Notice Board: the Honey-buzzard Season in Northumberland 2019 as it happens – Nick Rossiter

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This is the current blog for the 2019 season, updated daily, giving recent activity.

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).

Honey-buzzard migration data for 2018 was updated on BirdTrack on 19/04/19 (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland). Remaining data for 2018 for this species is actively being processed and reports will be available in May 2019. Moth records from 01/06/18-31/12/18 are still in preparation but are largely complete as of 29/04/19. Compilation of Honey-Buzzard breeding data for 2018 on BirdTrack was completed on 13/05/19.

The pattern of fieldwork will continue to change in 2019, moving towards a more intensive rather than extensive approach with concentration on a reduced number of sites. 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, with a view to writing a book on the matter.

May 23rd: brilliant weather continued, all-day sun, moderate W breeze, 17C max. Did make JLAF meeting to discuss top-level strategy from 14:30-16:00 at NP offices in Eastburn, Hexham. There were 3 of us there: AE, SR and I: always surrounded by power-women!! Had a Holly Blue butterfly in their grounds: a good find as rare outside Tyne & Wear this far N. Recovered in C4c4t where enjoyed the sights! Then from 17:20-18:20 made Letah Wood to look for Honey-buzzard to NW and E (2 sites). Did have a male up at 17:48, 17:54 and 18:08 over the ridge to the NW, above West Dipton Burn, towards the racecourse 1  2  3  4. He looked territorial, monitoring the area against intruders and having the odd incident with a few Crow (9023). Also up was a Red Kite over the same ridge; this is an established site; the Honey-buzzard and Red Kite were captured 'together' on some piccies with the kite below 1  2  3. A Pied Flycatcher male on the outside of the wood was a good find. To the E at Swallowship had a male Kestrel doing a spectacular climb, followed by plunge to ground. Total for trip was 23 bird-types, including Great Spotted Woodpecker (1). Later made G4g4s with P/R/D and the fanciable Am on!! Had massive firmware update for Samsung Galaxy J3 phone a few days ago. Always expect trouble after these events and so it was this time, losing mobile data connection while WiFi was still OK. Problem was APN (Access Point Name) not being set to anything, let alone Vodafone prepaid so SIM card didn't know about the connection to be made! Have learnt a bit more about how the phone works by exploring other issues: quite complex really, designed to keep the maintenance gangs happy! Had a Nightjar late-on, catching moths at a street lamp in GB (clear, still night after fine day, cool 5C). There's enough forestry in the area with clearings for this to be a breeding area. Like the piccie: stylish, intelligent, s.xy!!! More to come … xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

7 more Honey-buzzard migrants in last 2 days (none on 21/5) on BirdGuides (count 3 April, 38 May, 41 total for spring)

22/05 13:29 Isle of Wight : European Honey Buzzard, Seaview one flew north early afternoon (13:25)

22/05 15:32 Lancashire : European Honey Buzzard, Leighton Moss RSPB one over skytower this afternoon (15:21)

23/05 10:28 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Worth Marsh flew north (10:25)

23/05 11:07 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Rye Harbour NR flew west late morning (11:00)

23/05 11:50 Norfolk : European Honey Buzzard, Horsey flew southwest late morning

23/05 13:43 West Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Arundel WWT flew west early afternoon

23/05 15:46 Surrey : European Honey Buzzard, Thorncombe Street one flew west over Allden's Hill (15:40)

May 22nd: another brilliant day with strong sunshine throughout, up to 17C, dry, light NW breeze. Went out for walk on S side of Dipton Wood from 15:20-16:30. At 15:35 a male Honey-buzzard was flying W through the wood at moderate altitude towards the SW part of the wood 1  2  3  4  5 when he was attacked by another male Honey-buzzard, which gave determined chase. He escaped by moving E before turning and trying again to go W. He was again attacked but managed to escape to the W this time and get back to his site; all captured on video in this clip 1 (exciting!) with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19 (9021)! The Frankham site found yesterday was also new, indicating a still-expanding population. As the two Honey-buzzard disappeared an adult Common Buzzard got up and dominated the scene 1  2. A Red Kite was again noted at Ordley at 15:14 as seen at Steel on way over to the start of the walk. A male Honey-buzzard was seen briefly over the March Burn site at 16:05, circling at low altitude (9022). So we're up to 10 sites now in the display phase; cannot count the Dipton scene as 2 sites as there's no space within the regulations for a new one here! Total of 19 bird-types included 2 Woodlark (one coming down from song-flighting, other flushed from a field on edge of wood), a male Kestrel to S over fields, 5 Pied Wagtail (fledged young), 8 Swallow. Butterflies comprised 3 types: Wall 1, Green-veined White 3, Orange-tip 8, with 2 micro-moths Anthophila fabriciana 2, Cydia ulicetana 7. Did a lot of work on the 2 visits made yesterday, completing the analysis except for the indexing of a few clips. tmeo looks good!! Socially met M at T4c4c, B at G4g4t and P/R at BB4m4s so quite busy! M's a remainer but otherwise in a minority of ¼ at G and 1/3 at BB; have already voted for 2moro – LD! Missing someone: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l, JLAF committee meeting to discuss WG priorities at 14:30 at Eastburn (NP), G4g4s; will try and get a site visit in for late afternoon!

May 21st: brilliant weather for raptors in afternoon with 16C, bright sunshine, light to moderate W breeze, the last giving lift for the birds. Covered more ground than expected as the Warden lay-by was packed with Network Rail vehicles in a job battling a water leak (not sure they succeeded as water welling out again as finished my visit later!). So went onto Grindon Lough before returning later to Warden, doubling my effort. At the Lough had 21 species, including Wigeon (2 drakes), Teal (a pair), Redshank (5, 2 pairs on moss), Curlew (2), Lapwing (2), Oystercatcher (1), Meadow Pipit (8), Skylark (2), GBBG (3 – 1 2s, 2 1s), Willow Warbler 1. Butterflies comprised 17 Green-veined White, 2 Orange-tip. Earlier from 12:04-12:08 had the male Honey-buzzard up over my local site, doing a rapid climb up at low altitude before doing a couple of celebratory rolls over the nest site itself, presumably to impress his mate. Continual activity over the site by the male once incubation has begun is usual, particularly while migration is still underway but it will decline as the need for secrecy increases. Here's some piccies 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 (9017). At 13:40 a male Honey-buzzard was picked up soaring at enormous height over Beaufront, viewed partially through the smoke from Egger's chimney (9018); soon after, totally mesmerised by tmeo!!! Over Frankham there was tremendous raptor activity with a pair of Honey-buzzard in full vigorous display at low altitude with the male and female diving down at each other and rearing up sharply from 16:13-16:18 ??? (9019); they were accompanied by a pair of Red Kite, which were more placid but held their ground ???. At Warden from 15:30-16:50 had the first Hobby of season, a female looking in territory over Warden Hill at 15:51 before gliding off fast, losing height, to NW. Also had a Red Kite languidly landing in a tree to W of Warden Hill at 16:00 and a male Kestrel in territory at 16:05 but no Honey-buzzard seen at the Greenshaw Plain site (may be on eggs already!). Total at Warden for birds was 22 types including a male Yellow Wagtail on the South Tyne, a brood of 8 Long-tailed Tit, 3 singing Chiffchaff, 8 Sand Martin, 5 Swift, single Willow Warbler and Garden Warbler. Lepidoptera comprised 5 types: Orange-tip 3, Green-veined White 7, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Wall 3, Anthophila fabriciana 6. On walk back to car at level crossing had another Honey-buzzard, a male, gliding at 16:36 to SW, to NW of Hexham High Wood site (9020). There was a lot to report: 124 piccies: raptors were indeed good, particularly Honey-buzzard and Red Kite, plus 1st Hobby of season. Did make C4c4l and much later R&C4mr4s with A/M for good chat! See it's B9: movement 3 is so romantic: great conductor as well: sure it will be good!! Paper 'Composing Monads for a Musical Performance' has been formally accepted by the journal for publication in volume 7 issue 4: very pleased! Here's acceptance letter and final paper. 2moro it's T4c4c with M, trip out and G4g4t with B; may be having meal with P later but a bit up in the air! lok2t gorgeous one!!!!!

May 20th: weather was better than expected, staying dry and mostly sunny until 16:00, cool 15C, almost calm. Made R @ B4m4l where had very interesting talk by a Saxon (Michael) on the Saxon Wilfrid, who was heavily involved in the foundation of Hexham Abbey in the 7th century. Like Michael: he's intelligent and fun! Below brought bird records up to 19/5 and elaborated a little on the great Aida performance. Straight after R went off to Stocksfield Mount where from 14:25-16:05 scanned the sky for raptors. Red Kite continue to expand their range with singles at Eltringham (new for year), Ovington and Styford (new site) and one later over Peth Foot near home at 16:22. So that's singles at 4 sites in an afternoon: Forkers must feel delighted: but they're not because it's not an environmental disaster! Common Buzzard were active close to the Mount with 3 seen, including 1 in low-level display, another large bird keeping close to the Tyne and another chased off by the large bird, which soared to an enormous height from 15:35-15:38 and was not seen to move off or to come back to ground again 1  2  3  4  5; wonder whether this last bird is an example of immature dispersal with the bird trying to find a spare slot, rather than a long-distance migrant; however the solid dark trailing bar on the secondaries and the wide subterminal band on the tail indicate this is an adult so behaviour is not clear at all; maybe it's just a territorial dispute by neighbours. Ringing returns support the short-range dispersal; populism supports the theory that all goes to Scandinavia. Did get 2 Honey-buzzard females but low-key: at 14:35 a brown female was up over land to NW of Ovington, soaring to moderate height and then coming down quickly (9015). A darker and heavier female Honey-buzzard was seen moving W at low altitude over E end of Short Wood from 14:52-14:53, moving into tops of trees: presumably going to Cottagebank 1  2  3  4 (9016). These birds were keen on feeding but they may well have displayed in the bright and sunny morning. Total for bird-types today was 20, including 15 Swift, 1 Nuthatch, 2 Bullfinch. Up to 5 Honey-buzzard sites now in study area: not bad! Made G4g4s with R for good crack; others at home with cocoa. This spring has been very rewarding so far: in all respects!! Take it as a yes: looking forward to it already!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l, trip out and maybe in evening as well.

3 more Honey-buzzard migrants today on BirdGuides (count 3 April, 31 May, 34 total for spring) plus Osprey at Whittle Dene and interesting series of Hobby records from Leinster:

20/05 17:26 Lancashire : European Honey Buzzard, Marshside RSPB one went north over the south end early evening (17:10)

20/05 15:47 Wexford : Eurasian Hobby, Tacumshin three at The Patches this afternoon

20/05 15:09 Northumberland : Western Osprey, Whittle Dene Reservoirs one this afternoon (15:00)

20/05 14:50 Waterford : Eurasian Hobby, Carrigavrantry one hawking over northern reedbed mid-afternoon

20/05 12:04 London : European Honey Buzzard, Alexandra Park possible heading northeast to north end of Wood Green Reservoir [?]

20/05 11:38 London : European Honey Buzzard, Richmond Park reported one pale morph flew over; then flew northeast (11:30) [R]

20/05 19:14 Wicklow : Eurasian Hobby, East Coast NR one still

May 19th: weather was cool, overcast, light NE breeze, damp in morning. No good for soaring and no Honey-buzzard action today in Ordley area. Did walk up closer to the site from 18:20-20:20 at 200m away but no activity noted; took 6 clips with enthusiastic Blackbird, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff songs but no background Honey-buzzard calls detected on playback on computer. Crows were still sitting on tree tops, suggesting birds are there on the valley floor: so secretive (or laid-back) when they choose to be - crow anxious  n of jungle 1  n of jungle 2 (9014)!! Total for evening trip was 19 bird-types. Including 1 Garden Warbler, 11 Swift, 9 Blackbird (adult carrying food), 3 Chiffchaff. Have finished analysis of Grand Tour records from 2/5-13/5 with summary of raptors and other birds below. Also sorted the records for 15/5 when the 4 Honey-buzzard from 2 sites were seen. So not lagging far behind! Did a lot of grass cutting and trimming late afternoon, doing front and middle part of back. Booked train NCL-BAN for 09:35 on 29/5, where N will pick me up; we're staying in a Premier Inn in Petersfield with targets of walks in the North Downs, trips to seaside and Winchester and of course Honey-buzzard, other raptors and insects: looking forward to it!! Have 3 more concerts b4 CFT at S: 25/5, 7/6, 15/6. Did make G4g4s where met the dommies gang and lively with E on, who's shortly going to Magaluf for a holiday: hope she comes back! Did study Weekend FT today – very cautious with all the populist problems, but the surprise Australian election result may cheer the commodity markets a little and oil has what they call geopolitical supply problems (war, blockades, sabotage, etc!). US markets are expensive on any measure but others offer what would have been regarded as good value in normal times. Hope 4Q goes well!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, trip out to the Mount, G4g4s!!

3 more Honey-buzzard migrants today on BirdGuides (count 3 April, 28 May, 31 total for spring)

19/05 07:15 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Winchelsea one flew east along River Brede valley yesterday

19/05 09:43 Aberdeenshire : European Honey Buzzard, Bullers of Buchan one flew north

19/05 18:03 Cheshire : European Honey Buzzard, Hale one drifting North over Hale Village (17:40)

May 18th: finished adding records and piccies for 11/5 in Sidmouth area; will finish Honiton records tomorrow. Did make C4c4l; very good 2 c trhwso and such lovely service!! Made MP4m4t with N for good catch-up, including final prep for our next trip, the spring one, in 11 days time to Hampshire; could get a dynamic start a day earlier!! Onto S4con with ON performing Verdi's Aida. It did live up to its stunning reviews with great music, singing and drama: singing-wise thought Alessandra Volpe as Amneris (Princess of Egypt) was superb, really letting herself go in the finale of Act 2. I stayed in row L even though they lost a few rows and the acoustics were still perfect, even in the 'heavy' bits! End of Act 2 is the triumphant part of the opera as well-known in excerpts but the happiness soon fades as jealousy returns between Amneris and Aida for the love of captain Radames. At the end of Act 4 Radames and Aida are entombed alive and even Amneris is showing some remorse but no reprieve was forthcoming! The trumpet playing in the set pieces was superb, using some instruments prepared especially for the performance. The orchestra was enormous, performing well throughout and the large chorus perched up on level 3 sang with spirit. Conductor was Richard Armstrong, a magnificent veteran of opera in northern Britain. Passionate finish to day: she's the real *: love the X: lok2tgrf!!!!!!

6 more Honey-buzzard migrants in last 3 days on BirdGuides (count 3 April, 25 May, 28 total for spring), plus a Hobby in Borders:

16/05 15:54 East Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Spurn YWT probable flew south over the Humber this morning [?]

16/05 08:25 Nottinghamshire : European Honey Buzzard, Budby Common one flew north towards Welbeck

17/05 23:01 Borders : Eurasian Hobby, St. Boswells probable today [?]

17/05 15:46 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Faversham one flew west this afternoon

18/05 10:06 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Wykeham Forest two [+1]

18/05 17:52 Derbyshire : European Honey Buzzard, Aston-on-Trent GPs one flew east then south this morning

18/05 21:00 Hampshire : European Honey Buzzard, Badminston GP one over mid-afternoon then flew towards Badminston Common (15:10)

May 17th: submitted final version of monad/music paper to the publishers; waiting for all-clear on final changes. Sorted out 11/5 in Ottery St Mary area with 4 clips of the choir in action and 14 shots of the pair of displaying Honey-buzzard high up (9007). Will compile the bird-data tomorrow! Did some lawn cutting today: here's picture of mower, area cut and area uncut 1. Cowslips are lovely this year: here's area colonised by front gate 2 and an individual plant 3. Critics say it's an excuse to leave an area uncut! The big field (2 acres) is left uncut: wilderness 4! Could be converted back to pony pasture very quickly: do cut down invasive scrub. Saw the local male Honey-buzzard for 10 seconds today, up in the air S of the Devil's Water over pasture. The female, judging by the Crows, was in the nesting area for the first time so may well be progressing to next stage! Did finally sort out funds, calculating fall of 6k over last 3 weeks when markets have slid again on the madman's tariff battles! Portfolio is a lot more defensive now so fall is muted compared to what would have occurred in these circumstances last year. No more withdrawals so gain on year is 41k gross, 31k net. Made W4g4s with complete gang of 6 for good crack. Bar lass E was striking tonite, dyeing her hair red and wearing a head band with garlands around it. Just needed a spear, helmet and breast plate (quite a lot really!) to be Brünnhilde!! Did mention she looked very Nordic which went down well (attention-wise!). C from SS was also there!! Moth trapping tonite with damp air: good catch: it's now 03:38: time for bed: all will be released in the morning! 2moro it's C4c4l, CAL-NCL, MP4m4t at 17:00 with N. Reviews of Aida are very good so looking forward to it all!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 16th: weather still settled so bright sunshine but temperatures falling as wind went SE off North Sea, max 15C. Female Honey-buzzard was very conspicuous at home from 11:55-11:57 1  2  3  4  5  6 (9011) being seen before trip into Hexham for coffee and immediately afterwards at 13:55 1 (9013, habitat only). She appears browner in better light and thin neck was very much in view today. Fantastic action at the moment: they're so obvious: why is the species so difficult to survey: well wait for caution to set in as egg-laying begins!! Benefited from carrying gear into Hexham coffee trip, recording a pair of Honey-buzzard up to N of Hexham Hermitage from 13:08-13:15 with male climbing rather wildly into sky and diving before being joined by the female 1  2  3  4  5  6 (9012). Think sexual dimorphism is more marked in Honey-buzzard than is recorded in the literature at least from the perspective of field measurements: females are heavier with broader wings and proportionately shorter tails. Did make HASS production Encore in evening: all very good with the * showing off well and the school section from the Sele adding a lot of interest for some. Made B4rw4s and G4g4s after the event; good 2 c Hexham so lively!! Installed Acrobat DC today on both desktop and laptop for editing pdf files; cost £15 a month; it's essential for some electronic submissions now so good investment: 4 g a month is not a lot in the grand scheme of things! lok2t gorgeous one!!!!!

May 15th: fine weather continued, 22C, sunny all day, hazy at times, light NE breeze, dry. Had an amazing sight from 13:51-14:01 of 4 Honey-buzzard up together to the NE from my house 1  2  3  4 (9010). First inkling was the local pair of Honey-buzzard, including the relatively heavy female, flapping steadily N from their valley and gaining height to meet up with the trespassing pair, believed to be from the NW at Dotland. The local pair moved under the visiting pair to keep them well up in the air but there wasn't any real aggravation. An enormous hatch of St Mark's Flies today made photography difficult on auto-focus! Their nest sites are 3.0km apart so well within regulations of 2.5-2.7km minimum spacing! Eventually the visiting pair drifted off high to NW and the local pair dived back to the ground. Later at 15:30 the male Honey-buzzard from Dotland once more appeared on the edge of the local pair's territory but this time he backed off, circling away to E. Suspect the Dotland pair have just arrived back and are 'renegotiating' their boundaries! So that's 2 sites in the 'Shire now! The incident also shows that no egg-laying has taken place yet as the local female was well away from the nesting area. Total for day at Ordley from 13:50-15:30 was 22 bird-types, including 4 Stock Dove, 2 Lapwing, 1 Curlew, 3 Swift, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Song Thrush, 6 Tree Sparrow. A Grey Wagtail was at Letah Wood at 13:00. Had a good day in the garden, looking around (grass cutting can wait until it's cooler!). Consolidated the work done on the train and yesterday so have all piccies and records documented from Oxford and London (2/5-10/5) plus the day at Branscombe (12/5) in Devon. Hope to get the Sociology & Anthropology paper sent off tomorrow; ANPA are also looking for a new paper from us (Mike/I) for their 40th anniversary publication, maybe a 'summary' paper of work over past 10 years. Socially had 2 good chats meeting M again at T4c4t and B at G4g4t where good to have E on!! 2moro it's C4c4l, QH4con and G4g4s!! lok2t gorgeous one!!!!!

4 more Honey-buzzard migrants today on BirdGuides (count 3 April, 19 May, 22 total for spring):

15/05 11:58 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Reighton Sands one flew SSW late morning (11:45)

15/05 14:57 Devon : European Honey Buzzard, Clayhidon one flying above Battle Street with c.10 Common Buzzards early afternoon (13:05)

15/05 15:25 Cornwall : European Honey Buzzard, Botallack one flew over this morning

15/05 22:31 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Harwood Dale male flew south over moor this evening

May 14th: brilliantly sunny day, 20C, light SE breeze. Consolidating paperwork after time away but expect to be out in the field 2moro. Made HoN4st4s with M for catch-up; A's not too well, in hospital with internal bleeds. 2moro it's T4c4c with M and G4g4t with B followed by Encore performed by HASS at QH on Thursday; last is a collection of songs from different musicals; as a patron I give HASS £60 for each production they do; it's good fun! Not sure what's happening on Friday but am at S4op on Saturday with N for Aida by ON!! Grand Tour was marvellous in all respects; besides the brilliant OMM met 15 relatives and 1 colleague for good catch-up; have applied to be a Friend of OMM; M was visibly buoyed by our meeting and late June may be good time to meet after The Ring. Piccie on FB is very expressive, almost wistful! Glow persists: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

From 29/4: Feeding areas piccies from Ordley are here for male 1 and female 1 Honey-buzzard (9002). Here's shot of my house, on the left, showing it's a more rural area than appears from shots from the road; the Scots Pine is ½ way down my field and my bedroom is at the end facing the camera: call in for a chat!! Also compiled clip and piccies from 30/4 at Ordley (below). From 2018 completed processing of Ordley moth records on 30/6, raising year total to 221 for all Lepidoptera. Added Black Park Honey-buzzard piccies (9006) to server; need to index them still.

An Osprey at Riding Mill (!) plus 6 more Honey-buzzard migrants in last 3 days on BirdGuides (count 3 April, 15 May, 18 total for spring) stretching all the way to Shetland:

12/05 11:02 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Dungeness NNR one drifting west over the Observatory

13/05 12:38 Northumberland : Western Osprey, Riding Mill flew west up River Tyne early afternoon

13/05 22:33 Cambridgeshire : European Honey Buzzard, Dog-in-a-Doublet one flew west (19:14)

13/05 17:36 Cambridgeshire : European Honey Buzzard, Dog-in-a-Doublet one flew north early evening

14/05 07:36 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Wykeham Forest one from raptor viewpoint on Sunday [12/5 observation]

14/05 14:42 Devon : European Honey Buzzard, Aveton Gifford one flew up valley (13:40)

14/05 12:18 Shetland : European Honey Buzzard, Bressay one flew over Voe Head (10:30)

May 13th: long train journey but more or less on time except for minor hiccup at Durham. Weather was sunny all the way. Was dropped off at Honiton Station early as sis had golf match in morning; so had time to study a promising wood NW of Honiton where had a male Honey-buzzard low-down in territory at 10:32, soaring high over site before coming down again, a sure sign of a lonely male (9009)! He was again seen making a solo flight at 10:40 moving higher. Also here had 2 Raven. Around Reading picked up good numbers of Red Kite including just W of station (6), and the species continued to be noted up to N of Oxford (6 more), which was good to 'visit' again for all those memories!! Had a Common Buzzard SW of Leeds. Did masses of work on train including enriching captions on Sociology and Anthropology paper as requested by a reviewer, completing documentation of final Honey-buzzard site visit in 2018 and adding details to BirdTrack, writing final report for Honey-buzzard breeding season (½ way). If took a train to Australia might complete book on Honey-buzzard! Arrived feeling a little stiff but not really a problem!! Did dally: nite (and certainly not forgetting the morning!!) were gr8 for realising pent-up feelings: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!!!

Oxford/Reading 2/5-7/5, 13/5

London 7/5-10/5

Devon 10/5-13/5

Red Kite










Common Buzzard



















Table: OMM1. Counts of Raptors in Tour of southern England from 2/5-13/5 2019

For all bird-types there were 211 records for 57 species, 10 lists, 23 places.

May 12th: beautifully sunny again but little cooler at 18C max, light S breeze. More leisurely day, going for stroll around sis' house. At 11:02 did get the only Honey-buzzard sighting of the day, the male up at Bulverton, coming up for 10 secs and quickly dropping again (9008); on W end may well be nest building, a very strong instinct!! In Sidmouth N had 4 Raven, a displaying Common Buzzard and a female Kestrel. We went for lunch at Branscombe from 12:40-14:20 where there's a nice beach on the Jurassic Coast 1  2  3 (3 is most dramatic!) with a café/pub very close to it. Branscombe was where the container ship Napoli went aground in January 2007, the locals helping tremendously with the salvage effort, even keeping some of it safe in their houses for a while! We had good lunch. Added 2 Common Buzzard to the list in the area. Bird species recorded totalled 14, including a Cormorant 1s and 2 GBBG 1s, 10 Swallow.. Butterflies today comprised an Orange-tip female and a Holly Blue at Sidmouth N and a Peacock at Branscombe. Then back to watch the last proper day of the football season. Chorley and Woking were promoted to the National League in the play-offs, joining Torquay and Stockport. All Devon relatives (and Mike) are strongly pro-Brexit; all London relatives (and I) are strongly Remain. Keeping off the subject down here as feelings are running high. Finished compiling London records from recent visit and the indexing of the Wylam visit last year (8095). Tomorrow it's 10:55 HON-RDG, taking break before 14:45 ex RDG for NCL 20:02, via OXF for gr8 memories!! Might linger a bit, plenty of pent-up feeling: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 11th: sociable day making Ottery St Mary Parish Church just before service finished and meeting Mike/Liz outside. Mike was in better spirits than when I last saw him in December, a week before his heart attack, but still quite weak. As usual though he did show some insight into how to carry the monad/music work forward and we put a tentative meeting at Dartington Hall into the calendar for late June; it was lovely to see him again. He's not sure about ANPA at Liverpool in August. Weather was very sunny, warm at 23C, dry, light S breeze. So not too surprising that had a pair of Honey-buzzard when at the Church at 11:06 high-up to SSW at 1km-2km distance; they were involved in some lively gliding before the male was left up on his own to do some spectacular butterfly display ending at 11:12 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14 (9007). This is a new site for me. Total for all bird types was 19, including 2 singing Garden Warbler and a Great Spotted Woodpecker; butterflies comprised 3 Holly Blue and 4 Orange-tip. We moved onto Knightstone Manor for an excellent buffet lunch as guests of the Swedish Church and were then treated to some beautiful singing by the London Nordic Choir out in the sunshine in the courtyard where lunch was eaten; clips of choir singing 1  2  3  4, piccies of choir 1  2  3 and Ottery Church 1  2. Really enjoyed that; have some clips of the songs!! The choir had come down by bus in the morning and are appearing at Exeter Cathedral tomorrow morning. Quite a coup for the Swedish entrepreneur organising it all! Function finished at 15:00, said goodbye to Mike and Liz and drove the10km back to Sidmouth (in sis' car). Knightstone Manor has some good Honey-buzzard wooded habitat to E 1  2 (9007a). Had a Common Buzzard at Wiggaton at 15:05. As entered sis' estate at 15:15 picked up a male Honey-buzzard gliding at speed towards Bulverton Wood, a known site. He came down in the E area of the wood. Can view some of the wood from sis' patio so watched area over a cup of tea and at 16:02 a female Honey-buzzard was seen flying through the tops of the trees to W, before putting on a major turn of speed moving NW, along the same line her partner had used earlier 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 (9008); last 2 shots are of the wooded habitat. There may be an attraction such as a dung-heap at the end of this line, containing large grubs, or more likely the heathland at Core Hill! So that's 4 Honey-buzzard today at 2 sites and Grand Tour total reaches 8 birds at 5 sites: incredible! Evening was very lively, having dinner (2nd large meal of day!).with nephew Stuart, partner Jill, William (Jill's son) all over from Newton Abbot and Liz, David, last complaining that his wine cellar was under threat!! So bit of an indulgent and exciting day. Did remember before leaving this morning to update Memories page on the server; have played War Mother all the way through; it's very impressive!! Not sure what we're doing tomorrow but am sure of the next: really looking forward to it!! lok2t gorgeous one!!!!!

3 more Honey-buzzard migrants in last 2 days on BirdGuides (count 3 April, 9 May, 12 total for spring):

11/05 15:45 Hampshire : European Honey Buzzard, flew inland over M3 services (15:34)

10/05 15:49 Dorset : European Honey Buzzard, Portland one flew north near the Observatory

10/05 15:20 Warwickshire : European Honey Buzzard, Ladywalk NR (PERMIT ONLY) possible flew west [?]

May 10th: journey went well, indeed so well that with an accelerated change made HON at 15:15. Had 2 Red Kite displaying at Mortimer W. Did get some work done: compiling bird records from Oxford, Ealing and Turnham Green from 7/5-8/5; writing a glossary for the monad paper, as requested by a reviewer; adding War Mother to Memories in the Festival page on my laptop (soon to be transferred to public pages!). Little sis Liz fetched me; HON also has a golf course where she plays and she'd just finished a game. Had a relaxing evening with sis and her partner David, who's a very good cook of professional standard. Received message at 19:00 from Google Calendar saying I should be in Hexham Abbey: sadly no, bet it was brilliant!! So firmly in Devon in SW England now at Sidmouth. Going to Swedish Church do at Ottery St Mary 2moro to meet Mike, my long-standing colleague. We've got lunch and Swedish folk dancing and singing in the afternoon at the very fine Knightstone Manor, owned by a Swedish entrepreneur. You might wonder why: Mike's wife is Swedish; but he was brought up in Devon like me. So looking forward to seeing them again. By tea-time should be back at sis's for dinner with them and Stuart's family, another nephew! Time spent here is same as in London: no favouritism! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

On tour from 2/5-10/5 have 51 bird species from 159 records, 7 complete lists, 11 places. Raptors are of 5 types: Red Kite 43 birds, 15 records, 7 sites; Honey-buzzard 4 birds, 3 records, 3 sites; Common Buzzard 2 birds, 2 records, 2 sites; Kestrel 2 birds, 2 records, 2 sites; Peregrine 1 bird, 1 record, 1 site. Red Kite are present in enormous numbers; it's interesting that Honey-buzzard is no.2. All added to BirdTrack by 15/5. Butterflies were very poor in same period: 3 Holly Blue, 1 Orange-tip.

May 9th: a gr8 day!! Weather was sunny with sky mainly clear except for a few cumulus clouds; cool /n breeze but warm in sunshine, 14C max. Made Black Park, near Slough, from 11:10-12:30 with big sis in morning and had a male Honey-buzzard up over the heathland, at 11:16 following a pair of Red Kite climbing in a thermal. A pair of Honey-buzzard then appeared at 11:41, at moderate height in the sky; the male moved rapidly S in power-glide at 11:42 before turning around at 11:43, climbing to a great height and doing 3 decisive butterfly display flights, diving rapidly with tightly furled wings before climbing rapidly, clapping wings at top of climb and sinking again 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27; 21-27 show the high altitude butterfly display (9006): marvellous spectacle!! They came up over the heathland where from previous observations think they are nesting in Scots Pine on the edge. Have many piccies. Total was 20 bird-types, including a Great Crested Grebe, 7 Red Kite, a female Kestrel, 1 singing Blackcap. Back to Ealing for lunch and Acton for tea, where met Ben and Emily again. Then tube Turnham Green – KGX where met son Alex at Rotunda, Kings Place, at 19:00 for meal. This is a major music centre, home to Aurora and much chamber music. Looking at future events see NC features prominently with KA to a smaller extent. We'll have to go to a concert here!! Son is going to a Stockhausen opera next week; his technique is supposed to be based on category theory: might be a paper there! Resisted temptation to catch last train back to NCL announced as moving to Piccadilly line. Very happy to receive a certain email: sentiment reciprocated!!! So back on the rails 2moro with 11:34 EAL-HON at 16:15 on 2 changes at RDG and BSK; might get some work done. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 8th: caught 65 bus from Ealing Broadway to Kingston, where met up with daughter Catherine's family at their house. We went round to the Nuffield Sports Centre for S's ballet class, which evidently is the highlight of the week! Granddaughters are looking very well: here's Sophia 1  2 4.25 years and Bella 3  4 2.70 years, not forgetting Snowy the cat 5 who's suffering from shock after falling off a tree in Richmond Park! We all had great reunion for 9 hours before back on the 65. Tomorrow seeing son whose property purchase in Hatfield area on 3rd attempt looks like going through after positive valuation report. Slight bridging problems evidently so giving him 3k for birthday present next month to celebrate the purchase! Weather was very wet this morning but mild and sunny by afternoon at 14C max with a few heavy showers still around. Did keep an eye on the birds on the edge of Richmond Park, getting 12 types from 13:55-18:00, including a Swift. Kew Bridge was interesting with a Grey Heron and an Egyptian Goose. lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

Great stuff: just heard that paper presented last year at Universal Logic in Vichy, Composing monads for a musical performance, has been accepted by the journal Sociology and Anthropology for publication, with minor corrections, mainly repeating explanations of symbols on each diagram; this I accept as each diagram should be self-standing. Publication is imminent! So satisfying … xx!! Thanks to all who contributed!

May 7th: weather was warmer as got to London, 15C, with sunny intervals. Train journey was fine, short and sweet; met by big sis Gill at EAL; we went round to Acton where fetched Ben (9) and Emily (7) from primary school. Had 2 Holly Blue in their garden. Soon joined by nephew John and wife Clare who ordered a meal on-line for us and we provided some white wine. Lost at Monopoly to Ben: he's a right capitalist though could complain that when I joined the game, nearly all the properties were already acquired by others: even better skills: rigged market! So we had good catch-up with much discussion on our joint trip coming up in August to the Dolomites! Ben is learning to play the violin and Emily the cello, latter following her Auntie Julie (my niece). On the train managed to start the labelling of the images and clip from Honey-buzzard site visit to Wylam on 11/07/2018 (8095) and later completed the job. So next stage is to index them. Can then write 2018 breeding report (for the Honey-buzzard, that is!). 2moro age of kids goes down to 4 and 2 and a ballet performance is on at pre-school: looking forward very much to that! As drifted away from Oxford added another property to fiancée below: WLM was the subject of the tie-break question to her suitors!! Great memories of the OMM: really inspiring in concept and in execution!!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

1 Honey-buzzard migrant on BirdGuides (count 3 April, 6 May, 9 total for spring):

07/05 14:26 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Sandwich Bay one flew north over south side mid-afternoon (14:20)

May 6th: day 5 and finale of OMM. Really enjoyed Kaupo Kikkas's illustrated talk and the atmospheric music played by Amandine S, including Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel again. The talk by Ottoline Leyser Thinking like a vegetable; How plants decide what to do, was a little disappointing in that it didn't really live up to the title; quite a lot of information on how plants work was well presented but the title was a little OTT. The music finale was brilliant with Schubert's sophisticated octet D803 coming over well and Wolf-Ferrari's more boisterous Chamber Symphony opus 8 sending away the audience in good spirits!! Always love it when the players are so enthusiastic and competent. Lady in red was a *: looked good, very motivating, looking ahead!! Will miss her!! Will become a friend of the Festival: £200 gives you that status plus a festival pass: that is such good value!

Weather again cold for time of year: cool 11C max cloudy, light N breeze. It's just weather of course, not climate change: we're not heading for the next ice age! Had walk from 14:45-15:55 at Aston's Eyot near Festival venue. Highlight was another Honey-buzzard flushed at 50m from an ash tree, from which it fled at an incredible pace into the scrub behind, at 15:00; think it was a male with an overall grey-brown plumage (9005). This bird could have been a migrant though there is enough breeding habitat in the area where sighted and further to the W. Red Kite totalled 7 today with 5 at Blackbird Leys and singles at Cowley and Aston's Eyot. Had more variety in warblers today: 2 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Willow Warbler, but numbers seem low; 2 Swift overhead were the fist seen here and hirundines seem scarce. Blackbird with 15 seen is surely the commonest bird around, so there must be lots of worms in the grassy patches. But insects do seem scarce, with just 1 Bumblebee seen today, indicating pollution perhaps. Red Kite will readily eat worms. Running total for bird-types in Oxford is 46 as prepare to leave. Grand Tour resumes with OXF-EAL tomorrow at 12:01, just an hour by train, staying at big sis', with meal in evening at nephew J's!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

3 Honey-buzzard migrants, all in Norfolk (where N&I found some in breeding mode last May), on BirdGuides (count 3 April, 5 May, 8 total for spring):

06/05 12:17 Norfolk : European Honey Buzzard, Wells-next-the-Sea one flew south (11:58)

06/05 14:21 Norfolk : European Honey Buzzard, Waxham two flew south this morning (08:55)

May 5th: day 4 of OMM. Having a gr8 time with music and birds!! Always like a bit of singing and this afternoon we had Mary Bevan, soprano, performing a wide range of music, including two by Ralph Williams – along the Field, Three Vocalises – which were restrained, almost ethereal. Holst's Four Songs was also on the quiet side and Arvo Pärt's My Heart's in the Highlands was mesmeric with the organ giving a repetitive accompaniment! The programme was well constructed as the contrast with Schubert's Der Hirt auf den Felsen was very striking and Mary sung very well! The again-informative talk was by Robin Grimes on Learning to live with our Defects. Evidently every material has defects, nothing is perfect; quite a number of processes rely on these defects such as getting materials to slide. I asked him about the worrying defects in castings for nuclear power plants; he said defects will always occur but the critical thing is whether radioactive exposure will make them critically worse. The evening music programme was also very varied; it was entitled In Memoriam but it didn't come over as that funereal. Paul Dean's Blue Ginger was highly emotional with a slow start to each movement being followed by a grand finale; this was for a quintet with good play by everyone and expertly led!! Yet another Arvo Pärt piece was included – Da Pacem Domine, continuing his melancholy theme but the players managed the sustained notes very capably. Also in this excellent part of the programme, we had a lively Smetana Piano Trio in G minor, a smooth Mozart Sonata in E minor, and a horn trio by Brahms, which rounded off the day perfectly! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

Had a great day with the raptors. Weather was better, still cool at 11C max but dry and with some sunny intervals particularly around midday. Star was a male Honey-buzzard prospecting at 12:20 over the S side of the valley, S of Sandford, at Bagley Wood (9004), accessible in a moderate walk from my hotel from 11:30-13:15. He was keeping low, slowly moving over the copses, open areas and woodland, so on a reconnaissance tour, shortly after return from Africa. Red Kite were everywhere: 7 at Sandford, 3 Blackbird Leys, 2 Cowley, 2 Bagley Wood, 1 Aston's Eyot, total of 15. A Common Buzzard was at Sandford, a male Kestrel near Oxford Sewage Works and an adult male Peregrine over Aston's Eyot. So that's 19 raptors of 5 types: marvellous! Had 26 bird-types at Sandford, including singing Blackcap and Whitethroat, 15 Blackbird, 5 Stock Dove, 1 Little Egret. In later short walk at Aston's Eyot, neat Festival centre, from 16:15-17:15 had 2 Green Woodpecker yaffling, 2 singing Blackcap, a Jay. Running total for bird-types for trip is 36. Insects seem scarce everywhere, even allowing for the cool weather, with just a male Orange-tip today at Sandford and 8 Green Carpet at Aston's Eyot. Had just 1 butterfly earlier in the trip, a Holly Blue in Oxford SE on 3/5. Have noticed this in the S before: is the agriculture too intensive and/or is there too much hidden pollution in the atmosphere, for instance from vehicles? A lot of the 'countryside' is young roadside verges. Having just 4 insectivorous warblers today is an indication that all is not well.

Here's the piccies from 4/5 in Polstead Road. First the house no.2 1  2, the plaque (truly famous, Lawrence of Arabia, my fiancée said it was apt!!), my room (floor 1). Round the corner was the Anchor Inn 1  2 where used to indulge in a few beers, drunk quickly just before closing time; had a drinking mate and fellow Wagnerian Fred; we were not good influences on each other! The great majority of my stay in Oxford was in Polstead Road but started off in a pokey room in St John Street at no.15 1. Plaque on no.16 1 is to William Turner, artist. My fiancée Anna Franceska Makosch was ½ Polish through her father Johannes Makosch, Catholic, born in Devonport, eldest child of 3, blonde with Slav features, 5 years younger than me, lived with her family in Leeds when younger before moving back to Devon to Shaldon (other side of mouth of River Teign), obtained a BA in history from Lancaster University and a Dip Arch in archives management from Liverpool University, keen choir singer and amateur actress, initially engaged to David Cohen, a Jew, part of the Tesco family and a computing scientist, favourite composer Sibelius, passionate supporter of women's liberation movement. Good fodder for genealogists!!

May 4th: day 3 of OMM. Great stuff!! Wide-open space theme continued in the afternoon with some North American inspired/linked pieces, including Dvorák's SQ 12, Copland's Sextet for clarinet, SQ and piano, John Williams' Elegy and Korngold's Much Ado about Nothing. Loved the tuneful Dvorák and the energetic Copland! Scientific talk was by Simon Boxhall A Sea of Trouble: How Plastics are impacting our oceans, who was fairly relaxed about ugly large pieces of plastic in the sea but aghast at the micro-plastics which are now well incorporated into the food-chain. They've now been banned from cosmetic products such as tooth-paste and face-scouring products but much potential damage has already been done. Plastic straws were also heavily slated as they take 200 years to decompose so don't use them! Had good tea at Oxford Blue a very well-placed pub just round the corner; they looked after me well! Evening performance Austrian Brothers hit the heights with Mahler's Piano Quartet superbly led and Arvo Pärt's Fratres being very atmospheric with hidden treasure not revealed until end!! Also had 2 pieces by Mozart and Webern's Langsamer Satz. Very impressed by standard and enthusiasm!!! I think the Festival is an undoubted success this year.

In morning explored north of the city where used to work and live as a post-doc. Workplace for 4 years was 7 Keble Road in the Experimental Information Unit within the University of Oxford. It's still there; I used to work on floor 1; it's now OERC, Oxford e-Research Centre, with Computing Science around the corner and Keble College opposite. Did get me thinking about my move to Oxford from Hull. I did find it strange at first but eventually settled in well with many good colleagues after 4 years, and was part of a group regularly attending Wagner operas at the Coliseum in London (I used to drive them down), but other needs brought me back to the N!! I could have stayed but Newcastle's reputation in Computing Science was also very high, in the top 5 in the UK. Weather today was cool on moderate N breeze, hail showers, 11C max, 2C min. Did count the birds getting 17 types from 11:30-14:00 in Oxford City N; running total for raptors is 4 Red Kite, 1 Common Buzzard. Also this morning visited the 2 places in which I lived, both with plaques, but not to me!! Will sort the piccies out soon. I married within weeks of leaving Oxford for Haltwhistle: quite a change!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

May 3rd: day 2 of OMM. Really enjoyed today. Lunch was fabulous, plenty of Japanese food: quite an introduction, and gr8 company!! Andrew King's talk 'Brian Plasticity from Music to Hearing Loss' was so central to my research interests. He dealt with musical sound in the context of the human ear and brain, mentioning both sonograms and cochleagrams as representations of physical sound (in a collapse of the wave function, recording frequency, time and intensity, on a single picture). The cochleagrams are the spectrograms as recorded in the inner ear where the Cochlea hairs contain the nerves for hearing. People suffering hearing loss often have damaged or non-existent Cochlea hairs. I was a bit uncertain about the jazz by Phronesis: We Are All. It had a good theme of all of nature being interconnected (and interdependent) and I liked the varied and exciting rhythms; pleased I went.

Had a walk around parks of Blackbird Leys from 12:15-13:25 in cool, cloudy weather with heavy showers. Had a pair of Red Kite in territory with another pair seen later to SW of Iffley Road: good to see them ion the edge of the city. In total of 17 bird-types also had confirmed breeding for Starling and Blackbird, plus 9 Goldfinch. Here's some piccies of Holiday Inn 1 near Kassam Stadium where stayed for £345 for 5 nights, park in Blackbird Leys 1  2, St John the Evangelist (SJE Arts, Iffley Road, linked by James Street to Cowley Road) festival venue 1  2  3  4  5, Oxford Blue pub 1 round the corner from SJE (serves London Stout and red wine, spent £80 there on sundries!). Buses 1/5 connect Blackbird Leys to Iffley Road to Station at 6 minute interval for most of day, running from 4 in the morning to midnight, taking 25 min from Blackbird Leys to James Street and 45 min in all to the Station. Google Maps is useful for live plotting of the bus route with Windale Avenue being target for Holiday Inn.

Red Kite Milvus Milvus March 2019 entry in Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club Bulletin. The massive increase well under way is finally recorded a little more accurately, matching numbers actually present in the county.

Three birds were at South Snods on 3rd (IFo) and at Carterway Heads on 26th (IFo). Two birds were noted at Snods Edge on 2nd (IFo), North Tyne Valley on 12th (AH per MH) and at Derwent Reservoir on 30th (IFo). Single birds were at Derwent Reservoir on 5th (IFo), Morpeth A1 bypass and Longhoughton on 13th (PG/JAR), Gosforth Park on 14th (MSH), Alnwick on 18th (per IK), Wallsend Swallow Pond on 21st (GDK), East Chevington and Howick on 23rd (MN/BS), Spindlestone (JSo/FSo) and St Cuthbert’s Cave (PG) on 24th, Snods Edge on 27th & 28th (IFo), and on the 29th birds were seen near Derwent Reservoir (PG), Eachwick (MNC), Harthope Valley (ADMc) and at Prestwick Carr (AA). On 31st a single bird was seen at Carterway Heads (RMH).

Another Honey-buzzard migrant on BirdGuides, (count 3 April, 2 May, 5 total for spring):

03/05 07:25 Nottinghamshire : European Honey Buzzard, Market Warsop flew north-northeast early morning (07:21)

2moro the pace increases with 3 events. Going to see old haunts in morning! lok2t gorgeous one!!!!!

May 2nd: up at 06:30 (early for me), caught 08:25 HEX-NCL and 09:35 NCL-OXF, arriving at 13:43, on time. Did get some decent work done on train, including indexing Kellas visit but nothing uploaded yet. Took bus 5 to Blackbird Leys on E extreme of the City, to check into HI, right next to Kassam Stadium, Oxford United's ground. Hotel is being refurbished, looking good! Had a Common Buzzard and a pair of Red Kite in area: it's got some leafy parkland. Made SJE for OMM off bus 1, arriving a little early. Talk by Tim Leighton on noise made by bubbles was very interesting: that's the technique used in ultrasound treatment to clean teeth and increasingly in anti-microbe warfare, keeping bugs that have been killing more and more people in hospital at bay. Concert went very well: Goldner String Quartet played Beethoven SQ 11 and Shostakovitch SQ 9 brilliantly, particularly the latter, which has some lovely dark moments. York Bowen's “Fantasy” Quintet was very well received: lots of panache by the players!! Paul Dean was a star on his various clarinets. And Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel was atmospheric. So pleased I came and much more to come: very warm welcome is gr8: looking forward to lunch!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

May 1st: cooler and duller today at 12C max, 4C min with some light rain in morning. Did masses of work on last 2 Honey-buzzard site visits in 2018, even continuing in QH when cleaner S arrived. All the Kellas material including the processed clips is now on the server so just needs indexing through the 2018 NB. The Wylam material is not on the server yet but the video clip has been processed. So can complete these last 2 visits while concurrently writing up the account of breeding Honey-buzzard in 2018. Sent abstract for ANPA 40, to be held at Liverpool University in August:

Physical Sounds as Colimits in the Topos, Nick Rossiter and Michael Heather, Computer and Information Sciences, Pandon Building, Northumbria University, Newcastle NE2 1XE, UK

The topos is based on the idea of Aristotle for tackling a legal argument with the premises held within its structure and the logic returning true or false as the outcome. In category theory the classical topos as defined by Grothendiek and others is closed at both ends and the truth object or subobject classifier may be more complex, for instance based on the natural numbers. At the lower end there exist products of objects, connected by times X, and a limit. At the upper end there exist coproducts of objects, connected by sum +, and a colimit. If both limits and colimits do not exist, then the category is not a classical topos. Recent work by the authors has concentrated on the example of music in category theory with logical aspects such as players, scores and occasions, the last representing a co-ordinated sound by the performers. This paper will take the work forward by exploring how physical sounds are defined in terms of a topos, the conditions for colimits to exist, the boundaries of their existence in the context of an actual performance and how occasions relate to the `Now' of the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. The result should advance our understanding of music in universal terms across both the logical and physical levels and feed back into category theory a better understanding of the formation of colimits.

One more Honey-buzzard migrant on BirdGuides, (count 3 April, 1 May, 4 total for spring):

01/05 10:03 Suffolk : European Honey Buzzard, Benacre one over high up and drifting south (09:58)

So tomorrow will be exciting!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

April 30th: a little cooler today at 15C max and more cloud in afternoon but still very settled. Completed processing Oakpool nest visit 22/7 (8120) and started on last 2, processing the video as laptop is a little stretched in that area. Idea is to take the processed video with me to avoid that problem. Added the first Honey-buzzard sighting, a displaying pair, on my patch at Towsbank on 13/06/1993 to BirdTrack. Did watch out for Honey-buzzard today and was rewarded at 13:14 by the female coming out of her riverside haunt, where thought to be yesterday, doing a soar to moderate height and then abruptly backing out and diving back to ground. Here's clip 1 with derived stills of the dive 1  2  3  4 and stills taken in initial climb 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8 (9003). The rapid halt to her climb and dive back to ground are captured in the video: the dive is very characteristic with the bird pushing the carpals (elbows) well forward and the head and neck into a narrow point so that the bird is very streamlined, in a triangular shape. Suspect she was disturbed, maybe seeing a person nearby. Her mate was clearly away on a feeding trip! A little to the W of Dukesfield at Steel Hall picked up pairs of Common Buzzard and Red Kite soaring. Did make C4c4l where more attractive setting and G4g4s where met M/A for good crack. Delighted to hear luncheon is on!!! 2moro it's QH4CT, G4g4t with B and sort-out!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

April 29th: here's complete list of my records for Honey-buzzard in UK in April going back to 2007: 16 in all, 17 birds (7 female, 10 male); male total slightly exceeds female total but the 4 earliest records from 17/4-21/4 are all female. So having birds returning in April is not unusual at favoured localities but only once before on 23/04/15 at Staward N has a pair been present this early. Need to think about adding my Honey-buzzard records from 1993-2006 to BirdTrack: would assist in the write-up. Number of records in the early years is quite small, held in personal annual reports in computer text files, but increasing in the early 2000s.















Bywell Cottagebank




Staward N




Staward N

female, male







Staward N




Staward S












Greenshaw Plain








Dipton Mill




Bywell Cottagebank




Staward N


Made solid progress on Oakpool visit 22/07/18 (8120) and added some url for reports on the Gulls' final game of the season (27/04/19), all on NB 2018. Hope to complete the analysis of the Oakpool visit tomorrow. Weather was beautiful today at 16C max, 8C min, continuous bright sunshine from mid-morning, dry, light S breeze. Made HEX for N4c4l, collection of train tickets, shopping at M&S for clothes and food, followed by another strenuous session with the mower. Did study the local pair of Honey-buzzard from 15:40-17:30 by moving closer to the nest and watching. Today was clearly a feeding day with the male c200m from my house in a linear small plantation and the female in larger timber by the Devil's Water, c500m away. How do I know? Well in both areas 2 Crow were perched on the very tops of the trees and the male was seen twice getting up in the air very briefly before coming quickly down again. Feeding areas piccies are here for male 1 and female 1 (9002). Here's shot of my house, on the left, showing it's a more rural area than appears from my shots from the road; the Scots Pine is ½ way down my field and my bedroom is at the end facing the camera. Much later made G4g4s where 6 of us out for good chat with A on!! 2moro it's C4c4l; not sure about evening!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!

April 28th 2019: new Notice Board started for 2019 with exciting news that new season is under way. Analysis on Honey-buzzard nest visit to Oakpool on 22/7 (8120) remains in progress with 2 more visits (Wylam, Kellas) to analyse to complete the processing.

At 15:24 noticed a kite-like bird soaring from Devil's Water a little way to the W at 15:24. But it wasn't a Red Kite it was a male Honey-buzzard. At 16:15 noticed a female Honey-buzzard doing a low-down flap-flap-glide across the Devil's Water, moving S. As she soared there was another bird above her: the male seen earlier. They went into display mode with some mutual circling lower-down followed by follow-me higher-up as they studied their territory before the male moved N to do sky-diving to the N of Ordley. This display flight was captured on video clip 1 (9001). The clip has not been edited so is a bit chaotic but there is a long flight call at 29s (trisyllabic, thin, flutey), mutual circling from 39s to 1 min 30s (when had to be polite to passing couple and lost my place!), mainly follow-me from 3 min 0s to 4 min 56s and a dive right at the end as the male starts a little sky-diving, which continued after the clip-end on his own for another 1 min. The female returned to the nesting area. Some stills were also taken of the male 1  2  3 and the female 1  2  3. The male is more kite-like and the larger female more buzzard-like. Since they migrate and winter separately they will have not seen each other since end of last August – 8 months! But they are faithful to site (philopatry) and partner (loyal) and looked pleased to see each other though real s.xy interaction is perhaps 2 weeks away as they feed up to restore reserves after migration of 5500 km over 3-4 weeks. Will keep a close eye on them while I can! I think this pair is the regular one that's occupied the site for many years as they look the same as last year's and have returned early as usual; will check whether they've arrived any earlier in previous years. Weather was bright sunshine on light polar N breeze (perfect!) at 13C max 3C min and dry after yesterday's murk. Not unusually had 1st Swift N as the Honey-buzzard arrived plus 1st Cuckoo calling of the season.

Did a lot of grass cutting on 2 areas, not making Hexham until G4g4s when into dommies where lost 40p. Funds had another poor week losing much of the previous week's gain as well at -6k. The Brexit relief rally (at avoiding no-deal) has rapidly faded! Still yield on portfolio is now very high at over 6%. Have booked up trains for Grand Tour, costing £157.95 in all through CrossCountry, who have a good web site. May stop-over on 13/5!! 2moro should make C4c4l and G4g4s!! lok2t gorgeous ones and HB!!!!!

Reports from BirdGuides so far this spring (count 3 for month, 3 for year (spring)):

28/04 22:18 Gloucestershire : European Honey Buzzard, Nailsworth one reported over valley (13:00) [R]

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) [?]

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)

Recent relevant references: (more reading here)

Shaw, KD, McInerny, CJ, Little, A, Little, K, Nadin, JS, & Goater, R, An exceptional season at a central Scotland Honey-buzzard study area, Scottish Birds 37(1) 3-13 (2017).

White, Steve, & Kehoe, Chris, Report on Scarce Migrant Birds in Britain in 2014: Part I: Non-passerines, British Birds 109(12) 724-748 by, including Honey-buzzard account at pp.735-736 and in Abstract p.724 (2016).

Forsman, Dick, Separating Common Buzzard and European Honey-buzzard, at p.302, in: Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Christopher Helm (2016).

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

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

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