Notice Board: the Honey-buzzard Season in Northumberland 2018 as it happened – Nick Rossiter

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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 risen 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. However, migration movements are generally thought to be understated because so many observers struggle with the identification of juvenile Honey-buzzard. 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.

Some recent publications provide strong support for the thesis above. Forsman (2017) provides detailed information on the prevailing Misidentification of Juvenile Honey-buzzard. Maybe unwittingly the last report on Scarce Migrants in Britain by White & Kehoe (2016) admitted that in general migrant Honey-buzzard in Britain are locally born and bred, finally bringing to an end the idea that they were Scandinavian migrants. Therefore Honey-buzzard Migrants are British Born and Bred. Finally from central Scotland an exceptional breeding season for Honey-buzzard was reported by Shaw et al (2017) in 2016, suggesting a continued expansion of numbers in northern Britain (Scotland).

Because of the vast amount of data collected in 2017, not all the data sheets had been processed for that year by the start of this NB for 2018. By 19/07/18 all data sheets had been processed, the data being added to the 2017 NB. Completed addition of all 2017 bird records to BirdTrack on 03/12/18 and compilation of all 2017 lepidoptera records on 13/12/18. Moth records for 2017 were sent to Recorder on 19/12/18. Moth records for January-May 2018 were sent to Recorder on 02/06/18. Butterfly records for 2017 were sent to Recorder on 30/01/19. Moth records for 2016 were sent to Recorder on 24/02/19. Goshawk data for 2018 was updated on BirdTrack on 09/03/19 (Population of the Goshawk in SW Northumberland). Butterfly records for 2018 were sent to Recorder on 22/03/19. Hobby data for 2018 was updated on BirdTrack on 01/04/19 (Population of the Hobby in SW Northumberland). Red Kite data for 2018 was updated on BirdTrack on 05/04/19 (Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland). Honey-buzzard migration data for 2018 was updated on BirdTrack on 19/04/19 (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland).

The pattern of fieldwork will change dramatically in 2018. With a book in prospect, the author wishes to concentrate on habits of Honey-buzzard where clarification is needed rather than cover an enormous study area systematically, where the distribution of the birds is well-established. The intention is that only the Devil's Water (Hexhamshire, 6 sites) and Tyne Valley W (8 sites) will be covered through the season systematically, against a total of 49 sites covered in this way in all areas in 2017 and 2016. However, nest site visits will continue as before, covering 10 sites in 2 rounds of visits and other sites will be visited from time to time. The Study Area is notionally as in 2017 but only part will be covered systematically for occupation. The purpose of the change is to free up more time for creativity in approaching the exciting and largely unknown natural history of the Honey-buzzard.

April 28th 2019: this Notice Board is now closed for daily updates. Changes will still be made from analysis of data for 2018. The new Notice Board (2019) is at 2019.

April 27th: started on Honey-buzzard nest visit to Oakpool on 22/7 (8120). Quite a lot recorded! Also compiled Kellas N records from 23/4 and some Lepidoptera records from March and April this year. Running totals for types of birds and Lepidoptera this year are 101 and 52 respectively. Almost finished planning Grand Tour to OMM and beyond with willing help from relatives; am going to HON now rather than EXD and EAL instead of PAD. Planning to drive down to TOT to see M on the Sunday. Gulls finished their season today with a 4-0 win at St Albans, who would have been in the play-offs if they'd won today. We scored after 10 seconds, a club record, and could have had 4 in the first 10 minutes, instead of the 2, and we missed a penalty. We are champions of tier 6 NLS with 88 points from 42 games, for 93, against 41, goal difference +52, won 27, drawn 7, lost 8, promoted to tier 5 National League. Blyth Spartans and Spennymoor are in the play-offs of NLN so we might just be playing one of them next year as well as Hartlepool and Gateshead (and Yeovil, relegated today from League 2). All the talent together! For greater aesthetics, setting looked fantastic: sure it was brilliant: looking forward to a catch-up!!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Weather was awful today with heavy hail showers, no sunshine and cold NE breeze: 8 max, 4 min. Some reports on today's game:

St Albans City's play-off hopes ripped apart by rampant Torquay United

Saints left shellsocked by Torquay as Allinson admits 'it could have been 10'

Gary Johnson thrilled as Torquay United 'demoralise' St Albans

A record-breaking day saw United sign off the season in style as they strolled to victory against St Albans on the final match of the season at Clarence Park

Official TUFC TV | St Albans 0 4 Torquay United 27/04/19

April 26th: off at 9:05 to collect P on way to RVI; parked at Claremont Road with plenty of space to spare; made CT4c4c while treatment under way; back at 12:20 but was 13:30 before we got away as there had been an emergency admission; he (and his wife who's got the big C and could not drive him) were very grateful for my help; he got the all-clear!! On road had an adult female Kestrel at Bywell Cottagebank on way in and a Red Kite looking in territory at Thornbrough on way back. Made C4c4t and decided to concentrate on mates at W4g4s in evening as away for a bit. We (5 of us) had good chat; like at JLAF everyone seems to be getting on well at the moment, or making the effort to do so; think the divisive nature of Brexit has been a very negative experience for the country. W is very quiet: not supported by locals or visitors; not sure it can continue in its present form. On the records front decided to catch up with 2019 records, adding 3 recent lists of birds/mammals. Have recorded 100 bird species this year now with a little data still to compile. Fine start to day was replaced by cloud and showers; tomorrow it's storm Hannah! Just 6 days now to the gr8 event: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! Will write 2moro!!

April 25th: got to National Park office at Hexham at 12:15 in time to get a lift to Scots Gap for a walk from 13:20-14:45 exploring shared-use of old railway track followed by another walk at Wallington Hall from 14:45-16:00 exploring shared-use on a new cycle track they've set-up there. All very informative, followed by short hop to Kirkwhelpington Village Hall where we had tea and our evening meeting from 17:30-20:40. As chair I batted for WG1 and have been appointed to a new small group to review the apportioning of the Forum's interests onto our 3 WG. So: busy! Weather was poor: cloudy at low level, heavy shower on part of walk, cool, 11C max, 5C min. Did bird counts on each walk getting 17 types on each; total for both sites was 25, including Common Buzzard (1), Curlew (1), Moorhen (1), Sand Martin (16), Swallow (2), Willow Warbler (1), Nuthatch (3), Mistle Thrush (4). Looked suitable for Red Kite at both sites but weather not conducive for raptors showing themselves. 2moro it's ferrying P to RVI at 09:15 and back and W4g4s. Missing someone: think she's practising!! But the memories are good: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 24th: compiled moths for 27/07/18: at MV trap at Ordley had 118 moths of 26 types, bringing total in compilations as of 24/04/19 up to 215 types of Lepidoptera. Completed Shilford visit documentation (8140) at 03:00 this morning: mounting excitement!! So all now have to document for 2018 is 3 nest visits for Honey-buzzard in Northumberland, some Red Kite records and a Honey-buzzard find down S, and some moth records, spread out over just 10 data sheets. Oakpool visit 22/7 is next but will not get much done tomorrow as on JLAF duty most of day. Made MP with N 4t; they have a new menu, very tasty with more authentic Italian food, and prices broadly unchanged so not bad at all! Onto S4con to hear a piano recital by Angela Hewitt: Bach Suites, including English Suite 1,2,3; Suite in F minor; Prelude and Fugue in A minor. She was very expressive, particularly in the Prelude and Fugue which was my favourite. We went onto V4g4s where plenty of space for good crack! A gr8 end to day with lots of feeling: improvisation paid off: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!!!

Another Honey-buzzard claim (count 2), will have to start new NB soon!

24/04 12:23 Hampshire : European Honey Buzzard, Hill Head probable flew east mid-morning; also 2 Black Terns flew east at 06:40 and an adult Little Gull (09:00) [?]

April 23rd: compiled butterflies from Shilford 25/07/18: fantastic: 10 types with Red Admiral 1, Small Copper 1, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Ringlet 1, Small White 22, Large White 7, Peacock 8, Meadow Brown 2, Green-veined White 14, Speckled Wood 12; that's 69 insects. Also completed compilation of Honey-buzzard nest details as below (25/7, 8140), except for BirdTrack entry; also need to check some rowan leaf mines. Had another good walk today in cooler but still settled weather max 13C, min 6C, light N breeze, increased cloud at high levels but some sunny intervals in afternoon. Went to Kellas N a Honey-buzzard nest site from 14:30-16:50 where had 19 bird types. Had 4 Common Buzzard displaying overhead together, 3 types of warbler – Chiffchaff (3), Willow (6), Blackcap (1) -- a yaffling Green Woodpecker, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Linnet. Butterflies were good: 12 Peacock, 3 Speckled Wood, 2 Orange-tip; and there were lots of violets out, food stock for larvae of fritillary butterflies; no Green Hairstreak though as the limited areas of bilberry were mainly in the shade. The old Honey-buzzard nest was not intact with one side collapsing a little; will be interesting to see if it's used again and how. No news from M/A so made G4g4s with the Monday-nite gang, who'd switched this week to Tuesday; pleased to have A on and plenty of good crack! News from M in Devon is not good; he's on a CV rehab exercise programme several times a week which is helping him to recover slowly but cannot concentrate on research at all and is still quite weak. We are going to meet up though on the Saturday at Ottery, which is good as I'd like his clearance for the material I'm presenting on our behalf at ANPA at Liverpool University in August 2019, linking Whitehead's concept of Now (Occasion) with categorial colimits, as hinted in music/monad paper but with plenty of scope for expansion. The next day my younger sister has organised a reunion with my nephew's family! Trip will be very exciting: really can't wait!! 2moro it's CAL-NCL, MP4m4t at 17:00 with N and music by Bach in Piano Greats. lok2t gorgeous one!!!!!!

April 22nd: compiled moths for 23/07/18: at MV trap at Ordley had 71 moths of 28 types (including 2 of 2 types unidentified at present), bringing total in compilations for 2018 as of 22/04/19 up to 212 types. Started on visit to Honey-buzzard nest at Shilford (8140) on 25/07/18; should finish tomorrow, leaving just 3 nest visits to go after which can compile Honey-buzzard breeding totals for 2018. Today made N tip of Dipton Wood from 14:15-16:20 to chase Green Hairstreak butterflies; this sheltered area was clear-felled a few years ago and re-planted with Lodgepole Pine and Larch. There is much bilberry and heather recolonisation and the Green Hairstreak were found everywhere in this area, centred on NY972613, with total of 40 found, in groups of 2-3, in the bright sunshine at 23C max, 7C min, light S breeze. Bilberry is the food plant for the Green Hairstreak larvae; the adult butterflies seemed to be extracting some resin from the tips of the young pine shoots for refreshment. Also had 8 Peacock, 1 Comma, 2 Agonopterix assimilella (2 spinning on broom) and 2 Grapholita jungiella. For birds, out of 12 types altogether, had 2 Common Buzzard in display, 2 singing Willow Warbler, 2 singing Mistle Thrush and single Bullfinch and Linnet. Quiet start to week but builds up with HoN 2moro evening with M/A, MP and S4con with N on Wednesday, JLAF at Wallington on Thursday, and driving P to RVI and back for a minor op (for him!) on Friday, when also due at RNS season launch but will review for a few reasons!! Completed booking form for Sage for 2019-20 season and will hand it in on Wednesday when there: total cost is £1005. May well look for some more Green Hairstreak tomorrow as the opportunity is there! Faites de beaux rêves et revenez bientôt: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

April 21st: compiled moths for 25/07/18: at MV trap at Ordley had 38 moths of 12 types, bringing total in compilations as of 21/04/19 up to 204 types; after adding some remaining leaf-mine records from Swallowship 07/08/18 running total for year is 208 types, compared to 188 types as final total for 2017. Completed compilation of piccies and records for Swallowship visit on 07/08/18 (8190): now just need to add records to BirdTrack. Another gr8 day in the field with max 21C min 8C, a few high clouds, light SE breeze. Made Harwood Shield and Riddlehamhope at top of Hexhamshire Common from 13:15-16:00, getting fantastic range of upland species, including Red Grouse (12), Red Kite (3 up over Riddlehamhope wood at 13:14), Lapwing (9), Golden Plover (5), Curlew (10), Skylark (6), Willow Warbler (2), Mistle Thrush (3), Pied Wagtail (3). Meadow Pipit (8), Twite (1 calling overhead at the farm), Common Crossbill (1 at Riddlehamhope in wood), Wheatear (5, looked like 3 territories, not regular here). Total was 25 types of bird, plus 2 of butterfly – single Comma, Small Tortoiseshell – and 3 of mammal: rabbit, stoat, mole. The grouse moors are teeming with wildlife in spring! Grand Tour in early May is looking good with little sis keen to see me in Sidmouth and arranging a family get-together meal. Can also stay with big sis and kids also around so looks like a great social spell!! Haven't heard from M though; hope he's OK. Main trains are NCL-OXF-PAD-EXD-RDG-NCL to maximise use of return tickets! Made G4g4s where dommies crowd assembled for good crack. K is new bar lass; thought she reminded me of someone from NCL who then walked through the door: amazing!!! 2moro it's another walk, maybe on moorland further W after N4c4l and b4 (again!) G4g4s!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 20th: compiled moths for 17/07/18: at MV trap at Ordley had 48 moths of 17 types, bringing total in compilations as of 20/04/19 up to 201 types. Also sorted visit to Honey-buzzard nest at Staward on 07/07/2018 (8088), where established a pair was present rather than just the male. Today made Eastwood Common from 12:55-15:20 in superb weather: 22C, continuous bright sunshine without a cloud in the sky. This was good exercise in glorious weather, finding a number of typical lowland heath species: 1 Woodlark (in flight display at tree-top level), 28 Linnet (everywhere), 6 Meadow Pipit (not fully active yet), 2 Bullfinch, 1 Yellowhammer, 6 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Lapwing (2 pairs in display). Also had a pair of Common Buzzard displaying overhead and a flock of 24 immature Common Gull (4 2s, 20 1s) soaring to NE, presumably to Norway. Total for bird-types was 25. Butterflies were good: 9 Peacock, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Orange-tip, 2 Speckled Wood, 2 Green-veined White; so that's 5 types. It's a great time of year for being outside! At MV light had 19 moths of 10 types, including the large Elachistid – Depressaia radiella (Parsnip Moth). Funds did not have a sunny week, losing most of previous week's gain at -8k. Usually find short weeks (those with bank holidays) don't go so well. Quite a lot of investors seem to sell everything before long weekends: must run up enormous dealing costs over the year: doesn't show a lot of confidence in their holdings! Did make C4c4ll where read FT: world growth is down but not in recession: China is recovering while Germany is still shaky. UK struggles politically but companies are not doing so badly and offer unusually high dividend yields (6-12% commonplace), which still chasing. London residential property is beginning to look a little shaky, adding to woes over retail property, of which steering clear. Investors sitting on masses of cash while the market has recovered this year must be feeling a little restless as returns on cash are so poor! 2moro going on to high moors, perhaps Harwood Shield - Riddlehamhope at top of the 'Shire, to see how the waders are progressing. Will also tackle moth records for 23/07/18 and 25/07/18 from MV trap and get cracking on another Honey-buzzard nest visit from last year, to Swallowship. Will be at G4g4s in evening for recuperation. Will check with sisters and M to see if can make the grand tour. Next concert is piano greats. lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

Complacency about finishing last year's records before they come back was dispelled today by:

20/04 15:44 Suffolk : European Honey Buzzard, Saxmundham one soaring and circling over Saxon Road and slowly travelling south (15:00)

So that's Honey-buzzard running total for 2019 [BirdGuides] (count 1)!

April 19th: sorted and published the Honey-buzzard migration data today so good progress there. Also added the data from Slaley Forest for 03/07/18 to BirdTrack. Next up is moth trap records for 17/07/18 and Honey-buzzard site visit on 07/07/18 to Staward; after that there are just 14 data sheets left, a massive catch-up over the winter. Very warm today 20C, light S breeze, sunny all day. Had a Peacock and a male Orange-tip at Ordley and 3 Small Tortoiseshell in Hexham. Made C4c4l and W4g4s with 6 of us out at latter for good crack, including N going back on last train RDM-NCL. Decisive action for MMF at Oxford, booking a festival pass and a hotel: looks a very good programme!! 2moro it's C4c4l, plus trip to common near Healey, looking for Woodlark. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Here are the Honey-buzzard migration totals for 2018: updated Honey-buzzard page with migration data for SW Northumberland in 2018, showing some correlation with breeding success in Scotland (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland):

Table 34 shows the migration picture for Honey-buzzard in 2018. It was a poor year with only 3 adults and 10 juveniles seen. Good breeding seasons in Scotland are suggested for Honey-buzzard in 2014, 2016 and 2017 with a poorer year in between in 2015 and earlier in 2013. A new migration route was found in North Yorkshire, which was relatively busy in 2018, presumably carrying birds from NE England where the breeding season appears to have been more successful. There seems to be a correlation from at least 2015-2018 between the migration counts for juveniles in Northumberland and the breeding success reported for Scotland in Scottish Birds.








May 04


Ordley (NY95 P)

Adult female


1 NW

The season kicks off in spectacular fashion at 12:16 in hot sunshine on light SW breeze. I'd come out for my regular midday scan of the local area at noon and it all looked quiet. Then at 12:16 picked out a female Honey-buzzard gliding in from the SE, 2km away, at considerable height. She approached the edge of the site at speed, steadily losing height, where she was intercepted by her mate, the male; together they had a few minutes of wild fly-about with much chasing at moderate altitude before being mobbed by a Common Buzzard and a female Hobby; the reunited pair ignored them, eventually coming down in trees to E of nesting area (8001). So what a grand sight: reading is that the male had arrived earlier this morning and the female's arrival was the reunion at 12:16

Aug 25


Warden (NY96 D)

Adult male


1 S

Just a bit warmer at 15C but completely different feel with warm sunshine, in long sunny intervals, on light W breeze. Day was memorable for 1st migrating Honey-buzzard of the autumn in the study area with a male from 14:45-14:50 climbing higher and higher over Warden Hill, until in the base of the clouds, hanging for a significant time and then gliding off S (Africa here I come!). They often hang before getting on with it: some hesitancy perhaps, saying goodbye to the family or taking final image of home habitat for next year's return: probably all 3!

Sep 05


Towsbank (NY65 Y)

Adult male


1 S

A beautiful autumn day with almost unbroken warm sunshine at 16C, light SW breeze. Action started just after arrival at 13:22 with a male Honey-buzzard migrating S, doing a soar over the moors to the S after a glide from the N had brought him down into view from the ground at Eals; this soar-glide routine goes on for the entire trip to their wintering grounds in west Africa, saving c90% of the energy that they'd use in level flapping flight!

Sep 27


Bywell (NZ06 L)



3 rest

Today morning was very warm at 19C, again with steady breeze, this time moderate from W; cloud increased from 13:30. Had 3 Honey-buzzard. A dark-phase juvenile was up at 12:08 flying over the stubble field to N where after hanging for a while it landed; slightly further away at 12:08 was a dark ruddy Honey-buzzard juvenile which disappeared to W low-down; at 12:43 the dark-phase bird was over the copse in the middle of the stubble field before leaving low-down to W to feed on another field. At 12:55 a pale-phase Honey-buzzard came out of the Cottagebank area, hanging for a while over the field to W before drifting towards Broomley, where it again stalled for a while before going down over pasture. These 3 birds never interacted as siblings usually do so presume they're unrelated and have assigned them as migrants from Scotland. No other Honey-buzzard were seen so no signs of a gang; the appearance of gangs is very unpredictable as they're short-lived and may depend on subtle factors not fully understood yet.

Sep 28


Dipton Wood (NY96 Q)



3 S

Cold overnight down to 3C but a beautiful sunny day followed, up to 13C on light NW breeze. Two Honey-buzzard juvenile, pale brown and dark, came out of the woods on E side of Dipton Wood and from 15:44-15:46 effortlessly climbed into the sky with no circling to a great height, accompanied by an adult Red Kite; they then proceeded to drift S now almost out of visibility from the ground. From 15:47-15:48 they were followed by another juvenile Honey-buzzard (ruddy) and another adult Red Kite, which again went very high before drifting S. The birds were all keeping their distance from one another but were acting in some kind of unison. I didn't think the Honey-buzzard were a gang: they looked more like long-distance migrants from Scotland. It does appear that the migratory Red Kite have adopted habits not that dissimilar to Honey-buzzard, which arrive on site in May and depart in September. Where do the kites go? That's not clear but it's worth noting that Scandinavian and German Red Kite are migratory, moving SW in autumn, and large numbers have been seen in spring in SW England.

Oct 03


Stocksfield (NZ06 K)



1 SE

Cloudy, mild and dry in morning at 13C on moderate W breeze; sun came out at 15:00 as I neared Stocksfield Mount. At 15:16 again had a double emigration (see 28/9) as from the Tyne area near Bywell Bridge an adult Red Kite and a juvenile Honey-buzzard both came up quickly and they went away gliding at speed to SE at moderate altitude with the breeze behind. The Honey-buzzard was pale ruddy with extensive white on the inside of the secondaries, broad dark tip to wings and some darker markings on the upper-side, giving it a pale mottled appearance; it was not one of the 3 birds seen here last Thursday. The Red Kite is of course another great observation, supporting the idea that our population is at least partly migratory, so not on site in late autumn, winter and early spring, which is one reason the FoRKers have found so few!

Oct 09


Hexham Race Course (NY96 B)



1 SW

Fresh SW breeze, dry, sunny spells, mild. Best of all, at 14:55 a brown juvenile Honey-buzzard out over the rough pasture with plenty of juncus on W edge of Yarridge on way back, moving slowly against the fresh SW breeze keeping close to the ground. It eventually moved out of sight, still moving towards the open moor. It appears to be a migrant moving SW.

Oct 19


Bywell (NZ06 L)



2 rest

Sunny spells, light W breeze, mild; made Stocksfield Mount from 15:10-16:15. The Honey-buzzard comprised 2 juvenile (1 dark phase, 1 ruddy phase) up over Eltringham from 15:22-15:27, doing some mutual circling at moderate altitude; they did a bit of diving at each other, taking it in turns, which convinced me they weren't going anywhere as not in energy-saving mode adopted for real migration; the ruddy bird peeled off to land in Eltringham area to feed and the dark bird stayed up a little longer before drifting slowly back to Short Wood; at 15:36 the ruddy bird was seen back at Cottagebank so it must have sneaked back N across the Tyne Valley









May: 1

August: 1

September: 7

October: 4

12-13: 1

13-14: 1

14-15: 2

15-16: 4

resting: 5

upper South Tyne: 1

Tipalt: 0

lower South Tyne: 1

Allen: 0

Devil's Water: 5

Tyne Valley W: 6

Tyne Valley E: 0

Derwent: 0

Adult male: 2

Adult female: 1

Juvenile: 10



IN: 1 NW

OUT: 5 S, 1 SE, 1 SW, 5 resting

As usual most records are for migrating juveniles. The peak is early this year in September.

The times may reflect observer activity as much as anything else. The times at which resting birds have been noted are not included in the analysis.

The most popular route this year was via Tyne Valley W and the Devils' Water where much of the fieldwork was concentrated. Small numbers were noted this year in the upper South Tyne and lower South Tyne, where 2 birds were counted over the whole season.

It was another poor year for counts of adults with just 3 migrants seen. Only juveniles were noted after 5/9, some resting in prime feeding areas.

The juvenile total at 10 was well down on the record of 27 noted in 2017 and 2012. A poor breeding season in Scotland is suggested as in 2013 and 2015 (see Table 1).

Direction in spring was N/W as expected. In autumn the predominant direction was S with 7 moving this way. Movements SW/W are thought to be taking advantage of the local topology in a basically S move.

Monitoring this year was at a consistently high level through the autumn. While relatively few migrants were seen in the SW Northumberland study area, significant numbers were seen in the Danby area in North Yorkshire: North Yorks Moors (14/10-17/10): Danby 1 juvenile ESE from rest 15/10; 2 juvenile ESE from rest 17/10; 1 juvenile rest 17/10; total 4 juvenile with 3 ESE, 1 rest. The N Yorks data confirms as hoped that Eskdale, running from WNW to ESE, is a significant route for Honey-buzzard juvenile taking them through much suitable habitat from Teesside/Cleveland towards Scarborough and Filey Brigg, where they can continue their journey inland parallel to the coast. The birds here are likely to have passed through Bywell in the Tyne Valley on their way S from NE England/Scotland. In 2018 it is likely that the birds were not from Scotland, where it was apparently a poor season, but from NE England where it was another successful season.

Table 34: Visible Migration Movements noted for Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland in 2018

April 18th: another sunny and warm day but preoccupied indoors! Visit to dentist was as good as can be expected: she's very brisk with little commentary and all over in 10 minutes: that's the way I like it!! Left-hand upper lip sagged for quite a while and can see why you should avoid hot drinks but tried one anyway. Gr8 to meet 2 musicians at S4l; rehearsal was well attended by pp. Women are taking over with the conductor Karina Canellakis, assistant conductor and 6/7 violin I all being female: good 2 c!! KC wanted more dynamism and this was realised in the actual performance. Beethoven's Leonora 3 is quite a substantial piece as an opener with varied pace and intensity and was played well with AY the *. Mendelssohn's violin concerto is a classic in the genre and the soloist Karen Gomyo was fantastic, bringing out the emotion in movements 1,2 and the vibrancy in the cadenza and the end of movement 3. She got a lot of applause but resisted doing an encore. Cherubini's Requiem was quite a weighty piece with the RNS Chorus singing through most of it, unlike some where soloists do a lot of the work; the orchestra provided a low-key backing; it was sung well and very easy on the ear; see BL has joined the Chorus! Spotlight was a repeat by the same artists (IB/AR) of 2 of the items from Sunday at Morpeth: the Honegger and the Scarlatti. It was a very polished performance, even more so than Sunday (!), which went down well with the audience!! Went to the S bar afterwards where met IB, who set-up the original Festival web-site. Whole day was very chatty, particularly with someone special!! Have drafted my booking form for the 2019-2020 season and will submit that next week. 2moro it's C4c4l and W4g4s with a walk-out somewhere in between. Hope to compile some more records. Plotting a trip down S to Oxford, London and Devon in early May!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!

April 17th: almost completed analysis of visit to Slaley Forest on 3/7/18 (8085); just need to add bird and dragonfly records to BirdTrack; there are plenty of piccies of the nest and signs below (3/7). Busy social day making T4c4c with M and G4g4t with B. In between got out in the beautiful sunshine on light S wind, up to 13C max, down to 5C min, phew! They're forecasting 19C for Saturday in the 'Shire. As usual when UK is fine at Easter, Iberia has heavy rain as the low pressures are diverted to S. Birds of prey were all celebrating with locally a female Kestrel at Ordley and 2 Red Kite displaying over Dukesfield. Made Stocksfield Mount from 14:40-16:10 where had 3 Red Kite (pair displaying NW of Ovington, a single up over Bywell Cottagebank), 9 Common Buzzard (5 up over Eltringham, 2 displaying over Mount, 2 displaying over Ovington W) and a female Sparrowhawk up over Eltringham, mobbed by 2 Crow). Also had a Common Buzzard up over Letah Wood and another over Widehaugh. So total for day was 18 raptors of 4 types: 11 Common Buzzard, 5 Red Kite (3 sites), Kestrel 1, Sparrowhawk 1. Day was also notable for the arrival of the hirundines with 6 Sand Martin (5 Corbridge, 1 W Hexham town centre), 1 House Martin (NW at Mount), 3 Swallow (1 Riding Mill, 2 NW Mount). Total for bird types for day was 21, including Siskin (2), Nuthatch (1), Song Thrush (1). Had 2 butterflies: Speckled Wood at Mount and Small Tortoiseshell at Corbridge. We kept up the growing tradition of BB4m4s where again had chicken pie. P also had this and was minded to complain that the pie had pastry on the outside! I egged him on but he backed off: think he's learnt that if I'm keen on the complaint, he might be giving the staff a laugh! I was on low-alcohol beer (Speckled Hen 0.5%) for strategic reasons: it wasn't bad! 2moro, in the morning, it's sorting out my music programme at Sage for next season, then Corbridge for filling, CAL-GHD, S4reh, S4t with N, S4con, S4sl: should be great: looking forward to it!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

April 16th: compiled a bird list today at home, giving 24 species, including Tree Sparrow (8), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Chiffchaff (1, in brambles), Linnet (1 N). Weather is warming up, reaching 10C in sunshine on E wind. Processed the clips from visit to Slaley Forest on 3/7/18. Here's a copy of the material:

At the Honey-buzzard site (visit 8085), had an adult female making some alarm calls at 17:08 clip 1 (16-20s) and seen flying away to E, a male up very high overhead and an ample nest in Scots Pine, about ½ way up a tree, built on a bough and extending ½ the circumference, which was 141cm at head height near the base. It was a new nest, c50m from last year's. Further alarm calls were heard at 17:15 clip 2 (0-20s, with louder calls 70-83s). A faint anxiety call at 18:14 terminated the Honey-buzzard calls clip 3 (117s). Meanwhile also had 2 very angry Common Buzzard adults to S at 17:22 clip 4 (0-100s), indicating that the Honey-buzzard were not breeding there and a Sparrowhawk tail feather. A Carrion Crow was calling angrily overhead at 17:29 clip 5 (0-5s); the fainter call at 8s sounds a bit like the Honey-buzzard mating call! The louder Honey-buzzard alarm calls (70-83s clip 2) and the Common Buzzard anger calls (clip 4) can be readily compared; the Honey-buzzard call is purer with fewer harmonics, more like a flute, and less explosive than the Common Buzzard call. If you cannot tell the difference, then you may be tone deaf!!

There's some more processing to do of the stills but it's good progress and hope to complete 2moro. Made C4c4t and, with M/A, R&C4mr4s which pleased to say was much busier; bar lass G said that worries about keeping going were receding rapidly! Pretty full social programme on Wednesday with T4c4c with M, G4g4t with B, BB4m4s with P/B. Thursday will be more fun post-dentist!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!

April 15th: completed processing of visit on 28/8/18 to Beltingham when 6 Honey-buzzard found, all local breeding stock, no migrants. Next up is Honey-buzzard migrant totals for 2018 and nest visit on 3/7/18 to Slaley Forest. Made R @ B4m4l where had interesting talk from Hexham Community Partnership at the very minute that Beales, major store in the town, (again) announced its closure, in the autumn! Sat next to BB where found out latest challenges and advances in telecommunications! Much later made G4g4s where good to have M on and plenty of chat with the gang of 5 including me! Another meal scheduled at BB on Wednesday. Next concert at S plus bonus of rehearsal is on Thursday; immediately after filling at dentist in CRB at 12:10!! Sad to see Notre Dame in Paris go up in flames; looks as if they've saved more than looked likely at the height of the fire by the brave fireman operating from within the structure; will make a contribution to show solidarity! Weather was so cold and cloudy yesterday, only 6C max in the 'Shire and we're almost 2 months from the solstice. Today was much the same but it was sunnier, so more pleasant out of the moderate E wind at midday. No comments from climate change fanatics on our cold April, unlike on our warm February. Everything is weather and they choose the bits they like and ignore those that don't fit their case (observational bias!). Did 1st lawn mowing this afternoon, tackling rough bit outside the back door: good exercise and makes the compost heap sweeter! 2moro it's C4c4l and R&C4mr4s, latter with M/A. xxxxx XX!!!!!

April 14th: from 07/07/18: “MV moth trap haul was very good at 107 moths of 32 types with 2 micros unid at present (have not given up!).” Running total for lepidoptera for 2018 is now up to 193 types. 18 data sheets to go for 2018. Next up is Beltingham 28/08/18 for final check on Honey-buzzard migrants, then will compile their annual total. Very pleased that went to StG4con: highly imaginative range of pieces in the 9 selected, from Mozart, Vivaldi, Telemann, Leclair and Scarlatti through to de Beriot, Honegger, Bartók and Ligeti. Some pieces in part 2 were very spirited: Bartók's Hungarian duos, Ligeti's Hungarian Ballad and Dance and de Beriot's Belgian Duo Concertant 2. The duo violinists IB/AR got a very enthusiastic response, thoroughly deserved!!! Round trip of 70 miles, all on fast roads, was well worth it; not so happy when got back to find dommies players at G had failed to assemble at 21:30 as promised. Some redemption for P as turning up late he bought me a couple of g! Good to have E on and plenty of good crack!! Fancy not recognising the scarf! Some subtle changes: definitely more eastern look: so s.xy!! Associate her in my mind with Ravel's PC!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, C4c4ll and G4g4s. lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

April 13th: the Gulls did it in style, winning the National League South (NLS) Championship this afternoon by beating Eastbourne 2-0 at home while Woking lost 2-0 at Chelmsford away. A great result: it's our first championship in the 100 years of the club and we'll be back on a national footing next season in National League, tier 5, playing the likes of Hartlepool and Gateshead again (with outside chance of Blyth Spartans, now in NLN), after the only one season in tier 6. We've 85 points from 39 games and have scored 88 goals with 38 against. More detail at are 3 games left to play. Had a dreamy lie-in this morning: feeling so satisfied: hope the dreams were mutual!! Then quick visit to C4c4ll before the big match! Caught up on bird records for 2019, bringing them up to date. Going to start on moth records for 07/07/18 2moro, a big night for the trap. Have drafted the ANPA 40 abstract but it needs a little more research before submitting it. 2moro it's StG4con and G4g4s!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

April 12th: what a gr8 day!! Submitted music/monad paper to ANPA in morning at L&P after final scan-through and a wee tweak of the Introduction; this is a sister paper to that recently submitted to the journal Social Anthropology. Not sure where to take the work next; need soon a title/abstract for ANPA 40 to be held at Liverpool University this August; maybe handling the colimits in conjunction with the physics of the sounds would be satisfying: the coming together in a physical world (so to speak!). The pp were given the new Sage classical programme for 2019-20 as part of a chat by DT. It looks very good with an enhanced imaginative programme, including a weekend of all the Beethoven symphonies, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the composer's birthday played by 4+ orchestras. We went to the rehearsal of Esfahani's Bach, which was very thorough, enormous attention being given to the balance between the different instruments, in particular the harpsichord, the strings including solo violin, and flute. In the concert the work paid off in particular in the Concerto for Flute, Violin and Harpsichord, where the blend was superb with ME/BC/AY on the front foot. We had music from 4 members of the Bach family with JSB's Concerto in the Italian Style being played as a solo by Mahan Esfahani, who is so talented: delighted to hear that he's playing in a festival in the NE next January!! So many great memories from the day: she's absolutely gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!! Funds had another good week, rising in 2-digits for 2nd week in a row on postponed Brexit cliff-edge, lifting growing collection of UK stocks, and on rise in PoO and feeling that the medium-sized oil stocks are very 'cheap'. Rise was 10k taking gain on year to 62k gross, 52k net, with total just 28k short of record on 2/10 last year, before the mini-crash. Have crystallised very few losses from that crash so hoping for complete recovery in due course. 2moro it's C4c4ll, the Gulls' big day and catch-up!! Next concert is on Sunday evening!! xxxx!!

April 11th: just about completed compilation of data from visit to Eastwood Common on 05/06/18. This is an interesting site for the NE as it's low-lying heathland rather than upland heather moor, good for species like Tree Pipit and Woodlark, rather than just the ubiquitous Meadow Pipit. Bird of the week was an Osprey at Blaydon at 15:20 moving NE low-down from Tyne with every gull up in area. Very pleased with Brexit delay: will be good for my increasing body of UK stocks. It's barely credible that the ambitions of the right-wing of a supposedly capitalist party are viewed so badly by the stock market. Arrived in NCL for brief sojourn: made VctCmt4m4s and TC, where saw Us, a dark, almost satanic, film about doppelgänger (your double, approximately). The film certainly kept the interest level high but it was a bit far-fetched in places, even for my tastes! The audience seemed a little p.ssed, which was probably the best state for viewing it! I did actually enjoy it! When a morning person meets a person of the nite, they need to find some common ground: we certainly have found that: absolutely brilliant: lok2tgrf!!!!!! 2moro it's L&P 4 a little work, S4l, S4reh, S4t with N, S4con, W4g4s off last train!! The programme for 2019-2020 is being presented to pp: looking forward to that! xxxx!!

April 10th: completed analysis of moths from 05/07/18: “also had good catch of moths in MV trap tonight with 74 insects of 20 types, including Fan-foot (1), Muslin Footman (1), Willow Beauty (3), Green Pug (2).” Running count for year 2018 for lepidoptera is now 181 species. Next up is visit to Eastwood Common on 05/06/18. Next milestone is Honey-buzzard migration records and write-up for 2018, with former almost completed. Today had a Red Kite soaring again up over W of Dukesfield plus a Common Buzzard floating over wood NE of house, repeat of 8/4; weather was sunny but on a cool E breeze. Met M at T4c4c for further catch-up and the gang at G4g4t after session at QH writing an introduction to the ANPA version of the music/monad paper to tailor it for that series. It's 24 pp in single-column format. There were 3 of us at BB4m4s (P/R/me). My chicken pie was fine! P didn't like his sirloin steak, asking for a replacement and getting fillet steak; he's so angry over Brexit delay: you have to be careful in what you say! Suspect that's happening in many places; referendum no.2 is surely the best solution with binary choice of accept TM's deal or remain: nothing else with Parliament implementing the choice quickly! Dismantled a pile of papers and gave a bit to charity appeals: prostate cancer £35 (my paternal grandfather died of this), BTO £25 (bird surveys), cystic fibrosis £20. Brokers have made me a ViiP (not the medical condition!) from 1 June in recognition of funds invested and of active trading; this is the top level with cheap trades, removal of standing charges and free access to Level 2 data package (giving real-time insight into market). 2moro it's 14:57 HEX-NCL!! Might be TC! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

April 9th: after several hours hard work, completed processing 3 clips, producing video in m4v format of Honey-buzzard lasting 14 minutes in total, together with 35 derived snapshots, for nest site visit to local site, near Ordley on 09/07/18 (8090). Here's a copy of the entry below.

Made site visit 4/10 from 16:40-19:20 to local site, another one with fine riverine views by the Devil's Water (8090). Weather was much cooler, overcast c16C, dry, light NE breeze. Walk is short but involves crossing the burn and climbing an almost vertical bank, to get onto what appears to be an island but it isn't really; habitat is very rough underfoot with many fallen branches and high bracken. Birds are pretty shocked when you crawl up the bank and suddenly appear in the immediate area of their nest, giving instant reaction. Today's visit was very successful, with the nest another re-use of the Hemlock Spruce tree 1  2  3  4  5  6 with girth 134cm; indeed during the whole study they've only used 2 nests at this site. There was plenty of heavy/medium splash 1  2  3  4 in the nest area (10/2 respectively) plus a few (4) small white down 1, which are removed quickly by the Wood Ant, indicating that the young have hatched. As for the birds, they were vociferous at the start with both male and female up in the air over the nest, giving excited anxiety and anger calls. Have 3 clips of 3-5 minutes each, so very productive. Clip 1 1 shows the male over the nest at 17:24 with continual anxiety calls and derived snapshots here 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11. Clip 2 1 shows the male over the nest at 17:31 keeping quiet after start of clip with derived snapshots here 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11. Clip 3 1 shows the male and female over the nest at 17:43 with much anger and anxiety calling, with derived snapshots here 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13. As the visit went on the Honey-buzzard were replaced by a pair of Common Buzzard, who had a nest c60m away from the Honey-buzzard in another Hemlock Spruce tree; this nest was plastered with down and splash 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9, like normal raptor nests (but not the pristine Honey-buzzard!) and built lower down in the tree. When the Common Buzzard came too close to the Honey-buzzard, there was a furious reaction with screaming calls as recorded in Clip 3. The Common Buzzard might have fledged already, certainly no juvenile cries from that area.

So that's good progress! Next up are some more moth records from the trap for 5/7/18. Made C4c4l where good to meet saucy B. Had great catch-up with M after his 6-week tour of New Zealand. Evidently for the Ring filmed there (Tolkien's!) they used a lot of licence in the scenic shots to make the mountains bigger than they really are. Though it's still great natural scenery he says. Amazed to meet A at HoN: who's following who she said: very nice!!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M and G4g4t with B and maybe BB4m4s in Corbridge with P: busy day! Funds holding up at +1k in spite of Brexit uncertainty; hope is we'll get a little calm if we have a long extension and perhaps forget to leave altogether! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

April 8th: did have haircut, think it was done well at JG for 17.50 + 5 tip by Jen. Made N4c4c for recovery! Looked at 11 clips from local site on 9/7; 3 have some good views of Honey-buzzard as they call (8090); 3 are of Common Buzzard in same area, also calling; 5 are of the walk-in. So they're labelled but need to extract some stills and report on the calls. Video editing takes ages!! Hope to progress the clips tomorrow. Made G4g4s where just 2 of us out (P and I). Good to have A on!! 2moro it's C4c4l and HoN4st4s with M who's back from NZ! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

Here's a wee exercise, comparing the timelines of Karl Marx and Richard (Geyer) Wagner. Quite similar I would say: maybe Wagner was a socialist, not quite as extreme as the communism of Marx as he was welcomed back to Germany in 1862 for a period of strong personal resurgence! Wagner was more active in the later part of his life, maybe encouraged by a 2nd partner, Cosima Liszt, 24 years younger than himself. The information below has been extracted by me from Wikipedia pages so it should be well known but it's not!

Karl Marx

Richard (Geyer) Wagner


1818 (Trier, Lower Rhine, Prussia)

1813 Leipzig (Saxony) in Jewish quarter


Jew (father converted to Evangelical Church)

Possibly Jewish if father is Ludwig Geyer


Heinrich Marx (1777–1838)

Carl Friedrich Wagner (1770-1813) or

Ludwig Geyer (1779-1821)

Father's occupation

Lawyer, owned vineyards, (wealthy)

Clerk to police



Henriette Pressburg (1788–1863)

Johanna Rosine Pätz (1774-1848)

Maternal notes

Maternal grandfather was a Dutch rabbi

Johanna married Carl Friedrich Wagner on June 2nd, 1789 who died in November 1813 (only 6 months after Richard's birth), during the Typhus epidemic following the Battle of the Nations. She then married the painter, poet and actor Ludwig Geyer on August 28th, 1814.

Practising religion


Pagan/idiosyncratic Christian


Jenny von Westphalen, an educated baroness of the Prussian ruling class

Christine Wilhelmine "Minna" Planer, actress, married 1836 Königsberg; she died 1866

Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt, pianist, daughter of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, married 1870 Lucerne; as director she developed Bayreuth Festival into a major event; died 1930, Bayreuth, aged 92. She was 24 years younger than her husband.

Views on workers in industry

Influenced by Engels from his experiences in Salford: ugly exploitation of workers in factories (Engels, 1845, The Condition of the Working Class in England)

Rheingold (part 1 of The Ring, 1854) is considered to portray a capitalist nightmare with Alberich, the Nibelung, depicted as a brutal factory manager, and the gods as bankers, after Engels

Problems with state

Radical left-wing publications

Left-wing anarchist; participating in May 1849 uprising in Dresden; wrote inflammatory material encouraging revolution (polemics)


Paris (1843-45), Brussels (1845-1848), Paris (1849) before final expulsion from the continent

Zürich (1849)


London (1850-1883)

Switzerland (1849-1858), Venice and Paris (1858-1862), before return to Germany in 1862 in a period of strong personal resurgence

Early writings on Jews

On the Jewish Question (1843)

Jewishness in Music (1850)


Engels, Hegel

Engels, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Adorno, Nietzsche

Major Publications

Textual: 1848 pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto (1848), and the three-volume Das Kapital (1859)

Music/libretto: The Ring (1848-1874, love and power, readily perceivable as socialist, musical drama, leitmotifs, leading to film music with Steiner and Korngold); Tristan und Isolde (1857-1864, love and longing, towards atonality with chromaticism, dissonance and 12 tone scale, leading to Mahler and Schönberg); Parsifal (1857-1882, the pure fool, idiosyncratic Christianity, designed for advanced Bayreuth staging, leitmotifs and chromaticism)


1883 (London)

1883 (Venice), buried Bayreuth (Bavaria)

A Comparison of the Timelines of Karl Marx and Richard (Geyer) Wagner

April 7th: day of rest after sorting out moth trap with 27 insects of 9 types; that's good for the season! Met N at S4c4ll and then we went to see Handel's Semele, performed by English Concert with Clarion Choir from New York under direction of Harry Bicket. Soloists all sang very well, including Brenda Rae (soprano) in the title role, soon to become a double act, and Christopher Lowrey, counter tenor, as Athamas. Whole performance of this classical baroque piece was captivating. Not everyone realised how long it was as it did not finish until 18:40 from 15:00 start, with 2 intervals. One Rotarian there, E from Tynedale, asked me whether I could give her a lift home but after explaining I was parked at CAL, and doing quite a few things before departing, she lost interest!! Made MP4m4t where good meal and crack! Then back to G4g4s where the dommies group were in good form. Gr8 to have Jen on and a few hugs from off-duty bar lasses!! Brilliant end to day with the *: she's thrilling: more attention soon: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's JG4haircut with Jen at 11 and R AGM at B4s4s; don't think there's any risk of being elected for anything at latter! xxxx!!

April 6th: completed below the Red Kite results and account for 2018. No significant results at all from anyone else this year, even including the FoRKers! Also added some moth records from late August with 20 types on 18/8 alone. Now onto visit to local site on 9/7 where some great footage of a calling Honey-buzzard as it flies over the nest. Had 5 Sand Martin at Corbridge this afternoon. Tense afternoon with the Gulls as 1st (us) played 2nd away. Didn't log in to the match until 16:40 (as writing Red Kite account) and was horrified to see we were 3-1 down at 78 minutes but not to worry: 3-2 at 80 min, Woking player sent off for 2nd yellow at 87 and 3-3 at 90. Evidently we were outplayed for most of the game but came at them hard in the closing stages and they buckled! So now we're 7 points ahead with 4 games to go and we've got by far the better goal difference so some hope there! Next game is home to Eastbourne next Saturday! Did make C4c4l where met P for good crack! Some stars over last 2 days include trhwso, tmeo and tbld!! 2moro it's CAL-GHD b4 S4con at 15:00 and MP4m4t with N! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

April 5th: more details of the Red Kite breeding season for 2018 are available in Table 12, from Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland:


No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category

No. Juveniles fledged

Post-breeding sites




Devil’s Water
















Upper South Tyne








Lower South Tyne








Tyne W








Tyne E






















32 (1x3, 8x2, 13x1+)


Table 12: Breeding Data for Red Kite in SW Northumberland by area in 2018

In spite of the reduced coverage this year, the number of sites found to be occupied was a record at 33, the number of broods equalled the previous record in 2016 at 22 and the number of juveniles found fledged was also a record at 32. However, the reduced coverage was countered to some extent by including records included in the bulletins of the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club from March to October 2018. Such additional records were particularly useful for filling in gaps where the species had been noted personally in previous years but which had not been visited in 2018: Carterway Heads and Derwent Gorge on the eastern side of Derwent Reservoir and Sparty Lea in the East Allen. A further 4 sites were added at the possible level. The number of possible sites (6) in total and the number of additional sites at the post-breeding level (6) suggest that there is much activity, not being completely monitored, or that new areas are still being actively colonised. The Derwent area on the northern flank of the Gateshead population, and extending across the N side of Derwent Reservoir onto the grouse moors up the Beldon Burn to the watershed at Riddlehamhope, was again a major contributor to the success, with 8 sites occupied (10 in 2017) and 6 of these being successful, with 11 young fledged. All these pairs fledged young on moorland to the W and NW of Derwent Reservoir. Tyne Valley E and Tyne Valley W also held 8 and 5 pairs each respectively so the total population in the Tyne Valley from Hexham to Newburn was 13 pairs (9 in 2017). The recovery in the Tyne Valley E area suggests that indeed coverage was imperfect in 2017 as suggested in last year's report. Recent encouraging occupation of the Devil's Water was finally converted into breeding success with 4 pairs raising 5 young, countering its reputation as a sink for the species. Further W, coverage of the Allen was poor but 3 pairs were noted in the lower South Tyne. In the upper South Tyne 3 sites were occupied with 2 pairs fledging at least 2 young.

Visible emigration was observed this year in autumn with 2 adult Red Kite moving S at Dipton Wood on 28th September and 2 adult moving SE over Bywell on 3rd October. All these birds soared to a great height and continued drifting in the direction indicated, accompanying Honey-buzzard juveniles in their emigration.

There are no systematic counts from elsewhere in NE England in summer 2018 with which to update the totals from the 60 pairs estimated in 2016. The regional population is surely significantly higher now with observations in the autumn of 2018 indicating further colonization in 2019. A regional total of c100 pairs does not seem implausible now with numerous kites having spread into areas with no significant survey activity. The introduction is secure and successful.

So that's a major advance in my record-keeping and for the Red Kite with a record-breaking year, even with reduced coverage. Weather was milder today, up to 10C, and sunny but cool E wind kept the temperature down. Last night it was absolutely perishing in NCL, with the wind! Did have 2 breaks today: N4c4l and W4g4s with good crack at latter as 4 of us out. Glad it went well: looks gr8!! 2moro it's C4c4l and further catch-up; it's very satisfying rounding off the season with update of records and ensuring that past scholarly work is published properly. Funds did well this week, gaining 11k to high for year at +52k gross, +42k net. PoO is on a tear, over $70 now, but next Friday evening is crunch time for Brexit. An extended withdrawal is the expectation: anything else will cause a sharp movement up in one part of the portfolio and a sharp movement down in another (well, that's the theory!). Have had 3 letters from Sage in the last 2 days on changes to the FoRNS scheme with bronze, silver and gold divisions emerging; think pp is staying the same!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

April 4th: made progress on Red Kite records, finding 47 in all for NE England at c30 sites; most but not all the records are breeding ones; hope to complete the analysis tomorrow. Had 8 Sand Martin at Merryshields gravel pit this afternoon. Have got 2 versions of monad/music paper, which are progressing steadily along publication routes; need to respond readily to queries so does require some energy! Made reservation for 11/4!! Met N at CB4m4t, which was very good; we're getting well known there! Highlight of day was RNS Minimal @ Wylam 3, featuring music of prominent composers in the movement: Steven Reich, Philip Glass (2 each), John Adams (1). Some of the music was amazing with great playing: eg Glass' Piece in the Shape of a Square, involving 2 flutes interacting around a square in various phases; looked amazingly complicated but went off perfectly. Also enthused about John Adams' Chamber Symphony, in which all the musicians had plenty of opportunity to * and did so!! Gr8 to see EG playing again and looking very fit!! Minimal will return next year by popular demand: good! Retired with N to Cnt4c4s near NCL, where caught last train! Had some welcome exercise walking to the venue from the station both ways. 2moro hope to complete some tasks with clear run, except for C4c4l and W4g4s!! Next concert is Sunday afternoon. lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

April 3rd: bit of an indulgent day with C4c4ll, G4g4t and St4m4s but very sociable! They looked after us very well at Stalida and the 4 of us spent £150 including £10 tip! Did spend some time in QH library adding Rotary talk to the Visiting Fellow website and getting intension/extension paper ready for ANPA. Weather is much colder with lots of snow on Hexhamshire Common, looking very beautiful. No snow at 150m asl of Ordley but some sleet from time to time. Going off trip to Devon b4 Easter but might fancy a trip to NCL on 11/4-12/4! 2moro hope to sort Red Kite data for 2018. Meeting N at CB4m4t followed by minimalist music at Wylam Brewery, Exhibition Park. Someone's away: hope it goes well!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

April 2nd: have to give prominence to the Gulls who tonite beat at home 4th placed Chelmsford 3-1 to move 7 points clear in NLS (tier 6!) with 5 games to play. We play at 2nd place Woking on Saturday so match of the season. We've 81 points from 37 games, won 25, drawn 6, lost 6, for 83, against 35, goal difference 48, points 81, form won last 5/5. We mustn't lose concentration but we are favourites to take the one automatic promotion place as champions. We have the top scorer in NLS, Jamie Reed with 27, and the 7th, Saikou Janneh with 16.

What a great result for the Gulls. The manager said these two home games were crucial, and his players have delivered all six points. On to Woking now with a hefty lead. That’s Torquay’s fifth successive win.“ . I like the cautious comment in the same article about what happens if we hang-on when 3-1 up with 10 minutes to go. The same remark was made recently when we were 5-2 up at the same stage of the game! With such dire results in the last few years, the fans can hardly believe it!

Compiled some more data sheets today where just a few moth records outstanding, leaving just 22 sheets to process, some of which are purely moth trap records. Have now processed all Red Kite records for NE England so can start to compile the annual report for this species. Made N4c4ll and R&C4mr4s, meeting A at latter for good chat. Evening was not as exciting as expected! 2moro it's C4c4ll, G4g4t with B and Stalida4s at Battle Hill with few G mates, including B!! Brexit has taken a turn for the better; pleased that right-wing Tories are so angry; most of them have sold the country short and are waiting for the £ to fall to pick up some sizeable winnings on a no-deal exit. Own funds are +4k so far this week as investors become a little more confident. PoO is $69.61 per barrel as write. Wondering whether to go to Devon for few days before Easter to see M. Have booked with big sis' family a week in Dolomites in late August; previous choice was a bit cramped they thought. lok2t beauties!!!!

April 1st: updated Hobby page with results, suffering from reduced coverage, for SW Northumberland in 2018 (Other Raptors/Population of the Hobby in SW Northumberland).

More details of the Hobby breeding season for 2018 are available in Table 13.


No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category






Also seen

Devil’s Water
























Upper South Tyne








Lower South Tyne








Tyne W








Tyne E






















5 (2x2, 1x1+)


Table 13: Breeding Data for Hobby in SW Northumberland by area in 2018

Coverage was reduced for the Honey-buzzard season, and hence for the Hobby, as described for the results for the 2018 season under that species. The numbers found this year were about 50% of those for 2017, roughly matching the decline in coverage. The wide range of locations occupied and the success noted suggest that the status of the species was maintained at that from 2001-2017. This is a difficult species to survey as the display period is relatively brief and the fledging of the young is late in the season. Records are rare in mid-summer with monthly distribution this year for the 9 sightings of May 3, June 0, July 1, Aug 1, Sep 4. The upper South Tyne remains a relative stronghold with 4 birds (2 adult, 2 juvenile) noted at Towsbank from July to September. Fledged young were also seen in the upper South Tyne at Williamston and in the Tyne Valley East at Wylam. This year 3 of the 7 sites occupied were adjacent to heather moorland; the remaining 4 were widely scattered.

Think have new leaf-mining species of moth for the county – Stigmella sakhalinella: Hexham High Wood, 27/08/2018, vacated mines x3, on birch, long gallery, narrow linear dashed brown frass in early convoluted gallery with wide margins, becoming coiled brown frass for most of terminal part completely filling mine, ending in substantial clear area with no frass deposited, not crossing main veins, no brown spot at start 1  2  3. Quite busy today with R @ B4m4l, C4c4ll with P, G4g4s!! Very pleased she's back on the circuit!!! 2moro it's N4c4l and almost certainly R&C4mr4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

March 31st: well that's enough of Wagner until June when experiencing with son the whole Ring in 4 days at Müpa, Budapest, by the side of the Danube! On train journeys in last 2 days have seen plenty of Goosander on Tyne with 1 drake at Ovingham, 1 redhead at Wylam upstream of bridge, 20 (18 female/immature, 2 drake) at Wylam downstream of bridge and a pair at Newburn: total 24. Also had a pair of Tawny Owl at Corbridge last night when Fox, Hare and Rabbit on way home. Weather today was much cooler at 8C max but still dry with a little sunshine. Largely catch-up was the order of the day but did make W4shop and C4c4ll with extra interest, not to forget G4g4s with E on!! This week making Wylam concert though it's not there! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

March 30th: well what a day!! Walküre reached expectations in every respect: great orchestra, singing and acting. Philippe Jordan was the conductor, Christine Goerke - Brünnhilde, Greer Grimsley - Wotan, Eva-Maria Westbroek – Sieglinde, Stuart Skelton – Siegmund, Jamie Barton – Fricka, Günther Groissböck – Hunding. It was sung in German with English subtitles; I always like subtitles even if it's sung in English as it's not always possible to hear what they're saying otherwise. There was a standing ovation at the end (in New York, not TC!) and great cheers for Act 1, the controversial love scene between the twins Siegmund and Sieglinde, the Volsungs. It's perhaps neat timing that as the twin's relationship goes up a gear and the music becomes more sensuous, he pulls an enormous sword Nothung from the tree and brandishes it!! Wotan hoped that the mortal twins, of whom he is father through earthly adventures as Wälse, would produce a hero, removed from the gods, who could recover the ring from the giants. He is prevented from taking direct action to secure the ring by countless treaties he has made to secure power. Unfortunately for him Fricka, Wotan's immortal wife, with no children has strict morals and wants the twins destroyed. Hunding, husband of Sieglinde in a loveless marriage, is also not happy and wants to kill Siegmund! Wotan has (at least) 8 other illegitimate children, who are immortal war-maidens, from liaison with Erda, the Earth Goddess, termed collectively the Valkyries of whom Brünnhilde is his favourite. Fricka is not happy with the state of play and Wotan agrees to the destruction of the twins but, when the battle comes, Brünnhilde disobeys Wotan's instruction and supports Siegmund. Wotan had sensed her lack of commitment and also attends the battle so Hunding kills Siegmund but, critically for the next 2 acts, Brünnhilde rescues Sieglinde who after their one-night stand is carrying Siegfried, the hero to come. Research has shown that when this story of the lovers is read by people, they side with Hunding but when the music is played, they side with the lovers: such is the power of the sensuous music on the emotions! Maybe a loveless marriage exempts the partners from faithfulness's-contribution-to-sexual-ethics-lecture-handout.pdf!! Acts 2 and 3 begin to show the gods' vulnerability. Although their power is apparently total, their complex treaties held on Wotan's spear and the determination of their opponents makes them vulnerable to attack. This variation on absolute power corrupts absolutely comes out in Act 2 but in Act 3 with the power of the Ride of the Valkyries fades somewhat. If Hitler delighted in the power of the Ring's music did he realise that part 4 Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods) actually forecast his downfall: maybe he did as at the last concert of the Third Reich they played Brünnhilde's swan-song and the burning of Valhalla, which conclude Götterdämmerung, and gave out cyanide capsules Good riddance to them all and a clear abuse of moral copyright. Wagner did have many troubles in his lifetime with the Jewish composers Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer who were far more successful. Wagner, after being born in 1813 in the Jewish quarter of Leipzig, spent the 1st 14 years of his life as Richard Geyer, before the name change to reflect his official father, Friedrich Wagner, a clerk to the police. Ludwig Geyer, a painter and actor, was notionally his stepfather but there are suggestions that he was the biological father. Geyer is a Jewish name, meaning vulture, and it would be interesting to find out more about Geyer's ancestry;; DNA samples are needed; surely the family can provide them for the paternal line; Wagner's looks and height are far from Aryan! Anyway Brünnhilde ends this opera asleep, surrounded by fire on a rock, to be claimed by a man who is not afraid of Wotan's spear. Looking ahead this man is Siegfried, her nephew: it's always good to see an extended family!! While Wagner's Ring was a major departure from other operas of the time, it is not totally original in structure, being based on Greek tragedy, in particular of Aeschylus’s use of myth to create a trilogy in the Oresteia So like 'my' category theory, everything goes back to the Greeks! Made last train where chatted up by 2 charming lasses from HEX (K/C). Much earlier made old haunt CT4m4l. Close was entirely apt for my emotions: always elevated after such opera: she's amazingly gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!!

March 29th: again sunny and warm by daytime with maximum 13C, minimum 3C. Decided to skip the coffee and go for a walk on Hexhamshire Common from 12:00-13:30 in the Lilswood Moor area. There was a bracing NW wind up there but it was beautifully bright. Insects were emerging including 2 butterflies – Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell – plus Green Tiger Beetle, some burrowing wasps and usual gnats. A Dark Tussock cocoon was found in the heather and broom bushes were searched successfully for leaf mines. Waders comprised 7 Curlew, bubbling nicely, 7 Lapwing, displaying actively, and 2 Oystercatcher. 7 Red Grouse were in display mode. Meadow Pipit are returning with 5 N and 3 feeding and a Pied Wagtail moved N. Raptors comprised a female Kestrel hovering over the moors and a pair of Hen Harrier sky-dancing on a nearby moor close to War Law. Total was 16 bird-types. Reached S4t with a few other pp for good chat! In the concert we welcomed back violinist Thomas Zehetmair who was our principal conductor for a while: good to see him again! Mozart VC 3 was the piece before the interval, played very smoothly by TZ who gave us an encore. After the interval we had Bruckner 6. I'm a bit ambivalent towards Bruckner. I realise he was in the Wagner school but don't think he has the mastery of Wagner in developing themes subtly into massive climaxes. Indeed his music seems rather relentless. Having said that the performance came over well and will sound very good on R3 if they can adjust the brass volume down a bit! As usual woodwind was sound with SH and AY starring!! There were 11 violin I with BC as the leader and 8 brass, including 3 trumpet, 3 trombone, 1 bass trombone, 1 tuba. So plenty of power and indeed the brass followed the horns in selection by TZ for special applause. Off last train made W4g4s where 5 of us out. After a detour special satisfaction: gr8 2 c her again: she's omnipresent: lok2tgrf!!!!! Funds +1k this week; hedging, resulting in current small movements, is not my usual style but still don't really know where Brexit is going. 2moro it's 14:02 CRB-NCL and the musical event of the year so far (after the Festival!) with Wagner's Walküre, part 2 of 4, at TC from New York Met. Ticket says 5pm ko but really it's 4pm because US is now on summer-time; web site says 4pm so believe that! Running time is 5 hours 25 min including 2 intervals. Walküre excels in the relationship between love and power with Act 1 having a passionate incestuous love affair between Sieglinde and Siegmund; Act 2 a brooding tense dialogue on the affair between Wotan, head of the gods, with Brünnhilde, daughter, and Fricka, wife; Act 3 a display of power of the gods in their command over the Valkyries (female warriors) and limited forgiveness to Brünnhilde from Wotan in the fire music after her disobedience in siding with the lovers!! So plenty to enjoy!! xxxx!!

March 28th: sunny and warmish today, up to 12C on light SW breeze with plenty of sunshine. Compiled some more records, almost completing Stocksfield Mount visit on 7/9. Have 4 data sheets in my sights for tomorrow. Dentist visit went quite well but not very well: all in order bar 1 leaking small filling, to be sorted on 18/4. Think she's looking for teeth that might collapse! Made C4c4t where gr8 to have B on; think they're pleased that I'm visiting them more often! Made Rotary meeting in early evening to discuss web site, where my view that we should stay in the template (standard format) to boost search ratings prevailed; we benefit this way from esteem indicators through from the national body via District template to individual club templates. However, more flexible approaches, such as magazine format, are to be encouraged within the template so that we get the best of both worlds. All a bit tense as there was a populist move to ditch the template but everyone happy at end and I'm to present our consensus at our business meeting next Monday. Final visit was to G4g4s where graphical view of Brexit nightmare with 3 mates. I was the focus of attack but then suggested (stirring) that I would be prepared to accept May's deal. I was then totally out of it for 30 min while they assassinated each other! Gr8 to have bar-lass M in for a drink: she's very charming!! Atmosphere in pub yesterday was very bad over Brexit: much bitterness emerging and kept well out of it. Stuck to the ballet but that's a joke to many: men in tights!! RN liked it both ways and eventually died of AIDS! 2moro it's C4c4l and S4t followed by concert starring TZ and W4g4s; N's away. Think it will be RDM-NCL at 17:06. lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

March 27th: completed processing of Beldon Burn Middle Plantation from 31/8: “Raptors were fantastic with total of 41 birds of 7 types, including Red Kite 23, Common Buzzard 7, Kestrel 5, Honey-buzzard 3, Hobby 1, Osprey 1, Sparrowhawk 1.” Red Kite are steadily colonising the 'Shire: JC reported today a pair displaying at Whitehall. This is no surprise seeing the numbers in the adjacent Beldon Burn last autumn. Booked up for season preview for pp before rehearsal on 12/4, rehearsal for pp on 18/4 and general season preview on 26/4. Made C4c4l and G4g4t, then off to CAL where waited 35 min for a train: the Metro system is really creaking; today's problem was an electrical fault. Thought the film 'White Crow” was superb. It was about the life of Rudolf Nureyev from his birth in a train at Irkutsk in Russia in 1938 up to his defection in Paris in 1961. The title alludes to his non-conformity in virtually all aspects of his life. The director Ralph Fiennes also played the part of Alexander Pushkin, RN's coach for a while (we had a cat called Pushkin!); AP's wife invited RN to stay with them for a while and enjoyed his company: должно быть это сейчас!! The dancing was very exciting, particularly with his older partners in the Kirov in St Petersburg. The film ended in much suspense as RN tried to defect to the W in Paris while evading the swarm of KGB around him. He finally made it. His desperation was due to fears that he would be imprisoned on his enforced return to Moscow after breaking many rules on tour. Was intrigued by the darkness and eastern appearance of some of the Russians in Irkutsk but it is a long way E in Siberia. Have to remember that my mtDNA (T2) is the same as that of Tsar Nicholas II! Last Metro back was on time. End of day was very exciting: she does know all the right triggers: sultry and dark: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's dental check-up at 10:50 in Corbridge and probable meal with P later. xxxx!!

March 26th: completed processing of trip to Newbiggin, Beldon Burn, on 31/8; now on Middle Plantation, Beldon Burn, 31/8. Masses of Red Kite in this trip; will produce new summary when fully documented. Cooler today 10C with more cloud and wind more N than NW but no frost is likely. Had car washed at T as bought new mop on orders of S! Did make N4c4l where very pleased 2c trhwso!! Highlite of day was FoRNS concert in the church at Corbridge. It was a * cast of EG, NB, IB, MG, with EG looking very fit and playing the flute brilliantly!! IB did the chat very well: always goes down much better than simply playing the music! Was very pleased that my monthly donation of £10 to CF was so appreciated; we had gr8 chat at the reception afterwards!! Made W4g4s for nitecap. 2moro it's a birdwatching film at TC after C4c4l and G4g4t with B!! Might be CAL-NCL, leaving HEX 18:00. lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

March 25th: completed processing of 22/9 visit, including Hobby and Goshawk records. Wylam/East Prudhoe is very good for raptors: “So the total count for raptors in visit was 18 birds of 6 types: Red Kite 6, Common Buzzard 4, Honey-buzzard 3, Hobby 2, Kestrel 2, Goshawk 1. The area remains as outstanding for raptors, both in variety and in numbers.” [copied from 22/9/18] Next up is write-up of Hobby for 2018 and completion of visits to 2 more tetrads on 31/8 up the Beldon Burn; then will have a diversion!

Made N4c4l and sat outside in the lovely sunshine; really interesting, watching the world go by!! In 2 short watches from home had 3 Common Buzzard (2 adult displaying Peth Foot, 1 adult up over Linnels) and 2 Red Kite (single adult soaring high at Dukesfield W and Linnels E). Weather was continuously sunny, mild 12C, light N breeze. Later made R @ B4m4s and G4g4s, all very chatty! Isn't the petition to revoke Article 50 going well? Here's the latest snapshot showing 5.653m supporting it and Hexham shining with 10.53% of constituents putting their signatures to the petition; Hexham is really a deep orange but shows blue when highlighted as it's Conservative-held. Newcastle E has 10.73% signatures, the highest in the NE. Scotland is very keen on the revocation; suspect if we leave without a deal, the UK will be minus Scotland and Northern Ireland in 10 year's time with former independent and latter in with Irish Republic. So we'll be an England/Wales backwater! Love the PoE on someone's page!! 2moro may try N4c4l again; later it's FoRNS concert at Corbridge; pleased to see flautist EG is starring again!! Could make R&C later; will have to see how it goes!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

Good news from ANPA. Publication of 2018 paper is going ahead as below. Paper has already been drafted and polished so should be submitted soon. Asked for title of paper for this year's conference in Liverpool. Thinking of concentrating on lower levels of musical communication: relationship between scores and sonograms for instance, so more emphasis on the physical! Could also bring in challenging aspects of Ligeti's orchestration and more exploration of co-limits with synchronization of playing (Whitehead's `Now').

Rossiter, Nick, & Heather, Michael, The Universe as Intension: an Expressive Dynamic Information and Communication System as Extension, ANPA 39, St John's College, Rowlands Castle, Hampshire, UK, 13-17 August (2018). abstract pdf, presentation pdf.

March 24th: a lot to do on the 22/9 visit as not even properly summarised on the day on this page; have sorted out the piccies for publication tomorrow so should complete around the same time. Had good walk at Staward from 13:05-15:45 in very windy conditions, from NW, cool, some showers, little sunshine. Found a pair of Raven displaying in the Gorge and single Kestrel at Yellow Rigg (female) and Stublick Chimney (male). No Common Buzzard were seen but it was very breezy! At Staward N had 4 Goldcrest and a very mobile flock of 8 Brambling. Total of birds for trip was just 12 in the poor conditions, including though 5 types of gull (BHG. CG. HG, LBBG, GBBG). Had some leaf mines on broom, oak and beech for analysis. On return from walk made Co-op4shop, BP4p and SB4c4t; liked last named and did make a change! Much later made G4g4s where 6 of us out; gr8 to have J on!! Elder sister's family booked up 6-day holiday in Italian Alps at end of August and I'm joining them! So Brazil is definitely out now. 2moro it's R @ HA4m4s followed by G4g4s, lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

March 23rd: some more butterfly records from last summer, this time from Towsbank 05/09/18. Butterflies were best I've known in the upper South Tyne area with Small Tortoiseshell 13, Small White 9, Red Admiral 5, Peacock 3, Green-veined White 3, Painted Lady 2, Large White 2, Comma 1, Speckled Wood 1. That's 39 insects of 9 types. Also had 2 Common Hawker dragonflies.

First butterfly of year for me: a Small Tortoiseshell in Elvaston. Completed compiling all the bird data for Towsbank visit on 5/9/18; butterflies above had been compiled earlier in the week (in case you think I missed them!). Next one up, Wylam E on 22/9, completes Hobby records for season. May get that done tomorrow. After getting Hobby sorted may return to RSA records! Very heartened by enormous march against Brexit in London: 1m+ is one of the highest ever, even surpassing the march against the Iraq War when Blair noted how many misguided people there were; in fact no weapons of mass destruction ever turned up and it was Blair who was misguided. Also heartening is the petition for revoking Article 50, now up to 4.8m. Hexham stands out as strong supporter of the petition with 9% of constituents voting in favour, along with Newcastle East, in NE England. The no-deal Brexit petition has been running much longer and is just about to hit 0.5m: says it all really as does the government response to that one: “The deal that we have reached with the EU is the right one for the United Kingdom. Leaving without a deal would risk uncertainty for the economy, for business and for citizens.” Booked car hire (VW Polo) for Toulouse Airport for late July; going with sisters to a 2nd home owned by my nephew (younger sister's eldest). May be going for another family holiday in late August in UK instead of going to Brazil: want to save my energy for the trip to Colorado for the raptor conference!! Have one computing conference anyway in August: ANPA at Liverpool University, instead of Hampshire. More down to earth: going for walk in Staward Gorge tomorrow, followed by G4g4s!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

March 22nd: good progress today: Butterfly records for 2018 were sent to Recorder on 22/03/19. Also compiled data for visit up Beldon Burn on 31/08/18, including records for Honey-buzzard, Hobby and Osprey. Next up is Towsbank 5/9, after which just one data sheet for Hobby left. Have tried to hedge Brexit risks so that each outcome produces some gains and losses, which roughly balance. This was fairly successful up until today, when everything moved down on recession fears in USA/Europe, finishing -4k on week; that's +40k on year gross, +30k net. If £ did fall to $1.20 US to £ on no-deal Brexit, then would gain overall as 80% of assets are overseas but the shock to confidence everywhere could mean that gains are short-lived. So even from narrow financial viewpoint, prefer an orderly exit with ideal situation revoking Article 50. But really am passionate about European links being enhanced, let alone maintained. Did make C4c4l for lunchtime break and W4g4s where full house with all 6 of us out for good chat!! Could say a bit about meal at Beaumont on Tuesday 19/3 with P. Good quality 3-course meal but cost not that cheap at £84, service included, for 2 boosted by bottle of Argentinian red wine at £29. Manager R had told P that business was depressed at this time of year but cleaner S works at B and she said it was full on Tuesday night with all 34 rooms occupied: have to watch what you claim in a small town! Anyway service by G was very good and we enjoyed it!! 2moro it's C4c4l and catch-up; hope for moorland walk on Sunday; 3 concerts next week at CRB on Tuesday and Friday/Saturday at S/TC. Might be ingenious mid-week!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

March 21st: some more butterfly records from last summer, this time from Burnham Beeches, Bucks on 14/7/18: Large White 12, Small White 8, Hedge Brown 2, Green-veined White 10, Ringlet 5, Holly Blue 1, Meadow Brown 1, Common Blue 1, Red Admiral 2, Speckled Wood 1. That's 43 insects of 10 types.

Completed compiling all butterfly records from 2018 so will send ones for Northumberland to County Recorder tomorrow. Next up is Hobby records; have identified trips on 31/8, 5/9, 22/9 for processing to complete records for year and enable analysis to begin. It was spring-like today with max 12C and some sunshine on light W breeze; everything is budding! N had a Chiffchaff singing and 2 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies at Stocksfield Station this morning. Met N at MP4m4t where we caught up on masses of Brexit news; I've signed the revoke Article 50 petition, now with 2.232m signatures as write; there could legitimately be a second referendum: do you prefer to leave with no-deal or remain in the EU. Concert was sublime. Viktoria Mullova and Alasdair Beatson are such sensitive players on the violin and fortepiano respectively. I enjoyed the 2 Beethoven sonatas before the break, 4 & 5, but no.9 (Kreutzer) after the break was fantastic with their light touches bringing out the endless variations on a gorgeous theme! They played a Bach concerto for an encore. So that was great and we retired to V4h4s (h=Heineken!) as no g (not Brexit already?). Have sent back Beatlemania ticket for 30/3 as virtually sold out and am instead going to TC for Walküre that evening: 'fraid Wagner takes priority! Needs Times sub but is hilarious:

A lawyer and hedge fund director punched a fashion designer in a row over a seat at the Royal Opera House, a court has been told. Matthew Feargrieve, 43, a solicitor and barrister with a degree from Oxford University, is accused of attacking Ulrich Engler, 56, after the designer allegedly insulted his wife and threw her coat on the floor. Mr Feargrieve denies assault by beating. They were at the opera house in Covent Garden, London, in October to see Siegfried, a six-hour opera that forms the third part of Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle. The row started after Mr Engler climbed forward to sit in an unoccupied seat next to Mr Feargrieve’s wife. ...

Evidently a lot of witnesses to call: “Colin Bateman-Jones, chairman of the bench, said that there were an 'awful lot of witnesses' and it would need more than a day to be heard at trial. Mr Feargrieve was bailed to attend City of London magistrates’ court for a two-day summary trial starting on May 9.” Maybe we should all carry spears! Very sultry and dark: we do have a certain understanding: she's brill: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l and W4g4s!! xxxx!!

March 20th: some more butterfly records from last summer:

Butterflies at Wylam on 11/7 comprised 28 insects of 8 types: Small White 9, Ringlet 2, Speckled Wood 3, Large White 4, Small Skipper 1 (piccies 1  2), Meadow Brown 6, Purple Hairstreak 2 (piccies 1  2  3  4  5  6 from high-up in canopy), White Letter Hairstreak 1 (on wych elm). Getting 2 Hairstreak species in the county in 1 day is very noteworthy!

Almost there! Will finish processing of butterly records for 2018 tomorrow. Daffodils on roadside verge outside my house are gr8 this year! Weather today was cloudy, mild at 10C, light SW breeze. Today's the equinox: 12 hours daylight and 12 hours night across the planet, start of spring in my book! Made W4shop, QH4t, G4g4t with B. 2moro it's C4c4l, MP4m4t with N at 17:30, S4con in S2 (Small is Beautiful, RNS). May go back to CAL-NCL. lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxx!!!!

March 18th: full of joys of spring today and tonite as tempo of nature goes on a steep upward curve. Weather has improved with light W breeze, max 9C, min 6C, and daylight increasing at 5-6 minutes a day. Made edge of Hexhamshire Common from 16:30-17:55 for walk at Kings Law getting 21 bird-types with raptors: 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Red Kite (soaring to E of moors), 1 Goshawk female (carrying jesses, presumed escape); waders: Lapwing (7, all displaying), Curlew (14, well back on edge of moors with some displaying birds), Golden Plover (48, in single flock to N over edge of moors); pipits: 1 Meadow Pipit; thrushes: 23 Fieldfare going to roost on the heather moors, 5 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush; geese: 5 Grey-lag. 157 Common Gull included 17 local feeding adult plus flocks totalling 140 moving SE to roost at Derwent Reservoir. Total was 20 types of bird. Many moths hatched in the milder weather getting 33 of 11 types in the trap at Ordley. Compiled records from 20/07/2018 (8110) for Honey-buzzard site visit (below). Did make N4c4l and G4g4s, good crack at latter. 2moro it's C4c4l, B4m4t with P, R&C4mr4s with A. Very busy!! lok2t beauties!!!!!

March 17th: la oss gå til norge dag: an exciting late afternoon's walk from home to Dotland at 17:20-18:30. As the wind dropped and the skies stayed clear with a ridge of high pressure building, good numbers of Norwegian summer visitors were getting ready to make the 650km flight across the North Sea, presumably to the Stavanger area. At 30-40km/hour cruise speed that will take c20 hours, nearly all of it over water, but less time with a following wind, which was a light NW as they set off. Migrants included 50 Redwing, forming into a single flock at the top of an ash tree by dusk and leaving silently together to NE at 18:21, climbing steadily into the fading light: very evocative! A very mobile flock of 68 Fieldfare was also in the area, almost certainly leaving later as well, plus 13 Brambling (of which a female in my feeding area earlier; they dramatically increase weight before take-off using the extra fat as fuel) on the top of a conifer tree at dusk, and a very twitchy Goldcrest. Normally when going to roost, birds seek cover but these were all perched on the tops of trees. Large numbers of Common Gull, c1500 but not systematic count, were flying S to roost at Derwent Reservoir; they will also be going to Norway soon but they're a diurnal migrant, not a nocturnal one. Also counted 14 excited Blackbird; some of these may also have their sights set on Norway. If replicated down the E side of England and Scotland, there may have been hundreds of thousands of thrushes and finches in the air over the North Sea this night (17/3-18/3). Venture was perfectly timed to follow the ridge of high pressure across the North Sea, giving clear and fairly calm conditions. They don't like wild conditions for the movement even if it gives a strong following wind, because of the loss of control! Flight altitudes range from 1.5km to 6km, the birds keeping cooler when high up and tending to move higher through the course of the flight as their weight decreases. Total for walk was 31 species including Common Buzzard (1), Tawny Owl (3), Lapwing (4), Curlew (3). Did make G4g4s where supplies of g running low after Cheltenham; good to have E on!! 2moro it's N4c4c and G4g4s. Going to see VM/AB at S on Thursday with N. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

March 16th: some more butterfly records from last summer:

Lepidoptera were again outstanding today 27/7/18 with at Shilford: Small Copper (2), Peacock (7), Large White (7), Small White (22), Green-veined White (14), Ringlet (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Speckled Wood (12), Red Admiral (1), Meadow Brown (2), Udea lutealis (1), Agriphila straminella (108), Shaded Broad-bar (2), Yellow Shell (1), Twin-spot Carpet (12), Yponomeuta evonymella c500 in c50 vacated tents on bird cherry, Cameraria ohridella c70 fresh blotches on horse chestnut, plus some more material to be analysed. Total for butterflies was 69 insects of 10 types.

Made C4c4l which was the quietest I've ever seen it at Saturday lunchtime. Weather was foul in morning with snow, turning to sleet and then driving rain on NW gale. Tyne was very high, almost overflowing in places. Pleased to see trhwso make it!! The music at TR had a double bill today: Rite of Spring and Gianni Schicchi. The former, a ballet, was danced by members of Phoenix Dance Theatre. They were incredibly fit, with the 8 dancers keeping up endless inter-twining movements over 45 minutes. The music was harsh and grating, appearing to be more so than in the concert version. The band featured strongly, which was good to see as they're clearly of high concert-hall standard. Found the great energy enthusing!! Gianni Schicchi has only one act. Puccini's operas do have social messages as well as great drama as in Tosca (hypocrisy of Catholic Church) and Madama Butterfly (Americans abroad behave badly). This one portrayed grasping relatives, far more interested in securing their spoils than in the deceased. The performance was very funny with the deceased acrobatically moving around the stage, selfies taken by a young lad including with the deceased, the doctor being obviously amazed that the patient has survived his treatment and the final denouement of the relatives as Schicchi, as an imposter of the deceased before a crooked lawyer, recites his final will, awarding the best parts to himself, as friend of the deceased! The leading roles were both played brilliantly with Richard Burkhard as Schicchi and Tereza Gevorgyan as his scheming daughter Lauretta, the latter having lovely voice in the one aria (and shapely legs!). Met YK and friends on the way out: they were in good spirits! Did travel by train now we have a service on Saturdays again; guard Lucy, who know well, said they'd had a fight on the train at Morpeth resulting in 999 call and blood on the floor! With a twinkle she asked where I was going tonite: she thinks I've got a 'girl in every port'! Nite finished in sensuous fashion, both entrée and post: can't think about her now without a reflex reaction: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's rest day but will catch-up further on butterfly records as not too far off now. xxxx!!

March 15th: some more butterfly records from last summer:

Lepidoptera were again outstanding today 26/7/18 with in garden and field at Ordley: Small Copper (3 (2 mating)), Peacock (19), Comma (2), Large White (6), Small White (6), Green-veined White (3), Ringlet (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Speckled Wood (1), Red Admiral (1), Meadow Brown (2), Udea lutealis (20), Agriphila straminella (50), Shaded Broad-bar (5). Total for butterflies was 45 insects of 11 types.

Kept up the musical interest with Vivaldi's Gloria at S with RNS orchestra and chorus, who always excel in the Baroque. Was a very uplifting performance with Vivaldi's Gloria per se the personal highlight and SH's 2 oboe concertos by Albinoni and Marcello being very well played; met 2 Rotarians from Hexham who formerly lived down south and were delighted with this, their first attendance at S; gate was again very good! Earlier made MP4m4t with N, keeping up our feasting this week, and later made V4g4s b4 getting last train HEX-RDM and W 4 nitecap: really enjoying the W these days!! At the Quayside just 1 Kittiwake was seen in the gloom: the return to wintry weather with strong, cold winds, has presumably driven them back to the coast of the North Sea. Funds were +4k this week on steady rise in UK stocks on Brexit no-deal receding counterbalanced a little by international stocks declining in £ terms on rise in sterling. Protocol was quickly dismissed in the face of temptation: that video was very rousing: she's gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's last in this season for ON at TR with Rite of Spring ballet by Stravinsky and Gianni Schicchi, a short Puccini opera. Should be good: N not going, so train CRB-NCL in at 18:03 and last one back. xxxx!!

March 14th: compiled many butterfly records from last summer: a bumper season; still quite a way to go: am adding significant totals below; here's one brought up to here as quite amazing.

More on incredible Lepidoptera at Kellas N 5/7/2018: butterflies numbered 144 of 9 types Meadow Brown (10), Ringlet (77), Small Skipper (16), Dark Green Fritillary (1), Large Skipper (4), Small Heath (15), Large White (1), Speckled Wood (19), Small White (1), with these moths sorted so far: Twin-spot Carpet (4), Bordered White (4), Green Carpet (2), Cydia ulicetana (2), Silver-ground Carpet (3), Silver Y (2), Willow Beauty (1), Chrysoteuchia culmella (6), Crambus lathoniellus (4), Light Emerald (1).

Made CB for good meal with N; the early evening 3-course offer is very reasonable; we paid £52 for 2 including rw; that included a compulsory 12.5% tip; don't like that system as feel the staff are always looking for another bonus! Would rather give 10% voluntarily in cash to the staff who've actually served you. Onto TR where told couldn't attend pre-concert talk as not booked before; N a bit elevated; I said we'll just go to TC for a c. Katya Kabanova by Janáček was very moving and much darker than the Magic Flute. Stephanie Corley was brilliant in the title role. Had echoes of Tristan in that an 'impossible' passionate situation between Katya and Boris heads towards disaster but after all the disgrace Boris says he's leaving so why doesn't she go with him; instead she commits suicide by drowning in the river. Found that close to the bone as my great grandmother drowned herself in Penzance Harbour; have always wondered how much of a statement that was as her recently deceased husband's father Alfred Holbrook was harbour-master there (and the Holbrooks were a much superior family status-wise to the Dashper/May). We made V4g4s for a detailed exploration of latest Brexit news. Further exploration of relationship with the *: think she's darker than appears on the surface: most appealing: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's RNS at S with more singing. Not sure whether it's planned that we have 4 singing events this week! Meeting N at MP4m4t at 17:00 and last train back for W4g4s to meet the gang there!! Wonder how wild NCL will be!! Given someone leave of absence!! xxxx!!

March 13th: had 1st Yellowhammer of the year, near the feeding area this morning, with 6 Tree Sparrow and 1 House Sparrow. Up to 83 bird types now for 2019. Weather was wild and windy, fresh W breeze, mildish 8C, some heavy showers. Went for walk at Warden in afternoon from 15:20-16:50 finding 3 displaying Common Buzzard, a male Kestrel watching me eat my sandwiches and a Barn Owl hunting over a small rushy pond. River South Tyne was very high but did see a pair of Goosander, 4 Mallard and a pair of Oystercatcher. Total for birds was 14 types, not bad in the conditions. Had another Oystercatcher over Elvaston, Hexham, and 15 at Merryshields gravel pits yesterday from train. Studied the broom at Warden, maybe finding 3 different mining moths: need to check. New coat is a marvellous buy: really cuts out the wind!! Finished compiling the amazing walk in the 'Shire on 20/5/18, getting 6 Honey-buzzard at 4 sites. So all bird and Lepidoptera records compiled up to end of May 2018 now. Next step is to go through the outstanding sheets extracting all the butterfly records and then sending them off to the Recorder. Thrilled at Brexit vote on no no-deal; the Tory right-wingers ERG will be desperately trying to rescue their portfolios from a surging £; many of them had sold the £ short in large quantities hoping to buy them back more cheaply after a collapse of the £ on a no-deal exit (Dispatches C4 this week). Did make N4c4el and G4g4t; some worries at latter that Hexham races will be cancelled! 2moro it's C4c4el and CB in NCL at 16:30 with N, b4 making Katya Kabanova, including pre-concert talk, with ON. Think will be last train again!! lok2t beauties!!!!!

March 12th: very much enjoyed Mozart's Magic Flute by ON at TR; it's a very short opera by some standards, 2 hours 45 min with 1 interval, but arrived at 18:00 for some wine and canapés at Northern Counties Club; all very sociable, had chat with Richard Mantle who's on the ON Board of Trustees; impressed on him how interesting I found the insight events in Leeds. They've got Wagner on the radar in 2-3 years time. Ticket sales in this NCL season are comfortably above expectations: they're very pleased with the support from the NE. Thought Papageno was played brilliantly by Gavan Ring, with an 'appropriate' Irish yokel manner!! The children were incredible: so well drilled and almost professional! The band played in a very polished way. On Saturday the ON orchestra are getting more prominence in the Rite of Spring ballet music by Stravinsky. All very inspiring! Made C4c4ll; they're very pleased at my greater interest in the place! Sunny this morning on moderate W breeze but Gareth really striking by midnight with heavy rain on gales and lots of twigs and small branches everywhere. Elle est si belle: très sensuelle: faites de beaux rêves et revenez bientôt: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro it's N4c4c, G4g4t with B and the Cheltenham gang!! xxxx!!

March 11th: talk at R went very well: think they didn't realise I had such a solid academic career; slides are here! Had found 2 trips for May 2018; have processed one for 24/5 and started on the other for 20/5; some very good Honey-buzzard shots coming up. Weather's very unstable with strong W winds settling in tonight but a bit milder, though wind-chill largely negates the improvement. Did make G4g4s where reasons for not turning up last nite were readily accepted: I'd have done the same! There were 6 of us out tonite for good chat. 2moro it's Magic Flute at TR with reception at 18:00 for patrons, ko 19:00, another reception at interval, close of play 21:45. Train CRB-NCL17:02 looks right with train back the last one!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

March 10th: in evening completed talk for Rotary tomorrow lunchtime so that will release time, going forward. Very heavy snow flurries in morning in 'Shire, settling to 2cm; max 2C, wind chill -2C in bitter strong NW. Concert by Oslo Phil was most satisfying: Vasily Petrenko, the conductor, was the great maestro throughout. It was great to see Louisa Tuck as lead cello, out of 10; quite an emotional return I felt. Nikolai Lugansky, the soloist in Grieg's PC, was both emphatic and sensitive in the right places: really enjoyed it and he played us an encore, suspect it was Rachmaninov. Sibelius 5 is a very emotional piece, full of dark brooding cellos and double bass, with a tremendous climax at the end; left me knocked out!! Sibelius was my late wife's favourite composer, even above Wagner! We had 2 encores from the full orchestra: Grieg's Morning from Peer Gynt and another, still trying to work out. Sage was completely booked out over 3 levels. Went with N to MP where we had 3 courses b4 catching train back to CRB; got home finding 2cm of snow/ice in bitter strong NW wind; lit fire and decided G could wait 24 hours! Kittiwake have been amazing over past 2 days. Yesterday saw none on walk across Swing Bridge at 18:30 but N said he'd heard at least 1 while out for a smoke at 20:30. Today they were everywhere with rough count of 235 by end but they seemed to be increasing in numbers all the time, with some dropping out of the sky. They will have come across the Atlantic from their wintering grounds off Newfoundland to return gleefully to the bracing NE! I think most fly overland high-up over Cumbria and Northumberland: it's only about 100km from W to E. They were already claiming their favourite ledges: fierce competition. So good news for the residents of Quayside, including N! From 13:30-18:00 by the Tyne had 12 types of bird, 6 of which were gulls. Day finished with grand crescendo: she's gorgeous: it's good we're still up for it: lok2tgrf!!!!! Have 3 nites at the opera next week + 1 RNS!!

March 9th: Goshawk data is updated with 2018 results. More to follow later … xxxx!! Concert Musique de chambre was brilliantly played and great fun. Alasdair Beatson from Scotland was the star pianist and so modest, considering his major role throughout the evening. For woodwind accompaniment we had Farrenc's Sextet for Piano and Wind and Françaix's L'heure de berger, latter apparently a saucy take-off of the Folies Bergère! Great playing on flute (AY) and bassoon (SR). Steven Hudson starred on oboe in Saint-Saëns's Sonata for Oboe and Piano. The last piece by Chausson was a bit of a revelation: never realised the depth of his work. This was a Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet. Tristan Gurney as soloist violin was in tremendous form with other violinists SR and AT doing well. So great evening, made better through getting seat in front for H2 by invitation from young lady!! Went for MP4m4t and V4g4s with N; Brexit as usual is main discussion point! C4c4l was gr8: very fanciable staff!! 2moro it's S4con with Oslo Phil; will be getting 2nd performance of Grieg's PC in a few weeks; Sibelius 5 should be gr8! It's train HEX-NCL 12:46, lunch with N at S, concert, MP4m4s, NCL-HEX 19:55, G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

9th March 2019: Updated Goshawk page with further dismal results for SW Northumberland in 2018 (Other Raptors/Population of the Goshawk in SW Northumberland).

More details of the Goshawk breeding season for 2018 are available in Table 12.


No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category






Also seen

Devil’s Water
















Upper South Tyne








Lower South Tyne








Tyne W








Tyne E






















3 (3x1+)


Table 12: Breeding Data for Goshawk in SW Northumberland by area in 2018

Toleration in an area of the upper South Tyne in the extreme W of the study area gave a welcome lift to productivity figures with post-breeding records in September of a juvenile female at one site and an adult male and a juvenile male at another site. Elsewhere it was again a dismal year for the species with occupation noted in March by a pair at just one site, which apparently was not successful, and a lone juvenile at Wylam in September.

March 8th: just about completed compiling material for 17/7 last year (8100); with 37 bird species it was a highly productive visit to Towsbank; just need to add some slides of the signs below the nest but shots so far are immediately below. Went for local walk today from 17:00-18:20 to Peth Foot by Devil's Water. Had 17 bird types plus 3 types of leaf mine: Stigmella aurella gallery on bramble, Coptotriche marginea funnel on bramble, some galleries on broom to check. Weather was cool, bracing N wind, showers, dull. Made W4g4s with 3 mates: all very sociable. Funds finished week -3k; still lots of worries for markets; next week sees crunch for Brexit votes from Tuesday-Thursday; concentrating on high-yield UK stocks or completely crashed out junior mining stocks. 2moro is 1st of a busy period with Opera North (3 evenings next week) and RNS concerts. It's a pianist at S24con after MP4m4t with N. May save some energy for Sunday!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

17/07/2018: piccies from the trip included: Grey Wagtail juvenile 1; Stonechat juvenile (1 of 3) 1  2  3; Red Kite (2 adults, slides 1, 4-11), juvenile (slides 2,3) 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11; Goshawk juvenile male 1  2  3  4  5  6; adult female 1  2. Honey-buzzard comprised clip of female in flight with anxiety calls 118s-123s 1 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11; clip of male in flight 1 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12; clip near nest with anxiety calls 3s 8s 41s 44s 1; clip near nest of anxiety call with inflexion 42s 47s 55s 1; stills of male in flight 1  2. Here's stills of the nest in oak: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14. When standing by nest some kwik calls (Tawny Owl type) were heard from the Honey-buzzard. When standing by nest some kwik calls (Tawny Owl type) were heard from the Honey-buzzard. Remains under or near the nest comprised small white down 1, large white down 1 1, heavy splash 3 1  2, medium splash 5 1  2  3, a small brown body feather 1; girth of oak tree containing nest was 132 cm.

March 7th: cooler 8C max, 3C min, rain in afternoon, wind moving from SW to N. Processing report for 17/7/2018 from Towsbank (8100) where site visit to Honey-buzzard nest in an oak tree. Enormous amount of data but very worthwhile with anxiety calls on video and flight shots on video and stills. Made this an early target as Goshawk were seen so can quickly wrap up Goshawk for 2018 in the 3 sites noted. Tomorrow I'm processing the nest shots and the signs below the nest and then adding the results for the whole trip to BTO's BirdTrack. Made C4c4t and G4g4s. Up to slide 17 on talk so just 3 more to go. Have had some migration over last few days with 2 Siskin moving in yesterday, 13 Redwing roosting in field-hedge yesterday, 80 Fieldfare NE today, moving towards a North Sea crossing back to Norway. Also had a Willow Tit and a Long-tailed Tit today in garden. DP reported a cock Merlin in his garden sitting on top of a bush trying to get at birds below. He said it's out of habitat but have seen them in March in the Tyne Valley as they move towards their moorland territories from the coast. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

March 6th: dreamy lie-in!! Added details of visit to Williamston (upper South Tyne) on 13/9/2018, when had 6 type of raptor in total of 21 types of bird. Made N4c4ll (to let cleaner S get on) and G4g4t where good chat with B! Did more work this evening, completing updates on the Festival pages, writing 2 more slides for talk next week and bringing moth records up to date for this year; it's been very productive so far with 99 records, owing to the mild weather; might get a complete blank in a while as everything's emerged! 2moro it's C4c4l, trip out and G4g4s. lok2t beauties!!!!!

March 5th: did my HMS duty on careers from 10:00-11:15; next one is in about 2 weeks time. Had C4c4el with P for good chat! Carried on the major scheme for re-carpeting the gallery by clearing the whole of the floor around the computer and either filing the item or throwing it way with some of the latter digitised (scanned) first. Met A at R&C4mr4s where again had much discussion on my forthcoming talk to R; he's got a fantastic knowledge of early computing, particularly as he was a computing operator in the days when it was a skilled profession, scheduling and optimising jobs to be run. Had a Barn Owl on fence at Dipton Wood S and a Golden Plover moving W. Diverted later: absolutely brill: new heights: lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro it's N4c4ll, walk around Sele, G4g4t with B. xxxx!!

March 4th: a Rotary day, attending B4m4l and writing my talk for next Monday; up to 12 slides now, aiming for 20 overall. Did make G4g4s where met P and the gang. 2moro it's HMS at 10:00 for 1 hour for navigation in career choices for pupils aged 13. Tuesday nite is as ever up for grabs!! lok2t beauties!!!!!

March 3rd: lie-in indeed, but very active later, continuing massive clear-out of gallery; black sack no.6 is filled now. Aim is to get everything off floor; found some lovely family piccies, portrait size, on the floor under one of the shelved bookcases. Have carefully preserved them and will scan to complete the job. Threw out 6 bowls of dirty water as cleared dust off everything. Bringing schedule forward, think may get carpeters in before the end of the month. Sparkling report from BRL (Buchans) last Friday, one of my Irish/Canadian mining prospects. Their Newfoundland prospect at Lundberg is now indicated at 16.79 million tonnes with indicated grading (much stronger than inferred, another measure) of 3.38% Zn or equivalents. With Zn at US$2.785k a ton, that's a resource worth gross US$1.6bn (C$2.1bn). Actual sale value is a lot, lot less of course but it's not bad for a company with NAV of $C26m, of which hold 1.02% of the capital, with my book value based on the NAV. My cost is -32k (i.e. already in profit) after selling the DALR royalties from the N Ireland Au mine, distributed by MIO last year. Further, infrastructure costs will be low as the mine will be open cast and tarmacked roads are to hand. BRL are unquoted at present; they used to be called Minco, who were registered in Dublin. Now they're registered in Toronto. Next step is an economic viability study. They have a number of other assets in Zn/Pb, Mn and Au, in Canada and Ireland. Did make G4g4s where played 4 games of dommies, winning 1, statistically perfect! Good to have the lively E on!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l and G4g4s plus a lot more cleaning and catch-up. lok2t lovelies!!!!!

Here's piccie update (just 1!) on 6/11 report at Lakefield, RSA. Added to the species list in Kempton Park while waiting for 'take-off', getting in all: Crested Barbet, Egyptian Goose (6, 3 pairs), Dark-capped Bulbul (4), Red-knobbed Coot, Blacksmith Lapwing (2), Common Myna (2, 104), Hadada Ibis (4), Pied Kingfisher, Ring-necked Dove, Crowned Lapwing, Village Weaver, Laughing Dove, that's 12 types of which 7 new, making 38 types in this area from 4/11-6/11. Major trip to Rietvlei still to do for this day.

March 2nd: busy day at Sage with Samling Artist masterclasses and concert from 13:30-18:15 and RNS at the Oscars from 19:30-21:45. N came along for it all. Always enjoy the masterclasses and today we had 3 young ladies: Anna Cavaleiro, Sarah Gilford, Rose Stachniewska, and 3 young men: Satriya Krisna, Andrés Presno, Jerome Knox, showing off their skills. All did very well prompted by their mentors but particularly liked AC and JK. Many of the suggestions for improvements do not concern pitch but involve posture, articulation and above all understanding the words so as to optimise expression. The concert was very brisk with 14 short songs in an hour. There were 3 pianists, all good but particularly liked Taiwanese Yi-Shing Cheng who played with great empathy for the singers. Did gulp down a glass of wine at the Samling reception (I am a friend!) but quickly caught up with N for a meal to recuperate before the film music. We had a very large RNS with performers glamorously attired and they all played enthusiastically. Film music is not the same as classical as the players have to go through a lot of notes with little rest as the music is often played by the whole orchestra for long spells. On the other hand there is quite a lot of repetition so maybe it's not so hard! A flautist implied it was hard work but widened their skills-base; think she also liked the more youthful audience!! I think AP would say it brings in a lot of money from a different (younger) audience. And the Arts Council would agree. Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed it, liking all the John Williams (Jurassic Park, Force Awakens, ET, TinTin), the John Barry (Dancing with Wolves) and the Vangelis (Chariots of Fire). Interesting historically was Hupfeld's song As Time Goes By from Casablanca (1942), where the main score was written by Max Steiner of Gone with the Wind fame, who acknowledged the role of Wagner as the father of film music, with his dramatic operas where the music does far more than support the singers! We retired to V4g4s for good chat. NCL was even more chaotic than normal for a Saturday night so retired to NCL-CAL. Talking of Wagner today booked up NCL-AMS-BUD with KLM for £236 return for mid-June to hear the whole of the Ring in 4 days with son. We've booked the apartment and the theatre seats (MUPA), latter being sold out months ago.

Funds were down this week by 3k, but still well up on year at +44k gross, +34k net. It could have been a catastrophic week if not taken actions reported on 12/1, moving out of straight $ assets into UK ones. So this week housebuilders, other than PSN experiencing deserved bad press, rose well but that was more than counterbalanced by decline in property in € (-4k) and in overseas funds (-2k) on the currency changes. Would have lost 18k on week if continued out of £ which rose 4% against $ and in precious metals which lost 3% in $ terms; so Au down 7% in £ terms this week! Change in sentiment with £ is due to the no-deal Brexit becoming less likely. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! PS going off walk idea, may fancy a lie-in!

March 1st: mainly overcast but feeling milder at 10C max, 4C min. Revelling in souped-up audio; like playing music from YouTube and other sources as work away (or something like that!). Did some more work on Festival web-site (think it's looking good!), visited C4c4l to keep in touch and made W4g4s as treat to close day with D/C; E was on good form!! Did a massive amount of tidying-up on the gallery today: cleared some recent issues of bird journals (available on the web) to give a buffer zone, cleared whole of desktop on which computer is placed of clutter, dusted whole area with damp cloth, organised data sheets into piles on desktop giving much better idea of what's been done and what's to do, finished filling black sack no.5. I have a lot of bird literature from 1960s and 1970s. Looking at Ebay some of them are worth real money so will be keeping them as expect such literature to get rapidly rarer. 2moro it's CAL-GHD, meeting N at S4con with Samling and Oscars; like film music but hope they're not going to have a compère in ceremony-award style. Should make V4g4s!! On Sunday intending to go on 10km walk with old walking group in Allendale area, led by P. So busy weekend: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 28th: an unpleasant late winter day in NE with max 8C, min 4C, damp murk, no brightness but it has been gr8 for a while! Sorted out another day for RSA, 5/11 when still at Kempton Park; going to do day 3 next (6/11) as move out of Jo'burg to Rietvlei. Also processed some moth records for Northumberland for last October, including 10 types of leaf mine found at Stocksfield Mount on 3/10. Am going to concentrate on birds for 2018 now as can then finalise raptor totals for the last year. Also butterflies are worth attention as there's a delay in the regional processing of the 2018 totals so may still be in time for the annual report. Practical day to some extent. Replaced connection on hedge trimmer wire by a proper connector with cable grips, bought at Homebase; this is robust when tugged. Sound on desktop computer collapsed after doing a routine restart of system to improve efficiency. Bit baffled by this; the Realtek audio system has 2 speakers attached to a woofer, giving a powerful sound which can be modified by 2 external knobs and a number of sliding features within the program. Checked device drivers and found there are 6 in all, one of which drives the 2 speakers. This one was dated 2016 which seemed a little old. Tried updating the speakers through running devmgmt.msc (right click properties on selected driver, tab driver, update driver) and the system did find a newer driver (dated 2017), which it installed automatically. The other 5 drivers were up to date. Restarted and worked straight away: took an hour to sort it out. Not just a pretty face! Did make W4shop and G4g4s where 4 of us out for good chat. 2moro it's C4c4l and W4g4s!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

Here's piccie update on 5/11 report below. Topped up the list for RSA to 31 types in all, with the highlights being 2 more raptors: an adult male Pallid Harrier (winter visitor, breeds Russian Steppe, 98) up briefly to N at 12:06 and a Yellow-billed Kite (local) grazing a few trees to S at 13:25. So that brings raptor total to 4 birds of 4 types: Pallid Harrier, Yellow-billed Kite, Eurasian Hobby, Black-shouldered Kite. Did a supplementary list today, including the 2 raptors plus Hadada Ibis (1 feeding on lawn, very close, 99), Ring-necked Dove (active display), African Palm Swift (visiting probable nest), African Spoonbill (22 seen), Helmeted Guineafowl (6 calling), Bronze Manikin (2 seen), Grey Heron (1 flying, 100), Cape Wagtail (pair by pool, 101), Southern Red Bishop (male in transitional plumage, 102), Red-breasted Swallow (6 present including a pair); that's 12 types in all, plus House Sparrow female 103 making 13.

February 27th: sunny but cooler, nip in the air, dry, 11C max 3C min. Did count birds in Hexham, including Sele Park, getting 15 types with breeding signs for Blue Tit, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin. 28 Stigmella aurella galleries on bramble, found against a wall in the Sele, must be a record; clearly no pesticide control – good! A Barn Owl was at Rudchester. Found local November records 2018 have been completed already, except for RSA, so moving onto October. Below is 4/11 for RSA, next up is 5/11 when still in Jo'burg. Not booking IGM: RRF has priority!! Made G4rw4t where good chat with B/J/S before making CAL-NCL. Film at TC was Capernaum, which I found very moving; I could empathise with the plight of the refugees in Lebanon, imagining that the slums of Plymouth in the 1840s were not too different to Beirut now, in providing fertile pickings for the exploitation of people without papers. The acting by the boy Zain Al Rafeea playing the streetwise Zain is incredible; his sister Sahar who is married off at puberty to the family's landlord and dies soon after is also played well by Cedra Izam. Although Zain is lawless he does do a splendid job of looking after Yonas, undocumented son of Rahil, an illegal immigrant from Ethiopia. The ending, showing the reunion of Rahil with Yonas and Zain's expression turning to a smile as he is photographed for his official papers, is a great emotional climax! La nuit s'est terminée en beauté: moments caractéristiques: elle est si belle: de beaux rêves: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l and G4g4s!! xxxx!!

Here's piccie update on 4/11 report below. Picked up some JNB suburbia favourites from 14:50, such as (in no particular order!) Red-faced Mousebird, African Palm Swift, Common Myna, Ring-necked Dove, Cape Wagtail 84, Dark-capped Bulbul, Fiscal Shrike 85, Cape Turtle Dove, Speckled Pigeon, Cape Robin-chat, Southern Red Bishop 86, Hadada Ibis 87, Cape Weaver, Blacksmith Plover, Karoo Thrush 88, White-throated Swallow, Cattle Egret, Sacred Ibis 89, Black-headed Heron, Black Swift, Little Swift, Feral Pigeon, House Sparrow. After a break for tea (meal 3 of day) went out again at 18:00 looking for twilight-hunting raptors and was successful, getting 2 birds of 2 types. A Black-shouldered Kite was perched on a dead tree 90  91, looking intently over some rough ground, before diving off to the ground, probably catching a vole or mouse. Even later at 18:15 had an adult female Eurasian Hobby (ours! Or more likely from Russia!) perched in a tree in the gloom over some woodland 92  93  94  95, presumably watching small birds such as weavers go to roost. Always interesting to think that this bird might (just!) have bred in the South Tyne this past summer. Total for day was 24 types of bird, already added to BirdTrack global. Here's shots 96  97 of habitat around Hotel.

February 26th: weather continues fine by day with 11C max but frosty at night for last 2 days. Had a pair of noisy Tawny Owl at Slaley E and another on a fence at Dukesfield. Moths comprised 3 March Moth (Slaley W, Slaley E, Ordley) and a Dotted Border (Dukesfield). Started on 2018 records, sorting December today for both birds and moths with January-May inclusive processed already; had a moth Red Sword-grass 1 on 16/12/18, the first for me in the study area; the moth hibernates but is rare mid-winter; it looks like a broken twig (or fag-end!) for disguise! Made C4c4l: good to meet mate from the 'Shire!! Submitted passport application using digital photograph from Stait and returned old passport to PO via secure delivery; can't leave the country for 3 weeks now! IGM (International Gull Meeting) is on in San Sebastian from 13/11-17/11: not sure about this, it's too close to RRF. Made R&C4mr4s for quiet drink with A/A; good chat about my forthcoming Rotary talk on 11/3: Computing may be more classical than you think. Could bounce some ideas off A! Did drift E: she's delicious: irresistible it appears: lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro it's a nite on the toon after N4c4ll and G4g4t with B, who I'll leave for CAL at 18:00. Next up is processing of November 2018 records including piccies from Kempton Park.

February 25th: the moth records are already up on the county's official maps of moths as dots: very satisfying! Tomorrow moving onto 2018 records, including RSA: catching up! Today made R @ B4m4l where talk from local charity, seeking our support. Later made G4g4s with only 2 of us out (P/me). On web pages, updated R with latest meetings schedule and Festival with audio controls and credit. Filled bag 2 from gallery clear-up with maps now all sorted into open boxes so much easier to find; every-time I go away I collect local maps so have quite a collection; have thrown out advertising and commercial information, which is probably out of date. Also cleared out a drawer of cooking recipes in kitchen as unlikely to use (understatement!). Very pleased with Labour's change of direction on Brexit to support referendum no.2; May and the so-called European Research Group (right-wing Tories, dreaming of the Empire) are making such a hash of things, that all is not lost! Not sure what is happening tomorrow evening as M is in NZ; bought a ticket at TC on Wednesday evening. lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

February 24th: Moth records for 2016 were sent to Recorder today, creating space for some new directions! Did a local bird count while working in garden, getting 18 species, including a Common Buzzard calling and singing Coal Tit, Robin and Song Thrush. Looked at RSA material; going to finalise, with piccies, Jo'burg material from 4/11-5/11 first: stayed at hotel in Kempton Park, getting some good birds, some not seen elsewhere, including Hobby and Pallid Harrier. Was a gr8 trip: lok2tggo!!! Outdoors in another mild day, 13C max, 3C min, hazy sunshine after mist, light W breeze, completed hedge cutting doing the long stretch along the road, c70m. First 2 daffodils are out, against the S-facing wall by roadside: so early. Mocked up a prototype on Past Festivals for the memories: priority task!! Booked up a week in Petersfield, Hants, on W edge of South Downs in late May/early June with N. There's some lovely heathland around. We're staying in a PI for 775 for the 2 of us in separate rooms: not bad! But it is a non-flexible deal. Actually not going away too much in H1 of year, saving fire for conferences at Liverpool, Brasilia, Colorado in H2. But there is the Wagner Festival in June in Budapest with son; need to book flight-tickets for that soon from NCL-AMS-BUD. Today made G4g4s where met the dommies gang: no games for me! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l and G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 23rd: bit cooler today at max 13C, min 8C, but still sunny on light to moderate W breeze. Did make C4c4l where studied FT against the significant distractions! Sliding world trade is an issue but valuations are not that demanding at present. Went to Homebase to buy a 30m extension cable for £25 to add to my 50m one for hedge-cutting on the road tomorrow morning, when traffic is usually light. Looked at shelving; it would be easier to keep the standing units and re-carpet when they've been cleared, making them readily removable. Did some serious work on computer: looking at audio clip for the Festival on the home page, activated automatically; it's working on Edge, IE and Android, but a little erratic on Chrome; don't know about Safari as no relevant devices. Have found all the photos for the memories for 2016 and 2017; the html paths are incomplete in some cases. Re-jigged Lepidoptera 2016 records into final format for submission to Recorder tomorrow. Only noticed 1 Common Buzzard today: an individual over Peth Foot displaying. A pair of Tawny Owl were almost in the house tonight; they sounded very excited! With completion of the Lepidoptera records will move onto RSA and remaining 2018 records for birds and insects. Should make C4c4t and G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!!

February 22nd: another grand day up to 15C max, 7C min, sunny for most part but bit hazy at times, light SW breeze. Made C4c4l where again appreciated the service!! Out to Stocksfield Mount from 15:05-16:30 getting on trip 6 Common Buzzard, all in display, plus a Red Kite in strident flap-flap-glide mode. A return by Greenfinch today with 3 at the Mount and 1 at Ordley on my nuts. 14 Lapwing SW at the Mount were presumably heading back to moorland breeding areas. Total for birds was 23 types with 1 moth, Stigmella aurella, recorded as a vacated gallery on bramble, and a bumble bee (dark) at Branch End. At night owls continued to be good with 6 Tawny Owl at 4 sites and a Long-eared Owl 'singing' in Dipton Wood at 00:30 (23/2). So plenty of signs of (premature) spring. Moths are appearing in good numbers with 18 of 5 types seen tonight, again more to follow. Made W4g4s where DP said he's had a Red Admiral outside last week, a Red Kite at Carterway Heads today as well as honey-bees in his garden on the crocus (saffron!); very pleased to have E on!! At the Stocksfield Garage secured 3 loads of kindling for £4.42, a bargain; don't think we've seen the end of cold weather! Funds maintained steady progress at +5k gross, +1k net on the week and +48k gross, 38k net on the year to date; move to UK companies such as housebuilders has so far paid off. Canadian companies are also attracted to the UK; they're buying up some of our industry on a regular basis, latest Dairy Crest. The 4k withdrawal paid for daughter's birthday 2k, Festival 1k, older granddaughter's birthday 1k. Such payments are concentrated at start of year for Xmas and winter birthdays with 4k scheduled for rest of year: 2k son, 1k younger granddaughter, 1k Festival. However, as son's house purchase 2 has fallen through as the property is only acceptable for 80% mortgage (ex-Council), may give him a further top-up for no.3! He's working on 85% mortgage at the moment on a 200k property. 2moro it's C4c4l and catch-up; safe journey someone!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Well nice to know where the planet is going, even though it's not pleasant reading:

The world’s capacity to produce food is being undermined by humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity, according to the first UN study of the plants, animals and micro-organisms that help to put meals on our plates. The stark warning was issued by the Food and Agriculture Organisation after scientists found evidence the natural support systems that underpin the human diet are deteriorating around the world as farms, cities and factories gobble up land and pump out chemicals. Over the last two decades, approximately 20% of the earth’s vegetated surface has become less productive, said the report, launched on Friday. It noted a “debilitating” loss of soil biodiversity, forests, grasslands, coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and genetic diversity in crop and livestock species. In the oceans, a third of fishing areas are being overharvested. Many species that are indirectly involved in food production, such as birds that eat crop pests and mangrove trees that help to purify water, are less abundant than in the past, noted the study, which collated global data, academic papers and reports by the governments of 91 countries. [my bold!]

Most countries said the main driver for biodiversity loss was land conversion, as forests were cut down for farm fields, and meadows covered in concrete for cities, factories and roads. Other causes include overexploitation of water supplies, pollution, over-harvesting, the spread of invasive species and climate change. Guardian worlds-food-supply-under-severe-threat-from-loss-of-biodiversity

The BBC report later did acknowledge the role of volunteers:

"Something that came out strongly was the importance of the role of citizen scientists," said Julie Belanger. "People who are involved in volunteer work for biodiversity-monitoring and also for conservation work - these are playing a very important role in a number of countries."

BBC News channel reported it initially as solely due to climate change, Sky News accurately as the range of factors listed above. Loss of insects is the most serious problem facing the planet as insects are the food for so many other animals as well as being pollinators. Climate change is a complicating factor rather than a critical underlying problem, such as destruction of habitat and excessive use of pesticides and herbicides. The BBC must lack teams experienced in scientific analysis: a very common problem everywhere in the UK today. Could we match Israel and Japan in landing spacecraft on distant objects if we leave the European Space Agency after Brexit? We need a new generation of lawmakers (MPs) with some understanding of science! Nearly all our recent MPs have studied PPE: politics, philosophy and economics.

February 21st: beautiful early spring day at max 12C, min 6C, light SW breeze, sunny all day. Moths were good with Dotted Border 6: Ordley 2, Letah Wood 3, Loughbrow 1; March Moth 1 Loughbrow; Chestnut 1 Loughbrow; latter 2 types were first for year. Owls included yesterday Little Owl at Loughbrow, Barn Owl at Ordley; today Tawny Owl at Ordley and at Hexham Sele; so 3 types of owl in 2 days. Started on major project to clear clutter from gallery, the walkway upstairs in a rectangle on the first floor, often found in barn conversions. Want to remove the standing book-cases, c50% of total, which make re-carpeting difficult and replace them by hanging ones of flexible shelving. Going to do it by completing a section at a time so there's not masses of books all over the place. Son's room will act as a buffer. Already have 1 large black sack of paper to recycle: will keep count! Idea is to clear unwanted stuff, confirm and sort stuff to keep and re-carpet and smarten up whole area. No timetable! Made T4shop, BP4petrol and G4g4s late-on with good chat at latter. 2moro it's N4c4l, walk-out, W4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 20th: in evening after G4rw4t with B went out on R trip by bus to Battlesteads, Wark, for meal and observatory. Service by Nikova and Denisa was superb but it was too cloudy to see any stars. So we had a 2-hour (!) talk on the sky at night by one of the enthusiasts; well it was totally OTT: no breaks, billions of figures and statistics, no questions; think they need to realise people go out for entertainment, not to be given an OU course on astronomy. Actually in general I find astronomers a pain; they're on a different plane and very self-indulgent! Devon M says they're very clever: they know the names of all the stars! Submitted delay repay claim! Morning was totally electric: life is just one long masked ball, so to speak: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! 2moro it's back to more sober issues!!

February 19th: Journey back was on time, so no rebate! Booked into regular hotel where always looked after well! Went out for meal at VctCmt where watched H1 of Euro footie: no goals (and none by end either). Did some reverse migration, moving W a little way, where more beers before connecting with tmso: just so: she's fab: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Back on 00:04, regaining city centre and quiet hotel. On train back had a Red Kite a little S of Peterborough.

February 18th: weather had the odd surprise today with rain midday and quite a bit cooler: 9C, light W breeze. We went to Osterley Park from 15:00-16:50 where had 4 new species for year, comprising Ring-necked Parakeet 14 (some displaying), Egyptian Goose 2, Mandarin Duck 5, Shoveler 8. Also had 39 Tufted Duck, 3 Cormorant, 8 Moorhen, 9 Coot. Had at least 1 LBBG at Tower Bridge yesterday, raising new species for trip to 5 and year total to 75. For leaf mines found 2 Stigmella aurella on bramble and 8 of the leaf-mining gall midge Monarthropalpus flavus on a box shrub. Back on travels tomorrow 12:30 ex KGX; may fall a little short! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 17th: good day with family, meeting at Boaters in Kingston for lunch and celebration of a few birthdays. Present were daughter's family, Toktam's family, son, big sis, me. All very warm with short stroll along Thames afterwards in brilliant sunshine at 12C. They then went off to fetch the kitten: isn't Snowy sweet? (piccie sent later). Here's 2 recent piccies of granddaughters' family: 1  2 and of son on recent trip to Brazil, at Rio 1. Son and I went for brisk walk from Embankment to Tower Bridge on N side of Thames, returning on S side via Borough Market (where terrorist attack) to Festival Hall (7km in all, quite energetic!). We met big sis in Giraffe for meal and more wine! Concert Hall was not quite full but attendance was pretty good. Grieg's Piano Concerto was my first classical LP, played by Gina Bacheur! Today it was played by Denis Kozhukin, born in Russia; he bought back my memories of the exciting Bacheur recording and deservedly got an encore; his movement 2 was particularly moving! Kodály's Dances of Galánta was gypsy-like with massive variations in pace. The Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša obviously loved the eastern European folksy theme with some lively pivoting, almost dancing, in Dvorák's Slavonic Dances! The orchestra played an encore as well, repeating one of the dances: so an encore in the strict sense of the word! A full day, very enjoyable, love London in small doses! 2moro it's a quieter day but we should get out to a local park and I should add considerably to my bird year-list. The following day sees the best laid plans go awry: I'm relegated from scheming division 1!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 16th: did catch 09:30 NCL-KGX, which had some luck about it: 36min late so 25% of £99 fare back and earlier trains were severely delayed by 75-90 min so masterly lie-in paid off!! Cause of delay was a broken-down train at Retford. We did not go to the big party of Sophia at the gym in Kingston, attended by 15 girls and 1 boy (Rayan, Sophia's 1st cousin). They were on version 34b of the attendees' list with S's views on who should attend changing daily! Daughter thought we should meet up afterwards at their house, which we did. She was so relieved it had gone off well with curious parents, some of whom she had not met before, Big sis drove us there and back, following the 65 bus route. Son was there already but has come back to stay in Ealing tonite. 2moro lunchtime there's a mini-gathering of the clan at the pub Boaters, Kingston, with 3 of us (big sis, son, me) going out later for a meal on the Southbank followed by a concert at the Festival Hall with Philharmonia on a folksy theme with music by Kodály, Grieg and Dvořák. New addition to daughter's family on Sunday: a Ragdoll kitten: how sweet, called Snowy: hope she's tough! For our cats we had names Siegfried, Alberich, Tristan, Fafner, Isolde, very familiar to Wagner fans! Our neighbours in Haltwhistle thought Alberich was called 'old brick'! Breaking the Wagner theme was Pushkin and Cleo!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 15th: balmy spell continued with max temperature 12C on light SW breeze. Some shrubs such as hawthorn and rose are budding and daffodils are growing strongly, though not flowering yet. Busy sorting domestics but did make C4c4l. Submitted a talk on CT/music work to SYCO 3, a conference on compositionality in CT context at Oxford University at end of March. Checked into RS – not that efficient, long q and distance between reception and room is vast! So little late at MP where had good meal with N. S4con had LV as *, conductor and pianist, with large orchestra; R3 were there to record the live performance with a formal recording schedule to be held on Saturday for Brahms PC 2, the main item. It's such a tuneful piece played beautifully. I also liked Brahms' Handel Variations arranged well for orchestra by Rubbra (with very stimulating ending!) and world premiere of William Marsey's The Sea!. Had good chat later with BC, KN, AR, AY, BH. Not too early to bed: too much excitement: she looked especially gorgeous:tonite: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's short trip S for party-time!! xxxx!! Funds +4k on week, bringing annual gain to 43k gross, 37k net. Confidence, since the crash in the last quarter, has grown steadily. Let's hope it's not misplaced: populists who justifiably feel left out remain the main concern.

February 14th: weather was very mild in daytime at 10C max but sky cleared and was frosty by morning (15/2). Went for walk on Hexhamshire Common from 16:15-17:15 where signs of early spring, with a flock of 38 Golden Plover on a bare patch amongst the heather. Also had 22 Red Grouse, now displaying, 3 Pheasant and a flock of 22 Fieldfare moving onto the moor to roost. So total of 4 species! The Golden Plover will start selecting territories soon and performing their flight displays: their mournful piping calls are very evocative of wild places!! They should have been the stars of Rautavaara's Cantus Arcticus: Concerto for Birds and Orchestra. Caught 6 moths at night before the sky cleared: 2 Dotted Border, 1 Early Moth, 1 Pale Brindled Beauty, 2 Agonopterix heracliana. Did make HMS for session, being paired with year-8 lad for informal chat about career choices: it's all part of a pilot government scheme whereby volunteers with perceived successful careers (hence R members) assist schools in career advice at an early stage. Did bring back sad memories: HMS (c470 students, aged 9-13) was where my late wife was Assistant Head and leader in history in the pyramid before her illness took hold in 2006-2007. On the lighter side, there were coats and shoes everywhere; evidently every night there's a significant haul for lost property even including odd shoes: how did they get home! You need a sense of humour and an underlying kindness to survive in a school. Next session is 7/3. Well VD was celebrated at the G4g4s with the gang, not the height of romance! But the bar lasses E/M were up for it! To the fancied ones: here's hoping for another gr8 year: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro it's start of civilized trip to see relatives, with hotel in NCL both ends, but it's familiar pattern of MP4m4t with N and S4con on Friday nite. Looking at 08:58 on Saturday ex-NCL but not fixed yet, could stick with original 09:28 where have reservation, so time gained by staying in NCL largely converted to lie-in: xxxx!!

February 13th: what a grand sight – at 11:05 an adult male Goshawk in display mode circling very high over Swallowship with a flock of Woodpigeon and some Jackdaw scattering rapidly far below. Today was again mild at 9C max, 7C min, some sunshine, moderate W breeze so some birds are on the move. At G4g4t B reported 50 Oystercatcher on the South Tyne at Beltingham this morning. Said fond farewell to M; we get on very well. They had had some stomach pains after yesterday's meal but no problems for me. Egypt is the only place where my stomach cannot cope! I used to eat snails when little in our garden in Teignmouth, Devon: good for developing the immune system evidently! Got passport photo taken in Stait Photography; they then loaded it in digital form onto the Passport Office website which saves me uploading it – impressed, took 5 min in all for £10.99 including an email message to me confirming the code for retrieval. Getting 2016 moth records ready for submission; going to compile some more RSA piccies while memories are sharp, starting with the rest of the shots from Skukuza!! London visit is still under construction – now ordered down earlier in the day (surely there are earlier trains than that!) so staying at RS on the platform on Friday nite to get a quick and easy getaway in the morning (but still after breakfast)!! 2moro it's Hexham Middle School at 10:45 for a briefing on mock interviews that R are putting on for the older students, followed by trip out and much later G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 12th: mild today at 9C max, 7C min on moderate W breeze; didn't feel that warm as no sunshine. Great gastronomic day: U4m4l and S4m4s with M/B. Former had marvellous company: scheming-wise I've met my match!! Think she's gorgeous!!! Latter was penultimate meeting with M b4 he's off to NZ for 6 weeks with his partner B; we had a lot of crack! Birds on Tyne included 2 Tufted Duck drake at Merryshields and 6 Goosander (3 pairs) at Ovingham. Completed 2016 Lepidoptera records today. All insect records are relevant in view of dramatic declines world-wide Northern England has shown more stability than southern England in populations but the trend is still down. Pesticides such as neonicotinoids are believed to be the cause of the problem. 2moro it's T4c4c with M, walk, QH, G4g4t!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 11th: had haircut by Jn from NCL, very good style!! She said she'll cut it next time, nothing like a bit of competition!! Made N4c4l where met a gang from the 'Shire for good chat, then home for hedge-trimming around the old vegetable bed; well hope it did me good, feeling a little knackered after 1st serious gardening for 2 months! Lovely midday at 6C and sunny but frosty again in evening. Made R @ B4m4t where cheery talk on how Cancer survival rates are improving. Concluded day at G4g4s where 5 of us out for good chat. So pretty sociable day! 2moro it's highly important summit in NCL followed by L&P and trip to Greek Restaurant in Hexham with M. Spring weather at Ordley brought out a singing Song Thrush, a pair of Common Buzzard and a pair of affectionate Tawny Owl with a young female Sparrowhawk hunting through our bird feeding areas. An adult female Sparrowhawk was soaring over Hexham Abbey, putting everything up. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

February 10th: did make Tyne Green, Hexham, for walk from 14:40-16:50 (including W4shop!), getting 25 species of bird, best trip so far this year, in cool moderate NW breeze in dry conditions with sunny intervals, max 5C. min 1C. Highlight was a Little Egret, 1  2  3, first I've seen in my study area. They are increasing rapidly and could be breeding within a few years. Also had 6 Long-tailed Tit and a Treecreeper, both additions to year list, bringing it to 69 types. Some lady dropped off a print of ballerinas at 11:00 for me to take down to London; my daughter had ordered it and I gave them £40: good system! Worked back to 11/04/16 on final trawl for Lepidoptera records for 2016. Made G4g4s where very pleased to see J again!! Met the dommies gang for good crack! 2moro it's hair-cut at JG with Jd at 11:00 (she's becoming my organiser!), R @ B4m4t and G4g4t!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

February 9th: did make C4c4l for good read of FT: business is getting ready for no-deal Brexit, which will involve massive disruption in itself such as ditching £ for $: May's party before country is looking increasingly untenable. Anyway plenty of attractions in house!! Made MP4m4t where met N at 16:00 so we could get to S concourse for taster before start of main concert. Concert A Night at the Italian Opera was superbly relaxing with Simona Mihai (Samling 2004, soprano, Romanian) confident, powerful and tuneful in all her arias and Luis Gomes (Samling scholar, tenor, Portuguese) likewise in his. RNS provided the music, in their usual polished way, really looking as if they were enjoying it. Wonder who will be the next leader; might open a book on it; not sure it will be KH, might fancy KN! V4g4s was comfortable! Terminé dans le style: la construction lente a ses avantages: elle est amoureuse!! lok2tgrf: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro it's walk out, C4c4ll, G4g4s!! xxxx!!

February 8th: lazy morning but more active afternoon where continued with Lepidoptera records for 2016 by going through all the photographs, looking for records not entered; got back from 31/12 to 26/6 bringing year total up to 213 types. Mild today at 9C max, 3C min, on strong NW winds on storm Erik, with steady rain by end of day. Markets cooled after mid-week but funds were still up 4k on week, making position on year to date +39k gross, +33k net, latter after withdrawals. Have noted that people include pensions in their assets, which I haven't before. My index-linked TPS pensions, excluding state one, are worth 783k on standard metrics, less 145k taken as lump sum, bringing total funds to 2.5m, including stocks, property and other objects. Am beginning to resign myself to a soft Brexit; think Corbyn is doing the same, permitting in effect more Labour MPs to vote for a deal than there would be Conservative/DUP MPs voting against to tilt the balance. Don't want a no-deal, 2nd vote or any more drawing out of the process: Brexit has provided a very good smokescreen for the nasty Tory actions against the poor and public services in general! Made W4g4s where 6+2 of us out for a chat: charming service!! Surprised I was the only one who knew anything about Vick Hope and any of her exploits, including her recent shipwreck! Some of my contemporaries only watch oldies but goldies! Relatively early to bed tonight at 01:30 to dream about the world: later sees C4c4l, MP4m4t, S4con (very good gate!), V4g4s!! In on CAL-NCL; next Saturday sees end of running train strikes so more flexibility. lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 7th: met M at T4c4c for good chat; persuaded him to come to concert in evening, which he did. Met N at MP4m4t and we went on to S4con where Lars Vogt was playing in Piano Greats series, in a concert entitled Appassionata. He was in great form with the main Beethoven sonata being played so powerfully and expressively; also liked the Brahms' Variations on a Theme of Paganini and Janáček's In the Mists. He played 3 encores to rapturous applause and left blowing us a few kisses! N & I retired to V4g4s where caught up on latest Brexit news; maybe solution is in sight with Corbyn turning a blind eye to Labour Brexiteer rebels who want to support the current deal, after a little more softness has been built in to make it even more nominal. Caught last Metro home!! La patience est une vertu. Le plus ferme, il devient. Fais de beaux rêves: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's catch-up with W4g4s b4 S4con on Saturday. xxxx!!

February 6th: socially met B at G4g4t for good chat! Had a productive day, completing last data sheet for Lepidoptera for 2016, getting 2019 records up to date, doing some work for Rotary on the Hexham web site and studying the latest marriage certificate received for Augustus Frederick Mitchell and Lavinia Adams on 9 March 1858 at Plymouth Register Office (interestingly not the church). Witnesses were William Dashper (elder brother to Lavinia Dashper officially) and Lavinia Dashper (most likely their elder daughter, aged 20); all the maternal side signed with a mark (unable to write!). The address of the happy couple was 14 Claremont St, Plymouth, the same as for Henry and Margaret Dashper, official parents of William and the siblings Lavinia/Sarah Jane/Selina. My guess (intuition!) is that Augustus Mitchell (aged 37 in 1858) and Lavinia Adams are the actual blood parents of Lavinia/Sarah Jane/Selina, born 1838-1847, who have been fostered by Henry and Margaret Dashper, while Lavinia became established. Lavinia Adams may be an anglicisation of Vina Adam, a name found in Iraq and probably elsewhere in the Middle East, looking at Facebook. There are some difficulties with her documentation but I think she may have been economical with the truth! A mass exodus of Jews from Tabriz, Iran, after a mass assassination c1830, is another possible source, but Jews from both Iraq and Iran (Mizrahi) top the DNA distribution for T2 (my mitochondrial type). I have a description of Lavinia Mitchell on her receiving a 2-month jail sentence in Plymouth in 1875 for assault: her complexion was sallow (intriguingly not fair or dark like other inmates); she was 5 ft 1½ inch tall with dark brown hair, dark hazel eyes, oval face, scars on the left wrist. She must have had a very tough life where not looking after yourself was not an option! Most of the family were in banking/bookkeeping/accountancy within 2 generations, the sort of roles performed by the Jews in Iran and Iraq. I think we're nearing closure here – an amazing quest! There were other major positives to the day!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M, CAL-NCL, making MP4m4t with N and S4con!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 5th: a quiet day but feeling a little fitter. Made C4c4l and much later CNT4st4s with A for a quiet drink. Compiled another 3 data sheets for Lepidoptera in 2016 leaving just 1 to go; year total has gone up 2 to 206 types, including the tiniest micro! Had 2 Badger on the road, stirring from their winter rest with temperatures 6C max and -2C min today, and a Barn Owl. Markets continue to rise well, giving yet more anguish to investors in 100% cash. 2moro it's G4g4t with B. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 4th: feeling brighter today but keeping warm! All snow had gone by dawn with today seeing max 6C, min 0C, in nice sunshine but car was frosted over briefly at 22:00. Did make R @ B4m4l where had good company and N4c4ll 4 dessert. Much later made G4g4s where 6 of us out, not bad! Rising temperatures (1C) at 23:45 brought out an Early Moth and a Spring Usher at Ordley and 4 Early Moth at Letah Wood; they're raring to go! Compiled 2 more Lepidoptera data sheets for 2016 leaving just 4 to go; have running total of 204 species of butterfly/moth for 2016, a valuable store of data; will then get back to RSA and Honey-buzzard site visits for 2016 as spreadsheet records. 2moro it's further catch-up, maybe C4c4l and later may be out!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 3rd: did have laid-back day with spells of sleepiness but perked up in evening and really enjoyed G4g4s with the dommies gang! They did actually rope me in for a few games at the end after someone left; pleased to take the opportunity winning 3/5; they suspected I was keeping running totals of spots in my head (which was true!). Compiled 4 more Lepidoptera sheets for 2016, leaving only 6 to go. So not 100% today, feeling light-headed and cold, even with smokeless ovoid stove running at full 8kw/h, but g provided the cure! Was good to have E back at G: she's petit, fair, lively and efficient, without being brusque! Slow thaw set in with 5C max, some rain on light W wind and a little weak sunshine, but still plenty of ice patches tonight. Tonight had 2 Early Moth at Letah Wood and a Tawny Owl at Ordley. Yesterday on A69 on way in had 2 Common Buzzard, one at Nafferton, the other displaying at Throckley N, plus a male Kestrel at Callerton. On way back had a Barn Owl at Rudchester. Tempo of nature will rise quickly in next week of above-average temperatures but might have another day in the warm. 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll and G4g4s!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

February 2nd: did make C4c4l where good to catch up on FT. It is now generally acknowledged that asset prices are cheap for the current state of the world economy, particularly in the UK, but political risks abound. Investors are holding masses of cash; not convinced this is right in anything but the short term as no interest (effectively!) and how and when do you return to the market. On the bright side, as a holder of 0 cash, if they do return to the market asset prices will rise quickly against them. Then in freezing temperatures CAL-NCL and news reaching me that N wasn't going to make it! Could I get him a refund: response deleted!! Made CB anyway and spent 37.14 on tasty and rich bourguignon with French beans, rw, anchovy starter, Americano. Bizet's Carmen was so popular at TC that had only got a seat in row B, close to front, but fortunately speakers were distributed. The story does have its lessons with serial seducing lass being taken too seriously by a soldier who deserts the army for her; she then fancies a toreador and crazed with jealousy he kills her with a knife outside the bull-ring, before being shot himself! Music is lively and sensuous and good time was had by all! Conductor was Louis Langrée, Carmen was Clémentine Margaine, Don José was Roberto Alagna with 2 Alex (Poland, Russia) playing the 2 main supporting roles of Micaëla and Escamillo. Next trip there is for Walküre on 30/3; did note that the Met Op use Wagner's orchestral highlights for dramatic climaxes in their adverts, including Parsifal, Götterdämmerung and Walküre. Back on 22:35 NCL-CAL on coldest night of year -7.3C following 1C max. But much milder weather is on it's way. Pense qu'elle est un peu en forme; génial de voir!!! 2moro, after 6 concerts in 13 days, it's a rest-day, maybe making G4g4s for recuperation!! Next concert is Lars' piano pieces!! Am visiting plenty of relatives mid-month, back on 19/2, when may dally!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 1st: Bradley's final concert as maestro was fantastic; enjoyed the whole occasion, including the rehearsal. Title of concert was Creswick's Aviary so right up my street. Bradley's speciality is The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams in which he is the soloist. It involves a lot of high ethereal sounds, no problem to Bradley and he got so much applause that he treated us to an encore (quite special with RNS!). Rossini's Thieving Magpie overture was played with much spirit. A very innovative piece was Rautavaara's Cantus Arcticus: Concerto for Birds and Orchestra, where we had calling birds from the Arctic as pre-recorded 'soloists', giving the atmosphere of wild places and the orchestra playing along with them. Whooper Swan, Short Lark (down 2 octaves) and Curlew were the principal soloists! RNS also played The Birds by Respighi and Haydn 83 (La Poule!). Bradley then closed the concert with a wild piece of gypsy-style violin playing, at which he excels, with help from RM on trumpet and RNS: he got a very enthusiastic and warm send-off! Earlier the rehearsal was attended by a good number of pp and we all enjoyed seeing a so-enthusiastic BC! Snow was a minor problem going in but more of a serious problem outside Sage as came out as no gritting done; looked like major problems on exiting the S car park. I walked across the HLB to Vermont, where enjoyed a g!! Train back to HEX was on time: a credit to Northern Rail! Mates had cried off W in RDM so just as well had left the car at HEX. Road back home was clear of snow/ice: it's colder further W but little fresh snow has fallen. Funds had steady rise this week, finishing +9k. Se rétablir bientôt: garder le lit au chaud: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 31st: the snow arrives, very light, about 1cm at GHD and CAL, 2cm a little further W and 0.5cm at Ordley. Temperature rising a little at 1C max, -2C min on light NW breeze. Did make closing concert of the marvellous Brundibár Festival. I particularly liked the 2nd half with the Korngold Piano Quintet in E major and new piece One/Life by Vanessa Lann; Gemma Rosefield and Alexandra Raikhlina starred as performers. We had a reception afterwards outside H2, which was a good thought! Owls were prominent with a Tawny Owl at Black Callerton, a Barn Owl at Bradley Hall and 2 Tawny Owl, in the heavier snow, in affectionate mood. Earlier spent hours sorting out Lepidoptera records for 29/10-30/10 in 2016, mainly leaf mines on beech, birch and willow, leaving 10 data sheets to go. Tomorrow could possibly be affected by the weather as there's quite a lot of snow out here in the hills (6cm 10:30 1 Feb) but expecting to make Bradley's rehearsal this afternoon (HEX-NCL) and concert in evening with the RNS, followed by W4g4s, and Carmen the following day from New York Met, preceded by C4c4l in HEX and CB4m4t at 16:00 (French!) with N (CAL-NCL). xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 30th: bright and sunny today, invigorating but very cold at 1C max, -6C min, -9C wind-chill; sunrise-sunset now 8:04-16:41 so gained a whole hour in evening from 19/12; daylight is increasing 2 min/day at each end now! Mind we don't compare with Chicago at -45C or Wyoming at -22C: we have it easy! We're actually warmer than Moscow at the moment where it's -2C min. Really got stuck into Lepidoptera sheets for 2016 today, compiling 9/20 leaving 11 to go. Made QH in afternoon after being thrown out by cleaner S where started looking at brain structures, neurons and synapse initially; obviously want to relate this to communication with music as example; synapse are the arrows connecting neurons, either electrically or chemically. Will have to see how Mazzola approaches the subject. The basic categories will surely be an elaboration of the neuron-synapse structures with a snap (adjointness) between processes (functors) operating on the categories. After QH made G4g4t with B where we had good chat; he's interested in brain structures so is going to lend me a book next week. 2moro it's T4c4c with M followed by CAL-GHD, S24m4t and concert, closing the Brundibár Festival. Expecting it to be a great evening to round off a marvellous event as a whole!! lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 29th: daytime was overcast with light drizzle, no snow, but clear skies in evening saw rapidly falling temperatures down to -6C wind-chill!! Completed 1 more data sheet for Lepidoptera for 2016, quite a complex one with odd records from about 10 days; have 20 more sheets to go so end of task I never thought would be completed is in sight! Made N4c4l and Stalida, a Greek restaurant in Hexham, in evening with M/B. We had good chat and were looked after well as only 4 customers in total; I had stuffed aubergines and we shared a bottle of Retsina. Still time for W4g4s where learnt of the Toon's amazing win over Man City! Pleased to meet my fav waitress!! 2moro it's N4c4l, QH4work and G4g4t!! lok2t beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 28th: brilliant sunshine all day but cool at 1C max, -2C min, calm until evening when light NW breeze; no frost on car! Found last night really satisfying in all respects: roll on Thursday!! Elle est tellement désirable: très chaud! Processed 2 more data sheets for Lepidoptera for 2016, including one for a rewarding trip to the moors at Harwood Shield on 3/7. Owls have been good lately with on fence at Ordley, single Barn Owl and Tawny Owl this morning at 00:15, the same Barn Owl on 26/1 at 00:30; also a Kestrel at Rudchester on 26/1 at 11:45. Made R @ HA4m4s with good company on my table: you have to be careful where you sit! Came home for short break b4 G4g4s!! 2moro it's Greek restaurant in Hexham with M/B for meal in evening; earlier should make N4c4l; wind chill -7C could be threatening!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

January 27th: strong NNW wind, cool, 2C, occasional drizzle, wind-chill -3C. Did have walk around Hexham from 14:10-15:55 but that included a retreat into the comfort of C4c4ll to catch up with FT. Not that optimistic with recession looming in some markets (Europe, Japan) but could take probable resolution of US public funding and more and more signs that Parliament will not allow a Brexit no-deal as positive straws in the wind. Had 12 species of bird in walk but most small birds keeping very low. Highlight was 2 Oystercatcher loudly calling, a sign of late winter! Compiled 3 data sheets for Lepidoptera from 2016. Later made Gosforth Civic Theatre for Festival 3, where play War Mother by Belgian scholar Adolphe Nysenholc was performed. It was an intensely dark piece, with brilliant acting by Mick Liversidge, Phillip Harrison, Doreen Frankland, Alice Byrne, under direction of Robert Hersey. A complex family structure involving foster and real parents in the context of concentration camps is explored in passionate scenes. Could relate the family I am exploring at the moment in the 1830s to the family structure presented here: neither unfortunately is fanciful! The evening opened with some stirring music by mainly members of RNS instrument-wise with Monica Buckland conducting and Mojca Vedernjak singing Miracles de l'enfance by Albert Moeschinger. This was disturbingly discordant, giving an appropriate lead-on into the play: good scheduling!! Mojca sang a difficult score superbly! So really good evening with high attendance, continuing the Festival's success!! The social side was gr8, meeting a few old friends from Newcastle University and ending up in a long lively chat with the decadent actors/actresses! Congratulations to the Artistic Director and her team on masterminding this!! Penultimate train RCI-CAL was coming into station at 23:35 as arrived on platform so quickly home by 00:15. 2moro it's N4c4l, walk, R @ HA4m4s, G4g4s!! lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 26th: mild early on but N/NW wind increasing and feeling colder in evening. A 2nd visit to the Festival, at the Jesmond United Reform Church, was made via CAL-JES to see the Cobweb Orchestra perform from 13:30-14:30, with Conductor Andrew Jackson and Leader Alexandra Raikhlina. Programme was well selected both for the theme of the Festival and for a lunch-time audience. We had some well-known Mozart to start with: the Overture Il Seraglio and the Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola and orchestra where Jane Nosek and Chrissie Slater were the stars! The theme was maintained with Schulhoff's Czech Dance, Tango and Tarantella from Five pieces for string quartet, arranged for a full orchestra. The music by the Jewish composer was full of life but he came to a sad end: dying in the Wülzburg concentration camp in Bavaria in 1942 from TB. The concert finished with the appropriately named Furiant by Dvořák. Attendance was good, music standard high and applause loud so success all-round!! Knew quite a few people there so quite chatty!! Went to CT4s4ll via JES-MON where 'watched' the Gulls beat Oxford City 7-2, being 5-0 up at half time with a gale behind them. Then onto MP4m4t where met N for decent meal and for plotting our spring holiday. The Russian concert went off very well; someone from Edinburgh sitting next to me who'd never been to the Sage before was very impressed with the size of the orchestra (95, 12 double bass!), the acoustics and the subtle control of the balance by the conductor Vassily Sinaisky. The Swan Lake was very stirring, the Prokofiev PC 1 played by Freddy Kempf was so fast and moving and the Symphony 5 performance captured all the angst of the composer in grand style. We made V4g4s in comfort and I then went back from NCL-CAL. Gr8 ending to day: delighted she stayed up: a lot of pent-up feelings: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's walk, C4c4ll and War Mother at Gosforth Civic Theatre, which expect to be brilliant!! Can travel CAL-RCI! xxxx!!

January 25th: after yesterday's excitement, a quieter day, making N4c4t but not W4g4s as friends were all down with some coughing bug! Much milder today at 9C but rain at times and strong NW breeze so less pleasant than the cold sunshine. Processed 2 more Lepidoptera sheets for 2016: persistence is the key! 2moro very much looking forward to Festival again in Jesmond for matinee performance, coming in on Metro from CAL. Then it's MP4m4t with N and S4con, where have the St Petersburg Phil starring in a popular programme of Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake, Symphony 5) and Prokofiev (PC 1); the symphony is very moving as the composer overcomes fate before succumbing to it again in the next one, 6. So should be grand day!!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!! Difficult week for funds as £ soared on hopes for no-deal Brexit being off the table and worries grew on slackening world trade; ftse was off 2.3% on week, leaving it +1.2% on year. Own funds were -5k, leaving gain on year as 26k gross, 20k net. Some relief that fall was not more in view of number of non-£ assets held but feel that good international stocks are a good hedge in present uncertainty.

Got 2 death certificates today from GRO online as pdf files: Sarah Jane May 13/06/1910, aged 69, strangulated hernia, reported by her husband, Thomas William May, retired naval gunner of 21 Beatrice Terrace, Plymouth, written signature; no surprise there for my gt-gt-grandmother. Other one was both poignant and interesting: Selina Dashper 08/12/1860, aged 13, TB, reported by Lavinia Mitchell, present at the death, 14 Claremont Avenue, Plymouth through her mark, not written signature. Selina was younger sister to Sarah Jane. But who is Lavinia Mitchell?? She's not Lavinia Dashper, Sarah Jane's elder sister, as she'd just married a Miles. Is she the refugee? Could LM be Selina's biological mother, rightly attending her daughter's sad death, and by implication also mother of her sisters Sarah Jane and Lavinia. LM would then be my gt-gt-gt-grandmother and not Margaret Dashper!! LM appeared to marry Augustus Frederick Mitchell (another unusual name!) in Plymouth 2 years earlier in 1858, but what was her maiden name? Need the certificate for that; is the marriage a sign that she's feeling a little more secure? Selina's father is reported as Henry Dashper, a cartman, as on birth certificate but is this true? Or had she had a lengthy relationship with Augustus prior to marriage? No further comment at this stage but looks as if the extended family has grown by 1-2: welcome!!

January 24th: waffly bollax at LAF went off better than expected; facilitator D based at S had a sense of humour and mates on the forum were in fun mode! Gulped down some sandwiches b4 skipping evening session and catching train HEX-NCL to arrive just a little late for appointment. The Festival had a very impressive day 1, at Brunswick Methodist Church, starting with Jean-Jacques Greif talking about the impact of the Holocaust on the next generation; he was very expansive and was listened to attentively. We then had a programme of Olivier Greif's music, all very sombre and bitter-sweet, superbly moving and deserving of the great reception given to the performers. Delighted to see the improved attendance and the enthusiasm of the supporters. The Battle of Agincourt, a harsh piece for 2 cellos with sweet moments, was played very energetically by Natalie Clein and Luba Ulybesheva; the first movement is very slow, full of angst! The SQ 3 Todesfuge was highly emotional: the Bell Quartet did well throughout, not least in the dark, slow ending. Simon Wallfisch was a powerful baritone in the singing role. Finally Lettres de Westerbork for voice and 2 violins had some stirring play by the 2 string players, often synchronised, Daniel Garlitsky and Alexandra Raikhlina, with Sarah Castle as the vocalist showing her commanding Wagnerian style in the tension of the closing sections. We had a grand reception at M1 with good chats to BQ, LU, DG, AR. A truly inspiring night! Thought someone in green looked so appealing!!! Back on last train 22:53. 2moro it's catch-up, but expect N4c4ll and W4g4s!! lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 23rd: very cold today 2C max, -4C min, beautifully sunny, very light NW breeze, as they say 'frost early and late'. Did do T4c4c and G4g4t with good crack at both!! Compiled some more lepidoptera records for 2016 and 2019. 2moro sees major contention with clash of 3 events: Local Access Forum 13:00-21:00, Wylam Brewery for RNS Minimal 20:00-22:00 and Festival 18:00-21:30! Have to make LAF in afternoon under orders as chair of WG1 – it's waffly bollax time on action plans! But can skip evening session, getting away at 17:20 to catch 17:41 HEX-NCL, being just a little late for start of talk at the Festival, which as a venture I'm sure will be a highlight of the year!! xxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Did some more work on RSA evening safari 14/11 with following piccies, mostly taken at dusk so atmospheric rather than sharp! This completes this series. Here are African buffalo 77, Cape Hare 78, giraffe 79, Kudu 80, Spotted Hyena 81, Warthog 82, Wildebeest 83. The company was the highlight: lok2tggo!!!!!

January 22nd: did go into NCL in afternoon by train from CRB to Fenwicks where bought a Ted Baker coat for £139; it was evidently priced at £279 initially, reduced to 155 in the sales, with me beaten down to 139 today; quite pleased as it will be useful for smart events and not-too-rough walks! Made CT4s4ll for a break from the tension! Weather continued cold at 1C max, -4C min, frost early and late, some welcome sunshine, dry. Met old friend Lucy as guard on train in; they're always pleased to see me as a long-standing commuter for 38 years from Haltwhistle, Stocksfield, Hexham/Riding Mill to NCL! Dodged R&C saying I was going to be busy, which was true: made BH4st4s where met Wylam N for good crack!! Beautiful end to day: very sensuous: extra ration is gr8 idea: lok2mbo!!!!!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M and G4g4t with B. xxxx!!

January 21st: made R @ B4m4l for good talk on trends in medicine in AI, robots and apps; enjoyed the meeting socially as well. We have 2 more medical talks + 1 from me on computing logic in next 8 weeks so we're becoming more scientific! CT will need to be presented in an entertaining manner! Didn't see any signs of mineral prospecting at Nenthead yesterday; chatted to a few locals and they said it had all gone back to sleep. BRL (formerly Minco) are racing to establish a Zn/Pb mine in Newfoundland at the moment. Weather very cold this morning at -5C, rising to 3C midday, dry, calm becoming light NW. Yesterday evening though at 0C there was a good moth hatch with 17 Early Moth and 1 Winter Moth on the wing. Here's piccie of the super blood wolf moon at 05:20, taken from the field in my dressing gown in the frost! Sent draft of the maternal family history to sisters; as final revision thought that it would be better to assume that father is unknown but could have been a fellow refugee, and leave Henry Dashper out of it. If they were illegal refugees they would have had difficulty in registering the births; they may have been close friends of the Dashpers who helped out. 2moro going to buy a new coat to keep out the cold; may make BH4st4s!! lok2t beautiful ones!!!!!

January 20th: Butterfly records for 2017 were sent to Recorder today: I'm getting there slowly! Had great trip to Nenthead from 15:00-16:50, parking at top at Black Hill 609m asl where explored the vegetation for leaf mines, taking away quite a haul of cowberry and cloudberry leaves for close examination. Then walked down steep bank to Nenthead village where a slightly knocked out atmosphere! Weather was 2C max, -1C min, ground frozen on Black Hill with some frozen small snow patches. On way at nearby Dryburn Moor had a Common Buzzard, 4 Raven together, 2 Red Grouse. Full list at Black Hill/Nenthead was 7 bird-types: Red Grouse (6), Pheasant (7), Starling (9), Meadow Pipit (1, lingering from last summer), Raven (1), Blackbird (1), Great Tit (1). So Raven doing well in this border area. Had some leaf mines on beech in the village: Phyllonorycter maestingella (2). A good sight was 5 Woodcock flying out of a wood on the edge of the moor at Nenthall at 17:00. Walk was energetic with steep climb out of village back to car in the gathering gloom but no owls seen as hoped: have a lot of empathy with owls!

Did some more work on family history finding that the only surviving child of the Dashper's initial brood of 6 kids, William, did not marry and apparently died in Plymouth aged 59 without issue (as they say!). So it was left to the 3 younger lasses (Lavinia, Sarah Jane, Selina) of the extended family of whom Selina apparently died aged 13 but the others went on to have families and each died aged around 70. The main work now is to get some more certificates from GRO for the 3 younger lasses, including Lavinia's marriage certificate, which will lead hopefully to the id of the 'eastern' man in Iris's wedding photo!! A son of this marriage would be 2nd cousin to Iris (sharing a great-grandparent biologically), commonly termed uncle as a courtesy title. The younger person alongside him might be his son. So a very satisfactory closure is imminent but don't think all my relatives will thank me for this: they might be horrified: they didn't want me to turn over the stones! Will circulate draft to sisters, posting it here as well, maybe 2 weeks away! The family's straits in 1841 were pretty desperate; Oxford Row was a boarding house in Plymouth with each family taking one room. Health was obviously bad. But 2 generations later the female side had greatly improved their status so they must have had some qualities to escape from the quagmire! I am very pleased to have studied the mtDNA; most people just do the male side. Did make G4g4s where P back from skiing in Austria. The Avignon conference has been cancelled with invitation to go to the main Whitehead conference at Brasilia at the end of August. Think will do this so 2 big trips to America on the cards: should be gr8: lok2t lovelies!!!!! Remember 2 c the moon!!

January 19th: welcome sight of a Marsh Tit feeding on my nuts!! Sorted out nice series of records from Whitfield Moor on 30/6 in 2016, finding some Stigmella poterii mines on Cloudberry at the Lough on the top of the moor and some other interesting moth species. Butterfly records for 2017 will be submitted tomorrow. Hope to get back to RSA records tomorrow as well. Did make C4c4c where very pleased to meet trhwso!! Studious day today; musical action picks up from next Thursday!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

Natural resource stocks were nervous at start of week after more poor China trade data. Made decisive switch on Monday selling 60.3k of Au metal ETFS and buying 61.0k of equity in pure Brexit plays: PSN, TW, LGEN, LLOY. Seemed to be well-timed as no-deal Brexit not thought so likely now giving value at end of week of 64.7k with annual income of 5.3k (0 on Au), that's a yield on buying price of 8.7%. The Au, which had been a hedge against £ collapse, was down 1.5% in £ terms by end of week. Overall gain for week was 2k after being 4k down on Tuesday. Am still interested in Irish mining plays with 1.03% of capital of BRL (formerly Minco (MIO)), 1.77% of CON (probably!), 0.54% of ZNG, 0.09% of GAL. Am steadily buying a few more as prices fall. Net cost of them all is 53k. BRL have recently prospected for Zn/Pb at Nenthead, might have a look! Not for the faint-hearted!

January 18th: very good day, meeting P at SW4m4l; he's throwing himself into a long-running activity NERS, North of England Refugee Service, for which he's an officer. Evidently most recent arrivals are Iranian. A lot of their effort goes into supervising their housing and improving their employability skills, such as learning English. Do personally have a lot of empathy with this! He's got a keen interest in music, mainly Radio 3 at the moment. Suggested he find a live concert which appeals and we'll go along together. Had a Red Kite quartering a field near Houtley at 15:00. From train RDM-NCL renewed Metro off-peak annual pass for £24: great value. Made MP4m4t with N where good chat b4 NYNA concert at S. It was packed with a very lively atmosphere. The programme was dominated by females with a lively lady conductor Jessica Cottis, the well-known saxophonist Jess Gillam, the harpist Sharron Griffiths and the composer Errollyn Wallen. It was a very entertaining programme with pieces by Debussy (2), Milhaud (2), Stravinsky, Villa Lobos and Errollyn, not forgetting the Young Composers' Competition Winner. Flautist AY excelled as usual and KN was an asset to the strings! Off last train made W4g4s where still impressed by new ambience!! Met there 4 of the gang! Désir fort limité par les espions: she's gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l and catch-up!! Funds had a good week after plan execution on Monday: more tomorrow! xxxx!!

January 17th: got stuck into catch-up on lepidoptera records, making great progress with complete sweep through 2016 records, leaving a much smaller pile which will require just a little more work. Will submit butterfly records for 2017 very soon. Weather much colder at 2C max, -1C min, frost early and late, sunny but no snow as further E. Snowdrops are out on grass at back of shed. Did make G4g4s where no mates out – too cold? – but some interesting staff from Egger there. Evidently it's the largest employer in Northumberland at the moment after closure of Alcan, Lynemouth, with substantial apprentice scheme, popular with some of the G staff! Bought some tickets at TC for Met Opera performances of Bizet's Carmen on 2/2 (with N) and Wagner's Walküre on 30/3 (not with N!). Carmen is almost sold out but still a few available for the Wagner treat! Also booked Samling masterclasses on 2/3 with N. Quite a glow today: certainement de beaux rêves d'amour: lok2tgrf!!!!!! 2moro it's lunch at SM in HEX with Riding Mill P followed by MP4m4t at 17:00 with N, NYNA at S2 and W4g4s (also in RDM)!! xxxx!!

January 16th: exciting day and nite!! Did make ON HQ at Grand Theatre, LDS. Very stimulating presentations and discussion on Magic Flute with Andrew Ogus talking about Mozart's ideas and the setting, a mixture of pantomime, dark threats and a romance. We saw the finale of the penultimate dress rehearsal. Setting is imaginative and colourful with good use of digital projections. The singing and acting was very polished as it should be at this stage! We then had a panel including Stuart Leeks (editor, ON), Robert Howarth (conductor), James Brining (director), Colin Richmond (designer). They discussed how they thought they were trying to realise Mozart's intentions: not an easy task, particularly as Mozart had no chance to dwell on the composition, dying 3 months after completing it. Hospitality was good with steady flow of rw! Train down with CC was spot on, one back with TP was 20 min late, par for the course! Didn't quite make home: massive crescendo: must be back a lot more: she's brill: lok2tgrf!!!!!! Earlier had a 1w male Sparrowhawk again flying fast down track near house.

January 15th: 8C, moderate NW breeze, dry. Made AF in HEX with N. Bought 7 postcards from Devon for £15, including 3 of old Plymouth, which need to get to know better; Plymouth, as a strategic naval port, was flattened during WW2 by bombing so not much left of the old city. My home town Teignmouth was also flattened as the main Exeter-Plymouth railway line passed through the town: 80 civilians out of a population of 8k were killed by bombing in Teignmouth in WW2 with many more injuries. Also bought an Ag fruit spoon, marked Exeter 1824, made R Ferris, for £48, beaten down from £58. Compiled a lot of old butterfly/moth records for 2015/2016. Aim is to complete butterfly records up to 2017 and send the lot to the Recorder, who is different from the moth maestro! Evening was a fiasco; they couldn't organise a p...up in a brewery! Going back to BH in future!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M followed by 12:38 NCL-HEX, trip to LDS, insight at Opera North into Mozart's Magic Flute, ex LDS 19:52!! lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Viva no-Brexit!!

January 14th: 5C, cool NW breeze, some sunshine. Since 22/12 at Hexham, sunrise-sunset at 08:32-15:42 has moved to 08:26-16:10, so +28 min in afternoon but only +6 in morning, fitting in with popular feeling that the mornings take an age to get lighter! The discrepancy is due to the way we measure time, that is true midday drifts relative to our clocks and not to a genuine physical phenomenon. Did have walk today from 13:40-14:55 near Dukesfield Smelt Mill in the 'Shire, getting 10 types of bird, including a Dipper and a Common Buzzard. Had 4 types of leaf miner on the walk and 3 types later at 2 sites: Early Moth, Winter Moth, Mottled Umber. That's my New Year resolution: to have a walk a day in the winter; spring, summer and autumn look after themselves! Made N4c4t where good to have S on and much later G4g4s where 4 of us out with the warm Mg on!! 2moro it's AF at W (antiques) with N, preceded by Sh4c4c. Not sure about later; Tuesday might become Friday!! Hope there's a big majority against May's Brexit plan and that the remainers kick the whole issue into the long grass, maybe with a lengthy postponement of our departure date! Will be watching intently!! lok2t beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Here's some shots from 14/11, game drive in evening from Skukuza: Steppe Eagle 63  64  65  66 (adult, long gape), Steppe Buzzard 67  68  69, Red-billed Hornbill 70, Red-eyed Dove 71, elephant 72  73, rhinoceros 74, zebra 75, bush-veldt 76. Gr8 company on this drive: lok2tggo!!!!! Some more to follow but it got dark during our trip!

January 13th: well-filled day catching up with many tasks to keep the house in order! Did make G4g4s where met the dommies gang for good crack! Have advanced SJD's family tree with help from LDS: can now baptise all my female relatives on mother-to-mother line back to 1840! It's a very strange family with 6 children born 1824-1837 to Henry Dashper (born 1806) and Margaret Dashper (born 1806 as Hopper) of which only one survives; all have very standard Plymouth names. Then 3 more are born 1838-1847, 2 surviving well with the other dying aged 13; 2 of the names, Lavinia and Selina, are radically different from Plymouth ones of the time with Sarah Jane in the middle maybe as a tribute to the preferred family name for Dashper/Hopper. There's no doubt they are in a very rough area of Plymouth (Oxford Row) with fathers as labourers and mothers and children in the laundries. Margaret Dashper seems very Devonian. Dashper is likely to be an adaption of a continental name but that's on the male side. The mtDNA result requires a female from the E on an unbroken mother-to-mother line; this would be satisfied by the mother of Lavinia, Sarah Jane and Selina not being Margaret Hopper but an eastern European or Middle East lass, possibly a refugee, whose mtDNA would quite probably continue in their homeland as unbroken T2 back over 1000 years or more! The DNA does not lie as Jeremy Kyle says; intriguingly as a Kyle-type question: is Henry the father!! The census record for 1841 is therefore IMHO at least partially fabricated! Surnames of neighbours (another Kyle favourite!) in 1841 are Gorjen and Gusket, not common names for Plymouth. Names are not completely reliable through the censor sometimes getting them wrong: for instance the Dashpers are down as Dashford in 1841. In conventional genealogy, everything is in the names and the same questions arise as with the DNA. Sarah Jane's children are so much preoccupied with Lena variants that the assumption would be that Sarah Jane's mother was called Lena. None of Lavinia's or Sarah Jane's children have, as first name, that of their supposed grandparents. So great progress there, even if still speculative! Daughter and family is back from 11 days on the Caribbean in Mexico; they had a great time; son is putting in an offer for another house in Welwyn and off to Brazil in a couple of days. Gave daughter 2k for her birthday so 8/12k annual payments to immediate family now made already. 2moro it's N4c4l, walk out, R @ B4m4t and G4g4s!! Excitement this week on Wed/Fri!! lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 12th: special day celebrated in style!!! Did make C4c4l where pleased 2 c trhwso!! FT was more upbeat on Brexit with hard version now looking unlikely: £ may well rally a bit more: international companies may well benefit even if priced in $ but pure $ assets such as Au metal need reviewing; have already sold out of Pt metal; UK companies such as housebuilders (Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon perhaps) and some banks (Lloyds perhaps) or insurers (L&G) become more attractive. Visit to neighbour's place was very interesting: very affable which was good as we don't meet often enough; think they were really grateful that we'd not caused any fuss with the planners. Made MP4m4t with N where we had good chat. Then onto packed S2 where we heard Viola, Viola: concert focused not surprisingly on the viola with 2 quintets (2 viola), a quartet (4 viola) and a duet (2 viola). It went off very well with Mendelssohn SQ 1 being smooth and Dvořák SQ E flat being dynamic, with echoes of the New World as it was written in America. George Benjamin's Viola Viola was fiendishly difficult and players were clearly relieved at end with much applause for their bravery! Sally Beamish's Bratchwork was a series of tunes as a compact compendium. We retired to N's local V4g4s and more chat! Got last Metro back to CAL. Made up for lost time: very thrilling: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's catch-up day: xxxx!!

January 11th: 6C, cloudy, light NW breeze, dry. Did do everything mooted yesterday. Plenty to report: lunch went well at Haltwhistle, many memories of when we used to live there! At Haltwhistle North Wood from 11:05-11:55 had 12 bird species, including 10 Lesser Redpoll. Had a flighty Song Thrush at Letah Wood on way there. Sent daughter's birthday card from there: that's where she was born! Concert was very polished, loved the Ravel piece Gaspard de la Nuit!! Besides group of 6 computer scientists, met P there with his daughter E; P's a recent widower and seeing him next Friday for lunch. W4g4s was lively and like new staff policy!! Relaxation later was gr8 with the fancied one: well into the nite: she's so beautiful: lok2tmbo!!!!! Funds rallied well this week by 20k with junk bonds, developing markets and some mining stocks making good gains. More to follow but it's very late: xxxx!!!! 2moro it's busy again with C4c4l, visit to neighbours G to see their new holiday cottage, MP4m4t with N, S4con!!

January 10th: 6C, dull, cool moderate W breeze, dry. Walked along Tyne westwards from Corbridge to where it meets Devil's Water from 10:20-12:20. Had a very creditable 23 types of bird, including 4 types of gull (BHG, CG, HG, GBBG), Mute Swan (1 1w), Grey Heron (2), Moorhen (2), Fieldfare (2), Green Woodpecker (1). The micro moth-mines found of Stigmella aurella (1, bramble) and Leucoptera spartifoliella (10, broom) are typical for this time of year. Had an Early Moth on the window in evening at home. Walk was interrupted by visit to dentist; had a bit of trepidation with the temporary crown coming off but no worries: there's plenty of tolerance built into the process and a bit of extra glue will hold everything together! She then deep-cleaned my teeth with the ultrasonic device: more blood! She was more chatty than last time! Quiet day after that tension but did sort out sipp and some pension issues, dividing sipp between Woodland Trust and North Music Trust but it's not that big at present as only started it 3 years ago: 12k from contributions of 8.7k; it's still running! Must admit even I gulped when I looked at past pension records: took maximum of 145k as lump sum in 2010 and put the whole lot into bank preference shares and bonds at running yields to maturity of 10-20%; only defence is that the crisis was abating a little! Mouth felt gr8 by evening with comfortable bite, no rough edges and clean gums: definitely worth it! Busier 2moro with walk at North Wood, Haltwhistle, lunch in Haltwhistle (must remember her husband hates Wagner!), B4rw4t, QH4con, W4g4s!! lok2t beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 9th: visited Grindon Lough from 14:40-15:50; cool at 3C, moderate W breeze, dry, lovely bright sunshine. Waterfowl comprised Canada Goose (320), Wigeon (137), Mallard (57), Teal (28), Coot (23), Goldeneye (20: 12 redhead, 8 drake), Mute Swan (3 adult). Total for all species was 13, including another Barn Owl hunting down the roadside verge. Had a Stigmella aurella mine on bramble; made extensive search on water avens and found 1 blister and hints of a gallery but not assignable. Met M at T4c4c for good chat; we're going to piano recital by Riyad Nicolas at QH with 5 others on Friday; would join them for meal early evening but after large lunch expected in Haltwhistle earlier will not be up for it; lunch is with lady from Haltwhistle days! Later made QH library and G4g4t where usual good crack with B and J/S/S!! PoO rallying fast: don't keep your tank empty!! 2moro it's dentist at 10:30 in Corbridge for crowning glory; temporary crown has fallen off and bit of filling underneath has also come out; think a bit of paste and a lot of glue will soon sort it out!! Then I pay them £235 balance for the pleasure! Will not eat on rhs for ages (until I forget!). Might make G4g4s much later. lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Here's some more shots from 16/11, game drive from Skukuza: Lilac-breasted Roller 50  51, White-fronted Bee-eater 52  53, Egyptian Goose 54, Red-billed Oxpecker 55 on African buffalo, Common Sandpiper 56 (could be from the Tyne!), giraffe 57  58, African Fish-eagle 59 (adult), Bush-veldt habitat 60  61  62. Some more to study here but will move on to stimulating evening drive, might motivate some action!!

January 8th: keeping up the healthy walks with another from 14:45-16:00 on Hexhamshire Common, this one on the edge in the Stotsfold area. It was cool 5C, dry, on moderate NNW breeze. Had 6 types of bird: Woodpigeon 7, Pheasant 7, Red Grouse 3, Black Grouse 2 (cock, greyhen, great sight on rushy fields), Mistle Thrush 2, Barn Owl 1 (out hunting on moor). There was 1 kill, still to id, found by roadside, later id as a Grey Partridge, so 7 species of which 4 are game birds. Also had some moth leaf mines: Stigmella aurella on bramble 3, Leucoptera spartifoliella on broom 9. Later on at night had some adult moths out as cloud came over and threatened frost didn't materialise: Early Moth, Mottled Umber, Winter Moth, mainly at Hexham S and Horsley. Made N4c4t to warm up where 2 mates in! Much later decided could improve on R&C and made BH4st4s where met some good old mates!! Continued the E theme, hitting ideal tempo with fellow star sign: gr8 reunion: lok2tmso!!!!! Funds recovering steadily at +5k: better quality stocks doing best with suspect still some distress selling of riskier assets; a few which were 75% down are now 80% off: tempting but going easy for moment at that end of market. 2moro it's T4c4c with M and G4g4t with B. Expect some colourful birds from Africa later. xxxx!!

January 7th: made R @ B4m4l; Hexham Rotary Club is growing, we had almost 60 people there today; first meeting of new year so very chatty; inaugurated 2 new members. Mild today at 11C but very breezy from NW and some heavy showers. Processed recent records to avoid a backlog! Had both Pale Brindled Beauty and Early Moth adults yesterday; very early as no recent frosts. A Barn Owl was sitting on the fence near home at Ordley at 23:30 and a Nuthatch has found my nuts! Made G4g4s where good to have Mg on from the 'Shire; there were 6 of us out so good chat. 2moro it's N4c4l, walk out, R&C4mr4s with A!! lok2t beautiful ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Here's some more shots from 16/11, game drive from Skukuza: African White-backed Vulture 34  35  36  37 (at nest), 38  39  40 in flight; Steppe Buzzard 41  42; Martial Eagle 43  44  45  juvenile (brown upper parts, very strong legs); Southern Ground Hornbill 46  47  48; Egyptian Goose 49. Gives me a warm glow, processing these!! Some more to come …

January 6th: out to Dipton Wood for walk from 14:25-15:30 in overcast grey conditions, milder at 8C, dry, calm. Had a Common Buzzard here in total of 6 species, plus a Kestrel 1w at Lamb Shield and a 1w male Sparrowhawk hunting my bird table at home. Also at Dipton Wood had 6 Goldcrest. Mines included Stigmella aurella on bramble 2, Leucoptera spartifoliella on broom 6. Made N4c4t and G4g4s where gr8 to have Mb on and to meet the dommies gang!! lok2t fancied ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Here's some more shots from 16/11, game drive from Skukuza: elephant, looking fruity 21  22 and threatening 23  24 (safari drivers regard lone bull elephant as the most dangerous animal in the park and will not switch off their engine until he's looking calm); African buffalo 25  26  27 (also belligerent); rhinoceros 28  29  30 (can charge close-up; with Oxpeckers); African White-backed Vulture 31  32  33 (commonest vulture in area). Still more to come ….

Maternal family tree study progresses and now have 10pp of trees, notes, maps, DNA findings. But it's going downhill – away from an innocent refugee (SJD) towards a family, which could be on the Jeremy Kyle show!! I've been studying the (extended?) family into which Sarah Jane Dashper was born. She does have kindred sisters Lavinia and Selina. Wonder if I can handle it!! Have ordered birth certificates of SJD and her kindred sisters, dating from 1838-1847, from GRO.

January 5th: delighted today with news from Devon M that he had the triple bypass operation at Derrington Hospital, Plymouth, 6 days ago, is now back home and is feeling stronger every day: marvellous! Maybe trip to Devon in March to celebrate and prepare for Avignon.

6C, gloomy, light W breeze, dry. Did make C4c4l where gr8 2 c trhwso again!! Bought more bird food in market – whole peanuts, grain – to add to granular peanuts; nearly all berries and fruit have now been eaten in garden and field. Had a few more leaf-mines today: 1 Phyllonorycter maestingella on beech, Hexham S; 3 Stigmella aurella on bramble, Ordley. No walk today: 'watched' the footie at home; Gulls beat Slough 4-0 to go 5 points clear with best goal difference in division as conceded less goals than anyone else (19) and scored more (51). But Woking have 3 games in hand and only the champion goes automatically up. Really enjoying the John Adams' CD Harmonielehre, given me for Xmas by son. It's very exciting, sounding like Sibelius and Mahler at times but with the Adams minimalist hallmark. It's even got Anfortas in it, from Parsifal of course. Players are SFO. John lives in California. Working on my full-coding mtDNA results which been sitting on for a while, trying to resolve the different interpretations of Baltic (indigenous DNA matching) or Non-Ashkenazi Jews (haplogroup distribution); don't think it's resolvable on current knowledge so will publish both; have got photographs included, which show some Semitic likeness but also Latvian national dress so maybe they moved from the Middle East to the eastern Baltic (where name Lena picked up) and then Plymouth. Not joining UKIP! And my older relations always warned me off tracing the maternal side: it will be very boring, back to year dot in Cornwall. Think they knew! That was such a shock when my mtDNA came out as T2, instead of a common Celtic one. Hope to publish some more African material tomorrow. lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 4th: 5C, light W breeze, dry. Massive anticyclone keeping the rain away is due to decline and move S by Monday, letting Atlantic storms in. Had walk today at Bywell Cottagebank from 14:50-15:55, getting 9 species of bird, including a Common Buzzard, a Red Kite (at Shilford), 9 Fieldfare, 19 Greylag Goose (1 flock). Found 2 Stigmella aurella vacated mines on bramble, making 3 moth species in last 2 days, with a Mottle Umber at Hexham S, a Winter Moth at Letah Wood, 2 Winter moth at Ordley. All added to MapMate, where now recording all lepidoptera; created backup task to add to regular one to copy the MapMate data daily to an external drive. Made Spar at Branch End where kindling only 1.49 a bundle, compared to 6.50 in BP garage at Hexham; as carried away 3 bundles, customer outside said you can't go wrong at those prices! That might be the theme of the week! Made W4g4s with the gang for good catch-up; quality of service has improved a lot! Enjoying my correspondence course: hope she's getting fitter!! Funds had better week at +8k gross, reducing to +2k net after 6k of Xmas presents to immediate family; cheques were cleared at mega speed! Could interpret recent US crash as rapid catch-up on other markets, rather like the oil market in Q4. AAPL (Apple) has now fallen c$100 from its peak at $250; Chinese are suggesting it's nothing 'personal': iPhone is much more expensive and with no more capability than competing Chinese models. So yesterday AAPL was a harbinger of doom, today it's looking more like a special case and the markets sharply reversed to register big gains. After a bad year, the next year often starts badly but then soon reverses; after a good year, the next year often starts well but then also quickly reverses. The strong convictions of both bulls and bears means that turbulence will continue. Many over-leveraged players have been wiped out and that's healthy for the markets in the long run! Momentum stocks like AAPL (almost Ponzi schemes) are out of favour and value is back – another promising development. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Here's some more shots from 16/11, game drive from Skukuza: lion male 9  10  11 and female 12  13; leopard 14  15  16  17; Tawny Eagle juvenile 18  19  20 (rufous nape and crown). Plenty more to come!! Thinking of spending a week in the Rockies before RRF to get a feel for the Nearctics!!

January 3rd: here's some more shots from 16/11, game drive from Skukuza: a herd of elephants at watering hole 1 (plus 1 giraffe head/neck); a juvenile Brown Snake Eagle 2 (pale markings on head); an adult Yellow-billed Kite 3  4 (solid yellow bill); habitat where Honey-buzzard seen 5  6  7  8. Forgot the Lion and Leopard – sorry!

Catching up in library with JLAF (Access Forum) business today, preparing minutes from last meeting on 28/11; it's still not quite finished. Did have break from QH for walk around Sele, getting 14 species in calm, overcast weather, 3C, including 6 Redwing, 16 Starling. At home in Ordley had 1st Tree Sparrow on the granular nuts plus a Jay nearby and a Tawny Owl calling at 01:00 (4/1). Made N4s4l, G4g4t (where surprise, surprise J on!!) and G4g4s where met the gang. 2moro it's C4c4l and W4g4s!! lok2t beautiful ones: xxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 2nd: here's piccie 3 with red line pointing at the Western Honey-buzzard, no.3 from yesterday: very, very cryptic. Below is information on Honey-buzzard from IUCN. If we take mean population size as 350k adults, that's c150k pairs assuming some non-breeders. Each pair will raise at least 1 young per year so 150k juveniles reared giving African wintering population of 500,000 in total. Yet so few are seen. It is reported far less frequently than Steppe Buzzard for instance in Africa. Clark (plate 2) classifies it as an uncommon winter visitor to woodlands in Africa.

European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus


HABITAT AND ECOLOGY: Forest, Savanna IUCN (2016)


Agriculture & aquaculture - Wood & pulp plantations

Energy production & mining - Renewable energy

Biological resource use - Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Logging & wood harvesting

Human intrusions & disturbance - Recreational activities

Pollution - Agricultural & forestry effluents

The bird is a pale-phase juvenile from the picture (closest to Clark plate 2 2g). Adult males can be pale but they would show different tail barring: this bird shows 4 evenly spaced bars on the long tail, projecting beyond wing-tips; such barring is frequent in juveniles in Northumberland. The russet colour of the upper-side of the bird was picked up in flight and not captured on film. The head is small and rounded (pigeon-like) and the bill is fine; eye appears to be dark, cere is in silhouette. Interestingly Clark has juvenile African Harrier-Hawk as principal confusion type for juvenile Honey-buzzard with Steppe Buzzard only as 'somewhat similar'. This bird is paler than the buffish extreme of the Harrier-Hawk, has no crest and the tail barring is less distinct.

Formally submitted paper 23pp Musical Performance: a Composition of Monads pdf (authors Nick Rossiter & Michael Heather) to journal Logica Universalis, organ for the Universal Logic Congress, last held in Vichy in June 2018.

Did get in another walk in the 'Shire from 14:55-16:20. Weather was dry, overcast, calm, 3C. Had 15 species from Juniper to Dotland, straight out of front door, including a Common Buzzard and an adult male Kestrel. Also had 3 Stock Dove, 1 Greater Spotted Woodpecker, 8 Great Tit, 8 Blackbird, 1 Redwing. Had good catch-up with B at G4g4t; all regular crowd in and gr8 to have Mb back on!! 2moro it's N4c4l, QH4work, G4g4t, G4g4s (double catch-up!!). Worried about 2 people's health now. lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 1st 2019: 5C today, dry and sunny, good for morale in mid-winter. Walk on Hexhamshire Common at Harwood Shield went ahead from 14:00-15:30 with 6 species recorded: Red Grouse (21), Pheasant (3), Starling (8), Blackbird (2), with 2 raptors: a Red Kite on water-shed and a Common Buzzard to NE of farmhouse. On the watershed at c440m asl is one of the highest Honey-buzzard sites at Riddlehamhope. You could get 30 species on the same walk in spring. So good walk and feeling fitter! Started feeding birds at home with crushed peanut put on shed roof as remnant from last spring. Had 8 Blue Tit, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Blackbird (this one on fallen apples) feeding at dusk when got back from walk. A Pied Wagtail was on the house roof as left. The Gulls made a club record with 9 wins in a row, beating Truro 3-1 after Truro scored first. We're still top with 51 points from 24 games but Woking have 49 points from 2 games fewer and only 1 goes up automatically so a long way to go. Had quiet night – routine returns to normal tomorrow with B at G4g4t!! lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxx!!!!

Started RSA trip processing. Here's Western Honey-buzzard at Skukuza Camp, Kruger NP, 1 pale russet juvenile flushed from bush-veldt 16/11 1  2  3 (8500). Spot the bird! This species can be so elusive; read account on 16/11 below for its discovery. Tomorrow I will bring everything together in a final account, complete with enlarged portions of the photos.

Analysis of funds completed for 2018: gross gain was 67k (+6.9%), reduced to 37k after disbursements of 29.6k. It was a reasonable result in the circumstances but not happy that lost so much in Q4 from a peak of +147k gross, which lasted about 5 minutes! I lived by the oil-sword with massive gains as the oil price soared and died by the oil-sword with significant but smaller losses as the oil price slumped back again! Could blame Trump with his irrational decisions to place sanctions on Iran's oil and then grant waivers to the major buyers of such oil to carry-on as usual: he would say didn't you see me wink just before the waivers! Not sure my Capricorn horoscope is that accurate as cautious investors don't get involved in such swings! Bonds helped cushion my fall. Circumstances were:

Britain’s leading share index has suffered its worst year since the 2008 financial crisis after a global stock market rout. The FTSE 100 fell 12.5 per cent to 6,728.13 during 2018 as fears over a slowing world economy, rising interest rates and US-China trade wars added to jitters over a no-deal Brexit. Investors were left nursing their biggest losses since the 31 per cent plunge in the blue-chip index a decade ago, with last year’s drop roughly three times the size of the falls in 2011, 2014 and 2015. The domestically focused FTSE 250 index had an even more torrid year, falling by 15.6 per cent to 17,502.05 Elsewhere main US indices were off 5-7%, China off 25%, Europe off 15-20%, commodities off 12%.

Enter 2019 with a potential recovery in oil again; will keep a close watch but already have reinvested cash holdings in what I consider bombed out natural resource stocks (wide-ranging) and developing-market funds. Oil is interesting because many investors think we'll all be driving around in electric cars in 2 year's time: peak oil is here already. US shale-men are a more significant threat to oil prices but their finances are funny money: most do not make money when AISC (All-In Sustaining Cost) is considered; the shale men are almost patriotic rather than sound businessmen; maybe they get backhanders from Trump! Do have 105k in precious metals, of which 45k in Pt which is being slowly put back on the market; will keep remaining Au portion. We'll see what happens … time will tell!!

December 31st 2018: Happy New Year: hope it was good for you!! Had a couple of g at the G: nothing wild! Had good lie-in this morning!! Did publish 2017 results for the Honey-buzzard breeding season an hour ago at 01:30 1/1/19 so it's a kick off for 2019 with entry on home page:

1st January 2019: Updated Honey-buzzard page with breeding and migration data for SW Northumberland in 2017 (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland).

Am going to concentrate on the recent safari now: rekindles memories, very desirable!! Next concert is 12/1 at S2 with insight event for Magic Flute at ON in Leeds from 16:00-19:00 on 16/1, including subsequent stop-over in NCL. It's NANY on 18/1 and possibly 19/1 before I become dedicated from 24/1-31/1! Next trip to London is in mid-February for amalgamated birthday celebrations of granddaughter S, daughter and me (2 Capricorn, 1 Aquarius). Went for walk along Tyne Green in Hexham today from 15:35-16:45 in the gloom; had roosts of 510 Black-headed Gull and 9 Goosander (3 drake, 6 redhead) in total of 13 species; Little Grebe (2), Teal (2), Mallard (34) were all on the Tyne. Amazed there's no public transport in the NE for New Year. Did check European cities and found that Berlin, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam all keep services going for the great majority of the time, sometimes offering free travel to keep people off the road. 2moro will be out on the moors again, last day before it gets distinctly colder. Today it was 9C, dry, moderate W wind, dropping to 5C tomorrow and 2C the next day. No news yet on Devon M. So all the best for 2019 …. xxxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 30th: the overall results for the 2017 Honey-buzzard breeding season are given in Table 29. The results are in NB 2017 at top of page; will move it to main results page when have completed the other summary tables. Summary is:

The study area was maintained at its 2016 level. The results were very similar to those of 2016 with 49 occupied sites (49 in 2016) with the number of confirmed breeding pairs at 48 (48 in 2016). Productivity was again very high with 32 pairs raising 2 young (34 in 2016), 13 pairs at least 1 young, 2 pairs one young and 2 pairs greater then 0 young, giving a minimum fledge of 81+ juveniles (83+ in 2016). In terms of known successful nests, 47 pairs raised 79+ young, that is a minimum of 1.68 young per pair (in 2016, 82+ young from 48 nests, 1.71 young per pair).

Also today analysed juvenile plumage for migrants in 2017. Will take some time to do same for the locally bred birds so holding this table (Table 32) over for a few days. Table 30 with more details on the breeding pairs will be published tomorrow, when Tables 29-31 will be formally published as breeding results for 2017 – a major step forward! No news from Devon today; M's wife L has short-term memory loss so difficult to communicate that way. Completed Festival artist pages for time being but anything can be readily changed if necessary! Went for walk from Kings Law to Westburnhope on edge of Hexhamshire Common today from 13:15-14:30 in very mild but blustery weather: 11C, dry, mainly overcast, on moderate and gusty W breeze. Great to get out on the moors again, so much space after London. Had some good raptors: 2 Barn Owl (hunting in daylight over rushy fields), a pale-phase Common Buzzard sitting in usual tree, 2 Red Kite going out together from E for hunting over Common. Total was just 8 types of bird; breeze made it too noisy for small birds to be picked up. Other types found were Red Grouse (5), Common Gull (76, all adult), Jackdaw (20), Carrion Crow (4), Rook (75). Made C4c4ll where met P/M for good chat. Much later made G4g4s where met P again; gr8 to have J on!! More adventurous later: felt New Year wishes in order: may the coming year be just that: she's beautiful: lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro not sure what's on: nothing major lined up!! xxxx!!

December 29th: completed analysis of Honey-buzzard migrants for 2017. The results are in NB 2017 at top of page; will move it to main results page when have completed the other summary tables. Summary is:

Table 31 shows the migration picture for Honey-buzzard in 2017. It was again a good year with large numbers of juveniles noted in October: the juvenile total at 27 was equal to the record for that age class in 2012. Good breeding seasons in Scotland are suggested in 2014, 2016 and 2017 with a poorer year in between in 2015. [looking forward, 2018 is another poor year; see home page].

Currently analysing juvenile plumage phases for 2017; should complete that tomorrow. Moth Recorder has suggested I use MapMate for my lepidoptera records so purchased it for £32. I have a Winter Moth mapped already at Ordley! Updated and tested artists' page for Festival web site on own computer: will add to public pages tomorrow. Have been having an email a day from Devon M in each direction; he's been transferred to Plymouth with operation maybe tomorrow morning. Did make C4c4l today where impressed by quality of staff!! FT was not very cheerful: everything is risk-off at the moment though valuations outside US are not that demanding; nothing solved yet in the market's worries of trade wars (particularly US/China), Brexit, declining growth (but not a recession), US stand-off over government spending. 2moro it's moorland walk (essential after London!), C4c4ll, G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 28th: journey back was very smooth, all on time. But did have incident in KGX where elderly man in front of me on ascending escalator, carrying too much luggage, lost his balance and fell down right onto me. I managed to keep upright (stopping a domino effect) but he fell onto the metal stairs, becoming a dead weight with luggage on top of him. I managed to get the luggage off him and the lady behind tried to reassure him. By the top of the ascent he just managed to get up, looking very confused, and with a gash on his leg. Lady suggested he get the lift for the next stage and an announcement came over: passengers with luggage should take the lifts, very timely! My carrier containing presents was wrecked as he clutched it so some reorganisation needed. On train did get to grips with Honey-buzzard records for 2017, analysing the migrant totals; hope to publish these tomorrow in NB 2017. Last year (2017) was very good for Honey-buzzard migrants in Northumberland, this one (2018) was very poor; there appears to be a correlation with the success of the Honey-buzzard breeding season in Scotland, as published in Scottish Birds. Car started first time at HEX but was very misted-up. Made W4shop and later there were 5 of us out at W4g4s for good catch-up. Very pleased to see someone again: she's captivating: lok2tgrf!!!! Will leave detailed funds calculation until Monday (end of year) but with wild fluctuations on Wall Street (-3% Xmas Eve, +5% Boxing Day, spectacular gains on margin if manipulated at a normally quiet time) and to a lesser extent on London am happy with current position of -1k over the week as a whole. 2moro it's C4c4l and catch-up!! xxxx!!

December 27th: cool, sunny, calm, 8C. Made Burnham Beeches today, getting total of 11 species, including a female Sparrowhawk over J1 of M40, a Common Buzzard and a Red Kite at Burnham Beeches and 2 more Red Kite near J2 of M40, a hotspot but no wind didn't help. Had 46 Mandarin Duck at Burnham Beeches, an incredible total; think they're more secure in London than in China. BB cafe closed for lease renewal and makeshift caravan there didn't appeal. So we stopped off at Foresters, Farnham Common, where had classy meal with big sis. 2moro sees return to base leaving EAL at 11:15 for 12:30 KGX-NCL!! Been a marvellous stay here but always exciting to be returning home. lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 26th: mild 12C, calm, murky. Did do a bird count in Richmond Park from 12:00-16:20, getting 14 types, including Egyptian Goose (2), Jay (2), Ring-necked Parakeet (56), Jackdaw (77). We had excellent walk after lunch at packed Pembroke Lodge; attended by big sis, son, daughter's family, nephew's family! Kids loved it: Richmond Park is a great facility for the City. An information board indicated raptors: Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Hobby. Had another email from Devon M: worried by comment: “There is so much in ct and music that I don’t think we’ll get it done in this life. The afterlife is eternal but even that may not be enough!!”. But perceptive suggestions continue on music/monad paper, including how much the orchestra plays in groups or as individuals (bifurcations in CT, innovation of Ligeti in music) which taking on board. Will be visiting Torbay Hospital in January. Presents: son gave me some Adams CDs and antique Honey-buzzard prints; daughter gave me Bill Clark's book on African raptors and an African raptors calendar; all are very welcome and African books another memento of gr8 trip!! Planning to attack Honey-buzzard results for 2017 in next few days, including on return journey. lok2 beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 25th: Happy Christmas to the fancied ones!! Very mild again at 12C and dry. Over to Kingston by taxi with son from Ealing for £120 return, as no public transport today; all went very smoothly (as it should!). Very lively party from 11:30-19:00 at daughter's sister-in-law's, with brilliant cooking by T of turkey and lamb; her husband I runs Persian Nights restaurant in Acton; his mother was over from Iran. Two Iranians who have lived in Austria for 6 years did not make it: declined a visa by Home Office: ridiculous! Granddaughters had 4 other young children to play with, including 1st cousin R. Also there were 10 Iranians living in UK, aged 35-40, generation 2 in UK after Shah's overthrow, plus 2 Iranians living in Armenia. Must say all there were very smart, particularly K, with good jobs in the City!! Difficult to define relatives but count up to 17, if include T's family. Have given 6k to immediate family with 2k each to son and daughter and 1k each to granddaughters. Worrying news from Devon: M is in Torbay Hospital after suffering heart attack on 15/12 (I only just met him on 8/12 in Exeter): triple by-pass op scheduled for early January. True to form though he's just submitted our paper for the Avignon conference, based on Whitehead philosophy, music (violin) and brain patterns. 2moro we're at Richmond Park with same group as on 24/12, plus daughter's family whose house is by the wall of the Park for walk and meal! lok: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

December 24th: action picking up after last-minute shopping in Pitshanger Lane in morning. Made sis's son's place in Acton for evening meal and great catch-up; with him (my nephew) were his wife and son (aged 8) and daughter (7), plus his sister (my niece) and her husband. Own son came through to join us and come back to our place to stay: very good to see him again. So relative count now up to 13! 2moro sees big day with Iranians in Kingston. lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

December 23rd: over on 65 bus for lunch at Kingston to meet my daughter, her husband and my 2 granddaughters, so relatives up to 6 now. Granddaughters were pretty wild, good to see a lot of energy: get on very well with them!! Going to submit music/monad paper to Logica Universalis, a prestigious journal published by Springer under the auspices of Universal Logic, where presented the paper at Vichy last June; have some useful contacts there as reviewers, who I met at conference, and some CT can be taken as read. 1 party 2moro evening … lok2t beautiful ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

December 22nd: train journey yesterday was just about on time. It's a lot milder down here at 13C with quite a bit more daylight: Hexham 08:32-15:42, Ealing 08:05-15:55 so 40 min more in London. Relative count is low at 2 (me, big sis). Finished proof-reading of music/monad paper on train, here's completed 2nd draft of 11pp for submission on Xmas Eve. This has been a major effort, taken quite a lot of time from biological recording but topic has caught my imagination and it was received well, particularly at the prestigious Universal Logic in Vichy! Today went shopping with big sis in Westfield Centre, Shepherd's Bush, where bought some items at Entertainment for 2 granddaughter and their 1st cousin. Also visited Waterstones for books and John Lewis for lunch. Not that keen on shopping but mission accomplished: slightly better than having a blood transfusion! We later made Waitrose in Ealing where spent £90 on drink and choccies for Xmas day presents and consumption; son-in-law likes Wild-Goose vodka! Later had amusing chat about contemporary Joy Crispin who married Robin Wilson, son of Harold Wilson PM. Sister said the year I beat her in the school chess championship final, she beat her on the piano in the school Eisteddfod musical performance final. We're only jealous! Markets had another notably bad week with Trump looking increasingly out of control. Impeachment would send the Dow +1k in an hour! PoO still crashing. Biggest share fallers now are tech stocks, such as Facebook and Apple, which are down over 40% from their peaks. Own funds were down 7k gross and 10k net after series of disbursements totted up since September. So gain on year is reduced to 67k gross, 37k net. Sitting it out with rearranged portfolio: feel that market is very oversold but may get some tax-loss selling and further de-risking before year-end. 2moro going to where the Gulls won 3-0 today, keeping them 2 points clear at top in NLS. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 20th: today was the day of the big mattress! The 1st snowdrop are starting to push up under the apples trees near where I'd dumped the items cleared out from daughter's room in August. So remaining 2 big items: a double mattress and a pool table had to go. A soaking double mattress is not easy to move but pivoted it over field gate, drove the hatchback car round, stuffed it somehow in the rear and drove it to the Hexham Recycling Centre where was helped by a friendly young lad to unload it and tip it over the wall. Took legs off pool table by twisting and flat surface is now well into the field, rotting before final dismantling in the spring. So snowdrop will look good!! My clothes didn't, with them all dumped quickly in washing machine. Met N at V4s4g for final chat b4 Xmas!! Final flourish b4 break was amazing: very impressed by multitasking: gorgeous one will be missed: lok2tgrf!!!!! Have completed close read of draft 1 of monad paper; 2moro will convert to draft 2, so it's just a few days from submission. 2moro it's 12:25 ex NCL with tight connection. xxxx!!

December 19th: collecting in 4St in sunshine for same charities (Hexham Hospice, Hexham Youth Group, Tynedale Food Bank) was much busier and cheerful – so shows dangers of limited sampling! Sunset at 15:41 in Hexham is now moving later, a welcome feature for the next 6 months! Mornings have still to bottom out but don't care too much about that end of the day; how I got up effortlessly for the safaris in RSA still baffles me: it was surely the excitement!! Winter solstice is 2 days away as is triple-witching, an American term for expiry of multiple financial positions, giving increased volatility (as today!). Had good chat with M at T4c4c and with B at G4g4t, not out later. Read S4 in monad paper at QH (Hexham's Library): it's looking good so far; hope to wrap it up on train journey, submit to publishers and send to Devon M as basis for Avignon paper. Might have to write Xmas cards 2moro and hope to sort out 2017 butterfly records for sending to another recorder, in a different format of course. Also 2moro might be restoring an old tradition – TC via CAL-NCL; still thinking which one to select!! Don't like any – it's a drink with N off 19:59 ex HEX!! lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! Here's a vital date for my diary and I hope someone else's:

In 2019, the RRF conference will take place November 5- 9, 2019 in Fort Collins, Colorado, and will be hosted by the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program and EDM International.

December 18th: collecting in 4St in rain was very quiet – another recession indicator! Made N4c4l to warm up again. Submitted moth records for 2017 to County Recorder. Updated logos on Festival site with smarter up-to-date copy; have a master copy in odg format! Updated Rotary web site with future talks. Made Danielle's 4m4s: 6 of us out, including me, M/B, A/A &A! Wasn't cheap but good quality and very enjoyable. Made W4g4s where learnt a lot about horse race betting from the bar lass: back the trainers, such as Sue Smith, at Hexham she said: one of her sisters is a jockey! The stock market malaise goes on with Wall Street down 4% over last Friday and this Monday; think there's a lot of forced selling in this latest wave, maybe partly by funds, under pressure from redemptions. Own funds -5k giving +69k on year gross, +43k net; ftse is down 12.8% and China/DAX down over 20% with European markets at lowest for 2 years, tech stocks FAANGS down 30-40%, PoO lowest for a year with calamitous 35% fall in 6 weeks and natural resource stocks, my favourites, down 15-25% for big names and 50-80% for small caps. No Santa cheer this year! Ended day with a flourish: she's very stimulating: so beautifully dark: lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro it's more collecting in 4St at same time, T4c4c with M straight after, QH4work, G4g4t!! xxxx!!

December 17th: R Xmas dinner at B went well, had turkey and Xmas pudding, sat next to P and GR. Later made G4g4s with P and the gang for good chat; good to have M on!! Hair cut with Jd went well; she's booked me in for one in mid-February; she's got plenty of wild stories about Haltwhistle! Good to be back at N4c4c where S was on! Did help P transfer his piccies: there should be a wizard to help him but anyway did it by a native file copy from the DCIM folder on the camera through a USB port to a folder on his laptop and immediately backed everything up on an external drive. Sorted venue location on the Festival web site, learning a lot about programming Google maps with JavaScript in the process. 2moro it's 4St shaking a tin at 11 for R's Xmas collection, N4c4c and Danielle's for another meal, this time with IT mates! lok2t beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 16th: milder and sunnier today, above freezing point at 6C, but with icy patches lingering in field. 3 Common Buzzard were up together in mild display/interaction on N side of Letah Wood at 13:45; 12 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare were feeding on windfall apples in garden; at Ordley on 11/12 at 00:30 a Barn Owl was sitting on fence and 2 Tawny Owl were calling frequently. A total of c20 Winter Moth males were up over road to Hexham at dusk today and a Sprawler was at light by the front door. Quite a busy day, carrying wooden remains of partial clear-out of daughter's room to the far hedge for natural rotting down; still got the mattress, think will try and roll it up with a belt and string and take it to the tip. Close-read S3 of monad paper, no real problems so far. Started processing remaining 2016 lepidoptera records. Gained understanding for Festival of the venue mapping program: last year's doesn't work either, need to register with Google maps and get an API, which will do; cost is $0 unless have c100k hits on the maps for our website alone. Obtained Land Registry entries for son's intended purchase; the vendor's solicitors failed to respond to 29 queries from son's solicitors; still not sure whether fraud was intended but would be easier to sue them if it was. The erroneous contract sent to my son may suggest they were trying to sell 50% of the leasehold for the 100% full price! Made C4c4ll and G4g4s where very pleased to have J on again!! 2moro it's haircut with Jd at JG at 11:00, N4c4l, meeting P (back from RSA) at lunchtime to transfer his piccies from the camera to his laptop, Xmas meal for R @ B4m4s, G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 15th: not very comfortable weather, still -5C at Ordley in morning, rising to -1C when left for NCL, where soft hail/freezing rain made pavement slippery as we emerged from MP. N had earlier suggested I cry off but could see that it was getting milder at midnight when likely to be leaving city. Came in by CAL-NCL with another train strike today, as on every Saturday. Did some proof-reading of S1/S2 in monad paper en route. We made S4con, where the well-known Messiah by Handel was performed by RNS orchestra and chorus with 4 soloists and conductor Natalie MB. The performance was perfect musically but a little limp in articulation; some people think Baroque music is gentle 18th century fare but some of the dramatic moments tonight were understated. Thought Anna Devin was superb in the soprano role, Henry Waddington was convincing as bass and the Chorus was well-drilled. Don't like the custom of standing for hallelujah: surely a century or two out of date! Stayed after for a drink chatting to a talented musician and a tenor from the Chorus (DM) b4 making V4rw4s!! As expected weather cleared by drive home but there was some snow in melting drifts in the hedgerows in the 'Shire. Nite finished on a high: headache cured: pleased she could come: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's catch up on a number of fronts, but will be out for C4c4ll and G4g4s!! xxxx!!

December 14th: moth and butterfly records for 2017 ready for submission; might not get too much time tomorrow as have C4c4l followed by MP4m4t with N and Messiah at S with RNS! Added pictures with themes to events on Festival web site. Much colder today with -1C in day, -5C at night and with snow forecast for Hexham Racecourse (3km from home) in evening. Cut crown of hedge today, with ground frozen, using blade at end of extensible poles; postman thought it was up on my normal standard! Postman delivered box of 20 screwdrivers, bought on Ebay, including some micro-electronic ones. Tried these out on laptop, found one that fitted the small screws, took off back, disconnected battery from motherboard and immediately reconnected it, and it now charges: thought management of devices was better than this in Windows 10. Made C4c4t and W4g4s where full complement of 6 for good crack! Got home at 01:30. Son's house purchase has fallen through: he's very upset: the vendors have withdrawn the property as it is partly owned by a housing association and the proceeds would not cover their stake, even if they supported the sale. Can't believe it has taken both pairs of solicitors this long to realise the problem; am going to check the Land Registry entry: a shambles to rival Brexit! Funds finished another chaotic week in markets at -3k but still +75k gross on year, +48k net. Looking at some share chat boards can see why racy shares have fallen much more than the quality shares, to which I've switched. It appears that quite a number of people in middle age retire and use their funds put aside to speculate on the stock market, generally using mid- and low-cap shares as they are more volatile. The gains made in recent years have enabled them to maintain a good life-style, often involving domicile in both UK and Spain. The mini-crash has stopped them in their tracks and they are trying to sell everything, while worrying about having to get a job again. The speculative shares in which they traded from day to day have plummeted, giving apparent bargains but with the reckless dumping still going on, it's best to ignore them for a while. Pleased to get a rationale for why speculative stocks have plummeted, many down 50-80% over the past few months. Of course it was George Osborne who allowed people to convert their pensions into cash, once they'd reached 55. Looking forward to 2moro's action: Il est très tard: fais de beaux rêves : lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

December 13th: a productive day, finished compiling lepidoptera records for 2017 and sorted them for submission tomorrow to butterfly and moth recorders for Northumberland. Added conclusions and re-wrote abstract for music/monad paper; did spellcheck by running latex through OpenOffice; produced pdf via pdflatex, which printed for close read-through; need to work in Euclidean assumption of other workers, as per Devon M. Added artists to Festival web pages. Visit to dentist was not entertaining! Took 40 minutes for injection of plenty of local anaesthetic, drill down of the broken tooth, extracting bits, mopping up blood, placing moulds in mouth and fitting temporary crown; on plus side no pain or ache and appears to be healing well; fitting of permanent crown is in 4 weeks! Met M at T4c4c who said that he thought my dentist suffered from Asperger's; didn't really agree: she's not over chatty but did become informative, when she realised I was interested in what was going on! M and I had good catch-up. Not out later as decided to get some work done. Le déjeuner d'hier a augmenté mes sentiments positifs!! 2moro it's N4c4l and W4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 12th: MP4m4l was gr8!!! Back to G4g4t where met the gang; pub was very noisy, packed with racegoers after meeting at Hexham Race Course. Sorted moth records for 17/7/2017, only 2 light catches to go now 12/7/2017 and 3/7/2017, so submission for whole year is close! Have 184 lepidoptera types identified for the period so far. Think best part of weekdays is behind me with dentist at 10:20 2moro for drill-down of broken molar on bottom right in preparation for crown. Had a VoiceMail call this morning from the Corbridge dentistry; sounds promising, maybe a postponement but no, they wanted it brought forward from 11:35 to earlier in the morning; agreed as anything to keep them sweet! Seeing M at T4c4c at 11:30, not sure about later. Did a lot of hedge trimming yesterday (11th) cutting masses off the leylandii in my front yard; the crown in the middle is inaccessible with my standard trimmer, even standing on steps, but have an extendible one to finish it off; hope to do that on Friday when wind dies down a bit; leylandii finds few favours with environmentalists but it's a very good windbreak on the NE side of the yard, raising temperatures in summer and reducing wind-burn in the winter. lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 11th: Hexham was treated to a fine concert by RNS at the Abbey in the evening. Came over very well from chatting to people I knew there. There was one late team change, BC replacing TG! We had 3 Vivaldi pieces with singles by Mozart (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik), Chopin (Nocturne Op 37 No.2 in G) and Borodin. Acoustics were very good so Sinfonia could be heard well; visibility not so good as at the Sage; 2 people I knew there had arrived 2 hours early to get a front seat! All the Vivaldi pieces were for soloists: Bassoon Concerto in A minor played by SR, Flute Concerto in G minor played by AY and Winter from Four Seasons, played by BC. All the soloists did very well, AY coping superbly with the alternate presto and largo. The Borodin String Quartet 2 was a suitable ending, with its evocative melodies. Congratulated AY on way out to her bus! Retired to B4rw4s for a change!! Turbulence continued in markets with £ falling sharply, helping my investments to rise in £ terms as most in $ but natural resource stocks still fell overall on continued worries about global growth. Net result was fall of 1k so still afloat. Quite a few investors are trapped fully invested in risky stocks which have declined a lot and are not able to average down because they don't have cash or an equivalent; volume is right down in risky stocks, making them difficult to sell but dealers give good rates for buyers to shift the surplus. 2moro it's special at MP4m4l, G4g4t and catch-up!! lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 10th: weather was bright today 8C with frost later on; sunset in Newcastle is now 15:40, 2 min off earliest! Sunrise at 08:23 is c15 min off latest. Day length of 7 hours 17 min is pretty desperate. Made R @ B4m4t for good chat with 'mates'; talk was on QEHS Project plans where they wanted our help at high school and middle school level with mock interviews for job applications by students; said I would help in principle (might be away!). B was packed with seasonal diners, very good business for them. Later made G4g4s which was much quieter but pleased to have Mg on again!! Did some work on a Festival web site: very satisfying to bring it up to date for events and tickets!! Started processing lepidoptera records for July 2017. 2moro it's N4c4l and RNS @ HA4con in evening; looking forward to that! Not seeing A/M later as R&C will close when concert finishes and M is away. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 9th: after very enjoyable stay in Devon, flight back went smoothly; I moved car to CAL and made it into NCL at CT4s4l!! It was very busy with Xmas shopping and home game for Toon, who lost 1-2 against Wolves. Visit had its upside: very keen to reaffirm affinity: she's gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!! Made G4g4s as nitecap and catch-up. 2moro it's R @ B4m4t so earlier it's N4c4l and some gardening and later it's G4g4s!! Aim to process July 2017 lepidoptera records and start on final draft of music/monad paper. xxxx!!

December 8th: very interesting day with M at Exeter Uni. He approved of our music/monad paper: publish asap! Thinks I could be harder on the opposition; may add a sentence on their inevitably flawed approach with directed graphs involving straight lines and Euclidean assumptions. Also is there an intension/extension dimension to the corpus callosum interaction; think that's further work! He's going to take a copy and modify it for a Whitehead meeting in April 2019 at Avignon, France: 2019 Whitehead Psychology Nexus Workshop. He cannot go as health of wife poor but said I'd be happy to deliver it (prefer psychology to law!). The meeting itself was interesting with talks: Is time travel possible? by Colin Stuart; It’s about time: A brief history of the calendar and time keeping by Dr Donna Carroll, Maastricht University; Black holes and invisibility cloaks: what gravity can teach us about optics by Dr Simon Horsley, University of Exeter; Climate stories by various from Met Office/University of Exeter collaboration, including Peter Stott (back from climate change meeting at Katowice), Natalie Garrett (engaged better than others). Donna Carroll's talk on handling of time since the Romans was absorbing, dealing with our attempts to provide a working calendar as an artificial representation of reality. Colin Stuart showed that forward time travel is indeed possible but the man who's travelled fastest and furthest, a Russian cosmonaut on the Space Station, has only gained 0.02 seconds in all his duties; need to be much faster and heavier! Backward travel (Dr Who!) is not obvious at all, possibly done by 'worms'. Simon Horsley dealt with bending of light through refractive surfaces, relevant to 'their' Euclidean assumptions above; light does not travel in a straight line but takes the easiest route possible. Climate change session was more controversial: the team of 5 people appeared like Jehovah Witnesses smiling at us intently as they spun their stories. M asked them why we should believe their first-order models, bit like someone in a church saying there's no god! They put on glazed smiles. I mentioned that the assumptions with first-order modelling had been a significant factor in the 2008 banking crash. “Our models are very sophisticated and proven” was the reply. No more questions, thank you! Of course we would be happier if their maths was done with CT in a topos using higher order logic. We approve of all of their work on reducing pollution and stopping deforestation and habit loss. We just think their models on the influence of carbon on climate change are not proven. M puts it more bluntly: junk science and phoney professors: an absorbing day! Buses all went to plan: 4 each: low carbon footprints for both of us! 2moro it's BE703 with possible CAL-NCL4s4l!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 7th: enjoying return to Devon for first time in 8 months. Yesterday went down to the seafront at Sidmouth with sis for walk and lunch; living some way from the sea, always like to make the most of it when it's close! Weather was mild 13C and murky on moderate SW breeze, with very heavy rain overnight (7th/8th). Coastal erosion is still a major problem with cliffs to NE crumbling rapidly, taking bottoms of gardens and their sheds into the sea! Through post-glacial recovery, the land is falling in the S of the UK and rising in the N, meaning that nearly all the coastal erosion problems are in the S. Sidmouth is not a great place for birds but did get 5 Turnstone, a Green Woodpecker, 5 Pied Wagtail and a Rock Pipit on the esplanade. The sea was too rough to pick out anything on the water. Today sis and partner went to Honiton Golf Club's Xmas dinner so given the car; made mouth of Otter at Budleigh Salterton from 13:25-15:00; many more birds around here with a Common Buzzard soaring, 1 Curlew, 2 Little Egret, 40 Wigeon, 22 Teal, 1 Lapwing, 7 Redshank, 3 Ringed Plover, 5 dark-bellied Brent Goose, 1 Shag, 1 adult Gannet S, 2 Rock Pipit, 1 Meadow Pipit, 2 Reed Bunting, and others, with total 31 types. Made a quick visit to Aylesbeare Common 15:10-15:50, where had 3 Dartford Warbler before wild squall arrived from the NW; weather today was cooler at 10C on brisk NW breeze, some sunshine but also heavy showers. Ground is absolutely saturated. We made Sidmouth early evening for Xmas celebrations in the town with carol singing at the Church (could have been Teignmouth when lived there!), visiting a number of shops and ending up in the Anchor Inn 4 g! 2moro am going to Festival of Physics at Exeter University with Devon M for some workshops and lots of chat about Category Theory (CT!); outward it's 9 bus 08:07-08:44. lok2t beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Markets have been unbelievably volatile this week with the Dow in the US off 1200 points (5%) and the ftse off 200 points (2.9%), latter with loss for year of 11.8%. Concern over US/China trade in the 'war' that Trump started seems to be the main factor. People in UK like to cite Brexit but our performance was not so bad, certainly much better than the DAX. Own funds were +5k by Tuesday, -3k by Thursday and +4k by Friday. Have reinvested the significant sums of cash held and am now very slowly running down the large holdings (at peak 210k) in precious metal ETFs, where Au is performing well. Friday's rebound in own funds owed a lot to OPEC+ (OPEC + Russia) agreement to cut oil production by 1.2Mbpd, which steadied the oil market. Has to be said that some natural resource stocks look amazingly cheap at present levels and offer good opportunities if someone stops tweeting! Gain on year is 78k gross, 51k net.

December 5th: another flight today BE708 NCL-EXT at 20:10; left 25 min late but that reduced to 20 min at destination. Fog everywhere at the moment, making driving difficult. Earlier made G4rw4t where met B and others for good chat b4 leaving; rw is more comfortable when travelling!! Did some work at library on Conclusions of music/monad paper. Laptop is reporting 'plugged in, not charging'; still usable when plugged into mains and 70% of battery left but will need fixing next week; suspect it's a failed charger. Met at airport by little sis and her husband: we had good catch-up until past midnight! lok2t beauties!!!!!

December 4th: well the big news today was that the Gulls go top of NLS with a great result at Dartford: a magnificent day for long suffering fans! Did do some hedge trimming, tackling beech hedge in short drive to road. All completed but did cut cable with trimmer in a vigorous assault on one difficult bit: joined the 2 cables together through a plastic joint, covered with insulating tape, replaced 13A fuse and as good as new! Quite frosty today but becoming milder in W late-on. Funds +5k today on week to date: +79K on year gross, +52k net; but Dow was off 700 points this evening, mainly on further fall in the FAANG, which do not hold but can still expect some reaction world-wide tomorrow, even if it's just the result of the momentum investors feeling poorer . A cried off tonite, so out later, making BH4st4s where had good reception!! Grand finale: she's brilliant: lok2tmbo!!!!! Can't say I missed the R&C. 2moro it's N4c4c, G4g4t and a trip to a land far, far away! xxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

December 3rd: critical landmark reached with final addition from spreadsheet of last 2017 bird records, for July, to BirdTrack: 11 lists, 11 sites, 53 species, 181 records. Next step is to round up the remaining lepidoptera records for 2017 and send them to the Recorder; could also enter Azores records for late July in the same year. Made Rotary @ B4m4l, almost record attendance; did a lot on their Hexham website last night. Frosty tonight and calm, 5C maximum, 0C minimum, dry. Increased value of the crate by £171, having 3 new tyres fitted at KF; the other one needs replacing late January; mileage is 79900. Don't agree with Climate Change alarmism as by David A in Poland; the main threat to continued human domination of the planet is over-population, wasting our environment; we need to address that before considering other issues. G20 bounce duly arrived today: will it hold? It's time for the Santa rally! Made N4c4ll while work on car finished and G4g4s where 5 of us out with M on!! 2moro it's some good exercise with hedge cutting, N4c4t, R&C4m4s, W4g4s!! lok2t beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 2nd: leisurely read at C4c4l of FT, printed b4 the encouraging news from G20 on China/US trade and OPEC+ sounds on future cuts in oil supplies. Last week sharply reduced own cash to 52k, buying EM funds, oil bonds, uranium miners and top-line general mining stocks. Increased precious metals to 210k. Don't want to hold cash in £ as Brexit crunch approaches. Weather continued very damp at 6C, hardly any sun and 'sunset' 15:44, only 6 more minutes to be lost at this end of day. Didn't get as much done as hoped at home: Act II of Götterdämmerung (fantastic ending!), home chores, Countryfile (some from N Durham, Allensford, near Northumberland border, have seen Honey-buzzard there; also showed the Red Kite pub in Winlaton), Dynasties (painted wolves in Zimbabwe, seriously threatened through limited wild space). G4g4ds was good: very pleased to have J on!! Made final preparations for next trip, to Devon. Delighted at response to recent donation for great cause!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, good works promised for today and G4g4s!! lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 1st: made Samling Masterclass in S2 from 13:30-16:30, led by John Tomlinson and Patricia MacMahon, with 6 Samling singers under the microscope. Was very impressed, rather like a good PhD oral exam where there is interaction between a leading expert and a competent student, striving to do better. Pleased to meet CM again, who know from Hexham, where Samling is based!! Didn't stay for 1-hour long concert as needed to get back for dinner at DoW with the gang. Metro GHD-CAL at 16:45 just got me through the city centre before dejected Toon fans (lost 0-3 to West Ham) turned up in strength. We (5 of us) had lively annual dinner, good food, drink and chat, though N absent again; 2 of the staff were from W (N/K). Matinee performance was very rewarding: it's a gr8 occasion: long awaited: ç'est l'extase langoureuse: lok2tgrf!!!!! Funds unchanged on week, remaining at +74k gross, +47k net; G20 will have some effect next week, hope it's +ve on apparent easing of China-US trade tensions but sentiment is really bad at the moment. 2moro it's C4c4l, further bash at 2017 records, drafting Conclusions for music/monad paper, G4g4s!! xxxx!!

November 30th: feeling quite a bit better but N has same bug and has called off; it's 13:06 RDM-NCL and refreshments at S4m4t!, V4g4s, W4g4s!! Made rehearsal at S of Schumann 4 and Beethoven Coriolan; all went off well but Brahms PC was reserved for recording purposes so PP had an Xmas party with red wine and cake and longer chat than usual: all very convivial!! We (principal partners) had a meal in S followed by the concert itself. The Schumann was very lyrical and played without a break, giving it high coherence! The Brahms PC was brilliant with LV the star; the orchestra was enlarged for the Brahms piece and gave very good support to Lars; love the evocative horn passages; the reception was ecstatic; the encore was a sonata, a duet for LV and BC. AY was gr8 on the flute as usual!! Pleased to meet VM on the door!! Kept up the V tradition; it's good to see rich Americans spending a lot of money; g is £5.60 a pint there compared to £3.97 at W, which made off last train to meet 4 of the gang. They were treated to a full description of my amazing trip to RSA; they were actually very interested and we left at 00:30. Donated 1k to Brundibár Arts Festival and encouraged the Share family to chip in a bit as well for this exciting venture! 2moro it's Samling at S2 at 13:30 followed by DoW4m4s in the evening for the gang's Xmas dinner: looking forward to that. Train strike is on so will be in from CAL-NCL and return from GHD-CAL, latter to get out before the footie finishes! So a full, brilliant day. lok2t beauties: xxxxxxxxxx !!!!!

November 29th: wild day up to 8C on SW gales with stronger gusts bringing down some small branches. Dentist said crown required in lower right corner as tooth is broken below gum – band 3, £256.50. Will obviously go along with it; next appointment is in 2 weeks for demolition of top of the tooth, taking a cast and fitting a temporary filling. 4 weeks later it's the final fitting with super glue! Made N4c4c where had leisurely coffee and chat with some regulars. Back home completed all records for August 2017, including some processing of video of Honey-buzzard (7140) and id of some moth leaf mines. So just one month to go now, July 2017, where spent 3 weeks in Northumberland and 1 week in the Azores at a Whitehead conference with Devon M but we did get out, including a Whale-finding trip where we had good views of a Sperm Whale. Skipped G4g4s! Not sure what to do tomorrow morning; will definitely come in for rehearsal and concert but cold has got worse: will see in morning!! Last nite had vivid dreams, some following on from Tuesday nite!!! lok2t beauties: xxxxxxxxxx !!!!!

November 28th: JLAF WG1 meeting went very well, without any proper organisation from me! We found a JLAF master plan, which had blank rows relevant to our WG, which we populated with quite a number of achievements and future actions; esteem indicators we called them at unn! Kept meeting brisk so we finished at 15:40, JIT to catch train NCL-RDM at 15:55, making G4g4t with B for good chat. Also made L&P and finished discussion section in music/monad paper b4 making CT4s4l. Gr8 2 c someone dear!! 2moro it's dentist check-up at Corbridge, which think will record a broken filling, oh dear! Will make N4c4c to recover! Much later should make G4g4s. Going to RNS rehearsal and concert on Friday but they're keeping the partners out of the recording which is a pity as have a good chesty cough! lok2t lovely ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 27th: kept up the progress on 2017 records, adding 22 lists (286 records, 60 species, 19 places) for birds in August to BirdTrack and getting half-way through the month on lepidoptera records. Weather warming up to 8C but much wetter on SW airstream. Made N4c4t and R&C4m4s, latter with A/A for good crack; they threw us out at 22:00 as part of the S temperance drive and I made W4g4s for a nitecap! End to day was highly charged: she's sensational: very beautiful end: lok2tmbo!!!!!!!! Funds are +2k so far this week; picking up top-class names such as RDSB, GLEN and RIO on 6% yields, much better than cash returns; also putting a bit into Fidelity funds for EM. Had a Tawny Owl in Dipton Wood E after the rain cleared and a Mottled Umber moth (male, for many of these moths flying in winter the females are flightless) on front porch glass at home. 2moro it's the big city, catching 11:06 RDM-NCL b4 meeting at 14:00 in City Library of JLAF WG1, which chair. Back late afternoon for G4g4t!! xxxx!!

November 26th: not so much achieved today but did complete processing of lepidoptera records for September 2017 and add the remaining casual bird records for same month. Have just July and August to process now for 2017. Publication of Whitehead paper delivered in 2017 is imminent as just signed copyright forms. Original publication was to be

Heather, Michael, & Rossiter, Nick, Formal Representation of Process & Reality in the metaphysical language of Category Theory: Whitehead's relational theory of space, in: Science and Mind in Contemporary Process Thought, Lukasz Lamza, Jakub Dziadkowiec (edd), Part I: Towards a Science of Process (Introduction by Bogdan Ogrodnik), 9-24 (2018). pdf

but the title has changed apparently. What do I know? It's now:

Science and Mind in Contemporary Process Thought, Lukasz Lamza, Jakub Dziadkowiec (eds.), Table of Contents:

Foreword .............................................................................................................................3

Part I: Towards a Science of Process (Introduction by Bogdan Ogrodnik) ............................... 5

Heather Michael, Rossiter Nick, Formal Representation of Space ........................................ 9-24

Joined RRF today at Sustaining level; here's acknowledgement. Looking forward to next conference at Colorado!! Granddaughter S must be in the School nativity; here she is practising at home, abetted by her younger sister I. She's a mixture of Iranian on her father's side and Irish, English, somewhere to Middle East, and German/Polish on her mother's side. Quite a mixture! Did make N4c4l and G4g4s with tense atmosphere as arrived at latter with the Toon leading Burnley 2-1 at 87 min played; we did hold on for a good win but downside is that Mike Ashley is likely to remain longer as owner. Bar-lass M from 'Shire was very chatty! Had a pair of Tawny Owl calling together at the home site this evening plus a male Common Kestrel earlier over my field. 2moro it's N4c4l and R&C4m4s: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 25th: kept up the studious approach, adding for 2017 records to BirdTrack, 31 lists (454 records) for birds in September and sorted all moth records for June and October; now have 2 months' data to add for birds (July, August) and 3 months' records to sort for lepidoptera (July-September). Wrote ¾ of discussion in monad/music paper and changed title to that on paper given at Vichy in France in June at Universal Logic 2018: Musical Performance: a Composition of Monads; will discuss final title with M in Exeter. Murk continued today on light E breeze at 5C but no frost so had 8 Winter Moth on window this evening and 3 Tawny Owl: singles over road at Loughbrow and Newbiggin and 1 calling at Ordley from home. At lunchtime had a Common Buzzard in flap-flap-glide over house. See it was 36C in Kruger today with rain again due on Wednesday. Watched Dynasties on BBC1 (not the soap!) showing the hazards for the marsh pride of lion in the Masai Mara, Kenya; a young male lion was poisoned by illegal herders in the park; thought they could also have highlighted the killing of lions for traditional Chinese medicine; people who think that eating lion bone will give you the properties of a lion must be totally insane! Did make G4g4s for good crack: people either side of me had been to India and China at same time I was in RSA! 2moro it's N4c4l and G4g4s with more work on records and monad paper. lok2t beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 24th: did a lot of work today on 2017 records, adding 12 complete lists of birds to BirdTrack for June from a spreadsheet and compiling, through photographs, moth records from June (½ way through) and October. Made C4c4l where caught up on FT: pretty gloomy though think the black atmosphere may be a little overdone; the leader on Trump's trade war with China does address a major worry though. Looked back to the last mini-crash in Thanksgiving Week in 2011: own funds fell from 296k to 282k, which was pretty steep but 9 weeks later had risen to 320k. Was invested then mainly in banking preferred stock, yielding 15% at distressed levels. Pleased 2 c tbld and indeed other members of staff!! 2moro it's more work on 2017 records and on the music/monad paper on the Discussion with trips to N4c4l and G4g4s!! Will be meeting Devon M at the Festival of Physics in Exeter University when down there. So lok2t gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 23rd: still got a brilliant glow from the RSA trip: it was marvellous in so many respects!! Nearing end of course on Malarone (anti-malarial) tablets, costing £45, with no side-effects; surprised how many people think such pills are for wimps! Kruger is not a high risk area like Kenya but malaria does occur. While I am very supportive in general of wildlife conservation, not so keen on being a Plasmodium host. It's interesting what music you associate with an area. The bush-veldt to my mind conjures up Wagner's Götterdämmerung Act I: the ultimate in dark, brooding music: not sure why it fits the veldt, but maybe it's the primaeval nature of the Ring; certainly our cats used to find this Act in particular thoroughly unsettling. It's only 2 hours 15 minutes non-stop, as long as some entire operas, with still 2 more acts to go; played the renowned Solti CD version yesterday of Act I: it does fit! Today got stuck into 2017 bird and lepidoptera records; found BirdTrack had altered the format for adding bulk records but after a quick curse found the new format much better for spreadsheet records as you just have to move the columns around. So added 3 month's lists for October-December 2017 and prepared some lepidoptera records from the same period for submission to County Recorder. This work is top priority at the moment. Met N at MP4m4s off RDM-NCL train for usual good meal and chat. Concert by Liverpool Phil was evocative under Petrenko with Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition the main piece: this was played powerfully but with effective contrast between the lighter and heavier parts; Tchaikovsky's Francesca de Rimini was entertaining; not so sure about Korngold's Violin Concerto, no fault of the soloist Elena Urioste but it did sound a bit like uninspired film music; liked her Bach encore. We made N's local V4g4s. Very pleased to renew a friendship!! Driving back through Dipton Wood could see some moths are hatching now, in the frost-free murk at 4C and 7 hours 56 min day-length: Winter Moth, Northern Winter Moth and Mottled Umber. But the Tawny Owls have gone very quiet, after sorting out their territories. Don't talk about the markets: -6k this week though 2k of that was an error from last week in crediting the cash for a dividend without deleting it in the pending column. Position YTD is +75k gross, +48k net. Trump is creating instability everywhere with all markets in free-fall. Don't think Brexit deal is acceptable; most important need is to get rid of the incompetent and malicious Tory government so any device will do; their austerity is vindictive against the poor. Opera North want me to become a bronze patron for gift-aid purposes (no change in support of £62.50 a month). Will support the innovative Brundibár Festival next Friday with 1k. 2moro it's C4c4l and further catch-up. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 21st: back to routine today with N4c4l and G4g4t; good to be back in my local and meeting B again; landlord J was pleased to see me!! Pleased 2 c tmeo earlier!! Made library in afternoon to do some work on the music/monad paper, in particular drawing a schematic diagram for the brain processes in categorial terms and completing the section on monad composition to show how it relates to music. There's just the discussion and conclusions to finish now. Have booked up a flying trip to Devon next month to stay with younger sis in Sidmouth and visit Devon M; after discussions with M hopefully can wrap up this monad paper version before Xmas. From RSA trip have transferred all piccies to several places, including desktop and external drives. Took 2,094 piccies totalling 11.7 GB with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 (super-zoom, Leica lens, x60 optical, x120 digital). Here's pre-tour information for safari from 4/11-11/11 organised by Lawson's from Johannesburg to the Escarpment and Kruger areas, finishing at Skukuza; all participants were going to RRF! Pity someone else wasn't on it!! Funds steadier this week so far: -2k on catching up with fund prices, rather than a fresh drop. Don't hold any tech stocks as think they've been grossly overvalued for a while; their falls at c25-35% in the last 6 weeks will affect US investor sentiment as widely held. Maybe we'll see a shift from momentum (it's going up: let's buy some) to value (scores well on indicators such as free cash flow) as criteria, which would personally welcome as more objective. 2moro it's T4c4c with M and G4g4s; hope to catch up with pile of unanswered emails in between! Next concert is Friday with Royal Liverpool Phil with meal b4 at MP with N. lok2t beauties!!!!!

November 20th: have finally caught up! Big sis dropped me off at EAL and caught UG to KGX at 11:10 and train KGX-NCL at 12:30. Train was late by 15 min and WiFi was temperamental. Weather in NE was a bit of a shock: from a dry 40C on Saturday to a wet 5C today. Caught Metro to Airport and retrieved car at extra cost of £10 as 2 days late. Car started first time and was back home around 17:45 where first task was to light the fire; house not too cold as left electric heating on at ½ power. Did make HoN4st4s with M/A for good chat. Took A home to S and drifted off E. Very warm welcome: pity it's a while: pleasure wins: she's so gorgeous: lok2tmbo!!!!!! 2moro it's time for some reflection on trip, N4c4c and G4g4t. Cleaner S is delighted trip went well: she's done a good job of minding the place! xxxx!!!!

November 19th: feeling much brighter today after 12 hours sleep! Had walk with sis around the local Pitshanger Park. Then over on 65 bus to Ham Parade, where walked to edge of Richmond Park where daughter lives. Bus was packed from Richmond Station: major problems with SW Trains! One passenger got on and shouted into his 'phone: “bloody Brexit and f.....g trains!”. Greeted boisterously by my 2 granddaughters: Sophia, now 3.75, at pre-school and much more sophisticated; Isabella, now 2.25, at same school 1 morning a week, good at shrieking and has longer legs so looks less baby-like. Their first cousin Rayan, aged 6, is at the same school. Everyone seemed very fit: they've got planning permission for an extra level on the house, taking it up to 3 storeys for a better view of the Park. Son-in-law's trading for Gazprom is going well! We had a bought-in supper with my choice a spicy Madras curry. Back on 65 bus at 22:00. Finally back to NCL 2moro: making HoN4st4s with IT mates and maybe trip later: lok2t beauties!!!!!

November 17th/18th: last day (17/11) in RSA; the trip has gone really well; did have a bit of trepidation as to what I was letting myself in for but it all worked out brilliantly. This morning checked out of room; cleaner woke me up at 07:15 to say goodbye: gave her R50 for her meticulous attention and honesty, which she obviously liked! Spent morning in camp, picking up the occasional raptor in singles: Yellow-billed Kite, African Fish Eagle, African White-backed Vulture, Hooded Vulture, Wahlberg's Eagle. So running provisional total is 273 raptors of 36 types. Had farewell drink and fond au revoir with tggo; have become more and more attracted to her: here's to RRF 2019 in Colorado: xxxx!!!

Connecting bus arrived at 12:00 and took us to Skukuza Airport where 44 passengers boarded the small plane for the 14:50 flight to JNB; it was a short runway so we had to take off with a bit of panache! We were on time into JNB at 15:50 but held up a little while they found a bus that could hold 44 people (RRF must have increased normal numbers!). Checked in on standby for VS602; plane was full he said but my luggage was not marked 'Do not load' so was encouraged by that. At gate, stand-by pass was replaced by a normal boarding pass for seat 63C (steerage class) where sat by 2 people who'd been on the long safari on Friday, going to Miami via LHR! Can't complain about seat: upgrade is a bonus. Indeed if anyone complains about their treatment while on stand-by they're black-listed by VA; there are no rights: it's a perk! Got interviewed at JNB by a research lady, asking me about the trip. I rated it highly; she worked out I'd spent over £3.5k in RSA, a valued visitor but then recommended I go to Kenya next as security is now better there than in RSA; sure that wasn't in her script! Plane was on time and made on UG Northfields, Ealing, where met by big sis. Tried to keep awake, no going to bed to 22:00! We had good catch-up including lunch at NT place Osterley Park, where no raptors but some Egyptian Geese to remind me of Africa!!

Shares continued to perform badly while away, losing £15k (1.4%) over 3 weeks. I'm not topping up until the populists, Trump and Brexiters, get chained down! So now have 198k in precious metals and 147k in cash and only 191k in straight equities. On year still in profit at 81k gross and 54k net, which is much better than the market as a whole but significantly down from peak levels. Seeing family in Richmond later today before catching 12:30 KGX-NCL 2moro. Looking forward to lively return: lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

November 16th: great safari; took 482 piccies, cost R2,440. It w as 38C in the end without a cloud in the sky. Tomorrow's forecast is the same but the rains, in the form of thunderstorms are expected to start on Wednesday (21/11), 3 weeks later than usual. At 13:38 had the bird of the trip (for me!), a pale russet juvenile Honey-buzzard. The finding was very instructive; one person said there was a strange bird low-down in the open canopy, on the side of the track being followed by our vehicle. I took some piccies of the few trees involved, without seeing the bird: they showed later a pale underside with some limited barring, very elongated to look tall like a thin tree-trunk, with a few evenly-spaced bars on the tail, which stretched well beyond the wings; it also had a pale head, with dark eye and dark base of bill. The bird was standing very close to the trunk, c1m off the ground, obviously hoping not to have to move. But we stopped the car and after a few seconds the bird did flee, very low-down just above the ground, rather like a game-bird. Here picked it up well visually, with it showing a russet tail and back and some prominent sparse barring on the tail. It didn't appear to go far, but disappeared from view. The bird was in the thin bush-veldt scrub, some distance from water, and was presumably feeding on the ground. An earlier incident shows the risks the Honey-buzzard take in this habitat with so many large eagles patrolling the area. We stopped to view a Lizard Buzzard with appropriately a lizard in its talons; the 'buzzard' (now viewed more as a Goshawk by Bill Clark in the Workshop last Monday) was quickly attacked by a Wahlberg's Eagle, having to move quickly to go off with its prey to a scrubby area, difficult for the eagle to penetrate. So large aggressive eagles are all over the place making life difficult for medium-size raptors. Steppe Buzzard seem to be just a little too solid for an eagle to attack happily but Honey-buzzard are slenderer, with weaker bill, and more vulnerable. It is therefore thought that Honey-buzzard juveniles mimic Steppe Buzzard, in a number of field markings, to avoid being attacked so readily. Steppe Buzzard do have a rufous phase so this bird could have been that species but it wasn't taking any chances: resting lower in the canopy than Steppe Buzzard, attempting to sit still through the danger and refusing to get up above the canopy when finally flushed. The legs of the Honey-buzzard are relatively strong, being used for digging out wasp nests, but their use would depend on the bird not being caught unawares. In Germany at Baden-Baden have seen a Honey-buzzard turn sidewise to expose its talons to an approaching Goshawk, which passed by without any trouble. Honey-buzzard can rotate their necks further than most raptors, probably to help them avoid surprise attacks from behind. Honey-buzzard will be grossly under-reported in the veldt with such elusiveness. It's better to call Honey-buzzard here Western Honey-buzzard, rather than European Honey-buzzard, as the range goes into Russia, where this bird may well have been bred. Ferguson-Lees in his mammoth tome was the originator of some of the ideas above.

Raptors today were African White-backed Vulture 22, Bataleur 7, Wahlberg's Eagle 5, African Fish Eagle 5, Yellow-billed Kite 4, Brown Snake Eagle 3, Tawny Eagle 2, Hooded Vulture 2 and single Secretary Bird (soaring), Montagu's Harrier (new species for trip, adult male floating around, another visitor from Eurasia), Martial Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Lizard Buzzard (see above), African Goshawk (new species for trip, flying into trees at Low Sabie, closest to our Sparrowhawk), Western Honey-buzzard (new species for trip, see above). That makes 57 raptors of 15 types. Later at night had a White-faced Scops Owl calling outside the bar, another new species for trip. So running total is 268 raptors of 36 types: cool!! Not all that is appealing has feathers: ggo!!!

We had some good cats as well: 8 Lion (4 male, 3 female, 1 cub) and a Leopard (prowling male) on the safari. Another male Leopard appeared in front of the dining area at Skukuza camp on the far side of the river towards dusk; he moved into some reeds by the river, maybe hoping for an antelope coming down to drink there. There's a large electric fence around the camp, reminds me of Jurassic Park!. Had 3 rhinoceros (2 white) and approaching 200 elephant. The safari drivers are wary of the lone bull elephants; they're irritable and look threatening at times; they don't switch their engines off until they're sure the bull is fairly calm. Small parties of African Buffalo bulls are another worry but mainly for walkers: they can charge and are very powerful.

Still a day behind but did catch on standby plane VS602, which appeared to be full, but no upgrade. So in Ealing now at 09:46 18/11! Return is on course: back soon!! lok2t beauties!!!!

November 15th: final day of conference followed by banquet, which was very entertaining. There were some interesting talks evaluating anthropological effects on raptors in long-term breeding studies, including the Bald Eagle in the Great Lakes where climate change was bringing laying days earlier (phenology) but the population was thriving. More direct effects such as loss of habitat, wind farms, electricity cables, and poison were affecting populations seriously in some cases. There was a rather frosty reception for a speaker from an international charity who said that we need to sacrifice some bird populations in the short-term to achieve our long-term goal of stalling climate change. Many people, including me, think that raptors will adapt to climate change as they have before in the planet's history and that current direct threats are far more serious to their long-term survival. So a serious debate there!! Another Norwegian joke (from our well-supplied table!): what is the thinnest book in the world? The list of Swedish war heroes in WW2. Evidently Swedish neutrality in WW2 was thought to be a sham, their government obeyed orders from the Reich, including assisting in the transport of Jews from Norway to the death camps. Busy day 2moro in the field: up at 04:30 for 05:00 start for a 10-hour safari around Skukuza in great heat. No sign of the rains, nor of a number of Eurasian raptor migrants.SA8866 followed by VS602, which has space according to daughter, is imminent schedule!! Have 2-day buffer in London to see family but action will resume soon: lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

November 14th:weather warming up, now 30C, rising to 34C tomorrow and 40C on Friday, not a cloud in the sky, maybe prelude to start of rains as thermals give rise to clouds and then storms as in monsoon in India. Day 2 of conference. Still present – no skiving! We even had a presentation on Honey-buzzard wintering in Africa from Caroline Howes, Uni Witwatersrand (abstract, p.84 proceedings). This studied movements of 34 Honey-buzzard: 32 fitted in Finland, 2 in RSA, within their winter quarters in Africa; of Finnish birds, 6 were adult male, 5 adult female, 21 juvenile. It was a massive statistical effort based on satellite transmitters on the birds and digitised habitat maps with, for instance, no dietary measurements, as no contact with the birds, which were thought to be very elusive. Not sure that statements that Honey-buzzard are declining globally are true (authoritative Meyburg from Germany objected!) with so few serious study areas and their supposed addiction to dense forest is not correct: they like a mosaic of habitats. There was also a poster on Honey-buzzard: Mortality in GPS-tracked European honey buzzards (Pernis apivorus) by Patrik Byholm, Novia University of Applied Sciences in Finland, and Wouter MG Vansteelant. So plenty to think about!

Did add some raptors today. At breakfast over camp had a Yellow-billed Kite, a Bataleur and a Wahlberg's Eagle. Went on evening game drive and had sitting in trees: 1 Steppe Buzzard, 1 Steppe Eagle, plus lots of animals: white rhinoceros (1), giraffe, elephant, wildebeest, African buffalo, bush baby, zebra, spotted hyena (4), impala, waterbuck, waterhog, rabbit, hippopotamus, crocodile. Other birds included 2 migrant Common Sandpiper. So today had 5 raptors of 5 types. Running total is 210 raptors of 32 types. Got return flight SA8866 confirmed from SKU-JNB; return is getting closer but first it's last day of RRF and another full-day safari. Hope Brundibár warm-ups have gone well!! Thinking of the beauties: xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 13th: day 1 of RRF conference, which attended from 08:00-17:00. Good standard of talk with 2 main threats represented in the session streams: poisoning and a myriad of other threats for vultures plus electrocution of raptors on distribution cables. Latter ironically has increased with renewable power with quality of infrastructure connecting wind/solar farms to the grid being distinctly variable. There's clearly not much will with many electricity operators but a talk from Israel showed how it could all be done with only one utility company, a standard design and enforcement measures, leading to lower costs in the end as electrocution incidents, costing real money, almost stopped. Poster session was good: could ask quite a lot of relevant questions to PhD students from experience at unn; particularly liked one showing Osprey can exploit thermals over the sea in migration, like gulls, if the sea water is warmer than the air and another showing the potential for a split into 6 species of Black-winged Kite. Katherine Gura's poster on Great Gray Owl was well presented and defended. What you learn from chat is important; here's a summary:

Rate of poaching of rhino is unsustainable. Population in Kruger down from 9k to 5k in 8 years. Poaching was 500 last year but as a % of population size (not quoted) may have increased. Money is so big for rhino horn as a traditional medicine that even if population went down to 100, the price would soar and buyers would still be found. The amounts of money are so large that inevitably corruption is found at all levels of the protection service.

Grants for wildlife studies are plummeting everywhere, aggravated by the Trump approach (but Obama started many of the reviews) world-wide, and businesses are very reluctant to give any more than token sums or gifts in kind. Foundations and philanthropists are carrying an increased burden of the costs of conservation. The future for funding is uncertain, but most donors do have a mission and are keen to maintain momentum.

Back into the field tomorrow with sunset drive at 17:00. But will be at conference earlier! My Kenyan friend says security much improved around Malindi so may go there next; it's an idyllic coastal area with forests nearby; can fly with BA to Nairobi on stand-by under reciprocal agreement but rank behind lowest of the low of BA people. Weather continued fine today: can think of many gr8 reasons for returning to UK but weather is not one of them! lok2t beauties!!!!!

November 12th: weather continued fine and settled. Fascinating day at RRF with the workshops. Bill Clark gave one on African Raptor id, using not surprisingly his book hot off the press as reference material. Western Honey-buzzard is rightly among the kites but not sure he emphasised sufficiently the less distinctive plumage of the juveniles. The main thrust on raptors in general was that there are many field features other than plumage, a message lost on the puerile British raptor experts, of which none seem to be present at this prestigious (and testing) event! The afternoon was on drones; think I'll be getting one, so many diverse uses; but insurance and cost of crashes need investigating. It seems you can kit yourself out for 2.5C$ (£1.5k) for a passable amateur effort including camera; don't try and be professional (making money out of it) as regulations and licensing costs pile up quickly. So that was 08:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:00 taken care off. Met the Norwegians for lunch, mainly beer, and Samuel, from Kenya, for dinner; it's a very friendly and lively meeting! No fieldwork today, giving it a rest. WiFi is very erratic. 2moro sees start of conference proper with plenary on the disastrous state of Old World Vultures with over 99% lost in 20 years due to poison Diclofenac given out in India (and lesser extent in Africa) by vets to treat old animals for rheumatism; when the animal eventually dies it is thrown on a rubbish tip and eaten by the vultures who quickly die from a liver ailment. Result has been inadequate processing of rubbish, a plague of rabid feral dogs and an estimated $11.5k per lost vulture spent on doing their job. May well attend the following seminar on the same theme. The RSPB deserves credit here with early action on a captive breeding programme, while others watched.

Event is well attended by Americans c50% with many affiliated to foundations and universities. Philanthropy is practised much more in America than Europe, backed by generous tax incentives for the wealthy. Think we lag well behind in UK which is a great pity: it's one way of redistributing wealth in a socially aware manner. So another busy day 2moro with business from 08:00: wonder what dreams will bring: lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!! xxxx!!

November 11th: another hot day, approaching 30C and no sign of any rains. Evidently lack of rains is delaying arrival of Amur Falcon, Lesser Spotted Eagle and Honey-buzzard! Today we drove almost 100km in morning, from 06:00-13:00 between Satara Camp and Skukuza Camp, where conference is to be held. Local raptors are doing well in the dry conditions with 25 birds of 8 types. We recorded Bataleur 6 (1 juvenile eating a road-kill in tree), African White-backed Vulture 5 (1 large youngster in nest), Wahlberg's Eagle 4, Brown Snake Eagle 3, Tawny Eagle 3, Martial Eagle 2, Pearl-Spotted Owlet 1, Secretary Bird 1 (in flight, good soarer, new for trip). Running total is 205 raptors of 32 types. Group total for all bird species on the safari is 248 up to yesterday night with c5 added today, giving 253 types: amazing!! Mammals were great today with Spotted Hyena calling around the camp at dawn, 2 Lion (male, female) close-by the road not long out of Satara Camp and highlight of trip, a prowling male Leopard close to an almost dried out water-hole with some antelope slowly moving towards the Leopard, which kept on twitching its tail tip (anyone who's kept cats knows what this means!). We had it in view for 30 minutes! As a bonus, each of the 12 of us gave to each of the 2 guides roughly $10 a day (or R equivalent) for their excellence in the field, their speedy and apt communication and their attention to the logistics. So that was $1200 well spent! As a group we got on brilliantly with no scheming factions and lots of fun!!

RRF conference venue at Skukuza is very smart and I've got my own hut. Have 2 workshop tomorrow on African raptor id and use of drones for raptor research: back to the desk! Had dinner with a couple from the safari (Daniel/Cristina from Arizona) and Roger, a Zimbabwe raptor specialist. Think if I pinch myself, I would wonder what I'm doing here but sometimes things are best done by instinct and nerve!! Just put on the A/C to keep the room down to 22C. One of the Norwegians Torgeir told me a very good joke: a couple were visiting Bergen, and it rained nearly all the time; they approached a lad and said “is it always raining in Bergen?”. Lad replied “I don't know; I've only lived here 11 years!”. He and another on our safari trip Rob (eBird, USA) are on the RRF Board so they went ahead yesterday for today's formal meeting. So looking forward to the masterclasses: lok2tbeauties!!!!!!

November 10th: hot day, sunny throughout; everything's waiting for the end of the dry season, which is now fairly intense; could happen any day with some downpours with the veld turning from brown to green in a few days. Up at 04:45 for 05:30 start, so in bed by 10:00 last nite; we finished at 18:30 sunset but did have a 2-hour siesta at lunchtime (for wimps!). Took almost 500 piccies today in 3 different drives around Satara Camp, Kruger, plus a walk; disappointed that the walk wasn't on the open veld as could be exciting! Raptors included African White-backed Vulture 45 (23 at loafing area, 2 nests with 3 birds around one), Bataleur 7, Tawny Eagle 7 (including nest with several birds around, presumed fledged juvenile), Brown Snake Eagle 6, Hooded Vulture 6, Wahlberg's Eagle 5, African Hawk-Eagle 4 (including pair of adult with 1 juvenile), African Fish Eagle 2, Yellow-billed Kite 2 (within camp), African White-headed Vulture 2, Lappet-faced Vulture 2 (at loafing area), Pearl-Spotted Owlet 1, African Scops Owl 1, Black-chested Snake Eagle 1. So today's total was 91 raptors of 14 types. Running total is 180 raptors of 31 types: paradise for the group!! Our guide CB thought that Honey-buzzard is found in RSA mainly in Durban, Natal and Jo'Burg, rather than in the Kruger NP; he thought many people could not identify it, with Steppe Buzzard and African Hawk-Eagle being frequent confusion species! Also had a white Lion, colour morph of the species, speciality of Kruger; it was a lone young male looking very large, plus crocodile, giraffe, elephant, zebra, wildebeest, many other deer, Banded Mongoose, Dark Jackal. Star performers of day were 2 troupes of Spotted Hyena, c8 in all, who kept on running at each other, taking it in turns to retreat; we thought it was probably on the boundaries of their territories. Had good convivial dinner at the Camp. 2moro it's early start at 06:00, already packed (doesn't take long!), for roughly 100km to Skukuza camp, also in Kruger, where RRF conference is being held for enrolment in the afternoon. Resisted Vodafone's invitation to go NOCAP, waiting for WiFi at the conference. So it's back to civilization of a sort; love the wildness of the RSA scenery that we've come through so far. Hopefully reconnect 2moro: missing the lovelies, even had vivid dreams: xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 9th: great day in the field. Up at 05:00 for 6:00 start; getting a little more used to that but such a routine will not persist once back home!! We spent an hour at the Forever camp at Blyde River Canyon in a very bight and settled-looking sunrise. We then drove to Kruger Park making it at 12:30 after drive through some more canyons. Raptors on this stage included Cape Vulture 10 (commonest vulture in this area, with a colony of >400 pairs), Wahlberg's Eagle 3, Rock Kestrel 2, Lanner 2 (that bird again, at 2 more sites), Yellow-billed Kite 2, Brown Snake-Eagle 2, Steppe Buzzard 1, African Goshawk 1, Taita Falcon 1 (one of rarest breeding raptors on planet, restricted to a few African gorges apparently; we waited an hour before we found the male on a distant high rock; his dive into the valley was like a Hobby, fantastic!), Africa Fish Eagle 1; that's 25 birds of 10 types. Very pleased at numbers of raptors seen outside park.

Once inside park we drove slowly to Satara Camp, where we had 29 raptors of 8 types: African White-backed Vulture 15, Wahlberg's Eagle 5, African Hawk-Eagle 3, Brown Snake-Eagle 2, African Fish Eagle 1, African Harrier-Hawk 1, Martial Eagle 1 (one of most powerful eagles, killing small deer), Tawny Eagle 1. Many of these birds were perched on the tops of low trees, with the African White-backed Vulture sitting on 3 nests with 1 young just fledged and 2 more close to this stage. Total for day was 54 raptors of 15 types, 7 new species. Trip total is now 24 types, 89 birds: incredible! Also had Water Buffalo, Gnu, Giraffe, Elephant, Warthog, Zebra, Impala, other deer, but no cats! Bird list for day totalled 130 species, pretty rich, with running total still being calculated. Company is great, switching to the Americans today in their minibus as we moved to open safari vehicles, with just 6 passengers to each one. Satara Camp has many private vehicles in it as that's allowed but without a guide you miss a lot, particularly id of the smaller birds. Have my own comfortable chalet. 2moro it's exploration around Satara in Park. Very exciting trip: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 8th: the sun did shine all day with temperature in the mountains up to 20C with virtually no wind. Up at 5 for start of walk at 6 around Mount Sheba in the fine morning. Had some new raptors with an African Goshawk circling overhead, calling softly. Back at the facilities had (with 1 other) a Black Sparrowhawk coming in low following a dive, right over the roof in front of us. A Wahlberg's Eagle glided down onto a rocky ridge. After breakfast at 09:00 we drove out, with people in the 2nd minibus seeing the Black Sparrowhawk. We visited a number of places along RSA's answer to the Grand Canyon, the Blyde River Canyon. Some of the gorges are spectacular with much woodland in them and rocky precipices on the shoulders with boulders all over the plateaus. These are great conditions for chats, which were everywhere. Raptors included 2 pairs of displaying Lanner on cliffs, which was quite a surprise, plus 2 Steppe Buzzard and a Jackal Buzzard with full crop circling us. There was much woodland and kept a close look-out for Honey-buzzard but no sign. Migrant of the day was a Willow Warbler, a very grey individual, probably again from Russia. We also had 4 Hippopotamus on a lake and there are supposed to be leopard in many of the areas we visit, even outside the Kruger Park. Aren't the British wimps for worrying about a few Lynx?

Raptor total reaches 17 types (35 birds) now: Steppe Buzzard 8, Lanner 6, Wahlberg's Eagle 4, Black-shouldered Kite 3, Jackal Buzzard 3, African Harrier-Hawk 2, Pallid Harrier 1, Eurasian Hobby 1, Yellow-billed Kite 1, African Fish Eagle 1, Long-crested Eagle 1, Brown Snake-eagle 1, Steppe Eagle 1, Lizard Buzzard 1, Rock Kestrel 1, Black Sparrowhawk 1, African Goshawk 1. Total for all species for trip is now 143. 2moro we reach Kruger, excitement is mounting!! No WiFi in my well-appointed chalet; hope to post it tomorrow at breakfast time from the Forever centre; didn't work as BT and Forever did not wish to talk to each other; next try is at Satara Camp, where WiFi off after 19:00, Vodafone have a bootstrap problem in that you cannot top-up when your allowance expires! lok2t beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 7th: weather was dull at start with intermittent hail storms, 9C, quite harsh. Up at 6 to get out at 7: these are not my normal operating hours! We decided to not go higher as planned but moved down the valley towards Mashishing, where eventually stopped at a site near Stonecutter's Lodge around 9:00. As the rains ceased for a while and the sun came out, it was magical with 4 species of eagle up in next 30 min: a Wahlberg's Eagle glided over a ridge (with narrow long tail, later to become total of 3), a Long-crested Eagle perched on a tree giving tremendous views, a Steppe Eagle (another winter visitor from the Russian Steppe) was up over a rough hill interacting with a Steppe Buzzard, and a Brown Snake-Eagle was perched in a tree, no doubt looking for some prey below. So that was 6 eagles of 4 species in 30 minutes. Also here had total of 3 Steppe Buzzard plus 2 species of cuckoo: Black and Red-breasted. Driving on we had a Lizard Buzzard, sneakily flying away downstream at Spalboon Bridge (where had 12 Eurasian Bee-eater arriving from the N, further Russian emigrants!), 2 Lanner a little further on (bird of the trip for some) looking superb and massive even in this environment, and a Rock Kestrel lifting off from a telegraph post. Other birds on route included further single Black-shouldered Kite and Steppe Buzzard. Stopping near some moorland I picked up a bird, a Buff-streaked Chat, which created much excitement and a walk on the moor to look for it; one of the 3 claimants was the tour leader who was very impressed! We arrived at Pilgrims Rest, Mount Sheba, at 15:00; this is a fantastic mountainous area with much natural woodland on steep-sided hills and is where we're staying overnight. We had 2 Jackal Buzzard here, a new species for me, plus a Steppe Buzzard; Then the thunder returned and we, on a woodland walk, got soaked with torrential soft hail! Evening meal was very sociable and at a high level on wildlife conservation. It's great being surrounded by some of the best brains on the planet for wildlife, particularly raptors.

Raptor total reaches 15 types (27 birds) now: Steppe Buzzard 6, Black-shouldered Kite 3, Wahlberg's Eagle 3, African Harrier-Hawk 2, Jackal Buzzard 2, Lanner 2, Pallid Harrier 1, Eurasian Hobby 1, Yellow-billed Kite 1, African Fish Eagle 1, Long-crested Eagle 1, Brown Snake-eagle 1, Steppe Eagle 1, Lizard Buzzard 1, Rock Kestrel 1. Total for all species for trip is now 128. 2moro weather promises to improve and we're doing some high montane woodland; up at 5 for start at 6. lok to the fancied ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 6th: collected from AfricaSky at 08:00, after fond farewells, and assembled at the safari company's main base nearby at Lakefield from 08:30-09:30. Met up with the rest of the adventurers, numbering 12 in all, of which 4 from Scandinavia, 6 from USA, 1 from Holland and 1 from UK (me!). Added to the species list while waiting for 'take-off', getting in all: Crested Barbet, Egyptian Goose (6, 3 pairs), Dark-capped Bulbul (4), Red-knobbed Coot, Blacksmith Lapwing (2), Common Myna (2, 104), Hadada Ibis (4), Pied Kingfisher, Ring-necked Dove, Crowned Lapwing, Village Weaver, Laughing Dove, that's 12 types of which 7 new, making 38 types in this area from 4/11-6/11. Not sure how contrived it was but with 2 vehicles, we managed to get the 6 Americans in one and the 6 Europeans in the other. Like Scandies, particularly their rather zany sense of humour! Weather was cloudy but mild at 23C. We made a full visit to the Rietvlei Reserve from 09:20-14:00, close to Jo'burg on NE side towards Pretoria. The reserve has been stocked with 'new' animals from Kruger that would have originally been present so a reintroduction, including Rhinoceros, Cheetah and many deer and zebra and we also saw a Jackal hunting. Not as wild as Kruger but the African government is keen to diversify, which seems a very good idea. Birdlife was very rich and I got about 50 types in a complete list, including 3 types of raptor: an Africa Fish Eagle, sitting in a dead tree on the opposite side of the lake; a Black-shouldered Kite perched in a tree, a Steppe Buzzard (Common Buzzard from Russian part of range), also perched in a tree. There were quite a few Eurasian Bee-eater hunting and we also saw 1 Barn Swallow (ours!), 6 Ostrich including a pair mating (quite passionate!), c50 Southern Red Bishop in the reeds. We didn't see any Cheetah but did see the other animals.

As we left Rietvlei for long drive towards the Escarpment mountains, the rain came on with a vengeance, getting worse the higher we climbed with constant lightning but not so much thunder. There were quite a few coal mines, with RSA getting >90% of its power from that source. The area is the Highveld, the steppes of RSA, c1500m asl, with other mines as well including Lydenburg, a major pt centre, in which very profitably held shares c1970. In a brief respite in the weather before our destination Dullstroom had a pair of Africa Harrier-Hawk up over a conifer plantation at 16:45. Dullstroom is an amazing place, rather like a Lake District holiday area, owned by wealthy outsiders, packed at weekends and deserted midweek. In the monsoon it also looked rather like a Scottish resort (and sounds like one!) with plenty of signs for trout fishing. We're staying in holiday flats and cottages, mostly as singles: very well appointed and cosy! Ours is Rose Cottage complex. We had a communal meal at The Poacher which enjoyed though g was off! Company is very good and results so far are excellent with 7 types of raptor (9 birds) now: Black-shouldered Kite 2, African Harrier-Hawk 2, Pallid Harrier 1, Eurasian Hobby 1, Yellow-billed Kite 1, African Fish Eagle 1, Steppe Buzzard 1. Start 2moro is 07:00, much better than the 05:00 mooted at one time, and on we go! Hope the beauties are keeping fit: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 5th: still relaxing at AfricaSky. Beautiful morning at 27C, hot sunshine, light W breeze BUT very stormy afternoon with continuous torrential rain and lightning every 15-30 seconds, much accompanied by thunder but not that much directly overhead. Forecast had been right so was up earlier, sunbathing by the pool from 09:30-13:30. Topped up the local list to 31 types in all, with the highlights being 2 more raptors: an adult male Pallid Harrier (winter visitor, breeds Russian Steppe, 98) up briefly to N at 12:06 and a Yellow-billed Kite (local) grazing a few trees to S at 13:25. So that brings raptor total to 4 birds of 4 types: Pallid Harrier, Yellow-billed Kite, Eurasian Hobby, Black-shouldered Kite. Did a supplementary list today, including the 2 raptors plus Hadada Ibis (1 feeding on lawn, very close, 99), Ring-necked Dove (active display), African Palm Swift (visiting probable nest), African Spoonbill (22 seen), Helmeted Guineafowl (6 calling), Bronze Manikin (2 seen), Grey Heron (1 flying, 100), Cape Wagtail (pair by pool, 101), Southern Red Bishop (male in transitional plumage, 102), Red-breasted Swallow (6 present including a pair); that's 12 types in all, plus House Sparrow female 103 making 13. Sent to Devon M draft of music/monad paper for his comments. N didn't like Bond: left at ½ time: vocalists too loud: said it was well supported though! Continued to build strength up: have been looked after very well here; R200 tip was well received! So lok: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 4th: well woke up to the song of bulbuls so must be in Africa! Travel went very well: NCL-KGX 08:25-11:39, KGX-LHR 11:55-13:10 by underground, Piccadilly line was very busy as Circle Line closed for weekend but timing only slightly affected; LHR-JNB 16:55 from T3 on VS461, a little tense as flight sold out but at 16:30 given the magic unqualified boarding pass by a smiling attendant with upgrade to premium economy, which is quite classy; was on WhatsApp with daughter at time (in Dubai with VA) who said there can only be 1 seat unclaimed if they're leaving it this late! Praise be to the no-show! Made JNB early at 05:30 (03:30 UK time, so flight is about 10.5 hours) where met at 06:15 by driver from AfricaSky who took me to the hotel and settled me in at 06:30; so door to door NCL-ASky was c20 hours in elapsed time. Had already had one breakfast so swapped that for a lie-in: sweet dreams!! Hotel is in Kempton Park, NW of city, near airport. It's very comfortable with charming staff and reasonable prices. Return flights are evidently less busy: think lots of people go to South Africa at start of November and stay a while to enjoy the climate and the lively atmosphere.

Had a peaceful day catching up with African birds. Last time I was in safari area was in 2011 at Kenya/ Ethiopia/ Tanzania, though have done Cape Verde islands in Africa since. Security is very strong in area, 20km from city centre, with hotel surrounded by razor wire and very bright security lighting; you're only allowed out with recognised driver. So sat down by the pool in the large grounds in sunny weather, 24C, light NW breeze, and picked up some JNB suburbia favourites from 14:50, such as (in no particular order!) Red-faced Mousebird, African Palm Swift, Common Myna, Ring-necked Dove, Cape Wagtail 84, Dark-capped Bulbul, Fiscal Shrike 85, Cape Turtle Dove, Speckled Pigeon, Cape Robin-chat, Southern Red Bishop 86, Hadada Ibis 87, Cape Weaver, Blacksmith Lapwing, Karoo Thrush 88, White-throated Swallow, Cattle Egret, Sacred Ibis 89, Black-headed Heron, Black Swift, Little Swift, Feral Pigeon, House Sparrow. After a break for tea (meal 3 of day) went out again at 18:00 looking for twilight-hunting raptors and was successful, getting 2 birds of 2 types. A Black-shouldered Kite was perched on a dead tree 90  91, looking intently over some rough ground, before diving off to the ground, probably catching a vole or mouse. Even later at 18:15 had an adult female Eurasian Hobby (ours! Or more likely from Russia!) perched in a tree in the gloom over some woodland 92  93  94  95, presumably watching small birds such as weavers go to roost. Always interesting to think that this bird might (just!) have bred in the South Tyne this past summer. Total for day was 24 types of bird, already added to BirdTrack global. Here's shots 96  97 of habitat around Hotel. Meal 4 with some inevitably Cape red wine followed! Missing the beauties!!!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 2nd: did make rehearsal and concert at S, entitled English Connections; very impressed with overall standard and gr8 to see Thomas Z back with his partner Ruth K on violin and viola respectively. Particularly liked Britten's Double Concerto (for violin, viola): was a truly ground-breaking piece, written when he was a student: his tutors were lagging far behind! Also liked Vaughan Williams' Greensleaves; AY excelled on flute all evening but she was very exposed in this piece, a worthy successor to JB!! It was MP4m4t with N; he came to concert as well. Afters included VH where do have feet under table in N's absence; effective price of g reduced to 3.33 a pint after ½ bought for me by celebrating gang! Nite concluded in brill style: will really miss her: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!! It's 08:25 2moro!! xxxx!!

Nationally in UK 1 more Honey-buzzard record on BirdGuides since 19/10 (count 7 birds for month of October, 82 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 230 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 271 records).

21/10 20:13 Essex : European Honey Buzzard, Holland Haven CP juvenile flew west late yesterday afternoon; also ringtail Hen Harrier still

October 31st: preparing for major trip for wintering Honey-buzzard: preferred flight LHR-JNB is very busy (single 1k+) so may not get on with my standby ticket (0.15k return): it may be Pitshanger Park rather than Kruger! Have completed the technical thrust of the music/monad paper; planning to send it to Devon M tomorrow for some inspired comments while I'm away; updated draft is on my web site under same url (draft). It's taken ages to get the draft this far but it would be criminal to waste all the effort I put in over the summer at the 3 conferences in Vichy, Baden-Baden and Rowlands Castle. Funds have stabilised, down a mere 2k in the 1st 3 days of the week. Have reduced funds at significant risk to 254k over last few weeks with aim in future to achieve further reduction and replace some (not all!) stocks of high β (high relative volatility, chancers!) within this reduced total by more stable items. Cash is elevated at 125k and precious metals stand at 175k. Gain on year is 93k gross, 67k net. Have kept up social meetings with yesterday R&C4mu4s (with A) and G4g4s, followed today by T4c4c (with M) and G4g4t. 2moro it's N4c4l and G4g4s!! Fais de beaux rêves: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 29th: bags under my eyes tell the story!! Did make N4c4l and R @ HA4m4s, with talk by Lord Stevens at latter, former Commissioner of Met Police. He gave us some stirring anecdotes and a few insights into more worrying areas. Skipped G as dry evening appealed! Getting to grips with a further adjointness between the functorial component of one monad instance and the functorial component of another comonad instance; the comonad functor being right adjoint (creative) and the monad functor being left adjoint (enforcing rules). This would be moving between one timeline and another, completing the picture at a level up from that delivered at ANPA in 2018 but with past precedent in ANPA 2016 for conceptual side in database paper. It all fits together very well as it is then the comonad with its apparently forward-looking action that is driving the creativity. Brille toujours ma chérie: xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 28th: much colder today, though mainly sunny, ending with frost on windscreen at CAL and sleet at home. Did some strenuous gardening, mowing grass area 5/5; this required first the clearing of 2 very large branches that had been blown off tallest larch tree, through sawing, lopping and pulling away into copse; they were too heavy to lift! So that's progress: next up is beech hedge. Met N at S, where we went along to Samling Academy concert and were entertained by some very smart and tuneful singers. Pleased to see CM there! Whole event was very good both visually and musically; organisation was spot-on with songs following each other very quickly. I'm a Friend so had name (as Brian R) on back of programme; the Academy is based in Hexham at old swimming baths. Made Vermont for a couple of g with N: it's his local so said he should get his feet under the table! G was only £5 a pint and they did serve coffee late; seats were very comfy and bar-lass was charming! We did have an interesting discussion on dog whistle as defined by Wikipedia:

Dog-whistle politics is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different, or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup. The analogy is to a dog whistle, whose ultrasonic whistling sound is heard by dogs but inaudible to humans.

My interest is with its use in racism and anti-Semitism. I remember commenting recently on an article about attitudes to Jews in WW2 in the UK in The Times (see 23/8 below). A number of comments appeared, some of which were clearly racist and were deleted quickly by the moderator but others were difficult to understand and survived a day before a whole batch was deleted in a second round of moderation; I think they must have put the batch over to someone with experience of dog whistle in this area who quickly spotted the cryptic anti-Semitic vocabulary. Fantastic end to day: it gets better and better: she's a beautiful *: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l, R @ HA4m4s, G4g4s. Next up concert-wise is RNS on Friday. xxxx!!

October 27th: more relaxed day today. Was thinking of buying new suitcase but then remembered how dirty and battered they get on safari so will use old medium-size one. Signed up with NH for all rehearsals open to PP today, next one being on Friday. Sold ticket for Bond to N for £20; glad he's getting less highbrow! Regular hotel in NCL is full but booked into another one, leaving car at airport though going by train to LHR. Made C4c4l where good 2 meet trhwso!! Later made MP4m4t with N where we had usual good chat. The concert by Hallé was very good; the large orchestra benefited well from the acoustics though noted sparse audience in front few rows and packed at the back. Richard Strauss' Don Quixote was very delicately played and we had a 5 minute verbal introduction by ME followed by a display on the screen giving where we were in the story. After half-time we had Elgar 2, which came over as a very subtle piece with many cross-threads and complexity. It's a pity that Elgar is associated with Land of Hope and Glory, like Wagner is with Ride of the Valkyrie, when both composers have a much wider and sophisticated repertory. Of course Elgar's hit is performed with singing which he didn't write and Wagner's hit is performed with the singing he did write left out! So that was round 5/6 in my musical marathon: keeping up well!! Tonite had some advantages over Friday: very stimulating: she's gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!! Terrible happenings in Pittsburgh: strengthens my resolve to support a particular festival. 2moro it's Samling Singers in S2; N now going as well so it's 18:30 at S for cake and tea! xxxx!!

October 26th: busy day: up at 7 to get car into KF for 8:30 who 'phoned me up at 10:00 to say “unfortunately Mr Rossiter your car has failed its MOT”. Well nothing too bad with new brake servo and new rear shockers fitted in the afternoon, in addition to the service. Total cost was £440, reduced to £280 for today as I'd already paid for the MOT and service. Happy with that as nothing devastating found! Got car back at 17:30 and drove to CAL, making TR for the Merry Widow. Not quite the gravitas of Tosca (or the Ring) but enjoyed it; never a dull moment but no great highlights either; gate was good! Made T4c4c for good chat with M on monads, N4s4l and solicitors NP where got a certified copy of my passport, free of charge, for son's solicitors as part of money-laundering checks. Buying his house has really raised his morale: very pleased to be supporting it. Spent a lot of time on monad/music paper at QH as couldn't get home; it's taking final shape with adjointness between monad and comonad as closure. Sorry I missed RNS concert at HA but did see the same lively programme yesterday in Ponteland; M was going. Markets had another terrible week, particularly tech stocks, and own funds were -16k, reducing year gain to 96k gross, 70k net; have now 100k cash and 165k in precious metals; not trading much at all at moment, certainly not selling oil shares at these prices but not adding to positions in equities. Ftse is down 9.7% now on year, EM are off 20%, China is -25%, € stocks are at 2-year lows with Germany -17% in 2018 and even Dow is just flat on year now. Think some of selling is forced, due to margin calls and failed spread-betting, which is causing further panic. Did find a beautiful nite-cap: interesting swap today: she's very sensuous: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l, MP4m4t with N and S4con with Hallé: should be good!! xxxx!!

October 25th: another concert in evening, 3 nites in a row, getting almost Wagnerian, 3 to go! This one was in the packed church at Ponteland with a French theme La Mer, indeed the complete programme was by French composers, Debussy, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Françaix. I'm a fan of Debussy so was very keen on Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, in which the flautist AY was superb, and in La Mer itself, in which there were some other very lively, polished performances! Also liked Ravel's Introduction and Allegro which again brought the talented members of RNS to life! I did chat with a few members of the audience and they thought it was lovely to have such professional musicians close at hand: the visits of the RNS to their village were much appreciated. Came home to G4g4s to keep my routine going against the odds, where 4 of us out! 2moro has its complications; aim is KF4mot&service at 08:30, meeting M at T4c4c at 11:30, stay in Hexham until news on car at library and N. I'm due at TR at 18:30 for pre-concert talk, followed by Merry Widow performance at 19:30. But really it's all going to be on a wing and a prayer!! Have been busy on music/monad paper; here's first draft for journal Social Anthropology with significant work still needed at end, followed by close read through for consistency; would like to send it off to Mike in a few days for his comments. Tu étais brillant mon cher: xxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 24th: strong cool NW wind continued but remained dry. Had hair trim at JG, next one in 7 weeks; found Jd comes from Haltwhistle where lived for 7 years when first in NE; no wonder we get on well!! Cleaner S knows her: said she is a little wild! JG closed in Pilgrim St NCL: not enough business apparently. Had good chat with N at MP4m4t; he's a lot brighter after resting back; quite a lot on deteriorating markets with Dow -2.41% late-on today. We made S4con on Child Prodigies in Small is Beautiful series. Liked the harmonies in Mendelssohn SQ 1, starring TG and SR. We next had Janáček's Mládí, starring TH on flute, who seemed to be so full of confidence; it was a very youthful performance with many strangers; SH was substituted! After the interval we had Vítězslava Kaprálová's SQ; the composer died in 1940 aged 25 in France; a tragic tale; IB/JN were the stars. Final piece was Bruch's Septet, written when he was 11. SR led on this; thought she looked a little apprehensive at times but she kept it all together and played the exposed bits very well, ably assisted by ATT and GW, latter looking very relaxed! So good concert! Went for drink with N. Coda was fantastic: rearrangement at ½ time: frequency better: she's very s.xy: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l and concert by RNS at Ponteland in evening. xxxx!!

October 23rd: very strong cool NW wind continued but almost completely dry; such conditions are likely to encourage remaining juvenile Honey-buzzard to move on. Of course in forthcoming trip hope to see a Honey-buzzard or two: nothing like following them into their winter quarters! Any seen will be from Russia/eastern Europe not from western Europe, which winter mainly in west Africa. Made N4c4l where met fellow R BB for good chat. Much later into NCL for ON's new production of Puccini's Tosca, where had seen Act I in insight on 11/9. Very impressive performance with Susannah Glanville making her debut in this production in the title role (GA rested), Rafael Rojas as Cavaradossi and Robert Hayward as Scarpia. Thought the end of Act I was the ultimate in grand opera with a packed stage and the omens for the rest of the story played in such menacing tones. The orchestra was brilliant, c50 in size, conducted by Jonathan Santagada, also making his debut in this production (AH resting!). The plot is of course very dark with many scheming characters, all dying in the end in true opera fashion, with Tosca throwing herself off the battlements after knifing the repugnant Scarpia. Tosca and Cavaradossi sung some very romantic pieces: quite a turn on!! Had a few red wine at receptions, both before the action at Northern Counties Club and in the two intervals in the Olivier Suite. Now have my name in the programme, having upgraded my level of Associate of ON. Romance continued: very fitting end to nite: quite a finale: she's gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's hair trim at JG in morning, N4c4el, MP4m4t with N, concert at S2. Markets looking really worrying now and have been buying Au (holding now 73 oz) and Pt (holding now 135 oz) in ETF (no physical delivery!). The 3 main global problems are Trump's irrationality and trade war with China, Brexit and the budget prepared by the new Italian government; it's noteworthy that populism is behind all 3 threats but the rich, through not sharing their spoils during the recovery from the crash, may be as much the problem as anything else. Own funds -8k due to weakness in oil shares; not sold any but have sold sizeable holdings in bonds with significant dealing costs, which feel may fall if situation continues to deteriorate. Cash has declined to 98k, due to precious metal purchases (96k) so getting more defensive by the day. xxxx!!

October 22nd: after yesterday's sunshine following earlier rain, cloudier today with strong NW wind, down to 10C max, remaining dry. R @ B4m4l was good, with informative talk by the Stroke Association, if you like that sort of thing! Later made G4g4s where 4 of us out for good chat! Should be there again on Thursday. Having trouble with composing monads: how much to include seeing the audience: think will keep it short and simple from the CT point of view as that's OK from the applied point of view. Paid my b&b at the Africa Sky JNB for 3 nites via Caxton, total R3.4k for base camp on way out! There are 13 of us on 6-day Safari, organised by Lawson, in 2 vehicles, all bird of prey fans as ending up at RRF conference but sure we'll be looking out for leopards and the like. 2moro it's N4c4l, TR4op via CAL-NCL preceded at 18:30 by reception for associates/patrons! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 21st: continued 'gardening' effort, doing area 4/5 including mowing of front grass and attention to verge where cut down masses of brambles and nettles to give the daffodils a chance next spring; took about 90 min, good for keeping fit! Area 5/5 has 2 enormous branches on it, which fell off my tallest larch tree (20m) suffering some crown rot; will need to do some sawing before final tidy-up but will leave it to rot outside for the benefit of the wildlife; rest of the tree looks healthy enough. Spent another 2 hours on music/monad paper, this time reading more about composition of monads, checking last year's ANPA paper. All looks fine so will work that up in a more chatty style for the Social Anthropology journal paper and add more maths for the ANPA one at a later stage. Social event was G4g4s where 6 of us out on dommies table for gr8 crack: good to have Jn on, ought to adopt her as my hairdresser but think Jd would miss me on Wednesday morning! Looking at calendar, music events are extended to next Sunday with Samling Singers, so that's 6 nites in a row. 2moro it's R @ B4m4l preceded by team meeting of Community Service, N4c4ll and G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 20th: added details of yesterday's visit for Honey-buzzard below and details of sightings on BirdGuides for the month of October so far. Did some 'gardening' mowing 3rd area of grass for final time in season, making total 3/5; then it's hedge trimming time! Completed research on musician's brains, finding and reading the two original scientific accounts on the enlarged corpus callosum in musicians who practised hard at an early age by Steele et al (Steele CJ, Bailey JA, Zatorre RJ, Penhune VB (2013) Early musical training and white-matter plasticity in the corpus callosum: evidence for a sensitive period. J Neurosci 33(3):1282–1290) and Schlaug et al (Hyde KL, Lerch J, Norton A, Forgeard M, Winner E, Evans AC, Schlaug G (2009) Musical training shapes structural brain development. J Neurosci 29(10):3019–3025) with the popular article Greg Miller, Music Builds Bridges in the Brain, Science: Brain & Behavior, Apr. 16, 2008, \url{}, and the popular paperback as original secondary source by Daniel Levitin (Daniel J. Levitin, This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, Plume/Penguin 306pp (2007)). The bridges in the brain (fibred networks) are monads in category theory, handling the adjointness between intonation in the right hemisphere (opposite to left hand on violin) and articulation in the left hemisphere (opposite to right hand on violin). Will write monad composition tomorrow to complete central section of paper. Gulls thrashed Winchester Town 4-1 this afternoon to make FA Cup round 1 proper: we're improving! Did make C4c4l where trhwso looked very good!! 2moro it's C4c4ll with further catch-up on records and writing the music/monad paper as above followed by G4g4s!! En vous souhaitant de beaux rêves: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

Nationally in UK 6 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides since 30/9 (count 6 birds for month of October, 81 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 229 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 270 records).

05/10 15:07 Suffolk : European Honey Buzzard, Felixstowe adult flew south over Peewit Hill

09/10 14:20 Dorset : European Honey Buzzard, Portland at Church Ope Quarry (14:02)

10/10 17:32 Northamptonshire : European Honey Buzzard, Kingsthorpe one reported on the golf course at 13:00 and again at 15:15 when it flew southwest (15:15)

15/10 15:26 Cleveland : European Honey Buzzard, Long Drag one flew over towards Greenabella

18/10 14:20 London : European Honey Buzzard, Wimbledon Common one reported over the windmill this afternoon (14:00) [R]

19/10 15:32 Dorset : European Honey Buzzard, Middlebere one flew east

October 19th: sunny spells, light W breeze, mild; made Stocksfield Mount from 15:10-16:15, getting some decent raptors with 2 Honey-buzzard juvenile, 2 Red Kite (adult, 1w up at 15:18 and 15:35 over Bywell Cottagebank), 2 Common Buzzard (up over Bywell Cottagebank at 15:35), plus a Woodlark migrant moving W by the Mount at 15:53 and 20 Goldfinch (1 W), in total of 16 bird species. The Honey-buzzard comprised 2 juvenile (1 dark phase, 1 ruddy phase) up over Eltringham from 15:22-15:27, doing some mutual circling at moderate altitude; they did a bit of diving at each other, taking it in turns, which convinced me they weren't going anywhere as not in energy-saving mode adopted for real migration; the ruddy bird peeled off to land in Eltringham area to feed and the dark bird stayed up a little longer before drifting slowly back to Short Wood; at 15:36 the ruddy bird was seen back at Cottagebank so it must have sneaked back N across the Tyne Valley. 5 wasp were on flowering ivy with another 3 seen drifting around. Reduced turnout at W with just 3 of us; N is in bad way, not out tonite or to last nite's concert, complained to D&C about ambitious walking timetable! Dv of D&D is in Cramlington Hospital overnight with chest infection. Still the 3 of us had good chat. Was relating how strange I though the hotel in Danby was: no female staff with even a chamberlad; my room didn't have a plain-glass window nor a working WiFi signal; N's for same price had views over the moors and good WiFi so I let him pay the tip of £20! MOT + service for the crate is next Friday at KF with deadline for passing on 29/10; mileage is now 79k with age of 8 years. Earlier made N4c4l where was chatting with H about when they might start a line in cannabis! Funds -4k to +113k on year gross and +86k net. No confidence around at the moment but news-flow is still +ve around my stocks. Cash remains significant at 145k, waiting for direction; have not put it straight back into short-term bonds as feel equities offer opportunities after correction. 2moro it's C4c4l and catch-up. To the gorgeous ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 18th: lovely day with plenty of sunshine but glued to the desk with catch-up on various matters, including final accounts from Danby on Honey-buzzard yesterday. Met M at T4c4ll, time being put back as M was earlier on tour at Egger. LAF meeting at Eastburn, HEX, went better than expected with interesting presentation on A1 dualling in afternoon and plenty of lively discussion in evening session; next full meeting is 24/1 but arranging, as chair, meeting of WG1 for 28/11 in NCL. The endless series of cuts on the National Park continue; austerity needs to end now, hoping the government or at least TM get derailed by the Brexit issue! Made G4g4s where 2 mates out for good chat. Day ended brilliantly: lots of passion: she's gorgeous: lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro it's familiar routine of N4c4l and W4g4s and continued catch-up!! xxxx!!

October 17th: lovely dry morning with lots of sunshine on light NW breeze and temperature 12C. What a fantastic last morning it proved to be with 3 Honey-buzzard migrants seen in Danby town area, 2 going off SE and the 3rd lingering but looking restless. Also over road to Danby Beacon had a Red Kite 1w at 10:45, another Common Buzzard (making 2 here) and a Kestrel 1w. Was taken aback by Honey-buzzard no.1; it appeared low-down in front of me (to E) as walked from Danby town to Moors Centre at 10:14, mobbed by Jackdaw, Rook and some small birds; this dark chestnut coloured bird climbed rapidly when out of sight behind a sycamore tree and moved W climbing steadily, where it was met by bird no.2, a pale-phase bird, at 10:20; this pale bird had been seen earlier climbing into the sky at 10:18; they did some mutual circling; they rejected the turn S down Danby Dale onto the open moors and chose decisively the SE direction down Eskdale, disappearing from view at 10:23 in glide-mode with wind behind. Honey-buzzard no. 3 was a dark-phase juvenile up from 12:06-12:10 to the SE of Crag Farm to SE of Danby. This bird was restless, climbing to some height mobbed by Jackdaw, before coming back to feed on the edge of the moors in woodland. Today confirms as hoped that Eskdale, running from WNW to ESE, is a significant route for Honey-buzzard juvenile taking them through much suitable habitat from Teesside/Cleveland towards Scarborough and Filey Brigg, where they can continue their journey inland parallel to the coast. The birds here are likely to have passed through Bywell in the Tyne Valley on their way S from NE England/Scotland. Wasps were everywhere today so plenty of food still. In Danby town had a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 25 Redwing (2 W). At the Moors Centre had 25 Brambling and 10 Siskin. We didn't get far as N quite fragile but that was good for my Honey-buzzard studies as could spend much time scanning the area. Train was on time and straight into G4g4t where met B, who used to work in a bank in Danby! Back home to get things organised, or something like that! 2moro it's T4c4c with M, quick trip out, LAF in HEX, G4g4s and maybe E!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 16th: dry today on light S/SW breeze, mild at 15C with some hazy sunshine and mist on the tops. We went to Castleton, moving S down Danby Dale to the church before returning via Ainthorpe again, all from 10:05-15:00. No Honey-buzzard today but did have some good raptors, starting at Low Danby Moor SW at 10:37 with a Red Kite 1w hunting over the moorland edge, followed at 11:29 by 5 Common Buzzard up as a family party mobbed by a cock Merlin at high altitude. Moving onto moors on W side of Danby Dale we had 2 Kestrel (1w, female), with another Kestrel 1w in Ainthorpe. Also had a House Martin SE, 5 Meadow Pipit (1 SW), 1 Chaffinch (S), 4 Fieldfare (4 SW), 146 Redwing (139 S, 2 W), 4 Goldcrest, 3 Song Thrush, 15 Woodpigeon (2 high from NE), Raven 1, Green Woodpecker 2. Bird types for today total 36, very rich area with migration in full swing. Raptor total for day is 10 birds of 4 types: Common Buzzard 5, Kestrel 3, Merlin 1, Red Kite 1. Total for trip rises to 37 birds of 6 types, and this in what is supposed to be a disaster area for raptors with heavy persecution; you can only judge after seeing for yourself! Many wasps around still with total c100 on 3 clumps of flowering ivy. Had lamb chops tonite in recognition of the many sheep in the area. Tomorrow it's ex-DAN at 13:50 for HEX direct, escorted by N, who's done his back in so he may need some help. Thursday sees JLAF in afternoon and evening, which not that keen on as meetings are so boring but will see how it goes. Next week have a musical event every night from Tuesday-Saturday (2 opera, 2 small is beautiful, 1 orchestral), with trips to Sx2, TRx2, Px1. Isn't that exciting!! Will have to improvise over next few days! Funds -2k over start of this week as some continuation of selling from last week but some stability returning tonight on Wall Street and in PoO. Looking forward to return: no more trips before RSA: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 15th: still way S; another walk around Danby town from 10:00-14:05 going S a little as far as Danby Castle. Weather was gloomy at start with intermittent drizzle, but cloud level was rising well midday and visibility became excellent; highlights were Common Buzzard 4 (adult and juvenile, 2 separate adult), Kestrel 1 (adult male hovering), Raven 8, Meadow Pipit 4 (1 S), Red Grouse 2, Redwing 12, in high total of 30 species; also had 10 wasp on flowering ivy at Danby Castle. Did have some views to SE towards Crag Farm with superb woodland in area on steep wooded sides with moorland above, very similar to Towsbank in upper South Tyne. In this area had a funnel of 6 Common Buzzard, escorted by a male Sparrowhawk, a Red Kite, 8 Raven up together, 50 Redwing SE, and the star a juvenile dark-phase Honey-buzzard, up from 12:01-12:06 surrounded by Jackdaw as came up out of the wood behind Crag Farm, rising very slowly shaking nearly all of them off as went high with weather starting to clear; the youngster then moved very slowly SE disappearing out of sight. The juvenile had almost certainly not been bred locally - it's too late to still be on site - but this wood probably held a breeding pair earlier. We were very energetic having decent walk to Danby Beacon (300m asl) in afternoon from 14:05-16:15 seeing a grouse moor in all its glories; here we had, in total of 13 species, Red Grouse 35, Jay 2, Woodpigeon 1 (migrant, very high from NE), Common Buzzard 1 cross adult, Golden Plover 3, a flock of 11 geese (10 Pink-footed, 1 Greylag). Two Common Buzzard were up to NE over Black Dike Moor. Total for raptors today was 17 of 5 types: Common Buzzard 13, Kestrel 1, Red Kite 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Honey-buzzard 1, to add to the single Common Buzzard and Kestrel seen yesterday. Had plenty of coffee at National Park centre and another enormous meal in evening at DoW. Quite an indulgent visit and bird life is rewarding; we've timed it well as another route for Honey-buzzard migrants from Scotland yields results; birds here are likely to have passed through Bywell in the Tyne Valley. This is not a long visit: back for more pleasure soon with the lovelies: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Need to catch up with recent migrants on Bird Guides but this one today, or its accomplices, could be over us tomorrow:

15/10 15:26 Cleveland : European Honey Buzzard, Long Drag one flew over towards Greenabella

October 14th: missed a day, too much excitement!! Added April and May 2017 bird-lists from spreadsheet to BirdTrack; next up is last quarter of 2017. Copy has arrived via Amazon of paperback This is Your Brain on Music: Understanding a Human Obsession, by Daniel Levitin, Penguin (2006). I've cited it already but thought would be good to read all of its 306pp. Yesterday did make C4c4l where good to meet trhwso and tbld, not forgetting free cup of coffee in recognition of refit of Hexham store! Today is Sunday so must be in Danby on North Yorkshire Moors with N: we came by train to Duke of Wellington Inn, from Tyne Valley with no changes but took a while! We're near the east coast: many migrants dropping out of the sky from Scandinavia, or in significant mobile flocks, such as Redwing (26), Lesser Redpoll (24), Siskin (1), Song Thrush (4), Blackbird (2), Chaffinch, Brambling (1), always a great sight as they complete their dash across the North Sea. Local bird of prey comprised a Common Buzzard and an adult male Kestrel. Total was 23 bird species for Danby town from 14:40-18:00. Earlier at Ordley, realised movement was on as at 10:45 had a group of 8 Redwing pass high overhead from E before spiralling downwards into my field, to feed on haws; obviously discerning birds. Weather was damp with light rain up to 17:00 but visibility was good throughout, meaning migrants would not land on the coast but a few km inland where plenty of berries. Migrating birds do not benefit from rest unless they're feeding as well to replenish fat (fuel) reserves. Wish u were here: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 12th: another concert, this time at a packed Level-1 S, with inspiring solo piano performance by John Lill, playing works by Beethoven Moonlight Sonata, Prokofiev Sonata 6, Schumann Kinderszenen and Chopin: Polonaise F sharp minor, Nocturne in C minor, Ballade 4. Liked it all but favourites were the Prokofiev and the Chopin Polonaise. Went with N; we had meal at MP earlier. Pretty wet day in NCL, particularly in evening. Did a lot in L&P on music/monad paper, concluding with having a look at basics of monad composition in CT. Had a flu jab on Thursday morning at Boots: no reaction so far. Day started and finished in style: hormone levels peak on waking: gr8 to keep in touch with the gorgeous one: lok2tgrf!!!!!

A pretty traumatic fortnight in the world markets with the ftse -7%; plenty of reasons cited but they all seem to boil down to Trump with his over-heating of the US economy through tax cuts at the wrong stage of the economic cycle leading to interest rate rises and his trade wars, particularly with China, leading to increased costs for US suppliers through the tariffs on imported goods and to lower confidence generally; unilateral sanctions on Iran leading to oil price rises are another feather in his cap. Own funds had a week to compare to that in February at -18k reducing gain on year to 117k gross, 91k net. Looking at the last 2 weeks together, the ftse has dropped 7% while own funds are down 12k, a little over 1%, with cash up to 148k. Performing as the market over the year with ftse -9% would have cost me roughly 200k; EM so popular with many UK investors are down c20% now on the year. Increased holdings of oilies on Friday after shake-out, so now have this year's winnings on the sector (a tactic not unknown to punters everywhere!); can we please have US sanctions on Saudi oil supplies? Worrying times but opportunities can occur when everyone's selling!

October 11th: completed adding remaining casual records to BirdTrack from 2017 from a spreadsheet, all 289 of them. It was a bit fraught because of the strange way some of locations in the BirdTrack database had been augmented with the grid reference as part of the name, giving matching problems. So if I have Ordley in my spreadsheet for the locality, the entry in BirdTrack was Ordley (NY95P) with the same grid reference also being held elsewhere in the BirdTrack database as NY95P. Have to say the genius at BirdTrack who designed this would not have passed my database exams: unnecessary duplication of data, lack of clarity in attribute design, potential problems in updates giving inconsistent data, difficulties in transactions in matching data held. My solution was to manually edit the locations held in BirdTrack one at a time, removing the grid reference from the locality name, which took some time. If they add them again, I'll get the gun out! Next step is to add complete lists for April and May. Why are there so many f.....g amateur database designers around!!

Made concert in evening at Wylam Brewery, not in Wylam but in Exhibition Park, NCL. It's a very good set-up there with a big bar and dining area and an intimate auditorium. Love minimal music, having heard some of course at Brundibár! Favourites were John Adams' Shaker Loops (beautiful rhythms, expertly played) and Michael Nyman's Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings, with Mahan Esfahani as brilliant soloist. Page turner, keeping up with the frantic pace, was Maia, daughter of Petia Sice, who met afterwards; she comes from Sofia and is a Reader in my old school at unn; we had a good reunion| N cried off, his gardener leaving late?? Stayed overnight, algorithm of using external booker producing dividends. Still in NCL as can get some work done at L&P before another concert tonight so usual routine of CT4s4l and MP4m4t with N. Very satisfying visit: she's got a gr8 sense of rhythm and looks brill: absolutely fab: lok2tgrf!!!!!!

October 10th: warm today at 18C on light S breeze, dry with bright sunshine. Made Stocksfield Mount from 15:20-16:40 but did not see any Honey-buzzard, suggesting a swift exit this year for the juveniles in the fair conditions. Had a Red Kite at Farnley at 15:15, being mobbed by a Crow, and a Common Buzzard juvenile soaring over the Mount. Migrants comprised 2 Linnet SW and a Chaffinch W. Late butterflies comprised 2 Comma and a Speckled Wood, and a male Vapourer moth and a Southern Hawker dragonfly were also spotted. Will give a review!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 9th: fresh SW breeze, dry, sunny spells, mild. Went on walk with Hexham Rotary Club, 13 of us doing 10km in 3 hours from Allendale Town to Oakpool to Catton to Allendale Town, finishing with meal for 16 at the Golden Lion. Total was 18 bird species, plus 2 November Moth. Birds of prey comprised a Common Buzzard and 2 Kestrel (adult male, 1w) at Oakpool, a female 1w Sparrowhawk dashing across road and over hedge at E end of Yarridge on way out and, best of all, at 14:55 a brown juvenile Honey-buzzard out over the rough pasture with plenty of juncus on W edge of Yarridge on way back, moving slowly against the fresh SW breeze keeping close to the ground. It eventually moved out of sight, still moving towards the open moor. It appears to be a migrant moving SW. Making great strides with 2017 records, completing butterfly records for Wiltshire in spring and about to add all remaining casual bird records in one go to BirdTrack.

October 8th: sorting out records from the visit to Wiltshire last spring, completed addition of bird records to BirdTrack and still adding Lepidoptera records to my spreadsheet. Added adjointness diagram to music/monad paper.

October 7th: weather was dry but very windy with fresh W breeze, 11C. Did a lot of 'gardening' in morning, mowing a 2nd large area out the back including 2 frontier zones and another where some small branches had accumulated: all good exercise, love a large garden! Did photograph some more leaf mines from part of garden closer to house. Made C4c4ll where pleased to again meet tbld!! Going through 2017 lepidoptera records in detail, adding those not yet on the spreadsheet; requires quite a lot of analysis but will be worth it to maintain the long-term series! Final appointment of day was G4g4s where J was on!! Met P and the dommies gang with plenty of gr8 crack!! 2moro it's N4c4l, R @ B4m4s with prior committee meeting at 17:45, G4g4s. To bed at 00:40, could do with some fulfilling company!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 6th: made Dipton Wood near N tip from 14:55-16:15. Weather was great with almost continuous sunshine on light NW breeze, completely dry, 11C maximum. No Honey-buzzard today; suspect many have left now, even Scottish birds, as a number of fine days with NW breeze have been had, ideal for emigration for the juveniles, who can cover 250km in a day. Did have 2 Common Buzzard up, an adult and a 1w at 15:00. Highlight was 7 Whooper Swan (2 adult, 5 1w, good-sized family party) W, over Tyne Valley at 15:40 and a Lesser Redpoll S. Total for birds was just 8 types. Leaf mines on birch were a major focus at Dipton Wood, finding at least 5 types, with others on beech, rowan and bramble; also had 2 Silver Y feeding on late blue flowers in a boggy patch An adult male Kestrel has been at Ordley the last 2 days and a Barn Owl was flushed off a fence near Letah Wood last Thursday night. Earlier made C4c4l where trhwso looked very sensuous!! FT was relaxed about recent falls in markets as a whole though quite a number of worries about high level of Wall Street (US) in particular. Later made Z4m4s with P/A; impressed, we had 2 courses, Kingfisher beer, all with good service for £24 a head. Finished off at Cnt4g4s!! Hexham was very busy. The Gulls had another stirring win in FA Cup qualifying round 4, seeing off Brightlingsea Regent, in Essex 3-0. 2moro it's some 'gardening', C4c4ll, walk-out and G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 5th: day was dominated by concert Rachlin Double at S, going to rehearsal and performance. First back to old haunts at CT4s4l, which hasn't changed a bit! Thought magic numbers might be 8↓11←!! Rehearsal was not well attended by pp; think some were waiting for a reminder. It was certainly thorough with the strings detained until 18:00 by which time I was down at p&p, after signing off the revised bank form for my principal flute sponsorship at 2k/year. The first half was brilliant with Beethoven's Egmont and Schubert 8; indeed I thought that was better than the 2nd half, where the violin and viola soloists excelled but didn't really fancy Ponderecki's Concerto Doppio, which found rather eclectic; in the rehearsal we had 4 chiefs (AJ, JR, SM, BC) for this piece with clarinettist and trumpeter also chipping in so much animated discussion, which enjoyed! The concluding Sinfonia Concertante by Mozart was exquisite, with Julian Rachlin on violin and partner Sarah McElravy on viola, getting enormous applause. The actual performance was considerably better than the rehearsal with JR and the RNS pulling everything together. Made bar @ S 4 final drink: had good chat with SR who's at the Brewery next week! Day finished so beautifully: rose to the occasion: she's very fanciable: lok2tgrf!!!!! Funds had a wild week, after making record highs on Tuesday, lost just over half the gains by Friday, finishing at +6k. Markets world-wide slumped on Thursday and Friday with ftse 2.55% down as both £ and bond yields rose. Did some selling myself, taking profits and finishing with 72k cash. PoO is still over $84 a barrel. It's late now: 02:55 but it is the weekend. 2moro it's out in Hexham in evening with P/A at Zyka at 19:00: not sure what we're celebrating! Earlier will make C4c4l!! xxxx!!

October 4th: sunny morning giving way to drizzle in afternoon with bright interlude early evening before very wetting rain took over. Started autumn final maintenance in garden in the interlude, cutting some long grass out the back: good exercise!! Got up earlier at 08:30 and sorted out some descriptions early-on before making N4c4l at 12:30. Did make G4g4s where gr8 to have A on again: we get on well!! There were 6 of us out for good crack!! Made a lot of progress on music/monad paper, completing middle section on the musical brain in CT; it was easy to write as there's a natural fit! Might finish first draft in a week, ahead of what I'd anticipated. Markets firmly down at moment after wobbly Wednesday and traumatic Thursday but still well afloat this week: there are too many chancers in the market at the moment!! 2moro it's CT4c4l, S4reh, p&p4t, S4con: looking forward to it all!! It's 00:35 now, so keeping to revised schedule!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 3rd: cloudy, mild and dry in morning at 13C on moderate W breeze; sun came out at 15:00 as I neared Stocksfield Mount, which visited from 15:05-16:45. At 15:16 again had a double emigration (see 28/9) as from the Tyne area near Bywell Bridge an adult Red Kite and a juvenile Honey-buzzard both came up quickly and they went away gliding at speed to SE at moderate altitude with the breeze behind. The Honey-buzzard was pale ruddy with extensive white on the inside of the secondaries, broad dark tip to wings and some darker markings on the upper-side, giving it a pale mottled appearance; it was not one of the 3 birds seen here last Thursday. The Red Kite is of course another great observation, supporting the idea that our population is at least partly migratory, so not on site in late autumn, winter and early spring, which is one reason the FoRKers have found so few! Other raptors were a Common Buzzard and a juvenile Red Kite floating some distance apart over Eltringham at 15:53. Had 2 Chaffinch SW in total of 13 species. Also found lots of leaf mines of 10 types on rowan, cherry, hawthorn, hazel: it's now or never for this study, before the leaves drop off. The mines are visible over the next 2 weeks as the larvae approach maturity. Also had a Brimstone Moth larva on rowan. About 50 Common Wasp were feeding on flowering ivy. Had good chat with M at T4c4c and with B at G4g4t, where good to meet J off-duty!! 2moro it's N4c4l and G4g4s and maybe some more fieldwork. Next summer it looks like Edinburgh and Oxford for conferences with 2 international meetings lined up on theoretical and applied sides respectively; will also make ANPA in Hampshire as usual. Trying to get to bed earlier as cannot go on safari with my current habits: 00:30 tonite: will surely be sweet dreams: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

October 2nd: sunny today but very breezy with gusts up to 60kph from the W. No fieldwork today. Have caught up on a few records and started on the brain/monad section for the music paper; latter's going well using the ANPA talk as the basis. Really quite a laid-back day, after dawn raid on stocks, making a leisurely N4c4l and an almost empty R&C4m4s with A! Had 4 Badger on the road (all fit!) plus a big hatch of November Moth and a few Green-brindled Crescent. Donated £23 to Sage in response to an appeal from RNS Rocks concert, initiated by Maxïmo Park. Gr8 end to day: can't keep away: she's irresistible: lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M, trip out, G4g4t to hear all about Dubrovnik from B!! xxxx!!

Not a bad start for funds to week at +15k, taking gross gain on year to an all-time record 144k and net gain also to a record 117k. PoO is now up to $85 a barrel so top up your tanks! China's playing a very clever game: USA thought it would covertly buy the blockaded Iranian oil but China's announced proudly it's not breaking sanctions and is going to satisfy its requirements through the open market, thus putting extra strain on prices and on USA consumers, just before the mid-terms! Trade wars, including manoeuvres such as Brexit, create a complete mess! All natural resource stocks are rallying now from their low points of a month ago on EM/trade worries. Have again built up a significant position in North Sea oil stocks, including ENQ, which is in the middle of a rights issue (cash raise from new equity offer to existing shareholders to improve liquidity; my share's 11k). Although they're UK stocks, they sell in $ with some costs in £ so are relatively safe in a £ crisis. Recent transfers from bonds to stocks have reached 275k but planning to ease off now, maybe cap at 300k for now. Total funds exceed 106+105 for 1st time.

October 1st: very cool for time of year with maximum 11C in the 'Shire on moderate NW breeze with rain arriving in late afternoon. Lit solid-fuel fire for 3rd time this autumn: very cosy, should make more use of the shag-pile carpet!! Explored garden and field for leaf mines; may have found 14 sorts, needs more analysis; very satisfactory as they're very sensitive to herbicides and pesticides; some parts of field not accessible as vegetation is like the jungle! Finished write-up of section on topos for music, now for introducing the monad on to the mysterious minds of musicians! Have 2 events lined up next week, with minimalists at Wylam Brewery and Piano Greats (with N) at Sage; may sleep-over for former!! Had good meal at R @ B4m4l; much later made G4g4s where 5 of us out, putting the world right! 2moro it's N4c4l and R&C4m4s, latter with A. Expect rapid catch-up with records in the next few weeks as well as completion of draft of topos/music paper. Faites de beaux rêves à la beauté: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

September 30th: end of fledging period for Honey-buzzard fixed at 26/9 with 5 juvenile migrants recorded since; no gangs reported yet this season. Have brought home page up to date with the latest totals. At least 36 juveniles were found at 24 sites, indicating yet another year of high productivity. Weather was cool 11C, moderate W breeze, sunny, dry. Out to lane near Eastwood Common from 15:40-17:25, with the only raptor being a Sparrowhawk juvenile female up twice hunting over area. In total of 13 bird species also had 3 Swallow S, 34 Carrion Crow, 3 Jay, 1 Yellowhammer. No Honey-buzzard, Red Kite or butterflies but did find plenty of the larvae of leaf-mining micro moths: Ectoedemia occultella (birch), Phyllonorycter maestingella (beech), Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella (birch), Stigmella aurella (bramble), Stigmella hemargyrella (beech), Stigmella hybnerella (hawthorn), Stigmella magdalenae (rowan), Stigmella oxyacanthella (hawthorn). Earlier had a juvenile Kestrel at Ordley at 11:30 and 30 Lapwing at Dilston. After W4shop did make C4c4ll where very pleased to meet tbld!! Had another massive sauce cook, converting 2 x mince, red onion, carrot, mushroom, 2 x tinned tomato, garlic, parsley, marjoram, thyme, paprika, into 9 meals, 8 for the freezer and one to eat with spaghetti today; had finished last lot this past week in clear-out! Final trip was to G4g4s where lots of good crack!! Even met A again, who's given up her evening slot! This week sees S4con on Friday, including rehearsal; N's absent, at his country residence in S. Looks like G on Monday and R&C on Tuesday. Samedi soir c'est bien mais vendredi soir c'est mieux!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Nationally in UK 4 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides since 26/9 (count 46 birds for month, 75 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 223 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 264 records).

30/09 16:20 Bedfordshire : European Honey Buzzard, Dunstable dark morph juvenile flew over late afternoon

30/09 11:39 Suffolk : European Honey Buzzard, Thorpeness one flew in off sea then inland before heading southwest (10:30)

30/09 07:18 Nottinghamshire : European Honey Buzzard, Linby one flew south over Linby Trail yesterday (29/09 12:45)

[ 28/09 11:19 Aberdeenshire : Rough-legged Buzzard, Cruden Bay one in off the sea at Slains Castle then flew west over bay ]

27/09 11:59 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Hildenborough flew southwest over clubhouse at Nizels Golf Course

September 29th: Red Kite continue to be everywhere: a family group of 4 birds was at Rudchester near A69 on drive to CAL at 16:30; 2 adults and a juvenile were circling low over the ground and another juvenile was ½ km to the W. Earlier completed prototype of topos diagram for musical performance, quite a landmark, and made C4c4l where trhwso looked gr8!! Made MP4m4t with N where it was far busier than recently: good atmosphere and meal!! Then onto S4con where BBC Scottish Symphony were playing a programme of Scandinavian music. Maestro Thomas Dausgaard has a wicked touch, inviting the audience to sing along in parts of Finlandia with the provided sheet music. Well we did our best but Finnish is obviously not a strong point of Tynesiders! Sibelius' Violin Concerto will have been the highlight for many with Viktoria Mullova again giving a stirring performance; I love the final movement, a real blend of the composer's orchestral moments and virtuoso violin. N was sitting a few rows back, next to one of her fans who whistled and cheered in the applause and was later seen walking up the stairs with her! The symphony was Nielsen 2, which is upbeat and ff: very exhilarating! Recognised the talented principal flautist CA who played with the RNS several times after JB left! So a very good evening and retired to the pub4g4s; N went home: too noisy in the toon for him. Was extra wary tonight as the football results are making people angry: never seen such depressed supporters getting on at HAY after the match; they're normally inscrutable. The Gulls after winning 7-0 last week in the FA Cup QR2 (1st FA cup match won in 10 years!), managed to draw 2-2 with the league leaders Woking, scoring twice in the last 10 minutes. Nite ended perfectly: so s.xy: like the ending: she's gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l followed by trip out and G4g4s!! xxxx!!

September 28th: cold overnight down to 3C but a beautiful sunny day followed, up to 13C on light NW breeze. At last got some direct evidence for some of our Red Kite being migratory! Made Dipton Wood N end from 15:00-16:35. At 15:30 had an adult Red Kite over Linnels Bridge area, being mobbed by a Crow at moderate altitude; the kite quickly came back to the ground. At Dipton Wood E had a juvenile Red Kite up at 15:25, mobbed by a Crow, over fields further E; another juvenile Red Kite was up at 15:38 over the woodland on E side of wood. Then some amazing action began. Two Honey-buzzard juvenile, pale brown and dark, came out of the woods on E side of Dipton Wood and from 15:44-15:46 effortlessly climbed into the sky with no circling to a great height, accompanied by an adult Red Kite; they then proceeded to drift S now almost out of visibility from the ground. From 15:47-15:48 they were followed by another juvenile Honey-buzzard (ruddy) and another adult Red Kite, which again went very high before drifting S. The birds were all keeping their distance from one another but were acting in some kind of unison. Also had a juvenile Kestrel. So that's 9 raptors of 3 types: 5 Red Kite (3 adult, 2 juvenile), 3 Honey-buzzard (all juvenile), 1 Kestrel (juvenile). I didn't think the Honey-buzzard were a gang: they looked more like long-distance migrants from Scotland. It's perhaps worth mentioning that Honey-buzzard are genetically closer to kites than buzzards, their name being a misnomer. It does appear that the migratory Red Kite have adopted habits not that dissimilar to Honey-buzzard, which arrive on site in May and depart in September. Where do the kites go? That's not clear but it's worth noting that Scandinavian and German Red Kite are migratory, moving SW in autumn, and large numbers have been seen in spring in SW England. Total of 17 species included 3 Jay, 2 calling Chiffchaff, 1 Greater Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Common Crossbill, 11 mobile Siskin. Driving through Dipton Wood in evening had a Barn Owl (at 22:00, flushed from side of road as entering village from N), 2 Badger, a Rabbit and a Hedgehog. Made N4c4l and W4g4s with 6 of us out at latter for good chat. Have had discussions with NH over sponsorship of the RNS flautists, upgrading to principal flute from Monday at a cost of £500 per quarter, up from £375. Also paid £60 to HASS for their November production of Evita in QH, Hexham, which unfortunately cannot attend. Funds bounced all over the place this week: +1k on Monday up to +4k on Tuesday before declining to -6k on Friday morning (Italy crisis) and recovering to +1k by close of play. So end result is a new peak at +129k before disbursements bringing net gain to 102k. PoO is soaring, up to $83 a barrel for Brent with many analysts expecting $100 in the next few months; expect petrol prices to go higher as £ is also weak against the $. 240K now moved out of bonds, which don't look good in a Brexit foul-up. Son's maisonette purchase has been given the all-clear by the Halifax; he was having a partial survey done yesterday; very pleased with that!! 2moro it's C4c4l, CAL-NCL (train strike), MP4m4t with N, S4con with MV again. Cherche l'amour: le sentiment est réciproque: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

September 27th: end of fledging part of season is around now; juveniles in lowland areas at this time are likely to be migrants from further N but a few in upland areas, like on 26/9, will be locally bred. Today morning was very warm at 19C, again with steady breeze, this time moderate from W; cloud increased from 13:30. Went to Bywell on top road above Bywell Home Farm from 11:45-13:30 and had another successful day. First up at 11:59 was a juvenile Red Kite followed at 12:46 by an adult, both over the stubble field to the N, which also held 2 juvenile Kestrel, hunting almost throughout the visit. Over Mowden Hall had another juvenile Red Kite at 13:15 and a Common Buzzard soaring at 13:06. Had 3 Honey-buzzard. A dark-phase juvenile was up at 12:08 flying over the stubble field to N where after hanging for a while it landed; slightly further away at 12:08 was a dark ruddy Honey-buzzard juvenile which disappeared to W low-down; at 12:43 the dark-phase bird was over the copse in the middle of the stubble field before leaving low-down to W to feed on another field. At 12:55 a pale-phase Honey-buzzard came out of the Cottagebank area, hanging for a while over the field to W before drifting towards Broomley, where it again stalled for a while before going down over pasture. These 3 birds never interacted as siblings usually do so presume they're unrelated and have assigned them as migrants from Scotland. No other Honey-buzzard were seen so no signs of a gang; the appearance of gangs is very unpredictable as they're short-lived and may depend on subtle factors not fully understood yet. Provisional total was 9 raptors of 4 types: 3 Red Kite, 3 Honey-buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 1 Common Buzzard. Also had on the stubble field a Woodlark, 3 Skylark, 5 Linnet. 3 Swallow flew S and a Chaffinch SW, in total of 20 species. Yet another good day for kites! Butterflies comprised 7 Small White and a Peacock. Made N4c4ll and W4shop b4 getting home for catch-up. Much later made G4g4s where 6 of us out for good chat! Think algorithm gives 'favourable' treatment if you book directly so … 2moro it's N4c4l and trip out later maybe to Dipton Wood to look at another area where gangs have occurred, completing final topos diagram and finishing with W4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

September 26th: warm today at 19C in a sunny afternoon but a constant fresh W breeze made it feel a bit cooler. After good chat with M at T4c4c and gr8 sighting in Hexham of tmeo made Slaley Forest Rawgreen from 15:15-16:40, one of the sites where I find the nest. From 15:24-15:25 had an adult and juvenile Red Kite up together near Viewley, diving at each other so yet another site for the kite; their population has increased since 2016 when 30 pairs but may not show up in this year's raw figures because coverage is down; there seem to be more broods of 2 now than in the early years of colonisation, a sign they're becoming better established. At 15:42 and 15:55 a 2nd duller Red Kite juvenile was up on its own in the Honey-buzzard nesting area. A dark ruddy-brown juvenile Honey-buzzard flew out of the nesting area to N at 15:36, reappearing from N at 15:40 and proceeding to hang over the nesting area until 15:45; this behaviour is common to all Honey-buzzard before emigration; suspect they're imprinting their natal area on their mind so that they can recognise it when, from being a juvenile, they return home in 20 months time from Africa as a 3cy bird in May 2020. This juvenile drifted off to NW at low altitude, maybe to leave tomorrow or to join briefly a concentration of juveniles prior to emigration: a gang! Its elder sibling may have left already. Fledged young have now been seen at all 6 sites in the 'Shire. There were signs of autumn immigration from Scandinavia: 10 Goldcrest, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Chiffchaff; 11 Mistle Thrush was also noteworthy. Butterflies were conspicuous in sheltered areas: 8 Speckled Wood, 7 Small White, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, plus a male Vapourer moth. Single Red Admiral were also at Ordley and Hexham S. So a successful trip out! Made G4g4t to meet the lads! Back home for yet another meal from freezer: emptying it after the power-cut last week though it didn't defrost significantly. 2moro it's out looking for a gang at Bywell b4 N4c4ll; not sure about evening, might have to be impromptu!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Nationally in UK 3 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (4 birds) since 20/9 (count 42 birds for month, 71 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 219 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 260 records).

26/09 13:23 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Sandwich Bay two flew south this morning [someone can identify juveniles with presumably 3 at the one locality!]

26/09 11:09 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Sandwich Bay one flew over (10:45)

[ 26/09 09:01 Hertfordshire : Woodlark, Heartwood Forest one flew south ]

[ 25/09 16:52 Devon : Woodlark, Dawlish Warren NNR one in winter barley field by car park at 11:45 then flew towards field with turbine ]

25/09 16:42 London : European Honey Buzzard, Chessington one flew low and west over Hook late afternoon

September 25th: another gr8 day with BBC first up with R, getting bus from Swan, Heddon, at 09:15 and having 2 hour tour, ably escorted by D/S; we were shown the studios and the back-up organisation and met Alison Freeman who's on early-news duty this week while Colin Briggs is on holiday; we also saw Fiona Trott editing a news story before dashing off. It was very interesting from both technical and creative viewpoints! We made Sw4m4l (another 3-courser) which was very convivial, after which I made Throckley N for a walk from 15:00-16:40 seeing 2 Honey-buzzard juvenile, a Red Kite juvenile (up at 15:10 over rough pastures to E), a Kestrel juvenile, a Sparrowhawk male juvenile; so all young birds up in the moderate W breeze with veiled sunshine. The first Honey-buzzard was a dark-phase bird up at 15:22, hanging over the rough pastures to E of the site, where the Red Kite had been seen earlier. The second bird was up over the large larch plantation to N at 15:27; this bird was also dark-phase but was a heavier bird with a fuller tail; the other bird was last seen drifting S in the opposite direction to the larch plantation. Total was 20 species of birds, including 14 House Martin E, 3 Swallow feeding, 6 Herring Gull, 6 Linnet. One butterfly was recorded: a Comma, and some cones were found on hawthorn. A Southern Hawker dragonfly was hunting over a hedgerow. Then CAL-NCL where met N at MP4m4t, the 4th 3-course meal since Sunday evening, b4 making S4con to see Stradavarius In Rio with * violinist Viktoria Mullova, accompanied by guitar, cello, percussion. That was marvellous with many Brazilian rhythms and tunes played superbly!! Have to say her forte is Bach and she didn't let herself go expression-wise, maybe valuing intonation over articulation! We see VM again on Saturday. We went to pub for a quickie. Finale was most impressive: she's gorgeous: so intense: lok2tgrf!!!!! Funds are +4k as PoO continues to climb to almost $82; there are some headwinds with the £ rallying again and may get some profit-taking soon, by others. 2moro it's T4c4c with M, G4g4t and trip out around lunchtime. xxxx!!

September 24th: train back was on time; car was cold, obviously close to a frost last night but it was sunny and cool for rest of day on a light NW breeze; processed some more of the results from Wylam E on 22/9 and updated home page. Trip to Bellingham Heritage Centre with R was fun; it was such a thriving place in the early 19th century with coal and iron industries but rapidly declined c1850 paradoxically as the railway reached it, but also reached many other places opening up competition. The loss of so much moorland to forestry was also highlighted in the 20th century as Kielder Forest was planted. We had dinner in a railway carriage at the Centre; I managed 3 enormous courses which tasted good but were served rather slowly meaning we were 50 min late leaving at 22:20. Plenty of good humour and interest in the visit! No time to rest: full day coming up: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

September 23rd: great day out!! Had good chat with N at MP, mainly on how can a governing party tear itself apart and be totally unfit to run the country: bring on JC maybe or maybe not!! Made Gala Concert, which was a bit of a marathon from 18:30-22:30, not just for the music but also for the wine, which was in free supply to pp on Level 3. Liked the layout for the Venetian Sky, particularly in the detail!! Difficult to pick out highlights in the concert but personal favourites were Prokofiev's Classical Symphony, Poulenc's Concert Champêtre with Iranian Mahan Esfahani on the harpsichord, and Brahms' Haydn Variations. Favourite colour was turquoise!! It was a very fine celebration of the 60th anniversary of the (R)NS. Hotel was OK but need to investigate the booking algorithm. Nuit très satisfaisante: elle est fabuleuse: une vraie tentatrice: lok2tgrf!!!!! 2 Red Kite juveniles were slowly gliding over fields near Clara Vale at 15:15. This evening it's Bellingham with R for adventure out including meal, followed by G4g4s. 2moro it's trip to BBC in NCL with R in morning, lunch at Swan in Heddon, out in the field at Throckley N, CAL-NCL, MP4m4t with N, S4con – Stradavarius In Rio, busy times!! xxxx!!

September 22nd: morning was grey and cool with improvement seen in afternoon so it was C4c4l followed by trip out, not to Mount, but to Wylam E from 14:50-16:55 where thought there were more unanswered questions. Weather did improve becoming very sunny on cool, moderate NW breeze. At 15:01 a pale relatively mature Honey-buzzard juvenile, mobbed by 7 Jackdaw, was up over the woodland immediately S of the Tyne moving towards the Stanley Burn site 1. From 15:54-15:55 a darker younger bird was up over the Stanley Burn, keeping low and floating around on its own 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13 (8340). At 16:00 a juvenile dark-phase Honey-buzzard came up to W of Close House; it got up to moderate height before drifting slightly to the NE; would take this as a feeding trip as only up for 2 minutes. At 15:40 a juvenile male Goshawk was high up over the Tyne, presumably locally bred, as this is a fairly regular breeding site for the species. Pleased to see 2 Hobby juveniles over the Tyne: a female at 15:43 and a male at 15:49, presumably also bred locally as regular here. A family group of 3 Red Kite were soaring S of Tyne in Clara Vale area from 15:44-15:56, including an adult and 2 juvenile. Also up in the air near Tyne were 2 Kestrel juvenile and 3 Common Buzzard (2 adult, 1 juvenile). Final sighting of raptors was some action over Bradley Hall to S at 16:45 , where a family party of 3 Red Kite (2 adult, 1 juvenile) were soaring along with an adult Common Buzzard. So the total count for raptors in visit was 18 birds of 6 types: Red Kite 6, Common Buzzard 4, Honey-buzzard 3, Hobby 2, Kestrel 2, Goshawk 1. The area remains as outstanding for raptors, both in variety and in numbers. FT was interesting read; most columnists had obviously written their columns before Friday's sharp rally; cash in £ is not a good option if we're going to crash out of Europe. 2moro with N it's MP, S4con&party with13:53 ex RDM, returning 10:55 ex NCL. xxxxxxxxx!!!!!

The North of England Annual Raptor Forum to be held in York has as lead talk: Honey Buzzards – no longer a Scottish enigma, Brian Etheridge [from RSPB, Inverness]. Here's the programme for the day on 17/11. I will not be there as on my way back from safari and the world's leading congress on birds of prey: the Raptor Research Foundation conference in Kruger Park, RSA. A lot seems to be going wrong for my detractors: falsifying situations has a nasty way of catching up with you in natural affairs!! There's other developments of a significant nature which I will keep in reserve.

The paragraph below has gone on my Red Kite page Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland as summary of recent correspondence in the Hexham Courant:

Following an article on 16 August 2018 in Hexham Courant (p.14) Rescued Red Kite Returned to Wild on their web pages as Red kite rescued by staff at Tynedale bird of prey centre returns to wild, there were letters from NR Kites Established and the FoRKers Figure is Snapshot in Hexham Courant 30 August p.21. Here's scans of part 1 and part 2 of the letters with NR's also available as html. The letters put into the public domain NR's data showing at least 30 pairs of Red Kite breeding in south Northumberland in 2016 and the FoRKer's admission that their roost counts are an underestimate of the Red Kite population in the NE.

Nationally in UK 5 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides since 11/9 (count 38 birds for month, 67 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 215 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 257 records). There is normally a pause in emigration in mid-September after the bulk of the adults have left; then the juveniles start departing in numbers, most to be misidentified as Common Buzzard! Not sure they care but it's not exactly a recommendation for UK birder expertise in raptor id! See Misidentification of Juvenile Honey-buzzard.

20/09 08:54 Bedfordshire : European Honey Buzzard, The Lodge, Sandy dark morph juvenile flew north (08:45)

17/09 17:00 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Seasalter circling over levels then appeared to land

17/09 16:32 West Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Black Down NT probable flew south on Saturday [?]

17/09 13:41 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head flew out to see over old trapping area mid-afternoon (13:33)

14/09 16:05 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Higham pale morph flew west (15:30)

[ 14/09 11:14 Durham : Western Osprey, Whitburn Coastal Park one flew south close inshore (11:12) ]

[ 11/09 20:17 Durham : Western Osprey, Greenside one flew west low over fields just north of Rockwood Hill (15:15) ]

September 21st: weather not too kind for migrating Honey-buzzard with moderate NW breeze but it was sunny and a few might be tempted; 2moro looks better and will be out at the Mount before or after C4c4l. Made N4c4l for good atmosphere and S4con. Drifted down to p&p for a glass of wine, where could see the trendy Quaysiders! Concert was not your usual one, featuring groups on the front of the stage with the orchestra behind; did have a good view from Level 2 where we sit for rehearsals. Concert was leisurely paced with lengthy intervals and drink sales must have been well up on the more traditional concert, with the younger audience. The groups comprised Martha Hill, Field Music, Maxïmo Park, all based in the NE, which thought was a great touch. The overall sound effect was very pleasing; must have taken some blending with the different styles. Thought AY/SH looked the happiest with the format but everyone rose to the occasion with a packed Hall 1. AP commented on exit: we attracted a different audience. Made W4g4s off last train where met the gang! Day ended in ultra stimulating mode: absence makes the heart grow fonder: she's gorgeous: very motivating: lok2t grf!!!!!!!

Funds had a stellar week with strong rally in mining stocks, gaining 21k of which only 3k a direct result from weakness of £. Think mining/oil stocks still look very cheap after recent falls and the troubles with the £ on Brexit chaos only increases their appeal so holding firm. Have taken 175k over last 3 weeks out of bonds into top-line mining/oil stocks, with a drip-feed starting into more junior (speculative!) ones. Gain on year to a record high is 127k with net gain after disbursements of 101k, 8k short of record on 9/8 this year. ftse is 2.6% down on year and many people have lost money with EM so weak. Disbursements are reducing until Xmas with recent 1.5k to granddaughters, not yet filtered through, and 1k to Brundibár on 1/12 still to come. Safari should not cost much more; negotiating over stay from 4/11-6/11 in JNB area which looks like AfricaSky on their recommendation. xxxx!!

September 20th: saga of power-cut is below! Might be entitled to £70 compensation but there are a few corollaries! Enjoyed N4c4l and G4g4s, with 5 of us out at latter for good chat! Completed processing 17/9 records at Lewknor and elsewhere on M40, submitting them to BirdTrack; will do a final check on the piccies 2moro. Weather was drier in morning and wind dropped but rain was incredibly heavy later on light NE breeze. Honey-buzzard juvenile migrants will be getting frustrated, waiting for a break; Saturday looks more promising; adults will have left by now, save for those at the high altitude sites. Should make N4c4l 2moro and C4c4l on Saturday. A busy weekend beckons for RNS (and me!) where going to RNS Rocks 2moro evening via RDM 17:06, returning on last train to W4g4s with the gang! Sunday sees 60th anniversary of RNS; going with N to MP at 16:00 and concert; 3+ complimentary drinks in intervals in bar 3 -- stopping over!! So looking forward to it all: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

September 19th: wild day with some strong gusts and some small debris blowing all over the place. Power-cut started at 13:15 (19/9) and is still ongoing at 12:20 (20/09); think may be going into the record books for Ordley! Fortunately had 'phone and laptop fully charged and their batteries last a lot longer than they used to. So did a lot of work on the topos paper this evening in the gloom; getting near the final topos diagram, which I find satisfying! Earlier made T4c4c with M and G4g4t, where an exciting sighting: looks gr8!! So all a bit chaotic, waiting for freezer to defrost and intruder alarm battery to expire! Writing this at N at 12:20 (20/9) after recharging 'phone and laptop in library. Getting ready to light solid-fuel stove. May well make G4g4s later. Good news is that natural resource stocks are on a roll: so far best week for a while! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! PS power restored at 14:30 (20/9) so cut lasted 25 hours 15 minutes!

September 18th: journey back went well, comfortable and on time! Once back in HEX made W4shop. Weather was warm and sunny on moderate and gusty SW breeze. House was in good order after clean by S last Friday; very pleased to be home again!! We did make HoN4st4s where chat was a bit more varied than usual. After dropping A at S drifted E a little: brilliant reception: very natural: gr8 understanding: she's so s.xy: lok2tmbo!!!!!!! 2moro it's catch-up with normal socials at T4c4c with M and G4g4t minus B!! As expected funds perked up, even with further rise in £, gaining 3k on 1st 2 days of week. Expect this trend to continue as mining/oil stocks look very cheap after recent falls, even with the ongoing US/China trade spat. Have taken 145k out of bonds into top-line mining/oil stocks over last 3 weeks. xxxx!!

September 17th: out to the Chilterns in grand style with sis to grab another new site for Honey-buzzard in the western part that's in South Oxfordshire. Went to Lewknor on the W edge of the escarpment where a big cutting has been made for the M40 motorway in highly controversial work right through a nature reserve. There was considerable background noise from the motorway out in the open but the woods were effective screens. The M40 is of course the Red Kite capital in the UK (and probably in the world!) and there were plenty of these around having 10 from J2-J5 with a Common Buzzard at J1A; a further 6 Red Kite were over Watlington. The weather was incredibly warm for the time of year, reaching 24C on a light to moderate SW breeze. We parked the car in Lewknor at 12:00, returning at 15:40 after a climb up to top of Beacon Hill (260m asl) and stroll around Astor Rowant NNR, famous for its tiny Yellow Meadow Ants; we didn't see any of these, think you have to sit on a mound for a while and wait for the sensation!! In the distance was Bledlow, further along the escarpment to NE, and a proven Honey-buzzard and Hobby site (by me!).

Conditions were perfect for raptors and they obliged. Just out of Lewknor we had 2 raptors up in the air: a Common Buzzard juvenile and a youngish grey-brown Honey-buzzard juvenile; at 12:07 the latter had drifted over from Beacon Hill and it climbed to some height before gliding back slowly towards the hill again. Red Kite were around all the time and had an estimated 15 in the area by the end. The spectacle of raptors climaxed at 14:10 from the viewpoint at Beacon Hill when we had up in the air above the hill hanging in the breeze another Honey-buzzard juvenile, with warmer brown colouration, attended by 3 Hobby (adult male, juvenile male, juvenile female) in quite a display. In the same area were a family party of 3 Kestrel (female, 2 juvenile). One warm reddish-brown body Honey-buzzard feather on way down Beacon Hill; also a Woodpigeon kill, culprit not known. Back towards the village of Lewknor we had 3 more Common Buzzard (2 juvenile, 1 adult), including a very pale bird high-up. So total for trip was Red Kite 31, Common Buzzard 5, Hobby 3, Kestrel 3, Honey-buzzard 2; that's 44 raptors of 5 types. Total for all birds was 22 types, including 3 Swallow S. Butterflies were good with 7 types: Speckled Wood 8, Brimstone 1, Small Heath 8, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Small White 5, Large White 6, Green-veined White 2; for moths had a Silver Y, 1 blister on hazel of Phyllonorycter coryli and c100 mines on horse chestnut of Cameraria ohridella. Another bonus was a Hornet! So great trip out and another good trip to SE comes to an end. 2moro it's back to HEX; very much looking forward to that for a longer spell; looks like HoN4st4s with M/A and trip out!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 16th: was a grand day with birthday party going well at London Zoo with the highlights animal-wise of Asian Lion, Gorilla, tropical Butterfly House, Penguin Beach, not to mention the snakes!! We had good lunch and a special session later for birthday cake which meant we were running late. So we got a taxi to SB! Can see why Aurora have got what is almost a cult following, including my son who sat in row A; sis and I sat a little further back. Before ½ time we had Schubert's Wanderer and Gruber's Frankenstein!! the latter being zany and superficially childish but undoubtedly containing darker stories: it was influenced by Kurt Weill! After ½ time the full orchestra played Beethoven 5 without scores: amazingly dynamic and bright, with the Karajan touch in some respects; Herbert von K may be out of favour in some circles (e.g. Rattle) but IMHO his Beethoven symphonies are unsurpassed. The performance deserved its standing ovation and there were some truly brilliant individual contributions: a fitting climax to the summer tour!! Glad I went to appreciate it all!! We went for meal in SB at Strada to round off the day. Might be out in the Chilterns 2moro!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 15th: from 11:30-13:30 had walk around Pitshanger Park with sis followed by coffee in the shopping area and purchase of books for grandchildren at a local book shop. Weather: weak sunshine on cool W breeze. The wild-flower beds in the Park are looking good: a succession of flowers, many of which would be called weeds by some. Had 3 types of butterfly: Small White 5, Speckled Wood 1, Green-veined White 1, plus a Hornet. Bird types totalled 11, including Ring-necked Parakeet (15). Later caught 65 bus to Ham Parade followed by walk to daughter's house in Kingston, adjacent to Richmond Park, where son had just arrived. We gave out all the presents. I've upped the granddaughter's birthday money to 1k from this occasion so B got this with 0.5k to S as catch-up from February. We had meal there and then returned on 65 bus to Ealing. 2moro it's London Zoo at 11:00, meal there at 13:00, SB4con at 16:00 and SB4m4s with sis and myself joining son for concert and meal afterwards!! Sera une journée fantastique: les critiques sont géniales: bonne chance à la star: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

September 14th: good trip down, all on time and pleased to see big sis again!! Had a Sparrowhawk juvenile female up over Hexham N, making 7 types of raptor in 2 days. Sparrowhawk are easier to find in suburbs than the countryside. Had an adult male Honey-buzzard over Ryton Willows at 11:00, gliding smoothly down over the nesting area into nearby trees; looks like late nesting here. 2moro sees local walk around Pitshanger and shopping for presents; in evening going round to Kingston for close-family reunion (no children at Froxfield do!). Sunday fun is as before!! Markets had a better second half to week though £ continues to rise. Own funds were -2k after 5k write-down of BRL (previously MIO) investment to reflect recent falls in junior miners generally. Gain on year is 107k before withdrawals of 26.6k. Have significant amounts in front-line miners now: we're ½ way through the month of peril without a major incident: don't hold your breath! Quatorze est le nombre: ce sera génial: bonne chance: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

September 13th: out to the upper South Tyne in the late afternoon after close study of weather forecast for Alston; this indicated VG visibility and a sunny interlude in the prevailing damp weather. Made Williamston from 16:00-18:30 where the sun was coming out on arrival; it stayed sunny for 80 minutes before low cloud returned and driving rain resumed. So spot on weather forecast! A break such as this around normal peak raptor activity times (11:00-13:00, 15:30-17:00) gives optimal conditions as the birds have pent-up energy and are hungry!! So it proved this afternoon with 9 Common Buzzard (perhaps 3 family parties), 2 Kestrel juveniles and a Red Kite juvenile (at 16:16) all up over the heather of the grouse moor on the ridge at the same time, 16:10-16:30. Making brief appearances were a juvenile female Goshawk, patrolling over the S end of the ridge at 16:23, and a juvenile female Hobby, mobbing a high-flying Common Buzzard at 16:46. There were of course Honey-buzzed in such a rich environment: a female was glimpsed briefly at 16:04, 16:26 and 16:30 but she was shy, sheltering behind tree cover, given half a chance; a ruddy juvenile was up at 16:30, again briefly and keeping out of view as far as possible; further S on my walk, 2km from base, the female was flushed at close range at 17:03 from a small pasture, flying through the nest-wood before gaining height and watching me closely; at 17:04 a dark-phase juvenile was seen low-down below the female and at 17:22 when the rain started this bird was out on the fell, landing in a copse. Honey-buzzard aren't too fazed by rain, with their equatorial forest background, and this juvenile came out of the copse after a few minutes to resume foraging on the open moor in the wet. Juvenile Kestrel on the road, so to speak, comprised singles at Willyshaw Rigg (15:45), Barhaugh Crags (18:40), Stublick Chimney (19:00). A lot of timber has been felled at Willyshaw on the Northumberland-Cumbria border, as elsewhere this year. There were no habitat changes at Williamston.

Total for all bird-types was 21, including 4 Meadow Pipit (3 S), 28 House Martin, 16 Swallow, 6 Siskin. Total for raptors for trip was 20 birds of 6 types: Common Buzzard 9, Kestrel 5, Honey-buzzard 3, Red Kite 1, Goshawk 1, Hobby 1. Not bad! It's good to see the Red Kite established on the grouse moors. The Goshawk just about hang on with records such as these. The Hobby was the most satisfying record as think they're struggling in the County; will look at some further moorland sites over the next 2 weeks before the young leave for Africa; they're struggling in the lowlands because Swallows have had a bad year there; in the uplands Swallow have done better and Meadow Pipit are a good fall-back. The Honey-buzzard are so successful in Northumberland: they love nesting near heather-lands; total of sites found occupied in 2018 reaches 31 but it's all more leisurely this year, giving me time to study their habits and their congeners. For people who prefer more static objects, there's a 'new' Roman fort, dating from 18-19 centuries ago, open nearby in the upper South Tyne at Epiacum, Whitley Castle. Evidently enthusiasts scan the mole-hills regularly for remains of Roman pottery! Had evening at home, compiling results above. So following in the steps of the good: another train journey beckons: Saturday afternoon/evening sees family reunion at Kingston; Sunday plans unchanged!! Aime la touche française; semble ambitieux; beaucoup de bisous !!!! Restricting travel soon until safari except for a few days in North Yorkshire mid-October with N. xxxx!!

September 12th: made visit from 13:55-16:00 to N tip of Dipton Wood, walking up through clearings to the top meadow. Weather was sunny intervals on moderate NW breeze, fairly cool. Had 6 raptors of 4 types: 2 Kestrel juvenile up hovering frequently, 2 Common Buzzard (adult, juvenile) calling from copse to W, 1 Red Kite: adult up strongly in moderate breeze at 15:24 at Dipton Wood E, Honey-buzzard: a purplish juvenile came up to the SE at 14:49, hanged in the breeze briefly and then came down on a field on lower ground. In total of 15 species finches included 10 Siskin, 2 Common Crossbill and 2 Bullfinch. 9 Swallow were seen, with 7 W, 1 S, 1 rest. There was just one butterfly, Small Tortoiseshell, and 2 Silver Y moths. The Honey-buzzard seen confirms breeding was successful for the Swallowship site, so only 1 site left in 'Shire at which to find fledged young. Afterwards made G4g4t where good to see B before he goes off to Dubrovnik. Had good chat with H 2 days ago: she gave up the job at G as she's moved to Consett where her mate is a gamekeeper! Have completed the simple topos part of paper: nothing like a train journey for generating more space to resolve an issue. Pense qu'elle pourrait faire le double: très impressionnant: la nuit dernière était super et au bon moment !!: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro going looking for Hobby, Honey-buzzard and Red Kite in the upper South Tyne: not sure about later. xxxx!!

Some notes from yesterday:

Leeds has a Mathematics and Music BSc degree run by the two Schools. Music has a lot in common with mathematics -- lhs of brain for logic, articulation [rhs for intonation]. Musicology -- she (KB) wasn't so impressed by this. I asked her about the 53 note scale and she laughed but did say a research project at Leeds involved equipping a harp with microtones, such as this. Maths topics available in the joint course and relevant for music include Graph Algorithms and Complexity Theory, Graph Theory, Topology, Transformation Geometry [but no CT!].

When people listen to opera on CD without any experience of the plot they tend to have a positive feeling for the music, finding it uplifting. If they listen the same way but do know the plot, their feelings are more mixed, more melancholy where appropriate, as they realise the dark undertones in the piece (nearly all operas end tragically and nice characters are few and far between!). If they watch a performance live the audience's emotions are very stark both on the upside and on the downside: fully appreciating the tensions and drama in the piece. [In other words, you cannot beat a live performance!]

Opera is in three dimensions: music, libretto, actions; this gives it tremendous power to explore emotions [3 levels gives closure in category theory]. Delays in anticipation are important mechanisms for influencing the emotions of listeners. [in our CT paper!].

Tosca: opening 3 chords provide the menace which dominates the opera, reappearing later in subtle guises as demonstrated. [Impressed by this, rather more subtle than Wagner's leitmotifs]. Rising triplets indicate embrace in Tosca.

We saw most of Act 3 in rehearsal of new production on stage of the theatre. Gisele Allen was Tosca: she's very impressive, as noted before. Panel afterwards involved Conductor (Antony Hermus), Assistant Director, Stage Director, who were all active on stage in the critical reviews after each section. Antony Hermus thought opera was 90% psychology (in the mind!).

Had good chat with a guy Howard [Moss?] who's a Wagner fan!! He said opera is even cheaper in Ukraine than Hungary. ROH is the most expensive place he knows in the world [but money isn't everything!]

September 11th: trip to LDS went very well: travel mostly on time and Tosca Insight event from 15:00-18:15 was truly inspirational with a very relevant talk for our research from Prof Karen Burland on psychology in music, with Tosca as illustration. She's head of School of Music and Professor of Applied Music Psychology at University of Leeds. We saw most of Act 3 of Tosca in rehearsal of new production on the stage of the Grand Theatre. The Panel afterwards involved Conductor (Antony Hermus), Assistant Director, Stage Director, who were all active on stage in the critical reviews after each section. Event was for Patrons and Associates of Opera North; I'm a higher-level associate paying £62.50 a month. Did take some notes, which will post tomorrow. Certainly whetted my appetite for Tosca in TR at NCL on 23/10, where will meet the ON hospitality team again. Tosca has all the ingredients of Grand Opera, brilliantly interwoven by Puccini. Took laptop and finally nailed Dolittle semantics after modelling many different scenarios: removes a roadblock! Highlight of day came later: so pleased to see her: in the mood after the opera: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!!!! Funds -1k as mining stocks continued to slide; am still trickle buying as prices of the stocks are very low for this stage of the cycle. 2moro it's N4c4l and G4g4t!! xxxx!!

Nationally in UK 1 more Honey-buzzard record on BirdGuides (count 33 birds for month, 62 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 210 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 252 records):

[ 11/09 20:17 Durham : Western Osprey, Greenside one flew west low over fields just north of Rockwood Hill (15:15) ]

11/09 17:15 Cheshire : European Honey Buzzard, Pickerings Pasture one flew high and SSW mid-afternoon (14:40)

September 10th: weather was again disappointing with dull weather all day, turning into heavy rain in evening. It's a good thing I'm not trying for complete coverage of Honey-buzzard sites this year! Made W4shop, N4c4l and R @ B4m4s; last was poorly attended for our 1st shot at 2 evening meetings a month but talk was interesting on our earthquake relief effort in Nepal where $35k was enough to provide a complete water system for much of a town. Final effort was to G4g4s where 3 of us out for chat; bar-lass personified e was on doing a great job of running the place and being friendly; T&S was closed and 15 refugees came over from some club, blocking the front entrance; can see why T&S is closed: most bought a ½ to last them for their entire attendance! London Zoo visit has been re-arranged for Sunday morning now for B's party but we've been given leave later to make the concert!! Iman, Toktam's husband, is tied up on Saturday afternoon at his Persian Nights restaurant on Uxbridge Road, Acton. Son and I are going round to Kingston on Saturday evening for supper b4 returning to Ealing for the nite. So gr8 weekend looming!! 2moro it's Tosca insight event at ON in LDS in afternoon!! Va regarder: pourrait être un tonique: beaucoup de câlins: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Nationally in UK 1 more Honey-buzzard record on BirdGuides (count 32 birds for month, 61 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 209 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 251 records):

[ 10/09 11:07 Northumberland : Western Osprey, Derwent Reservoir one still late morning ]

10/09 12:12 Durham : European Honey Buzzard, Boldon Flats NR juvenile flew southwest late morning (11:55) [good to see a juvenile identified and on the move in the NE!]

[ 10/09 13:44 Northumberland : Western Osprey, Holy Island one by causeway ]

September 9th: rain again in morning, clearing up in afternoon when did masses of gardening, restoring patio area to something approaching respectability. Rabbit numbers are increasing rapidly; they're eating my grass well and so far I don't think they've managed to get into Colditz next door! Still some butterflies around but reducing with Painted Lady 2, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Peacock 1, Small White 2, Speckled Wood 3, Green-veined White 1. Have caught up with Honey-buzzard records, bringing totals on home page to 7/9 for the year; that involved work on many images from Beltingham and Beldon Burn. Gather I'm going to have to provide some info for money-laundering purposes re: son's property purchase. Doubt that oligarchs are asked any questions!! I'm offering to pay for a partial survey: just because it's relatively new doesn't mean too much! Made G4g4s for good crack: gr8 to have j on: seem to attract hairdressers: she's Trans!! P absent for some time: ARL.!! s & m: ça s'est bien passé: ça devrait être parfait maintenant: l'anticipation est grande: beaucoup de bisous : xxxxxxxxxx!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4ls, walk out, G4g4s!! xxxx!!

Nationally in UK 4 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 31 birds for month, 60 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 208 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 250 records):

09/09 10:27 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Pegwell Bay one flew south (10:20)

[ 09/09 14:01 Northumberland : Western Osprey, Holy Island on Pilgrim's Way post mid-afternoon ]

09/09 17:18 Northamptonshire : European Honey Buzzard, Cogenhoe one flew west (13:30)

09/09 18:35 London : European Honey Buzzard, Rainham one flew west over allotments on Bloors Lane

09/09 21:54 Cornwall : European Honey Buzzard, Botallack one flew south over Levant Mine (15:00) [yet another Cornish record, not expected with winds firmly in W unless from Ireland]

September 8th: no fieldwork today as wet and dull midday but did clear up late afternoon and did a lot of work on front garden, giving it a make-over; have decided to mow one path rather than use herbicide on it; that should be encouraged for wildlife. Completed analysis of Beltingham piccies so all clear now to update totals to 7/9 tomorrow morning. Modified a topos diagram (Figure 4) and changed some text; hope to complete topos section tomorrow. Made C4c4l, which was very stimulating with trhwso and tbld showing well!! Might go there tomorrow again, do some shopping at W, more gardening plus a walk, finishing with G4g4s!! Had extra close read of FT; 2 factors are a puzzle. How much will the £ rise on a Brexit deal? Are these US tariffs on China really going to matter in substance (as opposed to sentiment where effect already vast)? I doubt the £ will soar as any deal is likely to be a fudge, causing further uncertainty for the future. As long as the tariff war stays between US and China, feeling is current actions will not be devastating as there will be leakage of products around the walls. A higher £ does depress the value of my overseas assets in £ but you could argue that doesn't matter as international purchasing power is maintained. So think I'll be patriotic and take any rise in £ on the chin: I cannot base my entire investment strategy on such a politically unpredictable issue! The China issue needs careful watching: it's a more substantial issue. Bonne chance: vous serez brillant : xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Should add that son is buying a used home (1-bedroom maisonette) outside the government's Help to Buy scheme; my money is being used to pay the expenses and increase the deposit so that the LTV is reduced to c80% on a 193k buy, subject to survey, valuation and contract. I'm keener on that sort of help!! Help to Buy is a boon for house-builders with its emphasis on new-builds and is likely to trap many buyers in negative equity, with the sale prices inflated by the builders to take advantage of the scheme. I don't think in general that it's a particularly good time to buy but prices in Hatfield are cheap for SE England. There's also the psychological dimension, capitalising on his recent internal promotions at work (Business Analyst with databases: what I used to do!), his increased savings and his determined escape from ARLD, which is going to plan while encouraging more frequent contact! All praise, for a year ago, to the QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City, where the Outpatients made an immediate diagnosis on a swollen leg, initiated resolution of stress problems at work, and prescribed treatment and monitored results, in a fully supportive still-ongoing environment. No plaudits to the GPs who said 3 weeks was the earliest they could do for an appointment. Indeed when after some time the hospital suggested he return to the GPs, he resisted as he felt stigmatised there; the hospital happily continued in command. ARLD is the 2nd biggest killer in the UK of young men, after suicide. Too often this occurs because the patient lacks support both from the medical profession and the community, and even the family ARLD%20final%20report.pdf. Anyway he's been teetotal for a year now but has put on weight because he's switched to cake! His finances have been transformed! As for myself I never drink at home on my own, which is why I'm happy with 2 nights at home a week; 2 pints of Guinness (2.3 units a pint) is now my standard consumption in a pub, making 4.6 units a night for 4 nights. I do have an extra drink on nights out in NCL so consumption is around 25 units or 11 drinks a week, which I class as moderate drinking! See

Nationally in UK 1 more Honey-buzzard record on BirdGuides (count 27 birds for month, 56 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 204 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 246 records):

08/09 15:28 Northamptonshire : European Honey Buzzard, Pitsford Reservoir one flew south over Scaldwell Bay (12:00)

September 7th: much cooler, 11C, light NW breeze, dry. Did make Stocksfield Mount from 15:05-17:15. Not really enough breeze or warmth for raptors but had some sightings, particularly on wooded hill S of Mickley. Here from 16:10-16:15 had a family party of 4 Honey-buzzard including a very pale male, a dark female, and a brown and a dark juvenile; they were up low-down over the edge of a field, where they were presumably feeding ???. There was frequent rearing and diving in the air low-down with some playful interaction. Keeping them company was a juvenile and adult Red Kite, with another juvenile Red Kite seen 1km to N at 15:48. indicating a brood of 2 in the area. On the N side of the valley it was quiet but did have a juvenile Red Kite up briefly at 15:23 and a brown juvenile Honey-buzzard up at 16:25 (8324). So well worth the visit with 5 Honey-buzzard and 3 Red Kite, latter confirming breeding at the 2 sites in the area. Total number of bird species was 16. Did walk down GB: all quiet!! Didn't have any replies to last week's letter in Hexham Courant: the FoRKers after their admission of under-counting may well be acquiescing!! Did a little research on Russian proverbs; the BBC provide a web page russian-proverbs-to-get-you-through-the-world-cup and helpfully provide an explanation for each: I love no.5 “In a quiet lagoon, devils dwell” but they don't give the Russian, maybe: В тихой лагуне обитают дьяволы. Made W4g4s where 5 of us out for good chat. Need to book train tickets for trip to Opera North in Leeds next Tuesday (12:25 ex NCL; 18:39 ex LDS) and London the following weekend, Friday (11:29 ex NCL) to Tuesday (12:30 ex KGX). Vous manque mais l'occasion est merveilleuse: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro it's C4cl and maybe a bit of gardening with catch-up in evening. xxxx!!

Bloodbath in markets this week, particularly in London where ftse down 4.0% in 2 weeks and 5.3% on year; some of the secondary stocks have been hammered and this morning's fall had the whiff of forced sales, maybe to cover margin calls. Perhaps fitting that London is behaving more like a distressed emerging market, in current weakness, than a developed market: that's Brexit for you! Own funds were down 4k, 2k of which £ appreciation, so satisfactory defensive performance. Gain on year is 109k, reduced to 83k after withdrawals of 26.6k. Yes, I've transferred money to son: it's quick to realise cleared funds from the market (3 days). Have moved this week another 23k from bonds to front-line mining stocks; this might be a buying opportunity! And might not …

Nationally in UK 4 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 26 birds for month, 55 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 203 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 245 records):

07/09 13:33 Isle of Wight : European Honey Buzzard, St. Catherine's Point one today (13:22) [taking us up to 200 birds for year]

07/09 17:54 Surrey : European Honey Buzzard, Bookham Common one flew southwest (15:45)

07/09 16:19 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Pegwell Bay one flew over yesterday; also juvenile Curlew Sandpiper

07/09 17:16 West Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Chanctonbury Ring pale morph over western slope then flew towards Cissbury Ring

September 6th: took a while to sort out records from yesterday but did get there; also wrote down what thought about the lovely film! Made N4c4l but otherwise day was scholarly, spending ages on the music/monad paper describing the LCCC in more detail; think the Baden-Baden paper is very compressed, not easy to understand unless you know CT; here with more space, aiming to double length to 10-12 pages, can explain things more expansively. Did not go out in evening; like to have 2 nites at home a week as can get a lot more done study-wise! Watched debate at UN on latest developments in the Novichok saga; amused at Russian delegate's tactic; he really obfuscated the whole issue by bringing in Russian proverbs; no-one in the west understands these: masterclass!! Peut-être jouer lien bientôt : plein de bisous!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l and W4g4s. Hope to sort out Beltingham from last week as can then bring totals for Honey-buzzard up to date. If get out will make Stocksfield Mount. Following receipt of Samling newsletter, booked up 2 of their concerts at S on 28/10 and 1/12. Also received a Diamond membership card from RNS: 15% discount on pre-performance drinks but doubt it's cumulative with PP! Claimed against LNER on late arrival of train in KGX last week (delay repay, £24) and also asked Argos for credit note for £19.99 as they've failed to collect my used mattress! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Nationally in UK 2 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 22 birds for month, 51 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 199 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 241 records):

06/09 13:37 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Hythe one flew west (12:28)

06/09 16:02 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Dungeness RSPB one flew west over Denge Marsh

September 5th: a beautiful autumn day with almost unbroken warm sunshine at 16C, light SW breeze. Made Towsbank on upper South Tyne from 13:10-16:20. Butterflies were best I've known in the upper South Tyne area with Small Tortoiseshell 13, Small White 9, Red Admiral 5, Peacock 3, Green-veined White 3, Painted Lady 2, Large White 2, Comma 1, Speckled Wood 1. That's 39 insects of 9 types. Also had 2 Common Hawker dragonflies. Towsbank is being tidied up by Euroforest 1  2  3; it's a bit of a scrubby wood and the wood is not that good but the thinning should improve the quality, enabling bigger trees to grow with more clearings and space between the trees. Was a little concerned about the thinning taking place when Honey-buzzard and Hobby might still be breeding but the timber operations had not reached their nesting areas. Action started just after arrival at 13:22 with a male Honey-buzzard migrating S, doing a soar over the moors to the S after a glide from the N had brought him down into view from the ground at Eals 1  2; this soar-glide routine goes on for the entire trip to their wintering grounds in west Africa, saving c90% of the energy that they'd use in level flapping flight! Indeed the energy needs for the level flight are so high that migration would not be practicable, particularly further S when food becomes scarce over the Sahara Desert. He was soon lost to sight. At 13:49 a pale brown juvenile Honey-buzzard flew low-down over the edge of the wood, right past the nest site 1 and landed in a tree on the edge of the wood, overlooking some rough pasture. It perched there for at least 5 minutes 1  2  3  4  5  6 (8320). Juvenile Honey-buzzard do regularly perch in the open unlike older birds; my view here is that they are relatively safe in the UK perched in the open but in Africa they learn fear with all the eagles around and keep well hidden. At 13:58 a darker brown juvenile soared briefly fairly high up over the wood, accompanied by an adult male Sparrowhawk. The final sightings were from 15:41-15:46 when an adult female climbed up over the S end of the wood 1  2 and drew the darker brown (stronger flying) juvenile up into the air 1  2  3  4  5  6 where they displayed with some chasing at close quarters. I was a little worried about the Hobby having been affected by the timber operations so was relieved to see a juvenile female glide menacingly across the South Tyne at 14:32 from Towsbank towards Softley 1  2  3  4  5. A juvenile male Hobby flew circled briefly over its nest site to the N of the main timber works at 14:57 1 . At 15:50 a juvenile Red Kite was up over the pastures to S. Two Kestrel juveniles were up over the timber operations, no doubt looking for displaced voles! Total for Common Buzzard was 6, including 4 over Towsbank and 2 at Snope Burn, with juveniles at each site. Total for birds was 25 types, including 250 Starling, 22 Swallow (2 S), 5 House Martin (1S), 16 House Sparrow (including fledged young), 2 Goldcrest.

Summary for raptors is 16 birds of 6 types: Common Buzzard 6, Honey-buzzard 4 (male migrant S, female, 2 juvenile), Hobby 2 (2 juvenile), Red Kite 1 (juvenile), Sparrowhawk 1 (adult male 1), Kestrel 2 (both juvenile). On way back at 16:45 had a dark Honey-buzzard juvenile, being chased by a Corvid, towards the Allerwash site and at 16:50 had a brown juvenile Honey-buzzard, circling slowly, moving NW from Hexham High Wood, c500m away from wood. Had a Red Kite reported 2 weeks ago from field near Travellers Rest, Slaley (Roger C).

Had good chat with M at T4c4c and with B/S at G4g4t; went home as out since 11 b4 making TC for Cold War; really enjoyed this film, made in Poland with a post-war setting; this was a romantic film, full of tension, with the 2 main characters of Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) playing a relatively sophisticated (male) music composer and Zula (Joanna Kulig) a younger, fairly wild (female) singer and dancer; Zula was on probation as she'd knifed her father, wounding him, when he confused her for her mother (her words!). Zula was recruited to a post-war ensemble for performing traditional country dances and songs and Wiktor was one of the creative overseers. The communists soon changed the repertoire to include songs lauding communism and Stalin! They had an on-off romance, never being able to get away from each other nor really tying the knot. Through their music they visited Berlin and Paris, with the music transformed to jazz and blues at the latter. After a bad spell when Wiktor was imprisoned in Poland for illegally crossing the border, the film does eventually end happily with them finally taking their vows to themselves in a ruined castle in Poland but it was a tremendous struggle!! Paweł Pawlikowski was the inspired Director. Good for history, music and love!! Gate was good for a late night showing. B's birthday is now on the Saturday at the zoo so we've booked 3 tickets for the Aurora concert on the Sunday. Day finished on a high: plenty of action: she's very huggable: lok2tgrf!!!!!!! 2moro should make N4c4l, trip out, G4g4s!! xxxx!!

Nationally in UK 5 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 20 birds for month, 49 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 197 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 239 records):

05/09 10:02 Cornwall : European Honey Buzzard, Lamorna Cove one flew east over Boleigh Farm (09:51)

05/09 12:07 Derbyshire : European Honey Buzzard, Ogston Reservoir one drifted south 11:38-48 (11:48)

05/09 13:52 Cornwall : European Honey Buzzard, Mousehole one flew over (10:20)

05/09 13:52 Cornwall : European Honey Buzzard, Sancreed one circling southeast of village then flew NNE (11:00)

05/09 15:39 Cornwall : European Honey Buzzard, Skewjack one flew over Trevescan (11:57) [ amazing sequence of records over W extreme of Cornwall; moving E are these Irish birds? ]

September 4th: intruder alarm guy arrived early as usual: service all sorted by 09:30; he said spiders are main cause of false alarms; I've got 2 monsters in the house at the moment! Made N4c4l where met a few mates in the sunshine. Butterflies at home on buddleia remained high at 25 insects of 5 types: Small Tortoiseshell 8, Painted Lady 5, Peacock 5, Small White 5, Red Admiral 2. Spent some time on monad/music paper, writing the expanded text for the new Figure 1; next 3 figures should be quicker as have the text in summary form already. Did get up to R&C4g4s where met A for good crack. Funds -1k after another torrid day for global mining stocks; sold more than enough bonds to raise the 12k for son; that will knock 1.1% off total value on Friday but it's all in a good cause!! Had detour from R&C: very inspired: she's so beautiful: lok2tmbo!!!!!!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M, trip out W, G4g4t with B, TC4film via CAL -- back to more normal genre, at 21:00!! xxxx!!!

Nationally in UK 3 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 15 birds for month, 44 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 192 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 234 records):

04/09 20:01 Hampshire : European Honey Buzzard, Lower Test Marshes HWT one flew south and then back north again early evening (18:12)

04/09 17:25 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Hollingbury one flew west over Waterhall Golf Course this afternoon (15:10)

[ 04/09 16:51 Northumberland : Western Osprey, Wark one flew over late afternoon ]

04/09 13:08 London : European Honey Buzzard, Putney one reported flying southeast over West Putney (12:10) [R]

Interesting entry for Red Kite in July Bulletin of N&TBC:

A family party of two adults and two fledged young were seen at Dipton on 5th (AJ et al.) [1 of at least 3 broods in area]. A pale tawny immature [presume juvenile] was noted at Fern Hill (Oakwood) [just N of Hexham] on 1st (ALT). A bird was perched on the wall at the west end of Grindon Lough on 4th before being chased off SE by two Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus (SJH) and single birds were also seen at Derwent Reservoir on 21st and 26th (IFo).

September 3rd: had final chat with big sis over breakfast before catching 11:29 EAL-KGX and 12:30 KGX-NCL, which was only 5 minutes late. Had a brown Honey-buzzard juvenile over a field a little N of York, at Beningborough E, doing flap-flap-glide over a stubble field; Yorkshire as a whole seems very good for Honey-buzzard; must have quite a high breeding population. Did a moderate amount of work on train, upping diagrams from 1 to 4 on the topos, following approach in ANPA presentation; just need to provide some text as glue! La réception a été très appréciée: plus à venir bientôt: lok2tgrf!!!!!!! Made G4g4s but there were only 2 of us; still had good chat with R and good to have d on!! Son is making rapid progress with maisonette purchase in Hatfield, having had an offer of 193k accepted with broker support; so where's your 12k dad? Will sell some bonds 2moro for FPO of proceeds on Friday: it's quite speedy these days! 2moro it's intruder alarm service at 09:00, N4c4l, further work on text for music/monad paper and maybe later including the E: R&C4murphy4s with A!! Could be TC the next day b4 the perfume takes over!! xxxx!!

Nationally in UK 2 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 12 birds for month, 41 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 189 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 231 records):

03/09 13:26 Isle of Wight : European Honey Buzzard, Luccombe one over Luccombe Down this morning; also Pied Flycatcher (09:57) [scores again!]

03/09 13:56 Somerset & Bristol : European Honey Buzzard, Kingsdon one flew low west over Lytes Cary this morning (11:00)

September 2nd: Weather was warm and sunny throughout. Great gathering of the Nicholls clan in Froxfield, Wiltshire, with about 35 attendees for Aunty Ann's 90th birthday (Lena Ann Tapper, younger sister of my mother Betty, one of 3 daughters of William Hudson Nicholls, farmer near Dawlish, and Mabel Lena Nicholls, née Holbrook); she's actually 90.67 now. Her children, my 1st cousins, came from far and wide for the occasion with David from Australia, Alexandra (Sasa) from South Africa, Stephen from Froxfield, Timothy from Shepherds Bush. Hadn't seen the first two for ages so great to see them again. David and Sasa's husband Kris both worked in IT. My mother's elder sister Jean married James Short, farmer near Exminster; they had 4 daughters, one of whom Jane sadly died of cystic fibrosis; the older one Ann married a banker with Barclays DCO and couldn't make it today; the younger 2, Frances and Nicola, obviously also my 1st cousins, were both there today and good to see them as well; they live at Cullompton and Newton Abbot in Devon; Janes's surviving husband Toni is a Torquay United (Gulls) supporter actually being at Plainmoor to see them beat the mighty Hemel Hampstead 2-0 yesterday; he also lives in Newton Abbot, pronounced Newt Nabbot for the uninitiated. My younger sister came up from Sidmouth with her husband so the R's attended in strength with my elder sister looking after me (as usual!). All in all a brilliant day with very good company, food and wine!! I was the only one there living N of Froxfield and got a special cheer in the credits for attending from the wild North!! Had 8 Red Kite and 1 Common Buzzard on drive from Ealing-Froxfield and back.

My elder sister did manage a chat with a group about our maternal genealogy. Last time this was raised with them I distributed my preliminary findings going back to Sarah Jane Dashper. This caused quite a shock not only with the suicide of Annie Elizabeth Holbrook (my maternal great-grandmother) but also my suggestion that we didn't go back in Cornwall for a thousand years but came fairly recently from the East (mtDNA, names, early photographs). They actually volunteered that our early female line has an olive tinge and want to receive an update. Can do! Stephen has a lot more early photographs which he's going to digitise and send. 2moro it's quick return on 12:30 from KGX; train coming down yesterday was 40 minutes late; back in 2 weeks for younger granddaughter's birthday. Hâte de revenir: xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Nationally in UK 3 more Honey-buzzard records for 4 birds on BirdGuides (count 10 birds for month, 39 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 187 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 229 records):

02/09 19:45 Northumberland : European Honey Buzzard, Holy Island one flew north over centre at 17:12 (17:12) [didn't know they existed up here!!]

02/09 13:56 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Dungeness RSPB one flew over Denge Marsh this afternoon (13:35)

02/09 13:44 Isle of Wight : European Honey Buzzard, St. Boniface Down two on the east side early morning [good place to be!]

September 1st: converted monad paper to LaTeX format for journal, from MS Word; took ages but now ready to make additions from ANPA talk, involving tighter definition of limits, colimits, LCCC, Dolittle, as a start. Had a Nightjar at Swallowship last night; think they must have bred there or at the N extreme of Dipton Wood. Findings on yesterday's objectives are yes, yes, yes! The Honey-buzzard comprised 3 birds at 2 sites: a pair of adult were up over Middle Plantation looking anxious suggesting the young were in the trees at the top of the wood; the Scots Pine in the lower wood here have been clear-felled so if the nest had been there, there would have been some problems; the adult male was up first at 13:50, joined by an adult Red Kite which quickly drifted away; the female then came out of the top wood and they moved higher, eventually indulging in some display with diving. At 14:15 the adult male Honey-buzzard was back alone, watching the top wood very closely, suggesting fledged young were within 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12; these last 3 piccies were with adult Red Kite 13  14  15 (8301). An adult male came off the group of very high trees at Riddlehamhope at 15:06 and went off hunting on the moors to the SW 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13 (8302). No juvenile Honey-buzzard were seen and the behaviour of the adults at Middle Plantation, indicating fledging is imminent, was similar to that around 10/8 in the lowlands. Riddlehamhope at 400m asl is even more behind, perhaps similar to 3/8 in the lowlands. Difficult to summarise on a sample of 2 sites but 3-4 weeks behind for the upper Derwent sites is the situation on the ground. The Hobby was a male looking very much in territory over the top of the high wood at Riddlehamhope at 14:30, rising a little over the wood and then sinking back into the canopy 1. Maintenant à Londres: service normal la semaine prochaine: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro's buzzword is 90!!

Nationally in UK 2 more Honey-buzzard records for 6 birds on BirdGuides (count 6 birds for month, 35 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 183 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 226 records):

01/09 13:17 East Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Beverley one flew north (12:52)

01/09 13:30 Isle of Wight : European Honey Buzzard, Luccombe three flew over Luccombe Down at 09:45 then 2 seen at 10:20 (10:20) [there's been multiple sightings here in the past; it's due S of Northumberland so our birds are likely to go this way]

August 31st: had leisurely 12km walk up and down the Beldon Burn, on Durham-Northumberland boundary from Newbiggin to Riddlehamhope, from 12:00-17:00. Weather was perfect: sunny intervals, 17C, light SW breeze, dry. Raptors were fantastic with total of 41 birds of 7 types, including Red Kite 23, Common Buzzard 7, Kestrel 5, Honey-buzzard 3, Hobby 1, Osprey 1, Sparrowhawk 1. Total for all bird-types was 25. Much of the walk is on the grouse moors but it starts in the Newbiggin wooded estate. There's much active felling of the shelter-belts as timber prices are high, which may cause a little realignment of raptor territories. Objectives of visit were to 1) test whether Honey-buzzard breeding is genuinely late up here, rather than an artefact of my visits being relatively late in season; 2) see whether the Red Kite is continuing to thrive in the upper Derwent; 3) check whether Hobby are continuing to nest on the high moors as they appear to be in decline in lowland areas due to lack of small birds (for food). Red Kite at Blanchland included an adult soaring very high at 12:35 and a family group of 4 birds (2 adult, 2 juvenile) up to NE of village at 17:05 on way out. In the Newbiggin and Baybridge areas adult+juvenile pairings of Red Kite were noted in both from 12:24-12:36 1  2  3  4  5. A family party of Common Buzzard (adult, 2 juvenile) was also at Newbiggin. Migrants here included 12 Swallow S, 1 Meadow Pipit S, and single calling Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. Newbiggin total for bird-types was 15. While walking past Middle Plantation picked up single adult over Buckshott Fell at 13:25 and over Nookton Fell at 13:35, with a Kestrel adult female also noted at latter. In the Middle Plantation area itself had a pair of Honey-buzzard as above (1/9). Red Kite comprised a loose family grouping of 5 birds (2 adult + 3 juvenile). Common Buzzard comprised a family group of 4 birds (2 adult, 2 juveniles). A Sparrowhawk juvenile was up at 15:50 and 2 Kestrel juveniles were hunting over the moorland. Total number of bird-types was 13, including 20 Meadow Pipit (8 feed, 5 SE, 4 S, 3 SW) and 14 Swallow (12 S, 1 SE, 1 feed), 3 Stonechat (pair of adult, 1 juvenile), 16 Red Grouse. At Riddlehamhope from 14:20-15:30 had Red Kite broods at both N and S plantations with 4 at former (2 adult, 2 juvenile) and 3 at latter (2 adult, 1 juvenile). On way up an Osprey (unaged) was seen moving towards here at 13:41. An adult male Hobby was up high, 2 Kestrel were seen (1 juvenile and 1 adult), a Raven was heard calling, a Meadow Pipit flew S and 6 Red Grouse were noted. Riddlehamhope total was 10 bird types. Butterflies were brilliant today, getting 16 insects of 8 types up the Beldon Burn: Peacock 4, Red Admiral 3, Small Copper 3, Small White 2, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Green-veined White 1, Speckled Wood 1, Comma 1. At Ordley had 29 insects of 6 types: Small White 8, Peacock 8, Small Tortoiseshell 7, Painted Lady 3, Speckled Wood 2, Red Admiral 1. So total for butterflies today was 45 of 9 types: Peacock 12, Small White 10, Small Tortoiseshell 8, Red Admiral 4, Painted Lady 3, Speckled Wood 3, Small Copper 3, Green-veined White 1, Comma 1. Much more to follow … Terrible week for markets with ftse losing 1.9% on week, 3% on month and 3.3% on year as £ revives a little and worries about everything abound! Own funds were down 5k, mainly due to the £ rising and dealing expenses, after bright start on Tuesday, reducing gain on year to 114k before deductions of 14.6k; have moved 70k from bonds to front-line mining stocks; the equities yield almost as much as the bonds after their heavy falls. Se sentir raide: doit être un remède : xxxxxxxxxxxx!!

Nationally in UK 2 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 29 birds for month, 29 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 177 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 224 records):

31/08 17:51 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Long Nab, Burniston one flew north then out to sea (16:45)

31/08 11:15 Norfolk : European Honey Buzzard, Cawston Heath probable over mid-morning (09:30) [?]

August 30th: another great day for butterflies at home with 39 insects of 8 types: Peacock 11, Small Tortoiseshell 5, Small White 12, Painted Lady 3, Red Admiral 3, Wall 2, Speckled Wood 2, Comma 1. The Comma brings number of species over last week to 10. They were again mainly around buddleia flowers. Weather was sunny but cool at 15C on light SW breeze. Met M at T4c4c where we had good chat. Have been catching up on bird and insect records, compiling those for Hexham High Wood on 27/8 and for Marlborough on 30/04/17; have now entered 749/2963 records into BirdTrack for 2017. C'était merveilleux: les rêves les plus doux: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro it really is the Beldon Burn followed by W4g4s!!

Have had letter published in Hexham Courant: Kites Established 31/08/2018 p.21; the letter (below) also looks at possible lessons for the Lynx UK project. The FoRKers in another letter on same page, admitting their figures are an underestimate, seem to have conceded. Are they going to seek my collaboration? Will get a url from the Courant for the letter shortly [not sure they give url for letters]. Here's a reference for the document on my web site. I wonder whether some of the FoRKers have been paid by the RSPB or Natural England for their survey work. Anyway I'm perfectly happy to give details of my results to the FoRKers; the records are already on BirdTrack.

The Editor

Hexham Courant


Dear Sir/Madam

It was very good to read of the rescue of a Red Kite at Rye Hill, Slaley, and of the subsequent care given to the bird by Falconry Days, resulting in its release back into the wild. Kites have been present around the Devil's Water, close to Rye Hill, all spring and summer so it is possible that it was a local bird.

The Red Kite appears to have established itself well as a Northumberland-breeding bird, particularly from 2016 when the population reached around 30 pairs from my work in the field. Many of these are on farmland adjacent to that used for the Gateshead re-introduction scheme, extending northwards to Bywell, but they have also been happy to colonise the grouse moors upstream from Derwent Reservoir, around Whitfield Moor and in the East Allen. Some of the birds on the moors may come from another re-introduction scheme at Grizedale, in Cumbria.

Since my study is restricted to south Northumberland bounded on the north side by the Tyne and South Tyne valleys, the figure of 30 pairs is a minimum: it is likely that some birds are breeding further north still.

Red Kite started to occupy Northumberland in 2006. Early success in 2008 was a false dawn as the species struggled to gain a foothold with some poisoning incidents receiving prominent attention in the press. It took a decade from 2006-2016 for the colonisation to be secure.

There may be a lesson here for Lynx UK.

While the ecological benefits of the re-introduction are very clear, such a scheme is fraught with difficulties in the early stages because of the inexperience of the animals in their new habitat and of the landowners in understanding their habits. Some further time for consultation, and acceptance on the ground, may be the difference between the success of the Lynx in Kielder and its failure.

Yours faithfully

Nick Rossiter


Nationally in UK 3 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 27 birds for month, 27 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 175 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 222 records):

30/08 15:06 Norfolk : European Honey Buzzard, Wiveton dark morph flew east over Wiveton Down (14:55)

[30/08 14:40 Durham : Western Osprey, Derwent Reservoir two yesterday] interesting!

30/08 07:11 Nottinghamshire : European Honey Buzzard, Newstead & Annesley CP one flew south over Annesley Pit Top mid-morning yesterday

26/08 07:13 Dorset : European Honey Buzzard, St. Leonards adult male flew over A31 yesterday

August 29th: did make appointment with jd at JG for hair-cut, cost 17.50 +5 tip! She did a good job; wondered how she'd gone from brunette to a variegated light brown colour and she explained the mysteries of colouration; not for me I think! She thinks that 2-monthly appointments would keep me smarter so have next appointment on 24/10! Made N4c4l as recuperation. Collected new mobile device from Vodafone in Northumberland Street; took ages as copying from old device was so slow; paid them £20 to completely set-up the new one and it's all working brilliantly with old number retained; G was very helpful; she said copying from Android to Android is more difficult than iPhone to iPhone as does not usually go over in 1 synchronization. Met N at CB4m4t where we had tasty food, somewhat in the French style. We went to the film I, Daniel Blake (made in the NE) at TC which was far removed from my normal genre (of which enough said!): it was very worrying how the poor are ground down by bureaucracy, often controlled through the Internet, at which they have limited experience. The sobering end saw the young woman moving to prostitution and the older man dying of a heart attack through the stress of it all. Should be compulsory viewing for all MPs. We skipped the discussion and made Br4rw4s for good chat b4 N's trip to Nice next week. It was a gr8 reunion: release of plenty of pent-up feelings: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!!!! 2moro meeting M at T4c4c and doing plenty of study on next CT paper.

August 28th: made B's place for 2 hours for a close look at his piano playing; he's got a good grasp of the theory and played me Chopin's Valse as an example of a piece with different rhythms for left and right hand; Chopin of course also made use of rubato in which maximising expression requires you to vary the pace temporarily from that written. Another instructive piece was Over the Rainbow where the usual tonal version was adapted by Shearing to a more jazzy version with much chromaticism (using notes out of current scale) and less tonal closure. All in all very informative: should add acknowledgements to him and Michael Brockway who helps me with the pure maths. B practices the organ on his digital piano, which has an organ mode; the main difference is there's no sustainability of a note on the organ, once you take your finger off the key. He thinks Rachmaninov's piano music is the most difficult to play, because of its contorted interplay between the left and right hand, which is interesting from a CT perspective. The simple allocation of left-hand to harmony and right-hand to melody soon breaks down once you get past grade 4. Nearby Beltingham is a Honey-buzzard hot-spot so went there next from 15:30-16:35; weather was warmer 17C on light SW breeze with sun poking through a thin layer of cloud. Honey-buzzard were indeed fantastic with a family party of 4 birds up over Ridley Hall (Morralee site) from 15:34-15:36; the 2 juveniles (dark and brown) kept close to the canopy with the female a little above them and the male higher still encouraging them to stay up by dropping occasionally to almost touch them; 2 juveniles (ruddy, dark) were up over Beltingham itself, near Willimontswick, from 15:58-16:02 floating around and reluctant to leave a dense copse to S of bridge across South Tyne, both these are new sites for year, in Allen and lower South Tyne. At Beltingham 2 Common Buzzard (adult, juvenile) were also seen briefly at 16:02. Total for trip was 13 bird-types including 2 types of raptor: 6 Honey-buzzard, 2 Common Buzzard. Final event of day was R&C4m4s where met A and his daughter A: very good crack! Funds are +3k and have moved into action on commodity resurgence with 29k of bonds switched into mining equity today! China's weak patch is supposed to be bottoming out and the US is booming so expect natural resource prices to recover, from their rapid summer-time slide, during the autumn: well that's the theory! Hedge funds are very short on commodities so recovery could be fast, once the tide is seen to be turning. 2moro it's hair-cut at JG with jd in morning (hope she'll be pleased to see me!), N4c4l, CB4m4t with N, TC4film, plus collecting new 'phone at 16:00; could be CAL-NCL as usual!! Sommes-nous plus chaud? xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!:

August 27th: not the sort of morning that I'd envisaged: grey and cool (12C), no sunshine and moderate NW breeze. So abandoned idea of going up Beldon Burn where bright sunshine is essential and took on last remaining site in Tyne Valley W where no activity for Honey-buzzard recorded this year – Hexham High Wood – from 15:20-17:35. Taking on these conditions means that you're very unlikely to see the birds high-up and you have to inspect closely around the nest area as well as areas used in past years for feeding. Well took on the challenge, walking down the lane and keeping a very close eye on all directions; by 16:30 decided would have to walk further down the lane so that could have a direct view of the nest area. At 16:42 picked up a dark brown Honey-buzzard juvenile in the top of the canopy c200m W of nest site moving 10m from one larch tree to another, keeping well hidden; a Crow had spotted it and gave an alarm call; so that's 5 seconds sighting. Walked back up lane and in a group of small pastures noted a commotion, the likes of which had been seen on way down; this time though a dark-phase Honey-buzzard came up with a number of Corvids and dived immediately, perhaps 3 seconds in view. Overview is that some juveniles wander a fair way from the nest, in this case 1km, to feed, often in small-field or intimate pastures, where presumably they fell that they're not that conspicuous. Such small fields may also not be intensively farmed so rich in invertebrates. Some juveniles retreat to the nest site where they hope perhaps to be fed by a parent, maybe just a top-up to that they've found themselves. 8 seconds of sightings for 2:15 fieldwork might seem a bit on the slow side! No other raptors were seen or heard. But it's an important find, bringing Tyne Valley W to 8 sites occupied, same as last year, and revealing a little more of the habits of the newly-fledged juveniles. Had 4 Purple Hairstreak butterflies ½ way up an oak tree when the sun came out for 10 minutes; also had 2 Small White. Back home, had an active session of grass cutting: notable that 2nd regrowth from dry spell is weak, in contrast to the 1st regrowth which was strong; can see problems for farm pastures here. Made G4g4s where good crack!! Sorted out Opera N, going to dress rehearsal of Tosca in Leeds on 11/9 and booking tickets at TR for Puccini's Tosca on 23/10 (with drinks reception) and Lehar's Merry Widow on 26/10 (with talk on creativity in the production). Small is Beautiful is in between! J'espère que ça s'est bien passé: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro it's out to B's for lesson on the organ, from a CT viewpoint! Maybe also check for Honey-buzzard in Beltingham area. Later making R&C4m4s to meet A: we'll be booted out early!

Think have new leaf-mining species of moth for the county – Stigmella sakhalinella: Hexham High Wood, 27/08/2018, vacated mines x3, on birch, long gallery, narrow linear dashed brown frass in early convoluted gallery with wide margins, becoming coiled brown frass for most of terminal part completely filling mine, ending in substantial clear area with no frass deposited, not crossing main veins, no brown spot at start 1  2  3.

August 26th: cold 13C and very wet: not good for end-August but supposed to be better tomorrow when going for walk up the Beldon Burn to the moors. Masses of records compiled today, completing trip to Hampshire from 13-17 August, yesterday's good trip and some records from the North Wessex Downs in May 2017. Also booked up RNS Rocks, RNS birthday party stop-over and ordered new mobile 'phone, a Samsung J3, from Vodafone on PAYG to collect next Wednesday afternoon from Northumberland Street; current mobile is 2.3 years old; it's still going but has burnt out one charging cable and is sluggish, crashing with increasing frequency, so time to upgrade. N's booked up the evening's entertainment at CB and TC! Have bought train tickets for next weekend HEX-EAL return but it's a brief trip. Last month's credit card bills on my 2 cards totalled 2.7k, which paid in full; this month's are smaller at 1.9k; Kruger payments of 2.5k were done directly out of current account. Today is start of the next month: happy days!! Did make N4c4t where good to meet S/H!! Much later made G4g4s where very pleased to have N back!! Eh bien en secret j'aime ces ajouts: bonne chance une fois de plus !! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

August 25th: just a bit warmer at 15C but completely different feel with warm sunshine, in long sunny intervals, on light W breeze. Day was memorable for 1st migrating Honey-buzzard of the autumn in the study area with a male from 14:45-14:50 climbing higher and higher over Warden Hill, until in the base of the clouds, hanging for a significant time and then gliding off S (Africa here I come!). They often hang before getting on with it: some hesitancy perhaps, saying goodbye to the family or taking final image of home habitat for next year's return: probably all 3! Two juveniles were seen, one brown and one dark; the brown one was older, seen briefly over the rough meadows to SW of Warden Hill at 15:40; the darker one was a weak flyer, seen briefly around W extreme of Warden Hill wood at 15:15. The female came up briefly at 15:28 over the top of the hill, clearly checking where the juveniles were hiding 1 (8325)! The nest site is down in the valley in an oak copse, so they've brought the young c1km up to the top of the hill, where flying practice is easier in the stronger updraught; this is usual tactic. Walk was from 14:30-16:20. A very welcome sight was a total of 3 Red Kite hunting over the rough meadows on SW side of the hill; these comprised an adult and 2 juvenile. Red Kite are doing fantastically well in the Hexham area. Also had a family party of 4 Common Buzzard and a juvenile Kestrel. So that's 12 raptors of 4 types: Honey-buzzard 4, Common Buzzard 4, Red Kite 3, Kestrel 1. The day was also remarkable for what I think is the highest ever butterfly count on my 2-acre garden/field at Ordley: 40 insects of 9 types: Peacock 17, Small Tortoiseshell 8, Small White 6, Painted Lady 3, Red Admiral 2, Wall 1, Large White 1, Speckled Wood 1, Green-veined White 1. Most were on buddleia but it's the rough vegetation on my plot that makes life possible for their caterpillars. Did a lot of grass cutting after walk; generally feeling fitter now!! Started picking apples: 2 a day for next 2 months: have 5 different varieties to space out the season: plenty as well for the birds and wasps. Did make C4c4l but no FT left and reduction in fanciable ladies! Alors, est-ce que j'observe bien? Eh bien, j'ai remarqué quelque chose! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! Made overview of additions needed for music/monad paper; will download LaTeX formatting template tomorrow and start work. 2moro will make W4shop, N4c4t and G4g4s!!

Nationally in UK 3 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 24 birds for month, 24 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 172 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 219 records):

25/08 15:09 Norfolk : European Honey Buzzard, Cantley one flew north (14:00)

25/08 11:44 West Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Fairburn Ings RSPB one reported [R]

26/08 07:13 Dorset : European Honey Buzzard, St. Leonards adult male flew over A31 yesterday

August 24th: cold today at 12C with heavy rain showers, almost merging into one long wet spell up in the 'Shire. So no fieldwork today. Catching-up on fieldwork from last week in the deep south and transferring spreadsheet records for the North Wessex Downs in the trip with N in early May last year to BirdTrack. Will start on extending music/monad paper this weekend. Funds had sharp turnaround today from -2k on Tuesday to +3k by close of play today. A good rally was had in commodities and Irish stock LON:ORM boomed. Still wary with tactic of taking any profits quickly and moving ½ of proceeds into short-term bonds with the other ½ going back into speculative resource equities. But if the tide really turns with front-line resource equities, will move smartly back into the second-line ones by switching say 100k from bonds, which now total over 600k in value in a very defensive position. Gain on year is now 119k before withdrawal of 14.6k, just 4k below the record for net gain on 9/8. Now 10 recommendations on my comment yesterday; the thoughtful article generally has attracted a lot of interest. Next week on Wednesday it's Côte Brasserie with N 4m4t followed by film @ TC. Today made N4c4t and W4g4s where all 6 of us out for good chat! 2moro forecast is better and will get out for a walk; will though definitely make C4c4l!! J'attends avec impatience le mois de septembre!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Nationally in UK 2 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 21 birds for month, 21 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 169 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 216 records):

24/08 10:28 West Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Wintersett Reservoir adult flew southwest (10:25)

24/08 09:26 Warwickshire : European Honey Buzzard, Mancetter one flew low southwest over Purley Park (09:22)

[ 24/08 20:09 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Wykeham Forest two still from raptor viewpoint this morning; from A170 at Wykeham take minor road north to Highwood Brow for 6.4km to T-junction then left for 500m to car park (54.2860, -0.5637) ]

August 23rd: rained most of day so took opportunity to catch-up on records, compiling a good number of bird and insect lists for this month. Did make N4c4ll and G4g4s where 4 of mates out for good chat; feeling a bit lethargic at moment, still shaking off cold. 2moro it's N4c4l and W4g4s: keeping up the social side!! xxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Nationally in UK 2 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 19 birds for month, 19 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 167 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 213 records):

23/08 07:32 Nottinghamshire : European Honey Buzzard, Arnold one flew over Redhill (07:26)

23/08 07:09 Cornwall : European Honey Buzzard, Bude adult female flew low southwest yesterday (22/08 06:15)

[ 22/08 15:13 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Wykeham Forest two still from raptor viewpoint today; from the A170 at Wykeham take the minor road north to Highwood Brow for 6.4km to the T-junction then left for 500m to the car park at c.SE936887 ]

Very revealing article in The Times today: How antisemitism in Britain is rooted in the Second World War. Archive papers released to The Times [under FOI] show that Churchill’s bastion of propaganda and censorship allowed prejudice towards Jews to grow relentlessly. Dominic Kennedy reports at

An example of the difficulties in Britain was the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen camp. The UK authorities throughout the war had accused the Jews of exaggeration and Richard Dimbleby's report on the horrors of Belsen was held up for 4 days until he threatened to resign from the BBC. The camp was liberated on the afternoon of April 15, 1945.[10]:253 The first two to reach the camp were a British Special Air Service officer, Lieutenant John Randall, and his jeep driver, who were on a reconnaissance mission and discovered the camp by chance.[17] A picture was taken of this amazing event, showing the SAS soldier (with stripes and gun) and his jeep driver (with camera) being watched by an incredulous but hopeful group of Jewish women. When British and Canadian troops finally entered [later that day] they found over 13,000 unburied bodies and (including the satellite camps) around 60,000 inmates, most acutely sick and starving [some additions from Wikipedia]. I did make a public comment:

The Vichy Republic in France in WW2 did not save the Jews; rather some 80,000 French Jews perished in the concentration camps. With the attitudes in Britain well documented in this article, I would not have expected a puppet government in the UK to have behaved any better. (Had 4 recommendations by close of play).

Unfortunately Jeremy Corbyn's evasion finds many echoes in the statements by the UK authorities in WW2. This is very sad for the Labour Party.

August 22nd: did get some fieldwork in, from 16:10-16:55 in West Dipton, where no birds seen yesterday. It rained midday but by teatime the weather improved, being showery with sunny spells. Found 2 juvenile Honey-buzzard today, both dark and only just started flying. The first was seen on arrival at 16:10, flying into the beech trees on the S side of the valley, not far from Letah Wood. The second was up very briefly at 16:40, rising above a clump of spruce briefly with weak flap-flap-glide action before collapsing down again; this one was caught on video; the primary and tail feathers are still growing. Also had a family party of c4 Common Buzzard calling from Letah Wood at 16:40 and a surprise: yet another Red Kite juvenile escorted by an adult over Swallowship at 16:45; the adult kite took the young bird to moderate height for some diving and close interaction; that's 3 successful Red Kite territories around Dipton Wood (to date!). Earlier made C4c4l and later made G4g4t where met B as usual; we often talk about music: he can play well being church organist for Beltingham Parish (near Bardon Mill) and he plays the piano as well. So next Tuesday afternoon he's going to show me how the organ works: might be difficult putting that into CT: I'm just curious! He was playing the music for a christening last Sunday to a packed church! Must get out more from Schipol to the cultural delights of AMS: un lieu très prestigieux pour les talentueux: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro it's more fieldwork, N4c4l and G4g4s!!

August 21st: day of the Honey-buzzard! In 'Shire had 8 birds up -- 4 at Ordley, 2 at Dipton Wood S, 2 at Dotland – in walk along spine road (Slaley-Dotland Road) from 13:40-15:50. Weather was very misty early-on changing abruptly to sunny, humid conditions with excellent visibility; wind was light S/SE and temperature was 20C. At Ordley had early action with a pale juvenile up on E side of site briefly at 13:45 and a dark juvenile moving steadily N at moderate height at 13:58. presumably going out to feed. On return to home at Ordley from 15:25-15:35 the birds of prey were maniac with a family party of 4 Common Buzzard up, a Red Kite juvenile floating over the valley and a family party of 4 Honey-buzzard up, the latter including a strident male coming quite close, who was escorting the dark juvenile which climbed quite high before again disappearing to N; the other (pale) juvenile was a much weaker flyer still in the 'not daring to move' mode and was escorted by the female. This juvenile collapsed back into the trees after a short soar. The Red Kite is interesting as the sick bird, reported in last week's Hexham Courant Red kite rescued by staff at Tynedale bird of prey centre returns to wild, was found at Rye Hill, Slaley, c1km from the Devil's Water site; so they did manage to breed here. At Dotland around 14:41 a dark juvenile was up weakly over the N side of the site, floating around low-down; also here the male Honey-buzzard went out hunting to the SW at 14:45. At Dipton Wood S had early action at 13:47 with a female Honey-buzzard soaring to the S of the site, mobbed by 6 Jackdaw. At Dipton Wood S on return at 15:01, had a dark juvenile Honey-buzzard soaring hesitantly over the site reaching moderate height before rapidly coming back to ground; also here was a juvenile Red Kite floating low down at 14:58 so the kites have finally conquered the 'Shire. Total for walk was 14 raptors of 3 species: 8 Honey-buzzard, 4 Common Buzzard, 2 Red Kite. Have brought home page for Honey-buzzard up to date.

Met M at T4c4c where we had useful debate about how close you need to get to an implementation in CT; M said to running code (which I feel is development computer science) and I said to viable type system (applied mathematics research). Later met M&A at R&C4m4s where 5 of us out for good crack. Resisted strongly siesta in last 2 days: cold is disappearing quickly. Devon M wants me to join him at another conference at Birmingham University on Compositionality from 20-21 September. I'm going to decline as it's really another 4 days away from home, just before the RNS and just after the Bella celebrations! Have received clearance from Sociology and Anthropology for submission in a month: that should be my major focus. Son is getting keen on buying a home, about to put another offer in of 190k for a 200k flat. Evidently Bella's party is at the zoo this year; think animals and children are better in morning, perhaps enabling us to make the concert at 16:00: not sure that feeling will prevail!! Se demander si elle est là pour un rapide: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! 2moro should be N4c4l and G4g4t; weather probably not so good for fieldwork but will keep looking up at the sky! Funds -2k on adverse currency movements (£ rallies!). Evidently USA is selling Au as everything's wonderful there (no worries!) and Europe and Asia are buying Au as there's plenty of worries!

Nationally in UK 2 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 17 birds for month, 17 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 165 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 210 records):

21/08 12:45 Derbyshire : European Honey Buzzard, Ogston Reservoir adult female flew south 11:50-12:10 (2 Western Ospreys yesterday) (12:10)

21/08 11:37 Nottinghamshire : European Honey Buzzard, Headon one flew high over (11:30)

[ 21/08 15:15 Lancashire : European Honey Buzzard, Middleton bird reported south over Middleton NR was an escaped black Gyr Falcon [X]

21/08 12:42 Lancashire : European Honey Buzzard, Middleton one flew south over Middleton NR mid-morning; also Western Osprey flew south ] [(some) misidentification admitted!]

August 20th: great day today for Northumberland's wildlife with 2 Honey-buzzard juvenile up in the air, accompanied by a pair of adult; this was on the hill overlooking Farnley in a very mild, muggy atmosphere from 15:20-15:25. All 4 birds kept close together with the male showing some restraint, keeping low-down, in contrast to some who like to show off! The juveniles were reasonably strong flyers, generally keeping close to the trees but occasionally getting higher. The female was at the centre of the action, keeping close to the 2 juveniles throughout. The male came down to the trees near the end, appearing to want to keep the action going. All in all a celebration of breeding success!! Went on to Stocksfield Mount from 15:30-16:35 where weather deteriorating at end. At Mowden Hall had some further Honey-buzzard display around 15:40 with the adult pair, from Cottagebank, engaged in a determined effort to get the young up into the air. The female kept flying over the wood low-down in flap-flap-glide action and the male got up high, repeatedly diving at moderate height, but no young emerged; can imagine the female telling them: you'll never get to Africa, you bloody lot! Getting the young to fly is an urgent process with the Honey-buzzard as, as a summer visitor, time is not on their side! There could have been a predator in the copse as an alternative explanation. Also had a Common Buzzard adult up from the Mount itself and a Red Kite adult in flap-flap-glide action over its usual territory, to NE of Short Wood, plus a male Kestrel on wires at Dilston on way home. So that's 6 Honey-buzzard and single Common Buzzard, Red Kite and Kestrel, making 10 raptors of 4 types, in poor conditions. Made R @ B4m4l where speaker was Victoria Halford 'The Elusive Leopard'; really enjoyed the talk by the student at Nottingham University on attempts to prove the existence of Leopard on a new game reserve at Dinokeng, where they want to claim the big 5 for certification (and marketing!). They did show it was present but very elusive in the more timbered part! She said to me after the talk that the Lynx reintroduction in Kielder was a great idea but locals needed careful handling, as they could sabotage the plans; have taken that on board. Much later made G4g4s where 4 of us out!! N's delighted I'm coming to the RNS party!! Attendez-vous à ce que ce soit génial: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M and R&C4m4s with A!!

August 19th: Honey-buzzard position is quiet nationally; males typically start leaving 1 week after the young are flying so fledging appears to be a little later than first thought. Here migration typically starts around 23/8. So waiting for some facts! Today was misty; hope to get out tomorrow afternoon. After clear-out of daughter's room last week-end did a major trip to recycling centre at Hexham, with electricals, batteries, light bulbs, glass bottles and jars, moulded plastic, scrap metal, followed by another trip to W4shop for staple items. Pleased to meet at W trhwso, who is more thoughtful about the process than I am!! Had another siesta: mustn't become a habit! Again cooked, having fresh spicy sausages from W + baked potato and beans, really classy, followed by 3 lots of fruit! Later made G4g4s where 5 of the dommies gang out: very chatty; also met G to talk about the footie at the weekend. Am going to write to HC about the Red Kite success story, following up the story of the one restored to health in the 'Shire. This is one request for a paper on the music/monad idea:

Dear Dr. Nick Rossiter, Sociology and Anthropology (Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Young Shik Kim) is an international, open access, peer reviewed journal. Till now, 6 volumes including 55 issues have been published. This journal has been indexed by some bibliographic databases (e.g. ProQuest, Ulrich, EBSCO A-to-Z etc). We read the abstract of your article entitled Musical Performance: a Composition of Monads and are very interested in your article presented in 2018 The 6th World Congress and School on Universal Logic. If the full text was not published, please send us an extended version for publication in Sociology and Anthropology (ISSN: 2331-6187) via email at You are also invited to submit other original research papers to the journal.

I'm going to offer an extension of the Baden-Baden paper, which can easily extend to 12 pages, in a month, developing the monad idea from a social interaction perspective; topos can be left as it is. Will see what happens! Bonne chance avec B5: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l with talk on leopards, trip out, G4g4s!!

August 18th: a rest day at last; had good lie-in and usual breakfast (shreddies, cranberry juice, ½ a grapefruit, lemon tea); made C4c4l where tbld looked very inviting!! Studied closely FT for catch-up on economic affairs; the world's a troubled place but Au is not performing; everyone loves the $ but the US is running massive budget and trade deficits, so patience maybe! Had siesta mid-afternoon waking up in time for Final Score with 2 ladies and 1 man running the show; really caustic comments about this in the DT but thought Eilidh Barbour was entertaining and knowledgeable! Pleased at Bournemouth's progress: they're the leading team in the SW by a long way! The Gulls in their new life in lowly NLS drew 0-0 at Slough giving them 8 points from 5 games, having in all matches scored 3 goals and let 1 in (entertaining!). Have decided to do more cooking so great vat prepared of 1kg of lean mince meat (partially pre-cooked in olive oil), red onions, carrots, mushrooms, 2 tins large tomatoes, garlic cloves, paprika, marjoram, thyme. It was boiled and simmered, giving 8 portions of food, 7 of which are in freezer and the other's inside me with spaghetti! Have received from AP an invitation to RNS Birthday Gala Reception, which seems to involve 3 rounds of drinks and a party (with some music in between); have accepted, may have to stop-over! Hope Majorca goes well!! 2moro will try and get out in afternoon for a walk near a Honey-buzzard site and much later it will be G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Family news with [comments]:

(from one of her 3 sons and daughter, in Wiltshire) Dear Relatives of Nonagenarian Lena Ann Tapper: on January 2nd 1928 a certain little lady popped into this world and the universe has been a better place ever since. To commemorate this joyous occasion 90 and a half years on, a grand coming together of the Nicholls/Tapper/Short/Rossiter clans has been organised for Sunday 2nd September 2018; to which you are cordially invited. [My mother's younger sister, of course will be there! ]

(from my son) There is some Beethoven (the 5th) on the afternoon [16/9] of the Sunday of Bella's birthday weekend...which I'm going to - played from memory by the Aurora orchestra. We could maybe fit that in, depending on what Catherine has planned for the birthday. They are my favourite orchestra to watch at the moment. [well, looks explosive!]

Nationally in UK 5 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 15 birds for month, 15 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 163 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 208 records):

[17/08 13:02 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Wykeham Forest two still from the raptor viewpoint this morning; from the A170 at Wykeham take the minor road north to Highwood Brow for 6.4km to the T-junction then left for 500m to the car park at c.SE936887 (10:45)

15/08 14:36 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Wykeham Forest three from the raptor viewpoint by mid-afternoon; from A170 at Wykeham take the minor road north to Highwood Brow for 6.4km to the T-junction then left for 500m to the car park at c.SE936887 (14:24) [maybe including a juvenile and the pair of adults, pity not aged]

15/08 14:02 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Wykeham Forest two still from the raptor viewpoint this afternoon; from A170 at Wykeham take the minor road north to Highwood Brow for 6.4km to the T-junction then left for 500m to the car park at c.SE936887 (13:40) ]

15/08 13:39 Surrey : European Honey Buzzard, Puttenham one flew over heading southwest at 13:15 (13:15)

15/08 10:11 Surrey : European Honey Buzzard, Epsom Downs one flew low and south this morning (10:00)

Summary of raptors in trip S from 13/8-17/8. Total for Honey-buzzard 6: Havant Thicket 4 (pair, 2 juvenile), Larkhill 1 (female in Wiltshire), Sutton Scotney 1 (male in Hampshire). Total for Red Kite 7: Avebury 2 (1 juvenile), Stonehenge 1, Larkhill 2, Figheldean 1, Kintbury 1. Total for Common Buzzard 5: Havant Thicket 4 (pair, 2 juvenile), Droxford 1. Grand total: 18 raptors of 3 types, not bad for a working week! See 13/7 for raptors seen on way down: 2 Honey-buzzard, 2 Red Kite.

August 17th: left Rowlands Castle at 10:46 and got into Hexham at 17:35 so almost 7 hours travel; may fly next year as Rowlands Castle readily accessible from Southampton Airport. But everything was on time today, though failure of air-con in coach D made it pretty stifling from KGX-NCL. Had a juvenile Common Buzzard over Rowlands Castle as left. Feeling demob happy with no further presentations planned but will have to get down to start communication with editors and writing papers. Forgot to mention yesterday that we had conference dinner in evening and a few of us who'd given papers that day had a celebration drink; bar-lasses at RH S/K were great fun and 2 of us went with them after work to a nearby pub where karaoke was on!! Made sure I looked keen but also that I didn't actually appear on the schedule: I'm good at that but cannot sing anyway. That went onto 01:00: it was a good finish to the conference!! Got a lovely hug from S as departed today!! Later made SC4f&c+mp and G4g4s where 5 of us out: had rather surprising divisions over Mike Ashley who they thought was a bravado-type hero while I think he's a complete c.nt!! Pre-pack administrations which leave unsecured creditors and pensioners out in the cold should be banned. Keep your money well clear of him. Funds had a poor week in common with markets everywhere, particularly commodities, coming down 6k after a further 1.2k withdrawal for my mobile life-style, the new bed and some Ag. A number of emerging markets are collapsing but have very little exposure to them. On year, funds are +116k before 14.6k withdrawal; have reduced risk-assets further. Cold has got worse if anything, really going to rest now! 2moro it's C4c4l and catch-up at home!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 16th: talk went superbly, plenty of congratulations; 54 slides took 56 minutes; voice not perfect but relaxed and confident about content with plenty of jokes to ease a potentially heavy atmosphere. Cold came back in evening: think rush of adrenalin can counter such threats for a while! Editor has already agreed for the paper to be submitted this November, making 3 potential publications of the work in the next 3 months (including the 2 journal invitations). Can now relax: looks set for acceptance of ideas; thanks to everyone for support: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Here's reference for the presentation:

Nick Rossiter & Michael Heather, The Universe as Intension: an Expressive Dynamic Information and Communication system as Extension, ANPA 39 – 2018, Rowlands Castle, UK, 13-17 August 2018. pdf

August 15th: overcast in morning with a little drizzle but fairing up in afternoon; wind was light W at 22C. Good day trip out from 08:30 to 18:30 to Avebury (where went with Nick last year) and Stonehenge (which have never properly visited before). Very historical of course owing a lot to the Neoliths and their works c5000 years ago. Avebury has an amazing collection of standing stones all close to the village; Stonehenge is literally monumental in importance with the stones looking massive close-up, all thought to be put in place by a civil army of 1,000+ workers. Had a good day with raptors with 2 Red Kite at Avebury (adult and juvenile circling around a small group of trees to S), 1 at Figheldean at 14:10, 3 at Stonehenge (adult floating near monument on S side, 2 adult looking in territory to NE at Larkhill) and 1 on the road before Avebury at Kintbury at 10:05, total 7. Honey-buzzard totalled 2: 1 to NW of Stonehenge (at Larkhill W, Wiltshire, an adult female briefly forced up in air at 16:22, mobbed by a number of Rook) and a male to the S of Newbury in Hampshire (at 17:30 an adult male appearing majestically up over hill holding A303/A34 roundabout, at low altitude, near Sutton Scotney, pale phase). At Avebury Honey-buzzard habitat was very marginal with trees very sparse to S over grain fields but there were a few more woods on N side; wasps were very plentiful at the cafe. At Stonehenge Honey-buzzard habitat was in distance in an arc from NW to E, with NW looking better as less populated; there were some good-sized shelter-belts here with downland to N, such as Knighton Down Long Barrow. The Sutton Scotney area is very rich for raptors, including Honey-buzzard found in an earlier trip. A Common Buzzard was up over Droxford at 18:20 on way back. Have developed laryngitis so on Nurofen and various throat sweets; somewhat better by evening and getting over infection but think might have to talk tomorrow a little quieter than usual: not good! So early to bed: could do with some company: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 14th: busy day at conference, attending 7 talks getting ready for my hour-long talk on Thursday at 11:30; putting in formal limits and colimits into presentation is improving rigour and making it easier to follow (hopefully!). Will need to prepare a slide showing changes from last year's presentation; some cheeky people are presenting the same slides from conference to conference and this is now being actively discouraged by some organisers. Did get out at lunchtime from 12:20-14:00 to Havant Thicket where had 1st (two) flying Honey-buzzard juvenile of the year plus the pair of adults. The older juvenile Honey-buzzard had maybe been fledged a week, slightly ahead of Northumberland birds (9/8). At 12:46 the 1st juvenile seen was still growing feathers and was hesitant in the air: it was accompanied closely by the male as they retreated from the meadow where I started the walk to the large wood in the distance to NW; the juvenile did manage to fly about 1km in level flight so that was a significant achievement. Later at 13:14 the female Honey-buzzard was up over the Thicket with a juvenile struggling to get up in the air below; this juvenile quickly collapsed back into the canopy so the rule that the male accompanies the older juvenile and the female the younger one held well! Also had a family party of Common Buzzard (2 adult, 2 juvenile). Weather was sunny intervals, 22C, light W breeze, humid but dry. 2moro it's trip to Stonehenge as our 'works' outing; takes 2 hours to get there but should be fun! Funds -2k so far this week on negative sentiment through strong $. If we don't see any rally in August may take a few more chips off the table! Pensant à vous: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Nationally in UK 3 more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 13 birds for month, 13 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 161 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 203 records):

14/08 11:37 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Peene Quarry CP flew south over nearby Newington (10:45)

14/08 08:00 Cambridgeshire : European Honey Buzzard, Huntingdon flew south over racecourse (07:35)

13/08 22:45 Leicestershire and Rutland : European Honey Buzzard, Stoughton one flew south over Sunny Leys (16:55)

August 13th: busy day travelling, leaving Hexham at 08:57 and making Rowlands Castle via KGX and VIC at 16:22, 1 hour late because of signalling problems in Alnmouth area; sure that's very interesting. Straight up to conference after check-in at RH; there was a potentially interesting talk by Mark Johnson, Liverpool University, on Communicative Musicality and Information but it was more on psychology than anything else and didn't raise any of the performance issues. Still enjoying stay, meeting many close friends in the publishing world! Did get 1st half of talk more or less complete during slow travel down; 2moro's a full day 10:00-21:30 but sleep beckons now: plenty of sweet dreams: xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Did have a good number of raptors during the journey down: Shilford at 09:10 had a female dark-phase Honey-buzzard doing familiar fly-back at low altitude into the nest site from the Tyne over the railway line; at Bawtry NW had a male Honey-buzzard doing flap-flap-glide over a field flying towards a wood over stubble; at Retford at 11:30 had a Red Kite over NW of town; before Peterborough at 12:00 had a Red Kite up over a wood.

August 12th: we stayed at home in morning before seeing them off. Doing so many catching-jumps with the juniors: couldn't have done that last weekend. After highly erratic sleeping behaviour over their stay, they slept the whole way to NCL and plane had space so no stand-by problems; they book you on as normal passenger if there's bound to be space; it's only if it's tight that you're asked to check-in provisionally. R event was actually fun: plenty of drink and good chat: new President is making his mark! Later made G4g4s where pleased to have J on!! So 2moro back on trail but not for long; have had a couple of journal invitations following Vichy music talk: manque la beauté: lok2tmbo: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 11th: we made Travellers Rest, Slaley, for lunch; it has a decent playground so ideal for the little ones (aged 3.5 and 1.9 now). Here's a couple of clips of the action 1  2 plus some stills 1  2  3  4. Younger one is fascinated by butterflies (and dogs, which daughter is resisting!). Everyone was pretty shattered after 2.5 hours there but it was very enjoyable. There is a Honey-buzzard site nearby, at Dipton Wood S, but didn't see any raptors at all. Continued much cooler at 18C but it was sunny in the morning, becoming cloudy by tea-time and now raining heavily. 2moro they're on stand-by for BA flight at 15:40; BA and VA have reciprocal arrangements for their staff. There's an R BBQ in afternoon, which might scrape into near end. Later should make G4g4s with return to normal for 15 hours! Am restricting travel after this next one until RSA as want to settle back in: xxxxxxxxx!!!!

Things are moving at last in Lynx reintroduction: ‘Near certainty’ lynx will be released into wild in Britain as landowners agree to plan Wild lynx could return to Britain for the first time in 1,300 years after landowners agreed to let them roam on 270 square miles of forest in Northumberland. The Lynx UK Trust has applied to Natural England for permission to release six Eurasian lynx into Kielder Forest and a licensing decision is expected shortly. But the rewilding group said that consent for the project was now a ‘near certainty’ after the owners of 20 adjoining plots in the forest agreed the animals could be let loose on their land. If the release is successful it could lead to the widespread reintroduction of the cats into the Scottish Highlands and other parts of Britain.

But last ditch opposition still there. Northumberland sheep farmers 'threaten lynx scheme' The chief executive of the National Sheep Association, Phil Stocker, said: "The influential arguments we have put forward against the release are based on experiences from farmers in other European countries." Supporters of the plan say the animals would help control over-populated deer numbers, reducing forest damage and improving habitat for smaller animals. The benefit to tourism could be worth tens of millions of pounds, they claim. The trust said lynx posed no threat to humans and a very limited threat to sheep. It has arranged insurance for every sheep in the UK against lynx attacks. Richard Bryant, who heads the specialist division of Lloyds of London providing it, said: "Having assessed all the science and research on lynx predation we're very confident that sheep attacks will be rare."

Nationally in UK 3 Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 10 birds for month, 10 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 158 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 200 records):

11/08 10:08 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Scarborough female flew west over Morrisons supermarket Seamer at 09:58 (09:58)

[11/08 10:54 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Wykeham Forest one still from raptor viewpoint this morning; from A170 at Wykeham take minor road north to Highwood Brow for 6.4km to T-junction then left for 500m to car park at SE936887] not counted for my totals as reported frequently; does update BirdGuides total

[11/08 12:12 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Wykeham Forest three from raptor viewpoint late morning; from A170 at Wykeham take minor road north to Highwood Brow for 6.4km to T-junction then left for 500m to car park at SE936887]

August 10th: mainly sunny, cool at 15C, dry, moderate W breeze. Pretty active day, de-cluttering daughter's room of an inefficient book-case and a chipboard desk and sorting out the objects on the surfaces; it's the latter that takes up the time; did find a few Ag necklaces and a Ag bracelet! We've got more to do on that tomorrow with demolition of a free-standing wardrobe and movement of a bathroom cabinet. Back is better: 0 ip today! Food continued on a simple vein with f&c+mp from sc in evening. They went swimming at lunchtime at Wentworth and I went for a short walk looking for raptors. Timing at Tyne Bridge was very fortuitous at 12:16, seeing 2 Honey-buzzard circling very low-down over woods N of Hermitage; both were just above the trees with the female up higher and quickly drifting off to the E, presumably to forage while he quickly landed in the trees again. The young must have fledged here as the nest is to the S at Hermitage and the adults have moved the young to a ridge, where there's more chance for practice flights. Think they must also have fledged at Ordley yesterday so fledging date for study area is fixed at 9/8, c6 days earlier than 'traditionally'. The fine weather this summer may have helped: could be a bumper crop! The only site in Tyne Valley W where no birds found to date is Hexham High Wood. A Red Kite adult was drifting E high above the male Honey-buzzard at 12:16. Earlier at 11:55 a juvenile Common Buzzard was up at Loughbrow. An interesting report was on BBC local news at 22:30 of a Red Kite juvenile found almost dead on the roadside in Northumberland but tended with great care back to health and released today back into the wild where it had been found. They did not say where it was but my guess from the clip of the release was Eastwood Common, near Healey, with the Tyne Valley visible some way to the N. Another blow for the eco-left! Daughter booked my flights for November today with 2-week gap between departure and return; have created a buffer of 2 days between arrival in JBN and start of safari. Cost was £150.40 return against normal charge of £1300. Older granddaughter was charming today but younger one had not such a good day, having 2 major break-downs! Older one is credited by her Iranian relations with Iranian traits; younger one is muttered about a bit more! Personally think older one looks like her maternal grandmother at the same age (which find disconcerting) and the younger one is very determined and not easily distracted (not sure who in the family is like that!). Funds finished +3k at new record, +121k on year before 13.4k of withdrawals; peak was Thursday when 0.5k higher; weak £ is helping matters. World markets are very unstable with the mad Trump's actions: still very wary and amazed that scared investors prefer the $ to Au. 2moro fun continues at TR4m4l, where shall be playing a major supporting role in the playground!! C'est amusant de faire des bébés!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 9th: mainly sunny, 18C, dry, moderate W breeze. Met daughter and granddaughters at NCL, plane about 45 min late but all in good spirits! We went home; I did large shop in W and daughter later cooked big meal of spag bol for all of us. Very good to see them all again; son-in-law couldn't come as he's working hard with Gazprom! Younger one, I, was so excited with the action! Earlier at 12:30 had good action from home in nearby Devil's Water with a Red Kite adult circling over trees low-down as if juvenile lurking. At the same time the pair of Honey-buzzard came out of the same general area, soared to some height and the male did the butterfly display in style; all quite brief but very frantic 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 (8200): story of my life!! Not sure whether the Honey-buzzard juveniles are still in the nesting area or have moved to where the adults were today, 300m to E of site. If they've moved, they've obviously fledged so will keep a sharp eye on the area tomorrow. Had another Honey-buzzard, a male, at Throckley N at 15:00 while waiting for plane to land; he was doing flap-flap-glide display coming into nest site from E; things are livening up! Daughter's planning to de-clutter her room: will happily collaborate!! She likes the new bed but so do the girls. Have been invited for a few rounds of drinks at the opening S party on 23/9; might also go to the rock event with RNS on 21/9 though don't think N will join me! Very relieved that I's birthday party (no.2) is on 16/9, thought it might clash with Sage birthday no.60; that's her proper date but they're going to Antigua a bit before and wondered whether they might put it back a week. Did lots of grass cutting today after 1 ip early on; think rest should be avoided. Neighbours are smiling again: the turf is in fine condition in spite of dry conditions and this year's apple crop looks as if it will be a record. 2moro not sure what programme is: will take things as they come: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 8th: mainly sunny, relatively cool at 17C, dry, moderate W breeze. Cleaner S wanted to come early so pushed out of house at 15:30; had walk along S edge of Dipton Wood from 15:40-17:05 with at 15:53 a male Honey-buzzard coming in from moderate height to E, coming down steadily into timber to E of where site is thought to be and presumably concluding flight through glades in wood. This sighting was important as the site is the only one in the 'Shire where not seen a Honey-buzzard yet this season so everyone present now! It's always been a difficult site: think the birds keep to the middle of the dense wood as much as possible. Also here had a calling Common Buzzard juvenile, so they're coming out of the woodwork now. Earlier met M at T4c4c where we had good crack about research. Rushed back from field-trip to G4g4t where met B for good catchup! Have summed up the national Honey-buzzard picture, from BirdGuides records, below on 1/8 and the position is carried forward below, with 15/6-31/7 being defined as summer, or more precisely the non-migratory period. There's a trickle of birds leaving now. Didn't feel too good this morning but that might have been the port! Took 1 ip early-on and feeling generally stronger from afternoon onwards so that was it; don't like taking pills as bound to have some side-effects and not on any prescriptions. Deep hot bath was again a good idea: serait bien de prendre un bain ensemble: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! 2moro daughter and family arrive at 14:35 on LHR-NCL; will be great for them to see the country again!!

Nationally in UK 2 Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 9 birds for month, 9 birds for autumn, 42 birds for summer, 106 birds for spring, total 157 birds; gross sightings on BirdGuides for year total 197 records):

08/08 22:48 Gloucestershire : European Honey Buzzard, Coleford probable flew south over Lord's Hill at 17:00 (17:00) [?]

08/08 16:32 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, St. Margaret's at Cliffe one flew over mid-afternoon (14:20)

August 7th: sunny, 21C, very comfortable on light SW breeze. Completed site visits, doing 10/10 from 12:00-15:30 to Swallowship by the Devil's Water. Everything was in order with nest found and presumed male Honey-buzzard, as female out foraging, giving one weak anxiety call close to nest at 13:40. The female was seen over open ground at the extreme N edge of Dipton Wood at 15:35 as doing a 5-point turn in the car while finishing the trip; she was flapping from one vantage point to another, giving good views but no time to get the camera on her. Signs were many below the nest and on the edge of the field on S side of nest where concentration due to Wood Ant keeping mainly to the wood itself. Here's a nearby Wood Ant nest 1  2. Signs were large white down 8 1  2  3  4, small white down 10 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10, medium splash 5 1  2  3  4  5, chewed wax comb 1. The nest was in a very large Scots Pine (185cm girth) in an unusual position straddling a long branch, extending right over the Devil's Water. So it was not in a fork on the main trunk 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13 (8190). I've seen this type of nest once before at the Wylam site, also in Scots Pine. The rim was lined with oak leaves, in small sprays. The young are presumably 7-10 days from fledging, 2 weeks later than in the Black Forest. Had a noisy family party of Common Buzzard (2 adult, 2 juvenile) on N extreme of Dipton Wood, clearly locally bred. Total for bird-types was only 12, including Common Gull (4 adult W), Goldcrest (6, fledged), Coal Tit (4, fledged), Bullfinch (2) and single Nuthatch and Treecreeper. So that's very good end to season of nest visits. Had wondered whether was going to complete the survey in time as have had increasing lower-back trouble since the long and rather stressful return, taking 15 hours, from Baden-Baden on Friday, aggravated by the luggage retraction jamming, meaning had to lift the heavy bag (with laptop and papers) much more than expected. Decided to take some ibuprofen and go for it this morning; took it easy and completed all the tasks at slightly slower speed. Best aid for recovery was an hour-long deep, really hot bath after walk which finally seemed to loosen everything up! Had meal with P at BB at 19:00 which went off well (salmon, Chilean red wine, Eton mess) and we had a couple of port at his house to wind the evening up in style. Funds reached record today by £4.27 (four pounds and twenty-seven pence!), 1k up on week; gain on year is 120k before 13.4k withdrawal. Pleased to finally move to higher ground after the summer relapse. Binned old suitcase yesterday and bought new small (blue) one for £40 from Robbs; also need to replace the medium-sized one as it's a bit creaky. Think a massage would be the ultimate solution: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M and G4g4t!!

August 6th: made R @ B4m4l where it was a business event; bemused by a rival bespoke web site developed by another member; older people seem obsessed with developing their own applications at enormous expense of time; younger people (and me) just use apps and put up with the odd warp! Made N4c4ll to keep up appearances in old haunts and much later was in G4g4s where 6 of us out for good chat! Funds closed ½ the gap with previous record but still not quite there; have £96.58 daily accrued interest on bonds which will just about close the gap by Saturday! However, sentiment is still largely negative, particularly for metals, so no guarantees! Put off Honey-buzzard site visit as rain forecast but it never arrived; postponed until tomorrow, followed by BB4m4t with P and HoN with the IT gang – busy schedule!! Hope to get a summary for the Auvergne on Honey-buzzard home page tomorrow; think it will be just 1 bird at Aulnat, near airport, but overall raptor totals were better than expected. Sent Wagner Days booking to son and re-affirmed support for house purchase; his first choice has gone to a buy-to-let cash buyer (shows some taste!) but his salary goes up in September, giving him increased purchasing power. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 5th: did sleep very well and had good breakfast; cemented pair-bond; will miss her greatly!!!! Had easy drive back to HEX where made W4shop and had siesta (after looking at bags below my eyes – bad life-style, my mother always used to say!) before finishing the bed assembly and putting-on the new mattress; here it is; it's very comfy!! Claimed 19.97 from Argos for refund on charge for removal of old mattress. Daughter approves: “Well done Dad, looks great. Nice style. Good job we didn’t meet up in NCL! Glad the conference was a success. I’ll send you flight info on Tuesday x”. Made G4g4s where P and dommies players were out in force; agreed with P to go for aperitif and meal in Corbridge (BB) on Tuesday nite!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l for business meeting, maybe Honey-buzzard site visit 10/10 and G4g4s (again!). xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Nationally in UK 1 Honey-buzzard record on BirdGuides (count 7 for month, 7 for autumn):

05/08 11:54 South Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Midhope Moor Watchpoint one flew over Ewden Heights and Agden, side heading south at 11:35 (11:35)

August 4th: so interesting a day!! Made C4c4l where trhwso and tbld were looking very fit!! Reading FT confirmed my view that Central Banks everywhere are over-estimating inflation and over-increasing interest rates. As said yesterday commodities are going nowhere; wage rises also seem muted. So might lengthen bond maturities a little and keep putting small amounts into bombed-out natural resources. Next move was into NCL via CAL, where warned about update to computer management system for Metro overnight; all bets off for this evening and tomorrow! Went to Vct4m4t and then got back to CAL, making church at Ponteland via car for Nordic Summer Nights 2. Whole evening was managed very well with JP of FRNS playing an active role and church was packed; JP said gate at Hexham Abbey had been 185, which is very pleasing. There must have been a little panic as TH was unavailable and the Grieg string quartet was replaced by a Mozart oboe quartet. SR took over as violin leader and did very well: never seen her in this role before! Had a good seat in the church, as had got mixed up with the churchwardens by mistake. The Nielsen Serenata in Vano went down very well – nice and lyrical. Suspect Lindberg's Arabesques was a little too modern for the audience but I liked his 'concrete music'! The Berwald Grand Sept was a substantial piece: very well played by all! Overall it was obviously a very good evening musically for the audience. At my stopover I'd been upgraded as appreciation for a regular customer!! Nice view of my crate outside after quick drive-in from Ponteland (10 minutes); could offer a tour!! Where there's a will, there's a way: a few technical details were overcome in style: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!!!! Gr8 sleep and leisurely breakfast beckon. xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Nationally in UK 1 Honey-buzzard record on BirdGuides (count 6 for month, 6 for autumn):

04/08 11:21 East Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Flamborough Head one flew west over South Landing (11:15)

August 3rd: so not-so-good travel tale is below but at least back in time for a couple of g in the Welly with the full complement of the gang! Was concerned that last flight of day would be booked solid but there were a few spare seats: mine was 25F, right at the back in the corner, 1 removed from the toilet! Delay did have a silver lining: masses of work on presentation for ANPA. Funds had a better week on fall in £ and some cheap buying of commodity stocks. It's unbelievable how cheap many commodities are, seeing we're in the 10th year of recovery from the crash. This is not how booms usually end; the low commodity prices will ultimately feed into lower inflation going forward, making bonds more attractive. Funds were +4k on week, +105k on year, and just 1.2k below all-time peak! Could be from CAL at 4, 2moro: looking forward to it: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Nationally in UK 3 Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 5 for month, 5 for autumn):

03/08 15:15 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, North Chailey flew over early afternoon

03/08 12:48 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Wykeham Forest at least 2 still from the raptor viewpoint this morning [this site not counted again with its repeated observations]

August 2nd: wall to wall sunshine today and 30C in strong sunshine and no breeze. Walked up to Ebersteinburg at 390m, and back through Staufen area, where had birds in last visit. Had superb sight of a pair of adult Honey-buzzard up in the air over Staufen for 10 minutes, the male getting up first and going very high with the female following. Other observers make a great fuss of this display, calling it the repelling of invaders but it seems to me that it is simply the pair of adults celebrating the fledging of their young, which may now be out on the branches, cementing their pair bond before their separate departures for the winter, and showing off to the young what is to be expected of them. Also had a single male Honey-buzzard up over the site to SW, a Hobby calling at the viewpoint at the top and a female Goshawk carrying food to S. It's been a great few days for research and think that Honey-buzzard have Baden-Baden surrounded with 4 pairs spaced at 2.0 km apart. Butterflies were tremendous today at c17 types with amazing numbers of Silver-washed Fritillary. Came back into town through the back entrance, which contained a large hostel, possibly for migrants. When at Italian style restaurant in evening, on extreme E of town, noticed significant numbers of Syrian-type families. I think Germany's gain will be Syria's loss much as with the US/UK gain from the Iranian exodus in the early 1980s. Many of the Syrians are already highly educated and the Germans will facilitate their assimilation into employment, education and training. Do have some empathy with the Syrians who have been through hell! The Italian proprietor was very accommodating to them. Another trip over, so very much looking forward to return; will do some work on presentation on way back; maybe W4g4s in evening; next concert is on Saturday in Ponteland with leisurely return!!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!! By coincidence there's a debate on the Syrian migrants now on a morning 3/8 magazine programme on TV; AfD of course are very much against the migrants but the agencies are more sanguine about the integration now under way! Pleasing some people is their willingness to do all sorts of work, particularly in the construction industry, and their sound behaviour. Target is 14:10 STR-AMS! Well made STR in ease with 3 trains spot-on time. Had an adult male Kestrel near STR. But KLM flight 1 was late (fault on incoming plane), so missed rather tight connection. In AMS by 16:30 CET and re-booked automatically, with notification on What's App, text and email, on 22:10 AMS-NCL later tonite! Not good but at least will get back home today. Thank goodness didn't book the concert for this evening and will be refreshed by tomorrow afternoon!!! xxxx Nationally in UK 1 Honey-buzzard record on BirdGuides (count 2 for month, 2 for autumn):

02/08 18:43 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Troutsdale one flew over (11:45)

August 1st: well off it went from 10:10-11:10, with 2nd attempt at the Music and Logic prize! Some rolling of the eyes and resignation from quite a few but just a few converts make it all worthwhile and so it proved. I had introduced the lhs/rhs of the brain on the last slide more as a pointer than anything else but that attracted a lot of interest. Indeed questions took 15 minutes, which was very rewarding. I was even more startled when, in the talk after lunch, Walter Schempp (Professor, University of Siegen, Germany) started by expanding on the co-ordination between the hemispheres of the brain with direct reference to music and standing next to me; he's a leading expert in patterns in the brain so quite a tribute. Over coffee later we did discuss why so many people find category theory so difficult: Walter looked surprised at my query but his reply was illuminating: you reason with equational logic as in standard science (lhs) but also very much with diagrams (spatial logic) and this is rhs; so you have the same stress on the brain as in your music. The brains of older people do not have enough plasticity to adapt to such stresses. I learnt CT in my 40s and found it exhausting in its effect on the brain; that's because you are literally building increased pathways between the lhs and rhs. The brain studies don't prove the monad/comonad idea but they are consistent with an intensive system based on adjointness between lhs and rhs, coordinated by monads/comonads.. Anyway I have a new mate in Walter – he's a very genial colleague! I'm happy enough with the Baden-Baden paper (6pp) but still not satisfied with the 2nd half of the presentation (now c50pp): should be 10pp shorter, will work on that for ANPA. The seminar organiser more or less confirmed Walter's views when he later said to me in an exasperated tone: all these diagrams, are they really necessary? (They're my logic!). Weather was again hot today (31C) but cloudier and in the evening it all broke with incredible thunderstorms and torrential rain: think the Honey-buzzard can cope with this as it's a regular weather pattern. It was so wet that even 10m in the open would leave you soaked: we stayed in the pub with the drinks bill almost overtaking the food one! Got an e-ticket through Deutsch Bahn for return in a couple of days to make life simpler. Going away is always good for innovative thinking!! 2moro it's back to the Honey-buzzard at Staufen but might also go to the Fabergé Museum. xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Nationally in UK 1 Honey-buzzard record on BirdGuides (count 1 for month, 1 for autumn):

01/08 22:13 East Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Flamborough Head flew south over Beacon Hill (19:06)

BirdGuides total for period 15/6-31/7 (summer) was 42 birds, widely distributed, with only the maximum counts used for Wykeham Forest (3), Swanton Novers (2), Minsmere (1), where repeat sightings were regular. The record at Hickling, Norfolk, repeated mine in mid-May:

18:19 17/06 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Stubb Mill, Hickling 17:00 one over between here and Hickling at 17:00

So spring total nationally in UK was 106 up to 14/6, summer total 15/6-31/7 was 42, giving running total of 148 birds.

July 31st: busy day attending conference from 09:00-18:00; plenty of interest but note maths is fragmentary, not providing an holistic approach; well 2moro got my turn at 10:00 CET to suggest a way forward with presentation pdf; think the atmosphere is a little cosy from the regular contributors' point of view! Made Rathaus for reception by council for the town; very hospitable: the Germans are very good at this if they see you're valuable! Hot today at 33C with plenty of sunshine and remaining dry. Not out in the field today! Cost for mupa tickets I estimate at £280 for 2 upper circle seats for 4 operas; you could easily be into 2-4 times that in London. Son's delighted we've got in, in time. He's lost his first housing target, really waiting until September when his salary goes up. Very heartened after recent email dialogue: gives a bit of a glow!! So getting ready for combat tomorrow: a very good development is that have 45+ minutes for talk so no need to reduce, which is so difficult; morning session has been extended from 10-12 to 9-12 to give the invited speakers more time!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 30th: bit of a lie-in until 9:00 then breakfast and walk from 11:35-16:00 up to Alte Schloss (High Castle) at 430m asl and back with some circularity; this was a substantial climb in beautiful weather with not a cloud in the sky on light variable winds and hot at 32C. Much of the walk was through the woods so not too torrid and at the top found a cafe where drank 1 litre of sparkling water and a cappuccino! The Germans are so thoughtful in their placement of cafes: fancy carrying that load up the hill. I do enjoy the hot more than the cold. Had 4 separate sightings of Honey-buzzard, all clearly with young in the canopy below. It's a very exciting time for the birds as the young get ready to fly for the first time. Bought a map of the local area and will attempt to mark the territories, thus revealing the distance between them, which in this ideal habitat (probably, best in the world, in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald)) may be less than in the UK. Incidentally no wind farms around here: their presence has been exaggerated. Had gateau and tea at end of walk: a local speciality. No conference today but by chance in early evening did meet Daniel Dubois (Belgium), leader of our seminar, and 2 other researchers (Netherlands, France), and we went for a meal, which finished at 23:30. Some of the chat was in French – can make some of it out: je m'appelle Nicholas et j'habite en Teignmouth (school at Teignmouth Grammar). Booked up season ticket with son for June 2019 at mupa, Budapest, for their 2nd presentation of Wagner's Ring Cycle, over 4 days: not for the faint-hearted! So next 2 days are dedicated to the seminar; I'm talking on Wednesday morning. We have a reception in the town hall tomorrow evening. So (good German word) xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 29th: travel went well, up at 06:00, left house at 07:00, drove to NCL where caught 09:30 KLM NCL-AMS; that was a little early at AMS so a tight connection of 40 minutes for AMS-STR became a doddle. Was then stretched a little with the German railway ticket machines but managed to get a 1-zone ticket into main STR Bahnhof for €2.50 (think should have been 2-3 zones) and some sort of ticket to Baden-Württemberg state for €24. Anyway no-one checked my tickets! Finally got to Hotel Beek at 17:40 after getting a taxi for €25 from the Baden-Baden Bahnhof. So long day and very hot at 29C but pleased to be here. Later had a few dunkel beers to rehydrate! Flight over the North Sea was very turbulent: they had to stop serving the snack for a while. This is archetypal Honey-buzzard territory and had a female skirting the tops of the trees over a wood to SE of Baden-Baden Bahnhof at 17:30, suggesting recently fledged young below; they breed 1-2 weeks earlier here than in Northumberland. 2moro making start of conference in afternoon after a walk in the morning. Will be making the slides more concise for my talk as cannot get through 47 slides in 30 minutes; talks are always great for crystallising your thoughts! A gr8 pity my consultant is not here. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 28th: usual panic when action is required! Act as if every outstanding task has to be finalised before setting off. Did make C4c4l where tbld was in action!! Then cut masses of long grass, which could run away now some rain has arrived, and made good progress on the bed, having just half the slats to fix now: bed of a thousand screws is an apt description!! Prepared Devon M's abstract (below) for our web page and published it; the last sentence is very relevant to the music and logic work. We're giving a paper a week for the next week. I'm not going to Budweis (after which Budweiser beer named) in Czech as that much time away would be a little excessive and might miss my mates!! Take-off 09:30. So lots of kisses, hugs and cuddles to the beautiful ones: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Conference 5th European Summer School in Process Thought in Budweis, 2018

Tuesday 7th August 2018 14:00-14:40

Michael Heather & Nick Rossiter (University of Northumbria, UK) - The Logic of Æsthetics

The first love of Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) was Symbolic Logic which he and his collaborator Bertrand Russell believed to be at the foundations of mathematics and that occupied the first half of his life explicitly and the second half implicitly. Yet although his writings were mostly technical and scientific nevertheless ‘æsthetics’ is a word that creeps in his writings everywhere but on closer examination is not as incongruous as it might seem on first sight for Whitehead treats mathematical ordering as a fundamental beauty of the Universe and yet allied with concepts like ethics, theology and even music. For when towards the end of his long life in 1944 Whitehead is asked the questionAre not Æsthetics a form of Ethics?’ his reply somewhat surprises his listeners until he elaborates. Earlier in 1937 Whitehead suggests that in the distant future the subject of Symbolic Logic would expand to examine patterns beyond space, number and quality and by the use of real variables ‘will become the foundation of æsthetics’. The phrase ‘real variables’ is perhaps an example of his belief that knowledge passes with each generation while ‘the words are retained, but with different meaning’. Real variables can now express formally the relationship between logic and æsthetics by adjunction in Category Theory. The Universe is the Cartesian Closed Category of a Topos initially modelled in Category Theory at first order as a sheaf over a set by Grothendieck but æsthetics in metaphysics is of higher order and requires the full Topos concept of Aristotle in impredicative mathematics first mooted by Russell (as ‘non-predicative’) but never successfully developed. Whitehead recognised the need for a robust type theory but it seems made no serious attempt to join Russell in his endeavour to achieve it.

In the natural version of Category Theory of postmodern mathematics, dialectic and aesthetics are adjoint metaphysical processes within logic: Dialectic <=> Æsthetics with the right adjoint Æsthetics as the co-unit of adjunction. In Plato’s world the highest form of pure beauty is the expression of divine eroticism whereby the human soul has sought after God from the origins of the Universe. In metaphysics God is the left exact limit and human souls are individuated (along with the other entities of creation) as right exact co-limits alienated from God: Chaos <=> Cosmos; Logic and the Erotic emerge with Logic the left-exact to creation and the Erotic as right-exact to creation: Logos <=>. Erôs. Erôs is the urge to return to God in death. These relationships can be better understood within the formal Dolittle Diagrams of Aristotelian Category Theory.

July 27th: still very hot at 25C with plenty of sunshine and dry through the day with moderately heavy rain arriving at 20:30 just as the lunar eclipse was about to start; the thunderstorms though remained to the E over Wylam and Newcastle. Compiled moths for 27/07/18: at MV trap at Ordley had 118 moths of 26 types, bringing total in compilations as of 24/04/19 up to 215 types. Made N4c4ll where very pleased 2 c tbld and tmfso!! Did a lot more gardening, cutting back Bird Cherry so that the moth trap light reaches the field directly. Also unpacked the double bed and started assembly: so far so good! Made W4g4s where 5 of us out for good chat; N said weather was too bad in NCL for him to attend. Funds finished +1k on week, +102k on year and 5k short of all-time record, after final payment made on Kruger trip, giving withdrawal of 1.4k on week, 13.4k on year. Commodity stocks are starting to look attractive again, particularly those in oil, where commodity price is holding up well in the face of a strong $. Kruger trip has cost £2.2k for all the basics, including the safari, internal flights, conference fee, accommodation, meals, workshops, bank charges; just really the flight from LHR-JNB return to pay, an extra £100, and drinks! 2moro it's C4c4l and final preparations: va manquer les beautés: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Lepidoptera were again outstanding today 27/7/18 with at Shilford: Small Copper (2), Peacock (7), Large White (7), Small White (22), Green-veined White (14), Ringlet (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Speckled Wood (12), Red Admiral (1), Meadow Brown (2), Udea lutealis (1), Agriphila straminella (108), Shaded Broad-bar (2), Yellow Shell (1), Twin-spot Carpet (12), Yponomeuta evonymella c500 in c50 vacated tents on bird cherry, Cameraria ohridella c70 fresh blotches on horse chestnut, plus some more material to be analysed. Total for butterflies was 69 insects of 10 types.

July 26th: hot today at 26C with strong sunshine magnifying the effect; light rain shower later at NCL, CAL and in the 'Shire. but drying out very quickly again. Met M at T4c4c where he was despondent about the rejection of a couple of his computing papers. Did battle with the shoe market at Clarks, buying a pair of brown moccasin for 21, reduced from 70, and having smart old black shoes re-soled at DSB for 29! Did a lot of gardening in the afternoon, hacking back much vegetation on road-side and near shed, to make it more open at the back and visible from the roadside. Drove to CAL and at last (always thought it would happen sooner or later) a Honey-buzzard male was seen c2km W of the Throckley N site, doing some hunting over a roadside to N. That takes number of sites to 24, c ½ of last year's total. Have had long think about value of Round 2 nest-visits and decided to axe them, at least for this year. The value is far less than for Round 1 visits, which confirm presence of birds, their nest site, remains below the nest and initial success. So this will release time from mid- to end-August for general visits to sites to check on breeding success for Honey-buzzard as well as for other raptors. It will also release time for capitalising on Baden-Baden and Hampshire conferences by starting detailed write-up of the full paper, including analysis of problems. With N had leisurely tea at MP, followed in S2 by Samling Academy Opera doing Venus and Adonis (John Blow) and Come, ye Sons of Art (Henry Purcell). The band was the Dunedin Consort playing on period instruments. The performers were music students, giving them a great opportunity for experience in the world of performing arts. Met CM, General Manager of Samling, before and in interval; she gave me a gr8 hug!! She was bar-lass at G for a while!! I am a Friend of the Academy. It all went off well: very smooth and enthusiastic. N loves Baroque music so he was in his element! We went to Br4g4s for chat. Much later had gr8 end to day: very thrilling: tender farewell: she's gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!!!! Metro was packed late-on as Little Mix's concert in Gateshead Stadium came to a close; evidently 2 of their members were born in South Shields! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Lepidoptera were again outstanding today 26/7/18 with in garden and field at Ordley: Small Copper (3 (2 mating)), Peacock (19), Comma (2), Large White (6), Small White (6), Green-veined White (3), Ringlet (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Speckled Wood (1), Red Admiral (1), Meadow Brown (2), Udea lutealis (20), Agriphila straminella (50), Shaded Broad-bar (5). Total for butterflies was 45 insects of 11 types.

July 25th: quieter day on the web site but traffic still higher than normal. Compiled moths for 25/07/18: at MV trap at Ordley had 38 moths of 12 types, bringing total in compilations as of 21/04/19 up to 204 types. Warm today at 22C on strong sunshine and light SE breeze. Did make site visit 9/10 to Shilford from 13:30-16:30. Walk-in was interesting with both big metal gates open, no pheasants at the release pen and no sign of anyone around; think they're doing some fencing around the narrow field where sheep graze and the contractors were being given easy access. The Honey-buzzard nest was easy to find, being in same Scots Pine as last year (girth 124cm) and with masses of Scots Pine sprays around the rim 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14 (8140). There were plenty of signs below the nest, including 10 small white down 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9, 4 large white down 1  2  3, 5 heavy splash 1  2  3  4  5, 8 medium splash 1  2  3  4  5  6, 1 chewed wax comb 1, a secondary feather 1  2. The birds were keeping a low profile but did hear the occasional quiet anxiety call around 14:22 (from presumed female) and the Crows were excited at times particularly at 15:02, with a Jay on the W side. On way out at 16:15, getting close to the car a male Honey-buzzard came up smartly over the conifer wood to W, some 2km from the nest site. He looked as if he might be going to soar but instead dived rapidly back towards the ground. He was out on a foraging trip; think he'd seen me once up in the air and decided to disappear quickly, a frequent Honey-buzzard tactic when 'cornered'. So that was the pair found! Total for birds was 17 types, including Common Buzzard (16:16, 3 juvenile fledged, no adult seen), Common Gull (21 adult S), Spotted Flycatcher (agitated pair), Goldcrest (14, fledged), Coal Tit (12, fledged), Chiffchaff (2 anxious birds), Nuthatch (2). Butterflies were fantastic: 10 types with Red Admiral 1, Small Copper 1, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Ringlet 1, Small White 22, Large White 7, Peacock 8, Meadow Brown 2, Green-veined White 14, Speckled Wood 12; that's 69 insects. Had all 3 types of the Stigmella rowan miners (sorbi, nylandriella, magdalenae). Am going to do a butterfly count in my field and garden tomorrow. Site 10/10 will have to wait. Booked up my rail travel to Hampshire for mid-August, switching the agent from LNER to TrainLine as LNER seem unable to book reservations; also booked hotel there, my usual (Robin Hood). Sorted parking at NCL Airport for next week and confirmed stay-over a day later. Made G4g4t where pleased to see l back! Did some active rehydration there, with lively crack! 2moro it's T4c4c with M, new smart shoes, MP4m4t from CAL with N at 17:00, Samling Singers at S2. Hâte d'y être: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 24th: traffic on Honey-buzzard web pages switched to home page, with 240 visitors today, well above normal; a lot of the visitors are from SW England! Published this evening Honey-buzzard in Cornwall at and updated Devon page at with information from 2017. Started getting daughter's room straight by demolishing old bed and taking it out into the back garden; also removed an old billiard table stored under the bed, no longer fit for purpose – quite a weight; that's also outside now. Had leisurely N4c4c and good chat with my computing mates at HoN4st4s; think Tuesday will be new nite but still will miss a few! On way back to S met flashing blue lights before Linnels Bridge; a stolen van had crashed into the top of the bank on the other side and the thief had done a runner; we were encouraged to go through and wait while the recovery team got to work but looked a long job and did a 5-point turn on the bank on Slaley side of bridge to go back and suggest to PC that we switched to the Lamb Shield interchange; he readily agreed! Funds unchanged; detect a slight upbeat in sentiment, which may lead to a rally in August. 2moro it's site visit 9/10 so energetic again, followed by G4g4s, where will fit in well with the builders after a hard day-out!! After T4c4c with M and S4con with N on Thursday, there are heavy thunderstorms threatened for Friday so think site visit 10/10 will have to wait a little. Expecting to get back to Music&CT on Friday as need to shorten Vichy talk for Baden-Baden. Beaucoup de bisous à la magnifique: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 23rd: concentrated on Cornish records from 25/5-31/5 for 2017 today, adding them all to BirdTrack from a spreadsheet and producing raptor and butterfly summaries. Tomorrow will publish a new page Honey-buzzard in Cornwall, accessible from the home page. Do like Cornwall: watch Poldark every Sunday; think he's more suited to country ways than London ones! Next target is the Irish records. The W part of the British Isles was assumed by many to be a graveyard for Honey-buzzard, all drowning in the Atlantic after following the SW peninsula of England straight out into the ocean. This does not appear to be the case with breeding populations well-established in Devon, Cornwall and Ireland. So what is going on? My guess is that there is increased mortality of juvenile birds but birds who make it to adulthood master the tricky route (and remember it) to establish a successful colonisation. Earlier made R @ B4m4l where address by District Governor (our chief!). He did congratulate us on the web site being up to date! Establishing a better relation with new President who replied to my strong interest in the new programme of events for 2018-19 with “Thanks Nick, that's great. I look forward to seeing more of you on a social basis. Best wishes”. Did make return to N4c4ll where spied tmfso!! Much later made G4g4s but rather late as had got absorbed in the Cornish records. Had good chats with G on prospects for Scottish/Devon football clubs in the new season and with A on how Gateshead is sneaking up on Newcastle in the fame stakes. Having the cabinet at the Sage today was quite a coup: hope they charged the forkers appropriately!! 2moro it's N4c4l and out with IT crowd (A/M) later in new routine; will see how it goes!! Son's put in an offer on a house in Hatfield area for 195k: what a transformation: will support, 12k+ promised!! Keen to encourage the spread of home ownership: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Think might have a stop-over after Ponteland on 4/8: fits into the category of relaxation after Germany and might be timely on a tour basis!! Compiled moths for 23/07/18: at MV trap at Ordley had 71 moths of 28 types (including 2 of 2 types unidentified at present), bringing total in compilations as of 22/04/19 up to 212 types.

July 22nd: a further 80 visits to page Honey-buzzard in Devon today. Regional updates are perhaps a good idea so will push Cornwall 2017 and Ireland, to date, forward to publishing as a priority. Did site visit 8/10 today to Oakpool on East Allen from 14:20-18:05 in perfect weather – sunny 23C, light to moderate SW breeze, dry. Had a pair of Honey-buzzard at Staward S site, the female coming in purposefully at 14:48 with a dive from up on high and the male popping out at 14:55, with a brief soar followed by a glide; thermals were very strong in the sunshine. The former's another strategy for approaching the nest inconspicuously, an alternative to gliding through glades. This looks like a classical co-operative pair: the male was guarding the nest, the female comes in with food which she gives to the young, the male departs to forage, the female takes over the brood duty. In all raptors there is strong collaboration between the pair throughout the egg laying, rearing and fledging stage, but in some the female will not let the male near the nest, intercepting him to obtain the food. With the Honey-buzzard the male does bring food right into the nest and will perform brood duties. So they're good role models!! For the nest visit was hoping they were still using the same nest in an Oak tree as the area to the N which they've used before is almost impenetrable temperate jungle. Was worried on approach as nest looked smaller than last year but heard a single strong alarm call (at 100s on clip) 1 at 15:24 and then found extensive remains below the tree (girth 258cm) and realised the frontage of the nest had been turned round with the front visible from the track much reduced and the rear barely visible from anywhere built up substantially with oak sprays 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20 (8120). Remains below the nest included heavy splash 2 1  2, medium splash 7 1  2  3, small white down 9 1  2  3  4  5  6. The Honey-buzzard were clearly lurking with alarm calls from Jay and Crow from 15:15-15:36 and very angry pair of Crow at 16:20. No birds were actually seen for a while but eventually had a cross-sounding call 1 at 16:21 followed by the male flying over going SW. As walked up the steep hill out, the female came out of the wood at 17:26, soaring powerfully 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15 before also going SW (towards the moors). Pheasant release pen was unoccupied so no gamekeeper activity (and no vehicle tracks on the steep lane within the wood!). Total for birds was 20 types, including Common Buzzard (1 juvenile call at 17:18), fledged Oystercatcher, Curlew, Coal Tit, Swallow, Chiffchaff, Robin, Chaffinch. An agitated Spotted Flycatcher was very noteworthy in view of their decline. Had 8 types of butterfly in the sunshine: Red Admiral 2, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Speckled Wood 3, Meadow Brown 2, Green-veined White 14, Small White 8, Large White 1, Ringlet 3; not great numbers but this is an upland site. Also had 15 Stigmella sorbi blotches on rowan. Had another brush with the assiduous local squire, who's been trying to catch me off-piste for a while. I was on Oakpool Bridge, looking for Purple Hairstreak (not found) and then went to the corner of the crossing for a comfort break. This leads onto a private track. The owner thought 'got him at last' as he suddenly appeared on the bridge but I just re-emerged and started to walk out up the road. It's an energetic trip with quite a drop from the top to the valley bottom but you do get marvellous views over all the Allens and can see the Staward S site, which was a definite plus today. The squire had been lagging behind events as sometimes I park closer to his mansion on the W side of the valley. Much later made G4g4s where had good chat with G, even being introduced to S! Hope to get 1 more nest visit in before the break. Am going with N to MP/S2 for Samling on Thursday evening. So action is promised: tempting to make another visit: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, G4g4s and catch-up on records.

July 21st: Nordic Summer Nights continued in great vein!! The concert headed Sibelius 2 went off very well at St George's Church, Cullercoats. The 18 performers played pieces by Nielsen, Sibelius and Svendsen before the interval, followed by Sibelius 2, arranged Iain Farrington, for the smaller orchestra. Tristan Gurney did an expert job as Director/Violinist and the Sibelius was absolutely stunning; speaking to AY afterwards, she confirmed that it had been a great experience!! Earlier made C4c4l where tbld in good form!! FT obviously concerned about trade wars; reaffirmed that if the war stays where it is, effects will be small but the problem is these matters tend to escalate. Had 2 Nightjar late yesterday, one on way to pub at Swallowship, the other on way back at Lamb Shield. Today had a female Honey-buzzard out foraging low-down near Close House turn-off at 17:30 and a juvenile Kestrel on wires at Throckley shortly after. Enjoyed longer trip on the Metro from CAL. Nite finished on a very high note: scintillating coda: very good feeling: she's so wonderful: lok2tgrf!!!!!!! Masses of interest in my page Honey-buzzard in Devon at, not sure what's going on; hit rate was 1 per minute mid-afternoon with total of 260 hits for this one page during day! 2moro it's another site visit and much later G4g4s. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 20th: some light rain this afternoon so made N4c4ll for relaxation. Rain appeared to ease off at 16:00 so got ready to do site visit no.7 but just as set-off, it started again. Still carried on and visited March Burn site from 17:45-20:40; it became drier towards end of visit. No Clegs but main feature of this site is the ubiquity of the Wood Ant: they are everywhere, crawling on the bark of trees, in big nests on the floor and getting into everything you put down for 5 minutes! They also clean up Honey-buzzard remains at a great pace. Nest is a re-use of last year's in same Hemlock Spruce, high up in the bottom of the canopy and stretching ½ way round the trunk 1  2  3  4  5. The girth of the trunk at base was 182cm. A Crow was angry as approached nest site. There were quite a few remains close to the nest-tree, including 1 female Honey-buzzard secondary feather (23cm long) 1  2, 7 small white down 1  2 (eggs have hatched), 1 large white down 1, 2 chewed wax comb 1, 1 eaten pheasant egg 1, 2 heavy splash, 3 medium splash 1  2  3 (8110). No sign of the adults at this stage. Left site and drifted down to the N, where had plenty of fruit and water; coffee cup was placed by mistake on the edge of an ant nest and was soon a seething mass, which had trouble removing! Walked across field back to road and looked back at the nest for 20 minutes; at 19:45 the male Honey-buzzard was seen moving N towards the nesting area flying through the tops of the trees; when he came opposite the nest, he dipped down below the canopy moving W and was clearly following a glade right into the nesting area. Shortly after an anxiety call was heard from the nesting area 1 (10s in). Also here in total of 19 bird species had a Woodlark flushed from entrance to field and coming down again nearby shortly after, over edge of common to E, 50 Linnet, 9 Swallow, a Green Woodpecker yaffling and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Roe Deer (2+) were barking in the wood; can worry some people as they sound like dogs on the loose! So that's good progress for the survey; next site visit (8/10) is on Sunday. Made W4g4s with 4 of us out; numbers still diminished with DP having a chest infection. Discovered (as no cash taken from bank account) that booking for Sage for next season had gone astray; quickly sorted by NH; total cost is £1064.30 with £174.30 paid today on debit card. Paid today substantial deposit on Kruger trip via Caxton, giving total withdrawal on week of 1.4k, making 12.0k for year. Funds, under pressure all week from commodity crash, were resilient as many denominated in the strengthening $, finished 3k down, including the withdrawal; on year it's +101k after withdrawals. Here's a clip showing S (almost 3 ½) riding bike without stabilisers at home and a picccie of the 2 girls S & I (about 1 ¾). I's given up her sleep in the afternoon, just becoming grizzly instead! They're coming up a few days later in August now so can make the Ponteland concert. 2moro it's C4c4l followed by CC for Sibelius 2; will go from CAL, doing a clockwise manoeuvre around the area!! Fait de beaux rêves ma jolie: xxxxxxxxxx!!

July 19th: did complete documenting 17/7/2017 at Towsbank (7124) and Featherstone (7124a); next stage is producing report for Honey-buzzard in Northumberland for 2017: getting there! Think I'll sort out some recent records first. Met M at T4c4c where we had good crack. May be moving IT nite from Thursday to Tuesday as I'm often doing other things on Thursday. Made MP4m4t via CAL with N where we had leisurely meal from 17:30-19:30. Agreed in principle to support New York Met at TC. Nordic Summer Nights were superb!! Particularly liked the Nielsen SQ 1; wonder why such works lie neglected; the andante amoroso was so beautiful and the last 2 movements formed such a lively contrast. The players were obviously inspired and got a tremendous reception, which was completely deserved; strong hams: very moving throughout!! Nitecap was brilliant: highly sensuous: appeals to the dark side: she's gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!!!! Scott's home early!! 2moro it's N4c4l, maybe not site visit no.7 as rain forecast so catch-up! xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Clearing up at t-time so now going out on site visit: mustn't be a wimp. Really pleased we still got a result last nite!!!

July 18th: almost completed documenting 17/7/2017 at Towsbank (7124) and Featherstone (7124a). Have finished processing and indexing the piccies and records; just a little house-keeping to do. Argos finally arrived at 16:30 (window was 07:00-18:00), not too happy at an extended tour of the 'Shire through someone giving them 'misleading' instructions! So bed's here; just needs assembling; help and you can sleep in it!! The bed and mattress are for my daughter's room. Talking of whom, meeting them at NCL Airport on 3/8 as they arrive from LHR and I arrive from STT via AMS; we must be the jet set!! Not sure I'll be able to get away to make the 4/8 concert at Ponteland but will be there in spirit (and won't ask for my money back!). So booked up as well the concert at Cullercoats this Saturday to add to tomorrow's! Back to Argos, they wouldn't collect the old mattress as they didn't have a bag to put it in; so I've left it outside on the front grass waiting for them to come back! Started a subscription to Bloomberg's digital news service with $10 a month for 3 months followed by normal rate of $35 a month. Bloomberg is a major sponsor of New York Met and see they're doing some Wagner this year; should resume going to their operas at TC on Saturday night now late-night travel improved; will raise it with Nick 2moro! Made G4g4t where pleased to meet B again, who's been in Limoges area of France for 2 weeks. 2moro it's T4c4c with M, some grass cutting, completion of 2017 bird records, CAL-NCL, MP4m4t, S2-4con; looking forward to it: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 17th: what a day in the upper South Tyne, having a long session at the site near Eals from 15:25-19:00 in overcast conditions but quite warm and it stayed dry. Raptors were incredible with 17 birds of 6 types: Common Buzzard 5 (Towsbank 4, Snope Burn 1), Red Kite 3 ( 2 adult, 1 juvenile), Hobby 2 (adult male, adult female), Goshawk 2 (adult male, juvenile male), Kestrel 3 (adult female, 2 juvenile), Honey-buzzard 2 (pair). This was nest visit 6/10 so making good progress; it's not a long walk but spend quite a lot of time perched on the steep side of a soft bank on which you slide gently down if you don't have walking poles for support. The nest in oak is a proper one this year in a fork with the outside covered in oak leaves and sprays and at a higher position than last year. The pair were at home and captured some anxiety calls on the camera. Total amount of material obtained was very large! Many other birds have had a great breeding season. Total for bird species was an amazing 37 types, including breeding Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Stonechat. Grey Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Oystercatcher, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch. 7 types of moth were noted but no butterflies were seen. Home page is now up to date with Northumberland running totals for 2018; even with scaled-back effort have found birds at 22 sites (20 male, 15 female) and have done 60% of nest visits. All the evidence points to complete occupation of last year's sites and, as intended, have collected more information with a more measured approach. Last year for instance I would have checked today 2 more sites for occupation, spending less time in vicinity of one pair. Should add that I'm still very careful about over-staying my welcome: time spent near nest is strictly limited! At MV trap had 48 moths of 17 types, bringing total in compilations as of 20/04/18 up to 201 types. Only 1 Cleg seen: duly squashed! lok2tmbo!!!! Next site visit will be Friday; 2moro waiting for delivery; breaking out on Thursday, meeting N for MP and S24con; looking forward to that!! Should be gorgeous: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Funds -2k as strong $ drives down commodity prices, particularly PoO, but effect is muted as have reduced exposure; still picking up the odd 'bargain'!

Piccies from the trip included: Grey Wagtail juvenile 1; Stonechat juvenile (1 of 3) 1  2  3; Red Kite (2 adults, slides 1, 4-11), juvenile (slides 2,3) 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11; Goshawk juvenile male 1  2  3  4  5  6; Hobby adult female 1  2. Honey-buzzard comprised clip of female in flight with anxiety calls 118s-123s 1 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11; clip of male in flight 1 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12; clip near nest with anxiety calls 3s 8s 41s 44s 1; clip near nest of anxiety call with inflexion 42s 47s 55s 1; stills of male in flight 1  2. Here's stills of the nest in oak: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14. When standing by nest some kwik calls (Tawny Owl type) were heard from the Honey-buzzard. Remains under or near the nest comprised small white down 1, large white down 1 1, heavy splash 3 1  2, medium splash 5 1  2  3, a small brown body feather 1; girth of oak tree containing nest was 132 cm.

July 16th: broke new ground today in Bucks by visiting a fairly typical area of the lower Chilterns, looking for Honey-buzzard from 13:00-15:00. Area selected was near the M40 J2 where the enormous flock of Red Kite seen on 14/7. Weather was hot at 30C, with a little breeze but basically dry and stifling. Mission was highly successful: much more to follow. Have prepared spreadsheet with up-to-date totals for the Honey-buzzard survey in Northumberland in 2018, which will publish tomorrow. Also made progress on last bird records for 2017 (upper South Tyne, 17/7, 7124, 1 year ago!), which should publish on Wednesday. Did catch late train 19:30 KGX-NCL (18:15 from EAL) and it was on time all the way. Thunderstorm at Northallerton confirmed change in weather in the NE as in the forecasts. When arrived it was 13C (25C in London, dry, as left) with heavy rain; had no pullover, let alone a coat, wrong shoes (slippery in the wet) so SH, making HEX on last train at 23:35. Trip as a whole was marvellous: thanks to everyone who contributed: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! 2moro it's nest visit 6/10. Argos are threatening another delivery (attempt) on Wednesday; order will be cancelled if they don't turn up.

July 15th: weather again hot at 29C with almost no breeze. Well thought party at Kingston Vale would be a kiddies one but not really right: it was clearly an opportunity for adults to have a good time! There were 35 of us there: 27 adult, 8 children, but 23 of the adult were Iranian! I had a great time, plenty of red wine, and learnt how to do Iranian dancing, with plenty of stimulation: why are Iranian women so attractive!! Did have a male Honey-buzzard up high to E, when focused on more critical matters, hanging for a few seconds before diving over Wimbledon Common, an SSSI, a new site for me, perhaps adjacent to one in Richmond Park. But basically absorbed by the party! We bought Rayan a Lego present of Jurassic World for £60, went down well. Back to Ealing late evening for recuperation! Big sis is a little disapproving but to her credit she did the driving. 2moro we'll be out for a walk!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 14th: made Burnham Beeches, near J2 of M40, in early afternoon from 12:45-14:45 in hot sunshine at 29C; it stayed completely dry today. Had 6 Red Kite and 2 Common Buzzard before an amazing show at 15:00 of Red Kite over Bower Wood, near J2, totalling c60 up in the air at once, including both adult and juvenile. We also found a Tawny Owl feather 1 and a Green Woodpecker feather 1. Butterflies were again good with 43 insects of 10 types: Large White 12, Small White 8, Hedge Brown 2, Green-veined White 10, Ringlet 5, Holly Blue 1, Meadow Brown 1, Common Blue 1, Red Admiral 2, Speckled Wood 1. In evening we took E10/65 buses to Richmond where met son and daughter for meal at Zizzi, an Italian Restaurant, where had Calzone and some red wine; sis paid. We had great chat! Daughter says she'll come out to JNB with me for few days before safari starts. Son is keen to go to Wagner's Ring at Budapest next June (my shout!!), performed in 4 straight nights. He's going to Mahler 8 (Symphony of a Thousand) next Saturday at Proms to claim seat won in a lottery as so over-subscribed. 2moro it's big family party at Kingston with 35 invites out: should be great occasion!! Tard lundi soir voit les choses en levant: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

More on the brain and music. Popular psychology has intonation on lhs and expressiveness on rhs of brain but this does not match the hands on the violin, where left hand (intonation) maps onto the opposite rhs of the brain and right hand (articulation) maps onto the opposite lhs of the brain. Further, rhythm is assigned popularly to the lhs but this must be an oversimplification as it involves the co-ordination of both hands. Looking to a better understanding:

Linear reasoning functions of language such as grammar and word production are often lateralized to the left hemisphere of the brain. In contrast, holistic reasoning functions of language such as intonation and emphasis are often lateralized to the right hemisphere of the brain. [Dehaene S, Spelke E, Pinel P, Stanescu R, Tsivkin S (1999). "Sources of mathematical thinking: behavioral and brain-imaging evidence". Science. 284 (5416): 970–4. doi:10.1126/science.284.5416.970. PMID 10320379]

With word production, as articulation, on lhs and intonation on rhs, this matches the handling of a violin. In CT articulation will be a category A and intonation a category I with adjoint functors F: I → A and G: A → I giving the relationship F --| G as a 4-tuple <F, G, η, ε>. η the unit of adjunction measures the creativity of the free functor F, ε the counit of adjunction measures the enforcing of the rules by the underlying functor G.

Further the same reference says:

Other integrative functions such as intuitive or heuristic arithmetic, binaural sound localization, etc. seem to be more bilaterally controlled.

Rhythm should be replaced by the process of delivery or performance, which is higher-order involving both intonation and articulation in the context of a time series. Such a higher-order performance will be a monad T (with comonad S) operating on the adjointness GF (and FG). This monad (comonad) operates across both the lhs and rhs, creating an intensive effort in the brain in communication through the Corpus Callosum, which connects the two hemispheres. So intensive is this effort in musicians that:

The front portion of the human corpus callosum has been reported to be significantly larger in musicians than non-musicians [Levitin, Daniel J. "This is Your Brain on Music"]

Musical training has been shown to increase plasticity of the corpus callosum during a sensitive period of time in development. The implications are an increased coordination of hands, differences in white matter structure, and amplification of plasticity in motor and auditory scaffolding which would serve to aid in future musical training. The study found children who had begun musical training before the age of six (minimum 15 months of training) had an increased volume of their corpus callosum and adults who had begun musical training before the age of 11 also had increased bimanual coordination.[Steele, C. J.; Bailey, J. A.; Zatorre, R. J.; Penhune, V. B. (2013). "Early Musical Training and White-Matter Plasticity in the Corpus Callosum: Evidence for a Sensitive Period". Journal of Neuroscience. 33 (3): 1282–90. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3578-12.2013. PMID 23325263.]

So the monad (dually, comonad) has a lot to answer for! This is great support for the Vichy/Baden-Baden approach but may leave its presentation to ANPA. Feel that performing at international conferences or in legal courts is similar to the music performance with intensive co-ordination of articulation (rhetoric) on lhs and intonation (dialectic) on rhs. The intensive performance will be energy sapping! Politicians just do rhetoric! Thanks to consultant for triggering these thoughts!!

July 13th: train was full by York but managed to get a decent seat at NCL by nipping on quickly! Had a female Honey-buzzard patrolling a marsh, 10 minutes before Darlington where I've seen them before. Honey-buzzard like marshes as they're insect and amphibian rich. Did do some CT on way down, mainly for ANPA, looking at psychology articles on distribution of activities within the two hemispheres of the brain. Must say not at all convinced by the popular psychology, with logic on lhs and expressiveness/emotion on rhs, used by some to stereotype male and female brains and even the role of intuition. Pleased to say there's not much real scientific evidence to support such ideas. It does seem though that the hemisphere opposite a physical activity does the basic coordination of that activity (left-hand for instance is 'controlled' by rhs of brain). But many higher-level activities are done through co-ordination of both sides of the brain. Surprise, surprise, CT handles all of this very well and will give the example of playing an instrument tomorrow. All on time by EAL, just 4 hours 7 minutes door to door,via Piccadilly/District lines! We went for walk in Pitshanger Park, which was so dry; the wild flowers planted by the Council were in fine fettle and had 7 types of butterfly, including a Comma and 3 Holly Blue; it was 29C but amazingly the drought was broken in the early evening with a heavy shower of rain. Total for birds was 10 types including 21 Ring-necked Parakeet. Sis is worried about a planning application for 3 houses on her N boundary. She's not been notified of the application by the builder, which is serious as the new-build comes within 0.5m of her (party) wall. The applicants say the property meets the 6m rule on excavations (correct) but there's another 3m rule which is clearly broken and they've ignored it. So suggested she employed a surveyor to challenge the plans. Basically there's only really room for 2 houses on the plot, so it needs knocking back to that level. Hope Yorkshire went well!! Daughter has finally settled her trip up here for 3/8 (pm)-6/8; don't think she could believe how much I was away! Funds unchanged on week; think might see a wee revival in August, often a good month for markets. Slept very well: rejuvenated by time left; it's amazing how some activities de-stress and refresh: fait de beaux rêves ma jolie: lok2tgrf!!!!!!! 2moro might be meal out but no venue yet!

July 12th: completed report on Wylam for last year's visit (22/6, 7101); only one to do now for Towsbank. Need to do a final trawl after that through various notes and image files and then can complete records for the year. Butterflies yesterday at Wylam were fantastic with 9 types, including White-letter Hairstreak and Purple Hairstreak. For November 2018, booked up 5-day Kruger RRF conference, including a 6-day safari before on the Escarpment and the Kruger, plus stay at the camp, tutorials, talks, meals, internal air flights, 1 short safari at conference itself, all for a bargain R38k. Just need to book flights now from LHR-JNB; daughter says there will be 3 flights a day in each direction with VA by then; that's good for stand-by, for which you have to pay taxes (c£100 return) but no fares (c£1300 return, which of course include taxes). Would be lovely to have a companion!! Taking it easy on current trip; some desirable catalyst seems to have initiated a break from recent hard work!! Feeling very good: she's so inspirational: absolutely gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!!!! 2moro aim is 09:58. xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 11th: had good chat with M about CT; we discussed how the violin makes music theory more complicated, meaning many theorists stick to the piano as at Vichy. CT can handle in pullbacks real numbers as in microtones so we don't have a problem as stated in Baden-Baden paper. Made Wylam for site visit no.5 from 14:45-16:55 in very sunny weather c22C; it's gr8 planning these visits without having to worry about the rain. The male Honey-buzzard was at home, using the same (small) nest as last year in a Scots Pine, placed in the canopy on a fork, resting on a horizontal branch and slightly boat-shaped 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21 (8095). Girth of tree was 137cm. There were some pine sprays and small patches of splash on the rim of the nest. Ongoing timber operations have felled the adjacent plantation but the birds didn't seem too bothered; there was no sign of any preliminary work to fell the area in which the Honey-buzzard are nesting. It looks as if the young have just hatched with a few pieces (3) of small white down around 1  2  3 plus one large white down 1. In a small area under the nest there was significant heavy 1  2  3  4 and medium 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 splash (9, 10 respectively) plus 2 empty Woodpigeon eggshells 1  2. As I entered the copse at 15:30 the male did a very low pass over the wood, coming right over the nest (clip 1, 34s, 42s glimpses through canopy), presumably telling the young to keep quiet; a Crow alarm call was heard soon after. The male then circled over the wood with the female moving higher at 15:37 and that was the last I saw of them. 2 Jay were near the nest at 15:55. Suspect he thought it didn't look as if I was going to climb the tree (correct!) so no need to panic. Total of 18 bird species included many with fledged young: Goldcrest, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Song Thrush. On way back had a male Honey-buzzard over fields near A69 at Whittle Dene, another new site for year, plus 40 Swift hawking over a nearby field. Made G4g4t where H on!! Football fans were gathering steadily but I left before the game started! 2moro if Argos turn-up will be on my way as planned: se réveiller en ville est toujours super: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Argos no show by 14:28, keeping to plans anyway!

Butterflies comprised 28 insects of 8 types: Small White 9, Ringlet 2, Speckled Wood 3, Large White 4, Small Skipper 1 (piccies 1  2), Meadow Brown 6, Purple Hairstreak 2 (piccies 1  2  3  4  5  6 from high-up in canopy), White Letter Hairstreak 1 (on wych elm). Getting 2 Hairstreak species in the county in 1 day is very noteworthy! A Southern Hawker dragonfly was also seen.

July 10th: spent much time bashing away at the visit to Wylam last year on 22/6 (7101). Got the material sorted and labelled; just need to index it now on the 2017 NB page and add records to database. Finalisation of 2017 records is getting closer! Did meet N at AF where we had great catch-up: bought a 1724 rat-tail spoon in fair condition for £60, labelled at £75, routine deduction; dealer said they were getting scarcer (as marketed items), my impression from Ebay. Persuaded N to come to S2 concert on 19/7 with MP b4; I'm not going to Corbridge one (same as S2) nor Hexham one (away) but did book today for the Ponteland one on 4/8, as very convenient!! Made N4c4ll where had bonus c! Started planning the Kruger itinerary; could be away 17 days with a safari trip before the 5-day conference and some buffer time at start as fly stand-by LHR-JNB, courtesy of daughter's employment with VA! Eventual destination is SZK but may only need that flight on way back as the safari tour, integrated with the conference, delivers us there the day before it starts. Must register tomorrow for R4160 as then get access to lots of booking facilities such as for accommodation and meals. Area will contain wintering Honey-buzzard from Russia: what a temptation for anyone!! 2moro it's M at T4c4c, nest visit 5/10, G4g4t. Argos have rescheduled their missed delivery for Thursday 10:00-14:00: let's pray! Really looking forward to next trip: seize est l'heure: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Have registered for Rayan's 6th birthday party, to be also attended by his cousins, my granddaughters: expecting a quiet afternoon!! Funds +1k so far this week: not too much ventured at present!

July 9th: made site visit 4/10 from 16:40-19:20 to local site, another one with fine riverine views by the Devil's Water (8090). Weather was much cooler, overcast c16C, dry, light NE breeze. Walk is short but involves crossing the burn and climbing an almost vertical bank, to get onto what appears to be an island but it isn't really; habitat is very rough underfoot with many fallen branches and high bracken. Birds are pretty shocked when you crawl up the bank and suddenly appear in the immediate area of their nest, giving instant reaction. Today's visit was very successful, with the nest another re-use of the Hemlock Spruce tree 1  2  3  4  5  6 with girth 134cm; indeed during the whole study they've only used 2 nests at this site. There was plenty of heavy/medium splash 1  2  3  4 in the nest area (10/2 respectively) plus a few (4) small white down 1, which are removed quickly by the Wood Ant, indicating that the young have hatched. As for the birds, they were vociferous at the start with both male and female up in the air over the nest, giving excited anxiety and anger calls. Have 3 clips of 3-5 minutes each, so very productive. Clip 1 1 shows the male over the nest at 17:24 with continual anxiety calls and derived snapshots here 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11. Clip 2 1 shows the male over the nest at 17:31 keeping quiet after start of clip with derived snapshots here 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11. Clip 3 1 shows the male and female over the nest at 17:43 with much anger and anxiety calling, with derived snapshots here 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13. As the visit went on the Honey-buzzard were replaced by a pair of Common Buzzard, who had a nest c60m away from the Honey-buzzard in another Hemlock Spruce tree; this nest was plastered with down and splash 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9, like normal raptor nests (but not the pristine Honey-buzzard!) and built lower down in the tree. When the Common Buzzard came too close to the Honey-buzzard, there was a furious reaction with screaming calls as recorded in Clip 3. The Common Buzzard might have fledged already, certainly no juvenile cries from that area. Total for bird species was 13, including Spotted Flycatcher (2 birds in territory), Swift (1 occupied nest), Swallow (9, visiting apparent nest). Took aftermath of visit more carefully with stretching of leg muscles, rehydration, long hot bath and eating bananas; on Saturday had a spell of hamstring cramp, after the Staward visit, which was really painful! Rubbing the area affected did help on Saturday: just like in the World Cup but your neighbours may not understand!! Anyway was fine tonite!! Made R @ B4m4l where good talk on bees by NW, N4c4ll and G4g4s. 2moro it's Shack in Wentworth 4c4c and AF with N; might look at the Ag, very little on Ebay at the moment. Should make N4c4ll. Coming weekend looks to be hectic, including birthday party of cousin to granddaughters: should be fun! Maybe exciting time b4: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! About to start booking for Raptor Research Foundation conference in Kruger Park, RSA, in mid-November; room for 2!!

July 8th: another sunny day at 23C but with more cloud in morning. Did a lot of work on records, catching up with those from June, in particular from Hungary. Also had massive moth catch last night of 30+ species so that took some time to analyse. Did make G4g4s where met P and the dommies players for good crack. Back home put on Barenboim's Tannhäuser III for a nite-cap: absolutely brilliant!! 2moro sees R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll, another site visit (4/10) and G4g4s!! Think the ultra-dark T&I is more relevant than Tannhäuser: fait de beaux rêves ma jolie: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Red Kite in Northumberland page is very popular at the moment, showing the success of the reintroduction. The incompetent and eco-leftish Northumbria Ringing Group (NRG), who have failed to record its success, are a disgrace to NE England. Bird species grossly under-recorded inland, through (a) their lack of survey activity, (b) inability to identify species correctly when they do get out, (c) prejudices, and (d) dominance on the County Records Committee, include not only Red Kite, but also Honey-buzzard, Hobby and Woodlark. Quite an achievement!! Their Red Kite folly has serious implications as national bodies (RSPB, Natural England) do expect authoritative local monitoring to take place to provide information on the success or otherwise of their expensive re-introduction schemes. Put bluntly the NRG wanted the Red Kite re-introduction in Gateshead to fail so they could hammer the landowners and have done everything possible to portray it as a failure. What hubris!!

Not forgotten Vichy. Special friends made/retained: Thomas Noll, Escola Superior de Music de Catalunya, Barcelona (keynote speaker in Music and Logic Workshop on tones and chords: intuitionistic approach); Ingolf Max, University of Leipzig (Chair of Music and Logic Workshop, speaker on logic and harmony); Guilia Lorenzi, Department of Philosophy, University of Milan (speaker in Music and Logic Workshop on Listening and Reading); David McGoveran, Alternative Technologies, Deerfield Beach, USA (keynote speaker on foundational issues in Workshop Logic for Dynamic Real-World Information; ANPA West stalwart); Tamar Lando, Department of Philosophy, Columbia University, New York (speaker on topology in Workshop Modal Logic, in collaboration with Tel Aviv University).

Some totals compiled for Budapest trip and now sorting out the butterflies. Total for raptors for trip was: Common Kestrel 10 (including 2 at Schipol), Black Kite 4, Red-footed Falcon 3, Hobby 3, Honey-buzzard 2, Saker Falcon 2, Common Buzzard 1. That's 25 birds of 7 types. Total for all bird species was 35 types. Home page for Honey-buzzard reads: Budapest, Hungary (9/16-16/6): on N side of city, 1 male cross to Margit Island from NW side 9/6; 1 male in territory on middle hill on NW side 15/6; total likely to be 2 sites, 2 birds (2 male).

July 7th: completed compilation of results for Staward N from last year (3/7). Well Argos delivered mattress on time at 10:00 but other delivery of bed-frame + removal of old mattress, scheduled for 13:00-15:00, was postponed at 14:30; wonder if it was that match! So made C4c4ll at 15:15 where caught up with FT: still cautious on emerging markets particularly China but thinks recent US/German figures a little more encouraging. Pleased to meet trhwso: gr8 to keep up with Hexham's financial sector!! Weather again good at 22C with hot sunshine and very little breeze. Did site visit no.3 to Staward N from 16:35-20:10, walking down from old station to the Allen, looking around and walking back out and up. It's moderately arduous and good for keeping fit! River was really low. The Honey-buzzard have moved their site c50m to the N while keeping their fine riverine views; the female was very helpful, giving an alarm call as passed the new nest at 18:12, placed high up in a Norway Spruce tree 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 just below the crown on the side of the trunk with remains scattered around below of Woodpigeon egg shells (9) 1  2  3  4, Woodpigeon kill (1) 1, heavy splash (2) 1  2, Medium splash (6) 1  2, small white down (16, young hatched) 1  2  3  4  5, large white down with dark tip (1) 1, chewed wax comb (2) 1  2, girth ?? (8088). At the same time (18:11) the male Honey-buzzard was floating very high above the nest, presumably watching me. Unlike on 5/7 that was the only sign I got from the birds themselves but good of them to get into the spirit of the survey! Last year's site was devoid of remains. Had 1 Crow alarm call as left site at 19:17. Also had Sparrowhawk (adult male hunting at Staward N), Common Buzzard (1 adult alarm calling Staward N, singles Letah Wood and Langley Dam) and Kestrel (Burnmouth). Total for raptors for trip was 7: 3 Common Buzzard, 2 Honey-buzzard, single Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. Total for bird-types was 22, including Spotted Flycatcher (2), Coal Tit (12, fledged), Goldcrest (3, fledged), Meadow Pipit (3, fledged), Oystercatcher (2). There was 1 dragonfly species: Common Hawker (2). Butterflies were good: 39 insects of 9 types, including a Small Skipper, new for area, Painted Lady 2 (1 of these at home as well), Ringlet 23, Meadow Brown 9, Large White 2, Small White 1, Red Admiral 1. There were also some grass moths, including 3 Straw Dot, 4 Chrysoteuchia culmella. Petty war continued with the Clegs (alias Horse-fly, Gadfly), winning 3-0 but used a repellent Buzz Off (Superdrug) to reduce combat, which seemed to work well with further application after 2-hours as the sweat washes it off. So good haul: much more to follow. Just got back in time for f&c+mp from Sea Chef and last 15 minutes of normal time of Russia vs Croatia (it went on!). MV moth trap haul was very good at 107 moths of 32 types with 2 micros unid at present (have not given up!). Big sis is pleased to welcome me as below, returning in the evening and securing leisurely start!! Looking forward to that: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 6th: another day with paper-work completed, for Kellas 1/7/17 (7103), leaving just 3 to go for 2017 of which Staward (7105, 3/7/17) is almost done, so that's next target; may finish it tomorrow. Last 2 are a fair way from completion as not even compiled walk-ins yet. Had some breaks today, to N4c4ll where good to have H/S on and G4g4s where gr8 to have N back with usual good company; W friends are all away! London trip will have to be soon as daughter's in Delhi around 20/7 with VA, so thinking about 13/7-16/7 for actual journeys and maybe leisurely outward part!! Have S2 on 19/7 and 26/7. Will have to check with big sis!! Funds progressed steadily at +4k, taking gain on year to 104k after 10.6k withdrawals. As my mum would have said: better than a kick up the b.m!! Bond holdings continue to rise but am benefiting from slight recovery in bombed-out mining stocks! Completely out of oil/gas equity now as sentiment seems to be poor but still got substantial bond holdings in N Sea oil. 2moro it's furniture delivery, C4c4ll and trip out, nest visit 3/10. Peut-il être aussi bon!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 5th: another fine day at 22C, light NE breeze, dry. Really enjoy this sort of weather, now hay fever season (for me) is passing! Clegs are a serious problem this summer; on today's walk was stalked by them most of the time but final result was 10-0 to me (10 swatted, 0 bites). It's only the females that are the problem; the males are creatures of virtue! She gives nasty bites, which readily fester. If you know she's after you, hold your hand up invitingly, wait for her to land and settle for 2 seconds, then swat just as she's getting ready to extract blood: she's not so wary as the meal looms! Don't wear shorts: she's bound to get you then!! Repellent is not that effective; vigilance is best. Presence of ticks in the bracken, with possibility of Lyme Disease, is another reason to avoid shorts (here both males and females bite). On plus side, dry weather has drastically reduced midge numbers (only females bite). Anyone for a trip to an insect-rich Honey-buzzard site? Today's trip was to Kellas N from 15:30-18:50, of which only a part was close to the nest (8086). Some very beautiful insects were there, including 9 types of butterfly and many moths. The Honey-buzzard have been economical, re-using last year's nest in Scots Pine, but they were both at home with some splash right below the nest: heavy 4 1  2  3  4, medium 7 1  2  3  4  5  6  7; also found 2 small white down below the nest 1  2 and a Woodpigeon egg on ground near the nest, against a continuous background of angry Crow calls through most of visit. The nest was deep and slightly boat-shaped, occupying a fork at the lower end of the canopy, built on some sturdy boughs 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24. The girth of the nesting tree was 101cm, at the lower end of those in use; the nest had a slight tilt. While there the presence of 4 noisy Black-headed Gull overhead at 16:29 (clip 1) and alarm-calling Jay and Crow at 17:20 and at 17:39 (clip 2) indicated the pair of adult Honey-buzzard were above the canopy but I could not see them from the thickness of the wood. A faint Honey-buzzard anxiety call at 17:05 was recorded at 22s on clip ???. A whistled Honey-buzzard anxiety call was heard in the distance at 17:48. I was escorted off the premises with the male watching me as he circled behind the canopy, almost out of sight. Giving priority to compilation of last year's visit to Kellas, which will complete tomorrow. Want to wrap up 2017. Total for birds was 19 types including Green Woodpecker (3, fledged), Coal Tit (6, fledged), Chiffchaff (2, alarm), Willow Warbler (1), Song Thrush (fledged), Mistle Thrush (fledged).

More on incredible Lepidoptera at Kellas N 5/7: butterflies numbered 144 of 9 types Meadow Brown (10), Ringlet (77), Small Skipper (16), Dark Green Fritillary (1), Large Skipper (4), Small Heath (15), Large White (1), Speckled Wood (19), Small White (1), with these moths sorted so far: Twin-spot Carpet (4), Bordered White (4), Green Carpet (2), Cydia ulicetana (2), Silver-ground Carpet (3), Silver Y (2), Willow Beauty (1), Chrysoteuchia culmella (6), Crambus lathoniellus (4), Light Emerald (1). A Southern Hawker dragonfly was also observed. Had good catch of moths in MV trap tonight with 74 insects of 20 types, including Fan-foot (1), Muslin Footman (1), Willow Beauty (3), Green Pug (2).

Had email chat with NH over MoF and my rehearsal choices for the next season: 2/10 Rachlin's Double, 30/11 Vogt's Brahms 1, 1/2 Creswick's Aviary. The S is hoping to build up the opera-side: “This is an area of Sage Gateshead programming that we are looking to expand and we are talking to a range of existing opera enthusiasts to gauge their views on this and how we might achieve it, and Jo is keen to hear your thoughts.” Well certainly will help; off the top of my head opera enthusiasts have money and will travel to quality festivals with a theme; there's scope for less-pretentious festivals which still have high-quality productions, such as the Wagner one we visited in Budapest in contrast to Bayreuth. The RNS showed in MoF that it was well up to the job!! Opera has a strange effect on me: the 3 dimensions of music, libretto and actions, must make it natural in CT: really it's very liberating!!! Had night in: moth trapping at home: taken over by insects; to bed at 02:55 as sky to NE starts to lighten. Big sis has ordered me down to London over next 2-3 weeks: still working out logistics but think there is time for a 4-day trip as fine weather makes timely completion of Honey-buzzard survey more certain. Ordered new double bed and mattress for daughter's room from Argos with delivery Saturday morning and total cost £392; it's not extravagant, present one is past fixing. Pendant ce temps, nous sommes des créatures de la nuit!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 4th: completed processing Slaley Forest from last year (11/7, 7113) with full results in NB 2017. Very pleased at that, one more visit struck off above, 4 to go! 2moro might strike off another as Kellas visit documentation from 1/7 (2017) is advanced with much material on the web already from a year ago. Got programme for Intersymp and we're on in Baden-Baden at 10:00 on 1/8; this conference is more eclectic than UNILOG! Met M at T4c4c; good crack but think he's more on the D side of R&D where dotting all the i and crossing all the t is more important than creativity. He looked very dark on my idea that music is a great example of a dynamic and expressive information and communication system: so he's neither an author nor acknowledged!! If you don't have enthusiasm you're on the outside. In evening made S4t where enjoyed the new menu choosing Salade Niçoise avec Thon et un grand verre de vin rouge! That was £12.15 after pp discount, not bad!. Action started at 19:00 for Marriage of Figaro, Mozart's renowned opera, this production by Nevill Holt Opera (sponsored by Carphone's pioneer!) having already played at Market Harborough and London. This was the 7th performance, so everything was polished but also appeared fresh. Indeed couldn't find any faults: all the mainly youthful singers were good at the singing and the acting and the band played very well (very crisp and sharp, perfect for Mozart!). Think it's a great idea to bring such a production to the Sage with tickets at £30-50 rather than the £150-250 of more select venues and programmes still at £3. Level 1 and most of level 2 were sold out so that's good for everyone's finances. Did look at the pits in the interval; never knew the Sage had such a facility; there was a smell of fresh softwood. Final performance in this run is on Friday at S. Performance finished c10:40. Lingered a bit at end as thought might be good to meet a few players; chatted with AY and JR who obviously had enjoyed the experience: c'était plus de vin rouge! Also chatted to a Glyndebourne fan who is used to £200 a ticket (but he'd really enjoyed the action!). Had come in from CAL but decided that social action was more important than getting last Metro, eventually getting taxi for £20, including £3 tip. Two drivers actually fought over my fare: CAL is close to the Airport giving them a chance for a round trip of £40! So perfect end to the day: pleased she waited up: she's fantastic: quel bien rapports: lok2tgrf!!!!!!! 2moro it's another nest visit, catch-up and possibly out with A later.

July 3rd: well back into Honey-buzzard project with a vengeance, visiting the Slaley Forest site, same one for which I'm rapidly compiling results for last year! Weather was brilliant – not a cloud in the sky, 21C, light E breeze, pollen count (from point of view of my allergens) declining rapidly. Visit was from 17:00-19:40. Had much early action but everyone had gone to sleep by 19:00! At the Honey-buzzard site (visit 8085), had an adult female making some alarm calls at 17:08 clip 1 (16-20s) and seen flying away to E, a male up very high overhead and an ample nest in Scots Pine, about ½ way up a tree, built on a bough and extending ½ the circumference, which was 141cm at head height near the base (8085). The nest looked fresh with pine needles on the rim 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24. It was a new nest, c50m from last year's. Below the nest found 1 heavy splash 1, 2 medium splash 2  3, 3 large white down 4  5  6. Further alarm calls were heard at 17:15 clip 2 (0-20s, with louder calls 70-83s). A faint anxiety call at 18:14 terminated the Honey-buzzard calls clip 3 (117s). Meanwhile also had 2 very angry Common Buzzard adults to S at 17:22 clip 4 (0-100s), indicating that the Honey-buzzard were not breeding there and a Sparrowhawk tail feather 1. A Carrion Crow was calling angrily overhead at 17:29 clip 5 (0-5s); the fainter call at 8s sounds a bit like the Honey-buzzard mating call! The louder Honey-buzzard alarm calls (70-83s clip 2) and the Common Buzzard anger calls (clip 4) can be readily compared; the Honey-buzzard call is purer with fewer harmonics, more like a flute, and less explosive than the Common Buzzard call. If you cannot tell the difference, then you may be tone deaf!! Two Woodlark were over a clearing, close to the Honey-buzzard nest; a new site, could be 20 pairs in the Slaley Forest/Dipton Wood/ Healey/Kellas area (or more!). Had a Gold Swift flying over the bracken, a speciality of the site. Bird types totalled 22, including 2 singing Garden Warbler, an anxious Willow Warbler, 2 Tree Sparrow, 8 Coal Tit, 3 Great spotted Woodpecker (last 2 fledged). A Southern Hawker dragonfly was flying down a glade. Looking forward to opera (MoF) 2moro at S: finishes late so may park at DSt to guarantee getting home!! N's away and B's in France so am a lone agent: might make S4t. Anticiper le rendez-vous!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Had long chat with R President today at N4c4c: moderately constructive and he is putting a lot of energy in so has my support! Upward momentum in funds continues with +2k; some bombed-out mining shares are attracting buyers; they're priced for a recession, which is not that close! Have 80k in Au/Pt metal now, through ETF. lok2tmbo!!!!!!!

July 2nd: here's final paper as pdf for Baden-Baden to be published in printed form in InterSymp'2018. Preliminary citation is:

Nick Rossiter & Michael Heather, Anticipation in Communication: The Example of the Cartesian Monad in Music, 30th International Conference on Systems Research, Informatics and Cybernetics, Symposium: Anticipative Models in Physics, Relativistic Quantum Mechanics, Biology and Informatics, Baden-Baden 30 July-3 August, 6pp (2018).

Editor Daniel Dubois seemed very pleased with submission but he's Belgian (French-speaker, from Liège) and maybe liked the football turnaround! It was hard work today, getting it all consistent but worth it as not nearly so much work to do on the presentation for Baden-Baden as for that in Vichy. ANPA in mid-August is critical as hope to produce a substantial paper on the topic (40pp) after this. Think might need to seek some more advice soon from my consultant!!

R was more dynamic and having meeting with new President at N4c4c tomorrow as think they're panicking with no-one else able to take on the web site management; I've agreed to carry on but think they consider I'm not subservient enough!! Much later made G4g4s where 6 of us out for good crack! Started processing Honey-buzzard nest site visit from last year (7113, 11/7) to Slaley Forest. Made quite a lot of progress and should finish it tomorrow before starting Round 1 of ten nest visits in late afternoon for the current year. Really looking forward to getting out in the field again! Plein de bisous!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 1st: completed writing 6pp paper for Baden-Baden but need final thorough check before submitting it tomorrow; will publish final version here tomorrow evening! Have modified the UNILOG music presentation where better explanations found. Made C4c4ll and G4g4s as good breaks with all the gang in the latter plus gr8 service from bar-lass J! Grass pollen counts are very high, worst for at least 10 years; trying to avoid inhaling too much. Worst attacks I've had in the past are in NCL midday where vehicle pollution mixes with the pollen to give a toxic brew. When I go out anywhere now, I smell the heavy scent and nose starts twitching within seconds. So all doors and windows kept sealed at home. It's better in the evening and at night, so a little on the dark side! Won't take any drugs for it because of side effects. Anyway my allergic rhinitis season is short (caused by sturdy grasses such as Cocksfoot and Heath Bedstraw) and planning Honey-buzzard nest visit 1 for Tuesday after catching up on records tomorrow from visit to the same site for 11/7 last year! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll and G4g4s!! Beaucoup de belles câlins!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 30th: continued catch-up from Vichy; many records still to process but did make C4c4l where met P for good chat! The rhwso looked gr8 in new attire!! FT was a bit more forthright about disappointments in H1 for the year to date. Many pundits wrong with emerging markets generally down 10% on strong $ with China down >20% and flattening of yield curve in US (10-year rates close to 2-year rates) indicating recessionary pressures ahead. No rest for the wicked; given 2 days to get Baden-Baden paper fully submitted; written 5.5/6 pages by midnight (00.00 1/7) but will take up some of tomorrow before close read-through on Monday; fortunately most of it's at the top of my head this soon after Vichy. Praise indeed in email from MH, my collaborator in CT for almost 40 years, on UNILOG:

That’s very encouraging and congratulations of the success of your two papers. The Law paper worked out well because the full paper will move it on further. Fortunately you’ve been able to publish those two tables on the web as I’ve now rationalised them in a version that supersedes them and they probably won’t appear anywhere again in that form. I’ll let you have the final draft of that paper for Romania soon. You will see there’s nothing really new but some new ways of looking at our old stuff.

Your music paper is the start of what I see as a long series of important CT application. You’ve set the scene with the literature survey and presented music in terms of our work to date but it seems music can act as a driver to give deeper understanding of CT for example the connectivity of co-limits and the involution of how a co-limit becomes a limit in the formation of the monad or in the composition of monads.

2moro it's C4c4l followed much later by G4g4s. Fait de beaux rêves ma jolie!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 29th: another sunny and settled day at 21C; no fieldwork as pollen count is very high but that may be good as season will be short and sweet. Did get the MV trap out though, catching 19 moths of 16 types. Did make N4c4ll where met SB for good chat! Good to c SS back to full efficiency!! Concentrated on UNILOG meeting, sorting info. Here's citations for work done at UNILOG'2018 at University of Vichy, all now on home web page for computing research at Still a little bit of tweaking to do.

Nick Rossiter & Michael Heather, Musical Performance: a Composition of Monads, UNILOG'2018, 6th World Congress on Universal Logic, University of Vichy, France, 21-26 June 2018, in: Handbook of the 6th World Congress and School on Universal Logic, Jean-Yves Beziau, Arthur Buchsbaum & Christophe Rey, with the assistance of Alvaro Altair & Yanis Ayari (edd) Workshop: Logic and Music, pp.212-213 (2018). Abstract pdf presentation pdf

Michael Heather & Nick Rossiter, What is Law?: the perception of Category Theory, UNILOG'2018, 6th World Congress on Universal Logic, University of Vichy, France, 21-26 June 2018, in: Handbook of the 6th World Congress and School on Universal Logic, Jean-Yves Beziau, Arthur Buchsbaum & Christophe Rey, with the assistance of Alvaro Altair & Yanis Ayari (edd) Session: Philosophy of Mathematics pp.561-562 (2018). Abstract pdf presentation pdf

Made travel arrangements with KLM for Baden-Baden today from 29/7-3/8, departing NCL-AMS-STR at 09:30 and STR-AMS-NCL at 14:10. There's a train journey, a little over an hour from Stuttgart to the spa town – this is the year of the spas! Cost was £404, more than expected but it's peak time of year for travel; apparently cheaper quotes via London are not cheaper overall. Booked 5 nights at Hotel Beek in centre of town for €404. The spa town is very good for Honey-buzzard! Funds did well this week at +7k, bringing gain on year to 100k after 10.6k withdrawals. It's the highest close at the end of a week but 7k below all-time daily record on 22/5. Holdings of equity are the lowest for some time: am still wary! Bought another rat-tail spoon on Ebay, while at CDG on Wednesday; this one's a rare provincial example c1700, marked by a Winchester maker. No W4g4s as mates away so, desperate for a few g, made G4g4s for gr8 crack, with K on!! Next S is 4/7, 3 seats away from normal place: should be 'word-perfect' by now but are the orchestra in the pits!! lok2tgrf!!!!

June 28th: slept well, from 01:00-11:00, then good soak in bath; had emptied suitcase into washing machine before going to bed so that's all clean now! Made W4shop to replenish stocks. Always like trying my limited French out on the natives: they do like you for it, particularly voulez vous se coucher avec moi ce soir! Edited presentations on flights back so can put up versions on the web site tomorrow. Can also complete paper for Baden Baden as line now clear. Next 2 conferences are at Baden-Baden and Rowlands Castle from late July to mid-August, both on the music theme; have paid the conference fees for both events but need to book plane/train and hotel for Baden-Baden (NCL-AMS-STR, followed by train). Made TC4flm, seeing Hereditary. Good turn out seeing major football game on; it was full of suspense and very dark!! More to follow … Gr8 reunion: she'd have loved Vichy: very tender in many respects: she's so gorgeous: feeling much better: lok2tgrf!!!!!!!! 2moro another lie-in should be beneficial, then N4c4l and much later W4g4s with the gang!!

June 27th: well back on time, départ Gare de Vichy à 15:59 (vraiment 16:24 comme vingt-cinq minutes retard), Clermont-Ferrand à 17:19 pour Thiers (premier arret Aulnat pour Airport, prends six minutes), marche pour cinq minutes. Trains well air-conditioned which just as well as 31C today with not a cloud in the sky; strikes did not affect my services and cheap at €8.50. Earlier went for a walk along Allier, looking for raptors and having some welcome exercise. Nearly everyone's left but did have farewell chat over breakfast with philosophy-mate Tamar, who goes to Paris tomorrow for flight to New York. Payé Aletti €707 pour mon sept nuits (€101 par nuit); eu un bon départ! Planes with Air France Hop were very punctual, landing early at NCL at 22:44; change of terminal at CDG was again very smooth; do like supporting regional airports as they bring a lot of money into the areas. Got home at 00:05 by car (01:05 Vichy time, CET) after doing some shopping at the Airport shop. Lovely to be back but pretty shattered and straight to bed! 2moro's going to be a quiet day but might just make TC via CAL to see a film about a throwback! Prendre conscience de elle joue loin: c'est la vie!! xxxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 26th: well didn't go too badly: bit demob happy and produced just 13 slides (last completed 20 minutes before ko, compare 41 slides for music talk, too many) which took 20 minutes and then made a few controversial remarks, which generated 10 minutes of questions taking me up to the full 30 minutes! DM of ANPA was also a great help, responding to my cues and generating a lot of discussion with a few pithy remarks: you always need friends!! Actually it was a good topic, looking ahead to the topos world of the law but my reservation remains: are the judges in the world of the topos! We used to say at NCL uni that any lecturer worth their salt should always be able to talk for 30 min about anything: well this was exactly so!! Presentation is here. Survived at conference until 16:00 when decided I needed big meal at Aletti for restoration purposes, so had beer, Campari, red wine, Vichy water, cognac, not forgetting ham salad and steak & chips! All for €52 + 6 tip. Weather was again good at 28C on sunshine all day. Funds +3k in spite of biggest 1-day fall in ftse yesterday (2.2%) for over a year; benefited from N Irish Au company GAL managing to connect a Au seam with their tunnelling equipment; halved holding, glad to get out. That's after 1k withdrawal, bringing total withdrawals to 10.6k; spending too much but it's all in a good cause! Cash, after further sales of 'risky' equity, now up to 104k; may move some funds back into bombed-out stocks: this year is not for the faint-hearted; it's for the agile! 2moro back in England but flights are early evening and there's a train strike in France; they have put out a revised timetable, let's hope it's accurate! So it's CFE-CDG-NCL starting at 18:50. Maybe not stay up, maybe better on Thursday: lok2grf!!!!

June 25th: gave talk for 40 minutes from 18:00-18:40 CET to Music and Logic workshop on Musical Performance: A Composition of Monads; had so many questions at end, which took up another 15 minutes. The vice-chair said the monad did look like a major breakthrough in music theory. Well very relieved at all that, had been a bit nervous and had dinner afterwards at restaurant Josephine with the Chair, Vice-chair (both German) and another speaker, a young lady from Italy, who also had a good reception. Atmosphere was very good in the workshop and enjoyed the constructive spirit. Presentation is here, with appropriate acknowledgements: well deserved! Another speaker was dealing with how negative feelings are generated in music and ranked a number of factors. Wagner came 6/6, the most negative, labelled privation, for Tristan und Isolde with its lack of closure and chromaticism: how topical! No rest for the wicked, on again at 11:30 tomorrow in Philosophy of Mathematics session, talking about What is Law?: the Perception of Category Theory. Not sure they'll be much the wiser and not sure why we're in this session. M sent me another update this afternoon, which involves some effort to slot in. Will have to try and sort it by sitting at the back typing away during the earlier talks! lok2tgrf!!!!!

June 24th: a very productive day as rewrote 1st half of talk on music topic to give a consistent, reflective view, which will be reusable at Baden-Baden and Rowlands Castle in August. Think a lot of progress has been made! Did make session in morning and banquet in evening: it's amazing how much food is eaten by logicians in a few minutes; they're very hungry; but did score on the red wine b4 they realised I was the only consumer! All of buffet gone in 15 minutes: hotel was gobsmacked!! Sat next to 2 Greeks who were very chatty! Went for long walk in afternoon for 3 hours on N side of river bank (of Allier) getting 2-3 Booted Eagle, 7 Black Kite and a Common Buzzard. Weather was sunny at 25C with high cloud cover, which was ideal for picking out raptors. Amazing numbers of butterflies and other birds: much more to report! So busy day 2moro with interesting session in morning and own talk at 17:30 CET: wish me well!! lok2tgrf!!!! Hope to get out in NCL on 28/6, maybe after Teesside!!

June 23rd: back to conference in morning from 09:00-13:00 where liked presentations by Michèle Friend (Bristol, father's mother was née Friend) A Formal Representation of Reasoning for Chemistry (Philosophy session), Gaëll Guibert (France) Analogies of meaning across Logic and Categories (Algebra and Category session). Afternoon was free so went for walk along Allier (enormous river flowing through Vichy) looking for some raptors from 13:55-16:15. Amazed to have a pale-phase Booted Eagle E of Vichy up over the Allier; it dived to the ground before could get a piccie; Booted Eagle have been expanding their range in south France. Also had 3 Common Kestrel, 1 to E and 2 up together in excited flight to W, indicating fledging. Total was 22 bird species, including Mallard (brood of 3 young), Little Egret (1), Common Swift (34), House Martin (17), Blackcap (8), Chiffchaff (3), Black Redstart (1), Common Tern (1, flying low over Allier, feeding). Weather was warm at 25C with again unbroken sunshine. Back for UNILOG cocktail party (pretty hectic pace!) where met up with 3 Americans, 1 Canadian, 1 Frenchman, for animated chat on deficiencies in modern IT, manly identified as lack of care in collecting and processing data (impatience, cutting costs) leading to much higher costs and unreliable results later; it's the level above the practitioners that is the problem: lack of understanding of how IT works! Evidently Python is preferred to Haskell for CT programming in USA as Haskell programmers are like gold dust! Had dinner at the Palace with the Canadian: good chat, cost €52 including tip, for 1! So another ½ day tomorrow; getting fired up for the music talk on Monday afternoon with an interesting session in morning led by one of the Americans met tonight (DM) who's an ANPA associate; we're everywhere!! Time is flying and looking forward to return: lok2tgrf!!!!

Venue for conference is Pôle Universitaire de Vichy, a vocationally-oriented University, with emphasis on business. There is of course a cloud over the town and the whole of France from the role of the Vichy Republic in WWII; Macron is encouraging the French people to acknowledge their role in the Vichy Republic and come to terms with the issue, with some success. The Opera House is next to our hotel, Aletti Palace. It was here that the vote was taken in 1940 to form the puppet government; a plaque congratulates the 80 senators who voted against but ignores the 569 who voted for. The term vichyste (hissed appropriately!) is still used in France to brand a traitor! The collaborators with the Nazis contributed to the Holocaust at Auschwitz with the murder of about ¼ of the Jewish population, less than in some other countries such as the Netherlands, but still an horrific 80,000 in total. The town is very green with many parks and the people are very friendly; the historic buildings from its great spa days are well preserved. The burden of history does need to be shared with the rest of France. It's very convenient for all ills to be blamed upon the Vichy town and not upon the French people as a whole: Vichy should be a synecdoche for France!

June 22nd: fresher today at 26C but still wall-to-wall sunshine on moderate N breeze. Hard at it from 09:10-18:00, but found whole day very stimulating, particularly Ingo Blechschmidt's (Leipzig) Exploring the Internal Language of Toposes (Categories and Logic workshop), Eduardo Ochs' (Brazil) Visualising Geometric Morphisms (Algebra and Category session), Maria Manzano's (USA) Intensionality as a unifier: Logic, Language and Philosophy (Universal session). Am brushing up my slides to keep up with advances in the various fields; always good to not be speaking first! Went along to welcome drink at Vichy's Town Hall at 18:30 with the Mayor; very good chat with a Belgian, 2 UK delegates and 3 Germans! So pleased to see category theory becoming mainstream!

As indicated yesterday, much better week for funds with takeover bid for DALR so +10k on week, bringing gain on year to 93k after withdrawal of 9.6k. That's equal to highest amount (ever!) at close of a week so not slipping, in spite of turbulence in markets! Major restructuring of portfolio remains in progress with move from natural resources to short-term bonds and precious metal ETFs but will still look out for special situations: CON/ZNG looks promising, some resemblance to Minco situation with underrated (rich) mineral deposits of Zn/Au in Ireland, low market capitalisations and links to major mining companies. Also like the Manchester BS junk bonds so still trying but opportunities are not so obvious, indicating end of bull market. Have 72k cash at present! 2moro's Saturday so must be London: hectic pace!! We have papers in morning but afternoon off before cocktail party at Aletti in evening! lok2tgrf!!!!

June 21st: hot today, up to 32C with very little breeze and uninterrupted sunny periods, fresher tomorrow. Busy at conference today, making opening ceremony at 11 and a session on non-classical logics from 14:15-18:00; not a lot of advance in this area over last 10 years but vocabulary is enhanced! 2moro morning going to session on category theory and logic; amazing how this is a mainstream topic now while when M and I started our work c1985, it was thought of as totally outrageous! We've got a reception at Vichy Town Hall in the evening; there are so many sponsors: we're obviously regarded as valuable!! Amazing numbers of Common Swift over the town, maybe 200: must be many nesting places under eaves and lots of insects. There was a lot of music in the town this evening with groups of all types everywhere; went out to the local park for a while but stayed mainly in hotel (Aletti Palace) where a duo performed well, the lady based on Amy Winehouse; always thought she was very talented!! Smart bar lass is very swayed by €1 bonuses!! Markets are very shaky but some gr8 news today with an unconditional bid for Dalradian by a Canadian company Orion of C$1.47 a share in cash, payable in Q3. Have 107657 of these, as proceeds from Minco's sale of its royalties on DALR's gold mine site in Northern Ireland. Sitting on very large paper gains from the Minco adventure but problem was how to exit: Buchans Resources, a successor company to Minco registered in Canada, of which hold over 1% of the capital, holds large numbers of DALR so highly profitable closure looking more likely. Amazed at travelling schedule for RNS with the NH saga: it is producing dividends though; looking forward to 4/7 at S!! So wish u were here: xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 20th: well made it after 2 flight legs NCL-CDG (starting 12:25) and CDG-CFE, landing at CFE about 18:15. Air France were very efficient, even the bag came though straight-away, and very civilised! Not so clear-cut after landing, missing penultimate train (as expected) with people grabbing taxis to complete journey at 90€ to Vichy. Climbed onto railway bridge and spent 50 minutes scanning for raptors, getting a Honey-buzzard after just 20 minutes, 2 juvenile Kestrel and a female Sparrowhawk. The Honey-buzzard male was initially mixed up with a large Rook flock but he soared above it and descended back to ground alone. So that was very good: weather was hot at 31C, dry but with colossal thunder clouds forming. Eventually for 12€ caught 20:09 from Aulnat to Clermont Ferrand from where got 20:26 to Vichy (arriving 20:56), must say change not for the faint-hearted! Had 2 more Kestrel and a female Montagu's Harrier on journey! Once in Vichy walked to Aletti Palace, and rapidly had 3 ½ litres to quench my thirst: encore is a good word!! So that was a gr8 send-off: airport hotels are just for the wimps: no possibility of straying: she's fantastic: lok2tgrf!!!!!!!! Did do some work during the flights: talks are looking more promising!!

June 19th: busy today putting together law presentation for Vichy; M sent me some slides and text from his recent visit to a conference at Romania, which I've put into my house style! Finished adding bird records from Hungary to BirdTrack, total is 37 types, including 7 of raptors; there's quite a lot of analysis to do and some of the butterflies need identifying. Left car at Airport and came into Centre where made VctCmt for supper and a couple of g's; very refreshing and could watch Russia play in fine style!! So much satisfaction in the City: timing's worked out really well: she's gorgeous: quite a T&I moment: lok2tgrf!!!!!!! Funds -2k in continuing very fragile conditions; have taken another 20k in risk assets off the table!

June 18th: spent a lot of time 'gardening' trying to get things tidy for a while; accompanied by an enormous female/juvenile Peahen who seems to have adopted me (or the garden, not sure which!). Neighbours already restless: what are you going to do with your peahen? Well I'm going to b.gger off, bequeathing it to yourselves!! Also arranged car parking at NCL and looked at transport from CFE – Aletti in Vichy; appears to be no SNCF strike on way out; looks to be about an hour at CFE in which to work out the French ticketing system! Did make R @ B4m4l where interesting talk by MM on lack of environment in current government structures. Watched a little football at home and did see winning England goal: most satisfying, better than the Gulls! Later made G4g4s, seeing some very happy football fans; the gang of 6 were out so we had good chat and gr8 to meet J again!! Did take some clips at müpa of the fanfares for Tannhäuser on 14/6: these are played by the brass before each Act, as at Bayreuth, commanding you to take your seats! Here's Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, plus clip of foyer. Submitted today title and abstract for ANPA 39 to be held in Hampshire in mid-August from 13-17; a substantial write-up of 40pp for the proceedings is expected over following months. Submission is:

The Universe as Intension: an Expressive Dynamic Information and Communication system as Extension

Nick Rossiter & Michael Heather, Computer Science and Digital Technologies, Northumbria University, Newcastle NE1 8ST, UK

The intension/extension relationship is explored across a number of recursive levels. The starting point is the Universe as intension, from which a section is identified as an extension, the Universe of Discourse. This section becomes the intension for a more detailed formal exposition of the area of interest. The example of music is used to provide an insight into how the attributes of an information and communication system can be captured in an expressive and dynamic manner, with colimits in a topos under the control of a monad as process.

That's if I survive UNILOG! Not quite fixed 2moro but looking for NCL airport - NCL centre, starting 15:30!! xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

June 17th: well back at home, enjoying Hexham for a while. Did some shopping at M&S in Hexham, getting for 69.50 a new leather belt and 2 pairs of pyjamas: current ones are not really presentable, other than Honey-buzzard ones!! Made C4c4ll where very pleased 2 c trhwso, who looked good!! Later made G4g4s where good to meet mates again and pleased to have J doing the honours!! Funds last week were -4k, -2k due to rise in £ (why?) and -2k to further fall in oilies. Took another 30k of chips off the table, which will go into short-dated bonds tomorrow. Am not convinced we're going to see any further rally so portfolio is more defensive by the week; Friday afternoon was very poor (ftse -1.3%), showing the change in sentiment. Oil/gas equities now down to only 13k in total, from 200k not so long ago. Position on year remains healthy, in circumstances, at +83k after withdrawal of 9.6k. 2moro it's R @ B4m4s and G4g4s. Submitting abstract to ANPA 39 tomorrow (held in Hampshire mid-August) on the CT+music theme; this will be the major conference for writing it up as expect a significant 40pp paper to emerge over the winter. Will be gr8 to have 2 days off: well deserved: need to catch up!! xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 16th: weather again hot and sunny up to 28C; next week it's going to 30-33C with no rain. We checked out of flat and went for walk up to historical Buda Castle area where we had a few hours before going to the Airport. We started with hearty brunch before going to the Hungarian National Academy (Art Gallery), which has so many paintings by Hungarian artists. The modern art was interesting as they tried to get round some of Stalin's laws on artistic merit! The 18-19th centuries work was quite similar to work in Britain though with more emphasis on barons than on landscapes and peasants! We had a good view over the countryside and the area where I've been finding the Honey-buzzard is on the edge of a wooded hilly area called the Obuda Hills. From 11:00-15:00 had casual sightings of a male Common Kestrel, 30 Hooded Crow, 1 Crag Martin, 1 singing Blackcap. Very pleased to see the good reviews of the Marriage of Figaro, with the RNS complimented for its playing! See

Moreover, it's a brilliant showcase for NHO's house band, the redoubtable Royal Northern Sinfonia, who played like angels for the company's artistic director Nicholas Chalmers. Time and again I caught myself looking away from the stage in order to luxuriate in felicitous tempos and joyous ensemble playing.

But the palm for this successful launch has to go to conductor Nicholas Chalmers and the Royal Northern Sinfonia – the latter newly ensconced in the pit – who between them supply an ideal musical underlay, spirited in momentum and refined in texture: though a few more period-style vocal decorations would be welcome.

Also appears to be a sell-out at MH. Have a ticket for 4/7 at S!! Back to Piano Castle Hill Apartments to collect our luggage and take pre-booked taxi to the Franz Liszt Airport. Lady taxi-driver got quickly out of the City but then seemed to get lost as we went round in circles. I think she had my bird list in mind as we had 4 Black Kite (as 1,1,2 over rough fields to S of Ferihegy) and a Common Buzzard (adult, in moult) over the fields in the peaceful countryside. Habitat was marginal for Honey-buzzard with many roughish meadows but no significant forests. Just when another circuit loomed, maybe for Marsh Harrier, she admitted defeat and turned on her satnav! Flight BUD-AMS (17:05 CET) was a few minutes late taking off but AMS-NCL took off early (22:00 CET) and landed early (22:15 BST) so back in good time on c6 hour journey and home by 23:30. Again a Common Kestrel (female) hovering over rough grass near runway. Car started up well: doesn't like being parked for a week so slightly relieved! Have added UK Honey-buzzard records up to 14/6 below; what a brilliant year it is! My moth and butterfly records for 1st 5 months of 2018 now added to Northumberland and National databases; it's a very good spring for moths and butterflies, after the hard winter. Very pleased to be home: had 2 Father's Day cards on time: lok2t beauties!!!!

June 15th: today the music was more refined, the after-dessert coffee and mints perhaps, being given in the smaller Festival Theatre at müpa. Soloists were Camilla Nylund, the Finnish soprano, and Helmut Deutsch, accompanying pianist from Austria. It was part of the Wagner Days, Wagner and his Contemporaries from 19:00-21:30, featuring songs by Sibelius, Mahler, Wagner and Richard Strauss. The Wagner songs were the Wesendonck Liede, giving a strong link with Tristan und Isolde. The songs are not that easy to sing as they are sketches for the subsequent opera, involving experiments with chromaticism, much understatement and lengthy pure-instrumental sections. So Dreams (Träume, sung by Isolde), which is a sketch for the tender love scene in Act II, proved a stumbling point for the duo at the point where the pace accelerates rapidly, representing a passionate embrace. Never mind, we're all human; they restarted at the beginning and it all went off well. Everything else went off perfectly, including the moving Urlicht from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn, which also appears in Mahler 2 as a dramatic calming point. They had great applause at the end, playing 3 encore, sounding like Schubert (2) and Schumann (1). Camilla is a soloist in Mahler 8 at the Proms, to which son is going. So sad it's over for us but there's Tristan und Isolde on Saturday and Tannhäuser on Sunday to complete the Festival; I bet the closing reception for Tannhäuser will be ecstatic! We are seriously considering returning for the Ring next June!

The day had another significant bonus. Weather was improving from dry dull start to a warm day 25C with sunny intervals. In afternoon took tram 41 up to wooded area opposite N end of Margit Island, the E end of Obuda Hills. Visit on site was from 14:45-16:15. At 14:58 had a a female Red-footed Falcon up over the lower slopes of the wood; she quickly disappeared off to hunt. At 14:50 had a male Hobby flying across the top of the wood to S, nearest houses; at 15:54 a female Hobby was seen doing the same manoeuvre. Had a male Honey-buzzard up for 10 minutes, in high circling mode from 15:54-16:05, declaring this site is occupied, just like they do in Northumberland in mid-June; even the 4 o'clock soar is very appropriate; the site was on the top of the middle hill with the very big mast to W. Think there may be 2 Honey-buzzard sites in this area; this is still to be sorted. Common Kestrel totalled 2, a pair, with separate sightings. Fantastic raptors with 6 birds of 4 types!! Total for trip was 15 species, including Lesser Whitethroat (2), Common Swift (10). Butterflies were good – still to be sorted! Looking forward to return to see the beauties: xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 14th: performance of Tannhäuser from 16:00-21:15 completed the marvellous run of Wagner's works in this year's festival! The performance was by the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir, the Honvéd Male Choir and Budapest Studio Choir under Ádám Fischer. So the Radio Symphony Orchestra did 2 of the 3 concerts with the National Philharmonic doing Tristan und Isolde and 3 choirs/chorus groups were also involved plus 1 troupe of dancers. Tannhäuser is rarely performed in the UK but is very popular with central European audiences; for instance we saw it at Deutsch Oper in Berlin a number of years ago. Not sure why it's perceived as difficult in the UK but maybe it is very Teutonic in conception with plenty of chorus action, which the Germans (and Hungarians!) in particular seem to like. Tannhäuser moves to the dark side after an encounter with a flimsily-clad Venus and spends the rest of the opera seeking redemption, interrupted by attempts by Venus at further seduction! The Venusberg music is wild and racy and proves very disturbing to Tannhäuser's religious mates, who ostracise him. All the overtures and closing sections are superbly orchestrated with the horns providing the volume and the strings the wild swirling music. The layout of the theatre is conventional, placing the orchestra and conductor in a pit in front of the stage, holding the singers. All the works were fully staged with the orchestra up to 90 members in size, including 10-12 brass players. Tannhäuser was played by the American Stephen Gould, who was absolutely commanding in the role; also liked the French lady Sophie Koch as Venus! The ending is an amazing climax with Tannhäuser's redemption finally secured, to the sound of c140 singers in the 3 choirs plus the 90 orchestral players; it's very moving but has to be contrasted with only 1 (lonely) person alive on the stage at the end of Tristan und Isolde. It's really a contrast between Wagner's earlier works and his later ones. Anyway the audience loved it and gave 3 rounds of appreciation, 1 more than for the other two. Chatted to some other Wagner fans from the UK and USA; they agreed that the Flying Dutchman production here was one of the best ever made; I've bought a DVD of it!! We're thinking of returning for the Ring next year from 13/6-16/6!

It was son's birthday – had remembered the card! To celebrate we went to an Italian Restaurant for lunch for a change from goulash to minestrone! Earlier we went to the Hungarian National Museum, giving the country's history from 1000-1990. Most of the time was spent sandwiched between superpowers such as the Turks and the Austrians so maybe that's how they developed their charm (for survival!). It was a very detailed and clear exhibition with all information in Hungarian and English. WW2 was not well covered; this was a very embarrassing period for the country as it indecisively backed one side and then the other; the failure of the Germans to conquer Russia was a major shock after they had backed the Axis to restore Greater Hungary, including once more Croatia and Transylvania. The closing stages of WW2 in the area saw massive atrocities everywhere, to the Jews and to other minorities caught on the wrong side of borders. The closing room for 1989-1990 happily sees independence restored. Weather was wet today and much cooler at 22C but did have another Red-footed Falcon up over the müpa theatre in light rain, flying out rapidly to N! Stay is coming shortly to an end, have missed the excitement of the rendezvous: xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!! Nationally in UK 1 Honey-buzzard record on BirdGuides (count 36 for month, 106 for year (spring)).

14/06 15:26 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Kingsdown one flew north over Upper Street (15:15)

June 13th: well Tristan und Isolde went off brilliantly with outstanding solo roles by Peter Seiffert as Tristan and Allison Oakes as Isolde; former is of course well-known as a German tenor; latter, a UK soprano living in Berlin, was last minute substitute. Allison got a tremendous cheer at the end for which she looked so happy; she sung well throughout and mastered the treacherous liebestod (fantasising in love over Tristan's dead body) with absolute confidence; the high ecstatic note at the climax of the liebestod gives harmonic closure for the first time in the whole work; the earlier lack of closure gives a surreal longing feeling throughout. The performance was by the Hungarian National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and Choir and the Hungarian National Choir under Ádám Fischer. Still marvel at the plot: the history between Isolde and Tristan is that she nursed him better from a wound before discovering that it was obtained in battle with her fiancé, who Tristan had killed. She raised a knife to kill him but he gazed at her and she relented. She doesn't want to marry King Marke and has a love-hate relationship with Tristan. She asks for a death potion to be given to them both to drink in a toast but her maid substitutes a love potion and passionate love results, particularly in the rendezvous in Act 2, where the music doesn't leave much to the imagination, but crucially they never quite make it! A contemporary critic wrote: “We cannot refrain from making a protest against the worship of animal passion which is so striking a feature in the late works of Wagner.” The eroticism is entirely in the music and the libretto: other than embraces there are no gestures that are in any way sexual and both remain fully clothed throughout. We had 2 long intervals of 60 and 50 minutes so playing time was 4 hours 20 minutes: thought some of the orchestra looked a bit knackered at the end, particularly the strings who provide an almost constant web of music, through which the other instruments and the singers force themselves. So another full house, another ecstatic reception!! Flying Dutchman is the aperitif, Tristan und Isolde is the main course and Tannhäuser (tomorrow) is the dessert! Here's some piccies of müpa (concert hall) 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10.

Weather today was cooler but still warm at 26C on veiled sunshine. We had one loud thunderclap at dawn and a couple of light showers but otherwise dry. Earlier went for a walk up the Danube to Margit Island, where had a female Saker (coming off rough area near Danube on west bank and slowly circling, climbing steady) and a male Kestrel in an area with superb craggy woodland on the west bank, edge of Obuda Hills 1  2. I think the Honey-buzzard was in this general area on 1st day, flying across the Danube to Margit Island, not sure whether going out to feed or returning to nest. On return to City Centre had a female Hobby 1  2 eyeing up the Common Swift, plus 2 more Common Kestrel, a female near our flat giving great piccies 1  2  3  4  5 and another female at Parliament. Now 11 birds of 5 types of raptor: Common Kestrel 6, Saker Falcon 2, Red-footed Falcon 1, Honey-buzzard 1, Hobby 1. Total for day was 18 bird types, including Grey Heron 1 1, Chiffchaff (1), Blackcap (2), Sand Martin (1), Starling (2) 1; running total is 31 types. Butterflies comprised one type: Small White (8) and moths included a Humming-bird Hawk-moth and a Nine-spotted Moth 1  2. We're eating well – goulash soup every day with the likes of schnitzel, pork, spinach with cheese, … as main course. Local red wine is good. Service is of very high standard in restaurants. Local lasses are very smart!! Very much in the mood: lok: xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!! Nationally in UK 5 Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides (count 31-35 for month, 101-105 for year). 4 of these are surely breeding records; it was so useful finding from the Norfolk trip that they can breed in low-lying fenland. The bird 'at sea' off Pembroke is a late migrant to Ireland.

13/06 18:19 Norfolk : European Honey Buzzard, Burnham Overy one flew east (17:35)

13/06 11:53 Lancashire : European Honey Buzzard, Fazakerley dark morph flew northwest (10:15)

13/06 11:04 Suffolk : European Honey Buzzard, Minsmere RSPB flew over car park

13/06 10:26 Pembrokeshire : European Honey Buzzard, Marloes probable flew over West Hook Farm towards Skomer (10:25)

13/06 10:25 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Wykeham Forest one from raptor viewpoint

June 12th: another day off but last one; we're down to action with Tristan und Isolde tomorrow from 16:00-22:10, with 2 intervals. The move is very much to Grand Opera, whatever that is, but with Wagner it might be a move to a bigger orchestra in all departments but particularly in the brass, longer phrasing in the music, a tendency to explore issues at a leisurely pace, the greater use of leitmotifs, particularly for abstract concepts as well as people, and the lack of jokes! The web page for Wagner Days