Thursday 2 February 2012

Working for you night and day!

Just rounding up a couple of days of observations!

Couple of nights ago, on a freezing freezing night, did a bit of "post-pub astronomy" with my 10x50s, half moon just about setting, but I think I bit of high altitude haze about. Managed to see M44 Beehive ok, but couldn't get Messier 67 a little further South. My eyes didn't want to work properly! Had a look for Leo and Virgo galaxies, slowly sweeping the skies, but no chance. Had a look for Messier 51 Whirlpool Galaxy in Ursa Major as I had read it can be an easy Binocular object, but no definite sighting. After a few minutes your eyes start to play tricks with you, especially when using averted vision. After a pint.

By this point, my hands were so purple with cold they were all but glowing in the darkness as if black-lit, so I headed inside to bed for a read, a DVD and some fortifying toast with a shot of rum.

I do love my rum. They should sell it with telescopes in winter.

Yesterday, before I went running I had the pleasure of having a really good long look at a Blackcap Warbler in my Holly Tree. Easy as pie from my living room window! THe poor bird, which at a cursory glance resembles a female house sparrow, although perhaps a lighter softer, cleaner grey with a head dipped in a black inkwell, sat shivering on a branch for a good 5 minutes, body fluffed out to reduce it's surface area relative to volume and preserve heat.

It was singing a little, and seemed to perk up after a few minutes rest before heading off. I bet the daft sod was wishing it was a Wood Warbler in Africa...

I note my garden area is not being visited by flocks of Long Tailed Tits at the moment.

Anyway my run was a 8 mile affair past the two lakes - Another Black Headed Gull wearing his Black Head too early on the larger Balderton Lake! I do wonder about this bird, I wonder if it is the same one I saw before.

The mystery bird that didn't seem exactly to be a Great Crested Grebe I reported a couple of days ago wasn't there on London Road lake.

Ran along a frozen, yet still bloody muddy Clay Lane, spotting chaffinches, wrens, great tits and similar in the hedgerows. And a Robin, which I haven't seen as many of in my garden area this winter.

Most interesting sight, apart from the folks doing a spot of rabbitting on Beacon Hill with a whippet and some terrier or other, was three Herons flying high near the castle, in a triangular formation. Slow wing beats, ruling the skies, and curiously reminding me of WW2 German Heinkel 111 bombers.

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