Monday 23 February 2015

Eyes Open, from Night into Day

Last night, under a decently clear sky, belonged to astronomy. It's the first time I've felt up to it in a little while with the cold I've had, and although tired after my shift, I found myself observing at 130am. It was a welcome distraction after England's feeble batting in the cricket world cup had made me want to eat all televisions.

It was very chilly, so I wasn't able to handle it for long, but in that time I managed to bag all of the great spring globular clusters. Messier 3 in Canes Venatici was picked off first, followed by Messier 13 and 92 in Hercules, and finally Messier 5 in Serpens. Seen low over a church hall rooftop, my guide star for this globular cluster is one of my favourites, the orange star Unukalhai. This is the brightest star in Serpens, and its intense colour as seen in binoculars has always attracted me.

So, onto morning, and I managed to get out early for a walk as a warm up for the run I plan for this coming afternoon. Sadly, the kingfisher is still missing from the cycle path and I do wonder if it was something like a first winter male now headed off to look for mates for the spring. The great crested grebe on London Road Pond is sporting a head so red I mistook it for a pochard at a distance, and the tufted ducks are cruising up and down looking as usual like perfectly painted models.

Blackbirds are getting sporty, and I saw no less than three robins very close to each other on Clay Lane park. The forgotten nature reserve is well dotted with snowdrops, and great tits and chaffinch were at work in the trees there.

Despite the wind, it does feel like the world is waking up. I hope it is where you are too.


Lichen on Sustrans 64

A den at Clay Lane

Spiders in the conifer hedge

Defence of a highly local realm

Looking down into the forgotten nature reserve

Snowdrop slope

Birch tree, Friary Road park

Friary park life

Squill are pushing through

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