing is not an option! Got home to feed Cleo and then straight out to R&C to meet A/M where a on in good style! Markets again a little brighter this week. 2moro it’s N4c4l, followed by trip out and much later W4ra4s; have 1st opera of season at TC on Saturday, going with N!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

October 14th: good news (for some) that Honey-buzzard migrants are still passing through! And still being reported on BirdGuides. Today went to Haltwhistle North Wood from 14:45-16:15 in beautiful sunny weather on light E breeze. Had a dark-brown juvenile Honey-buzzard on way out at 14:35, E of Melkridge, flying low over rough meadows with scattered trees. At North Wood the Common Buzzard were very anxious with 2 adults and 2 juveniles calling agitatedly. Eventually at 15:14 a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard came out of the wood from which the Common Buzzard were calling and flew a little way NW towards the South Tyne. The Common Buzzard then went quiet! Earlier had i-test at SS in 4st; was in there for 70 mins but good news is that both eyes are healthy with retina and optical nerve in good shape; correction on lens was increased (as expected) and the charming k persuaded me to spend £278 on 2 pairs, one with varifocal lenses, the other with medium range focus for use on computers, both with anti-glare. Am now downloading Windows 10 in background on desktop as decided to do the free upgrade; has done 12% of the 2845.9MB so far. 2moro must register at Paris conference and then attend LAF meeting, with 8km walk in afternoon from Wylam-Newburn-Ryton-Wylam to look at suburban access issues, followed by meeting in evening at Hexham. Should make N4c4el!! lok2t beauties!!!!

October 13th: had good time with N in shack, at fair and at N4c4ll; last of the big spenders, going through £11: 6 on a book on fungi, which will enable me to select non-poisonous ones from the countryside and make a nice stew; 5 on 2 observer books, one on larger moths, which is very desirable, the other on wild flowers. Favoured book store, with good selection of Scottish and Borders natural history books, was not there. N bought a clock for £45 so well ahead of me! Quite a busy day, compiling loads of records and starting write-up of notes from last Thursday’s meeting at unn. Booked flights and 2 hotels in Ireland for a week next month. Thought tmbo looked very fanciable!!! 2moro it’s SS @ 11 4 i-test, N4c4l and maybe trip out in afternoon to Haltwhistle before G4g4t!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 12th: with big family reunion looming, decided to switch back to family records to document what is known about maternal side; about to order certificates for period around 1840-1850 including marriage of Sarah Jane Dashper (alias Yelena Dashevsky??, my gt-gt-grandmother) to naval gunner Thomas May in Plymouth. Think all my relatives think we go back to the cave age on the maternal side in Cornwall, so some caution needed! Haplogroup T for maternal DNA is consistent with an eastern Baltic origin as is the preoccupation with the name Lena and the fancy costume on 2 elderly attendees at a wedding in 1918. Did make R @ B4m4l where we had a talk on memory by PG, including why we remember only a fraction of the information that comes our way each day! Was well worth going to C4c4ll, where met the mmo for a lively discussion on karate (and how she can look after herself!!). DrS had good atmosphere: c u n Monday!! Rendezvous was exciting: she’s so gorgeous!!! 2moro it’s shack in Wentworth 4c, antique fair with N, N4c4ll and catch-up. lok2tmbo!!!!

October 11th: Honey-buzzard reports on BirdGuides continue apace; whereas suggest maybe 10% of adult males are spotted on migration, think number will be much lower for juveniles moving mainly inland, maybe just 2%. Am looking at Trektellen totals for Common Buzzard and ringing figures for Common Buzzard within UK; the Trektellen totals suggest that the Common Buzzard is a significant migrant while the ringing figures suggest the Common Buzzard is very sedentary. If the Common Buzzard seen on migration are actually misidentifications of Honey-buzzard juveniles, that would explain a lot! Will analyse further and publish the conclusions (to increase my popularity!). Meanwhile visited Towsbank today from 13:55-16:20 but just had 1 adult Common Buzzard briefly calling in dull, calm conditions, which are not good for getting raptors up into the air. Total for species of birds was 14, including Red Grouse (8), Stock Dove (3), Siskin (8). Found masses of leaf mines on oak trees, with significant variety. Suspect that many Honey-buzzard juveniles have made a clean exit over the last 10 days but there will surely be some late-bred younger siblings to still come through from Scotland. Made N4c4t where good to have s on!! At G4g4s much later it was l-a on; she was actually at races yesterday in Paddock, so superior to me; she’s got good chat! 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll, DrS4g4s: will need to keep up with it all!! lok2t beauties!!!!

Here’s recent Honey-buzzard reports on BirdGuides:

04/10 12:01 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Waxham [S] one mobbed by crows as it flew northwest over Waxham Sands holiday park late morning

04/10 20:13 EAST YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Sammy’s Point [S] one flew west at 16:55 (16:55)

05/10 15:19 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Folkestone [S] one flew west over Mill Point yesterday (04/10)

05/10 16:21 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Weybourne [S] one over yesterday afternoon (04/10)

08/10 15:57 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Westwood, Thanet [S] two flew over Asda at Westwood Cross early afternoon

08/10 20:59 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Docking [S] one flew over late afternoon yesterday (07/10 16:30)

10/10 17:34 CORK : Honey Buzzard, Dursey Island [S] one flew over; also Siberian Chiffchaff and 2 Firecrests

Also today had 16 Woodlark migrants reported on BirdGuides: 1 in Cleveland, 1 in Somerset, 1 in Pembrokeshire, 1 in Cornwall, 10+2 in Suffolk (Bawdsey), following 2 in Hertfordshire on 8/10, 1 in Dorset on 7/10. Suggests some post-breeding gatherings are breaking up for the winter. There was another significant movement at the end of September. The Cleveland bird is particularly interesting.

October 10th: well did make Hexham races; skill continued with a further 4 losers backed (£20 total) making total of 9 in a row!! Enjoyed the afternoon though; it’s a great atmosphere, weather was good and the odd g went down well! Do need a betting assistant (or maestro)!! Did keep an eye out for Honey-buzzard but no raptors seen in the still conditions. In evening sorted out quite a lot of moth and butterfly records for September, including those on Schiehallion (15/9). Planning to make upper South Tyne tomorrow to look for migrating Honey-buzzard from Scotland. See there was a Honey-buzzard in Cork today, not well placed for a move S as too far out in Atlantic right over Dursey Island; it should have gone S/SE in Wexford but it’s undoubtedly a juvenile, so has no experience of the journey. Re-thinking trip to Ireland and may go to Rosscarbery again, in West Cork, instead of Killarney before going to Wexford; that will be more useful for Honey-buzzard studies. 2moro should also make N4c4t and G4g4s after trip W. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 9th: did make the Mount at Stocksfield from 13:40-15:15 in calm conditions with patchy cloud; no Honey-buzzard were seen so the gang here on 28/9 of 6 birds appears to have left; only raptor seen was Red Kite of which 5 – 2 each at Cottagebank and Eltringham and 1 at Ovington. Early encounters in S/H2 with the Avison Ensemble was very good, amazing the niche some players carve out for themselves; here it was English music of the 18th century on contemporary instruments with German ancestry permitted. While I enjoyed the Avison, Garth, Herschel (physics building at ncl named after him; he discovered Uranus) and Stanley pieces, thought the 2 Handel pieces (organ concerto 5, concerto grosso 6-11) went up a gear and were brilliantly played. It was somewhat unnerving that star violinist CB (photo) looked a bit like my next-door neighbour k (lawyer, mother of 2) but nothing too wrong with that! There was an intense rehearsal under direction of BC/KH going on at same time; we’re not going to that concert; didn’t see the mffp!! Rushed off to get train as thought there might be congestion following World Cup rugby game; there was! Masses of barriers were laid out around Central Station and took us 20 mins to navigate them all; made train with 5 mins to spare, suspect many from match missed it. Earlier got into MP past long queue without reservation as valued regulars! Next concert (opera from New York) is at Tyneside Cinema on Saturday week. Earlier N4c4l was very stimulating!! Funds up 7k this week on back of rising mining shares, breaking a poor spell; think we may get another week of this before doubts start setting in again. Loss on year is now 14k after making 5k withdrawals, mainly for building work. Will still be happy just to see capital preserved in this difficult year. 2moro it’s C4c4l to study FT followed maybe by a different set of form cards and something I’m really useless at!! lok2t beauties!!!

October 8th: meeting at unn went very well with lots of enthusiasm and commitment for the YEDT competition for next year; unn want to expand it to include competition for 11-13 year olds as well as the existing GCSE and A-level classes, all to encourage young students, particularly girls, into an engineering/design career. Next meeting is again at unn in early December but need to get notes out quickly if we’re to keep up momentum. Last year’s competition, with pictures of the awards, is highlighted on a Hexham Rotary Club page; I’m webmaster for the Club: could help with other’s web pages!! Booked eye-test for next Wednesday at SS. Submitted 2.5 page report by Working Group South to LAF for next Thursday; we’ve done a lot over past 3 months compared with not a lot at start of year! But do need some play so out to R&C4m4s with A/M; fun reached climax with lok2tmfso!!! M wants to switch back to T&S but A not able to drive at nite yet so agreed if we do this that I’ll drop A back in the village but next week after LAF it’s still R&C!! 2moro it’s N4c4l, the Mount for check for Honey-buzzard, MP4m4t, S4con, W4ra4s!! Delighted with iOS 9; it enables ‘phone calls and all messaging on my iPhone over the satellite broadband; such developments are brilliant for rural users as they enable us to ditch BT/Openreach, which gives such an appalling service.

October 7th: very wet today so had a major bash at September records. Dental check-up in Corbridge went fine though only just made it in time: closure of Linnels Bridge for repairs is a major pain! Think I’ll have an eye-test next at SS: long-sight is very good – can spot birds of prey miles away – but short-sight may need further correction; pity my mate’s not still there!! The mbo looked brilliant: think she’s a natural: that’s a true compliment in CT!!! At G gr8 to have z on again!! Think the meo looked very desirable!! Funds have recovered a bit this week; managed to buy into some natural resource funds over last week as well as pt/rh metals in ETF and seeing some benefit in the startling recovery in commodity stocks. 2moro it’s unn in morning followed by S4l, N4c4t and R&C4m4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

October 6th: met P at N4c4c for almost final crack before he goes W. Sorted LAF notes from meeting last Monday (28/9) of RoWIP subgroup and sent them out to members for approval before full LAF meeting next Thursday (15/10). Started to think about abstract for Paris, due in same day as LAF (looks like last minute!). Booked place at rehearsal on 22/10 at Sage through PP role. Also started to think about next trip to London at end of month with big family bash on 1/11 in Wiltshire and trip to Ireland a little later, maybe fly NCL-ORK, hire a car and go to Killarney and Wexford. Back to this week it’s dental check-up in Corbridge tomorrow morning, chairing major meeting with YEDT stakeholders at unn on Thursday morning followed by lunch at Sage, and concert by Avison at Sage with N on Friday. Expecting to make G4g4ss, R&C4m4s and W4ra4s over next 3 evenings in that order!! Granddaughter looks very sweet in this latest photo with her big blue eyes: she’s in Dubai for 2 weeks at moment being shown off to family on paternal side from Iran; she didn’t enjoy flight out there but another baby was even worse behaved so that’s alright! Will resume search for Honey-buzzard migrants on Friday when weather is improving again; such migrants are likely to be Scottish though some locally-bred birds remain in moorland areas at least. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 5th: made R 4 enjoyable lunch, like the service!! Gave presentation on Vocational’s progress and web pages, all in order. Made N4c4ll after rapid retreat to car-park as forgot to display disk, no problem! Good to have s on again! Compiled lots of records today, indeed have almost finished September for birds though not for lepidoptera by quite a way. Continuing the occasional butterfly series, here’s the season’s only Small Copper at Beldon Burn on 13/9: 1  2  3  4  5. Made DrS4g4s where quiet as usual on Monday but very chatty, improving my vocabulary: “ganning yem” was their parting shot, well kind of!! Later the odd minor problem didn’t matter too much and it was a brilliant end to the evening; lip reading is a strength perhaps: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4c with P, writing up LAF notes, drafting abstract for Paris, and maybe not R&C as M wants us to change back to Thursdays to fit in with his lecturing duties.

October 4th: back in style with Flybe, travelling EXT-NCL from 10:40-11:50 on time. Very good stay was had with L/D; for a change didn’t actually visit Teignmouth where brought up, nor Plainmoor to see the Gulls go 3rd from bottom in the National League (alias division 5!). Rather poignant that at same time the Pilgrims (Plymouth Argyle) go top of League 2! Locals and family very depressed by England exit from RU World Cup; not too bothered myself, ranking my preferences in descending order: Ireland, Scotland, France, England, Italy, Wales! Very tense win by Ireland today (over Italy). Think England is really now the City State of London, rather disenchanted by it all. Don’t know why northern England doesn’t have a new party, which would bid for a greater share of power and resources, like the SNP in Scotland. Back at base did some grass cutting, catch-up with records and G4g4s where pleased to see z on again!! 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l with business meeting, N4c4ll, DrS4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 3rd: not quite so warm today but still remarkable for early October with hazy sunshine on light N breeze; kept local spending morning in Sidmouth N, old Woolbrook area, where sis lives and going for walk along seafront followed by good late lunch with sis at Fort Café overlooking the sea. Mist was clearing when started watch at 11:45 and was looking keenly up in the sky at this time for raptors starting their daily migration. Did not have to wait long: a juvenile pale-phase Honey-buzzard was spotted underneath the lifting mist at 12:10, arriving from the N and soaring effortlessly right into the bottom of the mist before gliding off quickly SW. They’re not easy to see at this height; sis and partner couldn’t pick it up at all, emphasising ridiculous application of closed world assumption by some people. Had another raptor up at 12:40 but it came up high and swiftly retreated N; it was a (local) Common Buzzard. Day total of 24 species also included a calling Chiffchaff, 2 Turnstone, 1 Rock Pipit, 6 alba Wagtail, 3 Swallow (1 S). Butterflies included Small White, Red Admiral, Large White. Town and beach were incredibly busy with lots of people paddling as tide went out; fairly eccentric some locals such as taking dogs for walks in prams! Cliff to N continues to slide away very quickly: some bargains property-wise on the top for grockles! Finished observations with no more Honey-buzzard seen. Conditions were ideal for a Channel crossing today by a Honey-buzzard, doing the 140km from Start Point to Brittany on a light N breeze in almost 3 hours at 50km/hour flapping over the sea with light following wind. The Honey-buzzard seen today could have been in Brittany by 16:00. Not so Devonian tomorrow; looking forward to return!! lok2t beauties!!!!

October 2nd: long walk with sis today along Otter Estuary and river from Budleigh Salterton to Otterton from 12:00-15:50, about 11km in all. Had lunch at the Mill in Otterton in the completely sunny and warm weather. There were so many insects around with butterflies (Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Small White), dragonflies (2 types), a Hornet Hover Fly, quite a mimic of the Hornet and a recent colonist of southern England from the continent, masses of wasps particularly feeding on willow leaves and many other hover flies on ivy flowers. It was a very good day out, amazing for early October. Good numbers of raptors were up to the W with 2 Honey-buzzard juveniles up over the Yettington/Hayes Plantation area. At 12:55 these were up over Hayes Plantation with a dark bird floating close to the trees and another bird significantly higher up. At 13:15 a pale juvenile Honey-buzzard was up over Yettington, floating over woodland. From 15:10-15:20 the corvids and gulls were very agitated over Hayes Plantation and eventually at 15:20 picked up a dark juvenile Honey-buzzard sitting in the middle of a large field mobbed by a few corvids. We drove around to Yettington after the walk and could see large rough woodland going into heathland behind. A big pig farm dominated the area, overwhelming the historical interest with nearby Hayes Barton being birthplace of Sir Walter Raleigh; we didn’t stay long! Other raptors included 2 Common Buzzard and a juvenile Kestrel near Otterton and a total of 10 Common Buzzard to the W with 5 at Hayes and 5 at Bicton Park. So total for trip was 15 raptors of 3 types: 12 Common Buzzard, 2 Honey-buzzard, 1 Kestrel. Much else of interest included 2 Kingfisher, 6 Little Egret, 2 Curlew, 1 Redshank, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Grey Wagtail, 30 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 79 Wigeon including 8 off the sea, 10 Teal, 3 Raven, 6 Shags. All in all had a remarkable 46 species in the afternoon. Funds were down 3k this week, showing signs of stabilising. There’s a slightly better atmosphere in the market but planning to continue with defensive approach until December at least by maximising daily income and minimising exposure to equities; have completed precautionary write-downs and expect zero-inflation to persist; will be happy to exit this year with capital preserved. Got email from M saying he may well come to Paris too, which is good news. Missing the beauties back home!!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

Honey-buzzard reports have slowed down on BirdGuides as last of adults leave and some juveniles hang around enjoying the sunshine and the large numbers of wasps in some areas. Juveniles tend to be not recognised anyway by many observers: Dick Forsman in his book described juvenile Honey-buzzard as probably the most misidentified raptor in Europe.

21/09 17:33 CORNWALL : Honey Buzzard, St. Just [S] one by the airport at midday (12:00)

22/09 09:57 LINCOLNSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Trent Port [S] probable juvenile flew west into Nottinghamshire at 08:00 (08:00)

25/09 11:45 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Cley Marshes NWT [S] dark juvenile flew WNW over with 60 Common Buzzards between 09:45 and 11:30

26/09 16:04 ESSEX : Honey Buzzard, The Naze [S] one flew south (11:30)

01/10 14:50 LINCOLNSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Gibraltar Point NNR [S] one flew high, East over dunes; also Firecrest still in east dunes and 4 Yellow-browed Warblers at entrance to Syke’s Farm early afternoon (14:46)

01/10 15:13 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Ashford [S] one flew WSW over Kingsnorth early afternoon

02/10 15:52 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Preston Marshes [S] one flying northeast late afternoon

02/10 21:52 EAST YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Thornwick Bay [S] juvenile dark morph flew southeast this afternoon

A total of 9 migrating Woodlark were reported in the same period.

October 1st: drove down to Totnes in sis’ car to meet M and wife L. After haute cuisine lunch at an Italian, we got down to category theory business and decided I should attend an international meeting in Paris in late November (Topos a l’IHES) to hear about latest developments in topos theory and submit an abstract for a short contribution. Lovely sunny day again and we sat out in garden at M’s which is a real sun-trap. Got back in evening for a hearty meal at the Bowd Carvery, Sidmouth, where must say staff were very smart!! See Jordan Rossiter played a full match for Liverpool against Swiss side FC Sion tonight but they could only draw! Had 5 Common Buzzard today: 2 over Telegraph Hill and 3 on S side of Totnes. lok2t lovelies!!!!

September 30th: flying visit to Devon, going NCL-EXT by Flybe; all very smooth and punctual! Feeling like a bit of relaxation after main part of Honey-buzzard season is over. Staying with younger sis and husband in Sidmouth, where very comfortable and pleased to see them again.

September 29th: another very fine, warm day with continuous sunshine on light S breeze. Honey-buzzard juveniles seem complacent about the need to emigrate. Visited the East Allen from 14:50-15:55, making stop 1 at Studdon Park where had 2 Honey-buzzard juvenile up together at 14:50 to SE of site over pasture; one was dark, the other was rusty; they seemed very contented with life, floating around, maybe looking for optimum places to feed. Didn’t stay long here, pressing on to Sinderhope S, where there were 3 raptors right above me, low-down, on arrival at 15:00. These comprised a dark-phase Honey-buzzard juvenile and 2 pale-phase juvenile Common Buzzard; they floated around very slowly drifting S over the rough pasture. At 15:25 another Honey-buzzard juvenile, a pale rufous bird, was flushed off a field just to S of road and flew towards the site for refuge; the habitat was typical in-bye land. At 15:44 a typical plumaged adult Common Buzzard drifted over and finally the dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard was up again at 15:50 over Sinderhope N. So that makes at Sinderhope 2 juvenile Honey-buzzard and 3 Common Buzzard (adult, 2 juvenile). At both sites the juvenile Honey-buzzard were thought to be the same as those seen on 19/9 so no coalescing into gangs yet and no emigration, very interesting! Also had an adult male Kestrel at Studdon Park and 2 Kestrel (adult male, juvenile) at Sinderhope S. So total for trip was 10 raptors of 3 types: 4 Honey-buzzard (all juvenile), 3 Kestrel (2 adult male, 1 juvenile), 3 Common Buzzard (adult 1, juvenile 2). Doubt there’s an adult Honey-buzzard left in the study area now. Trip was necessarily short having quite a lot of paper work to do in morning with LAF and R. Made N4c4t where gr8 to have s/l on!! Bought some new shoes at Clarks in 4St, only £70, lightweight comfy, no laces. Skipped R(otary) as no proper notice given of meeting: didn’t even know where it was being held: don’t generally attend meetings without agendas! But did make R&C to meet A, as know the venue and agenda (Murphy’s) is pretty clear! Left R&C a little early as need to get organised! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 28th: stayed up late (until 03:40) to see the eclipse of the moon, amazingly clear views and got some piccies 1  2  3  4  5  6. Visited Stocksfield Mount from 14:00-16:05 in beautiful sunny weather on light S breeze (“been a canny day mind” DrS). Raptors enjoyed the sunshine with a gang of 4 Honey-buzzard juvenile up at 14:19 to SW of Cottagebank feeding on a large stubble field, presumably on grain, invertebrates and small rodents. They took one trip up in the air, at 14:24, going high and leaning SW but swiftly came back to the same field again; these mock emigrations are frequent in such gangs. Another 2 Honey-buzzard juveniles were slightly to the W near Styford High Barns; they also got up high and even started moving SW more decisively but then lost their nerve and came back NE on to the stubble field giving a loose gathering of 6 birds. A group of Jackdaw chased one juvenile for several minutes before it managed to get away. Other raptors included 6 Red Kite (pair adult, 1 juvenile Cottagebank; pair adult, 1 juvenile Ovington), 2 Kestrel (adult male, juvenile at Bywell Castle), 1 Common Buzzard (adult, Bywell Castle), 1 Sparrowhawk (unaged female, Eltringham). So that’s 16 raptors of 5 types! Made N4c4l where met J. LAF meeting went well at Acomb as we compiled a list of action points. Did make DrS where getting feet under the table: “see you next Monday” was parting shot! Think she’s canny: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it’s up the Allen midday, expecting later to make N4c4t, R 4 cncl @ 17:30 in Oakwood and maybe R&C later but cannot stay too late!!

September 27th: faith restored in shooting estates with trip out to Nookton, area of grouse moor in Co Durham owned by Newbiggin Estates, from 13:00-15:35. Weather was very good for time of year with continuous sunshine, hardly any breeze and quite warm. Concluded Honey-buzzard fledging phase, finding 2 weak-flying juveniles at Nookton, a very dark bird and a dark chestnut bird, from 13:25-13:30 moving down from conifers on ridge to the centre of the Beldon Burn; that was quite a moment! The adults appear to have left already but the juveniles appeared again near exit from site with the chestnut bird soaring at 15:20 a little way up and the dark bird flushed from near a wall on my exit, clearly feeding on the rough sheep pasture. Also sorted out Riddlehamhope to some extent with a very weak-flying juvenile up to E of the mature pine plantation at 14:15-14:20, converting this from a >0 to 1+; the male was up at this site at 13:30 and well above the juvenile at 14:20 but he carried on getting higher and higher before departing SW: bye-bye junior! 2 more Honey-buzzard migrants were seen: at 13:10 a large dark juvenile flapped up the Beldon Burn moving W to W of Middle Plantation and then proceeded to soar to a great height before moving off SW. Below it was another smaller, paler juvenile, which came off the moorland and followed it up into the sky so by 13:20 both had disappeared SW. So that’s a total of 6 Honey-buzzard (1 male, 5 juvenile; 3 foraging, 3 migrating SW). Six other types of raptor were seen, quite incredible really! A ringtail Hen Harrier came into Nookton at 13:35, flapping stridently, to be greeted by another ringtail, already out on the heather. A male Hobby juvenile was up over the area at 13:40, probably locally bred but not sure from where exactly. Kestrel totalled 4 with male, female, 2 juvenile, seen at various times. A juvenile female Sparrowhawk was up at 13:50 hunting over the moorland. An adult female Goshawk came out of the Nookton Burn and moved NE to hunt at 13:40. Finally 3 Common Buzzard (adult, 2 juveniles) were up over Middle Plantation on the other side of the valley at 13:35. Grand total is 18 raptors of 7 types, fantastic way to finish the main season. Butterflies were good in the sunshine with 3 types – Small Tortoiseshell (6), Red Admiral (3), Peacock (2) – will post some piccies shortly, plus moths Silver Y (3), Anthophila fabriciana (2), and dragonfly Common Hawker (1). Had total of 23 species, including Curlew (3 feeding birds), Song Thrush (1), alba Wagtail (4), Meadow Pipit (1 S), Stock Dove (4).

Did make N4c4t followed by G4g4s where much good crack!! See races is starting up again, sadly cannot make 2/10 when sure sponsors will put on a good show, but intend to make 10/10; it’s the lively exchanges that draws me back!! Next concert is 9/10 at S/H2 with Avison (early music). 2moro relaxing a bit more with trip out to Stocksfield Mount to look for migrants in the afternoon; earlier should make N4c4l; R are meeting in evening but cannot make that as have meeting with LAF group in Acomb on reviewing RoWIP; hope to retreat to DrS4g4s for relaxation afterwards!! lok2t beauties!!!!

September 26th: almost calm today with overcast skies, breaking up a little late afternoon, mild. Rather bizarre trip to upper South Tyne from 15:05-18:50 but think have a handle on what is going on! Was wondering what had happened to the Softley (W Eals) pair, which have always had a tenuous existence on the edge of the bad lands. So with the site unoccupied on 11/6 had speculated that the pair had moved to Parson Shields, where 2 birds were displaying at great height on that date. Today spent 3 hours at Parson Shields, to the N of Williamston, and saw only 1 raptor, a juvenile Kestrel perched on a hawthorn shrub. This area used to be fantastic for raptors so worried. The nearby Williamston farmhouse used to be owned by a traditional Northumbrian sheep-farming family who always seemed to enjoy the raptors. It’s obviously been sold and done up to a high standard as high class accommodation (Williamston Barns); furthermore the style of the signs and buildings resembles that of Whitwham and hence bears the mark of Knaresdale Estates, which has the shooting licence for large areas of land in the upper South Tyne, particularly on the W side of the valley. Areas run by Knaresdale Estates have abysmally low numbers of raptors, compared to adjacent areas run by other estates, so illegal persecution is very likely their trademark. It’s a great shame that Parson Shields has come under their control. These remarks are not libellous as they’re true, backed by much survey evidence. As a visitor I would not wish to stay in such a sterile area. Tellingly the advert for the barns at http://www.williamstonbarns.com/ says: “where you may see Red Squirrels, Black and Red Grouse, Oystercatchers and Roe Deer”, nothing about the lovely raptors! Other indications of intensive game management were: surfeit of rabbits feeding very visibly, complacent jackdaw, abundance of pigeons, high-density releases of Red-legged Partridge, Mallard, Pheasant. I have nothing against the shooting industry per se provided they obey the law. Anyway walked on a little to the S of Williamston and there on the edge of the moor at 17:20 were 2 juvenile Honey-buzzard, floating low over the heather, one pale rufous, the other dark; they came down on the ground presumably to feed. So that’s a relief, suggesting the Softley pair have moved 4km to just beyond the Knaresdale Estates land and 1.5km (below regulatory inter-site distance of 2.5km!) from the nearest site to the S; the squeeze suggests the land to the N with some high quality deciduous wood is not hospitable. An alternative explanation is that the Softley pair were shot and the pair at Williamston S are new but the squeeze suggests a re-arrangement of existing pairs, who would not like to leave entirely their home areas. Also here had a juvenile Common Buzzard and a Crow, both absent to the N. Moved on to Gilderdale Bridge to check the Kirkhaugh site and had an adult Common Buzzard flying overhead. On way back a Snipe was flushed from bog near side of road at dusk at Willyshaw on top of Whitfield Moor (18:50), where 3 Chevron Moth, as found on Schiehallion recently, were flying over the heather. The upper South Tyne/Tipalt E area seems troubled this year with apparent failures near Haltwhistle of 2 pairs of Honey-buzzard; feel its remoteness (wild west!) encourages some to do what they like. Will do some winter work to probe a little. Have still 1 site left to do in Derwent with optional mopping up on the >0 sites, which stand at 3 (Derwent (1), Irthing (1), lower South Tyne (1)). Hope to do the 2 sites in Derwent tomorrow lunchtime followed by N4c4t and G4g4s!! Today did make C4c4l to read FT, which still thinks emerging markets are in a mess! Did some catch-up in evening on records! lok2t lovelies!!!!

September 25th: gave Honey-buzzard a break today — will resume tomorrow with trip out to upper South Tyne for walk around Parson Shields to see what’s happening in remaining upper South Tyne site. Pretty leisurely day making N4c4l and W4ra4s with full house at the latter of 6 of us for good catch-up, not getting away until 00:45! The meo looked stunning!! Not so sanguine as some about effect of (corrupt) under-recording of diesel exhaust pollutions on €zone economy and have sold 40k of €reit for small profit in last 2 days; funds down 5k in last week, showing loss of 17k on year, significantly below that expected from fall in ftse; not expecting any recovery until January 2016, when long-term commodity cycle may be beginning to turn as weaker suppliers go bust! There will be rich pickings on the rebound. Should make C4c4l tomorrow before trip out. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 24th: great day with 2 more sites cleared up, brilliant concert in S/H2 and sparkling rendezvous to finish!!! Went to March Burn and Newburn to clear up the 2 >0 sites in Tyne Valley W and E respectively, finding 2 locally-fledged juvenile Honey-buzzard at each; also had a juvenile Honey-buzzard moving SE at Newburn and a small gang of 3 juveniles in same area, still looking at the pictures. Weather was quite blustery with moderate to fresh W breeze, sunny intervals and scattered heavy showers. Stop 1 at March Burn from 12:45-14:10 produced a pair of adult Common Buzzard calling in strident manner over the site and 2 Kestrel in area, one unaged, the other a juvenile. A grey-brown Honey-buzzard juvenile came up over the site at 13:15, hanging over the wood twice in next 5 minutes before coming down again. Thought it was going to be a 1+ but on exit another juvenile, larger with more rufous colouration, came up for a few seconds over a wood near Healey Mill; in the fresh breeze it went down very quickly again. On a stubble field nearby had a mixed flock of 18 passerines of which 4 were Woodlark, in a tight group, 13 Linnet and 1 Greenfinch; also in total of 18 species had 29 Mistle Thrush including a flock of 27, plus a Chiffchaff. Stop 2 was at Newburn Riverside Park, from 14:30-16:20, offering grand views of Ryton Willows and the edge-lands skirting the Tyneside conurbation. Honey-buzzard were abundant here, along with masses of Woodpigeon (150 counted) and Jackdaw (130). At 14:55 a juvenile Honey-buzzard migrant was spotted over S end of Throckley to N, at great height in the fresh breeze; it didn’t seem very perturbed and was moving SE before being lost to sight. At 15:25 2 Honey-buzzard juvenile were flushed by a walker over a stubble field not far from the Tyne; they came up together, gaining height unsteadily before crossing the Tyne right into the site on the Ryton side; the younger one was gingery and the older one dark-phase; young birds when worried do often fly straight into the nest site for a fix, thus giving away its location, something which the adults have been trying hard to keep secret for several months! Nesting at both these sites has been later than at adjacent sites, that is why the juveniles had not yet fledged in the previous visit but it’s good to see they’ve kept going as expected from their >0 status. Result is 2 >0 sites become fledged 2. In addition from 15:15-16:00 noted 3 Honey-buzzard juveniles as a loose group over the fields S of Hexham Road (old A69) on W side of Throckley. This looked like a collection of juveniles from nearby sites, which have left the natal area and are getting ready to emigrate, what I call a gang. The members of this gang might be from Close House area (1+ fledged) and Wylam Horsley (2 fledged) but of course don’t really know! They kept on bobbing up and rapidly going down again. Total for day was 12 raptors of 3 types: 8 Honey-buzzard (all juvenile), 2 Common Buzzard (both adult), 2 Kestrel (juvenile, unaged). Have still 2 sites left to do: Derwent (1), upper South Tyne (1) with optional mopping up on the >0 sites, which now reduced to 3 (Derwent (1), Irthing (1), lower South Tyne (1)).

Caught 17:08 WYM-NCL and met N for meal at regular location at MP where well looked after as usual. Concert was by RNS in S/H2 where had managed to get a seat in the front row, for optimal viewing! Love this format and programme was varied and stimulating. LT, who has a transfer to Oslo, starred in Brahms Cello Sonata 1 with new maestro LV on the piano. Enjoyed Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds, particularly with SH on the Oboe. After the interval Grieg’s String Quartet 1 was played in great style, particularly by TG as lead violinist; thought his bow was going to disintegrate with all the excitement! It was much more discordant than expected and as said in the intro it sounded like 8 people were playing with the stopping. Good to see vocal support from the team!! Back on last train 22:35 NCL-WYM where made BH4ra4s for 1st time since mid-July; good to catch up with a few old mates! Feeling a bit sh.oot by the end!! 2moro it’s N4c4l and W4ra4s with maybe short trip out to lower South Tyne in afternoon. lok2tmbo!!!!

September 23rd: made the one new site this year, Derwent Gorge, from 14:05-15:35. Weather is rapidly turning cooler and had to wear a coat for 1st time for quite a while. The wind was moderate SW and there were sunny intervals but the sun is much weaker now we’re up to the equinox. But raptors were good! An adult Red Kite was up over the Gorge at 14:15 mobbed by 3 Jackdaw; then checked Muggleswick Common where had 2 juvenile Red Kite together; this brood has been spotted before (see 3/8). The Honey-buzzard appeared from 14:40-14:55 in typical formation with the male high up, the female with the stronger flying juvenile half-way up to the male and the weaker flying juvenile struggling above the trees. The female and stronger juvenile chased each other while the male hanged motionless at quite a height. Thought the male might be getting ready to leave but he came down to the ground in a spectacular dive at 14:55 to complete the action. This display was on the Northumbrian side. Next up from 15:05-15:30 was a family party of 4 Common Buzzard (2 adult, 2 juvenile) enjoying the moderate breeze for lift. Finally a Red Kite (unaged) was up over a plantation to NW, N of Cronkley, where have had occasional birds before. So total for trip was 12 raptors of 3 types: Honey-buzzard 4 (adult male, adult female, 2 juvenile), Common Buzzard 4 (2 adult, 2 juvenile), Red Kite 4 (1 adult, 2 juvenile, 1 unaged). Have only 2 sites left to do now: Derwent (1), upper South Tyne (1) with optional mopping up on the >0 sites, which stand at 5 (Derwent (1), Irthing (1), Tyne W (1), Tyne E (1), lower South Tyne (1)). G was gr8 tonite both times: met quite a crowd 4t and 4s, and the lovely z was on in 1st session!! Accepted quote from JC of £1535 for new pvc front door plus fitting; sounds a lot but opening is to an old coach house which is large, with double glazing on lhs and rhs and door in middle third, and is circular on top; has been measured specially; will take a few weeks to arrive. 2moro planning to do remaining >0 site in Tyne Valley E on way to S4con via MP4m4t with N. Should make N4c4el b4 and BH4ra4s much later!! Sadly don’t think there’s a flute in the wind quintet!! Must be some beneficiaries from the VW scandal – it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good – one of my favourite sayings; maybe electric/hybrid car makers to clean up city streets; where would all the electricity come from – suspect improves prospects for nuclear energy which gives predictable generation rates with low carbon output. Certainly prospects for pt, used in diesel engines as catalyst, look almost terminal, glad sold all of my pt mining shares and metal etfs, having been continually surprised at the reduction in the use of catalysts in new diesel cars; pd, used in petrol engines as catalyst, may benefit in the short run but suspect electric/hybrid will be preferred long-term solution. Current problems won’t do oil much good either. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 22nd: made upper South Tyne from 14:00-16:30; it was very sunny at start but clouded over later on with rain stopping play as pulled in briefly at Parson Shields at 16:20; wind was light SW throughout. As approached Alston from Hexham at 14:05, picked up a flock of corvids in an angry swarm over the moorland to SE of Kirkhaugh; such swarms are well worth scanning for a Honey-buzzard juvenile (not adult, as treatment seems to be reserved for juveniles!). On the edge of the swarm was indeed a juvenile Honey-buzzard, dark rufous colour, which drifted towards the Clarghyll mine. This bird was presumed to be a migrant, the 1st juvenile migrant seen this year, but did later check out carefully the Kirkhaugh area for adults as it has been an occasional breeding site in the past. Also in this area had a juvenile Kestrel low-down over the road. Viewed Kirkhaugh from Gilderdale Bridge from 14:10-14:55, picking out 6 Common Buzzard (2 family groups of 3 each) hunting on the fells and another juvenile Kestrel hunting over the ridge to E. To the N saw 2 Honey-buzzard, female and juvenile, c2.5km from where the lone juvenile had been seen earlier; the duo were in close interaction so looked as if the female was escorting a juvenile, which was relatively strong flying; these were though to be from the Barhaugh site, which was the prime target of the visit. So onto Barhaugh Hall from 15:00-16:15 where had a male Honey-buzzard up a little to the S of the Hall from 15:15-15:20 at low altitude with a weak-flying juvenile making a very brief visit above the trees before collapsing back. At 15:22 the male went very high but the juvenile was not to be seen. Around 15:40 the male appeared again, at moderate height, and this time the juvenile went higher, staying up for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile from 15:25-15:30 the female was seen further S up very close to the stronger juvenile, almost touching, and where seen earlier from Kirkhaugh. So once again the male appears to coach the younger bird. Also here were 6 Common Buzzard (including 3 juvenile), a juvenile Kestrel hunting over moor and a juvenile male Hobby, the last being up high over the Hall at 15:37. A farmer said buzzard and owl numbers were very high as there were plenty of voles round. Last raptor seen, before the rain, was a Common Buzzard juvenile up at Williamston S at 16:20. Total for trip was 22 raptors of 4 species: Common Buzzard 13 (6 adult, 7 juvenile), Honey-buzzard 5 (adult male, adult female, 3 juvenile), Kestrel 3 (all juvenile), Hobby (juvenile male). Have only 3 sites left to do now: Derwent (2), upper South Tyne (1) with optional mopping up on the >0 sites, which stand at 5 (Derwent (1), Irthing (1), Tyne W (1), Tyne E (1), lower South Tyne (1)). Before trip made N4c4l where met J for good chat. Much later back to R&C4m4s to meet A/M for update on the world of computing; VW was on the agenda, particularly as M is close to embedded systems; some admiration for the creative use of technology but contempt for how they thought they would ever get away with it and of course practice is totally unethical, causing harm to health through the extra unadmitted emissions. Perfect end to evening, certainly in harmony!!! 2moro it’s shorter field trip out to Derwent early afternoon, followed by N4c4t and G4g4ss!! lok2t beauties!!!!

September 21st: heavy rain overnight and in morning but a rapid change early afternoon to sunny intervals on moderate SW breeze. After R and C4c4ll dashed out to West Allen from 15:35-17:20 where cleared up some very useful details, resolving Allen completely. At Whitfield Monk had 2 Honey-buzzard juveniles up on arrival at 15:39, a dark-phase bird up over edge of moors diving quickly back into the site and another dark-phase juvenile over the moors, flapping SE to avoid me. So very good start! A rufous female Honey-buzzard was up over edge of moors to NE of site at 16:20; she came down quickly back into the valley. At 16:50 a family group of 3 Common Buzzard came up briefly over the site, and later at 17:08 one was mobbed aggressively by an unaged female Sparrowhawk. Throughout visit was keeping a close eye on Parmently, on edge of Whitfield Moor, a >0 site as occupied in fledging period but no young seen. At 17:07 a female Honey-buzzard glided powerfully up the valley and into the site. This raised hopes enormously and sure enough from 17:10-17:14 a family group of 4 Honey-buzzard (male, female, 2 juvenile) was up right at the bottom of valley on E side of wood; they kept very low before disappearing back into the wood. Wondered whether the shooting party on the moors had discouraged them from going out over there but it’s reassuring that a pair has bred successfully on the edge of the grouse moors over a number of years. Have only 4 sites left to do now: Derwent (2), upper South Tyne (2) with optional mopping up on the >0 sites, which reduced to 5 (Derwent (1), Irthing (1), Tyne W (1), Tyne E (1), lower South Tyne (1)). Planning to do upper South Tyne tomorrow afternoon after N4c4l, with R&C4m4s much later!! Did make DrS4g4s but aqotef.

September 20th: wondered what to do at lunchtime as it’s pretty useless visiting moorland areas in the rain; finally rain seemed to have been put off until after dark so decided to go for it up the East Allen to Byerhope from 13:55-15:50; it was overcast and grey on a moderate, cool SW breeze but kept dry until almost end of trip. Did not have to wait long for action: from 14:05-14:09 a male Honey-buzzard was up at moderate height above the trees on the lower Scots Pine shelter belt with a large, heavy, dark-phase juvenile barely able to get above the trees below, so very recently fledged. Decided to walk up the moor to get a better view of the site and other woodlands. At 14:50 and regular intervals later the female Honey-buzzard got up above the trees, circling low-down and obviously trying to draw the other juvenile out of the canopy for a bit of practice. Eventually at 15:26 a smaller, paler, orange-brown juvenile came out of the canopy and actually flew better than the other one so maybe the male had got the younger bird in tow. Whatever the juveniles have only been flying for 2-3 days at most. In the same wood there was a family party of 4 Common Buzzard, which were clearly aggravated by the Honey-buzzard but there was no active interaction and they seemed to take it in turns to soar. On the moors to E there were 2 Kestrel (adult male, juvenile), apparently finding the food supply to be good. At 15:12 a juvenile female Hobby appeared over the wood at some height, in interaction with the male Honey-buzzard by diving at it petulantly at close range. Suddenly the Hobby must have spotted some prey on the ground and stooped at tremendous speed; she was not seen again so presume strike was successful, perhaps on a Chaffinch which were migrating through in small groups. This is an established Hobby breeding site so presume she was raised here. So total today was 11 raptors of 4 types: 4 Honey-buzzard (adult male, adult female, 2 juvenile), 4 Common Buzzard (family party), 2 Kestrel (adult male, juvenile), 1 Hobby (juvenile female). Have only 5 sites left to do now: Derwent (2), upper South Tyne (2), Allen (1) though a bit of mopping up is desirable, if time, on the >0 sites, which number 6 (Derwent (1), Allen (1), Irthing (1), Tyne W (1), Tyne E (1), lower South Tyne (1)) but they’re well scattered so may not be a.sed! It looks as if it it will be a record season in many respects. Made N4c4t where good to have s on and G4g4s with P where gr8 to have z on!!! 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l, C4c4ll and DrS4g4s: lok2t beauties!!!! Next concert is Thursday (S/H2) and think will be back to R&C on Tuesday. .

Here’s recent BirdGuides records:

18/09 17:38 GLOS : Honey Buzzard, Nailsworth [S] one flew north along valley late afternoon

18/09 13:55 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Blickling [S] one flew east early afternoon (12:45)

18/09 12:15 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Salthouse [S] two flew southeast

19/09 16:39 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Blean [S] one flew over heading west at 13:05 (13:05)

19/09 16:05 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Weybourne [S] one flew east at 09:30 (09:30)

19/09 16:04 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Kelling Heath [S] one flew southeast at 15:00 (15:00)

19/09 15:40 LONDON : Honey Buzzard, Rainham Marshes RSPB [S] one flew northwest late afternoon

19/09 14:00 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Thetford [S] one flew WSW this afternoon (13:55)

19/09 12:34 SUFFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Pipps Ford [S] one flew south this morning (11:00)

19/09 10:49 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Folkestone [S] one flew east over the gun site this morning

19/09 10:20 W SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, Selsey Bill [S] one this morning

20/09 20:09 NORTHANTS : Honey Buzzard, Harrington Airfield (disused) [S] flew south over the chippings compound late afternoon

20/09 07:33 S YORKS : Osprey, Hatfield Moors [S] flew west over Ethelmoor yesterday; also a probable juv Honey Buzzard flew west along Stainforth Moor Road area

So that’s 4 migrants noted on 18/9 with 3 in Norfolk and 1 in Glos, followed by a remarkable 8 on 19/9 with 3 in Norfolk, 2 in Kent, 1 in Suffolk, London and Sussex, and 2 on 20/9 with 1 in Northants and 1 in South Yorkshire. Of the total of 14 seen, 12 are in the SE exit corridor with singles on the W side and still up in northern England.

September 19th: made C4c4l where studied FT, which had different articles arguing for every eventuality! Then back to the field with trip up the East Allen from 14:55-17:00 in strong sunshine on light to moderate SW breeze. Had good numbers of Honey-buzzard, Common Buzzard and Kestrel at both Studdon Park and Sinderhope, with a single Sparrowhawk at the latter. At Studdon Park there was a family group of 4 Honey-buzzard up on arrival, low-down over a wood; they split into 2 groups of 2, an adult and juvenile in each, and floated around up until 15:15, moving in various directions with the adults very mobile and looking restless. A family group of 4 Common Buzzard got up towards the end of this period and an adult male Kestrel was conspicuous. An adult female Honey-buzzard migrated through the site at 15:10, moving SW straight into the breeze at moderate altitude; she was clearly exploiting ridge lift to reduce energy use. I moved quickly on to Sinderhope where at 16:00 a single juvenile was floating over the moors to the E; it eventually came overhead moving to the site and another juvenile appeared over the moors so 2 fledged here. At 16:20 a family group of 3 came up over Sinderhope N, comprising a female and a juvenile chasing each other at some height and another juvenile on its own still quite close to the trees; it’s amazing how the older juvenile can be so advanced compared to its younger sibling; presumably always having 1st call on the food helps even if there’s enough to go round, as clearly has been the case this season. Meanwhile at 16:05 an adult male had migrated across the Allen moving SW, in the diving phase of the ridge lift strategy, coming low over the moor on the W side of the valley into the breeze. He was moving very quickly, seeing the wind was against. A family group of 3 Common Buzzard were up at 16:45 over same wood, 2 Kestrel were in area (adult female, juvenile) and an unaged female Sparrowhawk was up on the edge of the moor. So total for trip was 20 raptors of 4 types: 9 Honey-buzzard (adult male 2 (1 migrant SW), adult female 3 (1 migrant SW), juvenile 4), 7 Common Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk. A bit incongruous perhaps but while Honey-buzzard are migrating, so are Pink-footed Goose arriving for the winter from the Arctic with a skein of 33 moving SW at considerable height. More to follow … The Gulls look as if they’re going to be fighting a relegation battle in the Conference – for the 1st time; evidently their manager resigned yesterday, they were playing a rookie goalie Lavercombe as other one suspended, they’ve got no money and face claims from former staff for unfair dismissal; today they lost at home 7-3 to Bromley; some former grand seaside resorts are a shadow of their former selves (dumps!). But some have survived well, such as Bournemouth and Brighton, and Sidmouth which is next trip to stay with little sis. Plenty of Honey-buzzard migrants today (8) but BirdGuides email system, which gives them in a handy text format, is not working so will wait to see if it comes back. 2moro it’s up the East Allen again, back to N4c4t and should make G4g4s!!

September 18th: bit behind after another nite out!! Duly had trim at JG where warm chat, with L my hard-up hairdresser, and made N4c4l where met J and couple from Prudhoe for good chat; think the meo looks special!! Then parked car at RDM and caught train with N to NCL where checked into Thistle County. Made MP for meal and strolled across to S where joined reception at 18:30; good to see existing PP again. Concert went off brilliantly with 2 short atmospheric Baltic pieces, Mozart Symphony 25 and Grieg’s Piano Concerto. The 1st movement of the Mozart Symphony was very captivating and the piano concerto, with Lars Vogt as soloist (and conductor), was rapturously received. We even had an encore, a movement from a Shostakovitch piano concerto. Chair had a relatively quiet evening: everything done very well though! N went home and I went to 2nd reception, this time with members of RNS. Tone was very upbeat and gr8 to meet EG again!! Stayed almost to end at 23:00, then went out on the toon until 01:00 visiting a few bars! Lovely to retreat to hotel and have a deep snooze until breakfast at 10:00; staff were friendly and service was good; think quite a lot of guests were Scandinavian. Strange to be catching train back to RDM mid-morning, on 10:54 (19/9), bit decadent perhaps. Did have a Honey-buzzard at 11:15: a large juvenile, presumed to be one seen here earlier, up very low-down over Wylam site, mobbed by corvids. Funds were down again this week as did a precautionary 10k write-down on €reit, losing 6k overall so remaining funds did rise a bit. Write-offs almost finished and left with large percentage of bonds, on which accruing on some a little interest totalling £89 a day. Markets as a whole are still paranoid: think interest rates will stay very low until some redistribution occurs from the ultra rich to the rest (the ultra-rich don’t spend much of their income giving a deflationary effect and the system will freeze unless the ultra-rich lend their money gained back to the masses at the low rates they can afford). The current model of capitalism is broke. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 17th: added some of the piccies taken on Schiehallion climb below (15/9). Checked out of hotel, with bill of £280.70, not too bad for 3 nites B&B + 3 dinners and sundries; they seemed quite pleased anyway! Today from 10:30-12:55 made Dalguise, an area of quite dense woodland 6km NW of Dunkeld, with pasture and arable on each side of the Tay. Weather was showery with light rain or drizzle from time to time, even from a sky that was quite clear, but there were some sunny interludes when it became quite warm and a few biting insects emerged! Not much happened for a while but then an exciting fly-pass: an adult female Hobby on W side of the valley, moving with great power to N. So that’s the 2nd Hobby in the short trip; on former visits used to be very rare so looks as if colonisation is in progress. Not a sniff of a Honey-buzzard until 12:22 when a lone juvenile was seen in classical float at low altitude over Rotmell Loch/Wood area on E side of valley; they hang almost like a kite, using as little energy as possible, such a skill being essential for an economical (and successful) migration. It stayed up until 12:29 when it came down again in same area as the drizzle intensified. So this is 4 sites, very pleased with that this late in the season; the Scottish summer is supposed to have been very bad but this has not stopped the Honey-buzzard from breeding successfully. Left area at 12:55, thinking might get to Hexham 4t but was not to be. A succession of cloudbursts over the A9 from Dunkeld to Perth delayed progress and pulled into a services at Perth for a break but didn’t fancy a Mac and was then cursed by ending up on the A90 road to Aberdeen! Had to go some way to get a legal turn but did see fantastic wooded cliffs, which I believe hold breeding Peregrine. Forth Road Bridge was blocked by an abnormal load for a while but otherwise no great problems; stuck in very slow moving q on A68 and decided to take a break in Jedburgh where had an amazingly good tuna sandwich with lots of salad. Finally made Corbridge at 17:20 so that was 4 hours 25 minutes, including about an hour of stops. Had a juvenile Kestrel just before the start of the A720 city bypass of Edinburgh and a Common Buzzard over a small copse just before the fork to the Coldstream A697 road at Cafraemill NW. Back in own bed tonite but change again tomorrow with trip to Thistle County. Own bed is not exclusive!! 2moro will be in Hexham in morning, partly for trim, then it’s MP with N at 16:30 and various PP hospitality at S where * event is the start of the RNS season!! lok2t beauties!!!!

Striking feature of BirdGuides records over last 3 days is importance of the Channel Islands with 3 noted through Jersey and 1 at Guernsey. Birds crossing the Channel from Isle of Wight or Sussex would come on to Normandy and hence to the Channel Islands if they drift a little W. Otherwise 6 were passing down the east coast of England with 4 at Suffolk, 1 at Lincolnshire and 1 at Essex.

15/09 13:04 SUFFOLK : Honey Buzzard, East Bergholt [S] three reported circling over the High School before drifting off southeast (11:15)

15/09 14:19 JERSEY : Honey Buzzard, Noirmont Point [S] one flew west (11:20)

16/09 22:20 GUERNSEY : Honey Buzzard, Mont Herault [S] dark phase flew over potato field and towards scramble track (14:55)

17/09 13:26 LINCOLNSHIRE : Rough-legged Buzzard, Donna Nook [S] one reported early afternoon; also Honey Buzzard (13:00)

17/09 13:33 SUFFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Aldeburgh [S] one flew inland over the town, mobbed by Jackdaws TM458574 (13:10)

17/09 22:34 ESSEX : Honey Buzzard, Boreham [S] juvenile flew southeast (15:40)

17/09 13:32 JERSEY : Great White Egret, Noirmont Point, one flew east; also two Honey Buzzards flew through (09:20)

September 16th: fine weather continued with glorious sunny weather and strong sunshine in morning on light N breeze; cloud increased during afternoon becoming overcast by 16:00. Decided to take it easy after yesterday’s exertions and use some vantage points to see what’s going on – raptor-wise! So was on Dunkeld Bridge, over the Tay, from 10:35-13:20 keeping a sharp watch for interesting local birds! Had to wait until 11:00 for the 1st Honey-buzzard juvenile up over woodland at Haughend E, some 2km to SE of the Bridge (close to Loch of Lowes where species seen before). The bird here floated at low level for 2 minutes before coming down again; at 11:07 it was up again, going a little higher but had a rapid glide back into trees a little N of starting point. At 11:50 the same bird soared much higher in the serious mode (no acrobatics) that migrating birds adopt but again it backed off and came down again a little closer to Dunkeld. Finally at 12:15 it became much more positive, soaring again and going right into the cloud base where it moved off S: what a moment – instinct overcomes known secure facilities in the breeding area, but it can’t spend the winter up here! Always find it moving as they start migration: resolution of many conflicting pressures and what a prospect as they move towards tropical Africa for 18 months. Meanwhile from 12:00-12:04 had a juvenile Honey-buzzard soaring to fairly low level to the NW at Hermitage, a well-known site, anyway to me. This bird did not get up high and was clearly practising its exit. Immediately after from 12:05-12:07 another Honey-buzzard juvenile was soaring to a moderate height over the Dunkeld Hilton grounds, but did not stay up long, doing a rapid glide back into the steep hills to the W. So that’s 3 Honey-buzzard sites, showing the maintenance of their presence up here. Wondered about productivity and timing: wouldn’t say that just one young raised at these 3 sites as the elder young might have left already; timing at low altitude here in Tayside may be similar to that in Tyne Valley W, where the elder juveniles are likely to be leaving now. Also from Dunkeld Bridge had 4 Common Buzzard (2 groups of 2 to S) and an adult male Goshawk, also to S at 12:08, looking menacing as it went out to hunt.

Had lunch in cafe in Dunkeld before trip out W to W edge of woodland in Glen Cochill from 13:45-15:20; high moors to the W looked attractive and it was rewarding from 13:58-14:03 to see an adult Golden Eagle up over a ridge; it disappeared from sight, drifting further W to look for prey. Also here had an adult male Kestrel hovering over the moor. Final move of day was to Loch of Lowes, 4 km E of Dunkeld and a renowned Osprey breeding site. The Osprey have left but from 15:59-16:01 had an adult Red Kite up over a hill to W of the Loch, hanging at some height and looking in familiar territory. So another brilliant day, bringing raptor totals in 2 and a bit days to 19 birds of 7 species: 10 Common Buzzard, 3 Honey-buzzard, 2 Golden Eagle, 1 Hobby, 1 Kestrel, 1 Red Kite, 1 Goshawk.

Had very good meal at the Hotel with impressive service! 2moro may go N a little before joining the Honey-buzzard migrants. So another breeding season is coming to a close and need to change priorities!! Beginning to adjust with haircut booked at JG on Friday morning and dental check up on 7/10. This time last year I’d torn an MCL in my knee (see NB 13/09/2014) but no reaction to yesterday’s tough walk! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 15th: made top of Schiehallion taking well-trodden route from car-park at Braes of Foss. Started walk at 11:25, reached summit at 14:05 and got back to car-park at 17:30; it took longer getting down because I was looking hard for eagles. Schiehallion is supposed to be a relatively straightforward Munro but it is not trivial, involving a climb of 731m in 5km walk to the summit at 1083m (3553 feet); the path much of the way is very well maintained but on the ridge to the summit it’s just boulders so quite a lot of balance is required. Weather was great: dry with a few sunny intervals on light W breeze; mist on summit cleared around 13:00 fitting in well with schedule of many of today’s walkers, very sociable on top and some very fit people there! Visibility was then fantastic with clear views in all directions. Piccies include lower slopes 1  2  3; false summit and summit 4  5  6; boulder fields 7; the summit 8  9; views from on or near summit 10  11  12  13; yours truly, record shot, skipping along summit to pose not easy!! 14. On drive there thought Weem, just N of Aberfeldy, was special, finding from 10:25-10:30 a juvenile male Hobby, presumably locally fledged, flying along the edge of the crags and 3 Common Buzzard. Weem has precipitous cliffs to the N, covered in mature woodland, rather like at Staward. To the E of Braes of Foss on the moorland to N of Dun Coillich had 2 Common Buzzard on arrival. Up Schiehallion, once in the bouldered areas, found Ptarmigan feathers and droppings, heard some birds calling and finally saw a group of 4 on way down as had the mountain to myself! Estimated numbers found in visit as 6 in the summit area and 9 among the boulders at the false summit, so 15 in all. Only other bird seen at altitude was Meadow Pipit: 12 lower slopes, 14 false summit area, 1 summit, giving 27 total. So what about Golden Eagle? Looked very hard but it wasn’t until 17:10 that picked one up, a rufous tinged adult, hunting over the moorland to N of Dun Coillich, where saw the 2 Common Buzzard earlier. Very large and very powerful, after ranging over a large area, it finally swept down over the heather, moving hard onto some prey item; it did not get up in the air again so assume attack was successful. The area over which it was hunting is community woodland. So raptor total for Scotland is now 8 birds of 3 species: 6 Common Buzzard, 1 Hobby, 1 Golden Eagle. Moths included 11 Chevron flying in the sunshine around heather and herb-rich areas (3 false summit, 8 lower slopes), 2 White Ermine larvae on lower slopes walking the paths looking to pupate, 1 Dark Tussock cocoon recently spun in heather on lower slopes. Very pleased with day: my mates won’t visit Scotland now – “it’s too cold” – but I love the countryside and the hospitality!! Anyway priorities change tomorrow to another raptor. lok2t beauties!!!!

September 14th: left Ordley at 15:20 and Corbridge at 15:30, arriving without a break at Dunkeld at 18:40; drove in a very restrained way: there are speed cameras everywhere in Scotland! Went straight to Hermitage where it was mild and dry, after heavy rain earlier in day and no raptors seen. Did though have 6 species of birds in the twilight plus some prolific leaf mines on rowan in the Hermitage car park. Hotel has changed to Royal Dunkeld Hotel, same price as Fisher’s but there was a mix-up in the booking, not entirely the hotel’s fault: do think I need a PA!! Evening meal was very good: think I’ll be comfortable here. The only raptor on the way up was a Common Buzzard at Ancrum N in the Borders. Earlier made R where witty speaker on from the pollis and gr8 2 c tmbo and meo!!! 2moro hoping to climb that mountain: forecast is fair and hopefully raptors will be restless after today’s inactivity. DrS activities will be back directly!! BirdGuides is topical with 2 Scottish records today. Suspect the Hobby is locally bred as part of the embryonic eastern Scottish population; the Honey-buzzard juvenile on Shetland could have come from Norway or may simply be a Scottish-bred bird starting off in the wrong direction.

14/09 16:43 SHETLAND : Honey Buzzard, Isle of Noss [S] juvenile this afternoon

14/09 13:20 FIFE : Hobby, Kilminning [S] juvenile flew towards Fife Ness

September 13th: what a day and what a weekend! Still sorting out final records but looks to be about 40 birds of prey today in Derwent area of 7 types, making weekend tally of 66 birds of 8 types. Weather today was sunny in morning followed by a dry afternoon with sunny intervals, on light W breeze. Took 303 piccies today, may be a record! Started trip out at 11:55 on edge of Slaley Forest SE and finished at 18:00 same place after long walk of 12km up and down Beldon Burn from 12:30-17:40. Rarer birds included an adult female Hobby at Baybridge, moving rapidly E, at 12:35; a Red Kite adult looking at home at Baybridge at 13:00; a Hen Harrier adult male moving SE at Nookton at 13:18. 2 Sparrowhawk were seen: an adult female at Newbiggin and a juvenile female at Middle Plantation. Kestrel were widespread with 9 noted at 7 sites: 1 (juvenile) Keepershield N, 1 (juvenile) Winnowshill, 1 (adult male) Ruffside, 1 (juvenile) Newbiggin, 1 (unaged) Blanchland village, 3 (adult female, 2 juvenile) Middle Plantation, 1 (juvenile) Riddlehamhope. Common Buzzard were particularly common on lower moors with 11 noted at 4 sites: 5 (2 adult, 3 juvenile) Acton Farm, 2 (adult, juvenile) Baybridge, 3 (adult, 2 juvenile) Middle Plantation, 1 (juvenile) Riddlehamhope. Honey-buzzard were conspicuous at all levels with 15 noted at 5 sites: 2 (adult male, juvenile) Slaley Forest SE, 4 (adult male, adult female, 2 juvenile) Ruffside, 4 (adult male, adult female, 2 juvenile) Blanchland, 4 (adult male, adult female, 2 juvenile) Middle Plantation, 1 (adult female) Riddlehamhope.

Finding the full set of Honey-buzzard at Middle Plantation raises number of sites this year to a record 57. Other figures for Honey-buzzard are also looking good: it’s been a very successful breeding season. More details of Honey-buzzard at individual sites are as follows. At Riddlehamhope the adult female was up repeatedly between 14:37 and 16:14, hanging just over the trees; this suggests that fledging of young is imminent with the female encouraging them to take off. At Slaley Forest SE a juvenile tentatively rose above the canopy on the ridge and floated nervously before moving S to forage over the E end of Blanchland Moor from 11:55-12:05. From 12:15-12:20 an adult male, presumed from this site, was hunting over the NW extreme corner of Keepershield Common, hanging for some time at each vantage point before moving back W towards the site. At Ruffside 2 duos were noted: the 1st spotted initially at 12:25 over Acton Farm of an adult male and a dark-phase juvenile moved S towards the site, the 2nd spotted at 12:30 over the extreme W of the Reservoir, comprising a ruddy female Honey-buzzard and another dark-phase juvenile, which flew low-down over the water to E before returning towards the site. At Blanchland village a male Honey-buzzard was seen at 13:00 coming off the moor and flapping NE towards the site; at 13;09 a female Honey-buzzard was with 2 weak-flying juveniles on the moors to the NW of the village, near a group of trees, with the young birds up intermittently to 13:15. At Middle Plantation, a site at which no birds were found in visit 1, the full set of 2 adult and 2 juvenile was seen. From 13:40-13:50 2 dark-phase juveniles were up rather weakly above the pine trees on the ridge to N, following the Common Buzzard display there. At the end of this spell the female was seen drifting over the Burn to S, before coming down in the area. At 15:32 the male was seen climbing over the top of Middle Plantation, clearly in territory. At 16:20 one of the juveniles was moving W at low altitude towards Riddlehamhope. At 16:59 the 2nd juvenile took off from the trees where seen earlier and moved to the Burn, where it perched on the top of a conifer for several minutes. More to follow … Made G4g4s for recuperation where met P and others for good crack! Brilliant end to day with reunification with the dynamic one: lok2tmgo!!!! 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l followed by trip N. Migration continues to be recorded on BirdGuides with another 1 in Channel Islands and 3 more at other well-scattered localities:

13/09 11:48 GUERNSEY : Honey Buzzard, Pleinmont [S] one flew east this morning (09:20)

13/09 12:37 SOMERSET & BRISTOL : Honey Buzzard, Sutton Bingham Reservoir [S] one flew south at mid-day (12:00)

13/09 15:21 WEST SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, Littlehampton [S] one flew east over Kingley Gate mid-afternoon (15:05)

13/09 16:57 NORTH YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Scarborough [S] one flew south over Crossgates this morning

September 12th: today was Red Kite day, setting all sorts of records for numbers seen in a day which, for Northumberland, were probably best since some time in the 18th century! Total was 10 in the Bywell/Stocksfield area. Weather was very wet up to 15:30 when it started to clear quite quickly; after lethargic cappuccino at C reading the increased-in-price FT (£3.50) made a quick break for it getting to Stocksfield Mount at 16:05, staying until 17:15. The sun had been out for 10 minutes on a light SW breeze and the raptors, pinned down all day, wanted a stretch at what is normally a good time of day anyway (the 4 o’clock soar!). At Bywell Cottagebank, 2 Honey-buzzard juvenile were up at 16:10, a large dark-phase bird and a smaller intermediate one, both flying quite strongly now and, in between strong flapping flights out W, just floated on the lift over the ridge; they were visible most of the visit up until 17:08 and were presumed to be the 2 locally-bred birds 1st seen on 15/8, so ready to go. At 16:12 2 Common Buzzard were up and through the visit a further 2 were up in the same spot, making a family party of 4 in total. At 16:22 the Red Kite started appearing with 4 up together, presumed to be the locally bred birds from Cottagebank NW, comprising 2 adult and 2 juvenile; by 17:05 there were 7 Red Kite up in the air together in the same area, presumed now to include the neighbours from Short Wood E, which were known to have raised 1 juvenile (15/8). At 16:20 a juvenile Osprey flew SE over Cottagebank, looked at very warily by the Red Kite and Honey-buzzard, and at the same time a juvenile male Hobby was up in all the turmoil, the 1st juvenile seen this year; it will be taken as locally bred as an adult female was seen here on 15/8; they may also have bred at Farnley where an adult female was seen on 30/8. At Eltringham 3 Red Kite (pair adult, juvenile) got up at 16:35 to have some flying practice over their copse; the juvenile had been seen before on 30/7. These Red Kite were also accompanied by a Honey-buzzard juvenile, a large intermediate bird, which seemed to enjoy floating with the Red Kite; taxonomically Honey-buzzard are a kite, not a buzzard, so maybe not surprising they enjoy each other’s company. This Honey-buzzard glided off towards Whittle Dene (home), where a little earlier at 16:25 another juvenile had been seen on the N side of the Tyne moving N at low altitude. So 2 raised here, which is good news for the survey; these 2 young were not as advanced as the Bywell ones. At 16:10 a Kestrel (unaged) was seen gliding over Stocksfield E. Final Honey-buzzard on this part of the visit were a family group of 3 up over Farnley at 16:30, the female playing with a juvenile a long way up and another juvenile struggled a long way below; breeding success here was already known; the older juvenile here is ready to go. Went on to Prospect Hill for a look at the March Burn site from 17:20-18:10. Shortly after arrival at 17:25 a male Honey-buzzard came out of the site and climbed strongly to E, mobbed by a Jackdaw, before circling for some time, clearly foraging. No more Honey-buzzard were seen at this site, though fledging is presumed in light of male’s occupation at this stage of season (a >0). Just to W of Minsteracres a female Honey-buzzard was seen moving W at low altitude at 17:33, presumably foraging; had the male and 2 juveniles here on 10/9 so this completes the set! Finally a group of 4 Woodlark flew low overhead from S to N, going towards the stubble fields just over the brow.

Total for raptors today was 26 birds of an incredible 6 species: 10 Red Kite (6 adult, 4 juvenile), 9 Honey-buzzard (male, 2 female, 6 juvenile), 4 Common Buzzard (2 adult, 2 juvenile), 1 Kestrel (unaged), 1 Hobby (juvenile male), 1 Osprey (juvenile SE). Getting like the Chilterns! Today completed final visits to all lowland areas. Remaining Honey-buzzard sites for final visits (12-13 in total: Derwent 6-7, Allen 4, upper South Tyne 2) are all in moorland areas, which makes things fairly relaxed as they breed later at higher altitude. 2moro it’s trip up Derwent for good walk out and G4g4s much later!! N’s back from his trip to Italy and is looking forward to Friday, when we’re meeting at MP at 16:30; we’ve a very busy concert season ahead!! lok2t beauties!!!! On BirdGuides over last 2 days, 3 obvious emigrants — 2 in the SE England exit corridor and 1 in the SW England exit corridor — and one more in E Scotland, escaping before my visit!

11/09 12:10 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Pegwell Bay [S] one flew south over cliffs (11:30)

11/09 21:22 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Canterbury [S] one flew ESE this afternoon (13:20)

12/09 17:27 DORSET : Honey Buzzard, Hengistbury Head [S] one flew over Wicks Fields this morning

12/09 17:39 FIFE : Honey Buzzard, Isle of May [S] dark morph juvenile flew over early evening

September 11th: up at 06:30 to drive into Newcastle, catch 08:59 NCL-KGX and from there on to St Albans via St Pancras and Thameslink – all went smoothly. Met son near Alban Arena where he’d just collected his robes and we went for lunch in a bistro, which was obviously much busier than usual! Award ceremony was at St Albans Cathedral where managed to get seat on 2nd row as priority given to UH staff guests. Everything was well organised and clapped son enthusiastically as he collected his award. Afterwards we made a pub for quick g before meeting daughter and granddaughter at Pizza Hut; latter was not entirely happy with everyone eating other than her but she did give some winning smiles! Meal cost £95 but, since they entertain kids happily, cheap at the price! Caught 19:02 SAC to STP and 20:00 KGX-NCL getting in at 22:55, just after last train left to HEX but had anticipated that and collected car from station car park, where paid bargain rate of £15 for the day. Virgin EC seemed much better organised with both journeys on time and full catering service. Made W4g4s to meet the gang and good catch-up! Here’s some recent piccies of family: daughter, her husband, granddaughter at the ranch last weekend 1  2  3 (note the excellent thistledown crop in my field (nature reserve)); son’s programme entry yesterday 1  2; son outside ceremony 1  2  3  4 and receiving award from VC 1  2  3; niece and fiancé (getting married soon!) 1. Didn’t see any Honey-buzzard from train though did see 3 well-scattered Common Buzzard. Countryside between Elstree and St Albans is quite suitable for Honey-buzzard with small fields, good-sized hedges and some woods. Funds lost last week’s gain of 4k; holdings are relatively defensive on the whole as is appropriate with the current negative market sentiment but do have a 30k bet on €reit, which is best viewed as 11:1 against, that is I get nothing or, if win, 360k including the stake back! Shares suspended on Friday afternoon so maybe a leaning towards my Hexham Races outcomes! Not given up yet though!

September 10th: brilliant sunny day with light to moderate S/SE breeze and warmer than yesterday. As expected raptors were very good as well. Made Minsteracres in morning from 11:25-12:35, getting almost immediate success with a weak-flying juvenile Honey-buzzard up above a plantation c400m to S of nest site itself near a corn field which was being actively cut; this bird was upset by mobbing from some corvids and soon collapsed back into the canopy; another juvenile was then up a little further W but it came down as well in the same plantation so 2 fledged here. A male Honey-buzzard, presumably the resident one, was up over tall trees to the N of the nest site, before drifting off W presumably to forage. Another migrant was seen: a male Honey-buzzard was climbing from 11:50-11:57 well to the N climbing the ridge into the S breeze; he was using ridge lift to gain incredible height, disappearing from site and presumably going off overhead to S. Also here were 2 Red Kite (adult and juvenile up at Shotleyfell to S), 4 Common Buzzard (1 juvenile Minsteracres, 3 (adult, 2 juvenile) Minsteracres NE). Then into unn for quick meeting before getting back to Throckley N from 16:05-17:30. Here had a male Honey-buzzard up to SW of nest site, which soared to a moderate height at 16:12 before gliding down over A69 into fields on S side. Shortly after at 16:18 a juvenile Honey-buzzard flew E into the strong wind to feed on the pastures on E side of Ponteland-Throckley road. From 16:27-16:37 very active display took place over these pastures by 3 Honey-buzzard (female, 2 juveniles) making this another 2, with all 4 birds present. Also here were 3 Red Kite (juvenile up frequently over pastures to E, joined by pair of adult at 16:55), 4 Common Buzzard (family group of 2 adult, 2 juvenile, coming off pastures to E to move to large wood to N). So it was a day for the big boys with 21 raptors seen of 3 types: 8 Honey-buzzard, 8 Common Buzzard, 5 Red Kite. Very pleasing to see the Red Kite becoming so well established in Northumberland: the FoRKers don’t want to know!! 2moro it’s long day in London, going by train to son’s MSc award in Computing Science with distinction at St Albans (see 3/8). I’ll be in the front row, clapping!! It’s a one-day trip, including celebratory meal afterwards with son and daughter — looking forward to it! Migration activity has declined, according to BirdGuides (last 4 day’s data below).

07/09 08:49 LONDON, GREATER : Honey Buzzard, Beddington SF [S] one flew south towards Beddington Park (08:24)

07/09 14:18 NOTTINGHAMSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Carlton [S] dark morph flew west (14:05)

08/09 11:29 SUFFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Eastbridge [S] one flew south over here and Kenton Hills (10:10-10:15) (10:15)

08/09 18:06 EAST SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head [S] one flew east over the top fields this morning (09:30)

09/09 16:38 KENT : Rough-legged Buzzard, Capel Fleet, Sheppey [S] one drifted over Great Bells Farm with 3 Common Buzzards towards Elmley NNR at c.11:00 (TQ985684) (11:00)

09/09 13:03 SUFFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Ipswich [S] one flew south over Adastral Park

09/09 15:51 EAST YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Flamborough Head [S] juvenile flew over

10/09 09:40 NORTH YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Scalby Lodge Pond [S] one flew in off the sea at Scalby Lodge mid-morning (09:10)

September 9th: trip out to extreme W of study area, making Greenhead Bank, Gilsland Spa and Unthank from 12:30-16:15. Again I was on the edge of the murk, which today stretched further W to Haltwhistle, but it was sunny intervals on a cool E breeze where I was doing the fieldwork. It was a great day, starting well as a juvenile Honey-buzzard flew across the A69 road at 12:32 into trees on S side near Blenkinsopp Castle; this is a new site for the year; the female was up twice here from 13:02-13:20 looking to see whether any practice soaring should be done but she backed off. Meanwhile at Blenkinsopp Hall, a complete family party of 4 Honey-buzzard was up from 13:08-13:15, the adults taking one juvenile each in tow; they didn’t get up very high as it was quite cool (no thermal lift) but a convincing show. On to Gilsland Spa, where the woods are owned by the Woodland Trust. Here a male was up at 14:10, floating over the site at height before moving 800m to the E and coming back in low; he was carrying food so clearly dependent young still at this site. Another Honey-buzzard, also a male, flew S just to W of Gilsland at 14:00, gliding fast at right-angles to the wind, using ridge (orographic) lift for speed. You do sometimes get migrants on the sunnier side of the murk, maybe pushed a little further W than usual in this case. Decided to call into Unthank on way back and had a juvenile ruddy-brown Honey-buzzard perched on a low tree, watching the pastures around; it flew off and caught something on the ground in the manner of a Red Kite (maybe a mouse, beetle, worm or slug). Still no sign of any birds (or indeed any raptors) at North Wood, Haltwhistle, or Redpeth; beginning to think they’ve failed here. Up to 56 sites now in total and 40 covered in final round, including 2 suspected failures. So we’re getting there! Also today had 2 Common Buzzard (Gilsland Spa, hunting on edge of big forest; Unthank, adult calling) and a Kestrel juvenile (hunting at Unthank). Honey-buzzard total was 9 at 4 sites, including a migrant. Made G4g4t where good crack!! 2moro it’s unn at 14:00 and S4s4l before; might cover a couple of sites on way in, in morning. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 8th: gloom on light SE wind was the weather today, just about the worst for raptors. LAF team on Big Pathwatch was not deterred: 4 of us did 2 hours walking all the public paths/tracks in the Dilston area from 09:30-11:35. We did find some problems: hidden sign from road at start by Dilston bridge, missing sign at a crossroads and poorly marked path down to Devil’s Water; position of each problem is logged by GPS and the problems are noted on a Ramblers’ app; nothing dramatic will happen as a consequence; the Ramblers want to be able to present national statistics on usability of the RoW (Rights of Way) network. We went fairly close to the Honey-buzzard site but not actually into it (as it’s off the RoW network): but close enough to flush a rufous-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard and hear hunger cries of a juvenile Common Buzzard. I also managed to survey all the bird life in the vicinity so feel this completes the site visits for this season, a major milestone! Made N4c4l where it was fairly quiet. Then out in afternoon from 14:55-16:40 to Dipton Wood S, which was right on the edge of the gloom with brighter weather to W. However, the birds seemed to think it was in the gloom so no activity; eventually after walking round most of the area caught up with a large nervous feeding corvid flock and the cause of the trouble: a juvenile Honey-buzzard also trying to feed in ‘their’ pasture from 15:45-16:10; the juveniles like the edges of small fields, tucked away if possible. So this is a 1+. Highlight of visit was a group of 3 Woodlark flying over a partially cut grain field at 15:13; presume these have bred in Dipton Wood, where much suitable habitat, so a new population. Social event of day was P’s birthday party, which started at 17:30 at his house, moved on to BB, Corbridge, via minibus for 3-course meal, then back to his house up until Cinderella time. Very enjoyable event! Have decided to join the queen and book a short trip to Scotland (Pitlochry) next week, staying at Fisher’s where masterly inaction on Booking produced a drop from £347 to £207 in the quotes, finally accepting the latter. Have stayed there before – it’s got a nice atmosphere: want to catch up with Tayside Honey-buzzard and climb Schiehallion! 2moro it’s trip out to far W (Greenhead/Gilsland) to attempt to escape the gloom and G4g4ss!! lok2t beauties!!!!

September 7th: busy meeting at R, chairing Vocational and presenting our plans for year at the main meeting. Beautiful weather today with sunshine all day on light N breeze; brought the favourite out, very provocative!! Made Beaufront from 15:20-17:00, having instant success with a pair of juvenile Honey-buzzard soaring high from the Dilston site at 15:36, one heavily mobbed by corvids, the other getting clear before they’d noticed. So this is converted from a 1+ to a 2; having another look at his site tomorrow morning from 9:30-12:30, taking part in the Big Pathwatch with 3 other LAF members; it’s a check on path conditions, complete with GPS and an app! Might get close enough to the site to do the nest visit! A female Hobby mobbed the 2 young raptors when they were up at a great height; not seen any Hobby breeding success yet; either they’re very late or a victim of the cold weather at the start of their season. Over Hexham Tyne Green from 15:58-16:03 there was chaos bird-wise with all the corvids up in the air and Swallow flying wildly everywhere. There was a mini-funnel of Honey-buzzard up from the Tyne area with a male soaring rapidly to a great height just below the clouds, a female way-up but some distance below and 2 struggling juveniles with wings held straight out trying to soar but not gaining much height (soaring rapidly is an acquired skill as they need to read the thermals very precisely!). The male left decisively, moving just below the high clouds to S, and the other 3 birds after staying up a bit longer, disappeared quickly (presumably diving back to the ground). So that was an impressive exit! At the site to which I was closest, Beaufront, 3 juvenile Common Buzzard displayed almost overhead from 16:26-16:36 but the Honey-buzzard didn’t appear in the air. However, at 16:06 there was a series of Honey-buzzard fluty-contact calls from the dense trees to the N, which sounded like the female calling to the 2 young to maintain contact and the young calling back. She didn’t get up in the air though so obediently neither did they; maybe I was judged to be too close or interested! Also at Beaufront was a female Sparrowhawk (unaged). So total for visit was 14 raptors of 4 species: 9 Honey-buzzard, 3 Common Buzzard, 1 Hobby, 1 Sparrowhawk. Did make DrS later: had been very busy for a Monday with a large funeral wake but was quieter when got there! Very moving end to day: think she’s got it: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro going to P’s birthday party at BB starting early evening; hope to make N4c4l after the Pathwatch, then out somewhere local again.

September 6th: the 1st migrant Honey-buzzard were seen today with 2 males leaving from local sites in the ‘Shire from 12:05-12:15; looking to the N from home, picked up a pale ruddy juvenile Honey-buzzard up to the W, flapping up to some height, when picked up 2 male Honey-buzzard moving SE, one from directly below, the other from further N; both gained height steadily as crossed the Devil’s Water and looked clearly on their way to Africa completely disappearing from sight in the clear blue sky and light NW breeze; these were presumed to be the males from the 2 local sites at Ordley and Dotland; the juvenile seen up initially was at medium height and it was joined by another ruddy pale-phase juvenile, both presumed from the local Ordley site, waving goodbye to dad! So at ‘home’ site number of juveniles confirmed is raised from 1+ to 2. Went to area S of Prudhoe from 15:30-17:20 in continued good weather. Just S of Prudhoe had a family group of Red Kite up at 15:55 (adult, 2 juveniles) and 2 juvenile Honey-buzzard in Dukeshagg area, one flapping out to the E edge of the ridge to S at 16:05, the other causing mayhem with corvids close to the nest site in the woods at 16:10. Kept a constant eye on Hyons Wood and finally ‘conquered’ at last with a weak-flying juvenile on E side of wood at 16:33, moving W pursued closely by a Crow. So this becomes a 1+ and is a new site for the year; it looks as if the site here has moved a significant distance from W, maybe by as much as 1.5-2km. Also in this area had 5 Kestrel at 2 sites, including 3 juveniles and a pair of adult. Total for raptors today was 15 birds of 3 species: 7 Honey-buzzard, 5 Kestrel, 3 Red Kite. Family left for NCL airport early afternoon, great to see them and S and I get on very well: join her parents in being the only acceptable cuddler! Booked up trip to Devon for end of the month to see younger sis; niece is getting married at the end of December at Park Hall, Worcestershire, promising almost a week of celebrations; she’s an active carrier of the mtDNA Haplogroup T (from the E); I’m just a passive carrier (inherit it but cannot pass it on). There’s a large family bash in Wiltshire in early November. Great surprise at G with return of the lovely z!! So brilliant day for Anglo-Iranian relations!! 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l preceded by Vocational team meeting. Hope to get out to nearby sites for Honey-buzzard to see the 4 o’clock soar! Might see the doctors later!! lok2t beauties!!!!

BirdGuides reports over the last 2 days are given below. It looks as if on Jersey 2 juveniles have fledged on W side, moving to Noirmont Point. Today there were 3 migrants in SE corridor and 4 further N; together with the 2 over SW Northumberland from own observations, it looks as if some exodus took place today in N England, which should reach the SE exit corridor in 2-3 days.

05/09 18:31 SURREY : Honey Buzzard, Woldingham [S] one flew east between Woldingham and the B629 today

05/09 11:47 JERSEY : Wryneck, Noirmont Point 10:00 one near the car park for its fourth day; also a juvenile Honey Buzzard still present [Notes]

06/09 10:21 DURHAM : Honey Buzzard, Whitburn [S] one flew south over village at 10:15 (10:15)

06/09 10:12 NOTTINGHAMSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Market Warsop [S] one flew WSW over Lea Road between 09:55 and 10:00 (10:00)

06/09 11:18 STAFFORDSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Blithfield Reservoir [S] one flew over Warren Farm at 10:55 (10:55)

06/09 17:16 LONDON, GREATER : Honey Buzzard, Beckton [S] one flew over Gallions Reach

06/09 12:51 JERSEY : Wryneck, Noirmont Point 11:00 still present; also 2 Honey Buzzards [Notes]

06/09 19:16 ESSEX : Honey Buzzard, Stow Marsh [S] one reported flying east with 3 Common Buzzards

06/09 22:39 NOTTINGHAMSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Mansfield Woodhouse [S] dark morph flew SSE (11:00)

September 5th: made Dotland in the ‘Shire from 16:40-17:50 in bright cool conditions on light NW breeze. A useful technique for finding juvenile Honey-buzzard at this time of year is to follow the Crow. A very rowdy assembly was in the corner of a recently cut silage/hay field at 17:40; remote edges or corners are favoured by Honey-buzzard because of their shyness; going through the gate and looking down the field put the whole lot to flight with a juvenile Honey-buzzard mobbed by 3 Crow. This counts as a 1+, could have been another juvenile elsewhere. Another juvenile, dark-phase, was just N of Houtley at 16:48, flying low-down, turning and struggling flying W into the breeze. This is a West Dipton bird, already seen (see 23/8). More to follow … Tactic with remaining sites is to try always to leave a wide geographical spread: this gives opportunity to do a bit of field work every day, even if only a little time (local site visited) or bad weather in one part of study area (go W if murk in from North Sea, go E if front coming in from W). We had a very good day, making TR4m4l where good meal and service; S was really good today, full of smiles and gurgles; think she likes the north really! Delighted to see latest in RNS series in Chronicle: maybe even some natural intersection of interests!! Decided to book Thistle County Hotel early for 18/9 as rugby tournament might fill things up: can go out on the Toon!! 2moro guests leave early afternoon so may go E for field-work later on, followed much later by G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 4th: in much improved warmer sunny weather on light NW breeze had another very productive trip out to Haydon Bridge area from 15:30-17:15, getting provisionally 2 broods of 2 each and a male carrying food into another. On arrival at Woodhall had a noisy juvenile Common Buzzard at 15:35 flying around the area, which finally blundered into a copse to SW of nesting area, putting up 2 juvenile Honey-buzzard, which flew around the top of the copse keeping very low-down. At this point the female Honey-buzzard came up much higher to the S and faced-off the Common Buzzard which retreated. The juvenile Honey-buzzard subsided back into the copse. A 2nd Common Buzzard juvenile came up over the main wood at 16:01. At 16:22 a male Honey-buzzard quickly soared up from the main wood and 2 Honey-buzzard juveniles appeared just above the canopy, a dark-phase bird and a paler one; they didn’t last up in the air for long. From 16:35-16:45 another 2 juvenile Common Buzzard were up above a larch plantation c1km to the E. Meanwhile to the W towards Langley 4 Honey-buzzard were up together from 15:40-15:43, all low-down just above the canopy and attended by mobbing corvids. They also subsided back very quickly but the male returned to patrol the wood at moderate height for most of the time from 16:14-16:38. A watch on the more distant Allerwash site hadn’t produced anything for most of the visit but then at 16:45 a male Honey-buzzard was seen approaching from 1km from the site to the E. He came right overhead the nesting area, clearly carrying food, and then dived down to the site at a rapid speed. This is alternative approach technique to that close to the ground through glades! Also had 2 juvenile Kestrel up at Woodhall. So total for visit was 15 raptors of 3 species: 9 Honey-buzzard, 4 Common Buzzard, 2 Kestrel. Then into W for massive shop to get ready for arrival of visitors; they were on time having got on intended flight but S had not really taken to flying so a little frayed! S also doesn’t like her travel cot but otherwise enjoying life in Northumberland! I cooked the meal – spag bol plus red wine, think the wine went well anyway! Earlier made C4c4l after slight intentional delay in getting in, where gr8 2 c tmbo!!! Markets continue to be paranoid, particularly with respect to China and ftse off 3.3% on week and 8.0% on year. Funds did a little better this week at +4k on rise in risky €reit, even after 1.25k of withdrawal; playing for some quite high stakes on some distressed debt (in case you thought I was getting ultra-cautious!) but +2k on year to date after withdrawals of 5k is satisfactory in the circumstances. We’ll see how it goes but maybe the rise is due to a leak on imminent announcements! On unravelling a large pile of papers found 3 worthy charities, sending £35 to Woodland Trust (woodland in North Wales), £30 to Marie Curie (funding helpers) and £25 to RSPB (island in Scotland). All good things cum to an end, maybe just temporarily!! 2moro it’s TR4m4l and maybe trip out in afternoon!! lok2t beauties!!!!

BirdGuides records again very much from the SE exit corridor with 2 in Kent, both at Dungeness, and 2 in Sussex. In Jersey 2 juveniles are now at Noirmont Point, both bred locally presumably. The Times today on p.65, in an article alongside the weather details, commented on the huge numbers of German Wasps around at the moment in some areas. This is likely to lead to a very good breeding season for Honey-buzzard in such areas. I’ve not noticed unusually high numbers of wasps in the Hexham area but then we do have plentiful natural controls!

04/09 11:49 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Dungeness NNR [S] one moved west over Boulderwall late morning (11:40)

04/09 13:08 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Dungeness RSPB [S] one flew over ARC Pit (12:55)

04/09 14:48 WEST SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, Angmering [S] dark morph then flew east (14:10)

04/09 21:53 WEST SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, Selsey Bill [S] one flew over today

04/09 14:19 JERSEY : Ortolan Bunting, Noirmont Point 10:00 two flew past the migration watch point this morning; also 2 juvenile Honey Buzzards present [Notes]

September 3rd: a good opportunistic day out again in the lower South Tyne from 16:05-17:50, arriving just as the rain stopped for a while. It was very cool on a moderate N breeze and it remained cloudy while there but at least it was dry. West is best when the wind is off the North Sea! The Honey-buzzard are very restless: the juveniles are keen to explore but are not yet independent of their parents and the parents would love to be off to Africa but one of them at least has to stay to complete the fledging of the young. At 16:17 had a male Honey-buzzard gliding over the Ridley/Morralee site (which visited from other side yesterday), moving at moderate height from SW to NE right over the nesting area. At 16:47 at Thorngrafton the male Honey-buzzard was seen flying low-down NW to the moors; at 17:07 2 birds were up over the moors, the male and a dark juvenile; both kept low-down but the male was consistently above the juvenile; meanwhile to the E there was mayhem at the same time among the corvids, suggesting a 2nd juvenile; this was confirmed at 17:19 when another juvenile and the female were up over a copse to E of site, heavily mobbed by Rook, making this site a 2; the male here is a new bird for the year. Meanwhile at 16:59 at Willimontswick a Crow was cursing something very aggressively in the trees just N of the nesting area; after a short time a juvenile Honey-buzzard emerged swooping down close to the ground followed very closely by the Crow; this is a new site for the year: the weak-flying juvenile must have been bred locally and its location was very close to the usual site for the nest. At Haughstrother everything was up at 17:25 and a juvenile Honey-buzzard was seen flying low-down over the South Tyne moving N; at 17:35 a second dark-phase juvenile was following its line of flight coming from further up the hill to S and being mobbed strongly by a Rook. So a brilliant visit, taking sites occupied at fledging from 23 to 26, now roughly ½ way through the 54+ sites. Think can get away to Scotland mid-month. Productivity looks to be very good, in spite of the variable weather this summer and the cool weather into early June, with 15/23 sites containing 2 juveniles and the other 8 containing 1+ juveniles. Here’s a few piccies 1  2  3  4  5 of the Red Admiral at Kellas N on 9/7, continuation of a series of interesting butterflies for 2015. Did make N4c4l: not entirely happy with the company, particularly now he’s brought a friend! Might make C a little more! The fit one looked very, very desirable!! Not out tonite: dry day called for and weekend promises to be celebratory! Completed RNS birthday appeal credit request from NH; just 2 weeks to start of season, really looking forward to that!! So, on BA stand-by (LHR-NCL), daughter arrives tomorrow evening with granddaughter (1st visit to N) and partner, should be good weekend! Before that should make C4c4l and even a quick field-trip! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

On BirdGuides yet another report from Dungeness, Kent, with a further report in the SE exit corridor from Suffolk, one flying S in the Midlands and one over Painswick Beacon where 2 breeding sites were found nearby last year in a visit by NR/NH.

03/09 10:54 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Dungeness RSPB [S] one flew south over Denge Marsh mid-morning

03/09 20:45 SUFFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Capel St. Mary [S] one flew over late afternoon (16:48)

03/09 09:23 NOTTINGHAMSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Stapleford [S] one flew over to south (08:30)

04/09 08:05 GLOUCESTERSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Painswick Beacon [S] one flew over SSW yesterday afternoon (03/09 15:55)

September 2nd: no time for a break! Out this afternoon in the lower South Tyne from 14:10-16:20 in cool conditions on light N breeze with a heavy shower at start of visit. So not ideal! But did find juveniles at both the Whitechapel site and Morralee, latter actually at start of Allen valley. Rain delayed start of walk and it wasn’t until 15:10 that the 1st raptor was seen, an unaged female Sparrowhawk gliding down into Morralee. At 15:30 a Honey-buzzard juvenile was seen in weak flight around a copse to NE of nest site at Whitechapel, doing a low circle around it before landing on the ground. At 16:14 a larger, darker juvenile was up above the birch wood to N of Whitechapel site for a few seconds, another bird changing its position on the ground a little. So that’s a 2 for Whitechapel. At Morralee itself nothing was seen until right on leaving when a rufous juvenile adjusted its position on the edge of a stubble field to E of nest site, causing every bird in the area to get up in the air, including large numbers of corvids, 200 Starling and 30 Goldfinch. It’s amazing the impact a juvenile Honey-buzzard has on other birds: quite often they are seen as the focus of a swarm over stubble fields! So that’s a 1+ for Morralee. Concentration required to spot these birds is enormous as they don’t get up high and are up only a few seconds. Did make N4c4t and G4g4ss with good crack at latter. Organising replacement of front door, which is not straight-forward as it’s in the old coach opening with circular top; got JC on the case! Here’s a few piccies 1  2  3  4  5 of the Painted Lady at Lambley on 31/8, continuation of a series of interesting butterflies for 2015. 2moro it’s N4c4l, trip out into the field and maybe out later somewhere!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

On BirdGuides 6 more reports today in what is proving to be a good season. Kent again starred with 2 and elsewhere on SE exit corridor there were singles at Suffolk, Norfolk and Sussex. Further W one was using the more westerly corridor from Dorset.

02/09 10:09 SUFFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Hollesley Marshes RSPB [S] adult circled 09:25-09:35 then flew west (09:35)

02/09 15:23 DORSET : Honey Buzzard, Wyke Regis [S] one high flew south then over Portland (13:39)

02/09 19:07 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Breydon Water RSPB [S] one from South Wall early afternoon; also Spotted Redshank

02/09 14:08 EAST SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head [S] drifted north (14:00)

02/09 13:35 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Sandwich Bay [S] one flew over early afternoon

02/09 15:53 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Chamber’s Wall [S] one circling (15:00)

September 1st: did do site visit 9, going to Kellas from 15:05-18:15 in cool, cloudy conditions on moderate N wind, quite a drop in temperature. Another successful nest, in Scots Pine on the side of the trunk just below the bottom of the canopy, was found with quite a few downy feathers, large and small, on the ground below and on branches below the nest. The female was seen on arrival flapping her way W to forage, before I’d even got the camera out of the bag! Chicken calls were heard on edge of nesting area but the young were just about mobile with, on exit, one juvenile foraging over the shorter regenerating trees to W of site, and the other pinned down to N of site in a bush by 2 angry Crow. No sign of the male so he may have left but certainly 2 young fledged! Also had a juvenile Kestrel, flying along the edge of a clearing, plus 6 Swallow and 6 calling Chiffchaff, latter all presumed migrants. Here’s a few piccies 1  2  3  4  5 of the late Meadow Brown at Farnley on 30/8, continuation of a series of interesting butterflies for 2015. Did make C4c4l (N was a bit crowded) and R&C4m4s for good crack with A/M. Interesting yesterday to see SR from RNS in 4St with her little girl! 2moro it’s trip out in daytime followed by N4c4t and W4g4ss for recuperation!! lok2t beauties!!!!

Good showing on BirdGuides continues over last 2 days. The juvenile at Jersey is most likely locally bred as it would not linger so close to the mainland of France if it had already crossed the Channel; Noirmont is very close to one of the breeding sites that we found. Otherwise SE England produced 1 at Kent, 1 in Sussex and 2 in Essex, with 2 further W in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire today. Again not sure about the Rough-legged! Not into Booted Eagle yet in Northumberland!

31/08 08:18 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Hythe [S] one flew west towards Hythe Ranges (07:20)

31/08 14:49 JERSEY : Honey Buzzard, Noirmont Point [S] juvenile still (12:00)

31/08 16:57 EAST SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, Mount Caburn [S] one flew south at 15:30 (15:30)

01/09 11:54 ESSEX : Honey Buzzard, Holland Haven CP [S] one flew east towards Frinton (11:35)

01/09 11:55 DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY : Rough-legged Buzzard, Caerlaverock WWT [S] probable flew south over Peter Scott Observatory and Saltcot Merse Observatory with 12 Common Buzzards

01/09 11:58 ESSEX : Honey Buzzard, Frinton-on-Sea [S] one flew NNW over the town late morning (11:45)

01/09 11:58 EAST SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head [S] one flew west and inland over Whitbread Hollow (11:50)

01/09 18:04 GLOUCESTERSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Woodchester [S] one flew southeast early evening (17:40)

01/09 18:10 WILTSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Westbury [S] one flew south today

01/09 15:35 JERSEY : Booted Eagle, Noirmont Point, 12:35, pale morph juvenile on the east side then flew off north; also Osprey and Honey Buzzard [Notes]

August 31st: pretty amazing day all round!! Made upper South Tyne in warm sunshine at 10:15 on light NE breeze, leaving the gloom at Bardon Mill as moved W. Things were a little slow to start with at North Wood (Haltwhistle), just an adult male Kestrel sitting on wires to W at 10:40. From 11:15-11:20 an interesting raptor moved S; it had clearly roosted at Blenkinsopp and soared high over the wood before flapping its way S down the South Tyne Valley towards Alston; it was definitely on long distance migration. The fine barring and structure showed it was a Common Buzzard but it was a marked rufous-brown with prominent white outer primaries and no pale breast band. Do wonder whether it was a Steppe Buzzard vulpinus though realise there’s too much overlap with nominate buteo to make a formal claim. Here’s some piccies 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9. Had a very good view of Featherstone from here and picked up a family group of 4 Honey-buzzard in various manoeuvres from 12:10-12:38. At 12:10 the female was seen climbing high in bright sunshine with minimum effort, obviously on a thermal. She was then dive-bombed by the male, who was already clearly very high-up in the sky. They did a bit of chasing together, before she dived back to the ground and the male made a spectacular dive at 12:22 from high in the sky right into the nesting area. At 12:33 the first juvenile was seen, moving with heavy flapping out of the site and moving E, with the male at moderate height following a little way behind. At 12:35 the second juvenile (dark phase, younger of the 2) got up from the nest site, flying very slowly round and round the trees at low altitude; at 12:38 it was joined briefly by the female. Moved on to Featherstone from 12:50-14:10 where had 2 juvenile Honey-buzzard up separately. At 12:55, a paler, older juvenile, got up to moderate height, looking quite steady before coming down again; at 13:53 a younger juvenile was mobbed heavily by corvids, as it moved a little way S, looking very unsteady so not fledged long. In addition a female Hobby dashed across the river into a group of trees at 13:05. Got a good break arriving back in Hexham at 14:35 as a dark female Honey-buzzard was prospecting over the area to S of the Golf Course at the extreme E end of Leazes before returning towards the Tyne. So that’s 5-6 types of raptor, which is amazing, particularly with the downbeat comments from many quarters about our raptors being persecuted to extinction. Total for day was 13 raptors of 5-6 types: 6 Honey-buzzard (adult male 1, adult female 1, juvenile 4), 1 Common Buzzard (juvenile), 1 Common (Steppe?) Buzzard (adult), 1 Hobby (adult female), 1 Kestrel (adult male). Made N4c4ll where met S for good crack! Much later into DrS4g4s where welcomed as a regular! Evidently Fosters is biggest seller followed by vodka; Guinness was dropped but has been re-instated because of some heavy suppers on match days; so hoping to keep the trend in the right direction! Great end to day: do think things are a little clearer and she’s a fantastic motivator!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4l followed by site visit 9, if rain/murk holds off. lok2tmbo!!!

August 30th: out to Corbridge today for look at a traditionally early site to fledge, in overcast but dry conditions on light NW breeze from 15:25-18:25. Didn’t take long for the 1st Honey-buzzard to be seen with a female up to W of nesting area at 15:53, hanging low over woodland and clearly looking to suck some youngsters up into the air! She glided to N right over the Tynedale sports area at 15:55, followed reluctantly by 2 dark-phase juveniles, over the next 2 minutes; the 2 juveniles were struggling a little bit but had obviously learnt a lot since fledging, maybe 10 days ago. They all moved N to N side of the Tyne. I thought the male had emigrated but at 15:30 he was up over woodland c1km to the N where he was up at low altitude, maybe to signal the rest of the family to move in. So that’s a complete set of a pair of adults and 2 juveniles: marvellous!! Other raptors included a Common Buzzard adult calling at Farnley and an adult female Hobby up over the pines at Farnley, a popular nesting location. A Kingfisher was seen over the Tyne near the bank that’s collapsed into the river. A partially-harvested stubble field was popular back near the station with 16 Tree Sparrow, 27 Sand Martin, 11 Swallow and a calling Woodlark, last no doubt from our recent colonisation. Total for birds was 34 species, including also Swallow (19), Chiffchaff (1), House Martin (11), House Sparrow (12, on houses in lane). Had a Common Hawker dragonfly near the gravel pits at Farnley plus a Speckled Wood butterfly nearby and Leucoptera laburnella mines on a laburnum tree near the station. Some interesting butterflies at home today included 2 Comma 1  2  3  4  5 and a late rush of 7 Peacock. Earlier made N4c4l where good to have s on; later made G4g4s where packed out with occasional drinkers from Hexham, quite amazing how popular bank holiday Sundays are for boozing; I prefer a more consistent approach!! Did quite a lot of gardening today on front of house: got to make the place look kempt for daughter’s visit next weekend! 2moro S is booting me out at 10 for cleaning and planning to go W where weather looks better to look for Honey-buzzard broods. Much later might make DrS4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Another high number of reports on BirdGuides with 13 again noted in total. Pattern was much the same as yesterday: Kent 7 (6 at Dungeness, amazing!), Jersey 3 (all SW of island), Sussex 1, London east 1, Devon 1, though Jersey ‘improved’ and the outlier today was Devon. Jersey has historically recorded very small numbers of Honey-buzzard but now with its own breeding population and situation off Normandy on an important migration route from southern England, we should be expecting an increased number of reports.

30/08 08:55 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Dungeness NNR [S] one flew past the point this morning

30/08 12:18 LONDON, GREATER : Honey Buzzard, Rainham Marshes RSPB [S] one over River Thames at 12:05 (12:05)

30/08 13:39 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Dungeness RSPB [S] at least three flew over visitor centre towards bird observatory at 13:15 (13:15)

30/08 14:02 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Lydd [S] one over

30/08 14:08 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Dungeness RSPB [S] two circling over at 14:05; also Osprey over ARC car park heading towards visitor centre (14:05)

30/08 15:56 JERSEY : Honey Buzzard, Beauport [S] two drifted south over the headland early afternoon (12:20)

30/08 15:56 JERSEY : Honey Buzzard, Noirmont Point [S] adult still today

30/08 19:13 EAST SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head [S] one flew north over Hodcombe this morning; also Wryneck there briefly and a Redstart (11:10)

30/08 21:46 DEVON : Honey Buzzard, Slapton Ley [S] probable over this afternoon

August 29th: made site visit 8 as planned, from 16:05-18:45, to the East Allen a little N of Allendale, in sunny weather on moderate W breeze; it wasn’t that straight-forward as nest was surprisingly difficult to relocate in the oak tree but eventually found it again in a fork at the bottom of the crown on the NW side of the tree; there were a number of oak sprays on the edge of the rim and some fine twigs on the top of the nest; the nest was clearly vacated with 2 large white down in the branches below and one patch of splash on the ground below. Some calls were recorded: Common Buzzard adult anxiety calls at 16:42, series of Honey-buzzard faint juvenile anxiety calls at 17:08, 2 Honey-buzzard juvenile anxiety calls at 17:11 (c10 in 1 minute) with 2 Common Buzzard juvenile anxiety calls. Decided to walk up the steep track to the open fields to see whether the birds had retreated there and had 3 Honey-buzzard (female, 2 juvenile – 1 dark, other paler) up for flying practice from 18:12-18:21; the rufous female was always slightly higher than the juveniles in the air, coaxing them to come higher, but they weren’t very confident and the dark phase one actually retreated back to the nesting area after a few minutes; the paler one stuck it out but neither has been fledged more than a few days. So that’s good news for a pair in an intensive pheasant rearing area. Raptors totalled 5 birds: 3 Honey Buzzard, 2 Common Buzzard (adult, juvenile up over fields at 18:20 after calling earlier). Birds totalled 19 types including Goldfinch (60, single flock), Treecreeper (2), Swallow (27), Long-tailed Tit (12), Goldcrest (4). Here’s a few piccies 1  2  3  4  5 of the Clouded Yellow at Amman, Jordan, on 25/7, continuation of a series of interesting butterflies for 2015. No butterflies on the Allen today though. Got stuck into the FT at C4c4l, panic over maybe with some left again. Verdict seems to be that excessive numbers betting on margin were part of the trouble with a number severely bruised or wiped out. However, US stocks are seen as overvalued on many measures while Europe/UK offers better value. Margin dealing is where you up the leverage by say putting 1k down to buy 10k of a stock; if the stocks rises 10% you double your money but if it falls 10% you lose your deposit and are asked to put up more money or be sold out! In the Great Crash of 1929 excessive margin dealing was one of the causes as falls can become self-feeding: as holders are sold out that pushes the price further down increasing the pressure on other margin-investors. I just deal long with no leverage – very boring! 2moro it’s grass cutting in morning, N4c4l and trip out in afternoon, maybe G4g4s later!! lok2 tmbo!!!!!!

Masses of Honey-buzzard on BirdGuides today. Score was Kent 6, Sussex 3, Hampshire 1, Jersey 1, Norfolk 1, Fife 1, giving total of 13 birds, of which 12 in the exit corridor from SE England to the continent and 1 in Scotland. The juvenile in Norfolk is interesting but was it really on migration. Suspect the others were mainly males, which are easier to identify by most UK observers (as they closely fit the id conception). Females are heavier and bulkier than males so pose more id difficulties and juveniles are close to Common Buzzard in many more respects, making them quite a challenge.

29/08 10:17 WEST SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, Pulborough Brooks RSPB [S] one flew over

29/08 10:27 FIFE : Honey Buzzard, Falkland [S] one flew over then south over East Lomond

29/08 11:32 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Hemsted Forest [S] one flew southeast (11:10)

29/08 12:34 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, West Somerton [S] juvenile flew south

29/08 14:16 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Hythe [S] four flew out to sea (11:30)

29/08 14:17 EAST SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head [S] two flew over

29/08 13:53 JERSEY : Honey Buzzard, Noirmont Point [S] adult still (11:00)

29/08 14:35 HAMPSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Ripley [S] one flew east over Ripley Farm Reservoir (14:15)

30/08 07:45 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Dungeness NNR [S] one flew over yesterday; also a Pomarine Skua past (29/08)

August 28th: kept up the pressure with visit to extreme E of study area at Wylam E with walk in Stephenson’s Cottage area from 11:55-15:10. Sunny intervals and no rain made it a reasonable day but the W breeze was a little too strong at moderate to fresh for much aerial activity. Having said that did have a total of 3 Honey-buzzard at 3 sites, 2 Red Kite at 1 and a juvenile Kestrel sitting on a post near the Cottage, so 6 raptors of 3 species. At the Honey-buzzard site near the cottage, the activities of the corvids – sitting in the tops of trees, periodic alarms, mobbing tendencies – suggested a juvenile was in cover to the immediate W of the site. Finally at 13:30 a chicken call was heard and the corvids all took off so that’s another 1+! Meanwhile at 13:20 a male Honey-buzzard had been seen to W of the Ryton site, climbing up to some height before gliding NE and dropping into the fields to N of site. That’s a >0, site occupied in fledging period but no young seen yet. Finally at 13:40 to the W a bulky juvenile was seen low in flight over the Tyne moving towards Horsley Wood; this bird is not new though great to see it in the air (see 21/8). Honey-buzzard are powerful fliers in the wind: essential for their long-distance migration including the Straits of Gibraltar and the Sahara Desert where winds can be very strong. The Red Kite were very pleasing: at 13:55 2 birds (adult, juvenile) were seen floating over from area just south of Wylam, crossing the Tyne and moving NE where they eventually came down in the fields. So it looks as if 1+ young raised at the site in Wylam S, which was the 1st to be colonised in Northumberland after the re-introduction. Total was a high 35 species of bird in the Wylam area, including Swallow (14), Chiffchaff (1), Lapwing (1 SE), Moorhen (2), Siskin (2). Insects included 2 Common Darter dragonfly and a Painted Lady butterfly. Made N4c4t for relaxation and M&S for shopping; actually bought 7 pairs of cotton socks for £12 as reduced numbers (where do they go!) were increasing frequency of washing cycles. Made W4ra4s where 5 of us out for good crack! Funds down 5k in this dramatic week for the markets: do think some outstanding opportunities are emerging and may get a little more adventurous! See there are 12k 106ers in the NE, pleased to be one of them and that it’s not all own house as what’s the use of that! 2moro it’s C4c4l and site visit 8, a fairly straight-forward one in the Allen. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Recent news from BirdGuides shows some Honey-buzzard migration in NE England with 2 in East Yorkshire on 24/8 and singles in Lincs on 27/8 and North Yorkshire on 28/8; these are presumably the first males departing their territories after the young have fledged. Another bird was found at Noirmont Point, Jersey. The Woodlark in Cumbria is interesting, maybe reflecting the slow drift N of breeding birds in England. The Hobby juvenile in Fife may well reflect the ongoing colonisation of E Scotland. The Rough-legged Buzzard probably wasn’t one: doubt it’s a report from a local!

23/08 13:11 WARWICKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Snitterfield Bushes WWT [S] probable, high over Snitterfield Hang-gliding club, drifted south late morning (11:15)

24/08 07:19 EAST YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Spurn YWT [S] one in Triangle early morning then flew northwest

24/08 07:49 EAST YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Sammy’s Point [S] one landed to east early morning; also Spoonbill flew towards Kilnsea Wetlands (06:50)

24/08 11:42 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Stiffkey [S] pale morph juvenile circled west over the saltmarsh (11:26)

24/08 17:16 FIFE : Hobby, Kilminning [S] juvenile; also Whinchat

25/08 17:22 CUMBRIA : Woodlark, Swarthmoor [S] one flew east calling this afternoon (15:45)

26/08 11:36 HIGHLAND : Rough-legged Buzzard, Thurso [S] one reported 8km west of here at Hallam yesterday (25/08)

27/08 11:16 LONDON, GREATER : Honey Buzzard, Woodford [S] probable flew west over A406 (10:40)

27/08 21:21 NOTTINGHAMSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Church Warsop [S] one flew over Carter Lane, Warsop Vale, early evening (17:30)

27/08 22:13 LINCS : Red-backed Shrike, Gibraltar Point NNR, one near Mill Hill; also Honey Buzzard over Croft Marsh and 5 Pied Flycatchers [Notes]

28/08 12:44 JERSEY : Honey Buzzard, Noirmont Point [S] intermediate adult from the north, dropped into trees on the east side of the headland (11:30)

28/08 14:24 NORTH YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Wykeham Forest [S] one flew west (13:45)

August 27th: kept up the site visits with 7th today to a large wood just W of Hexham from 16:10-19:15 in cool conditions on moderate W breeze and the occasional spots of rain; the sun came out near the end. Just 3 site visits to go now. Today’s a right s.d involving heavily rutted and overgrown forestry tracks, so you cannot see what’s underneath, further tracks randomly made to harvest particular trees, brashings (cut-off small branches) all over the place, juncus (rushes) smothering ditches and water accumulating to uncertain depth in the tracks and ditches. Lovely! But it is a Honey-buzzard site and the nest in Scots Pine looked very recently abandoned after fledging; indeed the presence of down to NW of nest might indicate that fledging occurred on Sunday 23/8 in the moderate SE breeze. There was 1 largish feather, large white down, hanging below the nest in the branches. The juvenile(s) must have been lurking to the S in cover as had a series of chicken calls from that direction at 17:35; the chicken call is the hunger cry of the young but is sometimes used when they’re worried! So this is a 1+. On way out, walking through the Common Buzzard territory, was mobbed in turn by an adult and a juvenile, the family party comprising 2 adults and 2 juvenile in all; display was really quite aggressive but maybe there’s a bit of history as I’ve met them before! Total of 21 bird species included single calling Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, Swallow (11), House Martin (7), Goldfinch (45), Great Spotted Woodpecker (2). Sociable lunchtime with J/A at N and met D/A (HMS) and S/T (Walking Group) in 4S! Here’s a few piccies 1  2  3  4  5 of the Large Skipper at Kellas N on 9/7, continuation of a series of interesting butterflies for 2015. 2moro it’s a break from site visits with a trip to Wylam E to look for fledged raptors in general; should be back at N4c4t!! The rhwso was out again today!! So pleased 2 c tmbo again: very inspiring hips!!! lok2t beauties!!!!

August 26th: no Honey-buzzard today but did have a juvenile female Sparrowhawk hunting near Prudhoe Station at 15:00. Met nephew and family on Quayside and we had a look round, walking down to Ouseburn before making P&P4g4t; then on to MP4m4s where we were very well looked after; MP seem to be catering for kids at the moment with special menu for them, which they can draw on with the colouring pencils provided; all went well and very pleased to see J, C, B (aged 6) and E (aged 3) again! Bill, including tip of £10, was 1 short of 100, which I paid as I’ve had many meals at their house. They’re staying at the Hilton on the Gateshead side. I was wrong on one thing: they’re coming back from Scotland, not going, having spent a good 2 weeks on Lewis with decent weather, deserted beaches with beautiful sand and even finding the odd dinosaur footprint! J/C both graduated at Edinburgh University in maths c2001, though they live in London now (Turnham Green). Here’s a few piccies 1  2  3  4  5  6 of the Dark Green Fritillary at Kellas N on 9/7, continuation of a series of interesting butterflies for 2015. Might be back to normal 2moro with N4c4l and another site visit in afternoon!! Not sure about evening, like to have 2 dry days a week! lok2t beauties!!!!

August 25th: made Eals site today in afternoon from 13:10-15:20, finding family party in good fettle with male seen flying into site from W side of valley (old Softley site area) from 13:15-13:16, 2 juveniles up at top of wood at 14:30 rising up briefly and coming down again quickly (up for 5 seconds each), and female up in flap-flap-glide action at 15:10 for 10 seconds near site, so brief is the word. Wind was moderate SW, rather too strong for a lot of aerial activity but it was bright and mild. Nest in Oak, fairly low down as half way up the tree and smothered in oak leaves, was vacated and had fallen to bits on the trunk side; it’s amazing how quickly they degenerate; Bijlsma said informally that the young pull the nest to pieces on their final exit! Also had an adult Common Buzzard calling briefly but no other raptors seen or heard. Interesting passerines, in total of 21 species, included Goldcrest (16), Swallow (27), Dipper (1) and a small group of 3 Twite on the edge of the moor at the entrance to Towsbank Farm from the road. Dragonflies comprised 3 Common Hawker, including a pair mating 1, and 1 Common Darter 1. At Ordley at 17:20 had a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard moving W low-down into the nest-site from not far to the E so now we know fledging has occurred, probably on 21/8. With 6 strenuous site visits done in 11 days, time for a breather and catch up with paper work. Made M&S for essential supplies before R Council meeting where plenty to discuss; don’t go to Waitrose much now, dislike their extensive 3 for 2 policy which penalises single households (either you fill your fridge with stuff you’re going to struggle to eat or you’re ripped off paying the elevated unit price). Good crack at R&C with A/A; always a great pleasure to see the fun-side of Slaley, particularly as the shadows lengthen: lok2tmfso!!!! Here’s a few piccies 1  2  3  4  5 of the 2nd White Letter Hairstreak at Stocksfield on 31/7, continuation of a series of interesting butterflies for 2015. 2moro it’s Quayside for late afternoon/early evening to meet nephew and family on their way from London to the Highlands. Earlier might make N4c4c then into big city.

August 24th: consolidated work in ‘Shire with site visit 5 (½ way through now) to Slaley Forest NW from 15:05-17:20 in bright, dry conditions on light winds. Nest quite low down in Scots Pine was vacated, but there were a lot of pine sprays on the rim and 2 pieces of small white down on branches below the nest. One anger call was heard from a Carrion Crow at 15:30. Walked down the lane a little and had a loud chicken call at 16:05 from a juvenile, which kept well in the cover of pine trees. Out in the open surveying the area, had a darkish juvenile Honey-buzzard, coming back towards the site from the NE in flap-flap-glide mode at 16:40; it circled briefly and then disappeared, think it had fallen short of the site maybe for a feeding opportunity; it’s presumably 2-3 days older than the bird calling from cover and was presumed to be the bird seen yesterday at Dukesfield. So that converts the site from 1+ to 2 juveniles fledged. Also in total of 19 species had Goldcrest (14), Coal Tit (6), Great Tit (6), Swallow (18, including locally fledged young), Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (1 female, perched on top of tree). Here’s a few piccies 1  2  3  4  5  6 of the 1st White Letter Hairstreak at Stocksfield on 31/7, start of a series of interesting butterflies for 2015. Made R @ B4m4s: talk on Victoria Tunnel was very informative, maybe a little long! Did make DrS4g4s: fantastic until thrown out!!! 2moro it’s trip out to upper South Tyne for site visit and check for fledged young; have to be back in Hexham for 17:30 for R4cncl4t. Think out at R&C4m4s with A!! lok2tmbo!!!! Had a Nightjar at Linnels Bridge at 00:10 (25/8); they must have bred here!

August 23rd: mammoth walk of 15 km duly completed from 10:30-15:45 in ‘Shire, starting at Dipton Mill, walking to Travellers Rest, Rye Hill (Slaley), Dukesfield, Rawgreen, High Staples, Steel, Lee (W), Dipton Mill. Although the DM said they’d be closed on our return, they were actually open (ostensibly for 2 thirsty Irish men) so we (20 of us) had very satisfying refreshments there. Did get some raptors, including 2 Honey-buzzard juveniles in West Dipton (both up on top of hill on N side of burn from 11:00-11:05, heavily mobbed by Rook whenever they moved around the plantations, both dark phase, quite weak flying but could float above the trees a little way up), a male and juvenile Honey-buzzard at Swallowship (from 11:25-11:30, the male climbing to a moderate height with the juvenile struggling below and holding its wings very still and flat, they did not stay up long), a darkish juvenile Honey-buzzard at Dukesfield (flying weakly over a plantation to SW of the Hall from 13:20-13:25, thought to be bred at the Slaley Forest NW site), a juvenile Common Buzzard at Letah Wood overhead at 11:18, a juvenile Common Buzzard at Peth Foot overhead at 12:06 and a juvenile Kestrel up hunting at Blackhall. Great way of seeing the ‘Shire in brilliant weather (all-day sunshine on light to moderate SE breeze) and good company! Total for birds for walk was 29 species including Swallow (61), House Martin (5), Chiffchaff (1), Goldcrest (9), Dipper (1), House Sparrow (6), Tree Sparrow (2 at Dotland Park, spreading W). 2 Southern Hawker dragonfly were seen. Butterflies comprised a creditable 8 types: Small White (9), Small Tortoiseshell (9), Large White (6), Green-veined White (5), Meadow Brown (3), Comma (2), Red Admiral (1), Peacock (1). Moths included adults of Vapourer (1 male), Riband Wave (1), Agriphila straminella (4), Agriphila tristella (4), Udea lutealis (1), Twin-spot Carpet (1) plus mines/tents of Caloptilia syringella (ash), Yponomeuta evonymella (bird cherry), Cameraria ohridella (horse chestnut). Made G4g4s for recuperation: all very good and nice to have neighbours back!! 2moro it’s C4c4l and R @ B4m4s (evening meeting!). Might be out later!! xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!! Had 2 Barn Owl in evening: one just N of Ordley village at 22:00, the other at Houtley at 00:10 (24/8).

August 22nd: welcome break today; although rain held off to evening it was so close and heavy that nearly all raptors will have kept in cover so did a lot of grass cutting, which don’t like to do when the sun’s out! Made C4c4l where rhwso was acting the part!! The meo looked gr8!! No FT anywhere – signs of panic – so settled for usual weekday Times and saved £1.50! Good to see the RNS getting pre-season exposure in the Chronicle with their profiles of RNS players; 5 done so far with favourite composers Beethoven (2), Bach (1), Sibelius (1), Xenakis (1). Liked the wet collodion piccies of the orchestra; think 7 and 2 are the most talented!! Nephew and family are visiting Quayside mid-week and I’ve offered to show them round and take them out for a drink at P&P and a meal at MP on Wednesday afternoon/evening; they’re on their way to Scotland (highlands) for a holiday; nephew and I were conquerors of the Munro Blaven (928m asl), Black Cuillin, Skye, a few years ago! 2moro it’s brighter on moderate SE breeze and out for a 15 km walk in the ‘Shire with the Walking Group, led by P; since we’ll have a view of all 6 Honey-buzzard sites in the area and they’ve had 2 days of limited activity, hoping they’ll be up for a stretch! Should have a few bevvies later!! Very good news on the intention to strengthen Golden Eagles numbers in south Scotland, centred on Langholm. xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!! Three Honey-buzzard on BirdGuides today, obvious emigrants in Kent, London and Jersey; wonder if the Jersey bird is locally bred as found 2 pairs breeding there in visit in September 2013.

22/08 12:39 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Allhallows-on-Sea [S] one high over Binney Marsh and drifting southwest towards Hoo, together with a possible Montagu’s Harrier (10:50)

22/08/15 14:21 JERSEY : Honey Buzzard, Noirmont Point [S] one flew to headland then headed back (10:00)

22/08 16:30 LONDON, GREATER : Honey Buzzard, Walthamstow Marsh NR [S] one reported over filter beds 13:40-13:48 then flew southeast (13:48)

August 21st: great visit today to Wylam site from 14:20-17:30 where the Honey-buzzard have just fledged 2 young; on arrival through the glade heard a few adult whistled calls, which died away as inspected nest in a Scots Pine that looked in good condition with lots of leaves including oak around the rim; the nest is rather small, much smaller than those at the ‘home’ site and it does appear that the same pair build the same type of nest from year to year, while moving around in quite a small clump of trees. A piece of large white down was on the nest rim. Action really started after I walked to the edge of the steep bank overlooking the road on S side of nest; a juvenile Honey-buzzard was flushed from the ground at 10m; it was weak-flying but managed to get into cover; then for 5 minutes there was a great deal of calling from over on the N side of the nest with 2 juveniles giving anxiety calls every 5-10 seconds and the 2 adults giving louder more angry calls every minute. Signs were not that obvious below the nest but there were some bits of large white and small white down, one small white tarsal feather and some splash. Weather was warm and gloomy today, being quite dark under the canopy with the odd few spots of rain. A Common Buzzard juvenile joined in the cacophony at one point and an adult was up to NW of site shortly after arrival.. Total was 21 species of birds, including Goldcrest (14), Coal Tit (6), Long-tailed Tit (10), Swallow (7, including 6 W). At the ‘home’ site visited yesterday, some ringing adult Honey-buzzard calls were heard from the house at 13:50 suggesting fledging has occurred today. Looks like juvenile Honey-buzzard are fledging everywhere at the moment, just like in some bizarre science fiction film! Made W4ra4s where good chat with N/D/C. Had a Nightjar flying along the extreme NW edge of Dipton Wood near Linnels Bridge at 21:40 and a Tawny Owl calling at the Sele at 00:20 (22/8). 2moro it’s going to be wet so looks like catch-up day but out to C4c4l. lok2t beauties!!!!

From BirdGuides 3 more records; the increasing frequency in Norfolk this year suggests a thriving breeding population, maybe spotted better with the decent standard of ornithology in the county and high density of observers. Habitat in Surrey, from recent visit to Portsmouth, looked very good from the train out of Waterloo with much mature woodland interspersed with small fields.

21/08 16:47 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Wells Woods [S] adult male flew west late afternoon (16:40)

21/08 17:16 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Warham Greens [S] dark morph flew inland over Whirligig (16:55)

21/08 10:52 SURREY : Honey Buzzard, Puttenham [S] one flew northeast (10:30)

Thought an update on funds might be appropriate as markets in a real tail-spin; bit of a crisis for capitalism maybe if this is the best we can do; suspect that commodity raw materials and shares have been heavily shorted to enable the likes of GS to pick up materials and stock really cheaply; there’s no way except maybe for oil that the current world supply/demand figures justify such a slump; as said on 17/7 largely exited mining stocks (except u308) because sentiment was so poor. Am sitting mostly (72%) on stable medium-term bonds (as looks like noflation is here to stay for a while) but €reit is volatile with Irish interests doing well and continental ones poorly. Since 17/7 valuation reduced by a further 28k, including a 20k write-off of arrears of interest on a cumulative preference share, which was pretty optimistic looking at the company’s finances; should never have been counted as an asset! On year still showing gain of 9k after 4k withdrawals, which is not bad seeing the ftse is now down 6% over the same period, which would have given a reduction of 50k. Have just 45k left of high-risk assets in €reit and planning to see through the current panic, with even a bit of nibbling at the odd ‘bargain’! Crisis in capitalism is inequality: until this is reduced interest rates will stay close to 0 as those with all the chips have no option but to lend back cheaply to those without to keep the game moving. Quite a few investors have been virtually wiped out by the slump in mining and oil exploration stocks over the past few months and their distress selling has affected other sectors; those using margin and spread betting facilities will have risked everything, even their houses. Difficult times!

August 20th: kept up the site visits today with poor weather forecast for weekend. Today saw weak sunshine on light NE breeze. Made ‘home’ site from 16:25-18:45 where a happy situation exists. Was actually heckled at 16:35 by a few anxiety calls, presumed from female, as strolled down the road towards the Devil’s Water; then when got into the wood itself no further calls or activity! The burn was easier to cross than in the 1st visit with lower water levels and scramble up bank wasn’t too bad with a few exposed roots to hang on to! Nest in Norway Spruce is going well and is very large, as typical for this site, but still occupied with plenty of large and small white down immediately below and in branches of neighbouring trees. One evocative moment was when a large white down feather, in pristine condition, came floating down from the nest very slowly before landing on the ground. A piece of chewed wax comb was on the side of the nest. So this is very interesting, thought season might be running a little earlier than last year’s but now looks much the same. Found 3 Sparrowhawk grey-brown primary feathers close to the Honey-buzzard nest which are 198, 195, 195 mm long, so adult female in group P5-P8 (middle primaries, longest feathers in Sparrowhawk), presumably moulted rather than from a kill. Here’s a piccie 1. Suggests they nested near the Honey-buzzard. Had total of just 11 species including Goldcrest (11). Earlier made N4c4l where had long chat with S. Here’s piccies of 3 species of moth, trapped on 19/8, that seem to be increasing in home area: Straw Dot 1, Buff Footman 1  2, Eudonia mercurella 1. Not out tonite: it’s liver day!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!! 2moro it’s another site visit, hopefully N4c4t and definitely W4ra4s!!

August 19th: out to the Allen today from 12:20-16:05 in sunny, warm weather with light to moderate S wind, becoming cloudier near end. Very productive day with Honey-buzzard at 3 sites, including 1) A male off from Parmently at 12:45 and moving N towards heather moor at Whitfield Law, where he glided down to the ground; this is a new site for the year. 2) A family party of 4 birds up at Staward S from 12:45-12:57, comprising a male who after climbing very high almost into the cloud base came down quickly and dive-bombed the 2 juveniles, a female who kept close to the 2 juveniles throughout, and the 2 juveniles themselves, one of which was still growing P8 as quite often happens at this stage; cloud level was 914m according to Weather Underground for Hexham so the male must have been up to about 900m before joining the main group at around 600m. 3) Both adults were present at Staward N where visit the nest. This part of the visit was the most difficult because 2 separate chainsaw teams were operating in the area, one on National Trust land on E side of Allen, the other on Whitfield Estate land on W side. The chainsaws made a lot of noise which made it impossible to hear any anxiety calls and their presence did appear to deter the adults from visiting the nesting area; the effect on the breeding success will be zero though as there’s massive amounts of daylight hours still outside the limited working hours of the operators. The male was up to S of the site at 13:45 looking hesitant: he eventually moved off a little to the S. The female joined 2 Common Buzzard juveniles in fairly low-level flight to W of the site around 14:00. From the 1st site visit she’s a 3cy (2nd-summer) bird, aged 2, as she’s got residual yellow markings on the base of her bill. So she’ll be breeding for the 1st time which may have delayed fledging a little. The previous female incumbent must have not made it back so the male will have been on keen look-out for a female passer-by looking for a vacancy! She got a very high quality site, one of the first to be occupied in the initial colonisation of the county. The nest high in the crown of a Norway Spruce looked in use with 1 small white down on the ground plus 1 medium splash below, together with 3 Woodpigeon empty egg-shells and 2 pieces of wasp comb, plus a white feather on the side of the nest and 3 small white down on branches below. Feeling was that young were still in the nest so this counts as a 1+ for now: will have a further look in a couple of weeks. Total of 15 bird species included Goldcrest (14), Bullfinch (4). Also had a juvenile Kestrel up in the Gorge as just leaving. A Purple Hairstreak butterfly was skipping briskly over the oak canopy near the rock.

Did make N4c4t and G4g4t for recovery, where met B/J/J, and much later N4g4s, where met the gang. aqotwf!!! 2moro it’s more leisurely with N4c4l and trip out in afternoon, not sure about evening!! lok2t beauties!!!!

4 more BirdGuides records, 2 at opposite ends of the UK and yet another from Wells and one from Essex:

20/08 21:52 ESSEX : Honey Buzzard, Great Holland [S] possible flew over towards Frinton-on-Sea today

20/08 13:51 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Wells Woods [S] adult male flew west at 13:30 (13:30)

19/08 11:47 EAST SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, Brighton [S] one circling over station slowly heading northeast late morning

18/08 19:59 ORKNEY : Honey Buzzard, Evie, Mainland [S] dark morph in field this evening

August 18th: while down near Portsmouth, did think about why bird status is such cr.p in the UK and decided the CWA is a very serious problem. CWA – Closed World Assumption – is an assumption that what is known is true and what is not known is false. It’s the basis of the relational data model and Boolean logic but is far from valid for real-world data, where statistics is often used to attempt to quantify the unknown. For instance an exit opinion poll might only survey 1% of the voters but the remaining 99% would be expected to have voted according to a similar pattern and the averages for the 1% would be transferred to the remaining 99% with some margin for error in the extrapolation. Take the 21 Honey-buzzard reported in 19 records from 7/8-18/8 as itemised below. The bird recording system as applied today says that, if accepted, there have been a total of 21 Honey-buzzard in the UK in the 12 days from 7/8-18/8. I would say this is complete rubbish as an absolute measure of Honey-buzzard abundance as the species can migrate from before dawn to after dusk on a broad front, sometimes at great altitude, and there is no way that there are competent observers stationed everywhere at all times. Obviously an extrapolation from numbers observed to actual totals is difficult but I would not be surprised if the ratio actual:observed is at least 10:1. The current bird recording system is puerile in that it doesn’t even acknowledge the problem!

Weather was poor today with continuous rain on a cool NE breeze. So no survey work today. Did meet P/M at P’s house in Stocksfield where we discussed from 11:00-13:20 how to advance the visualisation paper; made good progress by agreeing to develop the logic language (intuitionistic, no CWA!) and then refining the diagrams to fit. Intuitionistic logic, which works on open sets with standard operators adjusted to suit, can be used to explore the implicit as well as the explicit, through constructivism. Women are supposed to be better at this than men! Made N4c4ll where good to be served by s!! Much later it was R&C4m4s where met A/M/a for good crack. The country girls are very alluring: lok2tmfso!!!

August 17th: Here’s a clip taken at the nest site on 16/8 showing the birds in angry mode, together with close-ups of the male as he flies around the edge of the wood and shots of the nest. Derived stills to follow. Clips are now in m4v format, which plays well on iPhone/iPad. I’ve dedicated the clip to Chris Kehoe and Ian Fisher in recognition of their great help in understanding the status of Honey-buzzard in the UK. Below is update on recent BirdGuides sightings, to which can be added the male I had moving E over Richmond Park on 9/8. Wells is on the S side of the Wash which could catch birds from further N taking a short cut across the sea there. That was the feeling when the report was compiled on the 2008 movement. Alternatively it could be a breeding site. Suspect many of these birds are adult male so relatively easy to identify. Quite a few seen in North Yorkshire to add to the two I saw there.

09/08 09:22 KENT : Honey Buzzard, St. Margaret’s at Cliffe [S] one flew northwest over Bockhill Farm; also Whinchat on the clifftop (08:05)

09/08 18:23 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Wells-next-the-Sea [S] one flew south

09/08 20:06 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Egmere [S] one flew south this evening (19:30)

11/08 12:06 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Titchwell RSPB [S] one flew west late morning (11:50)

11/08 14:50 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Capel Fleet, Sheppey [S] one flew high over this afternoon (13:15)

15/08 17:21 BERKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Wildmoor Heath [S] one flew low south this afternoon (15:30)

16/08 13:44 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, High Kelling [S] one flew west (13:15)

16/08 14:33 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Wells Woods [S] one flew north (13:30)

16/08 15:50 EAST SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, Brighton [S] one reported over houses near Fiveways then flew north towards Stanmer Park

16/08 20:11 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Wells-next-the-Sea [S] one flew over East Hills early afternoon

17/08 12:35 NORTH YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Scarborough [S] one flew east over North Marine Road (12:30)

17/08 20:22 NORTH YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Commondale [S] one reported by minor road before ‘water splash’ between here and Westerdale this morning

17/08 20:55 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Warham Greens [S] one flew west towards Wells-next-the-Sea (17:40)

18/08 07:17 NORTH YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Wykeham Forest [S] pair briefly early afternoon yesterday; also 6+ Goshawks showing well (17/08)

Busy day with 2 meetings at B; lunch went off smoothly and at tea-time we made a lot of progress on access issues with further meetings planned. Made Warden in between from 15:30-17:05 in warm conditions on light to moderate W breeze and sunny intervals. Think I was a few minutes too late for all the action but at 15:55, when had walked to vantage point overlooking nest site, had a reasonably strong flying juvenile up just to W of site, practising floating. This is always an early site, which was why I was here today. The juvenile floated around quite low-down from 15:55-16:00 before gliding into the site itself. Floating is the first ‘stroke’ the young birds practice: it’s so important because it reduces the energy demands on the bird, while hunting or migrating; if they don’t master floating they’ve had it basically! But they all do! They are rather like a novice swimmer practising floating: terrified to do anything dramatic to alter their balance and concentrating so hard. Soon after the juvenile disappeared, at 16:02 the male appeared high-up and glided at high speed down into the nest site; he must have been watching junior from a great height. Fast dives are a characteristic of adult male in particular. So this is a 1+: could be a weaker flying juvenile stuck in the trees. Other raptors were 2 juvenile Kestrel up together near Warden and a Common Buzzard adult over Warden Hill. Total for trip was 21 species, including Mallard (brood of 4), Sand Martin (4 birds still at nests), Swallow (18), Chiffchaff (2 calling, migrants), Grey Wagtail (2). A male Sparrowhawk juvenile flew across the road just N of Ordley village at 19:30, and night delights included single Barn Owl at Lamb Shield at 22:20 and Dipton Wood E at 00:20 and a Nightjar hawking insects across the road in Dipton Wood E also at 00:20 (18/8). Made DrS4g4s for a change on Monday nite: all very matey: problems with the rain forest mitigated : all very s.xy : lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it’s meeting with unn mates in Stocksfield mid-morning on category theory but back to N4c4l and hopefully trip out later if rain eases.

August 16th: exciting visit to site between Stocksfield and Riding Mill from 14:05-17:50 in cloudy, mild conditions on a light NW breeze. The pair were very vocal, getting angry for a while, so significant clips obtained of anxiety and anger calls along with pictures of the male in at least 4 fly-pass on outside of the wood. The young had clearly not left the nest in Scots Pine but their exit was imminent and chicken calls they gave after my departure indicated 2 juveniles present. Didn’t stay too long in the site itself because of the birds’ anxiety. At 14:45 the female Honey-buzzard flew W low-down over a field to W of site. At 15:10 as entered site there was chaos to S with much anger calling by Carrion Crow. From 15:32-15:36 the pair of adults came close to the nest and were giving anxiety calls going into anger ones at times. From 15:49-15:53 the adults became very anxious, giving many anger calls and the male started flying around the edge of the wood, giving revealing glimpses. It then went quiet as often happens, while the adults watch me to see if I’m going to climb the tree (unlikely!). I retreated a little to edge of site from 16:20-16:25, when the adults started calling to the young; at 16:30 a few chicken calls were heard from the juveniles in the direction of the nest. Having left the site the female again powered over me flying W at 16:50 apparently unperturbed by my visit. At 15:32 2 juvenile Common Buzzard were on the edge of the fray, with an adult present at 15:38. In the square to the W at High Plain, an adult Common Buzzard was displaying at 14:20 and a Red Kite was gliding down the hillside at 17:40. Total of 24 species included Common Gull (62 adult), Swallow (35), Linnet (33). Dragonflies comprised 1 Southern Hawker. Butterflies comprised 5 types: Peacock, Meadow Brown, Small tortoiseshell, Large White, Green-veined White. There were some interesting leaf mines in total of 12 types of moth noted. Didn’t make N but faithfully made G4g4s with P for good crack. aqotwf!!! 2moro have R @ B4c4l, quick trip out, WGS @ B4g4t (Local Access Forum meeting which I’m chairing) and maybe out again later to catch-up on affairs!! lok2t beauties!!!!

August 15th: and we have lift-off (literally!) with the first Honey-buzzard fledging in the study area noted at Bywell. Always great to see the young struggling into the air on their first flights. Was at Stocksfield Mount from 14:25-16:35 in fresh, sunny conditions on moderate W breeze, good conditions for raptors. It was all a bit quiet at the start (siesta time) but at 15:15 noted some commotion at Cottagebank where an adult male Kestrel was mobbing a weak-flying much larger pale raptor, judged to be a pale-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard. From 15:25-15:33 somewhat to the NE, a male Honey-buzzard was giving probably the 1st flying lesson to a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard, which was considerably heavier (well-fed!) and could hardly get off the ground; it did make c50m off the ground at one point with the male 1m away but was generally just a few m above the field with the male much higher above. From 15:40-15:50 slightly to the W a stronger-flying pale-phase juvenile was up with the female, also keeping a low height above the trees, but definitely a stronger flier, maybe 2 days older than its sibling. Like other raptors, Honey-buzzard start incubating as soon as the 1st egg is laid so one egg hatches before the other and one sibling has the advantage of extra maturity, resulting in the death of the younger sibling in a food shortage. Such shortages have not occurred in the study area to date, because at least in lowland areas the birds simply turn to eating young Woodpigeon if all else fails (as witnessed by the number of pigeon feathers below the nests in later stages of rearing). It seemed the wrong way round for the male to take on the younger juvenile as the males are often more vigorous in their interactions, usually dive-bombing the juveniles but maybe throwing them in at the deep end is the idea! The male will already be booking his tickets for Africa. Next dramatic move for Honey-buzzard, from 16:05-16:10, was an adult female taking off from Bywell Cottagebank in very vigorous flap-flap-glide action, crossing the Tyne and gaining height before coming down quickly in Shilford area: an impressive sight, presumed to be a bird trespassing in Bywell from the Shilford side. At 16:20 the male Honey-buzzard was up again to E of Bywell site but the youngster did not reappear – enough flying for today!

A juvenile Red Kite was up low over Ovington village at 15:45 and 3 of this species (2 adult, 1 juvenile) were up together to NW of Cottagebank at 16:06. In the Cottagebank area 4 Common Buzzard were noted around 16:00 (2 adult, 2 juvenile up for flying practice, ignoring Honey-buzzard by moving to W of area) plus a Kestrel male at 15:15 (as above) and a female Hobby up with Honey-buzzard at 15:45. So total for raptors was 15 birds of 5 types: Honey-buzzard 5, Red Kite 4, Common Buzzard 4, Kestrel 1, Hobby 1. Other birds in total of 14 at the Mount included 1 Common Gull adult S, 6 Swallow (3 SE, 3 feeding), 5 House Martin (feeding), 1 Chiffchaff (calling), 1 Blackcap (alarm calling), 2 Spotted Flycatcher. Total for trip was 19 species.

Petra looked good in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade tonite; the last part was staged in the Treasury at Petra and the narrow canyons leading in to the site. Pleased 2 c rhwso in C4c4l!! Frantic series of trips is now at an end! Nothing major planned though fancy a few days in Perthshire in mid-September and Devon in late September with longer trip to Ireland in early November. In Scotland want to climb the Munro Schiehallion (1083m asl) and see Golden Eagle, Ptarmigan and maybe even the odd Honey-buzzard! Think will stay at Pitlochry in a hotel for comfort!! Any takers??? Tomorrow it’s start of round 2 of site visits followed by N4c4t and G4g4s!!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

August 14th: breakfast brightened up with A!! Caught 09:46 at Rowlands Castle to Waterloo, going via Bakerloo and Piccadilly to KX where caught 12:00 to ncl. Train, going to Inverness, was packed with families; think Scottish schools go back next week. Virgin EC still having problems: train started on time but was 20 min late into ncl (4th in a row I’ve been on to do this!); there was also no aisle trolley service, not just for we plebs in 2nd class but not even for 1st class; can see a few emails about that; a train to Leeds was cancelled altogether; please re-nationalise!! Missed connection to Hexham which finally reached at 16:30 so almost 7 hours journey; jit 2c tmbo!! SW Trains in/out of Waterloo were much better organised. Made N4c4t where gr8 to meet S again!! Surprisingly did make W4ra4s with the gang of 6 for good crack; winner of 50:50 tussle on Linnels Bridge did look all too familiar!!!

Journey up was made in damp weather throughout with persistent drizzle/light rain and low cloud. Did though have 2 Honey-buzzard, a dark-phase juvenile S of Drax, near Fenwick, North Yorkshire, and amazingly a female hanging over the area SE of Dunston, towards Gateshead at 16:05; need to look at the maps to see what might be going on in each case; but don’t think either was a migrant in such poor visibility. Indeed the Dunston bird is presumed to be from Hill Head Wood, a large wood to E of Sunniside, just 4.5km from Newcastle city centre compared to the c9km for the closest known sites to W at Ryton and Throckley. Gosforth Park, not known as a site, is 6km from the city centre so could be colonised before too long, if it isn’t already! Woolsington is another possible site 6km out. Getting closer than Hill Head requires colonisation of a park. The juvenile at Fenwick was flying low over stubble fields, putting everything up in area and was heavily mobbed. DH said tonight that he’s twice recently (last on 8/8) had 2 Red Kite over his house at Ovington, playing together in slow motion; sounds like an adult training a juvenile. Tomorrow will look for migrants and signs of flying youngsters in Tyne Valley W before starting round 2 of nest site visits on Sunday. Should make C4c4l at some point! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 13th: long day today with active talks programme and participation from 10:00-22:00. All very interesting and M’s talk from 20:00-21:00 gave a very good insight into the historical development of category theory, even now including Euler’s theorem. Did have a few breaks: out to Havant Thicket at lunchtime where had 2 Common Buzzard (2 juvenile), 2 Honey-buzzard (adult male, pale juvenile, so 4 birds altogether at this site; adult male and pale juvenile were up together at 13:45 with the juvenile moving to SE to feed, being mobbed on way by Hobby female and Sparrowhawk female), 1 Kestrel (juvenile, hovering), 1 Sparrowhawk (female mobbing juvenile Honey-buzzard) and 2 Hobby (pair, female mobbing juvenile Honey-buzzard, then pair up together briefly at 13:51), all in space of 15 minutes as rain cleared from S at 13:35; piccies still being looked at. The Common Buzzard were up when rain still falling, the Honey-buzzard when rain almost stopped, the Kestrel and Sparrowhawk when just stopped and the Hobby when definite brightening. More birds recorded today with total 25 species, including a Tawny Owl calling around midnight. Made RH for steak supper and g instead of take-away Chinese and 3 of us made RH for a well-deserved closing drink!! A was very exciting!!! Meeting goes on tomorrow: am I staying or bunking off? How well do you know me!!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

August 12th: today was rest day with trip to Portsmouth Maritime Museum (Mary Rose, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior); Mary Rose was fantastic, so impressive what artefacts they recovered from the buried wreck; does give a good idea of how they lived at the time; they even had some pewter spoons from c1540! Longbows were still a major fighting tool and the skeletons found showed how repeated use of the bows curved the lower spine over time. We then went up the Emirates tower, bit like the Shard; the owners wanted to paint it red and white, which as colours of hated close-rivals Southampton would have caused a riot! Eventually it was painted blue and white, Pompey’s colours, and there was a surplus of red paint in the area! Had quick visit to Havant Thicket from 16:55-17:20 seeing a 3rd species of woodpecker – Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at 17:20 flying across a glade. We then had meeting dinner at the RH, with nice-legs A doing a good job in serving us! Taking a back seat now!! lok2t lovely beauties!!!!

August 11th: gave talk today at ANPA from 16:00-17:00 on “Abstract Relations as Allegorical Categories” or something like that!! Here’s the slides as a pdf. Went very well: no errors discovered during delivery and audience liked blend of humour and in-depth technical discussion. M’s talking on Thursday! So that’s another one out the way, setting up another publication to complement this year’s, now in print: “Formal Natural Philosophy: Top-down Design for Information & Communication Technologies with Category Theory”, ANPA 35, Explorations, Grenville J Croll, Nicky Graves Gregory (edd.), 155-193 (2015) pdf. Weather was sunny on light W breeze. Did spend lunchtime walking in Havant Thicket where had fledged Honey-buzzard; a pale juvenile was sitting in a tree heavily mobbed by corvids before flying off towards last year’s indicated nests site in oaks; later a dark-phase juvenile was circling rather uncertainly to S and the female took off quickly and was flying at low level towards the scene at high speed; couldn’t see what happened as trees in the way but looks like a bonny 2 youngsters fledged with female still present; 1st seen this year; don’t expect birds in Northumberland to fledge for another week. Had 17 bird species here including Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Insects included 8 types of butterfly, a Southern Hawker dragonfly and 2 Hornet individuals. Worked hard this evening up to 21:00 but then into RH for a quick couple of g or so at £4.30 a sup!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 10th: down to Rowlands Castle from Waterloo fairly early on, arriving at 11:21, a bit before the meeting starts at 13:30. Had lunch with Dino at RH, where staying. Meeting started with some enthusiasm!

August 9th: another day with a Honey-buzzard, this time a male soaring high and drifting E from Richmond Park in London SW at 13:35. Despite a walk in Richmond Park, only had 8 species in total but very disturbed by people. Had great day visiting family, seeing daughter and grand-daughter in Richmond from 13:30-17:50 in hot weather for UK of 28C and strong sunshine. Little one is now 5.5 months old, 8kg in weight and very bonny; she gave some very winning smiles with her blue eyes as we had lunch at Lass of Richmond Hill. Then into Gloucester Road to meet big sis and son at Gloucester Arms for a couple before moving to Italian opposite for another large meal. Still ‘polishing’ talk if that’s the right word! lok2t lovelies!!!!

August 8th: not many a day without a Honey-buzzard and today had a female out over a stubble field at Tadcaster SE, North Yorkshire, S of York, hunting in flap-flap-glide mode; everything was up in the area at 13:30. Some definite signs of emigration from BirdGuides in last 2 days with birds over Kent, presumably males from southern England sites where the young have just fledged.

08/08 11:20 KENT : Honey Buzzard, St. Mary Hoo [S] one circled over Upper Stoke then flew southeast late morning

08/08 09:01 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Dungeness NNR [S] one flew east over trapping area at 06:40; also Whinchat at south end and 2 adult Pomarine Skuas off point (06:40)

08/08 10:56 NORTH YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Nosterfield LNR [S] two reported over ridge near Well; also 2 Ospreys over (10:30)

08/08 09:44 ABERDEENSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Kirkton of Logie Buchan [S] one over this morning

07/08 22:43 KENT : Honey Buzzard, New Romney [S] one flew over this morning

Virgin EC train was again 20 minutes late in arriving and same at destination, with no reservation tickets (printing failure at Aberdeen), no aisle trolley (staff shortage) and a problem with the brakes! Re-nationalise! On plus side, plenty of space for setting up laptop. On a flying visit, for ANPA talk and seeing family! Staying with big sis tonite!! Friday was very memorable, gr8 for my visualisation studies!! Good 2 c the meo today!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 7th: completed compiling bird records for Jordan on BirdTrack, awaiting summary statistics tomorrow. Got some fieldwork in today, making common near Healey from 15:45-18:30 in final check for Woodlark; none seen but plenty of stubble around for them to forage on. Heathland birds comprised just 12 Linnet, 1 Meadow Pipit and 1 Wheatear (juvenile migrant 1  2  3  4  5  6), the last being a migrant. Raptors, in sultry conditions with drizzle from time to time, numbered just 1: an adult female Sparrowhawk out hunting. Butterflies comprised just 4 Meadow Brown but it was great for moths in the still, damp conditions with maybe 10 different types captured on the camera, including 2 Fox Moth larvae 1  2, 2 Northern Spinach 1, 8 Agriphila tristella 1  2, 360 Agriphila straminella 1  2, 2 Stigmella sorbi blotches on rowan 1  2, 6 Rhopobota naevana 1  2, 10 Eupoecilia angustana 1  2. Had dedicated time earlier to lengthy laid-back session at N4c4l where met both J and S. Display of the beauties was brilliant: mgo, mbo, mfso, in order of appearance!! Baby z is looking very bonny: not surprised with what’s to hand!! Made W4ra4s where 8 of us out, the most for quite a while. lok2t beauties!!!!

August 6th: did make the big city where continued research, thinking up some more ideas on allegories; made S4l to get ticket and enjoyed Quayside from 11:30-14:30 with its lovely atmosphere. Have confirmed presence at PP Opening Night Reception! Confirming breeding for the gulls – LBB, Herring, Kittiwake (total 510 birds for last-named, including 508 adult, 1 juvenile, 1 chick) – was expected, but, amazed to see near the Millennium Bridge, 6 Common Gull comprising 4 adult and 2 juvenile; one juvenile could fly reasonably well but the other was a weak flier and was food-begging from an adult, which was helping out! Certainly locally fledged, probably from a factory roof or secluded waste land; juveniles have been seen in early August on Tyneside by me before and DMT at least once (I believe); could be 2 pairs raising one young each. Total for Quayside was 9 species. Came back to Prudhoe where made another attempt on Hyons Wood for Honey-buzzard from 15:20-17:10 in sunny, mild weather with moderate W breeze. It wasn’t successful in this respect but did get a male Honey-buzzard soaring up high from Dukeshagg at 16:10 and moving E to forage. Just 12 species were noted in Hyons Wood itself. At 16:25 2 Common Buzzard (adult, juvenile) were up over Leadgate on the county boundary with Durham for a bit of flying practice. From 16:28-16:35 at least 2 Red Kite were up over the copse W of Hedley, including an adult and juvenile up together for practice at hanging in the breeze. A Kestrel juvenile was up at the same spot at 16:45. So that’s 6 raptors of 4 types: 2 Red Kite, 2 Common Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Honey-buzzard, but still failed to connect at Hyons Wood with Honey-buzzard; beginning to think they’ve moved! Back for grass cutting. Out later to 2xB4g4s; they don’t stay open late – their clientele like an early start! Amazing end to day as everything comes to a close: lok2tmgo!!!!

August 5th: for Bonelli’s Eagle at Mukawir, Jordan, on 21/7, here’s clip with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17 and stills taken directly 18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32. Will show some more shots of Mukawir, including ones of historical interest! Might even get around to putting up some shots of Petra! Did quite a lot on ANPA paper today, getting into last section; whatever suspect there’ll be quite a lot of last minute activity! Made N4c4t where met S for 1st time for ages; G4g4ss was very sociable with B4t and gang of 8 4s!! Weather was a bit damp still; may get a full day out in the field on Friday with N4c4l in between sessions. An enormous moth hatch was in progress and Nightjar were conspicuous with singles hawking over road around 23:45 at Hexham Loughbrow and Ordley. 2moro it’s into unn, diverting to S4l to collect ticket for concert on 24/9 which N wants to go to! Might make N4c4t and out NW for change later!! lok2t beauties!!!!

August 4th: wind up to moderate to fresh today with strong gusts; remained mainly sunny during daytime but a little too strong for raptor display. Went for walk above Bywell on N side from 16:35-17:55: very bracing and confirmed Common Buzzard breeding at Mowden Hall with adult and juvenile up but no other raptors. Total for trip of 9 species was amazingly low, a reflection on the wind and agricultural harvesting. Migrants included 2 Common Gull W and 4 feeding Swift. However, difficult to have a Honey-buzzard free day and on drive to R&C at 20:15 had a male up over a grain field in the process of being harvested near the TR; he wheeled away a little but looked as if he might come back; noted before that Honey-buzzard are attracted to grass- and grain-cutting, presumably because of displacement of insects, grubs and small mammals. He’s my local bird – good to meet again! Earlier met J for good chat at N4c4l: attractions very much on view!! There were 5 of us at R&C where we’re becoming regulars! For 2nd week walked A back to his house as he’s still recuperating. Plenty of action later: could get to like the locals: lok2tmfso!!! 2moro it’s working at home, N4c4t, G4g4ss!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

1st sign of autumn emigration, typically of males after young fledged so id clear-cut; don’t think many will have left northern Britain yet! It’s a sign the season is now becoming quite mature!!

03/08 12:55 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Bough Beech Reservoir [S] one flew west over causeway (12:20)

04/08 17:16 EAST SUSSEX : Honey Buzzard, St. Leonards on Sea [S] one over Markwick Gardens area then departed low and south towards the sea at c.10:12 (10:12)

August 3rd: busy time at R with meeting of Vocational team (not called committees any more) before lunch and presentation on what we’re going to do after lunch! Weather was perfect for raptors – strong sunshine and moderate SW breeze – so got out sharply into the field, making Derwent area from 15:55-18:15. At Wallish Walls (15:55-17:15) had a lot of activity; on arrival and looking towards the Gorge I did wonder whether Honey-buzzard would be about, and from 16:20-16:24 had a female Honey-buzzard keeping fairly low over the trees while circling, clearly out on a foraging expedition; she disappeared from sight on the edge of the moors and didn’t see her again; this is 1st new site of the year! I was here for Red Kite and had 2 juveniles up at 16:29 and 16:33, which photographs showed to be different birds; no adults in view; this is 2nd site (out of 2) to produce 2 juveniles so good breeding season maybe. The 2nd Red Kite juvenile got caught up with a family party of Common Buzzard (1+ adult, 1+ juvenile) and was dive-bombed by the adult but dodged the intended blow very neatly. Onto Ruffside from 17:25-18:15, a known site but not visited properly this year yet; at 17:53 a male Honey-buzzard was seen flying low over the trees towards the site, when he got mixed up with a family party of Common Buzzard (1+ adult, 2+ juvenile); up to 17:58 they circled each other close to the tree-tops before the Honey-buzzard finally flew over the road towards his nest site; Common Buzzard seem a bit wound up at the moment! So total of sites up to 52 now, just 4 short of last year’s. Expect fledging to start in 2 weeks for Honey-buzzard, with their very late breeding cycle; still got to take the strain for a while. A female Hobby was up over the woods to the E of Blanchland village at 17:30 so that makes a pair seen there now this season. Also had 3 Kestrel at 3 sites at Ruffside (adult, 2 juvenile). Total for trip was very satisfactory at 13 raptors of 5 types: 5 Common Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, 2 Honey-buzzard, 2 Red Kite, 1 Hobby. Total for the Derwent over all species was 23 including Willow Warbler (2), Linnet (20), Lapwing (4), Oystercatcher (5), Swift (1 W), Swallow (26), Common Gull (17 adult). ANPA ppt continues to progress: have a decent line through it now! Son is back from Tel Aviv, getting a seat on stand-by only after a suspected terrorist was removed from the queue to board at the last moment! He’s got 69.04% overall (distinction) in his MSc in Computing Science, which he’s taken as a part-time taught course while working at University of Hertfordshire as UCAS data administrator, so that’s another trip coming up in September for the award; highest mark was in databases! Think it’ll be N4c4l and R&C4ra4s 2moro with trip out in afternoon somewhere. May do a trip to Grindon Lough on Thursday evening for roost count, followed by 2xB for a change!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 2nd: landmark day as completed round 1 with 10th site near Swallowship on the Devil’s Water from 14:25-18:10. Weather was damp throughout with more definite rain towards end but there were some warm spells when insects swarmed. Quite a slog in and out with overgrown forest glades on way in and overgrown fields on way out! But very good to keep up the momentum. Another small move of nest was recorded of about 20m to N but Scots Pine was again the tree of choice, with the nest high in the crown overlooking the burn with easy access from the air; some heavy splash (4 lots) was found on edge of the wood and 2 downy feathers were hanging on branches below the nest; decoration of nest was minimal as usual for this pair. In the last 2 weeks before fledging, the adults are pretty flippant about disturbance as the young have enough feathers to keep warm while un-brooded and can look after themselves against most predators (but not Goshawk). So no activity around nest site and it wasn’t until 17:05 that the female was mobbed by 2 angry Crow while returning to the nest. Other raptor was Kestrel with family group of adult female and 2 juveniles close together in NE extreme of Dipton Wood. Today’s big flock was of tits with 67 noted of 4 types, plus a Nuthatch accompanying them: always like to see the tits so well!! Tits comprised 27 Blue, 21 Coal, 11 Long-tailed, 8 Great. Also in total of 16 species had Curlew (1 calling), Swift (1 SW, 4 feeding), Jay (2), Chiffchaff (1 calling). There was 1 dragonfly – Southern Hawker – and 4 types of butterfly: Ringlet (25), Meadow Brown (17), Small Skipper (2), Large White (1). Did make N4c4l where good to meet S again and much later made G4g4s where welcome relaxation after the tough fieldwork!! So can relax a little now until mid-August when Honey-buzzard start to fledge. But will be out still after Red Kite broods and the few Honey-buzzard sites not shown to be occupied yet. A few things need sorting this week!!! Should make the big city on Thursday!! 2moro it’s R @ B at noon for committee meeting, C4c4ll and gentle trip out!! lok2t beauties!!!!

August 1st: catch-up day with much work on ANPA ppt, which is coming into shape, grass cutting and Honey-buzzard records. Did make C4c4l for break: gr8 2 c meo!! Arranged to stay with big sis on way to Portsmouth to see family there and grand-daughter and hope to visit little sis in Devon in September. 2moro may well make N4c4l, followed by site visit 10/10 in round 1, quite a landmark in season, and much later G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 31st: good day out in upper South Tyne with pair of Honey-buzzard and single adult Common Buzzard at Eals site hunting over moor plus 2 Kestrel (adult, juvenile together hovering over high moor) and male Hobby at Parson Shields. Made Eals from 11:50-15:05 and Parson Shields from 15:10-15:35 in cool, dry conditions on a moderate SW breeze with brief sunny intervals. The Honey-buzzard nest, located at the Eals site half way up an oak tree after a bit of effort as 50m to SE of last year’s, was unusual in that it was plastered all over, including the sides and base, with oak and birch sprays. Maybe because conditions are fairly exposed in upper dale-land the birds don’t like to build in the crown but choose a fork or hollow lower down; they then seek to compensate for the lower height by adding more foliage to disguise the nest. The female retreated from the nest to the N, where as so often happens she had 2 noisy Jay for company. At 14:30 the male was seen flying over the South Tyne to E from Softley, coming down in trees c500m to S of site and then giving glimpses as flew below the trees along glades and clearings towards the nest. He’s a new bird for the year, clearly taking advantage of the move out of the Softley pair. Signs at the nest included a piece of wasp comb on the ground, right under the tree, and heavy splash c50m NW of tree, after rain overnight so very recent, plus medium size white down hanging below nest. A large migrant hirundine/Swift feeding flock gathered over what looked like an insect plume (or swarm in David Cameron’s language!) over the Eals site. The flock numbered 61 on arrival (35 House Martin, 15 Swallow, 10 Swift, 1 Sand Martin) but by 14:25 had increased to 125 (60 House Martin, 37 Swallow, 25 Swift, 3 Sand Martin) before declining rapidly to 30 at 14:40 and 10 at 14:55. There were a further 9 Swallow in territory over the Eals village. Did suspect the usual Hobby site at Eals was occupied as while none seen the nesting area was shunned by the feeding flock! Met a Scottish fisherman who was not happy with Goosander numbers on the river (had one family group of 9 redheads) but did say it had been a brilliant year for Swift in Scotland. Suspect the feeding flock was of Scottish breeding birds, many of which come down the N-S channel of the South Tyne on migration. Total for trip was 22 species, including 2 lingering Curlew, 1 singing (migrant) Chiffchaff, family group of 3 Grey Wagtail. Butterflies included Red Admiral (1), Meadow Brown (3), Ringlet (10) but no Purple Hairstreak, even though kept a keen look-out. The male Hobby at Parson Shields was over the lower wood to which suspect the Softley Honey-buzzard have moved; he was in furtive hunting mode. Also had a female Honey-buzzard over the road near Haydon Bridge at 11:30, another new bird for year. Party at Haltwhistle was very relaxed: good to see so many people again!! W4ra4s was also gr8 in that 6 of us were out for the 1st time in a while and did get a bonus!! Had a Nightjar in Dipton Wood at 00:45 (1/8), very close to where seen earlier this season, near triangle, hawking over road. 2moro will make C4c4l and hope for catch-up on ANPA presentation and recent records.

July 30th: had fairly lengthy spell on the Mount at Stocksfield from 12:40-14:55 in a cool NE airstream with sunny intervals. Most activity was to the E for some reason. At 13:20 breeding for Red Kite was confirmed at the Stocksfield garage site with 3 birds (pair adult, 1 juvenile) foraging on the stubble fields on higher ground to S at 13:20; didn’t pick any birds up at Eltringham in the spring so they must have settled down to breed very unobtrusively; anyway that’s very good news! The pair of adult Red Kite was up again at 14:40, hanging at some height over the ridge just S of the garage. The same area also appeals to Honey-buzzard with the Whittle Burn pair appearing to use it for foraging, maybe to avoid tension with the Bywell W and the Wylam N pairs. Thus at 13:32 a male Honey-buzzard flew N along the ridge E of Stocksfield back towards Whittle Burn and at 13:42, immediately after nest relief, the female was moving S, stridently flapping over Merryshields, before coming down to forage in the woods at Eltringham; the male is a new bird for the year. Single Common Buzzard adults were seen soaring over Short Wood E at 13:50 and flying W from Cottagebank at 13:55. Further raptors seen today were a juvenile Common Buzzard up at Linnels Bridge and a juvenile Kestrel on a post at Houtley in the ‘Shire. During the Stocksfield visit some migration was noted with a Lapwing W, 2 Herring Gull adult W, a GBBG adult W and 20 Swallow S (last giving an autumnal feel!). Near end of breeding season for most birds, noted fledged passerines for Blue Tit, Great Tit, Bullfinch, Goldfinch. Total for species was 22, including the raptors in surrounding areas. Butterflies were interesting with Small White (1), Meadow Brown (1), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Green-veined White (2), White Letter Hairstreak (2). Last named is a rarity in NE England and got some close-up photos of the 2 individuals, which will post directly. Incidentally one of my photos of Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary from Kellas last year is being used in the NE Butterfly Report for that year. Quick re-think on RBBP now suggests that should include recent email exchange in Review of Review; highlighting a constructive dialogue should shame other bodies (though doubt it will!). Earlier met P at N4c4c for good crack. Decided to not go out later as like 2 dry days a week and the lively Monday was not that this week. 2moro it’s N4c4c, trip W for site visit 9 and attendance at 25th wedding anniversary celebration in Haltwhistle!! Should make W4ra4s!!

July 29th: back in the field for Honey-buzzard with site visit 8/10 in round 1 to a large wood W of Hexham town from 14:10-16:50. Weather was basically damp with a few more distinct heavy showers. Amazingly rough terrain with ground cratered by tracks of heavy machinery used for partial harvest of timber and then overgrown with vegetation so was difficult judging what lay underneath. But made it without any incidents! Last year’s Honey-buzzard nest was not being used this year, which was not surprising as a little exposed on lower branches of crown. The birds have moved the nest this year 50m to SE into a large Scots Pine with forked trunk, where placed high-up in the crown so not that visible from the ground. One lot of moderately heavy splash was on a bracken leaf right below the nest and a white down feather was hanging on a branch below the nest. Jay alarm calls while examining the nest and a single Honey-buzzard anxiety call (presumed from female) on leaving the site at 15:50 to N boundary were the only indications that the birds were around. Common Buzzard were much less shy with an adult and a juvenile hectoring me for much of the visit. Fledged passerines in total of 22 species included Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Song Thrush, Robin, Wren, Great Spotted Woodpecker. There were 3-4 kills of Woodpigeon on the edge of the Common Buzzard territory, maybe through Sparrowhawk or Goshawk. Butterflies included Meadow Brown (5), Ringlet (1). Normal sociable G4g4ss meeting B 4t and the gang of 8 4s!! 2moro meeting P at N4c4c and not sure about later! In between will be looking for Red Kite in Tyne Valley. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 28th: monsoon continued today with rain most of day; found it quite refreshing after arid Jordan but may be a limit to how long that phase lasts! Did make N4c4t and R @ B for Council meeting. Great to meet the mfso with junior at the former!! Latter lasted 2 hours with quite a lot of work emerging on web pages and as chair of Vocational team (we don’t call them committees anymore!). Had substantive reply from RBBP secretary on coverage cited for Honey-buzzard in recent report of high; he thinks should be reduced to moderate for the 2014 report unless anything unexpected emerges to the contrary so we’re close to agreement. Pleased at constructive and civil discussion between us and will not include under the Review of Review series; will add correspondence somewhere else on the web site. Made R&C with quite a cross-section of computing at unn with M/D/A/W and A’s daughter A! Later concluded unfinished business with the lovely *!!! lok2t beauties!!!

July 27th: made R 4 pep talk by new DG; OK but would have liked a q&a session to air a few issues! Then quick change and dash off to Holy Island for arrival at 15:30 where weather was cool on a NE breeze, with rain at start, stopping later but still cloudy; weather was better than in Hexham though where gloomier and rain heavier. So some coastal birding for a change at Beal and the Snook, seeing waders such as Curlew (10), Oystercatcher (2) and Redshank (14), which breed in the Pennines, and visitors from the N, such as Greenshank (2) and Grey Plover (7). Passerines included a number common inland such as Starling (3 large flocks totalling c300), Meadow Pipit (23), Linnet (9), Goldfinch (5), Skylark (3), but Reed Bunting (8) is much commoner here than in the Pennines. Incomer is Little Egret (4), which has rapidly colonised the county on the coast and a little way inland with coincidentally my first in the NE at Derwenthaugh the evening before. Now if Honey-buzzard had large pink spots, I’m sure the current controversy would not exist! Total was 18 species up to 18:50, not bad for mid-summer on the coast in one area. Then quick g at C&A before making RNS at SMC on the Island, as part of this year’s HI Festival. Impressed that PayPal payment had all been processed efficiently. Think it’s a great idea to have such concerts around the N and in London as well so thought I’d spy!! Star was EG in Mozart’s Flute Quartet: very impressive, improved since the Liverpool days!! Thought she and JC did the chat well, which is essential in such a setting! The Dohnányi piece Serenade for String Trio went down well with the audience and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet completed the proceedings. All in all very glad I went and sure that having top-line professionals play in exciting settings around the N is to be encouraged. Checked out with another g in C&A, getting across the Causeway, well before Cinderella time, for another rendezvous, which was also brilliant!!! lok2t beauties!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4t, R @ B4cncl and maybe a g later somewhere!!

July 26th: breakfast in Amman, lunch over Turkey and welcome g @ G with P near closing time! Stand-by’s rarely a doddle but getting used to it; on arrival 80 minutes before take-off at 09:50 told economy sold out and club down to 6 left with 1 stand-by passenger, a BA cabin crew, ahead of me! After a bit of shuffling – BA crew into club and a few upgrades – given 20 min later an economy boarding card so very pleased with that! We arrived just about on time at LHR at 14:50 but passport queues were long and got into KX via the Picc UG at 16:50 just in time for 17:00 to Edinburgh, which connects with the final train of day 20:15 NCL-CORB. So that looked pretty good except 17:00 left KX 28 min late; fortunately it made up some time arriving in NCL at 20:05, leaving time for seeing Cleo before making G!! She was very pleased to see me though keeps interspersing purrs with growls so suspect she’s really a little cross with my absences. Next trip is mid-August for ANPA near Portsmouth! Did quite a lot on the presentation today, destroying allegories, pushing pasted pullbacks. 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l and trip to Holy Island for birdwatching and concert, where really looking forward to supporting the RNS! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 25th: went to Amman’s Jordan Museum in morning; it was very well organised in time-lines showing progress from earliest presence of humans on planet through to Greeks, Nebataean Arabs, Romans and Byzantines. Some very attractive Arab students were in attendance!! It was again very hot, up to 37C with typical humidity for trip of 15%, which at least means you can cool down by sweating! Had long lunch at café on Rainbow Street, one of more select streets in west Amman. Then back to our hotel for supper and quite a lot of wine (St George Red) on the roof terrace. While up there had some great raptor spectacles in early evening. All Feral Pigeon were up near Amphitheatre at 18:30 flying around in restless behaviour, some going high and some weaving and diving closer to the buildings. A male Barbary Falcon was seen at height watching, or more accurately, driving the action; at 18:45 at considerable height he attacked a group of 8 Feral Pigeon, striking one which fell out of the flock and was caught by him and carried off. A little later around 19:00; all feral pigeons were up to S with a quick strike by a female Barbary Falcon following at 19:05 much lower down near the buildings resulting in a 2nd kill. More Feral Pigeon alarm action followed up to dusk but no further strikes were seen. Behaviour suggests at least one pair of Barbary Falcon in area, probably with fledged young, which are placing high demands on parents in delivery of food. An amazing display, rivalling the Bonelli’s Eagle family party seen earlier. Early start in morning 2moro with 2 travelling mates on to Tel Aviv, Israel!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Species total for birds is now 50, including 7 types of raptor: Bonelli’s Eagle 4, Common Kestrel 4, Barbary Falcon 3, Sooty Falcon 2, Griffon Vulture 1, Black Kite 1, Sparrowhawk 1 (16 individuals).

July 24th: came back on Desert Highway in morning from Petra to Amman: much faster road than more leisurely drive down on 22/7. Road surface was mixed with smooth patches interspersed by worn sections, right down to the desert underneath. But we made it and dropped car off, or rather they collected it from our latest hotel, what might be called a backpackers’ but it’s really the friendly Amman Pasha Hotel where we had some very good fare, both in the Arabian Lounge and on the marvellous roof terrace, with great views over the city. Very hot again, up to 36C, with some spectacular dust devils on the Desert Highway! Added some species to list on road on way N with Isabelline Wheatear, White-crowned Wheatear and Spotted Sandgrouse. This brings bird species total to 50. A Sooty Falcon perched on a bush NE of Petra, bringing its total to 2. Funds down again last week by 5k with commodities well to the fore in worrying slump in all raw material prices: have substantially reduced mining exposure to 45k which means outstanding risk is very small. Really think that commodity producers need to stop race to bottom and cut production otherwise another spell of deflation follows for which personally all geared up with lots of high-yielding fixed-interest. Problem is of course that the mining groups are in entrenched warfare which means no-one will start the cutbacks! From shareholders’ viewpoint, grandiose mining (and oil) leaders should be shot! Might linger in Amman a little but return is not so far off!! lok2t beauties!!!

July 23rd: we did justice to the marvellous remains of the Nebataean’s at Petra, getting up early at 06:00 and touring the site from 07:30-13:30 in hot sunshine at 35C. We climbed up to the High Place of Sacrifice which gave great views over the whole of the large complex and also walked down the old main street via the Amphitheatre to the Museum. Site was quite quiet from visitor point of view: it’s low season and people are giving the Middle East a miss. Had a bit of hassle, particularly from one donkey-ride seller who behaved a bit like a Komodo Dragon, following us round waiting for us to wilt – but we didn’t! All in all, a very impressive site. We went to the Cave again for bbq for the evening meal in the oldest pub in the world (so claimed; W might be older!). No raptors at all in the last 2 days: maybe too hot! But total of all bird species is now 47, including Syrian Serin and Sinai Rosefinch, 2 local specialities of the finch family. Looking forward to return and seeing the lovelies again!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 22nd: hot drive from Madaba to Petra in our hired Micra; Sean’s doing the driving, quite specialised skills required; indeed makes Hexham drivers look like the most disciplined on the planet! Journey was 350km and took most of day but we did visit Mujib Wadi (gorge), Karak Castle of the Crusades fame, where we had lunch, and Dana viewpoint, overlooking Dana Wadi. Petra’s a very interesting town, set at the start of the mountains as move S, at 810m asl. We’re staying at Petra Moon Hotel, which is very comfortable, almost luxurious! We had a good meal and a couple of bevvies at the Cave, actually a tomb 2k years old! Target 2moro is big tour of the site. Petra is of course best known as the setting for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, starring Sean Connery and Harrison Ford!! The final scene when everything falls down was of course done in the studio to avoid damage to one of the 7 wonders of the modern world. Hope the beauties are keeping fit: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 21st: not quite so hot today with bit more of a breeze, but still up to 34C (93F). We went to a fantastic place Mukawir, the site of the decapitation of John the Baptist at the request of Salome, in return for performing the dance of the 7 veils for her father King Herod! The site is up in the mountains, overlooking the Dead Sea. Here had 4 species of Lark (Hoopoe, Crested, Desert, Lesser Short-toed), Morning Wheatear, Great Grey Shrike, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Tristram’s Starling, Scrub Warbler. Raptors included a juvenile Common Kestrel and an incredible family group of 4 Bonelli’s Eagle around a shaded crag; latter must be a very rare sight indeed; got some stills and also some video. Sean saw 1st an adult Bonelli’s Eagle flying fast over a hillside to N; as the bird came closer to Mukawir site it was joined by a 2nd bird, another adult and they had a brief display together. When much closer to us, just to the N, they glided down towards a shady crag and roused 2 juveniles into flight. For 5 minutes, all 4 birds flew around the crag, the adults showing moult in their remiges while the juveniles had remiges complete. Came back to a leisurely afternoon at the Hotel Mariam’s pool and bit of a catch-up on records. Then out to Haret Jdoudna for 3rd nite in a row: nothing like being adventurous but it’s very good value. 2moro we’re off to Petra, the principal focus of trip, so going S into the real desert with 38-40C forecast! If you like it hot, this is a brilliant trip – sure someone very fanciable would agree!!! lok2tmbo!!!!

Species total for birds is now 39, including 7 types of raptor: Bonelli’s Eagle 4, Common Kestrel 4, Griffon Vulture 1, Black Kite 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Barbary Falcon 1, Sooty Falcon 1 (13 individuals).

July 20th: pretty warm today up to 39C (102F) but surviving well with plenty of drink and low humidity. Went to Jarash, one of largest Roman remain sites in the world, even bigger than Housesteads and with massive columns standing which we may find difficult to emulate! It was all very impressive and we were there from 10:15-13:00 in incredible heat. Had a juvenile male Sparrowhawk on W bypass of Amman and a Black Kite floating over Jarash town. We moved on to Ajloun Forest Reserve, a long shot for (Crested) Honey-buzzard with its protected status and its evergreen oak woods; Well we had a quick lap of the forest from 13:35-14:50 but didn’t see any! Did though have a Griffon Vulture gliding well to E, including a quick deep wing-dip, followed shortly by a Barbary Falcon on the same route. Forest was in good condition with Bee-eater (6, including family group), Jay (feathers), Wren (calling) and Eastern Orphean Warbler (calling) main occupants, it appears! Went back to Madaba via the Jordan River where picked up a total of 6 Dead Sea Sparrow, at damp sites N and S of Ash Shuna.

July 19th: busy cultural morning in Madaba making a number of early Christian churches and other remains from around 600 AD or later: Shrine of the Beheading of St John the Baptist (opera Salome, Richard Strauss), St George’s Mosaic Map Church, Archaeological Park, plus Memorial of Moses (where he died), Mount Nebo. We drove down to Dead Sea from Mount Nebo, not far from Israel. Weather was fantastic, rising to 37C without a cloud in the sky on a light W breeze. Wildlife was a little flattened by the strong sunshine but did make 16 species, including a Common Kestrel female at Samarah, flying over lowland cultivated vegetation, and a Sooty Falcon nearby sitting and looking very focused on top of a bush in a more arid area. Also had Brown Necked Raven (1), Rock Martin (3), Roller (1), Laughing Dove (13), Collared Dove (1), Turtle Dove (2), Feral Pigeon (10), White Spectacled-Bulbul (1) , House Sparrow (30), Spanish Sparrow (4), Greenfinch (6), Masked Shrike (2), Calandra Lark (1), Hoopoe Lark (1). Evidently season is very quiet, even allowing for normal downtown in hottest part of year. 2moro it’s forecast to be hotter at 39C (102F) before turning a little cooler. Had fantastic evening meal at Haret Jdoudna, an authentic Arab restaurant in centre of Madaba, where had a series of Mezza (like tapas) plus lentil soup as starter and with local red wine to wash it all down well. lok2t beauties!!!!

July 18th: well we’re here, making Amman at 22:15 after 5 hour flight from LHR; tense standby boarding with 2 obvious unbooked places going to BA staff but at 14:15, 25 minutes before scheduled departure and 55 minutes before actual departure, announced that accepted in place of 2 no-shows! Sat next to a completely out-of-order lady, insulting everyone: makes a nice story that my stand-by place was her late partner! However, don’t really know but offered witness statement to cabin crew if needed! Think she’d had a couple!! Wrote 10 slides of ANPA talk so journey not wasted. Got taxi to Mariam Hotel, Madaba, where met 3rd member of group Sean, for lengthy induction on balcony drinking Jordanian Shiraz!

July 17th: started journey, hopefully to Jordan, but may be just to Ealing and LHR! Plane looks almost full tomorrow but better for Sunday and Sunday coming back. Virgin EC weren’t particularly good with 15:00 to KX 25 minutes late at Newcastle; LUG was smooth getting through on PL very quickly to Ealing, where staying overnight with big sis: we had good catch up! Funds down 5k on week, including 1.3k withdrawal, as risk-off persists in spite of pending Greek bail-out deal. Mining totally out of favour as Chinese position thought to be bad; pt fell below $1000 an ounce today but no holdings in pt miners now, exiting with overall loss of 6k.

July 16th: another grand day with long spells of sunshine, sometimes veiled, on light SW breeze. Did masses of ‘gardening’: cutting grass, trimming edges, trimming roadside verge, trimming gateway at back, collecting more scrap from a pony shelter for bin. Also got out on flat roof to secure drainpipe. Did make N4c4l where good crack with J and BH4ra4s for lively restitution on a couple of stout! Sent off 2-page letter, by email, to RBBP on status for coverage of Honey-buzzard; will report back, probably as Part 7 of Review of Review! Part 8 is more than a twinkle in my eye: disturbance permits! In the temperate jungle of the E: aqotef!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

July 15th: beautiful day for raptors with strong sunshine, good visibility and light W breeze. Got close to nailing 1st part of season with trip up East Allen from 14:05-16:35, raising total for sites occupied to 50. Started at Sinderhope where no birds on 1st attempt; today waited 30 minutes and there was a male Honey-buzzard up briefly over some recently cut hay meadows at 14:35; he quickly disappeared on some gunshots; don’t think they were aimed at him but Honey-buzzard do quickly leave the sky if they feel threatened. Main business of afternoon was at Byerhope, near Allenheads, from 14:50-16:35. At 15:57 a female Honey-buzzard was noted hanging over the moor, obviously in foraging mode. A Common Buzzard got up to intercept her and they had a little skirmish with the Honey-buzzard keeping on top in the sky (keeping the upper hand!); they both went back towards the big wood after this so nobody won! Other raptors were 3 Kestrel at Sinderhope (adult male, 2 juvenile) and 2 Kestrel at Byerhope (adult female, juvenile). Still some waders around, totalling 19 birds of 4 types: 7 Curlew (5 moving off moors to W at Byerhope), 6 Lapwing (3 moving off moors to W at Byerhope), 5 Oystercatcher, 1 Golden Plover. Of interest were 2 Twite flying overhead as singles and 2 Wigeon (pair) coming off moors to SE and moving N down Allen. One noisy brood of 6+ Red Grouse was noted. Insects included a Northern Eggar, 11 Small Heath, 4 Green-veined White, 1 Ringlet, 1 Meadow Brown, 1 Chimney Sweeper, 2 Small Argent & Sable. Back too late for coffee but did make G4g4ss where lots of good company! Funds showing a small fall as continue to exit mining stocks (only 52k left now) and bonds rise to 75% of total; have adopted a more defensive approach in view of prevailing risk-off attitude. Can’t believe €:£ is 1.429 tonight; we can’t compete at that rate! 2moro it’s a getting straight day but should find time for N4c4l and BH4ra4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

July 14th: a gloomy morning was followed at lunch-time by a dramatic transformation with the sunshine breaking through and temperatures rising rapidly. Had long field-trip at main Allen from 15:45-20:05 with energetic walk in and out. On entering the site for visit 7/10 at 18:06 there were tremendous anger calls from a Crow indicating the sitting bird had fled into the Crow’s territory. These calls continued until 19:00 when back on the rock above the site. The Honey-buzzard nest is a re-use of last year’s in a Norway Spruce, with the bulky nest just below the crown on a side branch. The rims of the nest were covered with fresh twigs. Below the nest on the ground were 2 small white down feathers and 3 eaten-out Woodpigeon eggs. Another small white down was caught on a branch below the nest. On the immediate edge of the wood there was much splash. On re-entering the rough meadow at 19:34 the female Honey-buzzard was flushed from a corner and flew close right over my head, back to the nest where the Crows had another go! She was a 3cy bird with residual yellow markings on her cere, evenly barred tail but sparse, broad markings on her remiges. Her plumage was a warm brick red with no breast band. Structurally she showed the long, narrow tail so characteristic of the species. Here’s some piccies of the bird 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13 and its feeding habitat 1. Got lots of piccies in the end, a typical haul of 135 for the trip: the camera had refused to take pictures earlier which was a worry as rely on it for documenting everything; after a while of leaving it out in the sun, it suddenly started working again; think it was suffering from damp! Also had 3 Common Buzzard at 2 sites (Staward S 1 bird, Staward N 2 birds total, 1 calling when making visit, then later 2 adult up in air, presumed including the calling bird), a Kingfisher, a Woodcock, 1 Redstart juvenile, 10 Meadow Pipit, 8 Sand Martin, 2 Curlew. Butterflies included 1 Purple Hairstreak on oaks in the gorge near the rock, plus Meadow Brown (6), Ringlet (3), Red Admiral (3). More to follow …. Did arrive at N4c4l but moved with J to C4c4l as q too long! Had good crack with M at T&S4ra4s! Moved S 2 c the fanciable 1: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it’s a trip up the Allen to the higher parts looking for new sites for the year! Should be at N4c4t and G4g4ss!!

July 13th: pretty gloomy day weather-wise so no fieldwork again. Have almost finished compiling Isle of Wight trip records, now on those made in transit: all very interesting, particularly the raptors and Raven; there were far fewer seabirds than expected, maybe because it was in between passage times. So someone hasn’t disappeared: very welcome sight!!! lok2t beauties!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4l and T&S4ra4s with fieldwork in between on drier weather (I hope!).

July 12th: no fieldwork today, although quite sunny; did a lot of ‘gardening’, added YEDT 2015 piccies to R web page and drafted Review of Review part 7 on the recent RBBP report on Honey-buzzard (BB 108(7) 389-390 (2015)); will email 2-page document querying high coverage status to the Secretary of RBBP directly! Did make N4c4t where good to meet s and G4g4s where P was back from a wet cruise up the Norway coast; weather was the gripe, didn’t get on to btl! Nite finished brilliantly with the lovely *: lok2tmgo!!!! 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l and catch-up on records. lok2t beauties!!!!

July 11th: a mainly cloudy day after bright start but remained dry and mild. Did site visit 6/10, making local site in the ‘Shire from 17:15-19:00. This involves crossing a burn, which was higher than usual through recent heavy showers and Wednesday’s downpour. As no flash flooding looked likely, decided it was OK though it was almost over top of my knee-length wellies and the base of the burn is quite slippery so use walking poles to prod the bottom and keep balance. As soon as clambered up bank there was the male Honey-buzzard doing a quick circuit of the narrow clearing before drifting off to SW, away from usual nest site. As approached nest he gave 3 series of fluted anxiety calls, very clear and not that alarmed. He was seen through the trees shortly after, circling and keeping an eye on me. Nest was in Norway Spruce, high up and a re-use of last year’s, with the rims full of twigs and some sprays. The nest was more advanced than others visited with small amounts of down caught on branches below the nest and 2 small white feathers (down, tarsal) on bracken below, together with 2 recent medium-sized patches of splash very close to nest-tree on bracken. An enormous Wood Ant nest was close to the nest-tree on the ground: they’ll scour anything pretty quickly. A Common Buzzard juvenile was calling on the edge of the site and actually landed in trees in view at one point. Incidentally have given up walking poles except for very rough terrain: think it’s best to use what you’re born with! Also in total of 16 species had 2 Grey Wagtail juveniles feeding on the Devil’s Water, parties of 10 Coal Tit and 4 Goldcrest including juveniles, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Tree Sparrow. Did make C4c4l where had long read of FT: basically China’s had it for a while and Greece’s too small to matter in anything but very short run. So sell commodities and buy € stocks is their message! IHT change is very beneficial (for descendants!) even without a London-priced house: for instance 1,000k assets is tax-free for a ‘couple’ with direct descendants having a 400k house and 600k other assets from 2017; don’t think George made that clear in his speech (he’s a wily politician!). Will be interested to chat with someone about btl changes 2moro! Make good progress on another round of grass cutting. May do another site visit on Sunday and should make N4c4t and G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 10th: a steamy day with plenty of warm sunshine on light W breeze, dry until late in evening. Hay fever is bad at moment; can’t go anywhere near my field! Today was scheduled as Woodlark day with visits to the common in the Healey area from 17:25-19:20 where found a song-flighting bird on 8/6 and to the NE end of Slaley Forest where have had a bird in the autumn. Very exciting result with 4 birds of which 2 adults perched on gorse 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13 and 2 juveniles in close-up flight 14  15  16, presumably fledged from 1st brood with 2nd brood still underway, though timing of broods this far N is uncertain; will make another visit shortly. None were found in the forest; habitat in former is probably better with light grazing by cattle until recently; the forest is ungrazed except by deer and rabbits. So this is 1st confirmed breeding in NE England for Woodlark, extending its range northwards from Yorkshire. Also near Healey in total of 15 species had Linnet (17), Yellowhammer (8), Meadow Pipit (5), Tree Pipit (1, singing). Butterflies included Meadow Brown (4), Ringlet (3), Small Heath (14). The Slaley Forest site was also to be checked for Honey-buzzard and driving in at 19:30 to the car-park was greeted by 2 demented Crow flying round and round, calling all the time. At 19:33 a Honey-buzzard called from the area they were threatening with an anxiety call; such calls are mainly given at the nest but can be given when under severe mobbing pressure elsewhere; taken as a female but rather arbitrary in this case. So this was one of the shortest waiting times of the season. Plenty to analyse – dramatic time for wildlife moving N! Funds stabilised this week, even managing a small gain of a few hundred, to make it +42k on year. Collapse in some pt shares today meant that would have lost a further 4k if had held on to them. Have to be ruthless if assets become non-performing! Bonds now up to a little over 70% of total on likely re-emergence of deflation fears; petrol should become a little cheaper again! Made N4c4l for chat with J where plenty of bonny lasses on view!! Later it was W4ra4s with 4 of us out for catch-up! 2moro expect to make C4c4l followed by another nest visit. lok2t beauties!!!!

July 9th: grand day with plenty of sunshine on light W breeze. Busy day in Derwent area, out from 12:40-17:45 in the field at Kellas N and Minsteracres. Did site visit 5 at Kellas, finding nest in Scots Pine c20m from last year’s; this pair seem to change nest every year but don’t go far; there was some splash 10m from nest on E side which must be fresh after yesterday’s heavy rain; the female was flushed off the nest at some distance and flew into the territory of an angry Crow. So that’s ½ the site visits done – reducing number visited to 10 this year because of coming-up study of Honey-buzzard in the Middle East! Common Buzzard totalled 2+ with both juvenile hunger cries and adult calls heard when in wood. There were still plenty of warblers around with 6 Chiffchaff (all singing), 8 Willow Warbler (none singing, some juveniles), 3 Garden Warbler (all singing), plus 2 Green Woodpecker, 5 Bullfinch. Butterflies were the stars, getting 9 types, including Dark Green Fritillary (11), Speckled Wood (6), Ringlet (82), Large Skipper (12), Small Skipper (1), Common Blue (4), Small Heath (22), Green-veined White (3), Red Admiral (3). Also had 2 types of dragonfly – pair of mating Golden-ringed Dragonfly, 1 Common Darter; moths included Wood Tiger (1), Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet (pair mating), Bordered White (18), Silver Y (1). On to Minsteracres W, which had not checked prior to today, and waited just 18 minutes for a male Honey-buzzard to fly along the edge of a wood at 16:58; he was heavily mobbed by 4 Crow and 2 strident Common Buzzard were also in the area, doing the diving display often used to entertain the highly-impressionable youngsters in the nest! So the Honey-buzzard left to the W at low altitude, going on a foraging trip. This raises sites found occupied to 47. At Kiln Pit Hill had 2 Raven together looking in territory and a female Sparrowhawk flying into a conifer wood, carrying some prey. There was significant movement of Common Gull 1s towards Derwent Reservoir with groups of 21 at 16:45 and 5 at 17:20. Added a Small Tortoiseshell to butterfly list, making 10 species for the trip. Missing concerts at S with favoured player: received PP card today: looking forward to HI concert on 27/7!! Made BH4ra4s where continued sampling the stouts! Sadly aqotef: she’s just walked out of my life!! Had 2 Nightjar hawking over road on return around 00:15 (10/7), one E of Dipton Wood, other over Linnels Bridge. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 8th: wet today as forecast, no fieldwork. Keeping records up to date for July and am 92nd in country on BirdTrack entries; do get the impression I’m out a lot! Made G4g4ss where met many mates!! Sadly away match didn’t go too well but home match was brilliant: lok2tmno!!!! Funds have stabilised, unchanged, although markets continue to fall; have offloaded 65k of pt miners this week reducing mining funds to 75k, lowest for a long time, after China seems to be falling apart! Have only 16k left in pt with running overall loss of 3k so no real damage down, except put a lot of effort into working on a turnaround, which never happened. Basically the turnaround will now happen when much of the RSA pt industry goes bust, generating a massive deficit! With commodity prices weak again, inflation looks very unlikely to take off so bonds back in favour, holding 69% of funds. €reit rising a bit this week as Sunday looks like Grexit resolution day, one way or t’other! Thought budget was good – pleased to see rather smug btl landlords limited to 20% tax relief, the same as a corporation, rather than their personal rate, which could effectively halve their mortgage rate and give 1st time buyers a very hard time in competing. Weather looks better 2moro so maybe out to Derwent!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 7th: weather was mainly cloudy on moderate SW breeze and fairly cool. Decided to skip Big Bang (rival to YEDT) as more time needed on the raptors with another wet day forecast for Wednesday. Made Tyne Valley E from 14:15-18:35, doing site visit 4 to a large wood near Wylam. Birds have been obliging re-using last year’s nest in Scots Pine, with usual build-up of fresh twigs and sprays of oak on the rim. Birds kept a low profile with presumed female giving a few anxiety calls as she retreated into the company of a few Crow on the N side at 15:30; 2 agitated Jay were also in the area. There were no signs around the nest except for a lump of waxy comb on the edge. On to Newburn Riverside Park from 17:30-18:35 for look at the site closest to Newcastle. The woodland at Ryton and the surrounding pastures and meadows look ideal for Honey-buzzard and they don’t seem to mind nesting close to houses as found in Liège in Belgium. At 18:15 a female Honey-buzzard was seen well to N over pasture on E side of Heddon. She drifted back towards Ryton, losing height slowly, before coming down quickly over woodland on E side of the Willows; here she gave the impression of coming down in the trees on E side but she could be glimpsed below canopy level moving W, eventually coming down to NW of church steeple – very cunning! Very pleased with this sighting: confirms what’s going on at this far E frontier of the study area, raises number of sites for year to 46 and reduces outstanding sites in Tyne Valley E to 1. Areas covered well to date are: Devil’s Water 6/6, Tyne Valley W 7/7, Upper South Tyne 6/6, Tyne Valley E 6/7, Lower South Tyne 8/9, Tipalt 3/4. Less well-covered are: Allen 6/9, Derwent 4/8. Next visit should be to Derwent! Further records today in total of 17 species of birds included a Common Gull at Wylam: 1st returning migrant adult of autumn, moving W, a Mallard female with 6 small ducklings on Tyne, at Wylam, 12 Coal Tit and 4 Chiffchaff (family group). A Common Darter dragonfly was in a glade. Made N4c4l for good crack with J/C/S!! Bit of a rush to make R&C4ra at 20:30 with A/B! Well if cannot admire her somewhere else, need to adapt!!! lok2tmfso!!!!

July 6th: made R for President change-over, all very smooth (as you’d expect!). Made C4c4ll for desert as don’t get one at B; B getting some good coach parties at moment, arriving on Sunday, normally quietest end of week, and staying 4-5 nights with a trip each day around the area. Very pleased to see the mmo: looking good!! Compiled a lot of data in evening. For topos paper made some amendments suggested by M and agreed with editor: Formal Natural Philosophy: Top-Down Design for Information & Communication Technologies with Category Theory, Nick Rossiter & Michael Heather, accepted ANPA Proceedings 2014 45pp (2015) pdf. Now for allegorical 2015 paper! Here’s 2 very recent piccies 1  2 of granddaughter: isn’t she bonny!! Paid air fare LHR-AMM; cost £215 return as on stand-by with ticket bought through VS. 2moro’s a little uncertain: may go to Big Bang at unn, followed by field trip at Wylam and much later trip out to R&C again!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

July 5th: up the Allen from 11:40-16:00 in warm, humid, veiled sunshine on light W breeze; near end the sun became stronger, setting up another fantastic spell of ran and storms in the ‘Shire later. Was hard work raptor-wise with only Kestrel being conspicuous, having a juvenile at Studdon Park, an adult and a juvenile near Watson’s Well on moors to W, and 2 juveniles at Sinderhope S, giving total of 5 (1 adult, 4 juveniles). A female Sparrowhawk was up at Sinderhope S at 15:47 and a female Merlin was hunting over the moor to W of Sinderhope S at 14:30. Did get one Honey-buzzard – a male over moors to W of Studdon Park approaching the site in a power glide at 12:15, before coming down very low and approaching the nest close to the ground, a favourite ploy of the males to avoid detection. A long siege at Sinderhope from 12:40-16:00 didn’t produce any sightings of Honey-buzzard or Common Buzzard: not too unusual in the 1st half of July. So up to 45 sites now. Total for trip was 33 bird species, including late breeding waders: Curlew (5), Snipe (3), Lapwing (3); moorland passerines: Meadow Pipit (40), Skylark (4); plus Swallow (15), Garden Warbler (1). Butterflies comprised 5 types: Small Heath (13), Red Admiral (2), Painted Lady (2), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Green-veined White (4). Moths included Bordered White (1), Silver-ground Carpet (2), Small Argent & Sable (5), Crambus lathoniellus (8), Chimney Sweeper (4), Anthophila fabriciana (9) and masses of Yponomeuta evonymella tents on bird cherry. Leaf mines included 3 blotches of Stigmella sorbi on rowan and 20 of Heterarthrus aceris (Hymenoptera: sawfly) on Sycamore. A Common Hawker dragonfly was hunting near a bridge at Sinderhope. Did make N4c4t and G4g4s: all refreshments very welcome after long session in the field. Grexit looks closer tonight: may give a short, sharp shock which would be better than any more shenanigans!! 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l and C4c4ll!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 4th: after other duties and heavy rain at wrong time, returned to Honey-buzzard today, making visit to site in Tyne Valley W near the railway line from 14:55-18:15 (most walk-in and -out, just 1 hour close to nest). Weather was sunny on moderate W breeze and warm, rather than hot. As entered site a Honey-buzzard was up at 15:48 calling with thin anxiety calls, thought to be the female; at 16:10 angry Crow were heard to the S indicating presence of retreated Honey-buzzard; at 16:11 the male Honey-buzzard flew around the site, coming close to the nest, presumably to warn the small young to keep quiet; state of nest is not known but think may have just hatched, prior to fledging 40 days later in mid-August; he retreated to S again; nest is re-use of last year’s in Scots Pine, built up with small sprays of oak on the sides; there was one pile of heavy splash 5m from tree-trunk holding nest, which must have been deposited today as was very wet last night. A pair of very angry Common Buzzard were roused at one stage in visit around 16:40; they nest perhaps 250m apart from the Honey-buzzard. Also had 1 Red Kite up N of A69 from Styford at Newton W at 17:20, mobbed by a Jackdaw; it came back to ground before briefly rearing up again. Total for birds was 17 species, including Chiffchaff (5 singing), Treecreeper (1 singing, not seen for a while), Coal Tit (10, some fledged), Bullfinch (1). Lots of insects of many types were present, including an influx of Red Admiral (4). Other butterflies were Speckled Wood (8), Small Tortoiseshell (3), Green-veined White (3), Ringlet (1). Many moths at all stages were also photographed. On way to C4c4l good to see the meo again!! Watched the ladies’ football again: 1st defeat of Germany at 21st attempt and bronze medal was brilliant outcome! May watch the final tomorrow (USA v Japan). 2moro fieldwork will be brought earlier as more rain coming in mid-afternoon; going up Allen to look for some new sites for year. Should make N4c4t and G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

July 3rd: well the Wagner was fantastic: Opera North put on a really great staged performance of the Flying Dutchman; it’s only 2.5 hours but there’s no break so the build-up of tension is amazing. Although I’ve seen all of Wagner’s operas many times I still learn something each time: maybe today Wagner’s obsession with fate as in the Flying Dutchman’s destiny or the Ring’s ill-fortune as elsewhere! N was very impressed but does clearly have worries about my character in being so enthusiastic: the music’s so dark and ominous! Senta was sung in great Wagnerian style by Alwyn Mellor, who not surprisingly is a regular Brünnhilde; the Flying Dutchman himself (Béla Perencz) was so much in the dour part that he clearly found it difficult to raise a smile in the enthusiastic applause at the end. Always love to see the orchestra on the stage and they did a grand job, including the horns which as usual in Wagner operas had a lot of challenges. Made BH4ra4s where a bit of a session before inspired visit a little to W quite late-on: a very fitting sequel indeed to the evening: lok2tmbo!!!! Earlier KW turned up at 14:30 to replace all 4 tyres for £190; feel happier now in the summer downpours! Terrible week on markets with the Greek tragedy though China tragedy (stock market crash) also played a part. Main ftse index fell 2.6% and my funds fell 1.4%, amounting to a loss of 12k, the worst absolute loss for 2 years. Still up 41k on year, while main indexes are now flat on year. Mining shares were hammered by the Chinese sell-off and €reit lost a bit with the unstable situation in Greece. Sitting it out: Chinese situation is a consequence of wild speculation in the last few months and Greece is not as important as some people seem to think! Whatever think another difficult week is coming before sentiment has a chance to improve. Made another quick visit to Hyons Wood from 16:30-16:45 and had singing Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat but no raptors. Did though have a juvenile Kestrel flying off from the Hilton on Quayside at 19:00.

July 2nd: was judge today at YEDT, heading 1 of the 3 teams; very pleasant duty as standards good and students engaging! Good to meet EG again and K from unn as fellow judges! Whole day went off well and a credit to all involved. Made N4c4t where gr8 to meet the mfso again and wee junior z!! Rain came on in evening, after fine day when in ncl, so no fieldwork today. Spent evening consolidating work on Freyd’s TABLE, which is fairly impenetrable in the way he presents it but looks good for databases. 2moro having 4 new tyres fitted to Fox by mobile KF unit at home; will be interested to see how it works out. Evening sees with N MP4m4t and the Flying Dutchman at S by the great one!! Will make BH4ra4s off last train!! lok2t beauties!!!!

July 1st: another hot day, making according to the iPhone app 27C in Hexham, where it was sultry but dry at tea-time. Went E today and was on the edge of a massive thunderstorm to the E with very dark sky and lots of lightning and distant thunder; here’s a piccie and a clip, both taken at 15:58. Started with trip to Throckley N where in very strong thermals from 12:10-13:45 had all sorts up in the air, including 2 Red Kite (pair, in territory), 2 Common Buzzard (in territory, 1 bird in flap-flap-glide), 1 Hobby male (up at start of visit, mobbing larger raptors), 2 Sparrowhawk (pair mobbing larger raptors) and a pair of Honey-buzzard. Had both female and male Honey-buzzard up over the main wood, but not together, suggesting either a partial clutch or very recent completion of clutch as they’re not usually so visible; this far E, lateness of laying is similar to that for pairs on the high moors, maybe because of the cool North Sea; the male flew off to SE at 13:10 on a foraging trip; there was one circling incident (stand-off) between female Honey-buzzard and a Common Buzzard which was inconclusive. So that’s 5 types of raptor, which is brilliant but that was it for the day. Made Hyons Wood on 2nd visit this season from 14:00-16:15 but again no sightings; either they’ve moved or sitting tight, maybe both! But weather for raptors was deteriorating as afternoon moved on with less sun, sultry heat and thunderstorms gathering. It was very good for insects though with 8 types of butterfly: Speckled Wood, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Ringlet, Small Skipper, Green-veined White, Common Blue, plus at least 6 types of moth. So looks good for insectivores! Total for trip W was 32 species, including 5 species of warbler: Chiffchaff (1), Garden Warbler (4), Willow Warbler (8), Whitethroat (1), Lesser Whitethroat (1, at Hyons Wood). Back to G4g4t where had good crack with B. Not out later as into Discovery Museum tomorrow for early start at R’s YEDT. Should be back for N4c4t and much later maybe BH4ra4s!! Funds off significantly this week as investors unnerved by Greek tragedy: herd instinct is very strong: I’m just sitting tight! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 30th: very hot today, up to around 25-26C. After leisurely N4c4l with J and intriguing encounter with the meo, concentrated on inputting data and starting to write up last Thursday’s efforts on allegories. With 19 visits input to BirdTrack this month, ranked 179 in whole country for effort; still some data to input from IoW and last few days in study area. Made R&C4ra4s with computing gang from unn of M/D/A; no sign of the committee of the co-operative! Finished off in more familiar territory of G4g4s!! Sweet dreams tonite: she’s lovely: lok2tmgo!!!!

June 29th: kept the pressure up on the Honey-buzzard with 2nd site visit up the Allen from 13:45-16:45. It was humid and mild on a moderate W breeze, the last perhaps leading to not as many insects as expected. All went well with the nest a re-build of last year’s in oak with some pretty oak spray decoration on the sides! As entered site at 14:02 had a Crow calling from woods to N, indicating where the sitting bird had gone. Waited a little over 30 minutes and male came floating over at moderate altitude at 14:35, looking for me; it’s a good idea to hide a bit as that forces them to look a bit harder! Assumption is the male was the sitting bird. At 15:00 as left a Crow went berserk on E of site, suggesting location of watching male. Moved on to Whitfield Monk where in the space of a few minutes had a male Hobby flying pass at at speed at 16:08 and a female Honey-buzzard first seen at some height at 16:10 and then hanging at great height over the nest site and the containing ridge until at least 16:20 when lost to sight in the haze. So added 2 new sites for the year, taking total to 43! Also had a family party of Kestrel at Monk (pair, 1 juvenile) and a juvenile Kestrel hovering near Snape at 16:55, plus 2 Common Buzzard up at Monk (pair up together to NE at 15:55). Interesting observations on Curlew with 19 calling loudly and decisively moving W off moors at 16:11, presumably leaving for the coast at the Solway, another breeding season over! Made R with 2 guests at Tynedale GC for enjoyable evening. 2moro it’s N4c4l, trip out E where still 3 sites in which to find birds this year and later R&C4ra4s at S, where A is coming out again in his home village with M. lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

June 28th: another good day weather-wise but concentrated on id of moths trapped last night, cutting grass and inputting wildlife records for early June, completing records up to 11/6, prior to trip S. Did make G4g4s to meet the gang!! 2moro R is in evening so making N4c4l followed by trip up the Allen. Wrote and submitted abstract for ANPA 2015 talk:

Abstract Relations as Allegorical Categories – Nick Rossiter

Representing relationships is a key activity in the physical sciences. Mathematically relations can be represented as a generalisation of the function in sets. There are a number of problems with such a treatment: the fundamental basis of set theory is discrete elements rather than morphisms between sets and there is no natural way of employing higher-level mappings as is often required for a full solution to real-world problems.

Category theory with its emphasis on morphisms and multilevel architecture is a promising candidate for representing relations. In recent ANPA proceedings the author has emphasised the potential of the Cartesian closed category, including the topos, in this respect. While the topos has emerged as the leading contender in meeting requirements for handling relations, there is discussion over whether the approach could be augmented by the use of the category REL (relation) as a categorification of the set theory concept. REL is not Cartesian closed, severely limiting its usability. Recognising the limitations of REL Freyd and Scedrov, working in pure category theory, have developed the category of allegories.

The purpose of the current presentation is to understand the limitations in REL, to describe allegorical categories and to explore and evaluate their use in conjunction with the topos approach described earlier.

June 27th: what a day up the Beldon Burn, surely these days one of the most exciting valleys in the county for raptors. Weather was perfect for raptors with moderate W breeze on hot sunshine. Had sight during day of 6 Honey-buzzard sites, occupied last year but not visited this year, and hoped to add 3 to the list in one long visit from 15:00-20:00 involving a 10km walk. Did indeed add 3 Honey-buzzard sites to year’s list but of equal interest was the obviously very recent arrival of Hobby at 3 sites after a cold and windy spring in which they’ve been almost non-existent. Started at 15:00 in Slaley Forest SE where had a male Kestrel hovering. Parked at Baybridge where had a male Hobby up over a conifer plantation to S at 15:28 and 15:33. While nearing Middle Plantation on walk picked up a male Honey-buzzard circling briefly around the nest site at Nookton on the Durham side at 15:53; this suggested the pair were incubating, particularly as no further activity was noted at this site during the visit. Main activity was noted W of Middle Plantation on the high moors. A pair of Hobby was displaying at Riddlehamhope at 17:12, re-appearing for more activity from 17:38-17:40 over heather to E, and a family party of Kestrel (pair, 2 juveniles) was up over moors E of Riddlehamhope for some time around 17:55. At Riddlehamhope itself, one of the highest sites in the study area, a female Honey-buzzard was flushed from the heather moor where she was feeding on the ground at 16:50 and a male Honey-buzzard was hunting from the air to the N at 16:55 and 17:05; this pair don’t appear to have laid yet which is not unusual at this altitude: laying on 1/7 leads to fledging 80 days later around mid-September, which fits in with observations in previous years; heather moors of course are very productive for insects in late August and early September, with the heather blooming then. A pair of agitated adult Common Buzzard were also present here; suspect they didn’t like the muscling in of the Honey-buzzard! Walking back had a male Honey-buzzard hunting low over the heather at Blanchland Moor at 19:37 and final sighting was a male Hobby high up over the wood NE of Blanchland village at 20:00. So total for raptors was 15 birds of 4 types: 4 Honey-buzzard at 3 sites (3 male, 1 female), 5 Kestrel at 2 site (family party, single adult male), 4 Hobby at 3 sites (3 male, 1 female), 2 Common Buzzard at 1 site (pair). Total for trip was 39 species, including the 4 raptors above and Red Grouse (1), Curlew (18), Woodcock (1), Cuckoo (1), Chiffchaff (1), Willow Warbler (5), Blackcap (1), Garden Warbler (2), Ring Ouzel (2), Spotted Flycatcher (4), Redstart (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Meadow Pipit (21), Linnet (6). Quite a muggy evening so put out moth trap and caught quite a few, still being photographed and analysed. While this was on watched English ladies take on Canada in the football: great performance, thought Lucy Bronze was our best player, not only scoring the 2nd goal but putting in a tenacious 2nd half performance down the line! 2moro it’s a well-earned G4g4s after some catch-up on records and grass cutting!! Forecast 28C in Hexham on Wednesday! lok2t beauties!!!

Secured a seat for Holy Island Festival on 27/7: looking forward to a concert with such talent in the great setting!! May stay overnight. Jordan departure has been ‘fixed’ at earlier of the 2 dates so should be back in time!

June 26th: kicked off nest visits today with a trip to Slaley Forest from 16:40-18:40 in humid, sultry weather with some sunshine on light W breeze after rain earlier. Quickly found nest: it’s a re-use of last year’s in Scots Pine, situated about 2/3 of the way up a tall tree, fairly flat in structure and large in size but with significant vegetation on the sides at the top including birch sprigs; two patches of heavy splash and one of light splash were close to the nest on bracken. On entry continual Carrion Crow alarm calls from trees on the S side indicated where the female had retreated. The male was seen doing a single fly-pass low-down. Had plenty of moths to add to the interest. All in all a very good start to this part of the season. Earlier met P and J in turn at N, did a lot of grass cutting and later cut the verge, very energetic at this time of year, and made W where good to meet D&D. Looking at RNS programme intend to make HI concert on 27/7 and proms on 1/8, former subject to details of Jordan arrangements; would be gr8 to be there at the end of the season!! Troubles continue on the markets with a collapse in banking perpetual preference shares this week, hitting many of my mates on TMF; not sure for exact reason but looks like too many people heading for the exit at once; while many bulletin boards make out that investing is a collaborative business, it’s not, it’s highly competitive! Anyway I quietly switched my perps (no redemption date) some time ago into medium-term high-coupon bonds with redemption dates from 2020-2025, which have been more resilient (as you get a guaranteed £100 % back then and YTM rises rapidly as prices shade). But risk-off still the prevailing malaise so off a further 4k but think many shares are now heavily over-sold. If had all my funds still in the prefs as in the great banking recovery would have been down some 40k! Expecting another difficult week but chaos has normally been good for precious metals and the ECB is likely to flood the markets with € to ease any Grexit, which would benefit €reit. 2moro it’s trip up the Beldon Burn, trying to nail a few Honey-buzzard sites in Derwent: it’s all go but will make C4c4l first!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 25th: started writing talk for ANPA on allegories by taking Freyd’s book on the subject into ncl and examining his basics; far too set-oriented for some but think that’s a notational issue, rather than a deep-seated problem; got the draft programme which shows me kicking off on the Thursday (always good for motivation!). Find concentrate better in the city on such issues. Made Sage4l where enjoyed the atmosphere: next Friday we’re going to Wagner’s Flying Dutchman there!! Meanwhile car was serviced at MC: 4.5 years old, 50,000 miles, 3 tyres need replacing, otherwise ok; should be good for another 3 years. The thriving Kittiwake colony at Quayside continues to prosper with 670 birds counted; LBBG and Herring Gull were also probably breeding in the area. Today was overcast, damp with slow-moving showers on light SW wind, so no raptor activity missed though did have a Red Kite floating over Wylam S from train at 11:30. Did earlier make N4c4c where warm enough to sit outside before it became damper. Late on made BH4ra4s where good crack!! Had another Nightjar over road near Wooley Hospital on S side of Dipton Wood at 00:15 (26/6) with Tawny Owl calling at Sele, Ordley and Wylam to add to recent records. 2moro it’s N4c4c with P, trip out if drier and W4ra4s!! Someone’s gorgeous!!!

June 24th: lot of grass cutting done today and had very enjoyable G4ss, meeting many mates again! Do miss the mfso at the G!! 2moro it’s car in for service, N4c4c, big city, S4m4l!! Undecided about evening yet!! Funds shaded a little this week with overwhelming nervous sentiment in the sort of areas being followed; have taken significant profits on part of holding in JLP and re-invested proceeds in €reit/pt (in for a p, in for a £). Rather like the look of French commercial property at present but possibly over-committed! Anyway lok2t lovelies!!!!

June 23rd: rather arbitrarily labelled end of Honey-buzzard display phase as 20/6 and start of sitting/rearing phase as 21/6. Many birds have been sitting for some time but the males carry on displaying that the territory is occupied for some time after incubation starts. There is also the altitude effect with birds in Tyne Valley W the earliest to breed and those in the higher moorland areas only just starting. Today made lower moorland area around Plenmeller Common from 15:40-18:10 in sunny weather on light NW breeze; it was still on the cool side though. Target was the local Honey-buzzard site, from which hoped to get birds foraging on the moors. There was no activity near the nest site but on the moorland edge, just on the heather-side, a male Honey-buzzard was perched on the top of a small bush, surveying the area; silhouette of perched Honey-buzzard is very characteristic, rather like a Cuckoo with a long elongated body plus small head and long tail, even projecting beyond the long folded wings. He was there from at least 16:20-16:35. Another male Honey-buzzard was seen at 17:20 on the SE edge of the moor studied today, hanging over an area, obviously hunting. He was active for a few minutes before disappearing off NE towards the Haughstrother site. He’s been seen before this year. Other raptors included 2 Kestrel hunting at opposite ends of the common, another perched on trees at Plenmeller Village and a juvenile on a post just before the Hexham by-pass, the first of this age seen this year in the study area. A Merlin was alarm calling on the moors. It was a great visit with plenty of waders around and lots of moths in the heather and rough grasses. Waders were of 5 types: Curlew (15), Lapwing (7), Oystercatcher (5), Snipe (2), Golden Plover (1). Other moorland birds, in total of 26 species, were Skylark (5), Meadow Pipit (17), Reed Bunting (2). Moths comprised Common Heath (17), Wood Tiger (3), Twin-spot Carpet (1), Brimstone Moth (1), Crambus lathoniellus (4), Eana osseana (5), Scoparia pyralella (6), and there was just one butterfly, a Small Heath. Had a bout of hay fever through heath bedstraw: think more allergic to this than anything else.

Decided on title for ANPA talk in August 2015: “Abstract Relations as Allegorical Categories”. Did a bit of research on Jordan. Low Season (June–August): the desert in the middle of the summer is extreme. Temperatures throughout Jordan can be stifling. Prices are at their best but many places close in the low season http://www.lonelyplanet.com/jordan/weather#ixzz3dvCkGzZx. Amman climate for July: average max 32, min 16, rain 0.0, day length 14.0 hours, sunshine 13.1, wind force 3 http://www.amman.climatemps.com/. Do think the vivacious Taylor Swift deserves her ratings. Her financial acumen may be inherited from her father who is a Merrill Lynch adviser in Nashville http://www.businessinsider.com/taylor-swifts-dad-works-at-merrill-lynch-2012-10#ixzz3dvBnOsOo. Finally felt like a night in the tranquil forest so no pub, going to Dipton Wood in great midsummer light from 23:00-01:00, with a Nightjar flying down a glade, 3 Tawny Owl calling at 2 sites and 2 sets of wild calls, which I think are Pine Marten, after listening to this audio http://sounds.bl.uk/Environment/British-wildlife-recordings/022M-W1CDR0001418-5800V0. Had occasional glimpses of the Aurora on the northern horizon but they were fleeting with an eerie green light adding to the atmosphere (kp 4); should be better tonight (kp 7) if it’s clear (forecast says it won’t be!). 2moro it’s catch-up at home with grass cutting and more sociable evening with G4g4ss!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 22nd: made R @ B after long absence but warmly welcomed back; plenty to do in getting web site up to date again; suspect I’m the only 1 of the 38 members that didn’t vote for the Con at the recent election! Think my next talk to them in quite a few months (29/2/2016, it’s a leap year!) will be “Family History through DNA: Help or Hindrance”. Latest DNA searches on more recent STR markers continue to be a little confusing with the male side showing Ireland/Basque roughly equal and the female side strongly Sweden. Of course in my case, I would say the DNA has been very useful, supporting overall the expected Irish origin, with a little mysterious Basque, for the documented Devon Rs and encouraging study of the female line, which surprisingly instead of going back for ever in Cornwall appears to come from the eastern Baltic in the 19th century. Made C4c4l where sadly no mmo!! Massive catch-up on records, completing compilation of the birds in Italy and May records for Northumberland; hope to compile some more for early June tomorrow, when should make N4c4l and have trip out somewhere afterwards probably to W. Evening’s a little unsure as M away and A not so well; might go E!! lok2t beauties!!!!

June 21st: early start from Stoney Cross after breakfast at nearby Little Chef; we saw more New Forest habitat, particularly heathland to the W, as we had to go this way before turning on to the E-bound carriageway. Too early in the morning for any raptors up in the air but the habitat was more open from the ridge so this area might be easier to census than the denser wooded areas but the overall flatness and lack of ridge-lift is still a major problem. Juvenile visibility might be particularly badly affected by the lack of ridge-lift: in Northumberland the fledgling parties sometimes move several km to a windy ridge for practice flights, an opportunity not available in the New Forest. It is even possible that the lack of practice flying for juveniles could affect their viability and hence recruitment to the population in subsequent years. From home page:

Summary, [for Honey-buzzard], south England (14/6-21/6): 8 sites occupied with 1 site Berkshire Downs, 1 site Hampshire Downs, 1 site New Forest, 5 sites Isle of Wight with 3 on downs, 2 on coast. Total 11 birds (6 male, 5 female). Display at 7 sites.

Main finding I thought was how suitable downland is for Honey-buzzard where there is significant woodland. The downs give much scope for ridge-lift, which facilitates foraging/hunting, social interaction and visibility. Downland is also traditionally rich in herbs and flowers, giving high insect populations and hence plenty of food for the species. In Sussex they have found a significant Honey-buzzard population on the South Downs (c8 pairs) but suspect that in Hampshire (including Wight), Berkshire, Wiltshire, the potential of downland for Honey-buzzard has not been anticipated. Kent and Surrey also have considerable areas of downland. The New Forest is a different type of habitat altogether with dense tree cover in places and is quite flat, reducing the scope for ridge-lift and visibility to observers. Suspect the habitat is very suitable for Honey-buzzard where heathland and open pasture are in close proximity to tall trees. But think it would be very easy to miss significant numbers of Honey-buzzard pairs in a census. So the 10-15 pairs I’ve seen quoted might be an underestimate.

More details of return journey: from Stoney Cross to Wellingborough by car at 7:30-11:50 had 10 Common Buzzard and 2 Red Kite, latter over Berkshire Downs; adding these in, ignoring possible duplicates with those seen on outward leg, gives the final raptor totals: 101 birds of 7 species: 51 Common Buzzard, 24 Kestrel, 11 Honey-buzzard, 7 Peregrine Falcon, 5 Red Kite, 2 Hobby, 1 Sparrowhawk. Totals may still include a few duplicates but obvious ones have been eliminated. Trip total for bird species was 67 1 and for lepidoptera species 21 1.

Weather was cool on the journey, starting off overcast but becoming sunnier as went on. Dropped at Wellingborough as the station there is close to where N has 2nd home at Northampton and is also on East Midlands Line to give easy access to Sheffield and the north. Caught 12:35 at Wellingborough to Sheffield, then 14:51 to Newcastle and 17:10 to Riding Mill, where recovered car before going to Co-op in C for shopping. It was a great break with N, another very enjoyable trip to an island; thinking of the Shetlands next!! Quickly back to old haunt G where met P for lively chat! All ended brilliantly with dynamic close-up with the fancied one: lok2tmgo!!!! 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l, C4c4ll and catch-up; weather maybe too cool for field-work but Tuesday looks better. On Thursday car is in for service when may make ncl and S4l!!

June 20th: back to ‘England’ on 16:05 ferry from Yarmouth-Lymington. Weather not nearly so good today: mild throughout but with showery rain becoming more steady in afternoon; brightened up after tea with sun coming out. Last activities on island were a walk at Brock along a crumbling cliff from 10:20-11:20 and a visit to an old fort at Sconce Point on NW of island opposite Fort Hurst on the mainland. We had planned to visit the Needles but it was so commercialised that N backed off with significant anger: shades of the monstrosity at Land’s End! On leaving Chale had 2 (new) Common Buzzard circling a little to W of it. At Brock there were 7 Cormorant on skerries offshore. Raptors included 2 Common Buzzard over woodland to N and 2 Kestrel (juvenile, adult male) on the cliffs. Coastal passerines included 3 Stonechat (male at one site, male+juvenile 1  2 at another), 2 Whitethroat, 1 Raven. Moths included a Yellow Shell 1. An adult female Kestrel and a Common Buzzard were at Sconce Point. Once off the boat, went on to Lyndhurst for evening meal in an large pub. The New Forest around here is characterised by enormous oaks in a flat landscape. After the meal we stopped for an evening walk from 19:05-20:15 in the Forest at Minstead Lane, where more mixed habitat of pasture and trees looked more favourable for Honey-buzzard. At 19:55 on edge of rough pasture with tall trees around, a female Honey-buzzard flew low into cover, near Shave Wood; she apparently sneaked out the back as we didn’t see her again; suspect she was foraging. So that’s our 1st Honey-buzzard record for the New Forest itself. Checked into the Travelodge at Stoney Cross; habitat was good to S of the lodge with high Scots Pine trees but it was getting too late for any serious fieldwork. The main road A35 from Cadnam-Bournemouth does offer better vantage points as it’s on a low ridge but you would need very good optics and patience to scan the forest continually in the distance for raptors. The forest around here is more coniferous and open than around Lyndhurst. Funds a little battered this week on Grexit possibility and increase in bond yields: down 4k from the record, the 1st fall in 9 weeks. Time maybe for some €fudge! IMHO the extreme risk-off approach by many investors has thrown up some outstanding opportunities but on the other hand maybe a little more caution is needed. Time will tell!! Interested in FT article on investors’ wealth at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6e51661c-1508-11e5-9509-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3djNDZgOK; evidently I count as a HNWI, one of 550k such investors in UK with >$1m in liquid assets!

Running provisional total for south England raptors in current trip is 92 birds of 7 species: 46 Common Buzzard, 22 Kestrel, 11 Honey-buzzard, 7 Peregrine Falcon, 3 Red Kite, 2 Hobby, 1 Sparrowhawk.

Here’s shots of Honey-buzzard: Sutton Scotney 14/6 female 1  2  3; Freshwater 15/6 pair 1  2  3 Yarmouth 17/6 male 1  2  3 Osborne House 18/6 female 1 male 1  2  3  4; plus habitat Donnington 1  2  3 14/6, Sutton Scotney 1  2 14/6, Freshwater 1 15/6, Brading Down 1  2  3 16/6, Yarmouth 1  2 17/6, Osborne House 1  2 18/6, Parkhurst Plantation 1  2 19/6, Shave Wood (New Forest) 1  2  3 20/6, Brightstone Forest 1  2 17/6, the last being a potential site as no birds seen there in visit.

June 19th: did another lap of St Catherine’s Point, doing the section near the sea, from 10:50-13:00. Weather was again perfect with continuous sunshine on light W breeze and temperatures up to 21C. Raptors included 3 Peregrine Falcon (adult female, juvenile male, juvenile female) to add to the adult male, already seen here, so successful breeding, to add to that near Totland Bay; here’s some piccies 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11. Also had a Sparrowhawk male (bringing raptor species to 7), 5 Common Buzzard (2 new, piccie 1), 2 Kestrel (adult male and female, both new, near the lighthouse). Seabirds included 3 Fulmar and 5 Gannet E (3 adult, 2 2s). Other birds included 4 Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap, 1 Raven, 2 Chiffchaff, 9 Magpie, 1 Greenfinch 1. Here’s some piccies of the headland 1  2  3  4 at St Catherine’s Point. Butterflies included Common Blue 1, Painted Lady 1, Red Admiral 1. Then onto another English Heritage site – Carisbrooke – an outdoors-focused castle 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 near Newport, where Charles I was kept prisoner before being tried and executed in London. Honey-buzzard kept up their presence with a male up over the down at the uneven aged, mixed coniferous Parkhurst Forest on the south side from 13:35-13:45; he kept low down in the increasing W breeze, now moderate, just skimming the trees at times; the female was not seen, maybe she’s incubating. Parkhurst Prison is on the E side! Enjoyed the castle with long walk around the battlements, not so much time in the Museum. Also had single Common Buzzard over the Forest and at the Castle and 2 Kestrel (adult female, juvenile) at the Castle. Back to Wight Mouse for last night: very good portions and service, bit like the W used to be, with 2 very fit waitresses!! Went out at dusk and the Peregrine female seen earlier came over quite close but no owls seen or heard. One most clever lass at home: lok2t beauties!!!!

Running provisional total for south England raptors in current trip is 80 birds of 7 species: 41 Common Buzzard, 16 Kestrel, 10 Honey-buzzard, 7 Peregrine Falcon, 3 Red Kite, 2 Hobby, 1 Sparrowhawk.

June 18th: bit of culture today, making Osborne House 1  2  3, near Cowes East, from 11:10-17:10, in brilliant weather with strong sunshine, light SW breeze, 21C. Osborne House was occasional residence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, with maybe 4 spells of occupation each year. It was very grand, taking us all day to do the grounds, beach, Swiss Cottage and the House itself. Amazing how the Royal Family of Victoria – queen, Prince Albert, 9 children – were connected so closely with the German aristocracy, yet we still managed to have 2 massive wars with the Germans from 1914-1945. Had 4 Common Buzzard at 3 sites, one of which came off a newly-cut hay/silage field to E of House with a female Honey-buzzard at 14:02; both birds climbed a little, being pretty indifferent to each other, before going off in opposite directions, the Honey-buzzard to SE and the Common Buzzard to NW. After coming out of the House near closing time, a male Honey-buzzard was seen from 16:52-16:53 in butterfly display to the E. This area could not be classed as downland, so labelled it Wight NE. Osborne House has much extensive woodland and pastures, a good combination for Honey-buzzard. Butterflies included Marbled White 1, Red Admiral and Small Heath. Also at the House had 2 Raven, a Green Woodpecker and 3 Sandwich Tern. On the road had single Common Buzzard at Chale Green S and Rookley S with, at Wight mouse, a pair of Kestrel and a Common Buzzard, and at St Catherine’s Head 2 adult Gannet.

June 17th: fine and sunny on moderate SW breeze in N of the island but more misty in S and particularly on the high ridge of the downs. Maybe not best day to tackle the high ridge in Brightstone Forest, a magnificent large deciduous woodland which could hold 3 Honey-buzzard sites, but we went ahead with a walk from 10:50-13:05. Had family party of 5 Kestrel on wing (pair adult, 3 juvenile) and 5 Common Buzzard hanging in the breeze, hunting. In total of 20 species, also had 4 Dartford Warbler singing and calling from thick gorse, a Garden Warbler singing, 6 Skylark singing, 1 Green Woodpecker in flight, but no Honey-buzzard. Butterflies included Small Heath 1, Red Admiral 1, Meadow Brown 1 and moths included Speckled Yellow 1  2  3, a great rarity in Northumberland. On way here had 3 Common Buzzard and a Kestrel. On to Yarmouth for lunch where we moved to the port and pier; finally here went to bridge from which had good views over the excellent Honey-buzzard habitat to S with a mixture of mature, uneven aged woods and pasture. From 14:49-14:51 tracked a male Honey-buzzard from high-circling over nearest wood to S to trees below; very elegant hanging with no flaps, usually the final stage in the display phase. So looks like 2 pairs in Freshwater/Yarmouth area, which is probably just regarded as an extension to the New Forest with an unusually big river in between: the Solent is no barrier on W side. Finally on to Shalfleet N from 15:15-17:00 where had 3 Common Buzzard, including 1 in flap-flap-glide, 5 Oystercatcher, 2 Shelduck, pair of Mute Swan with 5 cygnets, 185 Canada Goose. Wight Mouse continues to be comfortable and we’re getting on well! Am declining offers from M on topos paper and from R to do work while here: taking a break; will anyway make R’s next meeting!! Funds very slightly down this week to date: strong negative background with threatened Grexit continues but some risers in pt have helped position. Pity to miss Ladies’ Day!! Looking forward to seeing the gorgeous ones again: lok2t beauties!!!!

Running total for south England raptors in current trip is 63 birds of 6 species: 33 Common Buzzard, 14 Kestrel, 7 Honey-buzzard, 4 Peregrine Falcon, 3 Red Kite, 2 Hobby.

June 16th: a fine day particularly on south of island with light W breeze and around 18C. Had a grand walk from 10:35-12:20 along top of cliffs at St Catherine’s Point, the southernmost point of island, with great views to W 1. Very surprised when a fellow walker, out of the blue, asked if we’d seen the Honey-buzzard on the island; gave him a hard stare but then realised he was genuine, reporting one near Freshwater, where we saw 2 yesterday. Here had the male Peregrine again from nearby Blackgang Chine plus 5 Common Buzzard (hanging over cliff-top at close range 1  2  3), 2 Kestrel (both female, close-up piccies 1  2  3  4  5), 4 Raven. The only seabirds seen were 2 Fulmar on the cliffs and 3 Herring Gull. Next stop was Ventnor for coffee/lunch and a stroll along the esplanade. Here had 2 Common Buzzard, a Sandwich Tern fishing, a Raven and 1st Swift on the island. We went to Bembridge Down around 15:00, where had 4 Kestrel (family group of pair adult, 2 juvenile), 2 Common Buzzard and, yes, a Honey-buzzard, a female over nearby Brading Down floating around from 15:40-15:50 over an area of woodland on the S side of the down to W of village. A male Hobby gave a rapid fly-pass on edge of Brading Down. Skylark (6 singing) and Swallow (8) were common on Bembridge Down. Drove back inland via Rookley, seeing a lot more of the downs and finding a Common Buzzard S of Rookley. Habitat is good for Honey-buzzard, which prefer a mosaic of meadows and woods in less intensively managed countryside than the sometimes popular image of liking solid large blocks of woodland. The latter view is favoured unsurprisingly by Forestry Enterprise but much of the decline in Sweden was due to the conversion of dale-land woods into monolithic forestry blocks, filled with the likes of Sitka. Butterflies today included Speckled Wood 1, Large Skipper 1, Meadow Brown 1, Common Blue (pair mating 1, single 1), Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, and moths included Cinnabar 1, Udea ferrugalis 1, Drinker (larva 1).

June 15th: massive boat journey across the Solent to Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, at 10:00. We explored Totland Bay from 11:00-12:45, a rather derelict section of the coast badly affected by mud-slides, but had 2 Peregrine here (juvenile female, adult male), obviously enjoying the abandoned headland, and an unusual 1s gull, thought to be a leucistic Herring Gull 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11. It was overcast here after early drizzle but quite mild. Then we made our way leisurely along to Freshwater, Whale Chine and where we’re staying: Wight Mouse 1 at Chale. The Chines (e.g. Whale 1 , Blackgang 2) are moving slime (mud) cliffs and banks, which regularly collapse, putting buildings, paths and tracks into the sea. Don’t buy a house near the sea on the south coast! Raptors were good, seeing 4 Peregrine Falcon (2 Totland above; 1 adult female at Whale Chine flying along cliff at 15:35; 1 adult male at Blackgang Chine at 17:30; Peregrine clearly like the mud slides as it makes cliffs inaccessible), 1 Common Buzzard (Whale Chine), 2 Honey-buzzard (at Wilmingham, from 14:30-14:38, NE of Freshwater, soaring from wooded area to considerable height, where mutual circling; female then returned to ground while male glided W presumably to feed). Habitat for Honey-buzzard was typical downland woods and hills. Weather brightened up after the misty start, becoming sunny and warm at 17C by around 14:00 with light NE breeze. Moths included Bordered Straw 1 and Common Blue 1  2 at Whale Chine, and Crambus perlella 1 at Freshwater Bay. Missing the lovelies: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 14th: on move again, catching 10:20 to Wellingborough, arriving at 11:01, where met N for our trip to deep S. N drove us to Lymington, on edge of New Forest, where checked into Premier Inn for comfortable stay. It’s been cool and wet in S for a few days and it was warm with sunny intervals today, giving great conditions for spotting raptors. Had total of 22 birds of 5 types: 12 Common Buzzard (all way down), 3 Honey-buzzard (single in flap-flap-glide low-down on Berkshire Downs near Donnington, N of Newbury, at 13:55; pair in very energetic display from 14:55-15:05 E of Sutton Scotney Services, where stopped, on Hampshire Downs; also good habitat around Botley Woods near Oxford), 3 Red Kite (single at Kettering and 2 singles over Berkshire Downs, near Beedon turn-off and at M4/A34 intersection), 3 Kestrel (1 N of Didcot, a pair hunting at Sutton Scotney), 1 Hobby (mobbing female Honey-buzzard at Sutton Scotney). Think Downs will be the theme!

Interested in New Forest topology, although experience obviously rather superficial. It appears to be very flat so vital question is: what confidence is attached to the numbers and observed breeding density. Are there convenient vantage points over which the whole of the Forest can be observed? In Holland they used observation towers to survey the forest because the land was so flat; have any such techniques been introduced in the New Forest? In valleys and downs the birds get many more soaring opportunities with orographic lift than over flat forest: how conspicuous are the birds in the New Forest?

June 13th: slept well at Th; it’s very quiet round the back where room was situated, not so quiet at front. Made wedding on time, staying at Ramada, Loughborough, with son. Ceremony was at C of E church in Hugglescote, near Coalville, and although it was a bit of a pity that the weather was damp, everything went off very well for marriage of Peter M to Emily. Reception was at Quorn Country Hotel, where great to meet many more family members, including daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, who’s looking very bonny! Drink flowed well and food was good, before back to base. About to book flights to Jordan, through daughter as stand-by tickets, for middish July trip; looking forward to that! Going with son and one of his friends: the fixer!! Idea is to visit Petra, a very old city, and some mountainous wooded areas for Honey-buzzard (to make a change!); it’s thought the birds that may breed here are European type but will be looking closely for any Oriental (Crested). Another family wedding announced today, on 31/12, of niece (big sis’ daughter) to partner M of 10 years, from Cornwall. So where to 2moro? xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 12th: great end to RNS season with Beethoven 3 – played brilliantly, loved the mixture of brooding quietness and climaxes!! Earlier was very impressed in meeting with sponsored: she’s very talented, loved the idea of the recently sponsored putting on a recital!! So after it all, had glass of wine at S with some friends from Greenhead, then back to base at VC, formerly O’N and not so elegant spt&vmt, before clocking into Th4nite!! All a bit strange being here but purpose is to get 07:35 train from ncl to Loughborough to attend a nephew’s wedding at 12:00 tomorrow; nephew is on female side. So really juggling a few events but wouldn’t have missed concert tonite!! Funds progressed, up 4k making gain on year 62k. Another poor week for markets but MIO did particularly well: in spite of bulletin board instructions to hold, have sold 455k of these into rising market but retain 502k in case spike occurs! Do feel a trip coming on to the coast for a change, maybe Holy Island! lok2t beauties!!!

June 11th: hard graft in the field up the upper South Tyne from 12:40 to 17:10 in glorious, warm sunny weather on very light NE breeze. Having said that, the weather was perfect for people but not so good for raptors because of the lack of wind to give lift and also not so good for spotting them as they show up less well against a deep blue sky than against a cloudy one. Started at Featherstone at 12:40 where had in turn female and male Honey-buzzard up; the former was flushed off parkland-type pasture on arrival and retreated to its nesting area in conifers; from 12:42-12:44 she emerged from the trees and floated back to oaks on other side of valley, mobbed by a Jackdaw; the latter was out from site for lengthy spell from 13:15-13:27 of floating at moderate altitude; he was missing a primary on each wing; wing and tail bars were showing well on each bird in the better than usual light conditions! Laying had either started or was imminent here, judging by reluctance of the birds to leave the nesting area. On to Lambley by the South Tyne at 13:40 where had very little activity with the only sighting being a female Honey-buzzard circling almost within trees at 14:27 near nesting site; incubation could have started here. Finally onto Softley from 14:55-17:10 where it was a struggle but ultimately very revealing! I only planned an hour here but there were no signs, that is not only no birds seen or heard but no splash in the glade near last year’s nest nor any tensions with other birds created by their presence. On finally getting back to the car, after a long walk around the area, was following some Black-headed Gull flying S from the Plenmeller colony when they suddenly started alarm calling. Way up above them at tremendous height at 17:05 were 3 Honey-buzzard, a pair and a spare male, floating effortlessly, not over Softley but over Parson Shields, in more open and higher dale-land to S; the spare male soon drifted back S towards Barhaugh and the pair hung around for 2 minutes before coming down 2 km to the S. Preliminary view is that the Softley pair have moved to Parson Shields area and the spare male was from the Barhaugh site, checking up on them. Reasons for the move might be: the Softley site is too close to the other Eals site, being about 1km apart instead of regulatory 2.5km; the wooded patches at Parson Shields have become more mature and denser providing better nesting areas; the moorland on W side of valley is a ‘bad land’ with very poor raptor totals compared to E side. Of course further visits are needed to see what is going on. Clearly the pair were nowhere near settling down to nest so maybe they’ve been recently displaced. Other raptors were scarce in the heat: just a Kestrel, W of Featherstone, and another female at Softley. But Honey-buzzard totalled 6 birds at 4 sites with 3 male and 3 female. Total for trip was 36 species, including waders – Curlew 5, Lapwing 10, Oystercatcher 8, Golden Plover 2, Common Sandpiper 3; summer visitors – Tree Pipit 1, Willow Warbler 9, Garden Warbler 6, Blackcap 1, Swallow 24, Sand Martin 5, Cuckoo 2.

So now up to 37 sites with 49 birds (27 male, 22 female). Areas covered well to date are: Devil’s Water 6/6, Tyne Valley W 7/7, Lower South Tyne 7/9, Upper South Tyne 6/6, Tipalt 3/4. Less well-covered are Tyne Valley E 4/7, Allen 3/9, Derwent 1/8. Experience has shown that sites closer to North Sea and at higher latitude are occupied last. Did make BH4ra4s, very good crack!! Didn’t quite get around to an invite at Linda’s street party!! All finished very well though!!! 2moro it’s S4pp, S4con, TH4nite!! lok2tmgo!!!!

June 10th: very sociable day, can’t be too much of a hermit, doing everything anticipated yesterday! But did make Kellas N, 1st site in Derwent area to be checked this season, from 12:50-14:25 in best day of summer so far with wall-to-wall sunshine on light NE breeze and rising temperatures up to at least 21C. Honey-buzzard were not that obvious: had a male up to N of site over clear-fell at 13:30, quickly coming back down and gliding towards last year’s nesting area; at 13:56 the female did a similar manoeuvre but not so high and again coming down towards site. Common Buzzard were more obvious with one adult calling well to N of site and then 2 1s birds up together from 14:01-14:05, disappearing into the sun! Common Buzzard 1s do have slightly longer tails than adults, almost equal to wing width, but in every other respect they are like adult Common Buzzard with thick necks, large heads, broad tail base, fine markings on tail and remiges, generally compact appearance, so not really confusable with Honey-buzzard like some people claim. Looking forward to Friday evening at S, with pp do and concert after!! Should be great climax to the season e.g. playing favourite Beethoven symphony!! Staying over at Thistle for logistical purposes! Interesting signal on markets is gentle decline in fixed interest stocks as extreme deflationary views are discounted. The mad negative yields on bonds have disappeared. Doesn’t affect my holdings much as junk bonds largely affected by other factors, such as solvency! Showing small gain on week so far but holdings are a little volatile! Good to see the team enjoying the sun: wonder where seen them before: air of notoriety!! 2moro it’s another midday trip, out to the upper South Tyne, where 4 sites are unchecked. Should make N4c4t and much later BH4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 9th: good midday out at Tipalt from 12:10-14:25, finding 3 out of the 4 Honey-buzzard sites occupied, stretching out as far as Gilsland (W extreme of my empire!). Well away from North Sea on NE breeze, it was quite warm with plenty of cloud and no rain; when the sun came out, temperatures rose quickly. From 12:16-12:25 activity was noted at Redpeth site with a female Honey-buzzard flapping low over the trees, before moving a little to N over the valley meadows; then could see the male high-up above, hanging directly above here; she joined him at high altitude for some rather passive mutual circling before a wild finish with both birds doing steep dives and sharp braking, taking quite a while to descend back to the trees where the female was first seen; she was more reluctant to get up high, suspect she’s close to laying. At the same site the male was up again on his own at 12:46, attended closely by a female Hobby; they climbed very high, keeping together. Near Blenkinsopp Hall, a pair of Honey-buzzard were up low-down over a field at 12:59, mobbed by a Crow; they did not get any further up in the air and suspect they’re more interested in feeding. At Gilsland Spa at 14:03 a male Honey-buzzard was seen doing butterfly display at moderate altitude to N of the Irthing Valley; at 14:12 he was still up, floating this time, apparently towards edge of Border Forest but near end he was slowly descending and looked to be heading back towards the Gorge. Had 5 species of raptor in all, including 2nd Hobby of season at Redpeth, a Peregrine at Gilsland (adult female, arrived from N, flying round and round in hunting mode, very rare on grouse moors elsewhere in study area), 2 Kestrel (a pair hunting at Gilsland) and a Common Buzzard at Gilsland Spa. So up to 32 Honey-buzzard sites now with 41 birds (23 male, 18 female). Total compares with 42 pairs found in whole of display phase in 2014 and 34 in 2013 so quite comparable, particularly as have a few days yet to go. There’s not enough days in the display phase after the main arrival for me to ever get even 90% of the occupied sites. At Gilsland Spa had a Drinker larva, also rare in study area, on a back road, nicked by a car, in good condition but dead. Made N4c4t for recovery and had good crack with M at T&S4ra4s!! Gr8 finale to bring the curtain down!!! lok2t beauties!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4c with P, trip out somewhere, C4c4ll, G4g4ss; quite a hectic day!!

June 8th: got topos paper off to editor today and already acknowledged with thanks: Formal Natural Philosophy: Top-Down Design for Information & Communication Technologies with Category Theory, Nick Rossiter & Michael Heather, submitted ANPA Proceedings 2014 44pp (2015) pdf. That’s a relief; M may be sending in some final amendments but he’ll have to be quick! Longest paper written for a while at 44 pages though format is large. Have to think of a title for this year’s now! Completed final check of paper instead of going to R: suspect absence from latter for a little while is best signal; walking away is the best negotiating tactic providing you’re prepared to lose it! Had a fantastic bird sighting today – not a Honey-buzzard though did have a female at the site visited, flying low-down the narrow valley at 16:21 – but a Woodlark at 16:50 in song display-flight on gorse-covered heathland; did get one piccie of it but it flew away quickly after landing on the gorse bush and didn’t see it again. Previous records of mine in NE are 2 in 2013 and 1 in 2014, 2 in August and 1 in September, all between Corbridge and Slaley Forest. So this is 1st spring record, definitely promising for breeding, and in same general area in 10-km square NZ05. Other heathland birds included Linnet (17), Meadow Pipit (9), Yellowhammer (4); total was 19 species. Lots of insects were on the heath, including interesting micro moths such as Neofaculta ericetella, Coleophora albicosta, Nematopogon schwarziellus and Cydia ulicetana plus a Fox Moth and Common Heath. Weather from 16:05-17:45 was strange: quite cool with the odd splash of rain but lovely sunshine at end. Behind on all records but with topos paper in, can make a concerted effort to catch up now. Did make C4c4ll but sadly a little late to really chat-up the lovely mmo!! Have cleared out desk and took quite a lot of foreign bank notes and coin (not €/US $) into Oxfam, who evidently have a man in Durham to process it all. Finished grass cutting: looks best for years with new mower; also have almost completed clear-out of shelter. 2moro it’s a midday trip out to Tipalt where there were 4 sites last year. Not sure about evening but maybe the odd g is warranted!! lok2t lovelies!!!!

June 7th: still quite breezy from the W but plenty of sunshine though temperatures remain below normal. Did make Haydon Bridge area from 13:50-16:30 but found it hard work though ultimately successful. At Allerwash from 13:50-14:50 explored the area with no raptors in view, then on abandoning visit had a male Honey-buzzard in flap-flap-glide mode at low level to N of village moving rapidly W on the bell at 14:45. At Whitechapel from 15:00-16:25 all very quiet until 15:50 when a large raptor was seen moving W with a powerful flight but far from straight-line: it was an Osprey, not sure whether it was going up South Tyne or over to Kielder but looked the former; in spite of its breeding at Kielder this is still a very rare bird in the study area so a good fly-over. Not long after from 15:52-15:55 had a male Honey-buzzard up over rough area to E, floating high and gliding off to N losing height. Drove the narrow lanes down to A69 and went on to Haydon Bridge by-pass where was amazed to find, after lengthy time in other sites, a male Honey-buzzard hanging in the breeze at 16:30 right-over the wood to S, at moderate altitude, towards Langley where think they breed. So gender balance, which was fairly even, moving towards males, which normally associate with end of display period as females bring the nest on. Also had a Common Buzzard at Wood Hall at 16:30. Up to 28 sites now, ½ of last year’s, think we’re getting somewhere with 4 days of sunny weather ahead. Made N4c4t and G4g4s where good crack with P and the lads!! Cut a lot more grass and continued shed clearance. Gr8 climax to day with the vivacious one: lok2tmgo!!!! 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l where programme of speakers might leave a little to be desired; shoot the messenger, i.e. the web page manager, might be a tactic. Also concerned that vocational chair TH has apparently resigned from R altogether; might have to follow his example if attempt to dump everything on me! Have I got too many rough edges for R? Anyway we’ll see!!

June 6th: really windy again with some branches blown off trees but sunny and dry so did make a determined effort, particularly as most sites appear to be occupied now. Decided to try Dotland and Dipton Wood S before C4c4l with about ½ an hour at each from 12:35-13:45. Nothing at Dotland where wind very strong but success at Dipton Wood S where had a male and a female feeding separately from 13:25-13:40 in large deciduous wood to S. They both bobbed up briefly, causing alarm among the Woodpigeon but obviously didn’t fancy flying far, let alone soaring, in the strong winds. Went to C to study FT, where view that US markets may be peaking, though predicting tops is fraught with problems. Took old plastic garden furniture for recycling and then back home. Decided to have another crack at Dotland from 16:20-17:20 as wind was not quite so strong and indeed more birds were in the air. Race meeting was on on opposite side of valley, where looked deserted except when the runners were out when busy. Looked to be a favourite or near-favourite day, except for Egmont; not sure I’d have been in the money! Can’t make next 2 meetings!! Persevered at Dotland and struck lucky at 17:10 when panic among the Woodpigeon, in wood near the usual nest-site, preceded a female Honey-buzzard flying very low through canopy and going down in the tall conifers. She was behaving very much like a breeding bird but suspect she was just trying to avoid the wind. So very pleased to add 2 sites on such a windy day. Did some grass cutting, finished topos paper and printed off copy for study tomorrow before submitting, and did a little shopping at T before SC4f&c+mp4s. Started to process butterfly records from Tuscany: here’s a straight-forward Painted Lady 1  2  3  4 from 28/5. 2moro doing lower South Tyne for determined attempt on the 4 sites, remaining to find occupied this year, followed by N4c4t and G4g4s!! Hope any bets came off!!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 5th: did walk along top of Spetchells from 13:10 in 15:40 in slightly fresher conditions on moderate W breeze but it stayed dry and was quite sunny. Idea was to score at both Wylam sites and was successful with a a male up E of Close House from 14:02-14:05 and again at 14:20, each time he came up to moderate altitude and floated around but no mate appeared. At the closer site at Horsley Wood, had a female up at 14:25, getting up from nesting area and drifting a little further E to feed; she was up again from 15:25-15:30, right over site, moving to moderate height and hanging around; would have given good views if I’d still been eating my lunch on E edge of Spetchells; bet she’d waited for me to leave! Both birds were waiting for their mates but no interaction: they’re very faithful it appears, a good role model!! Also had a Red Kite floating over Wylam S, a Kestrel hunting to E and a Common Buzzard hunting to W of Horsley Wood. Another Common Buzzard was seen later at Ordley. Did make C4c4t but very quiet! Good week on markets ended with +6k; sold my 10k nominal of LB2I for 13.7k, including accrued interest, as YTM is now below 6% and re-invested in other bonds. General market was poor this week with ftse -2.6% on Grexit fears; have a lot of sympathy for the Greeks: they need debt relief urgently and less austerity, not more. Gain on year reaches 58k. 2moro it’s check on local sites (2 in ‘Shire and 1 in Tyne Valley W, still missing birds), C4c4l, continued work outside and catch-up in evening on records and topos paper, which should send off later in day. lok2t beauties!!!!

June 4th: summer-like today with hazy sunshine, lighter W breeze and warmer. Made Anick/Beaufront area, NE of Hexham, from 14:05-15:35 and had 3 Honey-buzzard: a male up high in base of clouds at 14:40, well to W, attributed to Hermitage site; a pair up at moderate height at 14:55 to W of Beaufront site at first, somewhat together but pretty passive, mainly floating effortlessly in warmth; at 15:05 they came over the site fairly low down and became much more active doing one spectacular dive together and some mutual circling, this spell lasting until 15:15. A pair of Sparrowhawk were seen here, the male mobbing the pair of Honey-buzzard in their more active phase. A Common Buzzard was also up over its territory at 15:15, looking to defend it. Earlier made N4c4l where met J for good crack! Did some grass cutting at home; new mower is doing a better job; started re-organisation of outside sheds by removing obsolete boxes from a shelter and dumping them in large bramble patch; looking eventually to create space so that more stuff can be moved to the shelter and the existing garden shed and lean-to can be demolished, maybe to be replaced by more compact storage. Field was much more alive with insects and birds included a singing Garden Warbler, a pair of Spotted Flycatcher, a Lapwing overhead and a Cuckoo calling; the orchids are coming through well again. Made BH4ra4s for usual good crack, including with (another) J on break from T&S! Gr8 finish to day: she’s so fantastic: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it’s C4c4t and W4ra4s with more fieldwork midday.

June 3rd: much better day today with lots of hot sunshine, higher temperatures moving towards normal and a moderate W breeze, still a little too strong out W for good soaring conditions. From 12:50-15:30 did trip up lower South Tyne from Haydon Bridge to Bardon Mill. At Wood Hall had a male Honey-buzzard up at 13:15 from pastures to E, float fairly low-down over the wood and settle into it. He appeared again at 13:30 to W of site, patrolling over area and hanging low over some conifers. Also here had 3 Common Buzzard and 2 Kestrel (a pair, female carrying food). Then off to Beltingham where at 14:20 and 14:30 had a female Honey-buzzard up briefly above the fields E of Bardon Mill before descending quickly back to the ground. At 14:45 a male Honey-buzzard did the same manoeuvre at Ridley; he’s been seen before this season. Just to prove higher-altitude flight was possible a male Honey-buzzard was up very high (just like in Tuscany) over the South Tyne a long way to W, near Haughstrother. He was seen climbing at 15:05 getting into the cloud bases before being lost to sight around 15:08; don’t think he was a migrant as he was drifting S and putting far too much energy into his flight in the strong wind, showing off his territory. Willimontswick appeared to be still unoccupied. So that’s 4 Honey-buzzard seen at 4 sites: 3 new for season,1 old; 3 male, 1 female. Maybe no partners arrived yet for vigorous display but suspect they’re still keener on food than sex! So up to 19 sites and 24 birds (13 male, 11 female) now. Made C4c4t and had good ss at G4g, meeting up with everyone again! Total for trip was 32 species, including 14 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 5 Sand Martin, 7 Swift, 3 Willow Warbler. 2moro expecting to make N4c4l, local trip out, BH4ra4s!! Should make more progress in the field. lok2t beauties!!!!

Well we won, triumph again for the retail bondholders! So +5k (evens bet!) on LB2 ECN but funds up a little less than this so far on week as profit taking on last week’s *. Interest on 2 ECN issues held, LB2N, LB2I, totalling 34k nominal, is 11.875% and 12.75% respectively; sounds outrageous but they were issued in 2009 at height of financial crunch and LBG were virtually insolvent so needed some persuasion to take them! LBG might appeal but they have to have legal grounds for this (wrong or unjust verdict), not just a dislike of the verdict, delivered by the Chancellor (of Chancery) himself with his considerable authority. Will be contributing generously to our fighting fund. LBG in comments tonight have lost their rag: absolutely incredible – they hate us!! And overnight newspaper columns dealing with the matter are slamming them.

From the Chancellor of the High Court-
Conclusion
63. For all the reasons given above, there must be a declaration that a Capital Disqualification Event has not occurred.
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2015/1560.html

June 2nd: weather too windy for fieldwork; approach of finding sites in spring through tracking soaring birds is facing difficulties though a few good days would transform the picture, if most have actually arrived by now. So laid-back day making N4c4l, G4g4s and T&S4ra4s!! Also added Dolittle perspective to paper, which has made it more coherent. Lots of great harmony at end of day!!! 2moro does look better weather-wise so out to lower South Tyne mid-day and early afternoon before making G4g4ss!! Big Chancery case result due in morning:

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE, CHANCERY DIVISION, COURT 17

Before THE CHANCELLOR

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

At half past 10

FOR JUDGMENT

HC-2015-001336 BNY Mellon Corporate Trustee Services Ltd v LBG Capital No. 1 Plc & anr

It’s concerned with LBG’s corrupt attempt to call the ECN series early. BNY Mellon are the notes’ trustees. Could lose 5k if goes against! xxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 1st: after staying overnight in Ealing with big sis, caught EC train at 12:00 from Kings X to Inverness, getting off at NCL at 14:50. Picked up car from Airport. Must say people looked really p.ssed off in city centre, maybe with the weather but lots more smiles around Airport! Drove back on A69 and at 16:10 had a male Honey-buzzard up N of Bywell flying low over a field, which I think is 3rd time I’ve seen him this year. Also over Tyne in cold, windy conditions at Corbridge had 60 Swift. Made 2nd home of N4c4t where very good to see S/A. Incredibly stormy evening for time of year, more like October, with S winds almost up to gale force. Fieldwork looks difficult tomorrow in the strong SW winds forecast but might have a go somewhere after N4c4l. Going to PPAR at S on 12/6 as part of programme, before Beethoven 3, one of the best symphonies; am going to wedding on M side soon after in Loughborough! Topos paper is back with M though am trying to sort out Dolittle diagrams. 2moro evening’s uncertain!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

May 31st: back from PSA to T5 LHR with BA after very good break. Below is summary of Honey-buzzard results from home page. We decided not to publish Chianti scores! Drive back was a little fraught with 2 laps of the circuit at San Miniato and almost missing the car rental return at PSA and returning to the Autostrada but fortunately we could turn without having to reverse the ‘wrong way’: Italians are very pragmatic. Had 2 Kestrel around Pontedera S in the sunny warm weather. Peugeot 2008 was very rugged and ideal for the rougher tracks. It went out with many scratches and came back covered in dust with a bit of a back light dropping off but all smiles! Here’s group photo at end, showing (l-to-r, f-to-b) gt-niece, nephew’s wife, big sis’ sister-in-law, niece, gt-nephew, nephew, nr, big sis, niece’s fiancé. Systematic labelling required for future genealogists! Kids were a little stretched by the evening.

Italy, Tuscany (24/5-31/5): Barbialla Nuova, between Corazzano and Montaione, 5 sites occupied in area 25/5: 1 male butterfly display, 1 pair mutual circling, 1 pair in chase with excited long calls, 1 male up high twice and flushed from ground at 20m, 1 male high circling, total 5 male, 2 female.

2 sites occupied 26/5: 1 pair mutual circling (new site), 1 male high circling (not new). 27/5 1 male high circling (not new). 28/5 1 female flushed (new bird). 29/5-31/5 none seen as settled down to nest.

Summary: 6 sites occupied, display seen at all; 6 male, 4 female.

Final raptor totals are: 10 Honey-buzzard, 7 Common Buzzard, 6 Black Kite, 5 Kestrel, 2 Short-toed Eagle, 2 Tawny Owl, that’s 32 birds of 6 species.

May 30th: last evening at the ranch. Personally paid on debit card €425 for drinks bill and tourist tax, mostly former: good thing the € has been in decline!! Very good relations established with the agribusiness farm: think they’re looking for clients like us (p.ss artists!). Weather continued good at 25C on light S breeze with a little cloud, going up to 30C on Wednesday and 32C on Thursday, will be happy to leave them to that. Did longish walk around estate from 11:00-13:15, walking S to centre and then back through path across an arable field close to the lake; generally kept an eye open but no more Honey-buzzard today, just 2 Short-toed Eagle, 3 Black Kite and a Kestrel. It shows what a terribly difficult species they (HB) are to census with such a short, frantic end to the display period (as on 25/5). Had 28 bird species today, which apart from raptors included Blackcap (12, all singing), Blackbird (7), Nightingale (4), Pallid Swift (10), Common Swift (2), Bee-eater (4), Turtle Dove (2), Golden Oriole (2), Melodious Warbler (1), Cirl Bunting (2). Had great sighting of a Pine Martin in a glade, duly captured on camera. Played again Ticket to Ride and again came last but much more up with the pace this time! Short stroll out produced a churring Nightjar at 23:45 and 1 or 2 pleasant surprises!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!

May 29th: we all went to Montaione today for a piazza lunch to celebrate our holiday. Weather’s warming up reaching 24C with hardly a cloud in the sky and a light N breeze. Not a single raptor seen today but did have a few interesting birds at Montaione from 12:30-15:10, including Hoopoe (2) and Common Swift (13, display). Most of the birds in this hilltop town were more ‘northern’ so no different from in UK. At villa had 4 Painted Lady and 1 Red Admiral, all presumed recent arrivals from North Africa. Here’s some piccies 1  2  3: greetings from Tuscany!! Make money in the sun: +11k this week bringing gain on year to 52k. Star performers were miners LON:JLP, LON:MIO and €reit LON:IERE; some top-slicing of profits on 1st 2. For the 1st time since entering the sector, mining is now showing a profit, and €reit is already showing a profit but looks undervalued in view of €qe though the Greek situation is a drag; some junk bonds held return a good income but are unexciting capital-wise at moment, will continue to hold as provide an anchor for portfolio; WBS produced encouraging results but no movement in their bonds. Looking forward to seeing the beauties again!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

May 28th: beautiful day with temperature 22C, wall-to-wall sunshine and light NE breeze. Spent the day on the ranch, have set up a nice ‘office’ under a veranda, complete with power supply and mostly exotic bird calls all around (Golden Oriole, Bee-eater, Turtle Dove, Serin, Blackcap, Redstart, Blackbird). Went for walk late afternoon 15:50-18:30, always a good time when it’s warm, and flushed a female Honey-buzzard off the same meadow that flushed the male a few days ago; got some decent piccies of this one. She’s a new bird brining Honey-buzzard total to 10 birds (6 male, 4 female, 6 sites); nice to see it’s not all male! Also today had total of 4 Black Kite (1 thought to be new), 1 Common Buzzard (new, to WNW), 1 Kestrel female (new, to WNW) and 1 Short-toed Eagle (close-up of bird seen earlier). So raptors now are: 10 Honey-buzzard, 7 Common Buzzard, 6 Black Kite, 3 Kestrel, 2 Short-toed Eagle, 2 Tawny Owl, that’s 30 birds of 6 species. Found some interesting data on Honey-buzzard in atlas results of Tuscany ornithologists at http://www.centrornitologicotoscano.org/site/atlante/eng/index.html. Numbers of Honey-buzzard found were: March 3, April 14, May 96, June 112, July 28, August 19, September 21, October 10, December 1. The peak in May and June is as expected but numbers in August seem very low as early August would be main fledging period on my calculations from incubation starting around 25/5. The records in April, and even March, fit in with my observations that a few birds do arrive back exceptionally early. Those in October are presumably Scandinavian birds slowly making their way S. Fascinating! Great butterfly display in late afternoon with visit to farmland and scrub also yielding birds Nightingale, Cirl Bunting, Whitethroat, Subalpine Warbler, Zitting Cisticola. Wish you were here!!! lok2t beauties!!!!

May 27th: cool and cloudy in morning, sun coming out in afternoon and temperature rising to 20C – very comfortable. We’re on an improving trend. Went for walk with big sis down some forest glades lower down on the estate in the sunshine. Insects and particularly butterflies were fantastic: 161 shots taken mainly of them. Needs some analysis! Had 5 Black Kite (well-established on meet of woodland-farmland), a Kestrel hunting further to S and a Common Buzzard to SE. So raptors now are: 9 Honey-buzzard (at 6 sites), 6 Common Buzzard, 5 Black Kite, 2 Short-toed Eagle, 2 Tawny Owl, 2 Kestrel, that’s 26 birds of 6 species. Had just one Honey-buzzard today, a male high-circling to SE at 17:40, presumably with female below on eggs. So going quiet; this is just like in Northumberland where the last day of major display is frantic and you wonder why they are so hard to see: but you soon get back in the swing! Bee-eater are fairly prominent and easy to pick up with their characteristic calls. Played Ticket to Ride in evening as novice against some very seasoned players: I came last! WiFi is not bad here, a little slow but keeps going, not bad for a remote rural area. Have been doing 1-2 hours a day in finishing off topos paper. Funds look on a bit of a roll this week, particularly €reit LON:IERE of which hold over 1.2M, 1/213 of the business. Think the lovelies would like the pool here!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

May 26th: humid day, cooler with almost no wind, but dry at villa though some heft thundery showers in area. 8 of us went out for walk to N of park from 10:30-13:00, getting into some very dense valley-bottom vegetation where we had to admit defeat and scramble out. Suspect this was area to WNW of Doderi where Honey-buzzard was about to nest as difficult valley-bottom terrain, poor human access and a pair of very excited Jay; was expecting this to be accompanied by Honey-buzzard alarm calls! However, no Honey-buzzard were seen here but did have a ‘new’ pair at 11:15 further to NW soaring very high into grey clouds and preforming mutual circling with a pair of Common Buzzard below. The only other Honey-buzzard seen today, in the much poorer conditions, was the male again doing high circling over site to SE at 16:47. Another 2 Common Buzzard were seen to NW of villa, closer in, and a new raptor for day was Tawny Owl, with a pair calling as they hunted near villa at 21:50. So raptor totals now are: 9 Honey-buzzard (at 6 sites), 5 Common Buzzard, 3 Black Kite, 2 Short-toed Eagle, 2 Tawny Owl, 1 Kestrel, that’s 22 birds of 6 species. So today’s summary is:

Barbialla Nuova, between Corazzano and Montaione, 2 sites occupied in area 26/5: compared 25/5 +1 pair mutual circling, 1 male high circling again, total 2 male, 1 female.

Plenty else of interest!! Missing the lovelies …. lok2t beauties!!!!

May 25th: a brilliant day weather-wise after several cool and wet days in area with yesterday seeing a spot of recuperation on our arrival. It was 21C and dry on a light to moderate NW breeze with some spectacular cumulus clouds; air-stream was polar. One of my best Honey-buzzard days ever with summary as follows:

Barbialla Nuova, between Corazzano and Montaione, 5 sites occupied in area 25/5: 1 male butterfly display, 1 pair mutual circling, 1 pair in chase with excited long calls, 1 male up high twice and flushed from ground at 20m, 1 male high circling, total 5 male, 2 female.

All sightings from vicinity of our Villa Doderi, which is at Barbialla Nuova: ‘a large and wild forested estate in the heart of Tuscany’. We’ve taken over all the Doderi complex at the top of the hill. In more detail:

  • Site to NE: 10:25-10:30, male up high floating, then dived very quickly to site c300m from villa; 11:30 male flushed from track-side at 20m, investigation showed that clumps of cut grass had been turned over; 12:03 male up very high.

  • Site to SE: 11:20 male up very high, floating slowly over site in high circling; male up again 11:30 very high, maybe had not descended; 17:40 male soaring high and off to feed.

  • Site to SSW: 12:14 pair soaring very high with mutual circling.

  • Site to WNW: 12:20 pair up at lower level in vigorous chase; 12:25 excited long calls were heard from same area.

  • Site further E: 12:30 male doing butterfly display at moderate altitude; 13:45 repeat of butterfly display by male.

Suggested state of play is that some pairs have settled down to nest with the males doing final high circling and display over site before becoming invisible; others are still at vigorous display stage. The breeding cycle is about 3 weeks ahead of that in Northumberland.

Also had 3 Black Kite (a 2 and a 1 moving over slowly), 2 Short-toed Eagle (pair very active to SE), 1 Common Buzzard (up to SE with Black Kite), so raptor species up to 5. More to follow ….

May 24th: off to LHR for a PSA! Another get-up at 6 and off at 09:40 from T5 to Italy: brilliant views of Paris, Lake Geneva, Alps and Ligurian Sea on BA flight. Hired Peugeot 2008 from Maggiore at airport and sailed off to near Montaione, a high point in Tuscany c342m asl, S of San Miniato, I’m doing the driving for 3 of us but there’s 9 in the villa: me, big sis, big sis’ sister-in-law, nephew and family (partner, 2 kids), niece and fiancé. Had a Kestrel female hunting at PSA at 12:00 and a Common Buzzard at San Miniato, where in short stop had 6 species from 15:30-15:40, but no Honey-buzzard yet though habitat looks very good. Scenery is fantastic and we had a great supper tonight, washed down with the best of Chianti!! Weather is sunny and warm. Here’s Sophia yesterday 1 with granddad and earlier 1 on 1 May at home. lok2t sleeping beauties!!!!

May 23rd: off to Richmond in afternoon to meet daughter, husband and the rapidly growing Sophia now 6.2kg and 0.25 years old. Great to see them again and we had good lunch at Lass of Richmond Hill. Amazed how congested everything is down here compared to the NE. Today they closed the District Line from Turnham Green to Richmond for repairs and you could hardly move; gather people routinely spend hours queueing. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

May 22nd: long lie-in, then off to meet son at Gloucester Road at 17:30 for drinks at Gloucester Arms and meal at Da Mario, all in expensive Kensington. Paid £9.73 for 2 pints, a record, but meal was not too bad at £70 for 2 courses and plenty to drink!! Son has just handed in dissertation for MSc at UH in Computing Science. He gave me a copy and was amazed that I read it backwards; all experienced examiners do that – see what’s claimed at end and then see whether preceding justifies it all! Copy is marked top secret as it’s application of data mining to analyse performances of different class and ethnic groups in their courses at UH: can’t comment further! Made Shanakee in Ealing 4g4s to keep topped up! Funds unchanged this week – under-performing market but pleased with LON:JLP rise of which hold over 1.2 million. Hull obviously don’t get too much from their Alumni: how about a personal meeting; well that’s not my priority! 2moro it’s meeting grandchild S and devoted parents!! Missing the lovelies!!!!

May 21st: to bed at 1, up at 6, on punctual 9:59 to KX, met Mike at KX and we went to LHR T5 for 7 hours of work on the topos paper. Paper stood up to close scrutiny pretty well so definitely lined up for submission in early June but not there yet! Back to Turnham Green for supper at nephew’s; pretty shattered but very enjoyable. Now staying at big sis’s! lok2t beauties!!!!

May 20th: much better day in all respects!! Made upper South Tyne, starting at North Wood, Haltwhistle, from 12:40-13:50 and finishing at Towsbank from 13:55-15:25. Weather was bright and significantly warmer on moderate W breeze. Honey-buzzard results were positive at both sites but they were more obvious at North Wood with a pair soaring from moorland to NE of site high up into the base of the clouds at 13:00 for 5+ minutes, followed on return by a male at 15:40 in strident flap-flap-glide display low-down on edge of moor to E of site. At Towsbank had to wait until 15:14 before a female was seen to lift off trees close to the site and move off NW to feed at moderate altitude; no male was seen here. So at this stage 16 sites and 21 birds (11 male, 10 female). Also seen today raptor-wise was a female Kestrel at North Wood and 2 Common Buzzard at Towsbank. Total for trip was 32 bird species, including Cuckoo (1), Swift (26), Willow Warbler (4), Garden Warbler (5), Redstart (1), Tree Pipit (2). Butterflies for trip totalled 5 Green-veined White, 1 Orange-tip, 1 Peacock. Made Hexham to visit MC to collect main keys: bulb from Halfords was defective; their own worked 1st time. No charge but pleased to hear a service is shortly coming their way! Then into N4c4t and G4g4t. Very pleased 2 c tmbo!! New bar-lass at G: nt, very helpful! Also made G4g4s as nite-cap but didn’t stay long. Funds are up very slightly even with major resources sell-off on Tuesday. Think the clever people will be moving into alternatives. lok2t beauties!!!!

May 19th: very cool with heavy showers on moderate W breeze this afternoon: no fieldwork. Made leisurely N4c4l where met J for good chat. Left car with MC and light worked on return: bet it was a simple problem, probably embarrassing! In unn M gave us a seminar on Heyting logic, which was very informative. Sent a pdf of Topos of Music published by an Italian Guerino Mazzola in 2002; it’s 1,337 pages and 47.39 MB so quite a heavyweight. Should be revealing as a theory of music book but I’m not sure that anyone other than the author can follow it; still will have a look! Our topos paper (on databases) has reached 40pp and is due to be submitted on 4/6; seeing M in London soon for final chat about it; had extension from 31/5 for personal factors. My VF position has been extended to November because a review of all VFs due in spring did not take place. Better weather promised 2moro so out to upper South Tyne to look for raptors. Should make N4c4t and G4g4t but not sure about late nite session. Today no-one made T&S: M too busy and A has sadly had a minor stroke. So had another session on the topos at home: will be delighted when it’s finished!!

May 18th: when driving in this morning at 11:45 in light rain, had a good break in this not-so-easy season with a female Honey-buzzard at low altitude in power-flight with flap-flap-glide mode, right over road as waited for some driven sheep to pass near Houtley. That was very lucky and means after 2 null visits that West Dipton, normally a very early site, is occupied at last! The female looked massive at the low altitude, quite eagle-like. Made R and sneaked on to top table for a change! Had lively chat with mmo at C4c4ll: brilliant performance last Tuesday with HASS in the well-cast title-role of Calamity!! I’d spotted a few teething problems on that 1st night but had a few more pointed out. ‘Katie Brown’ also turned up so plenty of talent on show!! There were 4 chuggers in 4St: pita!! Then in brighter but very breezy weather from W, out for walk on south side of Dipton Wood from 16:15-17:30 with 2 sites in view but no more Honey-buzzard were seen; indeed no raptors were noted at all. Had total of 26 species of birds including Swift (4 W), Chiffchaff (2), Blackcap (1), Whitethroat (1), Pied Flycatcher (1 singing), Redstart (male on wires), Yellowhammer (9 in rape field). Processed some video of Honey-buzzard from trip to Devon in mid-June last year: copied to server but not indexed yet; will add to Devon page and to NB 2014. 2moro it’s N4c4l, then leaving car with MC for electrics check while into unn catching train around 13:30 for a spot of CT with M/P. Later should make T&S4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

May 17th: another cool, breezy day but with plenty of sunshine. Did a lot of grass cutting in afternoon, with sighting at last of local pair of Honey-buzzard up in the air together at 14:30; they didn’t stay up long at all in the strong wind, but did do some high jinks before going back into the wood on the Devil’s Water. So the male has arrived about 2 weeks later than usual. Later off to Morralee, near Allen Banks, from 16:30-17:50, where had 11 Swift W, 3 singing Willow Warbler and 2 singing Garden Warbler. Highlight was a pair of Honey-buzzard up just above the trees near the Allen Banks entrance at 17:15; like at Ordley the birds were desperate to display but the wind was too strong for a high-altitude effort so they made do with an effort just above the tree tops; never seen this before! Total was 22 species, including Swift (11 W), Sand Martin (4), Willow Warbler (3), Garden Warbler (2). Now up to 13 sites with 17 birds: 10 male, 7 female. Hobby trailing well behind at 1 site with 1 bird, a female. Changing brake light bulb didn’t solve problem: must be a contact issue, going to take it to MC. With P made G4g4s, fast becoming a kh family business!! 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll and catch-up. lok2t beauties!!!!

May 16th: made C4c4l where pleased to meet the rfbo!! Then off to Hyons Wood for walk from 15:00-16:15 in bright conditions but still with a cool moderate NW breeze. Picked up a male Honey-buzzard very high-up over Dukeshagg at 15:24, steadily climbing as riding the breeze and finally just hanging immediately below a high grey cloud; then lost him but suspect he came down quickly as is their style. Total for trip was 18 species, including 1 Grey Partridge, 46 Carrion Crow (including flock 30 feeding on field being cut for silage), 1 singing Garden Warbler, 7 Linnet, 4 Swallow. Moths included single Grapholita jungiella and Cydia ulicetana. There were 5 Honey-buzzard on BirdGuides today, including 1 W at East Chevington at 07:55 this morning. Made piano recital with N after good meal of boeuf à la bourguignonne at CR4m4t in GSt; I’d also gone to Halfords to get some stop-light bulbs for the Fox as 1 has gone. Recital was amazing by Saleem Ashkar, playing 4 Beethoven sonatas including the highlight: the Waldstein (no. 21). Beethoven is my 2nd favourite composer. Made Cnt4g4s b4 last bus home to Prudhoe Intnl at 22:45. Still catching up with antiques purchased over the winter. Here’s piccies 1  2  3  4  5  6 of Abel Chapman’s Borders and Beyond (£30, listed at £40), from the great hunting era in the Scottish Borders (1924), purchased 9/12/2014 at Hexham Antiques Fair, showing title pages and a Ptarmigan plate. Maybe an alternative! About to increase payments to Alumni at Hull University from £15 a month to £60 a month, spread over student hardship, research and some general slush fund! Worth about ½ the RNS, maybe fair!! Co-op Group meeting voted to continue supporting co-op party with donations. Why not? Many businesses support political parties, usually the Tories! Anyway no bad decisions made at meeting. Do have an interest – quite a lot of 42TE, paying 11%! 2moro it’s out in the field again, maybe lower South Tyne, before N4c4t and G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

May 15th: veiled sunshine, but cool W breeze making it chilly still. Made Dipton Wood from 14:10-15:20, looking for Green Hairstreak, but none seen; met RN, county butterfly recorder, who’d seen a few earlier when it was perhaps a little brighter; he said it was hard work. Had 10 species of bird here, including 3 warblers: Willow Warbler (3), Chiffchaff (2), Garden Warbler (1). Insects included 7 Peacock, 1 Incurvaria masculella, 1 Orange Tip male. Decided to try Swallowship for raptors and immediately scored as from 15:20-15:25 picked up a male Honey-buzzard at great height to W of Dilston site, slowly progressing over territory in an arc moving NE; he was lost to sight in the end. This type of reconnaissance flight is very typical of newly-returned birds (checking out their site!). So that brings site total to 11 and bird total to 13 with males (7) and females (6) evenly matched but only pairs at 2 sites so far (Staward N, Bywell Cottagebank). We’re lagging well behind last year in rate of arrival. Funds staggered up 2k this week, making gain on year 42k: no decisive movements up or down. Made N4c4l where met J and W4ra4s where there were 6 of us out for lively chat! 2moro it’s C4c4l, CR4m4t, S4con (Hall 2, Beethoven sonatas), last 2 with N. lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

May 14th: well a very good nite’s sleep, some work on topos paper and then into N4c4ll for spot of relaxation. Thinking a bit about G from last nite: not so comfortable there now, not just the inevitable absence of mfso but they seem unable to keep staff at moment except for the desperate J trying to pay down debt; maybe too many GOM, unfair deal or whatever! Gr8 to meet N again; after MP we went to S4con for a brilliant concert with a very dynamic young French conductor Alexandre Bloch. Beethoven 8 is one of my favourite symphonies with its upbeat tempo: everyone performed very well!! Brahms concerto for violin and cello also very much appealed with Veronika Eberle showing well on violin. EG’s a real *: pleased to see the credit though she’s the one with the talent!! Earlier tried for Honey-buzzard at West Dipton Burn from 14:40-15:00 and at Wylam from 16:20-17:05 but no joy: it was really quite cold on grey, E wind, so unpromising conditions. A flock of 70 House Martin were feeding to S of Wylam Station and at 17:04, just before train came in, a female Hobby appeared menacingly over the scene – 1st of the season, a great sight! Also in total of 9 casual records had an agitated Grey Wagtail, 14 Sand Martin, a yaffling Green Woodpecker, a Garden Warbler and a hovering female Kestrel. Made Cnt4g4s and BH4ra4s for some good Consett Stout before finally trekking home. A brilliant end to day: like it hot – lok2tmgo!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4l and W4ra4s with catch-up in between.

May 13th: bright day but cool E breeze. Went to Staward Gorge again, from 13:35-15:40 and it was very productive with the pair of Honey-buzzard seen there on the very early date of 23/4 again up in the air from 14:24-14:31, taking off from marshy ground to the W of their site, very quickly climbing and then hanging motionless together very high up in the base of a dark cloud for several minutes, before rapid descent in a dive. They were mobbed by 2 Swift when still climbing. I was hoping for a sighting at the S site but it was all very quiet there at the start. Then noticed continual turmoil to SW among a feeding flock of corvids, mainly Rook. Eventually at 15:15 a male Honey-buzzard revealed himself as the troublemaker, climbing well away from the ground and hanging very high-up for a few minutes; he drifted N slowly with 5 LBBG adult for company before diving back to site at 15:24. Also here had a female Kestrel out hunting twice. Stopped at Stublick Chimney on way back for an insect-bash and found a Dark Tussock cocoon in long heather and a swimming Grapholita jungiella (in a puddle). Total for trip was a pretty good 30 species, including 9 Stock Dove, 8 Meadow Pipit, 4 Lapwing, 4 Curlew, 1 Skylark. In evening at 22:30 had a Barn Owl over road at Dilston. Made G4g4t where met B/M and many others for good chat; paid JC £275 for the guttering work including materials, which passed the severe test of Saturday’s downpour. Funds are level pegging so far this week; think a number of commentators are underestimating inflation prospects; a lot of money has been printed and commodity producers are reducing production and slashing capex so supply is going to be reduced in many cases. Sold a few ELR today to cash in some profit. Gave G a miss for late session, with other attractions beckoning such as the red and green of the Races!! Made DrS4g4s where the bar-lass thought I’d just finished work, for some reason: didn’t bother to correct her. Always quiet on Wednesday she said!! Very inspired end to day: like spirited ladies – lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4ll, MP4m4t with N, S4con with Beethoven 8.

May 12th: very breezy day with moderate SW gusty wind all day; mainly dry but fairly cool. Made West Dipton Burn from 11:10-11:40 where had a Red Kite soaring NE at 11:32 from site in Lamb Shield area, but no other raptors. Interesting birds here in the brief visit were Swift (18), House Martin (1), Swallow (5), Chiffchaff (2 singing), Mistle Thrush (1 sing), Starling (1 carrying food). After N4c4l and good crack with J, made Stocksfield Mount for main business of day from 14:05-15:20. Here had 2 Honey-buzzard: a female soaring high over Whittle Burn near to Tyne at 14:28, mobbed by Jackdaw, before descending rapidly; a male over Cottagebank, mobbed by 3 Jackdaw, presumed looking for feeding opportunities on ridge above the wood at 14:59; this makes a pair seen here this year but nowhere near display stage yet. Seeing 2 more Red Kite was very welcome, surely confirming local breeding activity at 3 sites in all today: one was up at 15:06 floating over Short Wood E before descending into Ovington area; the other floating over Bywell NW into area N of Cottagebank at 15:10. Total at Bywell was 20, including 18 feeding Swift, 1 feeding House Martin, 2 LBBG (adult, 1s), 10 Herring Gull (5 2s, 5 1s), 2 singing Blackcap, 1 Jay. More to follow … A Kestrel was hunting at Devil’s Water (Linnels Bridge) at 15:40 and a Green Woodpecker was seen near Lamb Shield soon after. Went to QH4con where thought CJ was a brilliant 1st nite with the mmo in great style!! Good to see the band in the T&S for afters, where met M for a couple! 2moro it’s out in the field midday, followed by G4g4t and for change somewhere E!! Sat bb down earlier in nite for quite a while.

Bit stuck on DNA family history at moment as Genebase seem to have gone backwards in services offered – think their main business is paternity issues, obviously more lucrative!! Current stage on male side with Haplogroup Y is shown here with refinement to subclade R1b1a2a1a2c (Atlantic Celtic); should be possible to refine further in due course. So Ireland South is strongest bet statistically, sharing my subclade of Haplogroup Y in 68.5% of population there. Next up is Ireland East (56.3%), Ireland North (47.6%), Ireland Southwest (45.4%), England North (39.3%). This is totally consistent with documentary evidence showing origin of family as Rathmacknee, Co Wexford, Leinster, Ireland Southeast. England North is surprisingly high, may reflect immigration from Ireland. Evidence for earlier Spanish origin has diminished, so it may be that the Rs went from Ireland to England a little after the Norman conquest c1080, settling at Rochester where they took the surname de Roucestre (Latin for Rochester), and then came back to Ireland as pseudo-Normans in the Strongbow invasion of 1169 with reward of land and subsequent corruption of name by Irish to Rawceter and Rossiter! Sounds a little opportunistic: surely not rats!!

May 11th: very breezy this afternoon, with strong gusts, not that good for raptors. Made R and presented International report with details of our bucket shaking! Total Nepal donation is now around £1700. Thought paths looked promising but somehow we didn’t meet!! Made C4c4ll where met the mmo, getting composed for CJ, which is action 2moro nite before T&S4ra4s!! Later sorted topos paper v3 and sent off to M for further comments and input. Deadline is 31/5. N’s back 2moro and it’s S4con (Beethoven 8) on Thursday. Sending off S booking for next season 2moro after final chat about it. Expecting to make N4c4l with trip out to Bywell later …

May 10th: tempo up today with 2 Honey-buzzard seen in visit to lower South Tyne from 14:20-16:25 in good conditions with cloud lifting a little and sun coming out raising the temperature; wind was a moderate S. St Martin’s flies were starting to emerge. The 1st Honey-buzzard was a male up over Frankley from 14:30-14:32, floating effortlessly N over the woods at medium altitude before disappearing to NE. The 2nd Honey-buzzard was a female up over High Wood, Hexham, from 14:40-14:44, floating low down at first, then climbing rapidly, hanging a bit and gliding off NE presumably to feed. The 1st Honey-buzzard was seen again at 15:40 flying into the Greenshaw Plain site with a lively, twitchy movement; it was assumed this was the same bird as seen over the wood to the N at 14:30. Massive increase in insectivorous birds feeding on wing with 40 Swift, 70 Sand Martin, 4 House Martin, 5 Swallow, but no Hobby yet, plus raptors — 1 Common Buzzard and 1 Kestrel – and a singing Whitethroat, 3 displaying Common Sandpiper, 2 Green Woodpecker (new site), 4 Oystercatcher, 1 Dipper, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap. Total for trip was 30 species. Here’s valuable betting slips from yesterday: good collection of donkeys, particularly Attonburn, which didn’t even have the strength to get up the final hill! Potential value £195.84, cost £25.00, cash-in value £0.00, loss £25.00! Been told influence, of how pretty the stable lasses are, is not a good criteria for placing bets! Very glad I went though: could have made longer-term bad bets on True Colours, Alberich and The Rhinemaidens. Did make W4shop today before walk, and N4c4t and G4g4s later, with usual very good crack at the latter and new bright bar staff r, sadly replacing mfso!! About to book up with S for next season: need a spreadsheet to do all the calculations! Cost is £683 for 20 packaged concerts and 10 additional ones, after discounts for the package. Want to do final check with N tomorrow before sending order in. 2moro it’s R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll and catch-up on records and topos paper. We’re expecting further donations to be promised for Nepal at the meeting.

May 9th: well weather was just what you expect for the Spring Festival with heavy rain at breakfast-time though it did improve later. We collected about £420 for ShelterBox in Nepal raising total donation from R to about £1500. Got away at noon to make C4c4l and warm-up with rfbo! Decided to go to the Races: you do get a view over the West Dipton Burn to the S, a Honey-buzzard site, but none seen in improving weather (normally good sign) from a fair way off and minus bins. Not sure Honey-buzzard like crowds so probably not very significant! Very much enjoyed the race-course environment but pretty clueless at betting losing £25 on 5 races and taking g as a more likely bet for 2 of the races! No winners: my grandfather would have been ashamed. Will obey final instruction!!! 2moro it’s trip out in afternoon, maybe to another early site Warden, followed by N4c4t and G4g4s!!

May 8th: beautiful Honey-buzzard weather this morning but up late after watching dismal election results up to 03:15. Thinking of helping LDs with a decent donation, if they become a little more radical. JC arrived to do guttering, delayed from day before – all looking good. Into S at lunchtime for afternoon rehearsal of concert of film music for the evening: very impressed, a lot of it is quite demanding musically such as the James Bond theme and it was all played well. Conductor must have been fairly confident as it finished early according to NH, who was hosting the PP. Really liked the Dances with Wolves Suite, written by John Barry. Suspect Wagner fans should like film music as Wagner was attributed as father of film music by the Austrian-born composer Max Steiner, who scored Gone with the Wind/Casablanca/King Kong,++. Quote from Jon Burlingame, Special to the Los Angeles Times: “You may not know Wagner’s Ring but if you’ve seen Lord of the Rings or Star Wars you’ve entered his musical universe”. Very pleased to see my selection as lead flute in such a setting!! About to book up for next season’s RNS; N’s back very soon. Funds had small gain of 1k this week, not that much out of line with market which had been well down before today’s mega-rise. TSE:ELR made up 3.5k of that so other things slid a bit, some today on rise in £. Will readily admit (ironically) that Tory win will be good in the medium term for my property junk! 2moro it’s collecting for Nepal earthquake relief for R in morning at Morris dancers’ performances, then up to Hexham Races, events not connected!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

May 7th: made Prospect Hill from 14:05-15:35 in sunny conditions on a coolish NW breeze, quite good conditions for raptors particularly as visibility was fantastic. Had to wait until 14:50 for a Honey-buzzard to appear, a female who floated over the site for a while before gaining height and going up high into the base of a dark cloud; this is a common practice as thermals are stronger in such areas; she moved around a bit in the sky not going far and at 14:59 was seen diving back into the site; at 15:07 she was off towards the ponds at Farnley, maybe looking for frogs, chased by a Crow. So that’s the 6th site and is usually a reliable early one. Also had 7 Swallow (2 N, 3 W, 2 in habitat at farm), Chiffchaff (3). Had 2 Red Kite, singles soaring and hunting over Broomleyfell and Kip Hill, both new sites for the year and the latter a completely new site. Also had a Common Buzzard over Mowden Hall. Total for trip to Bywell was 20 species. Went on to Dipton Wood at 15:45 looking for Green Hairstreak but none seen. Did make N4c4l where met J: gr8 2 c the mmo!! M has sent long section for start of topos paper on metaphysics so integrated that into the text in early evening. Off to BH4ra4s where good to see Jd/S!! Lots of people up late watching election results which not delighted about! 2moro going to S in afternoon to watch rehearsal of RNS as part of PP deal; should make W4ra4s later. lok2t beauties!!!!

May 6th: woken up by JC who’d come round to measure up the gutters on W side of house, which are going to be replaced tomorrow. Had hair cut at JG at 11 with principal J doing the honours: £18+3! Made BIN21 where 2 ex-N people C/M work: nice change but very quiet! Completed spring cleaning of upstairs – major improvement! G was very sociable later on with c8 of us 4t and 4s!! Good 2 c tmbo looking so athletic: we don’t normally get such fitness outside the G: very welcome!! Funds up a little this week, due to rise in pt stocks with TSE:ELR to the fore on hopes that Chinese takeover of RSA mine will be completed. Again very cool today for early May but sunnier tomorrow so hope to go out to Corbridge area after N4c4l; much later it’s BH4ra4s and election results; hoping Tories do badly in N/SW England, confirming them as party of affluent SE and leaving them well short of an absolute majority. lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

May 5th: heavy rain in morning, becoming brighter on very blustery W breeze later. No fieldwork today. Did make N4c4l and out in evening for G4g4s and T&S4ra4s!! Congratulations to the mfso on E!! Good crack with M! Fantastic finish to day: lok2tmgo!!! 2moro it’s haircut at JG, BIN214change4c4l and G4g4ss!!

May 4th: grand day, a little cool but lots of sunshine on moderate W breeze. On the face of it arrival of Honey-buzzard in the W of the study area is later than to the E and centre. But this may not be a fair conclusion as spend most of my time in E before moving W. So today made Haltwhistle and Eals in upper South Tyne from 10:25-13:50 to see whether any had arrived. Well they hadn’t so maybe there is some method in the approach. Had masses of Common Buzzard (8 Towsbank, 1 Softley, 1 Whitechapel, 1 Hexham Loughbrow) and no other raptors. Did though have plenty of summer visitors with Cuckoo (2, Eals), Redstart (1, Letah Wood), Garden Warbler (1, Haltwhistle), Blackcap (1, Haltwhistle), Willow Warbler (2, Eals), Tree Pipit (5, Eals), Swift (1 W, Henshaw), Sand Martin (7, Haltwhistle (6), Eals (1)), Swallow (5, Haltwhistle (4), Eals (1)). Waders included Curlew (5), Lapwing (2), Redshank (2), Oystercatcher (3). More to follow … After S had done the downstairs so well in morning, decided to blitz the upstairs this evening, throwing out masses of paper (1 large sack full); filter of vacuum cleaner went after a while so had to wash the filter and leave it to dry before more work tomorrow; also sorting out lots of computing-conference CDs by copying contents onto external drives and throwing them away; about to do the same with photo CDs. Lifetime of CDs is uncertain as not refreshed while in storage. A 3.63 TB external disk can hold 5,671 CDs of 640 MB each so plenty of space! You do though need to have the copies on 2+ external disks to guard against failure of a disk. 2moro it’s N4c4l, G4g4s and T&S4ra4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

One more Honey-buzzard on BirdGuides (not quite so early now!):

16:07 04/05/15 Honey Buzzard Kent Grove Ferry NNR 11:15 pale morph male flew high west over viewing ramp; also 2 Garganey

May 3rd: appalling morning weather-wise but what a transformation around 16:00 as strong sunshine emerged, temperatures rose and the wind dropped. Went out for favoured walk in ‘Shire from home along ridge to Dotland from 16:20-18:10 with some 5 Honey-buzzard sites in view. Had success very quickly with a female Honey-buzzard up low-down over Devil’s Water near home from 16:22-16:25 before she subsided back into trees; got a little video and stills. Further success came at 16:35 when a male Honey-buzzard got up W of Dukesfield, gained height very quickly, and moved off SW towards the Slaley forest W site; he disappeared from view at 16:38. Final sighting of Honey-buzzard was from Dotland of a female high up to S, hanging in the air from 15:20-15:25, before going down to SE; think she was the ‘home’ bird seen earlier exploring her territory to the W. So not bad: 2 new sites, 2 new birds for year! Also had a Common Buzzard over Dotland and a female Kestrel over Devil’s Water. Very sociable walk, met a few neighbours, all glad to be out after morning murk; one told me they’d had a Sparrowhawk through the garden yesterday. Also had 7 Curlew, 2 Lapwing, 3 singing Garden Warbler (1st for year), 2 singing Chiffchaff, 2 singing Willow Warbler, 2 Swallow, among local breeding birds, plus 2 Whimbrel calling as moved N and 2 Swift circling. Total was 29 species: ideal timing as long spell of gloom finally lifts! Earlier spent morning wrestling with relations in category theory: still not resolved except to find they’re not very compatible! Made W4g4s, where extension for bank holiday; met P there for chat about walk at Beamish but left before end. Sadly no mfso!! Have voted by post: LD, on basis might as well vote for the party of which I’m a member. Fancy trip to Hexham Races on Saturday afternoon; would be nice to have some company!! 2moro it’s trip out to Haltwhistle and upper South Tyne for a determined start to new season! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

May 2nd: very drab and cool day, particularly for the time of year; tomorrow sees persistent rain on cool, moderate E winds for morning and early afternoon and am not going on walk; want to save my energy for Monday when conditions much better! Made C4c4l where caught up on FT/HC: very pleased to see a service station is likely coming to Hexham on N side; about time we had more than 1 garage serving petrol. The rfbo looked a little fraught!! Good to see jo!! Did masses of work on topos paper in evening; another long session tomorrow will see it up to final draft stage. Have had Visiting Fellow status at unn extended until autumn because of changes to procedures. Will definitely be at G4g4s 2moro for break from writing, maybe at N4c4t earlier!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

May 1st: still very cool but did cut some of back grass with new mower – all very efficient, tackling long tufts in its stride. Had a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker over Devil’s Water near home so still hanging on, maybe even increasing a bit. Also had a male Kestrel over garden and a Tawny Owl calling at Lamb Shield with another at Ordley 2 days ago. Very quiet on insect front at the moment. A pair of Hares has moved into own field almost as residents it seems, to add to the natural grazing pressure from Roe Deer and Rabbit. Made C4c4l where met the lovely vivacious *: very good chat!! Also made W4ra4s where 5 of us out this week for lively chat! Best week for funds this year with +12k, raising change to date on year to +39k. Mining shares recovered well this week amid signs that commodity prices are rising, meaning the deflationary spell will be brief indeed: Euro zone deflation fears go up in bond-selling smoke (Reuters). Whatever expect a bit more bumpy ride next week! 2moro it’s C4c4l and catch-up before walk out with Group on Sunday. lok2t beauties!!!

Another early Honey-buzzard on BirdGuides:

Reported 08:51 01/05/15 Honey Buzzard Northants Islip 08:40 one reported in flight over this morning

April 30th: continuing very cool with hail showers, not that much priority to Honey-buzzard searching at the moment. N’s away so in on later train from W, making S in time for a wee glass of red wine. Concert featured Beethoven 2 but highlight for me was Freddy Kempf’s performance in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G: quite jazzy in places, particularly in 1st movement but 2nd movement was so slow and haunting – very moving. Stayed for Spotlight at end, which featured cello and double bass in 2 very contrasting pieces (must admit preferred the tango!). Mario as usual officiated with great charm and the whole event went out live on Radio 3. One or two things were not perfect!! Made BH4ra4s off last train where had a couple of Cullercoats stout – not bad! Very exciting end to day: gr8 reunion – lok2tmso!!! 2moro it’s N4c4l, W4ra4s and maybe trip out in afternoon!!

April 29th: received copy of Northumbria Bird Atlas by post via Northumberland Wildlife Trust. The Atlas covering 2007-2011 has been published by Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club this year (2015) and runs to 512 pages. The editors are Tim Dean, Dick Myatt, Muriel Cadwallender, Tom Cadwallender. In general it’s a great achievement by the editors, authors and observers, and I’m very happy to have covered systematically the moorland square NY75 in both summer and winter and contributed many other roving records through BirdTrack. I do feel though that the raptors section is going to cause some trouble for posterity. Clearly the Honey-buzzard account on p.435 is totally inadequate with just 5 migrants noted over the 5 years of the Atlas. However, the Hobby and Red Kite accounts cause more immediate concern. Indeed the status of the Hobby as recorded officially in Northumberland (p.274-275, Ian Kerr) is now so bizarre that a section will be added to the Review of Review (part 7) on the recent history and amazing antics of the NCRC. The Red Kite account (p.136-137, Ian Kerr) can be dealt with more quickly in due course on this page. The account in the Atlas acknowledges confirmed breeding in 2008 (2 pairs), 2009 (1 pair) and 2010 (1 pair) but this corresponds poorly to my data for 2007 – 1 pair, 2008 – 4 pairs, 2009 – 2 pairs, 2010 – 1 pair, 2011- 4 pairs (http://nickrossiter.org.uk/hbweb/northumberlandrk.html). I confirmed breeding with sightings of family parties/juveniles in July/August/early September, following occupation in the spring, so think the idea that they are wandering birds is far fetched. Further the 10km squares NZ06 and NZ16, where most sightings are made, are shown as occupied in the Atlas in both winter and summer in virtually the same tetrads, suggesting year-round occupation. Genuinely wandering birds would produce much more scatter I feel. More analysis to follow …

Not a bad week for funds so far, up almost in double figures, just crossed another milestone (upwards!) decisively of 105 short of 106! Good gains for u308/pt, not very vulnerable to immediate market trends, which are down. Will be pleased if gains hold: things are a little fragile! Suspect for national GDP figures everywhere that q1 seasonal adjustments are not adequately coping with the winter weather, maybe because reliance on jit makes us more vulnerable to disruption than expected. On a more down-to-earth note, got exhaust fixed at MC today for just £153 with replacement of front pipe holding the pd cat – sure that one of the ‘specialists’ would have given me a bill for £400, including much work that didn’t need doing. Spent much of day at QH working on topos paper, where made startling progress; did meet P at N4c4c for break. Went to G4g4t where ‘sold’ old lawn mower for 0 to S who reckons he can make an easy £30 after quick repair: GL! Recruiting JC again, this time to replace guttering on W side of house, which leaks under stress, i.e. when it rains! Had another session at G4g4s where good to meet the gang (9 of us!). 2moro it’s C4c4l, S4con (Beethoven 2), BH4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

April 28th: got back into topos paper today, with 2 hours at QH where few distractions! Earlier made N4c4l where met J for catch-up. Slaley4R was very smooth: but compliments received on web site transformation and collection at Morris performance. Incredible performance by the Cherries yesterday to gain promotion to the top league; Bournemouth were in the same league as the Gulls 6 years ago and almost went out of business that year, having a bucket collection to raise funds! Fancy Dorset having a Premier side: not sure they’ll stay up but GL! Car still broken: part not arrived at MC evidently but suspect procrastination; anyway booked in for 10:00 tomorrow for repair. Evening was well up to expectations: gr8 quickie at G with mfso and good crack with M at T&S!! lok2t s.xy ones!!!!

April 27th: made R where move to contribute to Nepal disaster relief. International is organising a collection at Hexham Spring Festival (9/5) from people attending the Hexham Morris activities for supplying shelter boxes; filled in 12 page pdf document as organiser of collection seeking permission, sent it over Internet to Northumberland CC and await result by 4/5 (if no response by then, tacit consent given). Fox problem id as hole in front exhaust pipe — well could have told them that! Parts due to arrive tomorrow morning hopefully for repair midday! 2moro’s plan is N4c4l, R4cncl4t in Slaley (MaxH’s house), G4g4s4quickie, T&S4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Looks like a tense situation below; amazing how this species attracts so much controversy! Would like to see the images but not published in obvious BF spot!

Correction 19:40 26/04/15 Honey Buzzard Norfolk Titchwell RSPB 2 earlier reported ‘dark morphs’ re-identified as Common Buzzards from images

Reported 11:58 26/04/15 Honey Buzzard Norfolk Titchwell RSPB 11:45 2 dark morphs reported flying north at 11:45

April 26th: completed processing of Faro records – all on BirdTrack and 2014 NB though not uploaded to WordPress for latter yet. Went out to Broomleyfell from 13:10-15:55, a neat lowland heath area near Healey, maybe looking for Woodlark. Visibility was brilliant in brisk N wind and it was sunny most of the time but quite chilly. At 13:30 picked up a large raptor quite a way off, in direction of Shilford: it was very high up and slowly floating W with periodic heavy flapping, almost hovering: yes, it was a male Honey-buzzard in butterfly display over the Shilford site; no sign of a mate but he was obviously advertising the territory was taken; he floated N a little before being lost to sight after about 10 minutes in view. So that’s 3 sites found occupied now: 53 to go!! Other raptors were a pair of Kestrel and a Common Buzzard. Total of 18 species also included Meadow Pipit (3), Linnet (15), Yellowhammer (10), Willow Warbler (1), Chiffchaff (1), Swallow (2). Had a Peacock butterfly in very sheltered cover under a hedge and moths included a Hebrew Character, Leucoptera spartifoliella (6 galleries in broom), Stigmella aurella (1 gallery in bramble), Phyllonorycter ulicicolella (probable, gallery in gorse). Did make G4g4s for good crack with the lively mfso: shall be very sorry when she finishes!! Pleased to meet P there – we sorted out R again – then he drove me up to the top of the hill to my ear-splitting Fox: a dour dog walker watched me drive off, felt like the odd sign but resisted! 2moro sees car in to MC, R @ B4m4l, C4c4ll and maybe car out of MC!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

April 25th: good catch-up day processing, for 2 days last autumn, some leaf mine photographs and catching up on recent bird lists so up to date in April now, except for a few casual records. Much cooler today but surprisingly had 2 separate Goshawk records after virtually non-existent spring display. As soon as rain was finishing around 15:00 a male was up over Hexham S, looking territorial, and another male did exactly the same thing over Devil’s Water near home at 17:10. Both males were unaged. Made C4c4l, W for shopping/more c and normal healthy meal at SC4f&c+mp4s! 2moro hope to get up on moors in ‘Shire, finish records for Algarve with last day at Lagos and may get to G4g4s!! At the elevated level of the Gulls, the season finished today: 13/24 with 61 points, better than looked likely a few weeks ago but not up to (unreasonable) expectations at start of season. Today we drew with Macclesfield in Devon, preventing the opposition from getting into the play-offs as they needed a win: doubtless very satisfying to some! Final tally was: P46, W16, D13, L17, F64, A60, GD+4, Pts61. Play-offs follow soon for some. Should have added yesterday that last week I also exited NBG for a loss of 0.7k after thinking that this time it’s not just the familiar Greek pantomime: disaster may actually materialise; so no holdings in Greece now. lok2t beauties!!!!

April 24th: sealed agreement with RNS as principal partner for sponsorship of 3k over next 2 years (worth 3.75k to them with gift aid and helps me a little as well tax-wise); am chair for principal flautist with the orchestra EG; have invite to orchestra practice on 8/5 and pp function on 12/6. Looking forward very much to the collaboration with the orchestra and the Music Trust. Funds-wise week bucked up in last 2 days and finished +6k at new record, +27k on year after 3k withdrawals (mainly for new windows). Rises in €reit and u308 led the way, particularly the former. Sold this week, over ‘phone with Lloyds, my last few ETF in precious metals; after all that effort last year, final result was +38.46 – not k, c15 cups of c @ N; consolation is kept funds intact as market suddenly turned nasty. Saga tried it on with insurance renewal for house+contents asking £318, way up on last year; secured deal with RIAS over ‘phone while strolling around Sele for £155; hate the way some firms penalise loyalty (inertia!). Saga actually don’t impress ethically: they give the impression of being a charity but they’re quoted on the LSE! Mobile signal’s improved around ‘Shire, can do calls on roadside outside house now but thick stone walls of house do mean that have to go out! Of course if friends had Viber we could do calls through the Satellite WiFi but that’s a big if!

2 more Honey-buzzard migrants reported nationally today [BirdGuides], bringing total for month to 3. No Honey-buzzard at home yet, kept a close watch today. Added some piccies below of yesterday’s fine female! Entire W gang not out tonite so made G4g4s for a major change on Friday: had very much its up side with the most dynamic one: lok2tmgo!!!

16:21 24/04/15 Honey Buzzard Kent Margate 11:20 female at cemetery, flew southwest over paddocks at 11:20; also Osprey east at 11:00, a Woodlark and a female Ring Ouzel

15:40 24/04/15 Honey Buzzard Glos Westonbirt Arboretum 15:00

April 23rd: hot and sunny today with no cloud cover, amazing! Went to Staward from 13:40-15:35, a very early site for Honey-buzzard, which kept up its reputation with display of a pair. At 14:15 a female Honey-buzzard came out of the gorge area, harassed by a Rook, and after a few circuits of the area, flew N for 2km before soaring high to meet her mate, who was well above her at a fantastic height; they mainly just floated fairly close to each other at altitude but did make one dive together with talon grappling; have some piccies of the female; a Common Buzzard circled well below the pair, clearly protecting its nest site. The pair were up for 10 minutes at least, before drifting off a little to W very slowly; didn’t think they were migrating, looked more like a flight on to the moors to W to feed. She was missing quite a few inner primaries on each wing: quite common for returning birds to have remiges damage. Here’s 2 clips (5001) of the female Honey-buzzard 1  2, derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11 and stills taken during the video-shoot 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8. Also here in total of 25 species had a female Kestrel hovering at Gingle Pot, a Mediterranean Gull adult W (to Plenmeller site), 2 Swallow N, 1 House Martin N, 5 Curlew (at 4 sites), 1 Lapwing, 4 Meadow Pipit. No sign of Honey-buzzard at home site today. Assembled mower and cut front grass: that’s one problem out of way! Fox sounds like a tractor; could have had it fixed at an exhaust place but don’t trust them; made C4c4t but decided against trip E later, tempting as it was, as too conspicuous for too long!! 2moro will make N4c4l and W4ra4s, both short trips!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

April 22nd: another lovely day weather-wise with hot sunshine all day and becoming warmer though still cool at night; intended to start cutting grass at home but re-start of electric mower resulted in lots of smoke and no cutting power (quite spectacular!) so into Argos at Hexham to collect a new one, a Bosch Rotak 40-17 Ergo Electric Rotary Lawnmower – 40cm cut, suitable for larger lawns, all for £139.99. It’s sitting inside on the floor waiting for inspiration to assemble it! Wonder whether a local Honey-buzzard has arrived back: at 15:00 nearby Common Buzzard were mewing and a pair of Crows were very agitated but nothing definite. Made N4c4t and W4g4ss, all very chatty; 2moro should make N4c4l followed by short trip out somewhere; not sure about evening as Fox has developed a hole in the exhaust, making it too noisy to drive far; trying to nurse it until Monday when booked into MC. Had chat on ‘phone with NH about principal partner role. Funds showing very small loss as write; while most investors seem keen to chase bond yields ever more -ve, I’m looking a bit further ahead to when the oil price fall drops out of the inflation calculation. lok2t beauties!!!!

April 21st: and, great news, we’re off in Northumberland with the 1st Honey-buzzard of the season in high-altitude display over Bywell from 14:50-15:00. Weather was brilliant with strong sunshine, hardly a cloud in the sky and a light E breeze. The bird was picked up at considerable height, floating high over the Tyne with periodic peering down and gentle dives, each followed by rearing up again. Not a particularly lightweight bird with ruddy-brown mantle and dark head, so clearly a female. Tail was long and thin, wings long and broad and wings were always held level or slightly drooping. Not a single wing flap was seen in the 10 minutes she was up in the air. At the end she plunged down into a regular nesting site and was not seen again. In visit from 14:00-15:35 had total of 20 species, including 2 Common Buzzard (singles soaring over Bywell Peepy, Eltringham), a Green Woodpecker yaffling, 1 Sand Martin (to NW), 9 Swallow (5 N, 2 W, 2 feed), Chiffchaff (1 sing), Blackcap (2 sing), Bullfinch (pair). The home page has been updated so that there’s plenty of space for the 2015 summary and the 2013 summary has been archived; the latter is still accessible from the home page at Season 2013 – Summary. Made N4c4l, very leisurely in sunshine, met J for good crack. Later had quickie at G4g4s and more leisurely chat with mates at T&S4ra4s on programming languages! Service at G was fantastic: gr8 to have tmfso on!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!

April 20th: well the 1st Honey-buzzard for 2015 in the UK comes, maybe appropriately, from Wales, 1 day earlier than my 1st record last year (well done to the observer!):

16:23 20/04/15 Honey Buzzard Ceredigion Llandysul one flew north over Gwynfryn Garage, Horeb [BirdGuides]

Must get out tomorrow afternoon to see what’s about! Meanwhile made R where International (my committee) decided to cancel the Food Evening on lack of interest by members and restaurants and logistical difficulties – how on earth am I going to manage a catering event on the day with my level of cooking! Could have done with a lot more help and decided not to be a martyr. Reported it to AGM where a few groans but really more of “every assistance offered, short of actual help” (quote – IT help centres!). I’m chairing Vocational next season, more my area! The mbo looked a little dreamy – appealing!! Met the increasingly famous mmo at C4c4ll: title role in forthcoming musical, very appropriate, bought ticket upstairs at QH 4 opening nite!! Started contact with RNS over becoming a principal partner. 2moro it’s back to the topos paper, N4c4l and double bill: G4g4s, T&S4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

April 19th: energetic walk of 15km from Kildale to Castleton in North Yorks Moors, 10:30-15:15 with Walking Group, 23 of us out in coach with pick-up in Lemington and Central Station (chose former). We did a lot of moorland walking and although it was cool in the moderate NE wind, visibility remained good throughout and we had great views. Not using poles currently on any walks, though planning to use them on Honey-buzzard site visits where terrain is really rough. Very fit at moment!! Bus journey was good, sharing seat with the lively D!! Much more to follow … Did make G4g4s with P and the dommies crowd where gr8 to have the very fit mfso on!! 2moro it’s committee meeting of International R at 12:00 followed by AGM @ B4m4l; should make N4c4ll and hope to catch-up later!! lok2t beauties!!!

April 18th: added Part 6 of Review of Review concerning conflict of interest and data manipulation (Review of Review/http://nickrossiter.org.uk/hbweb2/review6.html), relating to recent British Birds publication on Scarce Migrants and including correspondence between NR and Editor of British Birds. Long day out tomorrow with Walking Group, going by bus to N Yorks Moors in 24-seater with early start at Lemington of 09:15 (for me), back at 18:15; should be good! Today had leisurely visit to C4c4l, seeing the mfso twice and the rfbo!! Managed some catch-up later but it’s amazing how 5 days away disrupts the flow! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

April 17th: a lot of activity on the ever popular and cheery Review of Review pages this week with the table below summarising recorded activity (actual totals will be higher as not all activity is logged). Have updated the page cited in last row of table to update the links to current site and to include extended and full audio extracts of Steve Roberts’ talk on 22/11/03 at Penrith (including exuberant comments by Steve on Wales beating England that afternoon at rugby!). Part 6 and maybe 7-8 on way! This is what the study of raptors is all about these days!

Name of page

Average time spent

Number of hits

Review of Honey-buzzard Review, Part 1: Perjury and Corruption

http://nickrossiter.org.uk/hbweb/review1.html

1 min 45 sec

219

Review of Honey-buzzard Review, Part 2: Negligence, Bias and Ignorance

49 sec

162

Review of Honey-buzzard Review, Part 3: A Lack of Transparency

1 min 44 sec

139

Review of Honey-buzzard Review, Part 4: A Lack of Natural Justice

46 sec

85

Review of Honey-buzzard Review, Part 5: Weaknesses in Current Bird Recording

1 min 25 sec

74

Review of Honey-buzzard Review, Part 2: Appendix: NR Reply to Steve Roberts

3 min 33 sec

22

Details of Hits on nickrossiter.org.uk in Review of Review section from 1-17 April 2015

Interesting comment as spring arrives (15/04/15) by Ernest Garcia on passage of Honey-buzzard in spring at Gibraltar: “The first Honey Buzzards arrive at Gibraltar about now. The peak passage occurs over the last few days of April and during the first week of May”. Finished 2k down on funds on week: financial collapse of PAL (North American Palladium, not a concert venue but a miner of pd!) was culprit, losing 3.4k on week to bring total loss to 12.2k on a 13.3k investment, which is fairly comprehensive. It’s been a bu.ger for quite a while! Indeed very volatile week, down 7k by Wednesday, recovering to +1k by Thursday and going back down to -2k today in a weak market. These things happen if you specialise in recovery stocks: they don’t all make it! Overall balance in pt/pd only shows a very small loss in spite of very depressed state of pt/pd prices with for instance a net 3k in SLP worth 18k. Commodity prices are rising on the quiet: both oil and metals, and that’s in pricey $. Deflation, if that’s what it is, may not last long. Did make N4c4c with P for catch-up and W4ra4s for chat with 4 of us out!! Loved the bedroom look: gr8 glow: lok2tmbo!!!

April 16th: great journey back on Flybe from EXT-NCL arriving 10 minutes early at 11:55; earlier dropped off Astra, no probs! Quick journey home to catch-up with Cleo (S feeds her while I’m away); then into N4c4l to return to normal rhythm; mbo looked very fit!! Made LAF for afternoon session before bunking off evening one to attend S4con with N. Concert was 1st with Lars Vogt as maestro of RNS; he was very bold starting as pianist in the challenging piece Concertino by Janáček and continuing as soloist/conductor in Schumann’s Piano concerto, which has fantastic rhythm in its final movement. Final piece after half-time was Dvorak 8 which had a lovely waltz for movement 3. Whole concert was brilliant. Lars obviously thought the woodwind were the stars and I’d agree, particularly the piccolo player!! Back to BH4ra4s, which was sadly jd’s last nite: can’t believe she’s really leaving!! Very stimulating close: she’s absolutely fantastic : lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it’s N4c4c with P and maybe trip out for kite with much later W4ra4s!!

April 15th: massively overworked at M’s house in Totnes where we spent 6 hours reviewing the ANPA paper; we’ve got some changes lined up but may not complete all by time for publication! Weather was beautiful again up to almost 20C in continual sunshine. Heavy traffic on web site continues with 100+ accesses to review1.html today and 350+ to all review pages over last 3 days. Should make BH4ra4s!!! lok2t beauties!!!!

April 14th: misty, mild, light SE breeze at Teignmouth early-on where had brisk walk along sea-front; recorded some calls of argenteus HG and picked up total of 11 species, including a White Wagtail (male) and a Sandwich Tern (feeding inside estuary). Over to Sidmouth in Astra to stay with younger sis for a bit! Fog all day on coast but brilliant just slightly inland with strong sunshine (burnt a little) and not a cloud in the sky. We went for walk up Core Hill Wood from 15:00-16:40, getting 20 species, including 4 warbler: 1 Dartford Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap, plus 3 Nuthatch, 13 Wren, 6 Coal Tit. Butterflies included Peacock (6), Small Tortoiseshell (3). Quite energetic walk and good habitat with heath, gorse and large trees, in the Woodland Trust property. Earlier at 14:00 had 4 Common Buzzard up together, soaring high over Sidmouth N; later they kept reappearing, with flap-flap-glide display down the valley. Very high traffic continued on web pages, particularly on review of the review, with break in service for 2 hours early evening, which is most unusual. Missing the lovelies: flying visit continues 2moro!!! lok2t beauties!!!!

April 13th: a very sad funeral at Shaldon Catholic Church, from 12:30-14:00, attended by many family members and some of her friends from the village. The service was moving and expertly driven by the priest, with 4 tributes by family members: her 2 sons, my son and her granddaughter D and gt-granddaughter A. She had 8 of latter, including latest addition S. Daughter and family didn’t attempt journey again. I’ve got some new piccies of S, who’s growing really fast, very tall for her age; going to visit them soon in London. We had wake at the Ode, Shaldon, and dinner at the Elizabethan, Luton (Haldon), mother-in-law’s favourite pub. Solicitors were visited at 16:00 by her 2 sons to discuss whether they could get probate themselves. Even though fairly straight-forward: No! Bequests will go direct to my 2 kids, not me, but will indirectly benefit me as will ease their finances. Check out of Teignmouth hotel tomorrow morning but have a little more visiting in county before return. Massive activity on web pages at the moment. Think alternative approach might be subtle!!! lok2t beauties!!!!

April 12th: flew down with Flybe NCL-EXT 12:20-13:35, just a few minutes late, very smooth!! Only slight problem was at the security entrance at NCL, after earlier bag drop at desk, the reader would not validate my home-printed boarding pass, meaning re-navigation of 2 long queues. After few muttered f…ing hell, noticed a few Kalashnikov moving in, so smiling ‘no problem’! Print at airport where possible! Hire car is an Avis Astra, manual, very nice. Went for walk on Haldon Moor at Ideford Common from 14:40-16:10 in cool, bright conditions, picking up Whitethroat and Dartford Warbler in total of 19 species. Meanwhile travelling woes emerged with daughter’s family group of 3 affected by breakdown at Fleet Services, which RAC had still not resolved 5 hours later, in spite of their stated priority for babies: S, now 7 weeks old, slept through it all but suspect not the same tonite. RAC provided a taxi in the end (to Devon) but no facilities for baby carrying so journey abandoned: they were forced back to London to try again tomorrow in other car (a VW Fox) or by train. Son came down by train but works on main Paddington-Exeter St Davids line meant transfer to much slower Waterloo-Exeter Central line. Meanwhile Bay Hotel, Teignmouth, tried to charge me £130 for 2 nights when £106 was contracted price on booking.com; I’m not a bloody grockle – they had to concede the lower price!! Evening then perked up with journey to Ship with son for a couple: Ship was my local for many years and is still a fantastic pub with gr8 staff!! We ate at Drakes, with wine, to round evening off. So bit of an inauspicious start but hope for better tomorrow for funeral. Lots of activity on Honey-buzzard pages today, particularly on review of reviews: wonder if a little sweat is emerging! Straightened something out below!! Tomorrow is a sad day: end of an era! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

April 11th: modified the introduction above to bring it up to date. Sorted out visits record-wise on 4/4 (Letah Wood) and 5/4 (Wolsingham). Celebrating RSPB’s conversion to the merits of shooting, here’s title pages 1  2  3  4  5 of 2 volumes of The Moor and the Loch, by James Colquhoun 5th edition, c1880, bought for £60 at Hexham Wentworth in February. I’ve no love for shooters but much wildlife benefits from the habitat created and maintained, such as the waders and insects on the moors and Honey-buzzard, Hobby and many other species on the moorland edge. Made some donations: £50 to Woodland Trust’s Smithills appeal (large wooded area near Bolton), £30 to Marie-Curie, £10 to NWT (while buying copy of Northumbria Bird Atlas, which they’ll post). Thinking of becoming a principal partner to RNS, which would involve about £175 a month. All payments made with gift aid. Sure there’s even more deserving causes, which I’d happily fund!!! Have LAF meeting for new committee on 16/4 with attempted take-over by new team – controversial vote, and S4con in evening. lok2t beauties!!!!

April 10th: gave the moors a rest as needed to catch up with some R affairs, where spelt out to all to some surprise what is needed to make the Food Evening a success: a catering corps! Markets have been buoyant this week and own funds gained 9k to new record, 23k up on year, just shading high on 27/2. Inclined to look ahead through current deflation to some return to inflationary pressures at end of year as oil price fall drops out of calculations. Feel that will benefit property and mines: but who knows! Praying the Tories don’t win an overall majority: that’s my horror outcome as feel it would return Britain to Victorian times in terms of inequality. With Labour committed to Europe, they’re a better party for business in many respects. A sociable gathering at N outside today where 5 of us at one point: amazing what the sunshine does. Gr8 to see the super-fit mbo with such style!!! W was good with 4 of us out and shining talent!! 2moro it’s C4c4l and catch up!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

April 9th: fine weather continued, perhaps a little cooler on light W breeze. Made Whitfield Moor – Willyshaw Rigg – for lunch and walk. It’s really brilliant being able to spend so much time in April, basking in the sunshine and the atmospheric calls of the waders. Total of 8 species comprised: Red Grouse (10), Black Grouse (2), Golden Plover (5), Curlew (7), LBBG (24, all adult, back at breeding colony, not happy with my presence, not really claiming nest sites yet, much calling), Woodpigeon (3), Meadow Pipit (11), Twite (1, flying on to moor from SW to N, into cleugh where had them before). No insects recorded. Did some more work on topos paper: draft almost complete now and will send to M in Devon tomorrow. Made C4c4t – C now better than N in some respects – and BH4ra4s where sad wake on for a young soldier from Wylam who’d returned from Afghanistan. Markets good this week, particularly last 2 days with risk-on a little more. Own funds are currently enjoying best week of year and just shading the record, but will it last? Oil find at Gatwick looks a classical p&d (pump and dump!): keep well clear unless you were in yesterday. Co-op results showed sound recovery progressing – very pleased as get 1,300,000 1p dividend stamps from them each year! Some right-wingers always hammer mutuals but, ethically and materially, their debt has been a much better bet than the recent horror story of LBG’s ECNs, which goes to court on 17/5 for a declaratory judgement. 2moro it’s N4c4l, trip out to moors, W4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

April 8th: another glorious spring day with almost continuous sunshine. Had another trip out to moors for lunch and a walk, again making Hexhamshire Common with today’s visit to Lilswood Grange area from 13:40-15:15. Total of 12 species comprised: Red Grouse (15), Pheasant (9), Lapwing (28), Golden Plover (1), Curlew (16), Redshank (1), Common Gull (1 adult), Stock Dove (4), Kestrel (1 displaying to E), Jackdaw (11), Robin (1), Meadow Pipit (19 on territory, 12 NW). Just one moth: a Dark Tussock cocoon in heather. Also had 2 good stabs at the topos paper as need to send draft to M before Devon visit. Didn’t make C – not enough time, but did park at PInt before trip to Newcastle where with N made MP and S. Concert in Late Mix series, starting at 21:00, was Bach’s Goldberg Variations, played by RNS strings + harpsichord and theorbo (very long lute!). Thought it was very lively, almost busking Bach, which I liked but some purists didn’t! It lasted an hour, less than expected, so we caught last train back after a real quickie at Cnt4g4s!! Didn’t dawdle – no invitation!!! Finally sorted R web site top-level by realising that only 5 pages are featured on home page, chosen at random from those that are sticky. However, what we do pages are unlimited in number and can be nested. All this doesn’t seem to be documented anywhere. 2moro it’s another moorland trip, C4c4t, BH4ra4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

April 7th: just about sorted out all the links in connection with new NB; will do final check tomorrow and publish change. Did some work on R web site today: it’s a little erratic with caching, trying to work out why! Cooler today but did make N4c4l where met J for catch-up! Have received reply by email from BB editor on my concern about data manipulation: reply is broadly positive, will publish my letter and his reply soon, since I don’t think it’s going to be correspondence published by the journal! Will include a sentence on it in introduction above, which needs editing anyway. Mates not out tonite but decided that quickies in G4g4s and T&S4ra4s were in order. G was very motivating indeed with tmfso!! Good crack in T&S! Met one of staff outside B who suggested coffee/toasted sandwich would be good at table outside (at lunchtime, not at nite!). Finished with another quickie – very much liked the style – lok2tmgo!!!! 2moro it’s C4c4t, MP4m4s, S4con, probably back on bus to PInt!!

April 6th: you are very welcome to the new NB, that for the 2015 season!! The 1st birds will be here in about 3 weeks. Today had grand moorland walk over Lilswood Common in Hexhamshire, in very sunny conditions. Birds totalled 11 types, comprising Red Grouse (12), Red Kite (1 soaring to great height over Rawgreen at 13:40 before hanging and quickly descending to N), Pheasant (4), Lapwing (33), Curlew (11), Skylark (3), Great Tit (1), Wren (4), Fieldfare (120, in one flock), Meadow Pipit (21), Chaffinch (3). Butterflies included 5 Peacock and 2 Small Tortoiseshell. Moths included Leucoptera spartifoliella (2 galleries, broom), Dark Tussock (2 cocoons in heather) and Fox Moth (1 large larva, sunbathing). Beetles included 15 Green Tiger Beetle and 12 small longhorn beetles. 2moro it’s N4c4l, G4g4s, T&S4ra4s, with work on topos paper in afternoon and catch-up on records. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

April 5th 2015: well we did it, 13 km over moorland and river valley in Wolsingham area, Weardale, from 10:30-15:00; there were 9 of us on walk with P as leader, 5 ladies+4 men, all getting on very well! Weather was perfect with almost continuous warm sunshine on light W breeze and ground was drying out quickly. Longest walk I’d had for a while, but survived fine and have cast aside the walking poles except for Honey-buzzard site visits, as suspect they may hinder proper muscle growth. Refreshments were at Black Bull, Wolsingham, where a number of people were dressed in red, no doubt preparing for hostilities! Later, with P, made G4g4s where tmfso performed brilliantly!! Lot more to follow, maybe in NB2015 as turn over a new leaf. 2moro it’s N4c4l (no R as bank holiday) and trip out to moors somewhere. lok2t beauties!!!!

Recent relevant references: (more reading here)

Panuccio, M, Chiatante, G, & Tarini, D, Two different migration strategies in response to an ecological barrier: Western Marsh Harriers and juvenile European Honey Buzzards crossing the central-eastern Mediterranean in autumn, Journal of Biological Research – Thessaloniki 19 10-18 (2013). pdf

Panuccio, Michele, Across and around a barrier: migration ecology of raptors in the Mediterranean basin, PhD thesis abstract, Scientifica Acta 5(1) EEG 27-36 (2011). pdf

Panuccio, M, Agostini, N, Lucia, G, Mellone, U, Ashton-Boot, J, Wilson, S, Chiatante, G & Todisco, S, Local weather conditions affect migration strategies of adult Western Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus) through an isthmus area, Zoological Studies 49(5) 651-656 (2010). pdf

Duff, Daniel G, Has the Plumage of juvenile Honey-buzzard evolved to mimic that of Common Buzzard? British Birds 99((3) 118-128 (2006).

Panuccio, M, Agostini, N, Wilson, S, Lucia, G, Ashton-Booth, J, Chiatante, G, Mellone, U, & Todisco, S, Does the Honey-buzzard feed during Migration? British Birds 99(7) 365-367 (2006).

Elliott, Simon T, Diagnostic Differences in the Calls of Honey-buzzard and Common Buzzard, British Birds 98(9) 494-496 (2005).

 

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