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. Compilation of reports for birds and insects from Budapest and Vichy in June 2018 was completed on 08/06/19; the summaries are available on notes for 17/06/18 and 28/06/18 respectively. Honey-buzzard breeding data for 2018 was published on 12/06/19 (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland). Summary of Budapest trip in June 2019 for birds and butterflies was added below on 26/06/19. Summary of Aquitaine trip in July 2019 for birds was added below on 31/07/19. Summary of South Tyrol trip in August 2019 for birds was added below on 01/09/19 and for Yorkshire Dales trip in September/October 2019 for birds added below on 4/10. Summary of visit to Colorado in November 2019 was added on 5/12. Report on fieldwork for gulls and other bird-types in Bulgaria in February 2018 was added on 31/3/20. Report on Baden-Baden visit in July/August 2018 was added on 11/4/20. Moth records for 2018 after 31/5 were submitted to County Recorder on 12/4/20.

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.

April 17th: 2020: this Notice Board is now closed for daily updates. Changes will still be made from analysis of data for 2019. The new Notice Board (2020) is at 2020.

April 16th: cooler today, 11C max, light E breeze, cloudy until t-time when sun came out. Did a lot of gardening, getting the mower out for first time this season to do part of the back and cutting down invasive dog-rose growth near inner pond; neighbour has already mown his grass 4 times and a mole has been putting hills up, one per day, on his immaculate turf. I caught him looking hard my way as he tried to restore the damage: 'my' moles not his! Last time he got in a mole catcher to put strychnine baits down, which I regard as totally out of order for anyone, let alone an amateur gardener. No walk today, maybe tomorrow afternoon when sun's supposed to come out. Did masses of record compilation for butterflies and moths for 2019; I'm in danger of wrapping it all up before the 1st Honey-buzzard arrive in 12 days time! Not surprised that lockdown extended but think it may start fraying before too long. It's so unequal in its effects: salaried professionals can work at home and use their often ample gardens for relaxation; many gig workers will be out of work, living in overcrowded accommodation with no gardens. The teaching unions don't want any more classes until September: pretty speechless at that - no sense of duty in facilitating the return to work of young parents! Sage have cashed my unused tickets, donated to them, for over £250. That's fine but email from NH today was clearly looking for more funds from favoured channels; would like to know more about circumstances such as are they going to get any of the £750m the government has promised charities. Really want more transparency though sure they are pretty desperate and will be generous in due course! Looking forward massively to more social intercourse: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

April 15th: very fine day again, 18C max, not a cloud in the sky, moderate W breeze on moors. Went for long walk on Hexhamshire Common on Spitalshield Moor, staring at Lord's Lot at 13:40, reaching furthest point W at source of Anchey Sike at 15:00 and getting back at 15:55, c6km as Crow flies, bit more in practice. Getting quite a tan on the legs, head, face and forearms. Had the Black Cock (Black Grouse male) near Lord's Lot at close quarters on roadside then on nearby field, quite tame 1  2  3  4. Here's sign on reaching moorland edge to Allendale and Catton; notices on entrance to open access land look intimidating and contradictory at first glance. Dogs are allowed on the bridleway, but only on a lead; they are not allowed on the general moorland (access land). Horses, cyclists and walkers can use the bridleway but motor vehicles are banned. The gate should be shut after passing through by all users. The landowner can permit anything he/she chooses! The moorland is used for grouse shooting with the old heather regularly burnt in strips as in these 2 shots 1  2 of the outermost Spitalshield shelter belt on the E side of the Common. The wood in these 2 shots was occupied today by a pair of Red Kite, a pair of Common Buzzard and a Kestrel. So the wood is a popular place for nesting and as a base for hunting over the moor, with main prey of voles, rabbits and pipits. I think the gamekeepers, who are paid to deliver maximum grouse numbers for shooting, are on furlough so human control is very much reduced: while the cat is away, the mice will play!! Had 5 types of wader in the visit: Curlew (15), Golden Plover (3), Snipe (2), Oystercatcher (2), Lapwing (1), plus ample Red Grouse (15), 2 Black Grouse (cock, greyhen), 3 Black-headed Gull (all adult), an LBBG adult, a GBBG 1s, Skylark (4), Meadow Pipit (8), Rook (30). So that's16 bird-types in all. Very pleasing sight was 13 Emperor Moth males flying powerfully over the heather, looking for a freshly-emerged female with which to mate! They are related to silk moths. Just one butterfly, a Small Tortoiseshell on the walk but a Small White was seen close to Ordley on return. Did meet 2 people: a lass on a horse and a photographer, getting to grips with a tame pair of Golden Plover! For those who like a flutter, here's Hexham Racecourse to the NE!! Paperwork still being demolished, just 1 sheet left in period 1/1-31/7 2019 for moths, that from 24/3/19 at Staward. Spoke to P on 'phone today for a good while. My Auntie Ann (mother's younger sister) who is 92 has cv, currently hospitalised in Swindon; the doctors say it is a mild form at the moment; let's hope it stays that way! She was in a care home before the illness started. Cleaner S is restarting next week! lohugs2t gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 14th: hard frost this morning -3C min; then up to 12C in the sunshine on moderate W breeze, shorts again! See they're recommending vitamin D supplements to BAME people now to boost immune system for people with darker skins, who are immune to our weak sun! Can always eat sardines, herring and salmon instead – more fun! No walk today but did make W4bigshop spending £62 this time. Planning a significant moorland trip 2moro, maybe with picnic. Made a lot of progress on tidying up 2019 records, have butterfly and moth records up to 31/7 bar 3 data sheets so plan is to complete those sheets, submit moth records up to 31/7 for 2019, add butterflies from 1/8 to end of year and submit butterflies for whole of 2019. That leaves moths from 1/8-31/12 for 2019 which will take more time. Watched Belsen: Our Story https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p081hrdq on BBC2; not sure I should have as will probably give me vivid dreams/nightmares! Very harrowing: the fact that 14,000 of those liberated died of disease or malnutrition is very sad: so close, so far! The death marches are aptly named. There's a clip on the web page describing how Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, a German Jew, survived at Auschwitz through being a much-needed cellist for the camp band; she later was transported to Belsen. Such programmes must continue to be made: the holocaust has to be remembered as a warning for what can happen under authoritarian regimes. Had long 'phone chat with big sis! Really desperate for some intercourse!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

April 13th: well one swallow does not a summer make [Aristotle] but 3 E at Letah Wood late afternoon was encouraging! Very cool, 8C max 1C min, light N breeze, sunny and clear in afternoon and evening so the Swallow were presumably making rapid progress to water, where insects more reliable in cool weather. Visited Letah Wood run by Woodland Trust and 2km from home for 90 minutes from 16:10-17:40. Birds in general were subdued but ended up with a good list of 21 types for the tetrad, including at 17:21 a Red Kite soaring very high over woodland to N side of Dipton Wood E, a Tawny Owl calling in daylight at Letah Wood and a Common Buzzard up over West Dipton Burn. More to follow … At Ordley had a Tawny Owl calling at dusk and a Badger sniffing around the garden. All plumbing has settled down now, no leaks! Sorted desk, with all record sheets processed up to end 2018 scheduled for a grass-cutting (compost) heap. Am closing a number of 2019 activities, such as the trips to Hungary, France and Italy by checking the data sheets and maps for anything not added yet. Am also processing sheets for 2019 from anywhere to clear outstanding butterfly records; moths will take a little longer as micros in particular can be hard to id. Slept better last nite by staying up until 2, usual time; read it's important in lockdown to keep to normal sleep times! Thought hard about the ROH ticket for Tristan und Isolde, worth £201, now cancelled. Decided to donate £101 and ask for refund of £100; hope they keep their orchestra including JML together!! I've donated all Sage tickets for the rest of the season but I am a partner with them! Doubled regular monthly donation to Salvation Army to £20; they must be having a desperate time. Soon will start NB 2020 in preparation for new season, maybe 14 days away. 2moro it's W4bigshop in evening. lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 12th: 50m hose duly arrived from Argos (while still asleep) so filled 2nd pond today; ponds are very good for wildlife and full of interest from hour to hour so pleased with their reinstatement. A lot cooler today at 12C max, 2C min, on light NE breeze (off North Sea). No walk, taking it easy: enjoyed the Elgar: gr8 stuff! Had long 'phone call with younger sis. Sent off moth records for 2018, post 31/5, to County Recorder; they've been ready for a while but needed to clear Honey-buzzard and Caspian Gull records first. Clearing desk now to see what to do next. Wrote Devon M on state of play; hope he'll be happy with Vigier paper in Liege and possible involvement in Baden-Baden and PANPA papers in August. So now in expansive mode looking for new challenges, rather than in consolidation mode! My son casually mentioned he'd been having vivid dreams, about musical concerts; well I've also been having vivid dreams though not happy ones: more along the lines of a disaster movie with zombies and sick people filling the streets! Probably reflects my poor taste in films!! Evidently a lot of people have been having vivid dreams in the lockdown:

Coronavirus outbreak: Is coronavirus stress to blame for the rise in bizarre ‘lockdown dreams’?

Many people are reporting unusually vivid dreams – and scientists think they could be a key way we process emotion. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/12/coronavirus-stress-lockdown-dreams-vivid-scientists

Think 3 weeks more is the maximum we can take without major mental health problems; there's also the little matter of the economy, particularly the gig economy and freelance workers, and how people living without gardens can possibly stay cooped-up much longer. So would like to see opening up of 'non-essential' businesses and schools with voluntary lockdown only applying to vulnerable groups before too long (3 weeks); football matches and entertainment should re-open in June. The government will have to raise its game in running the NHS and care homes, to avoid producing the worst result in western Europe for coping with the virus! So beginning to look forward to the end of the lockdown: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 11th: another fine day, 18C max, 7C min, moderate W breeze, dry, hot sun as very clear air, again in shorts all day! A quick scan of the local Devil's Water from 11:45-12:00 was very rewarding with a 1s male Goshawk up displaying over the area from 11:49-11:51, 4 Common Buzzard up together, a Red Kite up to the S over Dukesfield E, mobbed by some Rook. A pair of Yellowhammer are setting up home in my far hedge. Walk today, from 15:35-17:15, was at Spital Shield, on the NW side of Hexhamshire, NE side of Hexhamshire Common. Haven't been here for ages, at least not since 2007 as tetrad was not in my places database on BirdTrack. Had plenty of moorland species: Curlew (13), Lapwing (5), Red Grouse (6), Black Grouse (1 cock), Skylark (4), Meadow Pipit (4, 2N). Raptors included a pair of Kestrel and 2 displaying Common Buzzard, so 4 types of raptor for the day. Tetrad list was 20 bird-types: Red Grouse (6), Pheasant (1), Feral Pigeon (1), Woodpigeon (8), Lapwing (5), Curlew (13), Black-headed Gull (3), Common Gull (1), Lesser Black-backed Gull (5), Buzzard (2), Kestrel (2), Magpie (1), Jackdaw (41), Rook (83), Carrion Crow (2), Skylark (4), Mistle Thrush (1), House Sparrow (1), Pied Wagtail (yarrellii) (1), Meadow Pipit (4). Moths at Spital Shield included 3 Emperor moth males and butterflies comprised 3 Small Tortoiseshell. Had one mishap, a screw fell out of my newest spectacles from Glasses Direct; think I've not been packing them away in the case with proper care; fortunately saw the screw drop onto the floor so recovered it; fixed it with the aid of tweezers, a magnifying plastic strip (used for moth id!) and a micro-screwdriver, one of a set I bought to open up the laptop to reset the battery. See they're floating the idea of older people locking themselves away for months: I shall be out as soon as any sense of normality returns! And of course the Honey-buzzard survey will be done unless we have a total lockdown!! Hope someone's keeping her spirits up: we can surely make up lost time: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Baden-Baden visit is completed; very pleased that persevered as much useful information obtained from a rich area for Honey-buzzard in Germany.

Baden-Baden visit summary for 29/7-3/8 2018:

Honey-buzzard observations: Schweigrother Schlag, female over site 29/7, male over site 30/7; Alte Schloss, male up briefly 30/7; Staufen, pair in display, fledged juvenile above canopy, 2/8; Merkur, male up 2/8.

Summary: 4 sites found occupied around Baden-Baden – pair adult with 1 fledged young at Staufen, pair adult at Schweigrother Schlag, male at Alte Schloss, male at Merkur. Total 4 male, 2 female, 1 fledged juvenile. Honey-buzzard inter-site distances: SW (Schweigrother Schlag) to N (Alte Schloss): 3.9km; N (Alte Schloss) to E (Staufen): 1.7km; E (Staufen) to SE (Merkur): 1.5km; SE (Merkur) to SW (Schweigrother Schlag): 4.7km. Suggest this implies inter-site distance of 1.5km-2.0km in ideal habitat with maybe undetected sites between SW-N and SE-SW.

Raptors total: 11 birds of 5 types: Honey-buzzard 7, Common Buzzard 1, Hobby 1, Goshawk 1, Kestrel 1.

Full bird records, 26 types, are here.

April 10th: fine day, max 18C, very light S breeze, wore shorts throughout. Did walk on Hexhamshire Common at Lilswood from 14:25-16:05, getting 13 bird-types in all, including moorland birds Red Grouse (10), Curlew (13), Lapwing (8), Oystercatcher (3), Meadow Pipit (5, 1 NW). Full list: Red Grouse (4), Pheasant (2), Mallard (3), Stock Dove (2), Oystercatcher (10), Lapwing (15), Golden Plover (8), Curlew (7), Snipe (1), Redshank (2), Black-headed Gull (5), Common Gull (8), Magpie (2), Jackdaw (6), Rook (33), Carrion Crow (1), Coal Tit (1), Starling (15), Dunnock (1), Pied/White Wagtail (1), Rabbit (1). Mammal-wise had 4 Rabbit and 1 Brown Hare. In moths had 4 Acleris hyemana (wee tortrix moths, emerging from hibernation) and 6 Emperor moth males (large brown moths scurrying over heather, looking for females sitting in the heather who emit a pheromone, that can be scented by the males a long way off!). Reptiles comprised a Common Lizard. Best sight was of a pair of Red Kite displaying at 14:41 over the conifers on the watershed at Riddlehamhope between the Beldon Burn (S edge in Durham) and the Devil's Water in Northumberland; the birds were decisively in Northumberland! Going to produce a summary map tomorrow for Red Kite of the story so far, this spring! Finished processing the Honey-buzzard sightings at Staufen, Baden-Baden, on 2/7/18, involving a pair of adult and a freshly emerged very interesting juvenile; tomorrow will add to BirdTrack, add a few remaining piccies from a viewpoint and work out inter-site distances. Had long Skype session of 65 min with Welly mates (N/D) to keep up our Friday nites, digitally if not in person. No stock markets open today but minor adjustments in exchange rates and interest accrued to yesterday's figures gives +32k on the week as a whole: fall on year to date is 40k gross (3.7%) compared to 22.5% for ftse 100 and 25.2% for ftse 250. Thinking of the lovelies: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

April 9th: dull today, 10C max, 7C min, light E breeze off the North Sea. Continued to revive the 2 ponds in garden and field; managed to excavate the hose from the turf with some effort and found it was blocked with soil at far end but good thing was that the 25m hose was intact and filled nearest pond with no bother to encourage the tadpoles in it already and other pond-life! Bigger and larger pond is further out and ordered 50m hose from Argos to connect at the inner pond; used 19.99 Argos gift card so cost was £14 net including delivery to house; that's coming on Sunday morning with plumbing gear via Amazon tomorrow. Had to wash coat, sweater and trousers after excavating the hose as covered in mud! Still stuck into the Baden-Baden visit, completing the labelling and indexing of all the habitat piccies so just some bird shots from Staufen on 2/8/18 to process; hope to complete tomorrow. Markets continued to recover, own funds +31k as of tonight through the 4 working days of the week; think the assumption is that lockdown is numbered in weeks rather than months; did take a few profits late afternoon today as like to keep some cash handy for 'bargains'. While keeping busy with various activities, really missing the music, the hospitality venues in Hexham and above all my friends: hope we can connect soon: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 8th: another grand day with sunshine all day, 17C max, 4C min, light W breeze. Stripped off top today as well so making plenty of vitamin D! Inspired by plumbing on Sunday decided to repair outdoors plumbing system, which collapsed one winter long ago through frost (2016?). So put in new joints and tested it out: hose is buried under back grass and blocked so must ease it out to get the benefit; stopcock in kitchen is very stiff, using WD40 to try and loosen it; otherwise not bad! Went for good walk from 16:10-17:45 to W of Dalton, on W flank of the 'Shire; not been there for a while but interesting results with single Red Kite and Common Buzzard in territory over the same large conifer wood. Total was 22 bird-types, including 47 Fieldfare, 6 Curlew, 4 Meadow Pipit (pair copulating, 2 NW), plus mammal Brown Hare (6). Full list is: Pheasant (3), Stock Dove (6), Woodpigeon (40), Collared Dove (3), Curlew (6), Black-headed Gull (8), Common Gull (25), Lesser Black-backed Gull (2), Buzzard (1), Jackdaw (64), Rook (30), Carrion Crow (4), Coal Tit (2), Great Tit (1), Starling (4), Blackbird (1), Fieldfare (47), Mistle Thrush (1), Meadow Pipit (4), Chaffinch (7), Siskin (2), Brown Hare (6). Working on Baden-Baden 2/8/18 now, sorting the Merkur results as a starter. Made W4bigshop at 19:00, good time to go, very quiet, spent £69, including 2 4-packs of g, 4 Fentimans rose lemonade, loo rolls and large pack of baked beans (last 2 back again). Hope it will last for 6 days. Strange atmosphere in Hexham, bit like a disaster movie. Roads are so quiet that people are not concentrating; have had 2 near misses in the past few days: a white van came out of a side road in Hexham without looking and had to brake sharply; today a cyclist coming along from the Racecourse moving E came right out in front of me at the crossroads without stopping at the line and had to swerve right and brake sharply to give him space. Fortunately I wasn't going too fast, admiring a lady runner!! You don't really want to go to hospital in the current situation! Respite from the heat tomorrow but then warm again from Friday to Sunday. What's gone wrong with our NE England spring weather? Honey-buzzard could be back in 18 days: excitement is mounting! lok2t beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

April 7th: beautiful day at 17C max, 4C min, sunny most of day, moderate SW breeze becoming light. Big task today was sorting Baden-Baden 30/7/2018 (8400/8401) which completed, just one more day to go now 2/8 when plenty of data. Did spend some time in the garden in shorts, seeing a pair of Sparrowhawk displaying at the Linnels at 14:00, a Red Kite over Blackhall Plantation to NW of me at 16:30 and a pair of Common Buzzard up at 16:40 in the same place, doing a lot of diving, maybe to deter said kite! Had 3 Peacock butterflies in the field, where have a seat to make viewing easier. Finished the season's bird food; they don't know that yet! Cleaner S still won't make it tomorrow; hope some flexibility is allowed soon for maintaining hygiene. Funds rallied this week at +22k, reducing loss on year to date to -50k gross. Virtually everything has risen and cash now stands at 14k, so reinvested near the 'bottom' if that is the case: only with hindsight do you know where the bottom really is; people who build up cash holdings suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out!) once things seem to be turning. Enjoyed the Brahms: great memories, wish it were live: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

Thought this article on cv was very interesting:

Air pollution linked to far higher Covid-19 death rates, study finds. Dirty air increases risk of respiratory problems that can be fatal for coronavirus patients

It is well known that pollution impairs the first line of defence of upper airways, namely cilia, thus a subject living in an area with high levels of pollutant is more prone to develop chronic respiratory conditions and [is more vulnerable] to any infective agent,” it said. “Medical scientists warned in mid-March that air pollution exposure could make Covid-19 worse. Early research on Covid-19 had suggested that the weakened lungs of smokers and former smokers made them more susceptible to the virus. While lockdowns have caused air pollution to fall dramatically, a comprehensive global review published in 2019 found that over long periods air pollution may be damaging every organ and virtually every cell in the human body.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/07/air-pollution-linked-to-far-higher-covid-19-death-rates-study-finds

So plenty of space in my country residence!!

April 6th: strong sunshine but only 11C max in moderate cool NW breeze. Still felt good and was out in shorts on the patio from time to time. Plumbing outcome not bad: air locks all gone naturally and leak on cistern is very small as it beds in; over-tightening can be a bad thing as washers and plastic warp so best to see if it seals naturally. Have asked for a voucher from eSky for my failed Flybe trip. If they agree fine, if not I'll use Chargeback and secure cash; not completely given up hope for Vienna in June; Germany and Austria are both relaxing their controls but whether they'd want non-tested UK people over is another matter! .Walk today was up the Rowley Burn on edge of Hexhamshire Common moors from 16:30-18:05; so wild and really productive for waders and raptors with a pair of Red Kite, nest site located at last in relatively large conifer wood near Stotsfold, and 2 Common Buzzard sites. Had 5 types of wader: Golden Plover 140 (in 3 flocks on in-bye: 60, 60, 20), Lapwing 52 (2 flocks of 20, 14 plus pairs of displaying birds), Curlew 14 (displaying birds), Redshank 3 (anxiety calls), Oystercatcher 2 (pair). Other moorland birds were Red Grouse (4, 1 a kill) and Meadow Pipit (2). The Rowley Burn walk was deserted, only me; the burn meets the Devil's Water c400m from my home in Ordley, near the Honey-buzzard site! Full tetrad list is: Red Grouse (4), Pheasant (4), Stock Dove (8), Woodpigeon (6), Moorhen (1), Oystercatcher (2), Lapwing (52), Golden Plover (140), Curlew (14), Redshank (3), Black-headed Gull (1), Lesser Black-backed Gull (1), Buzzard (2), Jackdaw (14), Rook (4), Carrion Crow (1), Coal Tit (3), Chiffchaff (3), Wren (1), Starling (16), Blackbird (3), Robin (1), Meadow Pipit (2), Chaffinch (3), Siskin (3), Brown Hare (1), Rabbit (1). Following completion of 9205 now working on Baden-Baden visit in late July/early August 2018, having sorted the one Honey-buzzard observation on 29/7/18 and the piccies on walk on 30/7/18 (8400/8401); next task is to update the account on NB 2018, indexing the piccies for 30/7. Markets perked up today on just an inkling that cv is reaching its peak; have only 18k cash left, rest is in the market! Hope the beauties are keeping fit: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

April 5th: warm today, up to 16C, and mild tonight at 10C, going down to 6C at dawn, moderate SE breeze, dry. No walk today, enjoyed the garden in morning in shorts in the sunshine before realised that had a plumbing leak in the downstairs bathroom from the inflow pipe to the cistern. Drained system and fixed new washer but it's still leaking significantly; may just need it to bed-in over time (optimistically!); decided to try to tighten joint further and succeeded at 23:00 reducing it to a slight drip, which almost certainly will seal on its own with the plumber's tape wound around the joint: celebrated with 2 g!! Quite a lot of water around but the floor is solid (cement), main loss is a valuable toilet roll in a basket on floor and an air-lock in one area on refilling the system, hopefully will dissipate or will have to re-drain with all taps open and re-fill with all taps ½ open! Ordered from Amazon some adjustable wrenches and a collection of washers of all sizes to make such jobs easier in future. Had 3-way video call on fb with son and daughter, joined by son-in-law and granddaughters, for 30 min, a very good tonic, using my laptop. Also had video call on fb with my cousin ST in Wiltshire; besides keeping in touch, I'm also keen on getting some more family photos from the 19th century! Experimenting with camera today, in particular on bracketing exposure automatically; was wondering what to test it on when at 14:18 a Red Kite flew low-down right over my back garden at Ordley, Hexhamshire; here's the piccies – normal 1, underexposed 2, overexposed 3; prefer the normal one myself, taken in A mode (aperture-oriented, increasing depth of field)! One more shot 4 is worth uploading. So busy day: loved the Bach: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

April 4th: not quite spring yet by daytime with max 10C but min 6C is a major lift, encouraging all sorts of activity. Wind was light SW with just a few brief sunny intervals. 2moro it's going up to 16C! Did walk around N part of Hexhamshire from home at Ordley to Dotland from 14:50-16:50, meeting a few old mates for a chat on the way. Highlight was again Red Kite with 3 of last year's territories occupied by 2 pairs and a single; a pair was up over the ridge to N of West Dipton Burn (with 1 Common Buzzard) at 15:27; a single came up from N tip of Dipton Wood to Dipton Cut at 15:36 (with 1 Common Buzzard); a pair was up in Dipton Wood SW, moving SW towards Slaley NW at 16:33. A pair of Common Buzzard were displaying over the race course buildings at 15:26 and a single Common Buzzard was up at the regular site at Ordley at 16:39. Summer visitors included a Chiffchaff and a Blackcap; winter visitors included 190 Fieldfare E and 250 Common Gull. Bizarre find was a Moorhen near an organic farm. Bird-types in tetrad totalled 28 with 2 mammals found: 1 Brown Hare, 1 Roe Deer. Tetrad list is: Pheasant (3), Stock Dove (11), Woodpigeon (10), Moorhen (1), Lapwing (5), Curlew (2), Black-headed Gull (14), Common Gull (250), Herring Gull (1), Buzzard (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Jackdaw (66), Rook (150), Carrion Crow (4), Blue Tit (12), Great Tit (4), Chiffchaff (1), Blackcap (1), Starling (14), Blackbird (6), Fieldfare (190), Mistle Thrush (1), Robin (3), Tree Sparrow (2), Dunnock (4), Chaffinch (4), Bullfinch (2), Linnet (1), Brown Hare (1), Roe Deer (1) Have made a lot of progress on visit 9205 18/7/19 to local Honey-buzzard nest site. Finished labelling and indexing final 2 clips with Honey-buzzard soft alarm calls, the piccies of the nest in Hemlock Spruce and of feathers and splash in vicinity. So will add to BirdTrack 2moro. Then it's the Baden Baden visit in 2018 where can get an insight into nest spacing in the Black Forest. Modified a spreadsheet for Rotary Council! There's a lot missing from my life though the Red Kite are offering some sense of purpose! Live music is such a gr8 tonic: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Think the lockdown should be relaxed for young people, schools up to GCSE and businesses after Easter but maintained for older people at current level. 90% of deaths in UK with covid-19 cited as cause are of people aged over 60, with 55% of deaths in total of people over 80 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51768274. Also see Covid-19: four fifths of cases are asymptomatic, China figures indicate, BMJ 2020;369:m1375 https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1375. In an article on the website of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Jefferson and Carl Heneghan, director of the centre and editor of BMJ EBM, write, “There can be little doubt that covid-19 may be far more widely distributed than some may believe. Lockdown is going to bankrupt all of us and our descendants and is unlikely at this point to slow or halt viral circulation as the genie is out of the bottle.” “What the current situation boils down to is this: is economic meltdown a price worth paying to halt or delay what is already amongst us?”.

April 3rd: wind lighter, still from NW, cool at 7C max but longer days and higher night-time temperatures are affecting house heating: warms up very quickly when coal fire lit: very cosy: pity no-one to share it with!! Processed clip 4 from Ordley 18/7 (9205) containing some Crow calls and 1 Honey-buzzard soft alarm call. Had a local walk today, down from house to Devil's Water and back on a circular route from 14:20-15:40, with count of birds in garden from 15:40-16:00. At 14:42 had another Red Kite on the walk at Peth Foot but this time it was in territory 1  2, not the bird power-gliding through yesterday. I keep a very close eye on my home area so it must have arrived yesterday or today; have pencilled in the 3 days 31/3-2/4 as a popular migration time. So findings to date this season in SW Northumberland: 5 migrants NW/W from SE 31/3-2/4; 1 site occupied 21/3 Bywell Short Wood and 4 from 31/3-3/4: Pithouse Fell, Dukesfield, Fell Plantation, Peth Foot (5 in all). Total for bird-types was 27, including the familiar Common Buzzard doing a little display and a Dipper on the burn 1. More to follow … The daffodils 1 planted in a field last autumn are very striking: 'Shire people love daffodils maybe because the winters are a little longer and rougher up here. Here's full tetrad list: Pheasant (4), Mallard (1), Woodpigeon (21), Lapwing (2), Curlew (1), Black-headed Gull (13), Common Gull (15), Buzzard (1), Magpie (2), Jackdaw (10), Rook (16), Carrion Crow (4), Coal Tit (1), Blue Tit (5), Great Tit (1), Wren (1), Starling (2), Blackbird (5), Song Thrush (1), Robin (6), Dipper (1), Tree Sparrow (2), Dunnock (1), Chaffinch (2), Greenfinch (1), Siskin (2), Grey Squirrel (1), Bank Vole (1), Mole (4). Markets are still very volatile and it hasn't been a good week except for PoO which having gone down to around the lowest ever at $20 a barrel (WTI) rebounded in 1 and a half days to $28 on new OPEC + Russia + USA talks to push the price back up; owners of oil shares are having trouble keeping their sanity and a lot of scepticism about everything so no great reaction yet! Funds finished the week at -4k, giving loss on year to date of 72k gross (6.6%) compared to falls in ftse 100 of 28.2% and in ftse 250 of 35.7%. UK banks and insurance firms have led the market retreat his week on attempts to rein-in dividends. Tech stocks and the oil majors have been relatively resilient. Had long chat with little sis on the 'phone! Cellist's Bach is brilliant!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!

April 2nd: very bracing with strong NW breeze, sunny, 10C max, wind dropping, going to 0C min tonight, dry. Decided it was a bit too blustery to go into the hills so amalgamated a trip to W4shop with a walk around the Tyne Bridge in Hexham from 15:00-16:30. First though scanned across the Devil's Water to S before setting off; thrilled at 14:37 to see a Red Kite powering its way W up the Devil's Water and into S/W Hexhamshire. That's migrant no.5 seen in 3 days – amazing! This bird was in power mode, keeping low to avoid the worst of the wind, but managing steady progress without a single flap 1  2  3  4. Not too much visible on the Tyne in the strong wind but did have a single Common Buzzard flying powerfully over Beaufront at 15:30. Had 12 bird-types in Hexham itself. Full list for tetrad is: Mallard (14), Feral Pigeon (10), Woodpigeon (4), Black-headed Gull (17), Common Gull (1), Great Black-backed Gull (2), Herring Gull (13), Jackdaw (40), Rook (15), Carrion Crow (5), Great Tit (1), House Sparrow (2) Had to wait 20 min in queue outside b4 getting into W, then spent £55 filling 5 carrier bags as don't want to shop that often. Did get 2 4-packs of g – enjoying that, no port! Spring looks as if it will be here this weekend: can't wait!! Have started on visit 9205 in 2019, processing 3 clips, hope to finish remaining clips soon. 2moro will continue the kite quest. lok2tgrf: she's so gorgeous: missing her: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Amazed to see that the chief scientific advisor to the government on the coronavirus pandemic is a self-admitted hacker. Several researchers have apparently asked to see Imperial’s calculations, but Prof. Neil Ferguson, the man leading the team, has said that the computer code is 13 years old and thousands of lines of it “undocumented,” making it hard for anyone to work with, let alone take it apart to identify potential errors. He has promised that it will be published in a week or so, but in the meantime reasonable people might wonder whether something made with 13-year-old, undocumented computer code should be used to justify shutting down the economy. Meanwhile, the authors of the Oxford model have promised that their code will be published “as soon as possible.” Here's Ferguson's tweet – it's staggering – how can we base one of the most important decisions made in recent years for the lockdown on such a methodology, when the computing side of it would not merit a masters in computing science!

neil_ferguson @neil_ferguson

I’m conscious that lots of people would like to see and run the pandemic simulation code we are using to model control measures against COVID-19. To explain the background - I wrote the code (thousands of lines of undocumented C) 13+ years ago to model flu pandemics...

https://twitter.com/neil_ferguson/status/1241835454707699713?mod=article_inline&utm_source=CCNet+Newsletter&utm_campaign=475af76c28-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_04_02_01_38&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fe4b2f45ef-475af76c28-36459517&mc_cid=475af76c28&mc_eid=cb6f58eb35

April 1st: chilly day with a few sunny intervals 9C max but nights are getting warmer 6C min; fresh NW breeze is making it feel quite cold though with wind-chill tonight at 1C. Decided to keep up the pressure on the Red Kite as results are so interesting so went into the middle of Hexhamshire near Viewley from 14:30-15:55. It's difficult going out for longer with current chill factors and now jump into the bath when get home to get thoroughly warm again! The raptors loved the breeze today, particularly the Common Buzzard of which had 8 in the main visit and 4 over Dukesfield on way back at 16:00; so that's 12 in all, amazing! But also had 3 Red Kite today. The first was from my home looking over towards Dukesfield at 14:15 with one high-up hanging in the air; wonder if this was one of the migrants from yesterday; also had a Common Buzzard displaying at Peth Foot. Then from Viewley had a single Red Kite up over the SW extreme of Slaley Forest at 14:45 at Fell Plantation 1  2  3  4; it was floating over a plantation with a high crest 5, the sort that's popular with many raptors. So they're moving in now showing how surveys in March are going to be very limited for the species. Best of all was another migrant kite, picked up to N of Viewley high-up at 15:15 moving NW, losing height steadily, comfortably clearing Whitley Chapel and going into a long glide towards the N part of Hexhamshire or the main Tyne Valley in the Hexham area. So good day for the larger raptors: 13 Common Buzzard, 3 Red Kite (2 sites, 1 migrant NW). Full list for tetrad is: Pheasant (3), Stock Dove (5), Woodpigeon (1), Curlew (3), Black-headed Gull (76), Common Gull (1), Great Black-backed Gull (1), Buzzard (4), Jackdaw (66), Rook (41), Carrion Crow (4), Long-tailed Tit (2), Blackbird (1), Fieldfare (1), Dunnock (2), Chaffinch (2), Greenfinch (2) – 17 bird-types in tetrad. So not many April Fool's Day jokes in the current plight. Cleaner S did not come after all as worried by neighbour's reaction and postponed shopping at W until 2moro; will hold S's money for her until next week. Had 2 long 'phone conversations today with P, who's rejoined Hexham Rotary, and big sis who's not been out of her house for 2 weeks. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Incidentally I am not breaking any law in driving to my walks in spite of some of the propaganda circulating. See:

Lawyers echo Sumption's 'police state' warning

She noted that one police force's claim that it is illegal to drive to the countryside for a walk is not supported by any law. 'Nor is there anything in the new Covid legislation stopping people from leaving their homes more than once a day. In light of this, some police forces’ claims that certain activities are now "banned" seem hard to square with the law and may amount to a significant legal overreach.' https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/lawyers-echo-sumptions-police-state-warning/5103700.article

I never meet anyone in the deserted areas I visit so am not aggravating the spread of the virus; it's just common sense to allow such excursions. I would not visit beauty spots where people do congregate.

March 31st: completed the gulls publication on Yellow-legged Gull pages http://nickrossiter.org.uk/ylgweb/index.htm – Caspian Gulls and Yellow-legged Gulls in Bulgaria – http://nickrossiter.org.uk/ylgweb/bulgaria%20igm%20trip%20february%202018.html. Weather today was 8C max 4C min, gloomy cool weather on light to moderate NW breeze, dry. At Ordley had 30 Redwing at 15:30. Had a very interesting trip out to Pithouse Fell, on Northumberland side of Derwent Reservoir from 15:50-17:20. Actually witnessed Red Kite migration from the lower Derwent towards Hexhamshire. From 16:35-16:40 3 birds were seen coming from SE and moving NW at low altitude over ridge holding Slaley Forest before descending on N side, still flying -- migrants into Hexhamshire maybe. The leading 2 birds were a pair 1, quite excited in some respects; they were followed closely by a single bird 1. Their tactic against the breeze matched closely that for Black Kite in Gibraltar: flying low and weaving around extensively to make quite slow progress. The extensive fieldwork since 18/3 has found no Red Kite, except for the 2 at Bywell Short Wood, on 21/3. So my theory that the birds largely move out of the study area in the winter and return in early April is given good support. There was another Red Kite, a bird circling over a plantation, in territory, on Pithouse Fell 1 so that one had already arrived. Also had a Common Buzzard perched in a tree on the N side of the Fell for the entire visit, 6 Meadow Pipit W, 3 Lapwing displaying, 2 Curlew singing, 7 Red Grouse displaying, all as expected for well-managed heather moorland. Full list of 15 bird-types is Red Grouse (7), Pheasant (8), Greylag Goose (2), Red Kite (4, 3 NE, 1 in territory), Stock Dove (4), Woodpigeon (7), Lapwing (3), Curlew (2), Black-headed Gull (1), Common Gull (3), Buzzard (1), Rook (6), Carrion Crow (1), Meadow Pipit (6), Chaffinch (1). Feeling virus-free since rested the port and sticking to 2 g a day, normal ration in pubs! Going to W4shop 2moro morning with a walk later; cleaner S is arriving at 11 so must be out then; think cleaners should be essential services as they improve hygiene, which is necessary for cv control [later we've agreed to postpone!]. Funds are +4k on week to date; feeling happy with move to tech stocks but will not get back to full financial health without a rise in the oil price, something that is looking most unlikely for a few months with the lockdowns, essential for controlling the spread of cv. However, do see a better situation by June as cv comes under control. Medical needs come before workers' finances, which in turn come before investor funds, so patience and some humility is essential. I loved the Winterberg: that's what it's all about: lok2tgrf: xxxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 30th: almost there: published IGM Meeting at Ruse, Bulgaria, February 2018: Trip Report on Gulls by Nick Rossiter. Needs a bit more tidying including a tribute to organisers before adding to gull pages. Here's the culture from the trip though I didn't attend anything, more's the pity:

February 9th (2018): From the ridiculous to the sublime (from rubbish tip to opera) – passed Държавна опера Русе 1  2 (State Opera Rousse) on way to bus to tip. Posters included 1) Ромео и Жулиета (Romeo and Juliet, ballet, Prokofiev) 3; 2) Борис Годунов (Boris Godunov, opera, Mussorgsky), фондацията оперета (Foundation operetta), Красавицата и звярът (The Beauty and the Beast, Disney film) 4; 3) Ромео и Жулиета again plus Луд ГидиЯ Премиера (Crazy Guide Premier, think this might be facetious communist nostalgia! This was popular in Budapest but not convinced Orban is too much better) 5.

Next up is Peth Foot 18/7/2019, site visit 9205, overlooked, followed by Baden-Baden summer 2018, which completes immediate targets. Today went for good walk in Slaley Forest at Trygill from 16:30-18:00. Weather was warmer than yesterday at 8C, moderate NE breeze, sunny spells, but quite nippy in the shade; did manage 20 minutes out in the shorts at home. Common Buzzard were everywhere, totalling 8 birds in 3 tetrads and also had a male Kestrel and best of all a male Goshawk, seen briefly to the E before appearing more strongly at end, towering over the E area! Bird-types in the 3 tetrads totalled 20 with Pheasant (3), Woodpigeon (21), Curlew (2), Black-headed Gull (4), Common Gull (29), Goshawk (1), Buzzard (8), Kestrel (1), Jackdaw (2), Rook (2), Carrion Crow (3), Coal Tit (2), Great Tit (1), Wren (1), Blackbird (3), Song Thrush (2), Robin (3), Dunnock (2), Chaffinch (7), Siskin (3) plus Rabbit (1). Felt better for good walk; hope the gorgeous one is getting some exercise; do like the perspective, would add that suspect that many people in developing nations are dying from cv without ever been diagnosed! We are spoilt in the west that everyone lives to 100! See that Northumberland has 67 cases (209 per million) compared to 186 for Newcastle (619 per million) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/03/31/coronavirus-uk-britain-covid-19-how-many-cases/. So not such a difference and both totals are low: could pop in sometime! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 29th: so this is purgatory!! This morning again woke up feeling fragile but this is common for sinusitis, now got headache as well but temperature is still normal at 36.5C. Not taken anything for it yet. There may be another factor: the bottom of the already ¾ drunk port bottles that I'm emptying, complete with filter paper!! Finished the Bulgaria birds write-up, a major triumph, just need to get the culture in now. Was running low on g today so nipped out to CRB to Co-op for 8 cans to give the port a rest; also got some petrol, I couldn't believe it but the filling station at CRB was full when I first tried; price was way down at 115p a litre, pity about oil shares! Had a Common Buzzard soaring over W of Corbridge at 15:00. Siege was broken by thfbs1 who realised that we'd both be desperate!! What a relief!!

Still think there's a lot of hysteria about cv. The coverage by the media almost seems to assume we're immortal. Sadly we're not: each day 150k die in world and 1500 in UK. So far total deaths for cv are 34k in the world and 1228 in UK. In both cases we're not up to one day's normal total yet though accept the death toll from cv will rise. It's also not clear that lockdowns are essential: Sweden has a much more relaxed approach and the infected and death totals there are similar to Norway and Denmark who have total lockdowns https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/03/26/sweden-keeps-schools-borders-open-huge-experiment-virus/. Germany is managing the threat well with an enormous testing programme, as in South Korea: they are also planning to test almost everyone soon; this is a very good way forward, strongly supported by Tony Blair who I had gone off! https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/03/29/germany-will-issue-coronavirus-antibody-certificates-allow-quarantined/ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/confirmed-case-numbers-important-perhaps-not-reason-think/. Test, test, test is the WHO's motto and that's surely right for ending the lockdown fairly quickly in a responsible manner! lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

March 28th: marvellous progress on Bulgarian visit, maybe we need more lockdowns (no!); have published 104 files containing 900 MB of data including 12 processed clips of gull calls of 387 MB; need to check the links and add some of the culture such as the then upcoming productions in Ruse -- Борис Годунов by Mussorgsky (Boris Godunov) and Ромео и Жулиета by Prokofiev (Romeo and Juliet) – and places of interest. Then will publish on gull pages and NB 2019; it's currently safely held externally on NB 2017. Actually current lockdown is driving me insane with lack of exciting opportunities so the work is an attempt at distraction!! Much cooler today at 7C with some wintry showers on strong NE breeze; just had stroll around ample garden – a pair of Curlew were displaying over the garden – marvellous!! Coal was delivered this afternoon: 250kg of ovoids (smokeless) and 150kg of doubles (smokey) so will keep warm.

Think have an infection; felt a bit groggy yesterday evening (27/3), which attributed to rapid fall in temperature outside but, after really vivid feverish dreams last night, woke up this morning (28/3) feeling fragile; temperature normal at 36.6C but sinus feel congested and sense of smell reduced. Is it just a springtime sinusitis, very common in NE or the cv? Think former, sometimes comes with first pollen! By evening feeling a lot fitter after keeping in all day! Will do the same tomorrow as forecast to be just 4C on strong NNE winds (wind-chill -3C) in January-like conditions, before rebound on Monday. Anyway thinking a lot of the gorgeous one: missing her: hope she's keeping fit: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 27th: fine in morning, sunny at 13C and warm on W side of house with moderate NE breeze so out in shorts again with legs changing colour but temperatures plunged in late afternoon to 5C while at W4shop where number of customers inside was limited with a queueing system outside, with taped spacing marks and cleaning of trolley handles with disinfectant: very efficient. Spent £28, still empty spaces on shelves, keeping space routine does discourage daily shopping, which is good. In fine morning had 6 Long-tailed Tit displaying at Ordley, a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming and a Bank Vole feeding on fresh shoots in a flower bed. Stopped car at Letah Wood on way back and went for short walk in much cooler conditions from 16:40-17:40; had 15 bird-types Pheasant (1), Woodpigeon (102), Black-headed Gull (4), Common Gull (12), Herring Gull (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Jackdaw (15), Carrion Crow (1), Great Tit (1), Nuthatch (1), Blackbird (1), Redwing (10), Song Thrush (1), Robin (3), Dunnock (1). Now processing Ruse 9/2/18, the visit to the local rubbish dump to see gulls and the fierce feral dogs! Have run through the shots, giving them a provisional label and will progress tomorrow. Funds did better last week at +12k, -68k on year gross, but had advanced 22k by Thursday b4 sharp reversal today. Change on year is -6.2% compared to -26.9% for ftse 100 and -32.7% for ftse 250. Oil price remains under very heavy pressure from the lockdowns around the world, reducing petrol use, and threats by the Saudis and Russians to increase their pumping rates next month in a trade war. Have moved 43k into tech stocks for diversification and growth prospects, holding now Apple, Google (Alphabet), Microsoft, Sage, Aveva, Polar Capital Technology. Forecast to be cold and raw over weekend so may restrict walks; think someone might be happier if I stayed in more so this weekend's the perfect opportunity for that!! So hope the gorgeous one is feeling good: lok2grf: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

March 26th: beautiful day again, 13C, warm sunshine on light W breeze but trend is down. Out in garden in shorts today, seeking vitamin D! Ordered more smokeless fuel, recognising some cold weather is still to come. Walk today was from 16:30-18:00, starting in Slaley Forest Ladycross and moving onto Blanchland Moor, seeing/hearing 14 bird-types: Red Grouse (7), Pheasant (3), Woodpigeon (3), Golden Plover (1), Black-headed Gull (1), Jay (3), Coal Tit (1), Blue Tit (3), Blackbird (3), Mistle Thrush (1), Robin (1), Meadow Pipit (3), Chaffinch (2), Siskin (1) plus Brown Hare (1). Working on Ruse, Bulgaria, visit in 2018; now indexed and published on NB 2017 the gull calls on 11/2 from the City Hall of michahellis and cachinnans; got the other species from 11/2 to add, then it's just the visit to the rubbish tip! 2moro it's W4shop and another walk out. xxxxx XXX!!!!!

March 25th: lovely spring day, 14C, warm sunshine on light S breeze. Out in garden in morning to sort out a large fallen larch branch, which narrowly missed the old pony shelters. Here's the fallen branch 1, the shelter after clearance 2 and the pile of big branches 3. Used a hand saw with WD40 as lubricant to stop it binding! So that was good exercise. S came to clean, complete with loo rolls, and I went for walk on S side of Dipton Wood where had another pair of Goshawk: great stuff! Total for bird-types was 31 – great diversity! Here they are: Pheasant (3), Mallard (1), Stock Dove (1), Woodpigeon (8), Collared Dove (1), Lapwing (3), Curlew (5), Black-headed Gull (22), Common Gull (43), Herring Gull (1), Lesser Black-backed Gull (2), Buzzard (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Magpie (1), Jackdaw (11), Rook (11), Carrion Crow (18), Coal Tit (2), Blue Tit (3), Great Tit (2), Wren (2), Blackbird (4), Fieldfare (2), Mistle Thrush (4), Robin (4), House Sparrow (1), Pied Wagtail (yarrellii) (2), Chaffinch (5), Greenfinch (2), Linnet (1). Had first butterfly of year, a Peacock at Ordley, didn't pose very well 1. Much more to follow … lockdown is OK when weather's like this but company's not so good! Looking forward greatly to this epidemic coming under control! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 24th: rather overcast, getting warmer, 13C, light S wind. Completed processing clips and piccies from Ruse, Bulgaria, for 10/2/2018, including a Peregrine and c40 Caspian Gull in nesting territory; also added data to BirdTrack. After dire Monday when short-sellers piled in to force a final plunge, today they closed their positions giving rapid recovery. Own funds +10k reducing loss on year to 70k gross (6.3%) – in the right direction. While continuing to pursue natural resource stocks, change in strategy with recent tentative buys mainly in US tech stocks like the FAANG: Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX); and Alphabet (GOOG). These always look expensive but have come back about 30% in the turmoil and the problems with the virus have shown the value of digital working: AAPL, GOOG and a tech fund PCT are my initial choices. Had long chat on 'phone with big sis after similar chat with little sis on Sunday, plus long walk around garden and field. 2moro cleaner S is arriving with some supplies, when I'll be out for walk! NH at S says booking for next season not started yet, delayed by a few weeks; she was very grateful for my donation of unused tickets for current season (no credit or refund so can use for paying wages/overheads; box office contacted me within 20 min of my email); S must be very stressed by health situation. Will be interesting to see whether DT goes ahead with loosening the lock-down in the US after Easter; some US states are very sparsely-populated so that could be done at the Federal level while leaving the densely-packed states CA, NY to continue lock-down. Whatever IMHO 3-4 weeks lock-down is the most that's going to be achieved in much of Europe without a break-down, both in the economy and in mental health. The virus loves densely packed cities. Hope the gorgeous one is keeping fit: lok2tgrf: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

March 23rd: lovely weather today, 11C, much sunshine, light SE breeze. Made W4bigshop spending £53 in stocking up shelves, fridge and freezer; it was so quiet there but some shelves cleared – toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, pasta, baked beans and eggs, though did pick up 1 forlorn box of eggs, which looked at closely! Then made C4c4l with takeaway into Sele Park, which was very pleasant; C was closing for a while at 17:00. Had 4 Common Buzzard up together over the Sele, never seen that before, looked as if they came from the golf club area to the W and maybe the W end of Tyne Green. Passed P/M out for walk on way back, invited them in for t, that will not be allowed under lockdown. Completed Sage booking form for 2020-21, booking the full package of 21 concerts + 4 piano greats + 13 extra concerts + 33 programmes, all for £1151 after discount of 25% on the package; looking forward to it; hope we're over Covid-19 by then! Will send as pdf to NH tomorrow. Next step is to add them to my Google Calendar, which did actually remind me of my non-existent flight to Exeter today by Flybe; must start Chargeback proceedings on grounds of breach of contract by eSky who have been sending me instructions for boarding in the last few days! On the lockdown rules, cleaners are not critical staff but think mine is just that so will invite her to come, while I go out for walk! Not going to enjoy the lock-down, must avoid above-all watching endless news channel stories. Must get a rhythm to start on some serious writings about category theory and Honey-buzzard but we know what happened to Jack Nicholson in The Shining! Love the piccie: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 22nd: big day cutting the hedge by the roadside (from house along road by Scots Pine to far corner 1), took 2 hours for the 75m hedge using extension reels of 25m and 50m to connect my Bosch electric hedge-trimmer. On outward leg cut standing on the ground, coming back got the steps out to go a bit higher – feeling very fit with knee completely recovered! I made a bit of difference (before 2, after 3) but not a lot! Did sweep up the cuttings and had good chat to local farmer who said lambing season starts tomorrow for 3 weeks: a maniac time, best to keep some distance! Weather was early spring-like: sunny, light breeze, 10C. The window of my bedroom 4 overlooks the road: plenty of scheming inside!! Did keep an eye on the birds during the work, getting 18 types, including a pair of Common Buzzard in chasing display at Peth Foot and to the S in Slaley Forest near Dukesfield a pair of Goshawk were displaying high-up from 14:37-14:39. Here's the full list: Pheasant (2), Woodpigeon (7), Lapwing (1), Black-headed Gull (6), Common Gull (3), Buzzard (2), Magpie (2), Jackdaw (16), Rook (7), Carrion Crow (2), Blue Tit (5), Long-tailed Tit (4), Nuthatch (1), Blackbird (2), Song Thrush (1), Robin (2), Dunnock (1). Here's some sperm in the garden 1  2!! Neighbour from N Barn did promise some help if I got poorly, which was nice of her! So not out today but will resume takeaway coffee in park and walk 2moro. Really miss going to the pub: drank my last g can b4 supper and swigged down some port for desert; never been keen on drinking at home, prefer the real thing! Might post some different piccies 2moro!! Completed indexing those lovely videos on vimeo: so professional and moving!! lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

March 21st: spring equinox was yesterday 20/3 so day is longer than night now. Today the day length is 12 hours 18 min, longer than you might expect because of the refraction (bending) of the light from when the sun is just below the horizon! Today was a cool moderate E breeze 7C dry very weak sunshine. Had an amazing sight in the back garden today at 11:30: a male Merlin flying rapidly around back garden near bird feeding area, came close to house and then disappeared; he'll be on his way to the moors on Hexhamshire Common, maybe he's already got territory there but the Meadow Pipit are not back yet so he has to return to lower ground to hunt. Another raptor a male Sparrowhawk was over the feeding area at 13:25. Move to lower ground really brought out the Common Buzzard today. Had walk by side of Tyne at Bywell Short Wood from 13:50-15:30 getting 6 Common Buzzard up together displaying plus 2 Red Kite 1  2, in total of 24 types: Pheasant (1), Canada Goose (5), Greylag Goose (10), Mallard (11), Goosander (1), Feral Pigeon (2), Stock Dove (1), Woodpigeon (70), Oystercatcher (13), Black-headed Gull (62), Common Gull (265), Herring Gull (14), Buzzard (6), Jackdaw (64), Rook (2), Carrion Crow (4), Great Tit (2), Blackbird (1), Mistle Thrush (1), Dipper (1), Dunnock (1), Linnet (2), Reed Bunting (1). On the road had a Kestrel female at Newbiggin and single Common Buzzard at Prospect Hill, Farnley, Shilford and Eltringham (last joining the 6 on other side of Tyne briefly making 7 up in the air at once). Total for raptors for day was 4 types: Common Buzzard 10, Kestrel 1, Merlin 1, Sparrowhawk 1. So keeping fit; tomorrow will cut hedge by side of road. Did have takeaway at C4c4t where tmsuo did a wee dance!! Took the c to the Sele Park, a good setting. Love the latest clip: very s.xy and gr8 style!! Pity we're apart: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Here's some other piccies from earlier in the year: Great Spotted Woodpecker, male and female, Ordley 26/01/20 1  2; Tree Sparrow, Ordley 26/01/20 1; 100s of Common Gull moving to roost at Derwent Reservoir over Ordley 16/02/20 1  2; Greyhen (female Black Grouse) Kings Law 18/03/20 1. Related to home: daffodils by side of road 21/03/20 1  2; snow in garden 24/02/20 3  4; local shots by Devil's Water as captioned 16/02/20 5  6  7  8  9.

March 20th: sunny, cool moderate E breeze, dry. Another walk, from 15:10-16:50 but this time on the edge of a wood – Dipton Wood E – with 19 types of bird: Pheasant (3), Woodpigeon (72), Collared Dove (1), Black-headed Gull (13), Common Gull (31), Jackdaw (20), Rook (61), Carrion Crow (9), Coal Tit (1), Blue Tit (3), Long-tailed Tit (2), Wren (1), Blackbird (4), Fieldfare (110), Redwing (1), Song Thrush (1), Robin (6), Dunnock (2), Chaffinch (10); the Fieldfare flock of 110 birds was very noisy and mobile, getting ready to emigrate to Norway; 1 Redwing was with them. No raptors in each of the last 3 days, including 15:45-16:00 today at Ordley, so not really stirring yet; will move to lower altitudes to look for Red Kite and Goshawk. Feeling fit with all the exercise, am going to keep it up in preparation for Honey-buzzard season in 5-6 weeks' time. Completed processing Bucharest (Romania) for 7/2/2018 and Ruse (Bulgaria) for 8/2/2018. Did go to I4shop where raid on eggs and milk today and sneaked naughtily into N4c4l; BJ was watching! All hospitality sites are closed tomorrow; not sure how long government can keep this up as cost is horrendous to their finances and to those of the self-employed and freelancers; how long are we going to have a music industry? All car production ceased in the UK is frightening. 2 weeks maybe without extreme stress but over 4 and we may be heading for a surreal world (slump followed by hyperinflation). Health officials give their honest opinions but they don't make judgments on the economy and knowledge on cv is still limited. If we have no economy we have no NHS! Funds resisted further falls from Tuesday down 23k on week taking fall on year to 80k (7.3%) compared to decline for ftse 100 of 31.1% and even more for ftse 250 (more UK focused) at 38.3%, the ftse indices declining a little more from Tuesday. High-yield bonds which were in crisis mode at the end of last week and start of this, rallied a little today as pressures from forced selling, due to liquidity crisis, decreased. I only trade long with my own money and never use margins so can hold through troubled spells; if you're forced into sales by trading on margins or borrowed money, you can literally be wiped out! Dividend yields are fantastic, if they're maintained (?), total income on portfolio being a record at present at c5% including £71 a day interest accruing on bonds. Don't hold any shares in the hospitality industry which could be fragile on Monday though maybe quite a lot discounted already. These are very troubled times: nature is a great restorer!! lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 19th: another good walk on Hexhamshire Common, this time at Lilswood Grange from 14:40-16:00. Weather had been better earlier in morning with beautiful sunshine, deteriorating during walk to light W breeze, cool 7C, sunny intervals, hail showers. Total for bird-types was up at 20, individual tallies to follow including 6 types of wader -- Lapwing 15, Oystercatcher 10, Golden Plover 8, Curlew 7, Redshank 2, Snipe 1; game bird -- Red Grouse 4, Pheasant 2; gulls – Common 8, Black-headed 5; others – Rook 33, Jackdaw 6, Magpie 2, Crow 1, Stock Dove 2, Mallard 3, Starling 15, Coal Tit 1, Pied Wagtail 1, Dunnock 1. Had 1 mammal species: 6 Rabbit. Change of plan: working on Ruse, Bulgaria, trip on 08/02/18, labelled piccies, uploaded to server, awaiting index; this was the gull meeting trip (IGM). Dentist trip was a little tense, deep clean with ultrasound device revealing a small hole on front tooth, which fixed on the spot, no injection as outside nerve area; that put the cost up to 62.50. It's all good for overall health as cleaning counters gum disease, which can lead to heart issues. Tried to make C4c4c for recuperation but seating area closed so moved to N4c4c where pleased to meet S again! Late-on made G4g4s with P where favourite bar-lass A was on!! We all had good chat. Responding to suggestions from an influential one, am taking isolation more seriously with next 2 days at home, except for walks on Common. She's gorgeous: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 18th: instead of library, went for walk on Hexhamshire Common at Kings Law today from 15:15-16:40; cool moderate W breeze, cloudy, dry, 10C; had 17 types of bird: waders – Oystercatcher 2, Curlew 12, Lapwing 3; thrushes – Fieldfare 23, Redwing 5, Song Thrush 1, Mistle Thrush 1; game birds – Black Grouse 1 (a Greyhen perched on mound, then flying to birch tree), Red Grouse 4, Pheasant 3; chats – Wheatear 1 (on wall by old drove road leading up to Kings Law, early migrant); gulls – Common 70 (all adult), Black-headed 25; others – Stock Dove 1, Dunnock 1, Jackdaw 17, Chaffinch 1. Also had 3 types of mammal: Rabbit 4, Brown Hare 1, Stoat 1. Met a couple of stonewallers who said it was very healthy working out here, keeping 2 metres apart of course! Earlier made M's house 4c and 2 hot x bun; very civilised, my turn next week and after walk made G4g4t where just 8 people present in total for good crack! 2moro it's dentist in CRB at 10:30 for deep clean (checked it's still on) followed by C4c4c and much later G4g4s with P. Hope the gorgeous 1 is keeping safe: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 17th: 10C max today with weak sunshine in morning and strong W wind and rain in evening; daffodils look gr8, must get a piccie tomorrow. Sent off Vigier 2020 abstract to the organiser RA in the US. The full paper is going to be a variant of the ANPA 40 paper with the PANPA paper in August moving into continuous maths, a challenging development. Did make C4c4l but we ruled out Cnt4g4s as not fair on A, who with his wife have both got serious underlying health issues. I take no pills and have no underlying health issues but think I need to be more careful. Going round to M's house 2moro morning instead of public T. So many places/companies closed now: Sage, Theatre Royal, Tyneside Cinema, Queen's Hall Arts, Oxford May Music, ROH, Opera North. Taken policy decision now on keeping to Hexham area; in the plagues it was well established that big cities were far more dangerous than the countryside and cv seems to go more berserk in certain population centres. See this account from Italy https://www.ansa.it/canale_saluteebenessere/notizie/sanita/2020/03/16/coronavirus-gallera-ieri-quasi-zero-posti-in-terapia-intensiva_985c7acc-6150-45b2-af54-aa7ab4a309e9.html on the very serious situation there (right click for Translate to English if your Italian is a bit shaky). On the brighter side China is reopening! Also 2moro it will be walk while cleaner S comes, I4shop and G4g4t but no excitement later on!! Funds have had a poor 2 days this week on sharp fall in some bonds, catching up with equities. Down 23k taking fall on year to 80k (7.3%) compared to decline for ftse 100 of 29.8% and even more for ftse 250 at 36.5%. Have 117k cash so fairly liquid. I can be influenced!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 16th: similar weather to yesterday but up to 10C, not feeling warm though in the breeze. Had an Oystercatcher up over Elvaston. Did make C4c4l where met P&M for good chat; amazed that tmsuo has also seen Colour out of Space (and enjoyed it!); later made G4g4s where A/P/me out with 3 more not coming out again for months after BJ's advice; drove P with poorly shoulder home. Think that no social life is a much bigger risk to my health than cv. Daughter is on unpaid leave from Virgin Atlantic for 8 weeks over next 3 months (so c1/3 on, c2/3 off): troubled times! See Sage is continuing to operate but ROH has closed. It's captivating when a piece of music catches your mood. Last night when driving through Dipton Wood, the Pas de Deux from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker came on CFM, so romantic and this version conducted with great passion and intensity by Valery Gergiev https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXcCwfymxaY. Might go to AF 2moro but not sure whether it's still on, will check; N definitely not going, incarcerated; will fit in with visit to C4c4l! Not sure whether IT chums will come out; one (A) has a partner with poor lungs so will understand if he doesn't. Have been doing a study on gents toilet habits: 2 weeks ago only 25% washed their hands, now that's up to almost 100%, amazing! Definitely starting Baden Baden Honey-buzzard records tomorrow from 2018 and sending off the completed Vigier 2020 abstract to my old mate Daniel in Liege! Wonder who I was thinking of in the woods: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

March 15th: bit breezy at W 25kph but some nice sunshine and just the odd shower at 7C max. Daffodils are now full out at Ordley along S wall by road: lovely to see. Went into NCL and counted the birds around the Quayside from 13:30-18:00 getting 11 types: Kittiwake 239 (many on ledges claiming territory, calling well, very evocative), Feral Pigeon 34, Herring Gull 28, Woodpigeon 7, Black-headed Gull 3, GBBG 3 (2 ad, 1 1w), LBBG 2 (2 ad), Common Gull 1 (1 1w), Greenfinch 1, Blackbird 1, Crow 1. Note the 6 species of gull! On way in had a Common Buzzard up over Linnels Bridge at 12:30 and 10 LBBG adult at Scotswood on the roofs. Later had 2 Barn Owl at Ordley on the fences towards Newbiggin at 22:00. Did some work on train on Vigier (Liege) 1 page abstract and completed it; now just tidying it up with PDF editor from Adobe. Bit of a war-like atmosphere at the S with friends there very supportive for each other in the stressful times with cv. GV was superb, slightly hesitant at start when talking from her own personal difficulties in getting back to Spain having tested -ve for the virus. But once she got playing, the atmosphere lifted and her Beethoven PS 21 Waldstein was absolutely fantastic; the programme notes said it was like a symphony dressed up as a sonata, so full of musical notes and movement of the hands: very popular with the 40% full H1 L1; many more tickets had been sold but like N the owners had stayed away. She also played some Schumann after half-time – Carnaval – which was very varied and poignant and for her encore played a medley including Beethoven, Bach, Scott Joplin and a few others. She got a terrific send-off! Much later made G4g4s where 6 of us out, including P who I drove home. Very warm and fitting session with someone: she's gorgeous: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 14th: more spring-like this morning, up to 8C with some sunshine, but cool SW breeze. Joyful yesterday to see the Kittiwake return to their Quayside nesting area with c100 noted, including 12 on the ledges by the church close to the Sage. Had a Kestrel female at Ordley today and yesterday, a Tawny Owl in the middle of Dipton Wood last night, and 15 Siskin in the conifers near my house 2 days ago with 30 Redwing and 10 Fieldfare at Newbiggin. Big blow to Virgin Atlantic with closure of Atlantic routes; daughter is really worried and VA have asked for a loan from the UK government to the whole airline industry of £7.5bn to tide them over. Worried about music as well: if they close the Sage and other events, who's going to pay the upkeep and wages during the closure; freelance players will certainly suffer. Same for football clubs. The official advice by the experts was to wait until the epidemic was more advanced but populist forces are over-riding this. This blog by Tomas Pueyo was published in Medium https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca and the Daily Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8106127/Graphs-immediate-lockdowns-drastically-slow-coronavirus-pandemic.html and sent to me as gospel by someone. But Tomas is neither a medic, epidemiologist, biologist or public health expert; comments at https://medium.com/p/f4d3d9cd99ca/responses/show give his background as psychology and storytelling. So how come he was on C4 live and appears to be having more influence on government policy than our public health experts in the pace of closure. The alarmist article has obvious flaws, as shown in the responses, including no idea of how to calculate real fatality rates and a crucial lack of understanding of the difference between linear and exponential graphs (GCSE!). I just don't see how any lock-down can last for more than 2 weeks without there being enormous economic damage to the country, including its workers. Expect many businesses and employees to start getting very restless: many things cannot be done from home! Anyway off to the Sage tomorrow afternoon for the piano concert by Gabriela Montero; N's not coming again; should be good; will have lunch there b4 so maybe 12:55 ex RDM and 17:54 ex NCL. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

March 13th: concert by RNS was brilliant, love Alexandre Bloch as conductor, not just for the music, but also for his humour! The opening piece was the lively Norwegian Dance op.35 by Grieg followed by Tchaikovsky's PC 1. The scheduled soloist Gabriela Montero was being tested for the dreaded virus so a replacement was needed: 29-year old German pianist Frank Dupree duly obliged. He was brilliant: really like this PC and he brought out all the sensitive moments as well as the grand sections and the show-off ones! His ovation at the end was tremendous. After HT we had Stravinsky Symphony in C, a rather austere piece. We had 2 rare encores: 1 with a rhythm that enabled AB to demonstrate a hand-washing routine!! Earlier we had the second part of the rehearsal and b4 that an introduction to next season's programme by TD. It looks very good: Wagner's Tristan und Isolde (non-staged) and Parsifal (semi-staged, ON), Mahler 9, with themes of women in music and Saint-Saëns's centenary. Will probably book up all 25! N didn't come, worried about cv, but attendance was very good by pp and had t with some of them. GM's test was -ve so she'll be here for Sunday afternoon, which I'm expecting to be the last concert in the big hall for a while. Have postponed trip to London and Devon from 21/3-26/3: not a good idea with current state of panic. Big sis has already set-up a room in her house for storing entire shelf fulls from W in Ealing. Little sis is more of a country bumpkin like me and more relaxed but her husband is in poor health so wouldn't like to be a carrier into her house. Wonder whether move into spring will help; effects of temperature and humidity are unknown but it's also thought by some that the virus likes temperatures between 5 and 11C so London, Madrid, Washington State (US) and New York are perfect breeding grounds at the moment but Milan is getting a bit warmer at 18C, Tehran is up to 20C and so is Wuhan. Observations are max with min still in danger range, particularly in Milan. But there's no definite idea yet https://www.accuweather.com/en/health-wellness/higher-temperatures-affect-survival-of-new-coronavirus-pathologist-says/700800. Like this advice (currently watching a wildlife programme from Ireland):

ADVICE FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH FROM WHO

"Minimize watching, reading or listening to news that causes you to feel anxious or distressed; seek information only from trusted sources and mainly to take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones. Seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried" WHO: Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak

Whatever anyone in the stock market is now a complete gibbering wreck! Last week the ftse 100 fell 17.1% making 28.9% decline on year to date. Own funds are down 49k on week and 57k gross on year to date, latter around 5.2% so defensive moves earlier in year have paid off but not complacent. Some of the yields are incredible with RDSB (Shell) on 13.3% now, have to nibble a bit! The £ slumped badly on Friday back towards Brexit crisis levels with £:€ back to 1.10 and £:$ to 1.22. Not sure why, it's been overlooked by media, will check. lok2t beauties: lok2tgrf: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

March 12th: another wet, cool, windy day but did have 2 Curlew yesterday flying W near the house at 16:45, on their way back to the moors to breed – an inspiring sight! Made C4c4ll where had good chat with tmsuo!! for nitecap went to G4g4s where P was out again; gave him lift home; pub was almost empty; most of the Hexham races trade had been done early afternoon after meeting was cancelled. 2moro starting processing of Baden Baden records from 2018; NH 'phoned, expecting her to say that rehearsal and performance were off but no: we're using the larger hospitality 1 to fit everyone in! xxxxx XXX!!!!!

March 11th: had good chat at T4c4c with M. Made G4rw4t, no B as having scan but plenty of others to have chat with so very sociable. Did make TC4film: Colour out of Space, a Sci-fi horror film. Colour seemed to be magenta, like in a printer cartridge but that's being a little too analytical! It was certainly full of horror, after in a beautiful wild wood area in the US a 'meteorite' landed from space, moved into a well and took over the neighbourhood, producing lots of pretty magenta flowers and not so pretty lightning-fuelled magenta monsters, which eventually consumed everything in the house including family of 5, a dog and 6 alpaca but the horse escaped! The consumption was in a pretty gory manner, turning them into live butcher's wares! The teenage daughter (Lavinia Gardner, played by Madeleine Arthur) had already turned to black arts before the beasts arrived and it was touch and go at the end whether she would manage to resist the attacks. In the end she joined them by the well, getting a view of life on the planet they came from, before disintegrating spectacularly. Well plenty of suspense, didn't go out in my back garden when I got back and enjoyed it; it was well attended. Had good laugh with lass in attendance; my print at home ticket had got wet and stained with magenta from a picture on it! So wet earlier on, got soaked, but it was sleeting as returned to the 'Shire and a little snow on car by early morning (12/3). Farewell had to be good: it was: she's absolutely fantastic: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 10th: major crash yesterday of 6-8% in major indices and 25% in oil price was biggest since 2008. Have sold out of much of high-yield bond funds, emerging market funds and ftse 250 fund raising c200k as fear a complete health mess in the US as they try to cope with the virus in a health system which is totally inadequate (third world) for poorer people. Also high-yield funds have been very steadfast but suspect this may be coming to an end as distress builds. Oil price war has its amusing side: it's ostensibly Saudi vs Russia but it's really Saudi vs US shale and Russia vs US shale but they cannot declare that as someone might get really, really cross and go even redder in the face! This man likes the lower gas prices, which will be popular with the voters, unless they happen to work in the shale industry! Anyway ftse 100 now down 7.91% on week so far and 20.98% on year to date. Own funds are down 31k on week and 38k gross on year to date, latter around 3.5%. Increasing purchases of oil bonds, but not oil equities, as suspect oil-war may not be that long as neither Russia nor Saudi can really afford the loss of revenue and once US shale cut their drilling plans, which doing as I write, the market will come into balance. 2moro it's T4c4c with M, G4g4t with B, TC4film SF, CAL-NCL 19:30. Looking forward to it all: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

Below is NR's analysis of the report on Honey-buzzard breeding in central Scotland in 2019. This analysis is published in the page Honey-buzzard in Scotland.

McInerny, C.J., Shaw, K.D., Mason, G., K., Little, A., Little, K., Observations on nesting Honey-buzzards in central Scotland during 2019. Scottish Birds 40, 72-75 (2020).

Studies have revealed two separate breeding populations, one in east central Scotland and the other in west central Scotland, with other pairs thinly distributed through the region. During the 2019 breeding season there were fewer pairs and non-breeders than in previous years; no detailed figures are given for the central Scotland study area but a poorer breeding season is indicated. A second nest was located giving 2 nests found in the study to date, both in conifers. In 2019 a series of photographs is given on the latest find in east central Scotland in a Forestry Commission wood. The nest is large with sprays, both deciduous and coniferous, on the rim. The female was much more attentive to the nest than the male, who was absent for long periods. The main food observed was wasp comb but 2 unidentified bird fledglings were also supplied. The older nestling was clearly more advanced throughout than the younger one, both in size and plumage. The young were aged at 2-3 weeks old, hatched in early July.

March 9th: the Honey-buzzard paper (2020) does not give any detailed figures for the central Scotland study area for Honey-buzzard in the 2019 season though it does indicate a poorer breeding season. Two nests, both in conifers, have been found and in 2019 a series of photographs is given on the latest find in east central Scotland in a Forestry Commission wood. The nest is large with sprays, both deciduous and coniferous, on the rim. The female was much more attentive to the nest than the male, who was absent for long periods. The main food observed was wasp comb but 2 unidentified bird fledglings were also supplied. The older nestling was clearly more advanced throughout than the younger one, both in size and plumage. The young were aged at 2-3 weeks old, hatched in early July. Will add this and following paragraph to Scottish page tomorrow, publish the result and then get on to the Baden Baden visit in summer of 2018. Did have haircut at JG by Jd: always very chatty and good stylist, doesn't cut it too short! Then made C4c4l where someone not so chatty but communication is always there!! Finally was at G4g4s with 6 drinking mates and M on! Could buy some Co: it's a very attractive metal used in EV batteries!! 2moro it's AF @ W 4 Ag 'bargains' (no it's next week for some reason but meeting N anyway!) with N, Cnt4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!

March 8th: now looking at most recent paper from the Scottish group: McInerny, C.J., Shaw, K.D., Mason, G., K., Little, A., Little, K., (2020). Observations on nesting Honey-buzzards in central Scotland during 2019. Scottish Birds 40, 72-75. Studies have revealed two separate breeding populations, one in east central Scotland and the other in west central Scotland, with other pairs thinly distributed through the region. During the 2019 breeding season there were fewer pairs and non-breeders than in previous years. However, a second nest was located … Had a relaxing day after all the recent activity, making W4bigshop, N4c4ll and G4g4s. Markets are not going to be for the faint-hearted tomorrow after start of Saudi/Russia oil price war! Movements may be enough to bankrupt some traders and cause widespread distress. 2moro it's quarterly trim at JG with the vivacious Jd, C4c4l and G4g4s. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 7th: today was Samling's March concert at S with masterclasses and an artist programme concert. Went with N. Really enjoyed it, best so far I said to Jane Shuttleworth (marketing manager of Samling, replacing Claire Morley). The masterclasses were more varied in their content with works by Mozart, Mahler, Rossini, Mozart, Ravel, Britten as the 6 tests for the singers. Particularly liked Katherine Aitken's Urlicht, Des Knaben Wunderhorn by Mahler: what a piece to choose for the masterclass. It also appears in Mahler 2 movement 4 where after vigorous and exciting orchestra playing in a grand setting, everything pauses and the mezzo-soprano stands alone to sing this moving song: so exposed, a real challenge! Here's a recording of the song by Jessye Norman with piano accompaniment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiZfGeOZBv4 and another with orchestra and soloist Nathalie Stutzmann https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAQQSs4P2Rs (symphony 2). On the piano today for this piece was Camille Lemonnier, who was also a *: chatted to her later at the reception, as well as Katherine Aitken! Also liked Ravel's Le martin-pêcheur (Kingfisher) sung by Ema Nikolovska, with again Camille Lemonnier as pianist. Another * pianist was Somi Kim. I'm a Friend of Samling at £60 a year; might give them a bit extra towards a funding appeal with fund-match for their next performances. Samling are based in Hexham: used to chat up CM at the G!! Then onto MP where welcomed at this unusual hour for us; had piazza piccante and cheesecake and a large glass of pinot noir rw; all very good! On 21:25 train home, the boozy one to Carlisle, with police all over the place to confiscate drink but no problems. Thoughts did turn to the gorgeous one: rendezvous b4 she goes S, maybe usual film nite: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 6th: finished review of central Scotland Honey-buzzard season in 2018 (below). Made C4c4l where met P&M: P's shoulder is improving a little with nerves starting to re-grow; could take him to G soon! tmsuo was elevated!! Bought some more bird food: £8 for pea nuts and grain; still plenty of birds on site and Lapwing displaying on neighbouring farmer's field; daffodils are almost bursting on S side of wall by road. Didn't make W4g4s as D has continued bad chest. Younger sis is pleased I'm still coming down: by train via London stop-over, still to make bookings: cannot stand CrossCountry for 6.5 hours so LNER/SWR NCL-KGX-EAL and EAL-HON will be more comfortable. Npower have caught up with me, or rather E.ON have: much better set-up with new web-chat to communicate over complex meter readings (four of them on Economy 10) and possible meter fault; no really infuriating multi-level 'phone system; plus amazingly meter reader called this afternoon and he also got (same) readings. So having meter checked on 31/3. Still have no way of submitting meter readings semi-automatically, cannot switch, cannot have a smart meter but the web chat does give an informed discussion with my account details in front of a real person rather than a quick fob-off! Suspect they may try and nudge me to Economy 7 to standardise the account. Disaster movie Coronavirus continues to dominate the world, sequel to avian flu, swine flu, SARS, MERS, BSE, Brexit, Climate Emergency https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/06/coronavirus-hype-crisis-predictions-sars-swine-flu-panics (gr8 quote: Should public life really be conducted on a worst-case basis?). As a species we need to calm down; children in particular are becoming neurotic over all the never-ending panic stories. As an investor cannot ignore it though as people act on the panic to sell, sell, sell! Another bad week with funds down 10k more, but continue to move money from equities to bonds as in opportunity in mid-week rally. Am now down 7k gross on year, 15k net. Comparative figures are my funds on year to date -0.69%, ftse -14.19%; since crash 2 weeks ago my funds -3.74%, ftse -12.59%. No end in sight to panic but these things can change quickly if the media get distracted onto something else like the next ice age! 2moro it's RDM-NCL 12:05, S4s4l, S4con from 13:30-18:15 with Samling masterclasses and concert, followed by MP4m4s with N at 19:15, catching penultimate train home; I'm being chaperoned throughout by N, except maybe inward leg! We'll make it up: hopefully!!! Post-ON was gr8: lovely glow: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Below is NR's analysis of the report on Honey-buzzard breeding in central Scotland in 2018. This analysis is published in the page Honey-buzzard in Scotland.

McInerny, C.J., Shaw, K.D., Hoey, K., Little, A., Little, K., Gibb, K., Kerr, B & Nadin, J.S. Honey-buzzards in central Scotland during 2018: a different breeding year. Scottish Birds 38, 308-313 (2018).


This paper reports on the season, 2018. This is labelled as a different breeding year, mainly because it was late starting and the birds in some territories proved difficult to monitor as to their status. Birds appeared to arrive later, were less visible, and performed little wing clapping during May and June, compared with 2017; the first bird was seen on 12/5. In Northumberland birds arrived back on 4/5 at my local site, in fine fettle. On 20/5 in Hexhamshire at typically 100-200m asl 6 birds were noted at 4 sites, in active display and in floating mode, but without wing-clapping. On a trip to Norfolk from 12/5-19/5 8 Honey-buzzard were noted at 6 sites, with some in display. So the arrival did not seem late and the birds seemed in good condition in England. However, in upland areas in Northumberland on the edge of the grouse moors up to 450m asl, the Honey-buzzard season often runs 2-4 weeks behind areas such as Hexhamshire and laying can be delayed until mid-June. These sites will not fledge young until early September. Display at these sites is still vigorous if the weather is good and even occurs in drizzle if prolonged bad weather occurs. The later start may be designed to take advantage of the heather flowering season in August/September and increased numbers of insects but it also enables the birds to avoid some of the wet, cold spells that can particularly affect the uplands in May/June in a 'bad' season. With the reduction in the coverage of the study area, the upland sites are being studied less in Northumberland so no pertinent observations were made in 2018 but observations in past seasons confirm the timing. It may be that the Scottish birds arrived on time but took time to get into condition; this would result in the birds being seen sporadically but not in full display. They may well have eventually got into breeding condition and gone onto breed (see later).


In central Scotland 5 pairs raised 7 juveniles in the area SA1 (east central) with 2 pairs failing; there was one 'failed' territory in SA2 (west central); in new areas SA3 'central' central there were 2 sites in May/June and at SA4 south-east central a single bird was noted in June. So that is 11 territories of which 5 were successful, raising 7 young. The weather was dry and warm in the summer of 2018; this is thought by the authors to increase Honey-buzzard productivity but not sure this is the case as wasps thrive in damp, humid weather and Honey-buzzard can dig more easily into wet soils than dry ones, particularly clay.


From experience in Northumberland this is apparently a very poor performance but do wonder about some of the failures. The site in SA2 where an adult was seen on 30/8, possibly on 2/9, does not seem like a failure. Birds in general vacate their breeding sites if the nest fails and start their migration to the wintering grounds. In central Scotland the birds arrived late in 2018 and displayed little: this might suggest that some were in poor condition and delayed nesting. Honey-buzzard in upland areas of Northumberland can delay their nesting to mid-June if conditions dictate, thus delaying fledging until the first half of September. Both birds in plates 252-253, taken on 11 August, look very much in territory; I respectfully suggest there is a well-hidden nest and juvenile(s) fledged in early September, quite possibly the bird seen there on 2/9. The site in SA3 where many positive observations were made in May could also have fledged young in early September. When I studied extensively upland sites in Northumberland, September was a very busy month for looking for recently fledged juveniles. I would suggest the season in central Scotland be extended until at least mid-September to look for juveniles above the canopy where occupancy established earlier in the season but no juveniles seen in August.


The observed increase in central Scotland in aggression by Goshawk is very interesting as this is a very major difference between the 2 study areas, Goshawk being scarce in the SW Northumberland study area because of persecution by keepers on game estates. It may be that the presence of Goshawk gives more variation in Honey-buzzard breeding success as the Goshawk may predate Honey-buzzard if other food becomes scarce. The presence of Goshawk may also increase the secrecy of the Honey-buzzard as they keep more under the canopy.


In the acknowledgements the main landowners appear to be the Forestry Commission. I think in the Tay Valley where I made many observations that the Atholl Estates is an important landowner. So if the central Scotland study area does not include much of the Tay Valley then our totals in east Central (SA1) are summative, significantly increasing the Scottish population. Secrecy is a hindrance to effective analysis.


Finally there is an independent measure of Honey-buzzard productivity in Scotland: migration counts of juveniles in Northumberland in September and October and even early November. This is discussed on the page http://nickrossiter.org.uk/hbweb/northumberlandhb.htm. Basically high numbers of juveniles were observed in SW Northumberland on migration in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017 and low numbers in 2013, 2015, 2018, 2019 with the last year qualified by more limited fieldwork than usual. I think the pattern from 2016-2019 of high and low numbers matches reported breeding success in central Scotland. Full details of each migrant seen is given in the link above.


March 5th: today's music was Turn of the Screw, Britten's dark and mysterious opera at the TR with ON. Certainly not like Puccini or Wagner in its directness but with ghosts, objects as power symbols and a slow deliberate pace, the setting is quite scary! The small band impressed and the singers were superb, including the governess (Sarah Tynan) and the 2 children Flora (played by Jennifer Clark) and Myles (Tim Gasiorek). Anyone expecting something like Peter Grimes will have been disappointed but with my tendency to the dark side, enjoyed it! The Governess is supposed to be given complete control over the children but faces massive interference by their uncle Peter Quint (Nicholas Watts) and housekeeper Mrs Grose (Heather Shipp) with a few ghosts adding to the ominous atmosphere which continues to the end without clear. Made VctCmt b4 for gammon+chips and g. Gr8 reunion: thought it was uplifting, thinking of the gorgeous one: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 4th: weather is more spring-like and it's rousing the wildlife: a Song Thrush was singing all day from my tallest larch tree with an Oystercatcher setting up territory at Hexham Station and a Woodcock flying low though a birch copse near Newbiggin. Sunny today after early morning frost and 6C with the house noticeably heated through the roof-lights as the sun gets higher in the sky. Saw son off: he'd enjoyed the break and went to C4c4l where deserted on arrival and packed when left, should get a commission! Later into QH4CT and G4g4t with B where told off for not being present on Sunday and Monday; think landlord J is a little concerned as I tend to hold a group together! But will be there next Sunday after 2 more concerts: Turn of the Screw tomorrow by ON at 19:30 (2 hours 15 min running time; 17:03 RDM-NCL) and Samling masterclass on Saturday afternoon and early evening. N's not coming to the ON as he's at a funeral of a long-time friend in Prudhoe. Going to stay with younger sis in late March in Devon; booked flights with Flybe for £124 only 3 days ago; they've folded; tickets were booked through eSky who will probably drag their heels on a refund but can always use Chargeback for credit card payments as a last resort. Not sure how I'm going to get there now, maybe train but that's 6.5 hours against 1.2 for the flight. Could fly to Bristol from NCL with Easyjet but have to get from Bristol Airport to Bristol TM Station and then have a further hour on the train. Devon and Cornwall are really going to suffer without Flybe, particularly Exeter where c1k staff worked; they even helped sponsor the Grecians (Exeter City FC!). The Red-Greens will be delighted: another step back to the 17th century! Anyway hope trip N went stunningly: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 3rd: making progress on central Scotland 2018 – written paragraph on timing of season; quite a lot still to do! MP was closed in the afternoon so we ate at nearby PF4m4t where had Piazza Napoli, my favourite of the genre! Had ½ of g at FG4g4t to take time up to reception at NC4rw4t. Earlier was in L&P for 2 hours while son did some shopping; I was reading a book The Missing Lynx, The Past and Future of Britain's Lost Mammals, Ross Barnett, Bloomsbury (2019). It was wide-ranging but did indeed have a long chapter on the Northern Lynx and the need for its reintroduction into the Border Forests and elsewhere – strongly agree! ON did us proud: the reception was excellent with plenty of chat with the ON staff and some other patrons; the reception in the interval was also very sociable. Son was very impressed with the style; he's also a great fan of Kurt Weill and thought the production of Street Scene was the best he'd seen of any Kurt Weill, which is quite a compliment: ON staff were impressed with that! The tale of everyday life in a New York tenement block in a poor area brings out the hand-to-mouth and sometimes desperate existence of the occupants but they do have a sense of hope and life is definitely colourful! Rose Maurrant, daughter of Anna and Frank, is the star, playing a lass definitely out to improve her lot but struggling with retro parents, with no loyalty to each other, let alone anyone else! Rose becomes friendly with Sam Kaplan, a Jewish lad living in the block who is studying to be a lawyer. The Kaplans are much more middle class than the rest of the inhabitants of the block with Shirley, Sam's elder sister, being quite snooty. Sam's father Abraham has very outspoken traditional views! The dramatic climax is when Anna entertains the milkman and Frank interrupts, shooting them both. They both die and Frank is all set for the electric chair. Rose decides to start a new life minus Sam, much to Shirley's relief. All very colourful! Lead roles were played by Gillene Butterfield (absolutely superb as Rose), Giselle Allen (brilliant as Anna), Robert Hayward (Frank), Alex Banfield (Sam), Amy Freston (Shirley), Dean Robinson (Abraham). Son leaves tomorrow: we've had a gr8 time! Funds did dip on Monday with managed ones catching up with last week so -7k on Monday but rallying now with 10k made up so +3k overall on week. Maybe Thursday with Britten's Turn of the Screw by ON will see a reconnect with the gorgeous one: hope so: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 2nd: visited Vindolanda Roman Fort with son from 14:00-16:00, very interesting and well presented with the artefacts in a warm museum, complete with cafe, and the excavations outside in bracing conditions:strong W breeze, cool 5C, some sunshine, massive sleet shower as left. The Roman footwear, jewellery and other remains from family life in the frontier garrison from 80 AD to c400 AD is fantastically well preserved, seeing its age. The artefacts were buried in sterile (anaerobic) conditions under the boggy ground so have survived very well. The Vindolanda tablets recording the actual writings at the time, both formal and social, are a magnificent achievement, captured by infrared photography on the delicately cleaned tablets containing the Roman writing (Latin!). One feature is the politeness of the writings in, say, inviting people to a party. The Romans were a bit like the Normans: try and get the local chiefs to do your bidding; if they rebel, do them in! I bought a year-long ticket (with gift aid) as would be nice to visit more frequently! Did do an opportune bird count getting 10 types comprising Rook (65), Jackdaw (8), Crow (3), Blue Tit (10), Coal Tit (2), Great Tit (1), Blackbird (1), Chaffinch (1), Robin (2), Goldcrest (1). At Elrington on way back had Fieldfare (20), Lapwing (15), and at Lowgate had a 1w Kestrel. Not out in evening! 2moro with son it's HEX-NCL, MP4m4t, Northern Counties 4 ON reception, Kurt Weill's Street Scene by ON at TR, back on last train so very busy; good luck to someone going N for 2 days!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Have made progress on the 2018 central Scotland results for Honey-buzzard; basically in a late-starting breeding season 5 pairs raised 7 juveniles in the area SA1 (east central) with 2 pairs failing; there was one 'failed' territory in SA2 (west central); in new areas SA3 'central' central there were 2 sites in May/June and at SA4 south-east central a single bird was noted in June. So that's 11 territories of which 5 were successful, raising 7 young. The weather was dry and warm in the summer of 2018. This is apparently a very poor performance; Northumberland has always performed better than this; some discussion will follow concerning aggression by Goshawk; need for later visits in the season; is dry weather good for wasps; is Atholl area covered; comparison with migration counts in Northumberland. Reference is McInerny, C.J., Shaw, K.D., Hoey, K., Little, A., Little, K., Gibb, K., Kerr, B & Nadin, J.S. (2018). Honey-buzzards in central Scotland during 2018: a different breeding year. Scottish Birds 38, 308-313.

March 1st: compiled onto BirdTrack all bird records from 27/1-1/3, which have been sitting on this page, rather than in the database. The 2018 breeding report for central Scotland is very interesting; think they finish the season too early but may be necessary from the logistics point of view if you live a fair way from the action and have an academic job! Still working on it but comparisons are always useful for both sides. Hope the gig went well!! OMMF is in my Calendar!! We made W4bigshop, later resulting in son cooking a spicy Mexican dish with rice and tortillas – more appetising than my usual fare and plenty left for tomorrow and freezer! We also visited N4c4l where S was very matey! Weather is getting better: today 6C, some sunshine and showers, strong W wind moderating, no frost. No session in G: don't want any temptations while someone's on prescription; will be the same tomorrow when main activity is to go to Vindolanda to meet some Romans! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 29th: next up for Honey-buzzard will be Scottish Birds reports on Honey-buzzard in central Scotland for 2018 and 2019, latter received today in the post. After that it's compilation of Baden-Baden records for 2018, the only non-compiled trip in the last 2 years. Weather was sunny and early-spring like in morning but back to howling gale and driving rain by evening at 4C. Had some sleet at Ordley in early afternoon. Did make C4c4ll where tmsuo looked fanciable!! Onto NCL with son, making CB for late afternoon meal where we had French onion soup and bourguignon stew, in classy meal, costing £76 for 2 a la carte! Made S4con with Hollywood Heroes, a series of 15 film-music pieces played by RNS (busy again!) under Stephen Bell, who's suited to the genre. 7 of the pieces were composed by John Williams. I liked Max Steiner's Tara's Theme from Gone with the Wind, Danny Elfman's Batman Suite, Vangelis Papathanassiou's Chariots of Fire and John Williams' Schindler's List (solo violin KH) and Star Wars main theme (played as encore). So all very good and very much enjoyed; orchestra played enthusiastically with great accuracy and it was almost a full house! Bumped into FK again: she's from Co Kerry in the Irish Republic: lovely southern Irish accent!! Son was having trouble keeping his balance on walk back to NCL station; found he had a prescription that banned alcohol so explained to him what that meant! Granddaughter S has been accepted at Holy Cross Preparatory School in Kingston https://www.holycrossprepschool.co.uk/page/default.asp?title=Home&pid=1. Fees are 4.5k per pupil a term. I've agreed to pay for 1 term a year for each granddaughter. It's an independent Catholic school. Daughter was amused when I said ”good to see you're keeping up the family tradition” but my son and daughter are both baptised and confirmed Catholics, my late wife was Catholic and we were married in Teignmouth Catholic Church in full nuptial mass! I even had some instruction in Brampton before the wedding. Think I'm vaguely pagan! 2moro's a quieter day: thinking of the beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 28th: updated page for Scotland with review of article in Scottish Birds on a 2017 survey by Shaw et al (Honey-buzzard in Scotland). Highlight is their population estimate for central Scotland:

In central Scotland the most recent population estimate for 2017 suggested up to 49 birds and 17 territories, including up to 24 breeders, seven non-breeders, nine non-assigned birds and eight or nine juveniles (McInerny et al., 2018). These numbers are an increase from 2016 when 23 birds were recorded, including 16 breeders and non-breeders and seven juveniles (Shaw et al., 2017). In years previous to 2016 even fewer were detected, despite similar observer effort, so it is possible that numbers are increasing, at least in central Scotland.

And my own figures:

I found Honey-buzzard at 10 sites in Perth/Tayside and 6 sites in Callander/Glasgow area, from 2001-2015 in the Perth area and from 2002-2008 in the Callander/Glasgow area, seemingly reaffirming the long-term presence of Honey-buzzard in the area, rather than simply a recent colonisation. Increasing experience with Honey-buzzard facilitates the finding of new pairs and I respectfully suggest that this is the situation here. They have 17 territories, I have 16!

Worst week for markets in UK and USA since 2008 on coronavirus panic. Thank goodness I bailed out of so many mining/oil equities at the first sign of the virus but I was tempted back in, in smaller quantities at lower prices, when matters looked to be stabilising. Anyway funds down by 32k or 2.83% on week while ftse 100 fell 11.12% on week (-12.75% on year) and Dow (USA) fell a little over 12% on week; could wonder whether coronavirus is China/Iran's revenge on Trump for his victimisation of those countries! Have large quantities in bonds, which have been more stable. Managed funds fell 13k but quite a lot of the funds are in bonds as well. Not sold anything significant this week: that crystallises the losses so sitting tight! Even spent the rest of my cash on bombed out stocks. On year gain is 3k gross, with loss of 5k net, so gain to date largely lost. Expecting some more losses early next week as funds report in arrears but suspect the panic is overdone on a 3 month view. It shows I'm not an epidemiologist!

With son did make RNS' rehearsal at 14:15, which was well patronised. JR's a superb conductor in the high spots and he made sure that the orchestra got those off to perfection. The Dvorak Cello Concerto is a moving, mellow piece of work; Brahms seems more controversial these days with some quite active critics but I just let it wash all over me and it gives a warm glow! Don't think every work has to be monumental. Flautist was the Irish lass FK who I chatted up over tea; she likes playing here but doesn't seem to have any ambitions to join us, so maybe CA is front runner! FK played with a Swedish chamber orchestra for 5 years. She again played superbly in the actual performance later, singled out early by JR in the applause for both items; she's more unassuming than some. More likely RNS will economise and not appoint anyone for ages! Spotlight was a Schulhoff violin and cello sonata, superbly played by AR on violin and GW on cello. Movement 2 was played with great excitement and precision! Son was impressed with social set-up for partners, with whom we had supper today. He liked the Dvorak and the Schulhoff but was lukewarm on the Brahms. 2moro it's C4c4l followed by, with son, music from the movies preceded by CB4m4t!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 27th: published Honey-buzzard in Ireland (from visits from 2012-2016) (Honey-buzzard in Ireland). Now working on results from Scotland in 2017, published in Scottish Birds, to compare and contrast with own results there and in Northumberland. Did make C4c4ll where pleased 2 c tmsuo and G4g4s where gr8 to have A on!! Then down to HEX station to fetch son off last train; we had good chat and a couple of rw (my favourite, Chianti). He's got a rental place in Vienna, fairly close to concert venues, which we can rent for 6 days in June. So all set for S 2moro with Rachlin's Brahms and S following day with Hollywood Heroes. Hope it all went well: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 26th: details of NR's Irish Honey-buzzard records are available at Details of NR's Honey-buzzard Sightings in Ireland. Almost completed the new main Irish page with overview and discussion, just need to connect to my Scottish records and their confirmation by others' field work. This has been a very good exercise, bringing everything together from the Ireland visits. Further genealogy page on paternal Rossiter is available at https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/rossiter/1216/: my suggestions on a genealogy forum for linking the Tiverton Rs to the Rathmacknee Rs; the link has been strengthened since. Made N4c4ll, G4g4t with B, Slaley Commemoration Hall for talk, R&C4g4s with A/C!! The talk was on 'Return of the Red Kite' by Harold Dobson, a FoRKer! Interested in their methods: they only count nests found so birds seen without finding the nest are classified as wandering birds! I reckon they don't find many nests in Northumberland because the area is so vast; would take years by a dedicated team to locate all the nests. They find as many nests as possible and then hire a professional tree climber for 2 days at £500 a day to access each nest. Totals are going to be minimalist with such methods (high precision, low recall). There was a good attendance and I won a prize in the raffle, a tin of biscuits! Will have more time for other activities 2moro, awaiting son's arrival in HEX off last train. Good luck with the TC VC and R2S: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 25th: cool today 2C, not much active weather really! Had a Barn Owl at Slaley West at 23:45. Did a lot of piccie labelling on Wicklow and Wexford Honey-buzzard from November 2014; the Rathmacknee record of juvenile Honey-buzzard from the Rossiter's ancestral home (clip of Anglo-Norman castle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyUwYkRr27Q; paternal DNA closest match is to SE Ireland (Leinster)) is a very interesting record. Made Cnt4g4s with A; M was away; we had good chat on everything! Markets in free-fall this week on coronavirus spreading to Italy, in particular. When it was far away in China nobody cared too much though China is a lot more important than Italy to the world economy. Lost gains of last 3 weeks at -16k (-1.4%) but ftse has fallen 5.2% and the Dow 6+% in first 2 days of the week, quite incredible. Still up on year by 2% with ftse down 7% but investors are rattled because we have very little experience of how such an epidemic will play out. Gr8 to hear from someone: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 24th: weather forecast was spot on – snow started around 05:00, peaked around 09:00, finished at 12:00, giving 10cm ground cover at end at 1C, then at 15:00 wind changed sharply from E to W and temperature rose to 4C giving rapid thaw with surface water everywhere. So made C4c4ll in a 'boat' at 15:00! Much later made G4g4s where just 3 of us out and M on! Had a small flock of 5 Yellowhammer at Ordley on a field at 15:00, another sign of the forthcoming spring! Added some more comments on the Beethoven weekend to 23/2 account. Spent a lot of time on the Honey-buzzard Ireland account, fetching from 2012-2014 visits some more piccies of Honey-buzzards seen in Ireland and their habitat, labelling them, uploading them to server and indexing them on the original NB pages and in the complete account. Hope someone had a productive day: R2 is quite dark!! The birds are eating me out of peanuts – a bag a day – with Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Tree Sparrow adding interest; think some, particularly the tits, are over-wintering at higher altitude (150m asl) than usual. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 23rd: completed the Beethoven bonanza with N; marvellous inspired playing by RNS of S7,8 but particularly the former for which they got a standing ovation, just as at the Barbican in London. Both were played with such energy; movement 4 of S7 really brought the house down – superb precision and dynamism!! Principal flautist today Fiona Kelly (from Kerry, Ireland) must be another strong contender for the permanent position: very sound in the testing movement 3 (scherzo) of S7. S9 was done by the Hallé, now with AY ex-RNS as principal flautist. Mark Elder as maestro looked very stern! It's the last choral movement that really gets the piece going; the crescendos came over well, the Chorus was marvellous, the soloists did well and the orchestra was very precise. What a weekend, N said, and must agree. Earlier MP4m4l went well with 3 regular staff looking after us well. Back from CAL with no bother. Weather today was cold 3C but dry on moderate W breeze; snow is due from 05:00-10:00, maybe 5-10cm so might get out mid-afternoon! Slept well last nite and should do the same again tonite!! She had a gr8 day: very pleased we have some understanding: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Was very interested in the chat/talks at the music bonanza. Went to session between S8/7 and S9 where GW, KH and SR were giving us their feelings on playing Beethoven symphonies (and anything else they wanted to say!). KH said that S7 is very physically demanding with all the tremolo, not good for your shoulders! GW thought Beethoven was a very angry man: the music such as S5 and S7 is violent in places. SR thought younger music students liked Beethoven and were a little scornful of Mozart but as they got older they appreciated better Mozart's more tender approach. This session was full 10 minutes after finish of S7, no time for a comfort break which N took and was locked outside! Was tempted at one point to leave!! GW was obviously fascinated with S3 (Eroica) which he described as pre-Wagner; certainly true: think the connection is the way Beethoven re-works themes over the entire 4 movements with subtle changes in the score giving quite different impressions. Wagner used leitmotifs to link together whole works such as the Ring but he also re-works them to give subtle changes in abstract ideas as the themes are developed. JS as compère generally held his own with the conductors in their pre-performance chats but he met his match with Mark Elder. He said that S9 was the world's greatest musical masterpiece and expected ME to agree with him but ME replied: it's not but without it we would not have had Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal. A few members of the Hallé exchanged fleeting smirks with each other: he's the boss!!

Despite the weather the birds are moving towards spring with on 23/2 a flock of 25 Fieldfare at Ordley at 11:00 and flocks of 25 Redwing at Throckley N at 11:30 and of 20 at Callerton Parkway at 11:30. These are birds getting ready for the return to Norway. On 22/2 had a flock of 60 Linnet at Ordley at 09:15, 1 Oystercatcher at Hexham Station at 09:30 and 12 Oystercatcher at Merryshields at 09:50 (moving inland to breed) with also at Merryshields 18 Tufted Duck and and a pair of Mute Swan adult.

February 22nd: great day at Big Beethoven Weekend 1: The Symphonies, with chatty reception in HP4 at 11, BSO playing S1 and S3 from 12, BBC SSO playing S2 and S4 from 15:30 and RLPO playing S5 and S6 from 19:30. Quite a challenge keeping the concentration up but it was an amazing series of performances, enjoying them all. The BSO were very impressed with the Hall, much better than the old pavilions they normally play in. I used to go to performances by them in Exeter and Torquay with my father when in my teens. My favourite symphonies out of all 9 of Beethoven are S3 and S4, indeed concur with John Suchet, today's presenter (classic FM) that the Eroica was an amazing breakthrough, the most influential symphony in all music. When I listen to S3, particularly movements 2,4, and S4 it makes me think how much Wagner was influenced by Beethoven's style in these 2 symphonies: the brooding tones, long phrasing and emotional climaxes. Went to talk in basement of S where Prof Jeremy Dibble, from Musicology, Durham University, gave a talk illustrated with snippets on the piano on Beethoven's symphonies. He spent the last 5 minutes discussing who was Beethoven's successor symphony-wise: not Mendelssohn (trend towards lighter-weight works), nor Brahms (limited development), nor Liszt (programmed themes) but Wagner whose music dramas can be viewed as huge symphonic works, rather than more traditional operas. Wagner's text writings on most subjects were normally polemical but his pamphlet on Beethoven was entirely favourable and the opening of his Festspielhaus in Bayreuth was marked by a performance of Beethoven S9. And who was Wagner's successor in the development of the symphony: Mahler! So the line Beethoven-Wagner-Mahler gives my favourite composers in the German/Austrian scheme of things. Was in good company with N and other friends of RNS throughout. 2moro we're meeting at MP4m4l at 12:30, with S7, S8 by local * at 15:00 and S9 by Hallé at 19:00. Will travel from CAL as Sunday. Weather continued wild today, getting cooler 4C max but mostly dry. Heavy snow is forecast in the hills for Monday morning but sunny tomorrow afternoon. Ending was gr8: plenty of harmony and excitement: lok2tgrf!!!!!

February 21st: another wild day but milder at 8C by midnight at end of day, very heavy rain and wind gale-force W all day. Spent a lot of time on Irish Honey-buzzard – plenty of progress but that's unearthed further interesting areas so still some to do. Made C4c4l but not W4g4s as no-one else wanted to come out! 2moro it's 09:42 HEX-NCL with last train back; on Sunday it's CAL-NCL, think having lunch at MP with N. All set for a great weekend, maybe with some excitement!! Funds +2k by end of week after being +4k at new record on Thursday; another wobble today in market on number of coronavirus cases in South Korea, Japan and Iran; US tech stocks which look a lot pricey were down 2%. Gain on year for me is 35k gross, 27k net. Have received shares and warrants in new companies from Buchans; just need to wait for their IPO now. Have 299k in managed funds, a record, and large quantities of bonds! Gorgeous she is: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 20th: working hard on new page for my Honey-buzzard records in Ireland, hope to publish soon, trying to keep format similar to Scottish one but am going to include more information on some of my records. Weather continues wild with near gale-force W wind and spells of heavy rain/hail, max 2C but with wind-chill -4C; it's very bitter this evening! For about an hour at midday the sun came out giving a hint of spring! Made concert in evening at QH with M/B/A/M. It was an intriguing mixture of light and more serious music, which the large audience appreciated. The trio was Sophia Rosa (violin), Roberto Carrillo-Garcia (double bass, guitar), Gemma Beeson (piano), with Roberto playing cello parts on his double bass! There was a tango theme running through the programme; particularly liked Piazzolla's Four Seasons in Buenos Aires, not the well-known Vivaldi piece! After concert made B4rw4s and G4g4s where 6 of us out and pub packed for some reason, maybe A's charms!! Funds reached an all-time high today, just, by a few c: but it's better than a kick up the b.m! 2moro it's C4c4l and probably W4g4s. Looking forward to the weekend and day following: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 19th: here's the final batch of data for Honey-buzzard in the study area in 2019; the complete account is available at Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland.

Table 37 shows the migration picture for Honey-buzzard in 2019. It was a very poor year with no spring records and only 2 adults and 2 juveniles seen in autumn. However, as noted earlier survey work was severely restricted in October, through a twisted knee, and in November, through absence. Good breeding seasons in Scotland are suggested for Honey-buzzard in 2014, 2016 and 2017 with a poorer year in between in 2015, earlier in 2013 and perhaps in 2018. A new migration route was found in North Yorkshire, which was relatively busy in 2019, presumably carrying birds from NE England and Scotland. 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. The poor coverage in 2019 in Northumberland in the peak autumn migration season rules out the seeking of any correlation.


Date

Time

Locality

Age/Sex

Count

Direction

Movement

Sept 07

11:15


Ordley (NY95 P)

Adult female

1

1 S


Up with the lark, at 11:06 was outside in my dressing gown dumping some vegetable matter for compost when suddenly realised the local female Honey-buzzard was coming right over my house in a beating of the bounds manoeuvre, often a prelude for an immediate exit. Thought she muttered as she came over. Anyway that was round the back so grabbed the camera and went out the front, where picked her up beginning to soar with 2 juveniles hanging on below (9132). She left them way behind, eventually rising above the clouds and at 11:16 floating off to S: Africa here I come! The 2 juveniles returned to the ground, one of them being quite conspicuous about an hour later at 12:12, appearing to revel in taking over the territory from 12:11-12:15 with some Crow on the tops of the trees as usual when the Honey-buzzard are about (9132)

Sept 07

15:55


Dipton Wood S (NY95 U)

Adult female

1

1 S


Walked along the road from Ordley to Dotland from 15:40-17:45 picking up another migrant, a female from Dipton Wood S who at 15:55 came out of the trees and decisively soared very high on her own, before floating away to S like the one earlier in the day (9135). Not all the females have left from the 'Shire: one was at Dotland in display with another juvenile at 16:44 (9136). But expect that the 2nd phase of emigration is now well under way. At 17:27 flushed a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard from a perch overlooking a pig farm, maybe looking for grubs and beetles in the mud below; this bird quickly went behind some trees and flew back towards Dotland so assume it's the 2nd juvenile fledged at this site

Oct 12

15:36-15:39

Stocksfield E (NZ06 Q)

Juvenile

1

1 rest

And the Honey-buzzard season continues with a dark-phase juvenile at Stocksfield E today, floating effortlessly up in the air from 15:36-15:39, accompanied by 2 Jackdaw (9181). This is almost certainly a Scottish-bred bird with the locally raised ones leaving the Tyne Valley by the end of September. Earlier there were bursts of Corvids and Lapwing in restless flocks on the fields at Stocksfield E, no doubt disturbed by the Honey-buzzard.

Oct 15

15:42-16:39


Eltringham (NZ06 R)

Juvenile


1

1 rest

Had a Honey-buzzard at Eltringham at 15:55, which floated around leisurely before sinking back to the ground (9182); this was the only raptor seen in calm conditions; it was dark-phase and fairly light-weight, different in size to the one seen here on 12/10; also up briefly at 15:42 and 16:39

Summary/

Comments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

September: 2

October: 2




11-12: 1

15-16: 1

resting: 2

Devil's Water: 2

Tyne Valley W: 2


Adult female: 2

Juvenile: 2

4


 

IN: 0

OUT: 2 S, 2 resting

Coverage was very poor this year.

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.

It was another poor year for counts of adults with just 2 migrants seen. Only juveniles were noted after 7/9, two birds resting in prime feeding areas.

The juvenile total at 2 was well down on the record of 27 noted in 2017 and 2012. Coverage though was very poor this year.

In autumn on a small sample the predominant direction was S with 2 adult female moving this way.

Monitoring this year was at a low-level in both October and November as outlined above. Few migrants were seen in the SW Northumberland study area but in North Yorkshire, as in 2018, significant numbers were seen, this time in the Settle area (29/9-2/10): 2 juvenile at Langcliffe Scar W, 1 S, 1 rest, 30/9; 2 juvenile S Settle 2/10; total 4 juvenile with 3 S, 1 rest. The N Yorks data confirms a route much to the W of Eskdale, following the edge of the escarpment on the W side of the Pennines towards Barnoldswick and then either SE towards Skipton and Bradford or SW towards Bolton, to avoid the Manchester urban area. The birds here are likely to have passed through the South Tyne on their way S from NE England/Scotland. Winter Hill (Bolton) and Bury (Greater Manchester) are apparently important migration sites for Common Buzzard in autumn. In 2019 from 1/9-31/10 196 Buzzard (0.92 per hour) were noted migrating at Winter Hill and 121 (0.94 per hour) at Bury. Due S at Painswick Beacon in the Cotswolds 8 were noted (0.72 per hour). Birds moving towards E Yorks, as in my observations in 2018, are more likely to have come S over the main Tyne Valley in the Bywell area. In 2019 on the E side of the country at Spurn 66 were seen (0.16 per hour), at Sunk Island on Humber 52 were seen (0.21 per hour), at Flamborough 46 were seen (0.81 per hour). The question is: are all these birds really Common Buzzard or are some Honey-buzzard, particularly juveniles, which are very difficult to separate? Common Buzzard is not a migrant in the normal sense of the word in England.

Table 37: Visible Migration Movements noted for Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland in 2019


Date for your diaries: 22nd May 2021, Wagner's Parsifal at The Sage, starting at 16:30, performed by Opera North. This coming weekend is the Big Beethoven event with, on Saturday, reception for partners at 11:00; BSO at 12:00 S1, 3; BBC SSO at 15:30 S2, 4; RLPO at 19:30 S5, 6; and, on Sunday, RNS at 15:00 S8, 7; H at 19:00 S9. Going with N to all 9! Expecting to see at least 2 flautists that have sponsored: CA with BBC, AY with H; maybe EG will be there with RLPO; so who will be there for RNS! 2moro going with M/B to QH at 19:30 for South American/European music by a trio led by Sophie Rosa. Weather continued wild and mild, up to 8C on brisk W breeze but very little sunshine. Today made T4c4c for good chat with M, C4c4t for surprises (!), G4g4t with B who's cheerful but not well with suspected primary bone cancer on thigh bone. Very pleased to complete Honey-buzzard account for 2019. Next up is Vigier abstract for Liege, close read of recent papers in Scottish Birds on Honey-buzzard, publication of my Honey-buzzard records for Ireland on its own page. Hope the gorgeous one is back safely: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!


February 18th: signs of spring in the air: a male Goshawk displaying to W of Hackwood, Hexham, at 13:30 in quite squally weather but they are very strong fliers! Also at 00:15 (19/2) had single Barn Owl in the 'Shire at Lamb Shield and near Dipton Mill. Weather continues wild on fresh W breeze with frequent heavy showers, a few of hail, but a little sunshine and lack of hard frosts is beginning to drive things forward to spring. Almost finished migration section for Honey-buzzard in 2019; realised while looking at poor results for October that my survey effort was limited by the knee injury so that's been added to the text; how could I forget it! The results from North Yorkshire were again very revealing so going into depth on other movements across England for Common Buzzard. Did make C4c4l and Cnt4g4s, latter with M/A for good crack. Looking forward to CB!! Funds are +1k with cash down to 20k. The move back out of cash does not mirror exactly the move into cash: have a higher percentage in bonds now as a defensive measure. Lots of x to the gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 17th: started on migration report, expect to finish it (and the annual report tomorrow). As usual Monday is busy socially with R @ B4m4l where we had bangers and mash, always a popular meal! It was a business meeting but plenty of good chat! Then made C4c4ll where tmsuo looked good!! Finally made G4g4s where 5 of us out so we're surviving well in P's absence. Had chat with doctor at R about P and he though lack of involvement of neurologist was a promising sign as it appears that a stroke has been discounted. Had a flock of 20 Brambling in the Sele. Weather remained very windy and cool but fairly dry with no ice or snow. Elder granddaughter S was 5 today: here's a piccie, brooding S and beaming I, now 3.5. Hope Grand Tour is going well: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

February 16th: further work on the Honey-buzzard annual report for 2019 today, leaving just one topic to add, migration, which will be short this year:

Survey effort was maintained to some extent throughout the season but there were some significant absences: 12 days in first half of May (Oxford/London/Devon), 7 days in late May/early June (South Downs), 7 days in late June (Budapest), 11 days in late July (Toulouse/London), 6 days in mid-August (Liverpool), 9 days in late August (South Tyrol), 4 days in late September/early October (North Yorkshire), 21 days in first part of November (Colorado). So each period of activity was affected to some extent: as in recent years monitoring the display period in May and June was the worst affected, with the number of sites found occupied at this time being 17, down from 32 in 2017. In addition a personal injury, a twisted knee, severely affected survey work in October, from 2/10. The chance of finding birds in November was much reduced this year by the lengthy trip to Colorado. So survey work in October and November was much reduced this year, particularly affecting counts of migrating juvenile. No new sites were found this year; the lower coverage during the display period will not have helped here as the first sign of fresh occupation is often displaying birds.


Table 36 gives a breakdown of the numbers of males, females and juveniles in each part of the season. The male:female ratio declines through the season from 17:9 (1.89) in display to 13:14 (0.93) in the rearing period and 7:11 (0.64) in fledging. Because of extra time spent outside the study area in the display period, the adult totals are lower than usual in this stage of the season. The number of juveniles seen, reported as 36 in Table 35, differs from the 32 in Table 36, because of the 4 hidden broods (recorded as >0). No gangs of juveniles, gathering before departure, were noted in late September, even though visits to suitable areas were made at this time. The gatherings are transient, so are easily missed. Possibly this year the birds had already crept away.


Area

No. sites in season

No. adults in season

Display 4/5-8/6

Rearing 27/6-7/8

Fledging 18/8-28/9

Gangs of juveniles post-breeding






Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Male

Female

Juvenile

Male

Female

Juvenile


Devil’s Water

6

7

6

13

7

3

2

2

0

1

6

10


Allen

4

2

3

5

0

0

2

3

1

1

1

3


Upper South Tyne

1

1

1

2

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0


Lower South Tyne

3

2

2

4

1

1

1

1

0

1

0

2


Tipalt

1

1

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0


Tyne W

8

7

6

13

5

4

3

3

0

3

3

13


Tyne E

5

4

4

8

2

0

2

3

0

1

1

2


Derwent

2

2

2

4

1

1

2

1

0

0

0

2


Total

30

26

24

50

17

9

13

14

1

7

11

32

0

Table 36: Number of Male, Female and Juvenile Honey-buzzard found in each phase of breeding season in 2019

Light greens (like me) are getting much more aggressive when confronted by Red-green propaganda and business greenwashing. Here's further evidence from Germany:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/feb/16/german-court-tesla-gigafactory-forest (Guardian 16/02/20): German court orders Tesla to stop felling trees for Gigafactory: Ruling comes after state environmental office greenlit clearance of 92 hectares of forest.

A German court has ordered Tesla to stop clearing forest land near Berlin to build its first European car and battery factory, in what is being hailed as a victory for environmental activists.... Lawmakers from the pro-business Christian Democrat and Free Democrat parties have said the legal action [brought by Grüne Liga Brandenburg (Green League of Brandenburg)] against the Gigafactory would inflict serious and long-lasting damage on Germany’s image as a place to do business. Local and national lawmakers have been caught out by the strength of opposition to the Gigafactory, with hundreds of demonstrators protesting over the threat they say it poses to local wildlife and water supplies.

A belated decision has now been made to 'save' the protected animals:

The German government also recently announced that protected animals in the forest will be "recovered and moved to suitable locations" by April. https://www.dw.com/en/berlin-court-stops-forest-clearance-for-tesla-gigafactory/a-52399072 (DW 14/02/20)

The governments have been caught out because they do not appreciate that there are many other green considerations besides theoretical savings on carbon emissions! That was the main theme of my recent talk. This debate is better advanced in Germany than in the UK. Basically on 4 counts of sustainability – stable climate, pollution, biodiversity, space for wildlife – the Tesla scheme perhaps makes a contribution to a stable climate but fails miserably on the other three.

Weather today was very breezy with early rain dying out and some watery sunshine emerging at 6C. Went for good walk in afternoon from 15:30-17:00 doing the loop from my house down to Peth Foot, along the Devil's Water and then back up the hill through the new Ordley village. Had a Rabbit for the mammals section and 21 bird types, including 1130 Common Gull, 300 Black-headed Gull, 2 Herring Gull 1s, making up the start of the spring run of gulls, until early April when they emigrate to their breeding grounds in Norway; in late afternoon they move S to Derwent Reservoir to roost for the night; must be a bit bumpy in the current winds. Also had 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Nuthatch, 10 Blue Tit, 20 Redwing, 7 Tree Sparrow. Booked up with N for a week in Scotland in late May at the Lochailort Inn, near Fort William; so that's 2 trips to Scotland, at least (!), this year, looking forward to them! Pleased that thfbs paid me another visit!! Made G4g4s where played dommies for an hour, losing 80p; think they let me win the final game to encourage me to play again: anyway good crack! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, C4c4ll, G4g4s!! Missing the gorgeous one: lok2tgrf: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 15th: very mild today, up to 10C on strong SW wind with Dennis, nothing like as strong as Ciara nor as cold in its aftermath but rain is very heavy. Made N4c4ll where met Ph, an old mate from the W in RM, who's had a bad past 4 years with bladder cancer and wife dying. But he looked a lot better today than he's been for ages; we had great 90 min chat! He's a fanatical LD, even standing once for the Hexham Parliamentary Constituency. We were concerned by the concentration of power around BJ as that is one of the preconditions for extremes to develop. Concert was in Great Hall at Hexham Abbey, performed by Musica Transalpina, a group who play baroque music on contemporary instruments. Leader is violinist, performing on late 17th century violin, Magdalena Loth-Hill, a Polish-English X; this type has featured before in my life! She also leads the Consone String Quartet. The other 3 players were Sam Stadlen on viola de gamba, which required a lot of tuning, Sergio Bucheli on lute/theorbo, John Green on harpsichord. The concert included music by 17th century composers, many of them German, and was very well received by the capacity audience. Stayed behind with M/B for chat and refreshments, including rw: all very friendly!! The leader was brought-up in Cumbria so kind of local! Hope travels are going well: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Warm response from PANPA's maestro to submission of the ANPA 39-40 paper and to my presenting in Scotland this year:

Hallo Nick, Thank you & Mike for your very welcome ANPA Proc contribution. The list is slowly building up, happy to say. And Welcome To PANPA — I look forward to meeting-up again after so long . . . All best wishes, JOHN

February 14th: mild today 8C on light SW breeze with some sunshine; snow on Common has quickly vanished. Visited P at his house from 11:05-12:45; read his latest bill from Austria in German for rescue charge of €216 and the doctor's report on his left shoulder. Former was more intelligible! Sadly his shoulder is in a bad way with major damage to Deltoid muscles and the Cuff, torn ligaments and what they seemed most concerned about – seriously damaged nerves. So it's an artificial shoulder replacement if nerves become viable. He's not ready for pub yet as shoulder keeps on popping out. Have developed titles for Vigier of The Physics of Communication, an overview of the ANPA 39-40 paper, and for PANPA of Constructivism in Music, looking at microtones (continuous, not discrete, pitches) and some of Stockhausen's constructions. PANPA (Post-ANPA) is relatively informal so a good medium for discussing new ideas; it's to be held in Anstruther, Fife, not Liverpool. Current tasks are to write the abstracts for Baden-Baden and Liege. Made C4c4l and W4g4s with just 3 of us out at latter; D&D are going skiing in Austria: hope they come back in good shape! Funds finished the week at +4k, that's +33k gross on year, +25k net. COVID-19 seems to be a much over-rated disease with the main fatalities being elderly men in very poor health with lungs damaged by years of smoking. But we live in a world of disaster movies with of course 'The Climate Emergency' getting top billing! Normal 'flu kills 17k people in the UK each winter; a broader perspective is needed. 2moro it's storm Dennis day 1/3 but should make C4c4l and HA4con: Musica Transalpina: from Rome to the Baltic; going with M/B. Bought £10 of bird food at Shambles market: peanuts and 'best' finch food; birds are very hungry at the moment. Had 10 Greenfinch at Hackwood Park, Hexham, a good count for the species these days. xxxxx XXX!!!!!

February 13th: as has been threatening for a few days at last some snow, 3cm of wet snow at 08:00 with sleet continuing to 12:30 and the Common having a deep cover throughout the day; at Ordley it had nearly all melted by 17:00; wind was very light and didn't feel nearly as cold as in the aftermath of Storm Ciara with today max 1C, wind-chill -3C. Made C4c4ll where tmsuo was pleased 2 c me and G4g4s where 4 of us out with A looking after me well!! Achievement 2/4 today with formal submission of final draft (pdf) of paper to the ANPA committee: Physical Sounds as Colimits in the Topos under Monad Control, Nick Rossiter & Michael Heather, ANPA 39-40 29pp (2020). After thinking of strategy for year ahead, changed title today to reflect the ANPA 40 contribution last August, with the addition of the Monad phrase to reflect the ANPA 39 contribution in August 2018. Remaining 2 targets are: Vigier one-page title and abstract and PANPA one-page title and abstract, each to be a different view on the substantive draft submitted today. 2moro seeing maestro skier P at 11:00 and making C4c4l and W4g4s!! Need to send birthday card for 5-year-old to granddaughter S plus 1k cheque for her JISA, invested in global equities, good choice! So special day tomorrow: thinking of someone: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Had single Tawny Owl calling at Sele, Hexham, and Ordley.

February 12th: Hexhamshire Common looked very beautiful, covered with snow, but no snow in Low Quarter Parish where I live; we're the softies with the real men in the High Quarter! It was sunny today 3C max, with frost at dusk and wind slowly decreasing. Have used 4 buckets of ovoids/coal in the past 48 hours against 2 normally. Met M at T4c4c for good crack; later made C4c4ll and QH where read through final draft of topos/music paper where recent corrections made: only 6 minor changes needed so ready to go! Just got dates for ANPA 41 in Liverpool, which clash with Baden-Baden meeting from 3/8-7/8, don't know why, but sticking with Baden-Baden; there's a follow-up to ANPA 41 in Scotland (PANPA) from 9/8-13/8 which will attend instead to keep in with the ANPA crowd. Finally made G4g4t with B where further good chat! 2moro will submit to ANPA the full topos paper and get back to the Honey-buzzard annual report. Good luck to the gorgeous one with the Beethoven: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 11th: bitterest day of the winter, 1C max but -8C with wind-chill, sleet and snow showers through the day and night on gale-force W wind; A called off our trip to Danielle's as at 250m asl at Slaley it was even worse (I'm at 150m asl). In morning did make AF @ W where continued to advance relationship with Ag dealer, buying pair OE serving spoons London 1769 (bottom marked) T&W Chawner and 2 mid-18th century shell pattern Hanoverian teaspoons for £110 total after discount (listed £140); he's going to bring along a few more Hanoverian pattern next month. Met N @ Sh4c4c b4 where we had good chat b4 entering the fray! Funds are +3k; bought back some of the major mining/oil stocks today at up to 12% below their pre- COVID-19 panic prices! Cash down to 58k; the manoeuvre gives more shares than before at no extra cost; whether that is a good idea, only time will tell! Also bought some managed funds holding emerging market bonds. If you do a logarithmic plot on https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/, the rate of increase in cases is slowing steadily. 2moro look to see less extreme conditions at Wuthering Heights! Should be at T4c4c with M and G4g4t; might give TC a miss this week; thinking of the gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Had Common Buzzard displaying in stiff breeze at Peth Foot at 12:30, amazing control in the conditions.

HS2 rather illustrates the points I was making in my talk last week on The Many Shades of Green (now as a pdf on home page at http://nickrossiter.org.uk/). In principle I agree with the development but the design and implementation is appalling. The Guardian says:

There will be costs for natural habitats along the routes of major railway projects, but rail infrastructure will also play a major role in shifting freight and passenger travel from road to rail and cutting the UK’s carbon emissions (High time to invest in the north's infrastructure. 09/02/20. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/feb/09/tories-neglected-north-10-years-levelling-up-must-happen-now-hs2). [So to hell with the wildlife if we can reduce carbon emissions; that's not sustainability in my view; by the way HS2 will not carry freight]

The Woodland Trust, my favourite wildlife charity, tweets today:

#HS2 Ltd did not properly identify all the #AncientWoodland along the scheme before they designed the route. If this had happened the project could have avoided much of the ancient woodland in its path. https://woodlandtrust.org.uk/press-centre/2020/02/hs2-poison-arrow-for-environment/. [So, without a care, it was to hell with the wildlife and no interest in biodiversity]

The Woodland Trust link reveals that:

Some 61 ancient woods along the HS2 route are earmarked for total or partial destruction while a further 47 will suffer damage from noise, vibration, light and pollution. … Ancient woodland is one of our rarest habitats and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. It accounts for just 2.4% of land in the UK. Ancient woodlands are highly complex ecological communities that have developed over centuries. That makes it irreplaceable and no amount of new planting can make up for that loss. [Says it all!]

The contractors are also wrecking sites on the planned route without a care:

Contractors removed potential habitats for bats and butterflies in Buckingham nature reserve to prepare for rail line. Trees were felled and the potential habitats of rare bats and butterflies were destroyed on a nature reserve without permission to make way for HS2, the high-speed rail scheme has admitted. Contractors sealed off public footpaths and removed trees inside Calvert Jubilee nature reserve, in Buckinghamshire, without notifying the landowner, the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT). Work which eradicated habitat where bats could roost was carried out in December, despite the government having ordered that “irreversible” destruction of ancient woodland should be halted unless deemed absolutely necessary while HS2 is under review. (HS2 destroyed trees in way of train line without permission. 10/01/20. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/10/hs2-destroyed-trees-in-way-of-train-line-without-permission)

Pleased to see the RSPB are also raising questions, through tweet today:

RSPB England @RSPBEngland

.@BorisJohnson’s announcement has failed to mention that HS2 will result in a net loss for nature at a time we urgently need net gain. We URGE the Government and @HS2ltd to start taking their responsibilities to wildlife seriously #RethinkHS2

February 10th: very wild weather continued, bringing down 2nd branch off crown of tallest larch tree above old pony shelters, narrowly missing one but leaving a dent on a small piece of the side of the roof; sawed off some branches from the fallen section to reduce weight and any damage from it swaying; the trees are high but well away from my house; don't burn the wood, let it rot for the beetles; had sleet around 17:30 but it didn't settle and made N4c4l, R @ B4m4t and G4g4s as planned (roughly!). Talk at R was on the Korean War: our members are very keen on warfare! Did get several further congrats on my talk last week as encouraging some thoughts on the very topical climate change issue (that might be polite talk for I don't agree with you!). Bought some new shoes from Clarks for £59: nothing special, black, leather, lace-less, size 9 but very comfortable! Big shop at W for £31: need to go there for whole pink grapefruit, cranberry juice, firelighters, nice bread, 2 bunches of daffodils. Daniel Dubois said: “Thank you for the promising title of your paper that will be included in the program of my symposium.” so that's one down, off to Baden-Baden, three to go! HC was more interesting than usual!! 2moro it's AF @ W for Ag 'bargains', preceded at Sh4c4c with N, Danielle's Bistro 4m4s with computing mates 'established in May 1995 and serves distinctly Mediterranean and British cuisine'. Loved the email!!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 9th: wild overnight, kept on waking up, like being in a ship in a rough sea; slightly surprised power was on at dawn but off it went from 14:10-16:30 with a tree coming down somewhere; it was a local cut affecting 200 homes in the 'Shire. My 'phone carries on working on the Vodafone network for everything, including 4G, and my stove burns solid fuel with no electric controls so had that lit soon after the cut. Out of 4 tasks to hand with the topos work, did complete 1, accepting the invite to talk in Baden-Baden from 3/8-7/8 and give a working title: “Data Mining: Identifying Causal Relations through the Tension between Limit and Colimit in the Topos”. This fits in with the title of the conference “Causal and Anticipative Systems in Biology, Physics, Quantum Mechanics and Relativity” run by Daniel Dubois from the University of Liege, a long-time colleague. Music continues in ANPA 41 at Liverpool, looking at the handling of microtones with continuous scales plus Stockhausen, and at Vigier to be held in Liege which will deal with communication in general, using music as an example; nothing submitted yet for these two and final draft of ANPA 40 paper remains that! Both Baden-Baden and Liege are great for Honey-buzzard! May well go to Eupen again on the train at the latter; that's also perfect for Honey-buzzard; surprisingly it's German-speaking. Did make G4g4s where 5 of us out for good crack! 2moro it's C4c4l, R @ B4m4t, G4g4s!! lok2t beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 8th: now working up final results for 2019 for Honey-buzzard in the study area as below! Total Honey-buzzard records for 2019 Europe-wide is: 1 species from 122 records, 48 complete lists, 69 places (my BirdTrack). Still quite a lot to do. Also prepared final draft of ANPA topos/music paper, ready for submission next week. Section 4.3 needed some attention but later parts are well-oiled. Once this is done, can prepare some abstracts for this summer's conferences. Daughter is thinking of selling her flat in Kingston for c310k against 170k purchase price; I have 17.65% equity but might just gift it; since 2013 when we made the deal my son has also had help with his property purchase without any equity stake from me and my own investments have risen almost 3 times. They're thinking of sending their girls to a Catholic private school near Kingston at 4.5k per term each! She'll have a hefty chunk of CGT to pay and so would I if I exercised my stake. Did make C4c4l where usual good sights, including the re-emergence of the tmfso who was showing well: felt the force earlier in the week!! It's wild and mild out there at the moment though Ciara is just the 3rd named storm this season, below average! Next week's very quiet music-wise with just a chamber music concert at Hexham Abbey on Saturday. Looking forward to all the Beethoven the following weekend. Could be TC on 13/2. Hope someone is glowing in the fantastic success of the Festival!! 2moro not sure what's happening except G4g4s. P's shoulder from the skiing accident is in a bad way – needs reconstructing. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

The overall results for the 2019 Honey-buzzard breeding season are given in Table 35. Not yet posted on 'Honey-buzzard in Britain' page. 2


The study area was broadly maintained at its 2018 level with nest visits made to 10 sites and relatively intensive coverage of two parts of the study area, as a control: Devil's Water and Tyne Valley W. In these two areas the number of sites was unchanged at 14, suggesting in conjunction with earlier results a stable to slowly increasing population overall. In general the survey produced similar results to those in the previous year with 30 occupied sites (32 in 2018) and the number of confirmed breeding pairs at 24 (29 in 2018). Productivity was again very high with 12 pairs raising 2 young (12 in 2018), 8 pairs at least 1 young and 4 pairs greater then 0 young, giving a minimum fledge of 36+ juveniles (36+ in 2018). In terms of known successful nests, 20 pairs raised 32+ young, that is a minimum of 1.60 young per pair (in 2018, 31+ young from 19 nests, 1.63+ young per pair). Productivity therefore continues at a high level.


Weather report for England 2019 (from the Met Office):

May began with shallow low pressure and weak fronts, bringing rather cloudy and showery weather to most parts. A northerly outbreak on the 3rd/4th brought widespread frosts, and wintry showers penetrated locally to low levels in some northern and eastern regions. Cloudy and unsettled weather persisted until the 9th, but then high pressure built close to the country bringing generally warm, dry and sunny weather around mid-month. The weather remained fairly quiet until the 24th, but generally cooler, with more in the way of rain or showers. It turned changeable from the 25th onwards but the last two days were very warm in the south and east.

June started with a ridge of high pressure which brought warm dry sunny weather to much of the south and south-east, hot for a time in East Anglia, but it was cloudier with rain further north. From the 3rd to 9th a westerly flow brought spells of rain interspersed with brighter showery weather. It turned unseasonably cool, and very wet in places, especially Lincolnshire, between the 10th and 13th, with north-easterly winds. The 14th to 20th was generally warmer but continued unsettled, and thunderstorms affected the south-east overnight 18th/19th. The last third of the month was often warm and humid, with further rain at times and some thundery outbreaks especially in the north, but also some dry sunny weather especially between the 26th and 29th, and the 29th was a very hot day in many areas with temperatures as high as 34 °C in the London area.

July began with a cool, showery north-westerly flow over the UK, but for most of the first half of the month high pressure was close to the south and west and this brought mostly dry weather with plentiful sunshine for much of England, especially the south-west, and also south Wales, but elsewhere cloud was more variable. The second half was generally more unsettled with frequent westerly and south-westerly winds, but with an exceptionally hot spell from the 22nd to 26th which saw record-breaking temperatures in many parts of the country, including a new record for the UK as a whole, and also widespread thunderstorms.

August opened with a weak ridge of high pressure, which brought some warm sunshine but also some scattered thundery showers in some places. The weather then turned more unsettled and breezier with some showers and longer spells of rain, and deep depressions brought bouts of wet and windy weather especially to Scotland on the 9th, 14th and 16th. There was a hot sunny spell in most central and southern areas between the 21st and 27th, which extended to most of the country between the 24th and 26th, setting new record temperatures for the late August bank holiday. A thundery breakdown followed, and the last few days were cooler with some heavy persistent rain over much of Scotland and Cumbria.

September The first few days saw a westerly type, with a succession of fronts bringing rainfall to much of the country. It then became rather quieter for a time, and some days were pleasantly warm, with particularly high temperatures around 19th-24th. Rainfall was below average up until the 20th, but after that a much more unsettled spell of weather set in, with 25-50 mm of rain within 24 hours reported at various stations on certain days. Thus by the end of the month the UK had easily exceeded its September average rainfall; it was also quite a sunny month, with some pleasant early-autumn days during the middle third of the month.

October began with a warm showery day in the south, and while colder air quickly spread from the north followed by a transient ridge of high pressure, low pressure and associated fronts returned by the 4th. Until the 20th the weather was unsettled with frequent low pressure systems and rain belts crossing the country, and the jet stream was further south than normal, resulting in frontal systems often especially affecting the south and east of England. There was a quieter interlude from the 21st to 23rd, and then after a very wet spell on the 24th to 26th. The weather turned cold, dry and sunny for most of the country from the 27th to 30th, although the far south-west remained very wet at times.


The overall impression was of mainly unsettled weather through the late spring and summer with occasional warm spells, which quickly broke down. September was dry and sunny for the most part but with a very wet ending, which continued into October until almost the end of the month.


Survey effort was maintained to some extent throughout the season but there were some significant absences: 12 days in first half of May (Oxford/London/Devon), 7 days in late May/early June (South Downs), 7 days in late June (Budapest), 11 days in late July (Toulouse/London), 6 days in mid-August (Liverpool), 9 days in late August (South Tyrol), 4 days in late September/early October (North Yorkshire), 21 days in first part of November (Colorado). So each period of activity was affected to some extent: as in recent years monitoring the display period in May and June was the worst affected, with the number of sites found occupied at this time being 17, down from 32 in 2017. In addition a personal injury, a twisted knee, severely affected survey work in October, from 2/10. The chance of finding birds in November was much reduced this year by the lengthy trip to Colorado. So survey work in October and November was much reduced this year, particularly affecting counts of migrating juvenile. No new sites were found this year; the lower coverage during the display period will not have helped here as the first sign of fresh occupation is often displaying birds.


In the target area in 2019, 10 sites were observed for nests (10 in 2018) with apparently 100% success again this year. Scots Pine (5 nests) remains the most popular tree with Hemlock Spruce (2), Oak (2) and Norway Spruce (1) some way behind. There was no change in the sites visited from 2018. Each site was visited only once this year, in the sitting/rearing period of the season between 28/6 and 21/8. Each visit was fairly comprehensive this year though still time-limited to avoid disturbing the birds unduly.





Area

No. sites

No. adults

No. nests

found

Observed Occupied (no. sites)

Breeding Category

Number young fledged

Trees used for Nesting

Display

Sit/

Rear

Fledge


Conf

Prob

Poss

Devil’s Water

6

13

3

6

2

6


6

0

0

10 (4x2, 2x1+)

Scots Pine x2, Hemlock Spruce

Allen

4

5

2

0

3

3


4

0

0

4 (3x1+, 1x>0)

Oak, Norway Spruce

Upper South Tyne

1

2

1

0

1

0


1

0

0

1 (1x>0)

Oak

Lower South Tyne

3

4

0

1

2

2


1

2

0

2 (1x2)


Tipalt

1

1

0

1

0

0


0

0

1

0


Tyne W

8

13

2

8

4

8


8

0

0

14 (6x2, 1x1+, 1x>0)

Scots Pine, Hemlock Spruce

Tyne E

5

8

1

2

3

1


2

1

2

3 (1x2, 1x>0)

Scots Pine

Derwent

2

4

1

1

2

2


2

0

0

2 (2x1+)

Scots Pine

Total

30

50

10

19

17

22


24

3

3

36 (12x2, 8x1+, 4x>0)

Scots Pine x5, Hemlock Spruce 2, Oak x2, Norway Spruce x1

Table 35: Results for the Honey-buzzard Breeding Season in SW Northumberland by area in 2019


February 7th: wind picking up from S to light breeze, feels cold at 6C but staying dry and some sunshine still. Had 3 Common Buzzard displaying over house at Ordley at 11:30 and 4 Goosander at Ovingham on Tyne at 13:15. Caught 13:05 RDM-NCL, meeting N at SKS; anticipated by some xx. Very much enjoyed rehearsal and concert of all Schubert programme. As said before one of reasons for becoming a partner is to have social meetings! Pleased to see CA as flautist; if she took over principal role quickly, would be impressed: she's very talented, an appropriate replacement for JB, EG and AY. More to follow on concert … The Take-That emulation on pavement was very lively!! Funds had good week at +12k, recovering nearly all of last week's losses of 13k; cash is down to 103k but reinvestment is almost entirely into defensive bonds, not into the heavyweight oil and mining equities that were to benefit from the truce in the Sino-US trade war; on year gain is 29k gross, 21k net. Did make W off last train where 5 of us out for good chat until 00:45. Did make a little more time for rendezvous as much to catch up: good nite's sleep needed: should help: very hot: she's gorgeous: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

February 6th: did make C4c4l and much later Cnt4g4s with computing mates! Did final reading of Sections 4.1 and 4.2, leaving 4.3 still to do; 4.2 still lacked complete explanation so spent a lot of time improving it; next task is to re-read it when fresh! 2moro it's S4reh at 14:15 followed by main concert at 19:30 in S1; looking forward to the feast!! N is coming to S4t and S4con. Not sure what's happening at W, so exit is all up in the air but planning to linger at S!! Have been invited to another reception, preceding the first Beethoven symphony on the big LVB weekend. Beautifully sunny today at 6C, with sun completely clearing trees to S/SW of house for 1st time, really giving house a buzz! Taking A back to S had a Tawny Owl at Dipton Wood NW at 23:40 and a Barn Owl at Riding Mill at 00:20. House is beautifully cosy with the coal fire!! Feeling the early signs of the joys of spring: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

February 5th: just about made T4c4c with M, having breakfast there as well at 11:00! We had good chat. In afternoon made QH for final read through of sections 1-3 of topos/music paper: just a few changes made; Devon M wants me to submit it asap! Then made G4g4t with B for further crack. A lot of my contemporaries are already in equity release or thinking about it to maintain cash flow. It's the problem of having only one asset, a property, rather than having other things, which can be readily turned into liquid assets, such as g! Some of the schemes charge compound interest by the month: the debt mounts up quickly! Anyway not planning to release any equity on my 600k house, which as they say is unfettered. Funds bounced quickly back from last week at +10k on 1st 3 days of the week as investors, now turned epidemiologists (Guardian, Nils Pratley, Guessing how markets will react to coronavirus is a fool's errand 03/02/2020), decided that coronavirus is nothing to worry about. I bought back plenty of oil-bonds which had declined by 5% since sale last week and added some building society PIBS (perceived to be safe) and junk US and global bonds but still have cash of 120k as wish to see a little more how events will unfold. Didn't hold any Uranium mining stocks when gave talk on Monday but do own a few now as maybe another false dawn is imminent! Will read Section 4 of paper tomorrow and start thinking of abstracts for the 3 conferences I'm attending this summer (Vigier in Liege, CASYS in Baden-Baden, ANPA in Liverpool). Booked up for Wagner's Tristan und Isolde at ROH, London, on 27/4 the opening night: one balcony seat for £204 but it is my favourite opera; glad I booked quickly as of the five performances the first 3 are now sold out and there are 79 tickets in total for the last 2! Will fit in nicely with the OMM!! Had a Tawny Owl calling outside the back door late-on. 2moro should make C4c4l and Cnt4g4s!! Plenty of hugs and kisses: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

February 4th: marvellous end to Festival, so pleased for everyone!! Back home late at 01:55. More to follow. xxxxx XXX!!!!!

Preconcert performance by ON Youth Choir of Standing Together (the theme of this year's Holocaust remembrances at the international level) was marshalled with great inspiration by conductor NS. The singers were given a lot of flexibility with gestures to the audience but were obviously well drilled in the overall progression of the piece. The sole instrument was the cello with LU, who played with great feeling. A few of the singers were in tears at the end. The concert itself opened with the Beethoven Clarinet trio for piano (DG), cello (LU), clarinet (SE); Shelly made an outstanding contribution to the evening in the clarinet pieces. This was followed by Ligeti's Horn Trio. What a piece, particularly the last movement ending in the violin (AR) in ultra-high registers and the horn (FG) in an ultra-low stutter; the 3rd instrument was the piano (DG); Daniel was another * of the evening and the horn and violin were equally impressive; the ending 'Lamento' was tragic! Spirits were lifted a bit by Dohnányi's Sextet in C major with piano (DG), clarinet (SE), horn (PF), violin (JL), viola (PD) and cello (LU). But we finished on a sombre note with the piece commissioned by this year's Festival: SQS's 'You will be Loved', a piece based on the kindertransport, organised by Sir Nicholas Winton to receive in the UK Jewish children from the continent in the late 1930s before the barriers came down completely. The composer recorded the piece with a sound recorder placed between my feet on the front row; I had to be careful not to cough or make any comment! The sombre mood reflected the fact that the occasion was not really one for rejoicing: the great majority of the children were never to see their parents again and some suffered severe mental trauma. Also the numbers saved, approaching 10,000, was only a fraction of those children left behind and murdered, some 1,500,000. Yet most of the rescued led very fruitful careers with four winning Nobel prizes. This piece was an inspired choice by the organisers and I think the composer was pleased with the reception. Before the concert met 2 mates from R who were playing downstairs. Afterwards we had a reception in WJS, which was a great end to the day and the Festival!! Thoughts are that it was very successful from the programme and venue selection, the enthusiasm and skill of the artists, the quality of the playing in challenging works, and the larger and most appreciative audiences!! Loved the farewell; Uber taxi deposited me at CAL for £14.48 and I gave him a good cash tip for keeping him up at night!

February 3rd: very pleased with how talk went to Hexham Rotary Club ( R) on 'The Many Shades of Green' today at lunchtime. Here's the text (not read out verbatim!). The conclusions at end were:

There are severe challenges ahead!


Promising developments would be a slowdown in the growth of the human population (encouraging the careers of women), moving to next generation energy (nuclear power), having more open debate (please note BBC), and recognising that space has to be maintained for wildlife (rewilding, ending forest clearance, for instance). With respect to the last there is some common ground emerging between the Red-green and the light green:


Plant a Tree!

So that's a relief: they always said at NCL Uni that if you wanted to understand something better, give a course on it! Support for nuclear energy by the members was very strong; one came up to me afterwards and said he used to work in the Swedish nuclear industry, which was a very good example of efficient low-carbon energy generation; he was pleased to see encouragement for the industry. The Club would like another talk on the environment in a few months. The problems with the slogan 'Plant a Tree' are fascinating as is the hypocrisy of so many greens. In the National Park office in Hexham last Thursday, we were told in a talk by an officer how they were cutting their carbon footprint: all thermostats reduced to 19C but the thermostat in our meeting room was no less than 23.5C: it was stifling! Quite a few rich greens lecture us on our footprint then fly off in their private jets or helicopters. Rejoining the Festival 2moro: looking forward to it, will be there for the Chorus! Hope today went well! Earlier making N4c4l. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

February 2nd: did make GCT for The Last Cyclist premiere, which is an allegorical play, condemning all people involved with bicycles as the root of all evil, in the same way the Nazis condemned the Jews. The play is based on a cabaret written by Karel Švenk in the Terezín Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia with music today by Stephen Feigenbaum, reconstructing Karel Švenk’s score of which the original was lost. The mood swings wildly between euphoria and resignation as the prisoners in the ghetto maintain hope; the inevitable end as they are transported to the death camp is a very moving moment. It's an uncomfortable play in many respects: how can humanity be so degraded? The musicians and the cast did superbly; chatted to RH later and was very impressed with his attempts to magnify the swings between light and darkness. Like the GCT, about the right size, good rw, close to Metro. Very pleased to chat with the directors and have an appointment to visit the ROH for their spring production of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, which is also R's favourite opera!! Spent much of day completing talk for tomorrow, now up to 3 pages of text. Will wing it with paper copy as back-up and publish talk tomorrow evening after a few mods post-event. Festival is going superbly!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, G4g4s.

February 1st: did make Festival lunchtime concert where the amateur Cobweb Orchestra under Andrew Jackson were performing with professionals: 3 soloists on violin (AR), piano (YK), cello (LU) and leader (JL), in Beethoven's triple concerto; was an amazing piece, played very well, with roughly equal parts for the 3 soloists with plenty of pulsing rhythm, climaxes and beautiful harmonies. The concert started with Dohnányi's Hungarian Festive Overture, a piece to celebrate the merger of Buda and Pest in Hungary; thought the playing captured it well with the 2 separate sections of the orchestra at the start merging into one at the end! Delighted to meet the organisers at the end!! Rather than rush back to Hexham, decided to emulate normal Saturday experience in Jesmond: kept an eye open for birds getting an adult female Sparrowhawk flying over the roofs at MTR at 14:30, *B4c4ll and Jesmond edition of FT at the PO; back at 15:20 ex WJS and NCL-HEX ex 15:40. Had a Redshank at Derwenthaugh from the train at 15:55. FT was a little weird, equating the virus to a trade war; not sure that's right: a trade war is totally under the control of humans, a virus is a wild factor, not yet understood. Spent the evening writing my talk for Monday, up to 2 pages, maybe another 2 to go at the last minute (but have been thinking deeply about the green issues, honest!). So more work on talk tomorrow, C4c4ll and CAL-RGC4play Last Cyclist: looking forward to it!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 31st: very windy overnight with bins blown over! Still windy today but a little brightness made it feel better. Had a pair of Common Buzzard in display N of Hermitage at 14:50. Big shop getting bird food (seed), petrol and kindling at garage, much stuff at W. Retired to C4c4ll where tmsuo was in good form!! Much later out to DoW where 4 of us out for good crack; enjoyed it, could go here for change from W from time to time; staff were friendly! Left at 23:10 after a little contemplation at 23:00 over our leaving the EU: a very sad day. 2moro it's HEX-NCL-WJS at lunchtime for concert at URC with Beethoven 3xC: Festival is doing very well with the premiere in Europe of Last Cyclist, which I'm attending on Sunday, sold out; still seats available on Monday. The Black Swan event of the coronavirus has hammered markets; have exited from most natural resource stocks with cash now up to 243k. The ftse lost 3.95% on week, -3.4% on year. Own funds, -8k on Tuesday, lost a further 5k by today, reducing gain on year to 18k gross, 10k net, with further 1.1k withdrawal this week. Planning to start re-investment in 'safe' bonds, avoiding any return to equities for a while; we're surely in a correction as expected. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 30th: wild and windy day, fairly mild but as they say temperatures were academic. Was at JLAF from 14:30-18:00 where joined workshop on climate change and access; plenty of ammunition for my own talk at R next Monday. Did take some notes, which will publish tomorrow; quite amazingly we had 2 advocates of fracking acting in consort, photosynthesis was mentioned just once and forcing, the way in which quite tiny amounts of carbon dioxide are reckoned to warm the planet, was not mentioned once! Grabbed good tea and caught 18:20 ex HEX to make concert at S fairly comfortably. Concert was by enormous French orchestra from Lille, with the well-known Alexandre Bloch as conductor, playing an all French programme by Debussy and Ravel, except for Beethoven PC 4 where Eric Lu was superb with his light touch and sensitive playing; he gave us a piece of Chopin as an encore. The whole orchestra gave us more Ravel as an encore. RNS flew to Nantes for a French tour. The swap is symbolic showing the determination of the artists to maintain contacts and concerts after Brexit at 23:00 tomorrow. Back on last train: reception matched the weather: she's gorgeous: glad she waited up: lok2tmgo!!!!!

January 29th: wetter today but milder as wind from SW. Had Tawny Owl on post and a 1w Kestrel at Letah Wood at 17:00 plus 2 mad Hare at Houtley on road. Made T4c4c with M where 90 min chat, mainly on IT, but he was telling me about the exciting piano player Vadym Kholodenko, a Ukrainian now living in the US, who was performing to a packed crowd at QH last night; Vadym's personal tale is a very sad one but he's evidently a superb musician. Michael Heine arrived while at T, an old colleague from Newcastle Polytechnic when I did research in information retrieval at NCL. Later made G4g4t where met B for good crack; M came in to collect her wages!! Have added the full bird and mammal list from Sunday into BirdTrack and sorted out some bird piccies for posting here. Some people are buying the dip in world markets; must be experts on epidemiology; anyway happy to sell a few more to them. Two payments coming up for Festival and for elder granddaughter S's birthday: both for 1k, both excellent causes!!

January 28th: cold today with even a sleet shower in the 'Shire on brisk NW breeze but had a productive day indoors; ordered some more coal (250 kg ovoids, 150kg small doubles) for the stove. Submitted Northumberland moth records from end May 2018 - 31 December 2018 to County Recorder; will have to get onto 2019 Lepidoptera records soon but main thrust now is to write the Honey-buzzard account for 2019; all the data is sorted! Devon M is impressed with ANPA 40 paper; plenty to discuss when down in March as looks likely; he's feeling stronger, very grateful that I've kept the research moving! I'm still working on it; added today references to earlier publications at Baden Baden and in the journal Sociology and Anthropology, partly for IP protection! Next concert is on Thursday but not at MP as coming in just before concert from JLAF meeting in afternoon. Markets had a traumatic Monday but slightly steadier today on perceived trends in the coronavirus epidemic. Was heavily invested in natural resource stocks after the US/China trade deal so a little tense but have largely exited the sector with 209k in cash now. Down 8k on 1st 2 days of week but still up 21k on year gross, 14k net. While may be an overreaction, feel this bull market is very long in the tooth. What am I going to do with the cash? Still pondering, in no hurry! 2moro it's T4c4c with M and G4g4t with B!! Tonight made CNT4g4s with A; we had very good chat on transaction processing, nuclear power (public misunderstanding) and the historical strengths of the Arabs in mathematics (their number system, algebra!).

In Big Garden Birdwatch in garden on 26/1, found: 8 Blue Tit, 7 Chaffinch, 6 Blackbird, 6 Rook, 6 Jackdaw, 5 Tree Sparrow, 3 Great Tit, 3 Robin, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Magpie, 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Crow, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Dunnock, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush (21 types), plus overhead or outside area 1 Common Buzzard soaring to S, 12 Black-headed Gull adult, 13 Common Gull adult, a further 40 Rook, so 24 types in all, not bad! Submitted to RSPB with full list going to BirdTrack. No House Sparrow or Starling were seen. Mammals comprised single Grey Squirrel, Bank Vole, Rabbit.

January 27th: no R for me today as evening meeting at Golf Club. Made C4c4l where relieved that 2nd loo has re-opened! Had long chat on 'phone with NH about my sponsorship; it's flutes for rest of current season with switch to violas (section leader MG) next season; rate stays the same at 2k a year as that's my contract. Off CAL-HAY made KH, NCL, for talk and concert for Holocaust Memorial Day and Festival opening. Was a fantastic evening; had a fascinating double-talk by Mahdieh Zare Zardiny and Hamid Sabi, former on her film of the escape of Jews to Iran, the latter on history and status of Iranian Jews. We then had an interval where good to meet many regular concert goers and a few old friends from NCL, when I lectured there in Computing Science. Music followed from E. Schulhoff: Bass Nightingale (solo contrabassoon) played by Gareth Twigg; H. Winterberg: Suite for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon & harpsichord; P. Haas: Wind Quintet for flute (EG), clarinet (JL), oboe (SH), bassoon (SR), horn (JQ); H. Krása: Kammermuziek (harpsichord and 7 instruments). The harpsichord was played brilliantly by Mahan Esfahani. The programme was highly creative in that all the pieces hanged together so well, possessing urgent rhythms and much angst; Winterberg in particular has been very overlooked but there were performance restrictions on his works until recently; the programme notes were poignant, particularly the close to the biography of Haas describing the transport on the same train to the death camp of the finest Czech composers of their generation. So a moving and most stimulating opening. Arrived at HAY at 21:50, caught Metro to CAL and made G at 22:59; ordered a g; M said what time do you call this; make it 2 g; Fine! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 26th: cool, 4C, moderate SW breeze. Climate change is one of the major JLAF topics this year; have completed a questionnaire, which shows my views! Sent draft 1 (pdf) of topos paper to Devon M for comments; it's 32 pages long and extends the previous work by handling the musical score notation. Did do bird count in 2-acre garden: will post results soon: they're not bad: fed them twice to keep up the competitive spirit! Had another visit from thfbs!! Made G4g4s where 6 of us out in the dommies crowd for good chat; giving P a lift when he's a bit better is a future duty but not at that happy state yet. Really hope the Festival has a flying start tomorrow: looks a great programme with * performers and a poignant tale from Iran. Will be there for it all CAL-HAY. Have a lot on China below: biodiversity on the planet will be a lot better if they really stick to this. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

China is acting more decisively on wildlife abuse as below in response to the coronavirus crisis. About time too and the ban should stay once the emergency is over. HIV, Ebola, SARS, MERS all come from viruses crossing the human/wild animal boundary.

China bans wildlife trade across the country (2:36 p.m. HKT) Bloomberg.

China banned the shipping and sale of wild animals starting Sunday and said it will quarantine breeding sites. Trade will be forbidden in markets, supermarkets, restaurants and online, the market supervision administration, agricultural ministry and forestry bureau said in a statement. It also warned people against consuming wild animals. The new coronavirus was first found in people who shopped or worked at a so-called wet market in the central city of Wuhan, where live animals were sold. China has tightened controls on the sale of exotic animals, considered nourishing in some parts of the country, though some are still sold surreptitiously.

Independent

Demand for wild animals in Asia, especially China, is hastening the extinction of many species, on top of posing a perennial health threat that authorities have failed to fully address despite growing risks of a global pandemic. Most animal trafficking in China is illegal but many rules go unenforced

World Animal Protection has welcomed China’s decision to impose a wildlife trade ban, effective from today. Guardian

Kate Nustedt, the organisation’s global wildlife director, said: We commend China’s decision to impose a nationwide ban on wildlife trade in response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak. This ban will prevent the terrible suffering endured by millions upon millions of wild animals across the country. Crucially, it will also put a stop to the horrific conditions that serve as such a lethal hotbed of disease. We hope that this courageous step is made permanent and extended to all wildlife imports and exports, to help prevent any future crises of this nature. Wild animals belong in the wild. This wildlife trade ban by China will help keep them there.

January 25th: weather same with min 5C showing what a soft winter it is so far. Did go round to see P for 2.6 hours, including lunch; think may have stayed a little too long, he was so tired when left; his wife was out in Morpeth seeing her sister there. Did get to C4c4l but a little late for the festivities! FT was fairly mixed about prospects: tech stocks could be considered too high if earnings falter at all and the virus outbreak is the sort of 'accident' which complacent investors have not got on their radar. Invited to 5 rehearsals at S this morning and can go to 1st 4 on 7/2, 28/2 (can take son, his 2nd bonus with ON hospitality on following Tuesday), 13/3, 27/3, but not sure about 29/5 as may be in Scotland. Will chat with NH on Monday morning about change of sponsorship, which will be spread widely! It's RSPB garden bird count tomorrow; RSPB are getting concerned that some people are getting very competitive with it like importing masses of food to put out; not sure the birds will worry about that! Have completed draft 1 of topos paper and will send to Devon M tomorrow for comments. Finally was interested in the Wagner that was played on BBC Look North this past week while 2 comical characters fought on the beach: it's the stirring overture to Lohengrin Act 3, which is followed (not here) by the ladies' chorus singing Treulich geführt (Here Comes the Bride!). This recording is by the Berlin Phil continuing the legacy of crisp and fast play from von Karajan with the brass encouraged to let rip! The opera is set in Brabant (Belgium). Music like this, popping up on classic FM, is a menace if you're driving! Think things might be frenetic somewhere: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 24th: cloudy and mild again at 8C, light SW breeze. Completed trimming of rose hedge, taking advantage of conditions outside. Hamstring muscle was a little taut above right knee but comfortable after hot bath! Made N4c4l as better for doing a little work on the paper, which has been topped and tailed; looking for citations to make a few statements stronger. Would like to wrap it up and get on with Honey-buzzard report for 2019 and complete moth records for 2018 but not a good idea to deviate while all uploaded in mind. W4g4s was good though just 3 of us out; next week they've got a band and event to celebrate Brexit day; we're going to DoW! Am being asked to switch who I sponsor at RNS as no flautists left!! Will think about this at the weekend and have a chat with NH on Monday; suspect they will expect me to stay at the principal level as otherwise I pay less but wtfdik!! Funds were -5k on week after new peak by 1k on Monday; beat almost everyone to the exits on oil/gas as prices of both slumped, former on coronavirus affecting travel and the Chinese economy, latter on major oversupply. So have 141k cash for a spree!! Not rushing back into anything: have this period until end March pencilled in for a correction. Managed funds total 282k, running those as long-term investments with strategy to increase their proportion to make life easier. 2moro seeing P at 12 and making C4c4ll with catch-up later!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

January 23rd: out in the garden this afternoon, cutting half the rose hedge with the electric hedge-trimmer, rest to do tomorrow. Neighbour had our party hedge cut a few days ago through a contractor: no charge for me as reward for my cutting the hedge for many years. Weather continued mild, 8C, light SW breeze, some sunny intervals. Made C4c4l and R&C4m4s, latter with computing mates but prefer being out in Hexham! Completed topos musical-structure section, now onto checking start and end of paper; final draft is a day away! Placing of some Minco shares done in Ireland at 5€c each: suggests minimum value of 7c Canadian each as placings normally done below market prices; extrapolated value for whole set-up is now $381k (Canadian) with conservative book value raised very slightly to $311k (Canadian); cost of shares is negative at -$55k (Canadian) through the Dalradian royalty distribution to shareholders; action will start in March/April. But poor week everywhere on fears in markets that the coronavirus outbreak will affect activity. 2moro it's C4c4l and W4g4s. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 22nd: cloudy with sunny intervals and mild again at 6C. Quite a busy day meeting M at T4c4c, getting ready for cleaner S at home, touching up topos paper in QH, meeting B at G4g4t (where notified of a Little Egret on Tyne Green) and making TC for El Topo. I thought it might be an introduction to topos theory, part of category theory, in Spanish, particularly as Roxy Screen was sold out but not quite the case! The film had bloody massacres throughout in the Mexican landscape where it was shot but there were biblical overtones in places, where you could imagine you were in the Middle East as in the search for enlightenment (bit like Parsifal!). Lots of blood, plenty of partial nudity (particularly b.ms and t.ts!), one orgy, one rape (said to be real at the time but later admitted to be simulated): so popular with the locals!! The film was engaging, never a dull moment; it was made in 1970 with Alejandro Jodorowsky playing a prominent role. A totally bizarre film but entertaining if you like this sort of thing!! Renewed my Gold Card on the Metro at CAL for £24, a bargain with free off-peak travel for a year. Thought we'd release some tension: certainly did: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 21st: weather again sunny and mild 8C on light SW breeze with snowdrops coming out, very early! Spent 2 hours at the house of Paul the invalid; he does have a wife to help look after him; I was their first visitor in person! His skiing accident involved a collision with another skier, knocking him out; he dislocated his left-shoulder and has heavily bruised left arm and hand, fractured left eye-socket, bruised left-side of face, slurred speech (not due to a stroke). He was patched up in Austria; putting his shoulder back again there took 6 staff and was excruciatingly painful but he was pleased with the skilled treatment there. He's had a CT at the RVI, which confirms the eye-socket break is hairline and fortunately does not need any further treatment. He's having an MRI scan on Friday at Hexham Hospital to look at the tendons in the shoulder. I'm going to see him again on Saturday morning. Had a Common Buzzard displaying over Hackwood Park and 20 Redwing in area. Decided I could have a day without a c-shop but did make BH4ra4s where had a couple of Consett Stout; all very good and pleased to meet mates there again. Would like to go there more often. Still striving away on the topos paper; had 2 invitations this evening to conferences at Liege and Baden-Baden in late July and early August, may well accept as have some almost-completed work which is ground-breaking! Funds -1k so far this week on the new coronavirus in China (worries about world trade). Have sold my entire RDSB/BP holdings (£65k) on plummeting natural gas prices for small profit; having such low prices is bad for profits but also can only increase demand, which is going to increase CO2 levels (bad for the planet). US shale is mainly to blame for the glut: the biggest wealth-destroying activity in America! At least I didn't have any Sirius (SXX), the potash miner in North Yorkshire, taken over by AAL at a knock-down price. 2moro it's T4c4c, QH4CT, G4g4t with B, TC!! CAL ex 19:00. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

January 20th: no reaction to yesterday's walk, must get a little more ambitious!! Made R @ B4m4l where plenty of good chat; talk was on a Northumbrian log bank, similar to a food bank. Mine's in 2 weeks at lunchtime, going to concentrate on sustainability for which climate change is just one factor; so like Davos really! Decided to make C4c4ll as no desert at B: guaranteed stimulation!! Contacted P and seeing him 2moro morning at his home where can find out a little more. G4g4s was good with 5 of us out and M doing the honours! lok2tmgo!!!!! Could be TC this week to keep up with the latest releases!! Computing nite this week is Thursday at R&C. Love the latest piccie!!

January 19th: sunny intervals, 4C, light SW breeze. Went for good walk along Tyne at Hexham from 13:30-15:30, first to W up to old railway junction, then to E past Eggar on S bank in the sand, up to 7km and no immediate reaction! Good area for birds with 28 types, including riverine ones: Goldeneye (2 drake), Goosander (1 drake), Little Grebe (1), Grey Heron (1), Cormorant (2), Mallard (34), Teal (15). Also had 2 Common Buzzard displaying over N side of Tyne plus 2 Lesser Redpoll. News about P is not good: left arm and shoulder, hand and fingers out of action, damage to head including fractured eye socket, slurred speech, so sadly plenty of worries including whether the collision has induced a stroke or is the result of one. Dommies crowd were out as usual in G4g4s for good crack; pleased to see A out again and D on!! Did big shop in W, including 1st 2 daffodil bunches at £1 each, which should come out in a couple of days in the warm; have hundreds in garden but not so advanced and anyway prefer to keep them there. Sunrise 08:19, sunset 16:21, so gained 15 min daylight in morning and 40 min in afternoon from winter solstice, that's almost an hour! Not quite into the joys of spring but a wee bit of anticipation! Pleased to hear from someone, hope no last minute panics!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l and G4g4s!!

January 18th: had a pair of Common Buzzard displaying over local site at Peth Foot at 13:00 in sunny but cool conditions on moderate SW breeze; spring is not that far away for much of our resident wildlife. Later a flock of 85 Greenfinch going to roost in the bushes above Calliope was noteworthy as was 3 Goosander (2 redhead, 1 drake) on the Tyne at Wylam E and a flock of 120 Fieldfare at Newbiggin. Did make C4c4l where plenty of engaging lasses around, including trhwso, tbld, tmsuo!! Went from RDM to NCL on 15:05, in time for effectively part 2 of ECHO Rising Stars where had substantial sections from Simon Höfele trumpet & Frank Dupree piano, and Noa Wildschut violin & Elisabeth Brauss piano, and managed to see in the Concourse Magnus Holmander clarinet & David Huang piano, João Barradas accordion. All very talented and great variability in programme with a few new compositions specially commissioned by ECHO. Came out into many Toon supporters coming back from the triumphant win over Chelsea with a goal at 90+4! They almost looked happy and the ones on the packed 20:33 train were also in good spirits. Quite a lot of the football supporters walk to GHD and do go on public transport: much better than the average S supporter! Read the FT: think I need to diversify and not put all my eggs in one basket!! Hope Street Scene opening nite at Leeds by ON went well! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

January 17th: Roaring Twenties 2 was the concert tonite at S; very varied enjoyable programme, somewhat jazzy, with works by Copland, Barber, Martinů, Milhaud, Daniels, Gershwin. The Gershwin was the very expressive, lively and moving Rhapsody in Blue with Lisa de la Salle starring on the piano. This went down very well and we were treated to an encore. The concert was well attended. We had a new trial leader Ania Safonova who impressed; she's played a lot with the Royal Opera House so that's a good background! Earlier we were at MP for good meal and made the RNS Annual Review before the concert which in business analysis terms was a glossy, i.e. aimed at impressing everyone without any critical discussion of problems and no space for questions. I did catch up with MD AP over a glass of wine and asked whether, in view of growing environmental worries, there were long-term plans to re-open the station at the S end of the High-level Bridge. Evidently the matter has been discussed but it's not in anyone's plans at the moment. I doubt whether the Sage would have got planning permission in many continental cities without being part of an integrated public transport system but wtfdik!! Earlier made C4c4l for good scene and MP4m4s! N came back with me on train with wee stop at VcCmt4g4s b4 another g at W4g4s, where 4 of us out. Everywhere remains very quiet, maybe seasonal, but wonder whether the economy is sliding gently; have very little in mainstream UK domestic stocks as we approach the Brexit cliff! Carried around 10pp of topos paper and managed to sort out a difficult paragraph in odd snatches! Funds had a good week at +10k before 1k withdrawal; the YTD position is +34k gross, +27k net. Am becoming a little more optimistic on electric cars, so moving slowly money from mainstream oils to mining companies. 2moro it's C4c4l; have a ticket for Echo Rising * at S, hoping to get in for last 2 instalments from RDM! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 16th: trip to LDS on 15/1 went very well for appreciation of Street Scene; didn't take laptop to save on weight; Nigel Simeone gave an informative and supportive talk on Kurt Weill's life and music; I asked him whether there was any clear follow-on from Weill in American Opera and he thought not though John Adams has some of his intensity and sounds. Being Berlin-based Weill left Europe earlier in mid-1930s than some of his contemporaries in Vienna who held on to 1938. He died aged 50 of a heart attack. Street Scene opened on Broadway for 159 performances, a very high count for something that was more than just a musical. The rehearsal was very thorough with as usual for opera 4-5 people commenting on each scene or fragment. The panel discussion with Matthew Eberhardt (Director), James Holmes (Conductor) and Giselle Allen (soprano), was lively with each giving their passionate take on the opera. The day was very well organised with warm hospitality, ably led by Kate H the new co-ordinator of supporters and patrons. Performance at TR in NCL is on 3/3 with hospitality before at Northern Counties Club and in interval; son who's coming up for a few days from 27/2-4/3 is invited to that. Took full printout of draft 1 of music/topos paper (28pp) and managed complete read through with improvements mainly targeted on recently written section on the topos; so that was 3 hours on train marking the script with 3 hours today at home doing the editing on the machine. Did dally: more rest than usual!! Tonite made G4g4s with the warm A on and one mate R for company! Lovely to be back!! Did appreciate the update!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!! 2moro it's MP4m4t with N at 16:30, S/RNS Annual Review at 18:30, Roaring Twenties II in S1 at 19:30, W4g4s much later!

January 14th: made with N Sh4c4c and AF @ W, where bought a Ag toddy ladle c1800 (Georgian) for £60, listed at £75. It's in very good condition, good for ladling out mulled wine, or anything that takes your fancy!! Here's piccies of ladle and of Ag dealer, latter from Hexham Courant. Also from same Hexham Courant here's publicity for opening episode of the Roaring Twenties. Finally here's the FT letter on pollution hazards in babies, an underrated hazard compared to Climate Change, but it's the opening paragraph I particularly like, broadening the perspective. Made Cnt4g4s later for good crack; A is quite a fan of Brian Cox, bet it was a superb evening all-round!! Funds are +6k on 1st 2 days of week, widespread gentle rise! 2moro it's ON for Street Scene preview, back on 19:07 ex LDS. Looking forward to the trip!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 13th: consolidated the clips of the fanfares for the Ring in 2 rows in the table in my home page at http://nickrossiter.org.uk/ as below. These are the exhilarating tasters by the brass before each act, after Bayreuth! Walküre Act 3 is the Ride of the Valkyrie! Shocked by message from P: “I have had a serious ski accident so will be out of circulation for some months but visitors are always welcome!”. Am hoping to visit him on Friday; doctors at R this evening said that broken femur matched the seriousness and can occur too readily in skiing accidents. Will find out more! He's my fittest mate, walking 6-10km every Sunday. R at B was interesting; we had a talk on policing the Iron Curtain from the air through Berlin from 1946-1990. Attendance was poor with the wild, stormy weather. My 'green' talk for 3/2 lunchtime is coming along well: “there are 3 doomster processes on the planet: climate change, pollution, loss of biodiversity. Too much attention is focused on the difficult-to-model climate change with pollution and loss of biodiversity relatively neglected but more serious in the long run”. Much later made G4g4s where just 2 of us out, -P of course but just DC and I were keen enough to come out, with dynamic bar-lass D on!! Bought masses of bird food after trip to N4c4l; the birds are becoming hungrier now with easy natural supplies running low. 2moro it's AF @ W with N, following Sh4c4c, possibly with Ag buy. Might be Cnt4g4s with A/M followed by taking A back to Slaley! Hope 4S goes well: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

The Müpa Ring, Budapest, 20-23 June 2019, Wagner: Fanfares before each Act: clips

Rheingold Walküre Act 1 Walküre Act 2 Walküre Act 3

Siegfried Act 1 Siegfried Act 2 Siegfried Act 3

Götterdämmerung Act 1 Götterdämmerung Act 2 Götterdämmerung Act 3



January 12th: wrapped up Honey-buzzard and other bird records for 2019 with final addition of Oakpool records for 3/8 to BirdTrack. Completed draft 1 of topos/music paper after bright idea last nite and 3 hours work on it: will print out for train journey to LDS for close read. Incidentally my fare NCL-LDS return is £22, lower than usual, through Trainline offering split ticketing but have to catch specified trains. Had surprise visit today from thfbs; thought she'd abandoned me but no: enthusiastic meeting!! Did make G4g4s where 5 of us out for good crack! Booked up for Flying Dutchman on 14/3. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 11th: busy day, making C4c4l for the usual sights! Then RDM-NCL on 15:05 to meet N at CB4m4t at 16:00: very high standard of food and service: strongly recommended; cost for 3-courses+rw+c was £65 between us, similar to MP. Then into TC to be transported to the NYMet for Wozzeck, by Austrian composer Berg, composed from 1914-1922. It's a very disturbing tale of a poor soldier Wozzeck, who is very emotionally disturbed, and his lady friend Marie with whom they have an illegitimate son. She is seduced by a drum-major, sending Wozzeck into a very unstable state, ending in him murdering Marie with a knife and then drowning in a bog, trying to retrieve the knife. There are no happy, smooth passages in the entire 90-minute, 3-act opera, played without a break; even the seduction is unsavoury. Dramatically the setting was superb, making use of a 'hillside' which changed shape and scenery readily to accommodate the action. At one point the 'hillside' was flattened into a map of Ypres in World War 1, a likely source of Berg's nightmarish fantasy. So certainly harrowing but a very impressive performance all-round! Caught 21:25 train home as last service was going to be a bus, taking 1 hour 22 min just to get to RDM! Did have my 3-page printout with me and labelled an arrow in the Dolittle diagram to great effect! Anticipation was perfect: a great team: she's so fanciable: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 10th: had a bit of snow in the 'Shire yesterday on the moors but none at my altitude (150m asl) except for about 10 minutes at the start of a flurry! It's gone a little cooler at 4-6C max over the last 2 days. Completed processing of Oakpool material, now just need to add the bird data to BirdTrack; the chicken call adds a juvenile to the records for the rearing season; no further Honey-buzzard calls were detected on the clips. Added another sponsor – very good 2 c! Funds had a good week; hope you've topped up on the Manchester BS junk bonds – they're recovering well, holding reached 276k nominal at start of week – and on Enquest, a North Sea oil producer, both bonds and equity rising on increased production and suitability of its oil for ships with the new low-sulphur regulations. Gain on week was 16k gross, 10k net after 6k Xmas presents to family, making gain on year 25k gross, 19k net. Not banking on anything! Everywhere was very quiet this evening, including MP where had good catch-up with N but turn-out was very good in S2 for Welcome to the Roaring Twenties 1, where again had a cabaret seat, courtesy of the Ticket Office, but better this time as people at the table were very cordial! Enjoyed the concert, more to follow on this. N normally likes to plan things well ahead so amazed when he suggested going to New York 2moro to see the Met's Wozzeck, composed by Berg; agreed and we're going before to BC for a meal; it's a satellite transmission at TC! Can count as part 1 of my birthday celebrations!! Met are also doing Wagner's Flying Dutchman on 14/3, a must!! Did make W off last train for more catch-up and a g! Very passionate reunion: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 9th: have processed the start of one clip at Oakpool on 3/8 with anxiety calls; this is supportive of nest having moved to S side of wood; will process remainder of clip tomorrow, think there's a juvenile Honey-buzzard chicken call at the end, proving breeding. Have added Common Buzzard (family party 4) and Red Kite (1 juvenile) records from Cupola Bridge the same afternoon; so another sneaky addition to the Red Kite totals for 2019, up to 37 sites now, a record! Spent an hour at C4c4l, with some distractions, wondering how to process an overall performance from the individual players; current idea is this is an embedding Conductor from the individuals to the whole. Suspect it's a Yoneda embedding: more work to follow! Third strand was sorting out the sponsors with a bit of picture editing with Paint; that's done now!

I do think Opera North are a superbly creative organization. This is confirmation of my attendance next week. Such an interesting format for the day!

Dear Nick, we are delighted that you will be joining us for our first Patrons’ event of the winter season.

Winter Season Insight Event: Street Scene

Wednesday 15 January, 3pm – 6pm

Emerald Grand Hall, Leeds Grand Theatre

The afternoon will begin with a talk from experienced musicologist and conductor Nigel Simeone, providing contextual insight into Weill’s self-proclaimed ‘American Opera’. An expert on the subject, Nigel has lectured widely and published several books on American composers and Broadway musicals.

Following Nigel’s talk there will be an opportunity to witness the final hour of the stage and orchestra rehearsal ahead of the opening night. We will then be joined by Matthew Eberhardt (Director), James Holmes (Conductor) and Giselle Allen (who stars as Anna Maurrant) in a panel discussion chaired by Opera North editor Stuart Leeks.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the Leeds Grand Theatre for an exciting new season.

The only invite I've had recently from RNS is to a corporate event the same week, to which I'm not going: think they've lost the plot! Like the mixture of chat, analysis and music!! Made G4g4s where 4 of us out for good chat; A was in good form!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!! 2moro it's RDM-NCL ex 16:05.

January 8th: managed to fit in progress on all fronts today in spite of social activities: T4c4c with M and G4g4t with B, plenty of good chat! Have deleted the superseded topos/music diagrams and printed out the 3-page link section between the revised diagrams and the brain activity, for close read at C4c4l tomorrow. Have labelled the signs below the Honey-buzzard nest at Oakpool on 3/8; on web server now are the nest piccies plus the male in flight, all indexed from this page (9206); need to check and process the clips tomorrow – at least one contains anxiety calls of Honey-buzzard. Have brought the important festival web site up to date. Booked up opera performances with ON at TR on 3/3 Street Scene with son Alex and on 5/3 Turning of the Screw with N; think Tuesday 3/3 will be hospitality nite! Next concert is Friday at S2 preceded by MP with N and probably followed by W with the gang. Have sent 2k to daughter for her birthday; might be useful for child care! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!! ON confirmed my attendance at insight/part of final stage rehearsal in Leeds for Street Scene from 15:00-18:00 on 15/1: maybe an opportunity!!

January 7th: Speedy reply from India on my response to claimed juvenile European Honey-buzzard. My view was that it was a potential hybrid European Honey-buzzard x Crested Honey-buzzard (as below, 5/1).

Respected Sir, Thank you very much for your detailed email. The bird is alive and doing well but due to its injuries, it cannot be released in the wild. It has been kept in a zoo and is being cared for. We have taken some feathers and since the possibility of this being a hybrid has been raised by experts, we have decided to do DNA analysis to confirm the ID. The feathers have been sent to a lab in India and we will know the results by the end of this month. I will keep you posted on the results. With Best Regards,

Returning to Buchans, listing is going ahead as planned:

31/12/19: Application for Listing on TSXV. Buchans has today filed an application for the listing of its common shares on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV). Each of Canadian Manganese and Minco Exploration plans to take steps to apply for separate stock exchange listings, subject to market and trading conditions, obtaining any necessary approvals and completing an initial private placement financing: Canadian Manganese on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE); and Minco Exploration on the Irish Stock Exchange. The Exchangeable Warrant will not be listed for trading on any stock exchange, but may be transferred through the services of Computershare Investor Services.

Discussion on likely values has surprised me. My book value on 574.5k shares (1.03% of Buchans capital) is £173k from cost of £-32k (after crediting disposals), but Canadian Manganese is thought to be a gem from some discussion with a major drive to replace Cobalt (not ethically sourced from Congo) in electric-car batteries by additional Manganese, giving Mn glamour status after being mundane for years! Could be looking at £304k in total for all 3 but it's highly speculative: if so could give up the day job!! CGT will be a major headache though some are held in an ISA. Funds are +3k on week to date. Am dabbling in the busted bonds (PIBS) of Manchester Building Society, holding £271k nominal (c2% of total) for cash of £51k; seems to me from hours on the accounts to not be as worthless as claimed: time will tell! No CGT on such bonds as QCB but that's academic at the moment.

Catching up with some tasks. Have drafted all of the intension/extension and genre discussion from the Liverpool slides at ANPA. Am going to read all of the first part closely tomorrow followed by deletion of some of the old topos data structuring. Then can print it all out and carry it around with me for close reading over a few days, not quite at the proof stage but getting there! Also working hard on visit to Oakpool for Honey-buzzard (3/8, 9206). Have labelled piccies of nest and of the male. Catch-up of these tasks should be finished by Thursday, when can get back to other important material! Made C4c4l and Cnt4g4s with M/A as HoN closed for makeover. We had good chat. A had bought along a book by Brian Cox and we discussed his academic basis; we approved of his comments on energy policy; we're not going to be able to colonise space on windmills: we need nuclear power, most likely fusion on which research funding at present equals that on pet care! Took A back to Slaley on road covered in twigs and larger pieces of wood, brought down by worse gale of the season. It's been really wild and mild today in the 'Shire. xxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

January 6th: mild again, 8C, some rain in afternoon, moderate SW breeze, cooler by evening 4C when clear. Have finished processing all the clips from Oakpool on 3/8. Found 1 clip with Honey-buzzard anxiety calls and 2 clips with interesting calls, undetermined as yet. Will continue processing the data tomorrow. Quite a busy day with R @ B4m4l and then QH4CT as S came in to clean; did one more paragraph on musical genre in the context of the intension/extension relationship, which hope to wrap up tomorrow. Much later made G4g4t where 5 of us out for good crack. Saw a lot of Mashhad, Iran, on yesterday's news bulletins; that's where my son-in-law and his sister were born in the NE corner of Iran, along the Afghanistan border. She's out there at the moment with her son, trying to get back to London now. Obviously it's all quite tense. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 5th: moderate SW breeze, mild 8C, dry, sunny at start, clouding over from W, grand day for time of year. Did 5km on edge of Hexhamshire Common from 13:10-14:50. Had 13 species of fairly typical moorland edge species, including: Red Grouse 16, Common Buzzard 2, GBBG 1 adult, 5 Common Gull adult, 1 Kestrel 1w, 3 Stock Dove, 5 Carrion Crow, 55 Fieldfare, 1 Mistle Thrush. Was very exhilarating, going at some pace and no reaction later. Only met 1 person, a cyclist, complaining about the wind in both directions: isn't the space up here fantastic! Much later made G4g4s where dommies crowd good for a chat and the lively E on!! Also compiled data from walk on 1/1. Did some more work on clips from Oakpool on 3/8, found some strange calls on 1; still got 5 to run through. DP (from W) had had yesterday a Common Buzzard at Stocksfield E and a Red Kite at Shilford; added to BirdTrack where year list stands at 30. Spent the evening compiling a reply to an Indian birdwatcher on whether they'd found a European Honey-buzzard. My reply and query are here (I'll add the piccies and measurements soon!). Things are looking up: an old flame first sighted yesterday from C4c4l came back into my life tonite: very exciting: lok2tmgo!!!!!

January 4th: not a bad day at all for mid-winter, some sunshine in morning, mild 8C, light to moderate SW breeze. Did make C4c4l which thoroughly enjoyed!! Completed the processing of the Shilford bird data (9207), including adding it to BirdTrack. Bit of a lazy day! 2moro starting on Oakpool nest visit on 3/8, last bird records (I believe) to process for 2019. Planning to bring fitness up a bit more with a walk on the moors in the 'Shire. For early March think son is joining me on Tuesday 3/3 for Street Scene and N is joining me on Thursday 5/3 for Turning of the Screw; looking forward to that; Tuesday is normally the hospitality day! Hope Vienna goes well: should be TC this week: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

January 3rd: breezy again, fairly mild, dry, 6C. Made N4c4t and W4g4s, with 5 of us out at latter for good chat. Indexed the clips from Shilford 8/8 but still to do the piccies of the nest and signs below it. Booked up for Echo rising Stars (young musicians) on 18/1 at S. Actual funds held reached an all-time high today, exceeding the previous peak on 02/08/2018 by 1k, pushed along by ample oil holdings (221k) on Middle East problems. Gain in last 2 days was 9k (0.81%) but withdrawals for Xmas divis to family will start next week! Should apologise for having so much in oil but this sector has so many stocks at multi-year low ratings that a contrarian finds it difficult to resist! And of course my son-in-law is an oil and gas trader with Gazprom! Like the midnight comms – gives a warm glow as go to sleep: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 2nd: mild today but very breezy, house is lovely and warm! Did keep to schedule on Shilford visit 8/8, processing the clips, labelling piccies and uploading to server; should finish this visit (9207) tomorrow. At QH constructed the intension/extension diagram in OO Draw; takes a whole page but it is important for providing an overall map in Aristotelian terms. Then made N4c4t for good crack with S on! P 'phoned me up to say he was going skiing on Saturday in Austria for a week so would be good to meet up at G tonite. Agreed and with 4 of us out, was good for a chat! Hope P gets back in 1 piece from the slopes: think he goes mainly for the rw! A was on and very friendly! It's funny but was a little uneasy in the 'Star Wars' pub atmosphere yesterday but seem to have gone up in estimation of some of the regulars!! Do think one of the piccies is marvellous: she's gorgeous: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 1st 2020: still on this NB; it doesn't run on the calendar year, more tied to the Honey-buzzard year. Had moderate brisk walk of 4km from 12:55-14:30 in the 'Shire in beautiful sunshine and frost, -4C last night. Had 22 different types of bird, including a Common Buzzard, 109 Redwing, 4 Mistle Thrush, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 17 Blue Tit, 1 Bullfinch. Idea was to test the knee, which is holding up well. Tidied the desk today and checked the piles of paper on it. Found 3 data sheets for 2019 that have not been through the system yet: Honey-buzzard nest visits to Oakpool on 3/8 and Shilford on 8/8, and initial fledging of Honey-buzzard at Ordley on 18/8. Have sorted the last one today but each nest visit takes 3 days to process; have run through all the videos in the Shilford visit; next stage is to process them from MTS to MP4, label the images of the nest and signs below the nest and upload to web server; final stage is to index the web pages and add the visit to BirdTrack. So fun ahead! Plotting music events over next 3 months: going to Leeds for ON's insight into Street Scene (Kurt Weill) from 15:00-18:00 on 15/1, including a look at final dress rehearsal; discussing with others the Opera North season in early March when Street Scene, Turning of the Screw and Marriage of Figaro are on; son who's a great fan of Weill wants to come up to see Street Scene. Looking ahead much further, am now on Bayreuth's mailing list, too late for 2020 but maybe for 2021; the Bayreuth Festival is held each year in the Festspielhaus, designed by Richard Wagner and constructed under his guidance for the 'perfect' performance of his operas. How many composers have done that! Think May holiday with N will move to Scotland this year: Arisaig in the Highlands is a possibility; can get there by train via Glasgow; have wanted to go to Scotland for a while so delighted! Received a donor pin yesterday from University of Hull for my contributions as alumni of £60 a month over the last 7 years to three charitable funds, including student welfare and research priming. Nice to get such things; charities are pretty good at acknowledging support but one is irritating me at the moment: RNS, where feel ignored! Did make G4g4t; it was packed, absolutely crazy with M/L doing their best; good to see people to start the New Year!! 2moro may make N4c4l, QH4CT (S is back keeping the house straight!) and BH4st4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 31st 2019: updated Goshawk page with more encouraging results for SW Northumberland in 2019 (Other Raptors/Population of the Goshawk in SW Northumberland).

More details of the Goshawk breeding season for 2019 are available in Table 13.


Area

No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category

Juveniles

Conf

Prob

Poss


Local-fledge

Also seen

Devil’s Water

3

2

1

1

1

1

0

Allen

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Upper South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Lower South Tyne

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

Tyne W

1

0

1

0

0

1

0

Tyne E

1

0

1

0

0

1

0

Derwent

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

Total

7

2

3

1

3

3 (3x1+)

0

Table 13: Breeding Data for Goshawk in SW Northumberland by area in 2019


This year saw a welcome revival in the core area of the study area on Devil's Water and Tyne Valley W where 4 sites were occupied. A further site was occupied in Tyne Valley E. The Bulletins of the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club were searched from February-October 2019 and 2 additional records of unaged birds in September were included in the above totals from Fourstones and Blanchland, both sites having held birds in the past. Three juvenile were seen, with singles in Devil's Water, Tyne Valley W and Tyne Valley E.


Happy New Year!!! Leaving celebrations to tomorrow afternoon when going to G for a couple!! Had very sociable time at C4c4l. Funds -1k this week so far to finish year on +91k gross, +72k net, after a gain of +67k gross last year (2018) when serious losses were made by most investors. Natural resource stocks in which specialise didn't have a great year, being particularly badly affected by the US-China trade war. But moving into UK-focused stocks in the run up to the election delivered a respectable result. Piccies are lovely: think her hair has Chameleon properties: quite a *: lok2tgfr: xxxxx XXX!!!!!


December 30th: did final trawl on 'phone for records in 2019 that had not been entered into the main database on BirdTrack. Found a Red Kite breeding record at Oakwood (Hexham NE) that have added to the results. Main retrievals were of records from travels on the NCL-KGX rail-line, including a number of Honey-buzzard, particularly from North Yorkshire in area around the Tees S of Darlington in September; think they must have bred there successfully. The records are summarised on my Honey-buzzard home page. Back to C4c4l where some hurtful looks from tmsuo; she doesn't like me going away: will have to be more attentive!! I always thought absence makes the heart grow fonder but maybe not! Much later made G4g4s where 6 of us out for good crack in another packed house; gr8 to have M on! Very impressed with the winter sports ace: she'll have to show me how: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 29th: back in timely fashion via DL, PICL, LNER from EAL-HEX, leaving EAL at 11:20 and arriving in HEX at 16:40. Was busy the whole way with planned closures on UG on other lines and a coach missing on the LNER. Did some shopping at a packed mini-Co-op, the only store open at this time in HEX. House was the warmest I've known on return from a winter-break, very comfortable! Much later back in the swing at G4g4s, which was also packed with people enjoying the seasonal break! Met P and the dommies crowd there for good crack. Did some work on the train on the topos/music paper, expanding 2 slides from Liverpool talk on genre into ¾ of a page of text and a diagram on genre in an intension/extension context, which is more satisfying philosophically! Nothing really lined up for next week or so; might go to Leeds to an ON do mid-month!! My talk to R Many Shades of Green has been switched from 6/1 to lunchtime on 3/2 as another speaker couldn't do that date; not unhappy at this, still exploring the climate change 'religion' and am disturbed by quite a few things going on! The ff is obviously keeping very fit: looking forward to next encounter: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 28th: dull, overcast, dry, no wind except SW breeze getting up a little at end. Went for walk at Black Park, next to Pinewood Studios, with sis: we had 25 types of bird, including 3 Red Kite and a Common Buzzard, right at the end, in the breeze. Also 2 types of mammal: Grey Squirrel, Roe Deer. Heathland looked in good condition: this is a Honey-buzzard site, see 9/5 below. Have opened new Twitter account, planning to make much more use of Twitter this coming year for publicising new raptor sightings and results. Funds had a good week on just 3 trading days at +7k, giving +92k gross on year, +74k net. 2moro it's 12:30 ex KGX; will be pleased to get home after 8 days away. Will not dally!! Think she's had her hair tinted darker: very alluring: femme fatale: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 27th: we had Xmas reunion at noon at Battersea at niece's flat: niece and partner; nephew, partner, son and daughter; big sis; myself and son. We stayed for lunch and tea with walk in between along the Thames at Plantation Wharf to keep us vaguely fit. Sis drove us there; she's very skilled at dealing with the London traffic! Afterwards son went back to his new flat to resume decorations. Very good day: great chat and everyone left happy!! My nephew who works for National Rail had been put in charge of a project to improve (rescue?) TPE – Trans Pennine Express – quite a challenge! It involves a lot of journeys from KGX to York; his family are coming with him to York for a few days; wonder if they're not thinking about a temporary move, while renting out their current house in Turnham Green. Visit is nearing end; 2moro sis and I are going for a walk out somewhere to blow a few cobwebs away. May get Goshawk account written: would be nice to get that done before the year end as well. So far it's soaring kites and crashed hobbies. Think Goshawk will come somewhere in the middle. Hope the gorgeous one is having a gr8 Xmas: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 26th: well, still doing some work: here's the Hobby report for 2019: Updated Hobby page with worrying results for SW Northumberland in 2019 (Other Raptors/Population of the Hobby in SW Northumberland). Next up is the Goshawk.

More details of the Hobby breeding season for 2019 are available in Table 14

.


Area

No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category

Juveniles

Conf

Prob

Poss


Local-fledge

Also seen

Devil’s Water

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Allen

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tipalt

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Upper South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Lower South Tyne

1

1

0

0

1

0

0

Tyne W

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne E

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Derwent

2

2

0

0

2

0

0

Total

3

3

0

0

3

0

0

Table 14: Breeding Data for Hobby in SW Northumberland by area in 2019


Coverage was reduced for the Honey-buzzard, and hence for the Hobby, in the upper South Tyne and Derwent areas, which have been strongholds for the Hobby in woods adjacent to the heather moors. In my own studies only 1 site was found occupied, at Warden in upper South Tyne, with a female on 21 May. As with the Red Kite, additional records were taken from the Bulletin of the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club (March-October 2019 searched) with 2 records noted: on 8 July an adult took and carried away an adult Swallow Hirundo rustica at Derwent Reservoir; on 17 August an adult was at Baybridge, Blanchland. The core area of Devil's Water/Tyne Valley W was covered well this year but that typically only holds 1-2 pairs. Significant effort is required in 2020 to check that the Hobby is still breeding in the study area and also need to look at the broader picture regionally and nationally.


So recovery day today (from what!), made Broadway to get final Xmas present, finding a classy black leather 'handbag' in Monsoon with straps for backpack in a sale for 45.50, which bought! Made N4c4t to recuperate after visiting 4 shops! Sis came back at 17:00 from her Suffolk trip and we had good supper. 2moro it's 2nd major family do at niece's place in Battersea. Had to buy some New Year cards and will give niece/nephew £50 each in their bank accounts by FPO. Vigorous debate later on climate change: my view is that the carbon issue is obscuring the more important issues of pollution, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and population control. Carbon dioxide is also not a pollutant: it's one of the most important chemicals on the planet being essential for photosynthesis on which all past and present life has depended. I accept the planet is warming but think the rate of change is exaggerated by adjustments to the data and much more research is needed in general: we know so little about how our atmosphere behaves. Models by their very nature are not the real thing and the ones developed seem to have trouble with handling past fluctuations in climate such as the warming period from c800-1200 and the Little Ice Age from c1500-1750. We need debate and bodies like the BBC deny this: AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) then becomes a religion not a science! An overriding principle of science is that a single fresh observation can change even the best established theory. Think we agreed on the need-for-debate issue! Missing the *: love the piccies: think she's in a good place: will re-unite soon: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 25th: Merry Christmas everyone!! Spent most of day in Kingston with son, daughter and family. We indulged freely! S has got a model horse for Xmas, which makes lots of realistic noises. Everyone exhausted by 21:00 so we got Uber back to Ealing. Uber cost 19 + 24, +10 for tips, much cheaper than last year's regular taxi firm and just call them through the app to go. HH to the special one!! Bon soir!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 24th: son arrived and big sis left, gone off to Suffolk to stay with her daughter-in-law's family for 3 days, so we're left in charge. We went to Samrat, an Indian (and Bangladeshi) restaurant, in Pitshanger Lane for supper: some poppadoms with spices, chicken jalfrezi, nan bread, pilau rice, couple of kf, all for £55, very tasty: we've been there before! Have completed 'worrying' Hobby account for 2019 with lowest total since start of survey in 1996 and no breeding success noted. Will have to look harder next year and also look at the broader picture regionally and nationally. Will publish in a few days, post Xmas period. Funds are +6k in 1st 2 days of week, nicely matching cash payments to family tomorrow; gain on year is 91k with 1 trading day to go this week, 27/12, and 1.5 next week. 2moro we're off by Uber to Kingston and back! Loved the positive message at this dark time of year, including a very relevant item for 2moro: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 23rd: gearing up for Hobby report for 2019: only 1 record of mine, the lowest for many years, will check N&TBC bulletins for any others. Did some shopping in W in Ealing this morning, getting 1 grey goose vodka, 2 red wine, 1 white wine, 1 rose Prosecco, Lindt chocs, all for £88, for Xmas day at Kingston. It's going to be quite a party!! Then onto a bookshop in Pitshanger Lane where got a few books and games for my granddaughters. The FT says that just giving cash can be a bit of a cop out so reforming (while maintaining the cash flow!). Next into Cinnamon where bought big sis lunch. Later had walk at dusk on own finding a male Sparrowhawk hunting birds going to roost; ended up in Village Inn, Pitshanger Lane, where a g went down very well. Got a text from big sis asking whether I'd got lost! Had long chat with little sis from Devon in evening; may well visit in late winter. So pity we're not sharing the ps: lok2tgrf: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Back to the prosaic: Buchans reorganisation and listing is confirmed; will increase my liquidity in a month or two!

Toronto, December 20, 2019 – Buchans Resources Limited (the “Company” or “Buchans”), a Canadian base metal mineral exploration and development company, reports that at a hearing on December 19, 2019, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice approved the Company’s Plan of Arrangement for a group reorganization and spin-out of subsidiaries. The Arrangement had been earlier approved by shareholders by a 99.87% majority at a Meeting held on December 10, 2019.

Completion of the Arrangement and the Effective Date is expected to be on December 31, 2019. Under the Plan of Arrangement, shareholders will retain their existing shares of Buchans and Buchans will distribute to its shareholders, pro rata:

(i) all of the shares of Canadian Manganese Company Inc. (“Canadian Manganese”) on the basis of one share of Canadian Manganese for each share of Buchans held; and

(ii) exchangeable warrants entitling shareholders to receive either one share of Minco Exploration Limited (“Minco Exploration”) or 0.25 additional shares of Buchans, at their option, for each share of Buchans held.

Following the Effective Date, each of the Companies plans to take steps to apply for separate stock exchange listings, subject to market and trading conditions and obtaining any necessary approvals: Buchans on the TSXV or the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE); Canadian Manganese on the CSE; and Minco Exploration on the Irish Stock Exchange. http://www.buchansresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BRLNRDec202019.pdf

December 22nd: the winter solstice is today: tomorrow is 1 second longer and joyfully, every day is longer than the one before for the next 6 months. Sunset at Newcastle is already out to 15:40 from 15:38 (earliest) but mornings are still getting darker, at 08:30 sunrise today, owing to asymmetry in orbit. Son has booked up for 11/6 Musikvereinsplatz, Vienna, Mahler, Gustav (1860-1911), Symphony no. 9 in D major, Vienna Philharmonic, Daniel Barenboim Conductor; 12/6 Musikvereinsplatz, Vienna, Mahler, Gustav (1860-1911), Symphony no. 8 in E flat major "Symphony of a Thousand", Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Philippe Jordan Conductor, soloists: Camilla Nylund, Iréne Theorin, Martina Janková Soprano; Dame Sarah Connolly, Michaela Schuster Mezzo-soprano; Maria Aegyptiaca, Burkhard Fritz Tenor; Iain Paterson, John Relyea Bass-baritone; Singverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien; Wiener Singakademie; Wiener Sängerknaben. Looks very exciting!! Barenboim surfaces below as well in looking at the allure of a certain kind of opera! Big sis and I went for walk in Pitshanger Park this afternoon in very wet conditions: mild, wet underfoot, cloudy, 8C max, light SW. Son is arriving on Tuesday and Xmas day is at daughter's!! Really laughed at the EW ps: she's gorgeous: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

So what makes a Wagnerian tick? Here's a guide using the liebestod (love-death), the finale from Tristan und Isolde, the unfulfilled love affair within a Celtic setting: the Irish princess Isolde, the Breton knight Tristan, and the Cornish king Mark. The opera has playing time of 3 hour 55 min, roughly 80 min for each of the 3 acts and is sung in German.

Executed with precision and passion this purely orchestral version by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NvUyCdKAxM is a fine concert performance. The prelude was written solely for orchestra but the liebestod (last 8 minutes) lacks the soprano singing the finale for the whole opera so it's not the real thing! Add the soprano Nina Stemme to the liebestod in a sung concert performance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8enypX74hU and that's maybe closer to the real thing but she's out of context and although it's an inspired piece of singing, it's still incomplete.

So what is the real thing? It's the Gesamtkunstwerk 'total work of art' for which Wagner strived. We need to add the staging and the context as in this opera performance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOGs8TtnwoI at La Scala, Milan, with Daniel Barenboim conducting and Waltraud Meier as the soprano Isolde. The desolate scene is obvious with 'dead' singers all over the stage, the orchestra now up to 3 hours 47 minutes of performing and maybe thinking of the odd Prosecco, and Isolde, having been on stage for about 2 hours 45 min in total, getting ready for her swan-song, which will colour the success of the whole performance. While the concert performances are often almost triumphal, this is very different: Isolde is alone, frightened and dismayed at the sight of the body of Tristan. She cuts her wrists and passes into a trance with the loss of blood pressure; she imagines she is making love with Tristan, reaching an amazing orgasmic climax; she loses consciousness and dies. This is a magnificent sensitive ending under the direction of Barenboim. Waltraud's singing is understated compared to some but she hits the notes and her presence and acting are superb. The climax is the first and only tonal closure in the whole opera. This is the authentic Gesamtkunstwerk! Barenboim's scowl at the premature applause is epic! So operas are composed and performed over 3 levels: the music, the libretto, the staging. A certain mathematical theory, category theory, is also composed over 3 levels: that's all you need to know!

December 21st: updated Red Kite page with further encouraging results for SW Northumberland in 2019 (Other Raptors/Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland).

More details of the Red Kite breeding season for 2019 are available in Table 13:



Area

No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category

No. Juveniles fledged

Post-breeding sites

Conf

Prob

Poss

Devil’s Water

8

10

6

1

1

8

0

Allen

1

0

1

0

0

1

0

Upper South Tyne

3

3

0

1

2

0

0

Lower South Tyne

2

3

0

1

1

0

0

Tyne W

10

12

8

2

0

11

0

Tyne E

4

4

0

0

4

0

0

Derwent

9

17

2

5

2

2

0

Total

37

49

17

10

10

22 (5x2, 12x1+)

0

Table 13: Breeding Data for Red Kite in SW Northumberland by area in 2019


Coverage was concentrated this year on the core area of the Devil's Water and Tyne Valley W with more opportunistic visits elsewhere. In spite of the reduced coverage this year, the number of sites found to be occupied was a record at 37 but the number of broods noted was lower at 17 against 22 last year. The number of broods recorded increased in the core area from 9 to 14 but was down from 4 to 0 in Tyne Valley E and from 6 to 2 in Derwent. Tyne Valley E was neglected this year, not only by myself, but also by other birdwatchers. As in 2018 records were included from the bulletins of the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club from March to October 2019. These gave one new site, Coanwood Pond, for the upper South Tyne. The main effect was in Derwent where the status at Carterway Heads was upgraded to probable and 7 further sites were added, 2 of which, Airy Holm and West Minsteracres, were at the confirmed level. It is likely that more of the birds seen in the Derwent area were juveniles but this was not apparently noted by the other observers. The Derwent area was still under-counted though with no records from 5-6 sites in the Beldon Burn area and the total of 4 sites at the possible level in Tyne Valley E does not reflect the actual population. Further W, coverage of the Allen, where a single juvenile was seen, was poor but 2 sites were occupied in the lower South Tyne and 3 in the upper South Tyne. The study area population is likely to be 50 pairs now. No visible migration was observed this year.


According to NTBC [Bulletin 2019, July] the NRG survey in 2019 found in Northumberland 3 nests which fledged 2x3 and 1x1 young plus 2-3 sites which were occupied but the nests were not found. As no sites are itemised (what is the point of this?) it is not possible to incorporate the data into my survey results. As an extensive survey the NRG survey is a failure, recording just 5% of the regional population.

So there are no systematic counts from elsewhere in NE England in summer 2019. However, a regional total of 100 pairs seems quite plausible now with 50 pairs in the study area, 30-40 in Durham and 10-20 elsewhere with a number of kites having spread into areas with no significant survey activity. It is very satisfying to report that the introduction is secure and successful.

Nothing like a long train journey to compile a fair volume of survey data! Should be able to follow up with Goshawk and Hobby soon. Discussed with son where to go for our next concert jaunt. We've decided to go to the other side of the Austro-Hungarian axis in late June: Vienna for some Mahler (8, 9 it appears!). He's keen on revisiting Leipzig as well in 2022. No time for C4c4l as took a while to checkout! Delighted that we managed to coincide: that's more important: sad in a way to say goodbye but mobility on both sides is so high, it's a fixture!! All is flux (Heraclitus). xxxxx XXX!!!!!

December 20th: read through N&TBC bulletins from March-October and found some additional entries for Red Kite, nearly all in Derwent area, which will add to my totals tomorrow. Made C4c4l where pleased to meet the lively tmsuo!! Suddenly noticed the guitarist and folk singer outside in 4St: it was E of past Welly fame: she was doing brilliantly with lots of money and appreciation!! A pity she wasn't playing in the W4g4s later where the live singer's idea of C&W didn't match up with anything I've heard before (including Colorado!). That was end of year for the W mob but we meet again in 2 weeks. Finally wrote my Xmas cards sending most off 1st class at 21:00 in Newbiggin in 'Shire, taking 3 to W, and a few left to write 2moro: a bit last minute stuff! Funds were up 10k on week, making +85k gross on year, +67k net, -13k from all-time high. Received from my mates at Bloomberg:

2019 was your year with Bloomberg.com. You're a power reader. You've read more than 150 articles. Thank you for taking this journey with all of us in the newsroom at Bloomberg.com. Without your support, we couldn’t possibly do it. Want to see what we accomplished together and what’s to come?

So 2moro sees quite a change. Our paths might even cross: could write an opera about that: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

December 19th: have finished Red Kite summary from own records, plan to include N&TBC records as well from the monthly bulletin, which will incorporate tomorrow, then publish. Figures below (16/12) are confirmed for own records. Fitting of crown at dentists was very quick but intensive cleaning followed with ultrasound, which left a bit of blood and sore gums; she's concerned about plaque build-up and have another session in 3 months time to stop me going long in the tooth! Am prepared to spend a fair amount on dentistry as it's so important for general health, including that of the heart; paid them £246 today for NHS stage 3 on top of the stage 1 treatment fee paid a few weeks ago. Lots of smiles!! Did another collection in Fore Street from 1-2, weather milder and remained dry, giving steady business. Warmed up at C4c4ll but not too exciting! In evening made Dipton Mill in 'Shire with M/A for good chat and Shire bitter: good for a change and no embarrassments this week! Natural resource stocks are having a gr8 week after China-US trade accord and renewed threat of no-deal Brexit depressing the £: will be best week for a while hopefully. Sold 135 RIO.L today to raise 6k for family divis! 2moro it's C4c4l and W4g4s. Saturday is 13:19 ex HEX, 14:26 ex NCL, after C4c4l. Hope T4 goes off brilliantly: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 18th: dates for your diary – Monday 20 June 2022 to Thursday 14 July 2022.

Oper Leipzig. With the recent successful premiere of Tristan und Isolde on October 5, 2019, directed for the stage by Enrico Lübbe, we passed another milestone on the way to »WAGNER 22«. Under the direction of Intendant and General Music Director Prof. Ulf Schirmer, the Oper Leipzig has set the goal of having all thirteen operas by Richard Wagner in its repertoire by the summer of 2022 – and during the »WAGNER 22« festival will perform all thirteen operas [in 25 days], in the order in which they were composed. Today, we are pleased to inform you that the ticket pre-sale will officially start in May 2020. In order to make your stay in Leipzig as eventful as possible, we are in the midst of planning an extensive supporting program for the festival's duration. https://www.oper-leipzig.de/en/highlight/wagner-festival-2022/12

Think I'll stay in Leipzig for the duration and have already registered my interest in tickets as requested. It's normal that subscribers to the whole programme have priority. I've never seen the 1st 3 operas in the list; the Ring is being taken out of the chronological order of composition so that it can be performed on successive nights. Richard Wagner was born in the Jewish quarter of Leipzig on 22 May 1813. The city in Saxony has a rich musical history with JS Bach, Mendelssohn, Clara and Robert Schumann, Wagner and Mahler, among its stars. It's also strongly rumoured that Opera North will be performing Wagner's Parsifal at the Sage in summer 2021.

Made T4c4c with M for good chat and did an hour's collecting with bucket for Rotary in Fore Street for Tynedale Hospice and Hextol (who run Tans) from 13:00-14:00. Have another hour to do tomorrow, same time. It was so cold today, warmer tomorrow! Finally made G4g4t with B where lively chat. More joy tomorrow with dentist in CRB at 09:10 for final fitting of the crown; the temporary one has not fallen off (yet), which is unusual! xxxx

December 17th: busy shopping this morning to get organised on kindling supplies and household cleaning items. MP4m4t was good, keeping on à la carte menu over Xmas period. The £ crashed again today on renewed fears of hard Brexit; I'm already thinking of a re-join mission for the next parliament! Out of UK domestic stocks after recent rise and into international stocks; funds today at +78k gross, best for yea! Concert by Philharmonix at S2 was very entertaining. 7 very talented musicians, mainly from central Europe, playing a wide range of music in completely liberated fashion: Strauss waltzes, jazz, folk music, klezmer, Beethoven, Brahms' Hungarian Dances; all very enjoyable with packed audience over 3 levels. It's always good to come early: so thrilling: she's gorgeous: xxxxx XXX!!!!! Amazing what can happen on rising: lok2tgrf!!!!

December 16th: processed the Red Kite data for 2019 but not published it yet. Provisional totals are 28 sites on the reduced coverage holding 35+ adult, of which 15+ confirmed breeding with 19+ fledged young. Fuller coverage would have shown a further significant increase, I feel. Did make R 4 enjoyable chat and lunch. Earlier had hair-cut at JG with the likeable Jd; gave her useful bonus of £5 on 17.50 charge! And made C4c4c for restitution after the haircut for chat with tmsuo, who actually is quite sparkling now!! At close made G4g4s where 6 of us out for good crack. Road late-on was quite icy: a late shower had washed the salt off and then the surface had frozen: we're not important enough to have a follow-up salting. At next R on 6/1 am giving the talk The Many Shades of Green; people think I'm going to be giving a typical Green alarmist talk but that's not the intention. This quote is perhaps the closest to my current thinking:

Ironically, perhaps, the BBC position on alarmism can also be compared to that of the Catholic Church as imagined in Bertolt Brecht’s 1938 play The Life of Galileo. This in the 1960s was a ‘must see’ drama for all those on the left. They wanted to ridicule the play’s projection of the unreason and unbending conservatism of Catholicism, then one of the biggest targets of every left-winger. Ultra Marxist Brecht represented Galileo as the voice of ‘reason’ against the Church’s defence of bigoted religious orthodoxy. The BBC, of course, would love to see themselves as Galileo in the climate change debate.

In reality, though, they are not. The BBC, the IPCC and other bodies such as the EU, politicians and governments who have swallowed the IPCC agenda, the multi-national companies benefiting from ‘green’ energy, and academia are now all the vested interests defending the ‘warmist’ status quo at any and every cost – including the rejection of reason itself.

Every man (and woman) jack of them, like the Catholic Church in Brecht’s projection, is pitched against true scientific inquiry. Those who question alarmism are not ‘deniers’ as the BBC now so insultingly calls them. Rather, it is they, the ‘deniers’, the anti-alarmists, who are heroes and heroines fighting to smash the corrupt billions-of-dollars alarmist scam, which, on some estimates, is costing trillions of dollars. http://news-watch.co.uk/category/climate-change/.

2moro it's HEX-NCL ex 13:56, MP4m4t with N at 17:00, S4con at 20:00: looking forward to it all!! lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 15th: nice bright day but cool at 4C max, 0C min. Trimmed the beech hedge, including top with steps; good exercise and that completes autumn maintenance of front garden. Sociable, met both neighbours; we don't chat so much in the winter; my Virgin friend is in London earning big bucks in the finance industry with nanny helping at home! Too busy with hedge to make C but did make G4g4s where 6 of us out for good crack. Have completed final diagram in topos structure. About to start Red Kite breeding report for 2019 in the study area. 2moro it's haircut at JG with Jd 1st thing, R @ B4m4s, G4g4s. Only concert this week is on Tuesday at S2 with N, lingering!! Here's video of grandchildren at Xmas concert in Kingston, on front row just to right of head, S on left and younger sister I, looking lost, on her right! Aren't they all sweet! lok2tgrf!!!!!

December 14th: disruption on Metro meant arrived late in NCL and we switched meal to 16:30 still giving plenty of time to get to the Messiah! The RNS was taken over by women for the performance with lady conductor Jeanette Sorrel and 12 out of 13 female violinists. N and I thought it was very good; indeed N, who's seen many performances of the work, thought it was the best he'd ever seen but one partner said it was a little fussy and another said too much had been left out of Act 3. It's quite a demanding work, taking 2 hours 40 min including one interval but the players and chorus all looked as if they were thoroughly enjoying themselves and the same for the audience. Still beats me why we still stand up for the hallelujah chorus: some hangover from when a king watching it stood up! So that completes a week of fine music: isn't the North East brilliant for going out!! Very stimulating chat later and she's so stunning!! Got back to CAL for more de-icing but at least the last train was only a few minutes late. Motivating close to day with the gorgeous one: impressed by our understanding of intentions: that's quite a strength: xxxxx XXX!!!!! 2moro it''s C4c4ll and G4g4s and maybe a bit more hedge trimming!! xxxx

December 13th: made C4c4l where good 2 c the fair tmsuo!! Much later made W4g4s where 5 of us out for great crack! Funds benefited from GE result, moving from -2k earlier in week to +8k at close today, with gross gain on year at 74k just below highest on 28/11 of +76k; net gain is 57k. Main gain today was in fund managed by HSBC, tracking FTSE 250 index: nice 2 have! FTSE 250 outpaced FTSE 100, which contains multinationals, where gains from US-China trade deal limited by £ appreciation, which surely at 1.334 $:£ must be nearing a short-term upper limit! 2moro it's MP4m4t at 16:00 from CAL with N, followed by Messiah, which everyone should know well! Hoping to make Young Sinfonia, preceding main concert at 18:00. Expecting it to be a great evening!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 12th: don't talk about the GE: English nationalism rules OK, now wait for the breakup of the UK with Scotland leaving and Ireland reunifying! There will be euphoria for a while but not sure how BJ is going to keep such disparate sections of the population onboard, particularly after 9 years of austerity. Anyway DT signed the preliminary trade deal this evening with China so that's good news for natural resource stocks but the 2% rise in £ so far will dampen the immediate effect. Of course the Tories will make people like me better off but what will they do for the less well off and what will that do for social cohesion? What will they do for the environment? The LibDems have been useless and I've not given them a cent, going to donate to Salvation Army instead. Very disappointed!! Had invitation from ANPA to submit latest topos/music paper for their proceedings; timely as did several hours on it today, incorporating the intension and extension examples; next step is to make the intension a formal topos. Had quiet day after 3 concerts in a row but did make G4g4s to drown my sorrows. We had some snow up here at 150m asl this afternoon, not much, perhaps a cm. 2moro will be more active: C4c4l and W4g4s!! lok2tgrf!!!!!!

December 11th: engagement 1 was T4c4c with M; he expanded on A's troubles yesterday, which started when I was taking a comfort break; he was having an extra round and bought his rw with £5 in tips which had been placed on the bar; when challenged slightly later by the junior bar lass, he asserted there was no problem; when I was back, the manageress had arrived and insisted A paid for the missing tip and his rw; A quickly folded and gave her £12, including I reckon £2 for the insult: pretty bizarre! Did make QH4CT, where continued checking topos structure, prior to the introduction of the Conductor in the structure; it's working out well: the Conductor is of course the functor between the intension for the score and its extension! Then onto G4rw4t with B, who gave me his old telephone system, which I want to add to my BB. That took me up to 18:00 and needed to be at CUL by 19:30; made CAL at 18:30; journey involved changing at SG onto a packed train, like London UG! Got to venue in CUL at 19:20 jit 4 the action. St George's Church was packed and had to sit at the back where could at least hear well. In the interval had a wander and located some mates in the very front row, who I joined for part 2. Think this was the A team, just shading it from last night's. The one common piece Vivaldi's Winter was played superbly with KH leading, GW excelling on the cello and all the other players buoyantly involved. Mendelssohn's SQ3, expanded for 10 strings, was another * piece; such a creative item, which was played with great gusto and sensitivity, as necessary. Thought these were the highlights; we also heard Albinoni's Concerto for 2 oboes with SH and MO'D, Schrecker's Intermezzo and Scherzo, and Punto's Horn Concerto with PF. Of course being right at the front for part 2 likely affected my choice!! Got back to CAL at 11:55 and home at 12:30 after more de-icing of car. Un peu inquiet pour la santé de quelqu'un! J'espère qu'elle dormira bien avec de beaux rêves! Je trouve que ça aide toujours: beaucoup de bisous à la magnifique: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 10th: wild day weather-wise with SW gales, driving heavy rain and quite cool 7C max; last nite had to scrape ice off car when arrived back at HEX but thawed quickly on the grass before dawn. Waxwing flock in Elvaston, Hexham, now up to 14 at 15:00, feeding on berries in street; they sometimes get a little tipsy if the berries have fermented a bit! Made C4c4l and later HA4con where RNS were playing Grieg and Vivaldi. It was packed, maybe 800 there and had good seat; TG was dynamically leading the group with good assistance from IB, SR, DH, JC, who were particularly busy. We had a bassoon solo by Vivaldi, played soulfully by SR and a trumpet duo, also by Vivaldi, played dramatically from a high point by RM, MC. The other Vivaldi piece was the familiar Winter from the 4 Seasons. The Grieg music had great atmosphere and melody, comprising the Holberg Suite, Last Spring and SQ1, last scored for the 10 strings present, excluding double bass. Reception was very good, enjoyed by all!! Then off to HoN where, with M, had to look after A who accidentally (his story!) scooped up the staff's tips; he gave a significant bonus to get the smiles back!! 2moro it's the A-team in CUL after C4c4c, QH4CT, G4rw4t; have circular route planned; really looking forward to it!! So gorgeous she is: very tempting: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 9th: active day starting with R @ B4m4l where more pressure to become Vice-President Elect with service as President for 2021-2022. But declined – will take up far too much time and interfere with other interests. Made N4c4ll and later caught 18:21 ex Hex for NCL to Festival FR 2 at L&P. Concert was well attended and a brilliant showcase for the BAF!! All excelled with AR on violin, NB on cello, YK/AG on piano. Last piece was the best: Schulhoff's Duo for Violin and Cello, with dramatic sections throughout including presto fanatico for last movement!! Found Winterberg's Suite for Violin and Piano quite chilling and Beethoven's Violin and Piano Sonata op.30 provided a sound classical start to the programme! Met SK from Corbridge who was an old friend of late wife; I never realised her faith: we've always got on well! Went to VctCmt4g4t for aperitif and Br4g4s for nitecap!! Back on last train, which was again a museum piece, a Pacer, but service from HEX-NCL has in general improved with 2 fast trains an hour taking 32 min each and 1 slow train an hour, taking 46 min. Had a flock of 10 Waxwing in Elvaston, Hexham, at 15:00 and a flock of 30 Golden Plover over Houtley at 12:00. 2moro looking forward to concert in HEX by RNS, followed by regular HoN with IT mates! The last x was the best: fantastico: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

December 8th: working moderately hard today on bird stats:

Summary of New York bird records 13/1-15/1 2014. 19 species from 28 records, 2 complete lists, 2 places. No raptors seen but 4 species of gull: Ring-billed Gull, American Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull. Kumlien's (Iceland) Gull (adult).

Summary of US bird records 2014-2019: 71 species from 171 records, 13 complete lists, 10 places. 15 types of raptor, 5 types of gull.

Summary of World bird records 2019: 219 species from 2888 records, 144 complete lists, 187 places. 32 types of raptor. 10 types of gull.

So my world bird list so far this year is 219 types with 187 different places visited and 32 types of raptor found: quite a haul! UK total for year to date is 139 types (but Waxwing below is +1!).

Keeping up momentum on getting fully fit again. This morning cleared out masses of junk and took it to the Waste Transfer Station in HEX, where think I got everything in the right place! Slightly poignant putting cats' feeding bowls into moulded plastics section! I had intended to junk some blue bottles but they didn't want blue ones and realised they are antiques so cleared the wax off them (from past use as candles) with warm water and put them into the dish washer on a soft cycle for a gleaming finish: look lovely now on display!! Made *B4c4c, situated that end of town near bypass, which was a little boring! Weather was very wild last nite, 60kph SW, driving rain, 8c Max, 6C min. On Saturday had a Woodlark S at Ordley at 15:00, 2 Brambling on beech mast at Loughbrow at 14:45, 2 Waxwing feeding at Elvaston Hexham, at 14:30 and 28 Redwing feeding at Hexham S at 14:30. Made G4g4s where 5 of us out for good chat: thought the dommies players would be Con 4 Lab 0 but it was Con 3 Not Con 1, the dissenter thinking BJ is too untrustworthy for the position! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l and L&P4con; really looking forward to latter: will be a great occasion and hopefully recruit some more supporters!! CUL has an added attraction: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

December 7th: made C4c4l where usual high standard!! Have 'liked' on FB both my haunts for coffee in HEX at https://www.facebook.com/HexhamCostaCoffee/ and https://www.facebook.com/Caff%C3%A8-Nero-1635559896505009/?rf=105864106159281. Resumed active gardening, cutting back shrubs in front with hedge trimmer yesterday and clearing up debris in front this afternoon before strong winds forecast in next few days, which will blow it everywhere: always feel good after the exercise! 2moro it's taking a load of accumulated material (metal, electric appliances and cable, glass, batteries, light bulbs, etc) to the tip, aka the Recycling Centre. Quiet evening, didn't do a lot, but did finally watch on Film4 The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch as British cryptanalyst Alan Turing (1912-1954), father of computing and leader in code breaking of German intelligence messages in WW2. Keira Knightley played his fiancée, Joan Clarke, who he never married and was more a companion than a mate as Alan was gay, eventually being convicted and sentenced to chemical castration. He may have committed suicide about a year later but there's also a theory that he had an accident with the chemicals in his home. A tale of genius, bordering on insanity and unconventionality, but he was actually a very practical person, not only physically building the Enigma machine for decoding but also working at Manchester University after the war on building and programming early computers (Turing machines) for tackling major scientific problems in calculation. The film takes a lot of liberties with the flow of events but is still an excellent tribute to the man: he was possibly the greatest inventor of the 20th century, leading to IT as we know it today. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the lead role brilliantly with all its anguish, tension and triumphs. Most people today are horrified at the intolerance shown towards Turing's sexual needs.

Compiled some of bird records from New York in January 2014 on BirdTrack. Have done one day, just another 2 to go. Might as well get the North American records sorted! Have 3 concerts next week: Festival Monday, Hexham Abbey Tuesday, Cullercoats Wednesday!! Last is a bit strange but was given a ticket for it and it's easy enough on a long loop including CUL-MON-CAL. The RNS are playing different concerts at HEX and CUL. Also going to see the Philharmonix and may linger!! Nephew B has passed his violin exam grade 1 with distinction! Funds were -4k at end of a turbulent week, having been -11k at one point. The £ is soaring on expectation of a Con overall majority; I'm continuing to sell UK stocks at a profit and re-invest in international stocks, which are depressed (and still falling!) in £ terms. Hope the gorgeous one is as fit as ever: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

December 6th: did meet P at C4c4c for good chat, mainly on upcoming GE: back on good terms with tmsuo!! Much later made MP4m4t with N for good time b4 S4con where we say The Sixteen perform some exquisite singing to a packed H1 over 2 levels. The programme was well judged with fairly short songs in part 1 being followed by weightier items in part 2, including Lo, how a rose e'er blooming by Praetorius and Britten's A Ceremony of Carols. Very appreciative applause at end so well appreciated. Counted 20 singers – 8 soprano, 4 alto, 4 tenor, 4 bass – plus a harpist, 2 percussion and their excellent leader Henry Christophers. So an excellent evening! N joined me on train back to RDM, which was full to bursting: lots of office parties on tonite: he even did some shopping at S!! Had a quickie at W4g4s on return. Prime time did emerge with the gorgeous one: delighted with that: very warming: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

December 5th: final Colorado records after sorting Greater Scaup/Lesser Scaup and with addition of mammals:

total from 2/11-16/11, birds, 61 species from 143 records, 11 complete lists, 8 places, including raptors: 15 types, 54 birds: Red-tailed Hawk 23, Bald Eagle 10, Peregrine Falcon 3, Sharp-shinned Hawk 3, Northern Harrier 2, Rough-legged Hawk (Buzzard) 2, Merlin 2, Great Horned Owl 2, Osprey 1, Golden Eagle 1, Northern Goshawk 1, Ferruginous Hawk 1, American Kestrel 1, Prairie Falcon 1; Short-eared Owl 1.

and same period, locations, for mammals: 10 species from 15 records, 5 places. Deer – 105 Elk, 20 Mule Deer, 2 White-tailed Deer; Buffalo - 50 American Bison; Rodent – 50 Black-tailed Prairie Dog, 2 Cottontail Rabbit (possible Mountain form), 2 Grey Squirrel, 1 Wyoming Ground Squirrel; Mustelid – few Black-footed Ferret; Canine – few North American Coyote.

Final report on birds is here.

Report published by Rare Breeding Birds Panel (RBBP) in British Birds 112 (12) p.725 (2019) for Honey-buzzard in 2017. Classified as Rare in UK with 39 breeding pairs, 25-year trend showing strong increase +101%, moderate confidence in result. The relevant page is reproduced here; the text has been extracted below:

27-47 pairs. As others have suggested (e.g. Roberts & Law 2014), the UK Honey-buzzard population may be double the number of records submitted annually to the Panel. Consequently, raptor workers are planning a national survey in 2020, with the support of the RBBP, and this will include searching potential new sites. Much of what we know is based on on nests found, yet survey work in Central Scotland focused simply on identifying territories demonstrates the potential of this technique in establishing local population statistics. The counts from Perth & Kinross and Upper Forth contributed to the 2017 total of 47 pairs, being the highest reported since the previous survey in 2000-01. Derbyshire also recorded its first confirmed breeding in 2017.

Dental treatment was OK, rather got used to crown fittings with the endless impressions and drilling as they take off the top of the tooth, this one containing 2 old amalgam fillings, all in 25 minutes! Indeed complimented as ideal patient by lady dentist at end: never had that before! But certainly am good business! Actually she showed me the offending tooth before she started and very surprised it wasn't giving trouble! Temporary crown is still on tonite with final fitting of new porcelain crown in 2 weeks with 'superglue' (taking just 10 minutes) after it's been manufactured from the impressions.

Very mild and windy today with loads of debris on road tonite. Made C4c4l with upper left-hand lip still sagging, making coffee-drinking difficult but was desperate for a cuppa: did wait for it to cool down! Stayed local in the wild weather and had very good chat at G4g4s with 6 of us out and A showing well!! 2moro meeting P at C4c4c and later ex-RDM at MP4m4t with N, preceding S4con!! Enjoyed last nite: still have the glow: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 4th: busy day making T4c4c with M, QH4CT, G4g4t with B, TC4film. T + G went well as social events and at QH did yet more work on the music examples as topos. Film Marriage Story at TC was very absorbing, involving the drawn out and tense divorce process of a male theatre director, Charlie Barber, played by Adam Driver, and his actress wife, Nicole Barber, played by Scarlett Johannson, with their resilient 8-year old son in the middle: Henry (Harry) Barber, played by Azhy Robertson. Reasons for the divorce appeared to be drifting apart as Nicole's career moved to LA while her partner remained in NY but more importantly Charlie's disdain for Nicole's attempt to forge her own career. The partners were nearly bankrupted in the process of divorce by predatory lawyers, which brought back memories of my big sis' recent support for her niece (her late husband's sister's daughter) who sought custody of her daughter in TX from her alcoholic husband; they moved the case to CA as that state treated women more fairly but in the end it cost my sister US$150k to secure victory in the case, raised from investments. Her niece was born in Canada and the family there had little money; I'm sure she's right when she said her late husband would have approved of the expense. Back to the film, the couple do complete their divorce but with both advancing their careers some tenderness emerges at the end as Charlie moves to LA, Nicole's feelings for him return to some extent and Henry becomes more settled! So very moving!! Got back on last train to CAL on an erratic Metro with a strike on by RMT. Very passionate time with the gorgeous one: she's very talented: absolutely captivated: lok2tgrf!!!!!! 2moro it's dentist in Corbridge at 11:50 for drilling out the top of a tooth in preparation for fitting a crown; don't like to think about it too much so tonite was a brilliant diversion!! xxxx

December 3rd: check on Scaup species, piccies obtained and probability from literature suggests ones on ponds at the Arsenal and Fort Collins are Lesser Scaup and those on the reservoir, Lake Estes, are Greater Scaup; will make changes tomorrow. Had busy day at L&P refining examples of musical notation in CT; all coming along well but needs great care and not finished yet; the exercise is providing detailed information on general data structuring principles with CT, which is an important aim. Made CT4c4l (overloading on CT!) for 1st time in a while and enjoyed the break. Rather naughtily bought a ticket for next FR!! Did a bit more work than usual, catching 15:55 home, calling in at M&S in HEX! RDM station is having new sturdy shelters installed and went in on one of the new posher sets. Could well be back to CAL-NCL at 19:00 2moro for TC!! Made HoN4st4s with M/A; we had good chat; our vote is Con 0, Lab 3! Great to have M on!! 2moro at G4g4t it will be Con 1 with B strong supporter (like P, DT is their bible). Love the company: does increase the warmth: lok2tgrf!!!!!!

December 2nd: finished initial process of Colorado records with result below; need to do final check, including Scaup records.

Colorado total from 2/11-16/11, 60 species from 143 records, 11 complete lists, 8 places, including raptors: 15 types, 54 birds: Red-tailed Hawk 23, Bald Eagle 10, Peregrine Falcon 3, Sharp-shinned Hawk 3, Northern Harrier 2, Rough-legged Hawk (Buzzard) 2, Merlin 2, Great Horned Owl 2, Osprey 1, Golden Eagle 1, Northern Goshawk 1, Ferruginous Hawk 1, American Kestrel 1, Prairie Falcon 1; Short-eared Owl 1.

Election result HEX from last time https://electionresults.parliament.uk/election/2017-06-08/results/Location/Constituency/Hexham:

Guy Opperman Con 24,996 54.1 1.4

Stephen Powers Lab 15,760 34.1 9.2

Fiona Hall LD 3,285 7.1 0.3

Wesley Foot * Green 1,253 2.7 -2.9

Stuart Miles * UKIP 930 2.0 -7.9

So for fighting Brexit, best to vote tactically for Lab, which have done today! Don't really expect Lab to win Hexham but it's still the best option. Out in G tonite where 5 of us got onto GE: 2 Con, 3 Lab! One had been canvassing in Hexham E, a relatively deprived area, and he said they were rallying to Lab after last time's indifference.

Very pleased to hear from someone!! Hope the gorgeous one keeps fit!! It's some work 2moro on topos/music at L&P with RDM ex 10:05. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

December 1st: made a lot of progress on 15/11 at Denver, labelling the piccies and uploading them to server. Next stage is to index them and add the records to BirdTrack. Weather has been sunny but cold and damp, max 0C, min -2C, with car again a s.d to clear! G was good fun, 7 of us out for good crack!! Did some more consolidation on topos/music paper; may well come into L&P on Tuesday to push it forward a bit more! On Monday it's R @ B4m4l and G4g4s. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Spend for Colorado trip came to £2838, including fees £304 (RRF conference and field trips £293, ESTA £11), accommodation £1482 (including some meals charged on hotel card; Hilton Fort Collins was total £808), travel £733 (from Newcastle, air fare LHR-DEN rtn £378), meals £213 (charged on credit card), cash £106 (not much call for that, gratuities charged to credit or hotel card). These costs are for single person, going as 2 would not cost double if you share a bed!! Hotels charge per room, some including breakfast.

November 30th: added Estes Park 13/11 to BirdTrack, giving summary data below: getting there slowly!

Colorado running totals from 2/11-16/11, still 15/11-16/11 to add: 58 species from 129 records, 10 complete lists, 8 places, including raptors: 14 types, 49 birds: Red-tailed Hawk 21, Bald Eagle 8, Peregrine Falcon 3, Sharp-shinned Hawk 3, Northern Harrier 2, Rough-legged Hawk (Buzzard) 2, Merlin 2, Great Horned Owl 2, Osprey 1, Golden Eagle 1, Northern Goshawk 1, Ferruginous Hawk 1, American Kestrel 1, Prairie Falcon 1.

Cold today but sunny, max 0C, min -2C, frost early and later. Have had some Lesser Redpoll in last 2 days on alder/birch mast: 25 at Hexham on 29/11, 20 at Ordley on 30/11. C4c4l was entertaining: pleased to meet trhwso and tbld again, both looking good!! Managed to read FT for 1st time for a while: think it's over-focused on US valuations, which are high for tech stocks, rather than out of favour commodity stocks; expecting a correction in all markets shortly after start of 2020 but maybe continuing rally until then. Quite a lot does depend on future course of Brexit in UK. I'm voting on Monday by post; current thinking is to vote Labour as like (and know) their candidate Penny Grennan https://www.hexham-courant.co.uk/news/17547949.hexham-constituency-labour-party-select-local-candidate/; she's got good hair! It's a solid Con seat but Labour are in respectable 2nd place and LibDems a distant 3rd. A good showing by Lab is essential to deny the Con an overall majority and so thwart speedy Brexit. We (6 of us) had great dinner at W; N did make it; chat was brill and food was good but took ages to arrive as large group arrived late, just before us. We were only charged for main course with starters, sweets and coffee free, making cost £14! Not bad: had soup, turkey and Xmas pudding plus a couple of g which did pay for separately! 2moro will go for a walk, maybe make C4c4ll and definitely make G4g4s!! It's ETx2 2moro but not for me; like *W and most film music but ET is a little soppy! lok2t gorgeous one and sweet dreams: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 29th: have labelled the piccies from 13/11 at Estes Park, uploaded them to the server and indexed about ½ of them. So expect to finish analysis of this day tomorrow! Made W4g4s where 5 of us out; tomorrow at 19:30 is our annual Xmas dinner, also in the Welly at RM; we're hoping N will recover in time to make our party 6 strong! We didn't leave the pub until 00:30! It's been a hard frost tonight, 1st of season, only down to -1C but so much moisture around, freezing on road, that took safe gritted route through HEX rather than cut through the ungritted back lanes. But having a lot of sunshine is a great tonic; postman was delighted after driving around for a week in the gloom. Earlier made C4c4l where warmer atmosphere: *B everywhere in Colorado is not a patch on C!! Funds had a good week at +7k, giving on year +72k gross, +55k net. But they were 4k higher on Thursday at new high for year. Some of fall today was fun and games with hedge funds using end-month settlements and thinness of markets with Thanksgiving Day/Black Friday to get some spectacular movements! Still hoping for dream outcome in GE with Con and Lab both in minority but with a Lab-led group in majority to set-up the Brexit referendum: it's looking a little more likely! Not into NCL until next Friday for concert but may be in before then – L&P and TC! xxxxx XXX for the gorgeous one!!!!

November 28th: another crown looms on upper left, suspect my dentist thinks I'm a rich sadomasochist! In grade 3, cost is £269, even on NHS, with appointments on 5/12 and 19/12. Boots was cheaper: £0 for a flu jab from a charming pharmacist; strolled out into C4c4l where met P/M for good chat; tmsuo was particularly so: she knows I went to Colorado but still looked reproachful!! No reaction from the jab, not even stiffness in left arm and headache! On train into NCL where made MP4m4t on own as N ill! Think the staff were a bit bemused by my priorities when dining on own: à la carte, not set menu, have exactly what you fancy: pizza piccante, tiramisu; 2x250 rw, not 1x250, wash the meal down well; chat up the charming waitress and leave big gratuity!! So total cost was £40 against £50 for the 2 of us! Really enjoyed concert in Small is Beautiful series, led by TG, supported by G-AM, MG, DH, KN, SA and others. Favourite was Britten's SQ 3, composed shortly before he died; had some really sombre passages, including simulated bells, and lovely harmonies. Tchaikovsky's Souvenir of Florence for 6 players was the most lively work with plenty of action and lots of pizzicato. Wolf's Italian Serenade was an appropriate opener for a concert entitled The Italian Job. Back on last train: it's stopped raining and saw the sun briefly today, first time in the week I've been back in the NE. Top bonus of nite was reunion with someone: very happy at that: she's so gorgeous: xxxxx XXX: lok2tgrf!!!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l, W4g4s and processing of Estes Park records for 13/11. Did get quite a lot of work done on topos/music paper on the long flights to/from US; have completed nearly all the revised topos diagrams, which is great progress; needs some consolidation and checking over the weekend. xxxx

November 27th: added Estes Park 12/11 to BirdTrack, giving summary data below: getting there!

Colorado running totals from 2/11-16/11, still 13/11 and 15/11 to add: 54 species from 111 records, 9 complete lists, 8 places, including raptors: 14 types, 43 birds: Red-tailed Hawk 19, Bald Eagle 6, Peregrine Falcon 3, Northern Harrier 2, Rough-legged Buzzard (Hawk) 2, Merlin 2, Sharp-shinned Hawk 2, Osprey 1, Golden Eagle 1, Northern Goshawk 1, Ferruginous Hawk 1, Great Horned Owl 1, American Kestrel 1, Prairie Falcon 1.

Also added data from the walk along the Thames at Wandsworth (17 bird-types). Always good to get data registered: next up is 13/11, the remaining Estes Park visit. Busy social day, meeting M at T4c4c, P at Golden Dragon 4m4l and B at G4g4t; made QH late afternoon while cleaner S in house; think I ought to get a pamphlet printed on Colorado visit and distribute it to save breath! 2moro is health day: dental check-up at 11 in Corbridge, flu jab at 12 in Boots, Hexham, followed by lengthy recuperation at C4c4l. Later making MP4m4t on own as N says he's got a cold, can indulge more! Then to S2 for The Italian Job: should be good! Think I'm classified as Trouble with a capital T, putting a few things together: probably true!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 26th: have completed indexing of piccies from 12/11 Estes Park; just need to add totals to BirdTrack now. Hope to complete all the US records quickly so not left lying around in random places for a while! Made C4c4l for relaxing lunchtime. Funds doing better at moment, from spreadsheet: 'new record for year 26/11/19 +71k gross, -26k from all-time high'; hopes that the Con will win the GE are boosting domestic stocks but not so convinced myself and selling into strength at a decent profit; other hopes are that China and US will come to some sort of trade deal which more convinced about as Trump has an election next year so accruing global resource stocks. IT mates not out tonight so it was out for change to BH4st4s; haven't been for a while but very good reception on all fronts so should repeat; evidently you can just get a drink off the last train from NCL, now at 23:12, if you hurry!! It's a very seductive village: such harmony: was captivated: lok2tmso!!!!! 2moro is HEX based: it's T4c4c with M, maybe C4c4l with P, and G4g4t with B!!

November 25th: back to familiar haunts – N4c4l and G4g4s – so settling back into the way of life in HEX! Don't think I've seen the sun since return; today was again gloomy with drizzle from time to time. Worked on records for 12/11 from Estes Park; this was a very big day on the trip; hope to index the piccies 2moro. N was quiet but G was very busy with 5 of us out and M on; people are interested in what Colorado was like: it's not routine! Some at G had just seen NCL lose at football to AV: they were not impressed! House is lovely and warm, very cosy and the bed is very welcoming!! 2moro have to post a big parcel (medium size, 4kg) to BigBlu with my old satellite equipment, which is so old it's just a load of junk; think it's just a bit of penance really! May well go to C4c4l and BH4ra4s!! lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 24th: big Festival evening with 1st fundraising concert at StJStB; great credit to all concerned, went off brilliantly with AR/YK starring in the music, assisted by IB/LO'D. People I spoke to were very impressed with the performance and looking forward to the Festival itself. We had 2 violin/piano duets of Beethoven, a Winterberg piece (1st performance?), a violin duo of Ligeti, an Xmas song on piano of Dohnanyi, and good publicity for the music and play coming up in the Festival: nice balance! Church put on some rw b4 and after, which was appreciated. Did give generously at 0.050k. Great social later back at YK's with marvellous atmosphere!! This week's concert is on Thursday in S2. So not been in G yet: am I a reformed personality?? Did make C4c4ll again where very pleased 2 c tbld!! House and car are fully stocked now. Have copied all files/piccies/data from the Colorado trip to my main computer, where forwarded to external drives and servers. Will start catching up on the trip piccies 2moro. Something was maybe a little surreal but did very much enjoy the untouchable's company: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 23rd: quite a long day at S with Samling Singers having masterclasses from 13:30-16:15 and a concert from 17:15-18:15, all with N. Thought it all went well; evidently they were practising hard at a secluded place all week. The 3 judges in the classes took a varying approach from concentrating on the words and their meaning for reinterpretation to the actual phrasing from a technical viewpoint in the singing, similar in a way but from different perspectives. The concert had great variety and the singers were very confident and relaxed, after their earlier close examinations. The 3 pianists doing the accompaniment are specialists in the Samling scheme, skilled at providing the supporting role to singers. They were very confident and had great empathy with the singers (as expected!). Realised that although credited as a Friend as Brian R, that hadn't paid this year as made a one-off payment last year. So will set up a STO for £60 a year to them next week plus gift aid declaration. Although based in HEX the only Samling employee that I met from the town was serving the wine: how very appropriate! It was a gastronomic feast with tuna sandwich for lunch, carrot cake for t and quiche for supper, with a little rw! Train back was a Saturday nite special to CAR with police to see us off and a lot of rowdy singing by the lads but no incidents! Once home lit the pre-laid coal-stove fire and at last really warm in the house. Having had 6 beds so far this month (sleeping around!) I have to get my bearings every time I wake up! Nite ended enthusiastically: definitely gr8 rapport with the gorgeous one: deeply motivating: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! 2moro it's final catch-up from trip, getting fire lighters and kindling, having ordered mixture of coal supplies yesterday (smokeless, doubles for lighting). Hope to make C4c4l complete with FT and will certainly be at StJStB4con, travelling in the crate!! xxxxx

November 22nd: after collecting new specs from PO made the car parts place and then C4c4l where welcomed back! New specs have high-quality varifocal lenses and they're amazing; got them over the web from Glasses Direct for £132 on a recent prescription from Specsavers and when I first put them on outside the PO, thought I haven't seen so clearly over all distances for ages!! I wondered how they would do the inter-pupil distance: you place a bank card on the top of your eyebrows, take a selfie and send it off as an image file to the opticians! Made MP4m4t with N where also welcomed back: we had good catch-up there, being late out as lost track of time. Concert was brilliant: so nice to get some new pieces, played enthusiastically and skilfully by the RNS, who were minus AY (off to Hallé but no flutes anyway!) but + Eoin Andersen (triallist leader). Had chat with BC in the interval: he's enjoying the space. The Mozart Serenata notturna was very smooth. Favourite piece for me was Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, which had some lovely poetry, beautiful horn playing (Peter Francomb), eloquent singing (Joshua Ellicott) and evocative playing by the orchestra: marvellous!! After the interval we had the mysterious Illumine by modern composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta by Bartók. Latter was incredibly lively after a sombre first movement, with novel instrumentation. We though an encore of the Sugar Plum Fairy on the Celesta would have been appropriate! Both of the new faces – the leader and the conductor Christian Schumann – impressed me (but that won't count for much!). Back on last train to RDM. Nite had a gr8 ending: surprising how soon back in the rhythm: anticipation was high: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf xxxxx XXX!!!!! 2moro it's Samling Singers from 13:30-18:15 in S2 with N, with lunch there b4 and supper later. Have 11:42 ex HEX which is pretty irregular! And 20:33 back! Funds this week are up 5k gross, 4k net, after 1k withdrawal including final managed funds total, which make up a larger proportion now (£225k). There was a move back to international stocks today and the £ fell: not something expected with the Con so far ahead in the polls. Gain on year is 65k gross, 48k net. xxxx

November 21st: last leg of return journey went smoothly, leaving EAL at 10:25 by Pic UG to KGX, where caught 11:30 to NCL, getting in at 14:50, 10 min late due to late start (trespasser on line!). Was booked into coach D but far more room in coach C so moved there. Then up to NCL Airport to collect car, which started 1st time and no problems except a rear light has gone, which may try and get fixed at Halfords, Kingston Park, 2moro afternoon. But that's crazy: next day bought 4 tail bulbs for £4 total at a local supplier AV Taylor in Hexham, compared to £3.50 each at Halfords + £10 fitting each, and replaced the one faulty bulb myself in 20 min (next one will be 10 min!): all working now and have some spares! Drove to W in HEX for mega-shopping and then to home, which was pretty cold even with electric heating left on in background state. Lit 8kw coal-fired stove and place is warming up rapidly! TV didn't work: loose cables suggested some experimentation by house minders while away but quickly fixed and re-tuned. Couldn't turn down invitation to pub so off to HoN with M/A for long chat about Colorado and the world of computing!! Had great greeting on arrival with the gorgeous one: much appreciated: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro it's concert with RNS in evening preceded by MP4m4t with N. It's RDM-NCL at 16:05; later will make W4g4s off last train! xxxx

November 20th: went for walk at Osterley NT with sis where we saw masses of birds from 13:45-15:50, some 27 types but no raptors in sunny but cool weather 6C max; had lunch there, inside – very civilized! Piccies are mainly of recent introduced colonists: Mandarin 1w male 1  2  3 female 1 (total 8); Egyptian Goose 1  2 (total 4), but also had a single Great Crested Grebe 1, 24 Tufted Duck, 7 Cormorant, 10 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 1 Teal, 6 Redwing, 10 Ring-necked Parakeet. 2 types of mammal were noted: 6 Mole, 3 Grey Squirrel. Then onto KGX by UG using Central line for a change with travel problems due to Oxford Circus being closed; had to queue on Holborn platform missing 2 Piccadilly trains before getting on in Sardine-like conditions for 2 stops to KGX! Met son at restaurant in KP where we had long and indulgent meal, coming to 116.67 which we split 111.67 to 5.00; his flat is coming on well, might be able to stay there soon. At Xmas we're staying with sis in Ealing with day itself in Kingston. So good to get things settled; he might do the cooking, one of his natural skills! Stopped on way home at Shanakee, an Irish pub, near EAL and had a g: very tasty, would probably be my local if lived here!! Might go to see Brian Cox on 14/1!! So really is RTN 2moro if get up in time: it's been a long trip, very exciting, but do feel very much like meeting warm friends again!!! lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

November 19th: went for a tour today of relation's houses, first in morning to niece's in Battersea Reaches at Plantation Wharf 1 alongside the Thames where she's a leaseholder of a 2-bedroom flat; a walk along the Thames from 11:45-12:50 produced 17 bird species, including a Great Crested Grebe 1, 2 Grey Heron and an Egyptian Goose. Weather was weak sunshine, dry, cool 6C. Sis drove us down and we had lunch there before driving me to Turnham Green where caught UG to Richmond and 65 bus to Kingston to meet daughter's family; they're having an extension put on top of their house, to make it 4-bedroomed 1, which gives better views of Richmond Park behind. Stayed there for hours, enjoying grandchildrens' company, finally catching 65 bus back at 23:00 to Ealing and E10 bus to sis's house: a busy enjoyable day with relations! Watched the TV PM debate with daughter and son-in-law: could work our allegiances from relations seen during visit: LibDems 2, Green 1, Labour 3, Con 0. Think we can add nationalisation of railways to wish list! 2moro seeing son at Rotunda, restaurant in Kings Place, in evening; then glorious return beckons ex KGX 11:30!!! Can't wait: lok2tgrf!!!!!!

November 18th: sis & I went for lunch and walk at Burnham Beeches at 7C in the sunshine from 12:25-14:45; we had good chat; added 2 raptors to my trip list: Red Kite (6) and Common Buzzard (2)! 5 of the Red Kite were on the M40 at J2. In total of 16 species also had 10 Mandarin (4 drake, 6 immature/female). Recovering quickly from jetlag and feeling much fitter by evening. Excitement is building for return; first though catching up with niece, daughter + family, and son with tomorrow trip to niece's flat alongside the Thames near Chiswick and daughter's house at Kingston, which is having an extra level built on top of it at the moment! Hope the gorgeous one is feeling good: lok2tgrf xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 17th: landed on time at 07:45 in thick fog at LHR; fetched by sis at Northfields at 08:55 on UG; all travel worked out well, good for Delta! Now for a bit of real sleep: with thoughts xxxxx XXX for the gorgeous one!!!!! Yes impressed with Delta; they look after you well and are punctual. Their incentives for people to upgrade means that the main part of the cabin is quiet; I had 2 seats to myself on flight out from LHR and into LHR which makes it a little more comfortable. Having said that I find travel W no problem as nite person but suffer badly on Flight to E as don't even feel sleepy until last 2-3 hours of flight as closing in on London. A couple of glasses of red wine did not help nor did listening to music – Elgar's Enigma, Dvorak 9, Brahms 1 – so got off plane a little rough but LHR was so quiet that sailed through it to the UG. Watched on the plane back the film Anna, starring a Russian assassin and femme fatale played by Sasha Luss a very attractive lady of that nationality; there were so many people dead but total did not include the heroine whose death was faked at the end to set her free; must say she looked very beautiful!! Feeling brighter by evening after sleep to 14:00 and processed piccies for 12/11, adding them to server.

Did quite a lot of research on US political attitudes but not very balanced as couldn't really find a Trump supporter to quiz. I don't see the US leading the way in climate action: their lifestyle is matched to conspicuous consumption in everything, including petrol for cars, energy for heating and air conditioning, food such as meat, large houses set out in the middle of nowhere (guilty of that myself!). Nobody walks anywhere and gas-guzzling SUVs are very popular. My worry is that BJ is following Trump's lead with weak regulation and profit before responsibility so Europe's reasonable reputation on climate action is going to be severely weakened. While there some governor results were announced with the Republicans doing badly: Nebraska going Democrat was a major shock. There was some talk of Trump retiring early in 2020 to be replaced by another (less-tainted) populist. Don't think that will help the planet! In any case the Democrats would never get into office by placing tax on petrol: there would be riots! Hope many young people turn out at our elections to support either the LibDems, Labour or Green. My son has joined the Green Party! Nationalising OpenReach (a horribly incompetent business) and water (asset stripping on a grand scale) are entirely justifiable.

For raptors electrocution is now the single biggest cause of premature death on the planet due to endless miles of poorly constructed overhead cables being rolled out into wilderness areas. Some of this but not all is for windfarms. The remedy is not difficult: place the cables further apart and add an insulation strip to the top cable. Besides raptors bats also suffer hugely from windfarms, being struck by the blades. So everything is complex and the move to renewable energy is suffering in some countries such as Germany where the risks to wildlife are well documented. This is another case of irresponsible profit with power companies reluctant to make their cabling safe for wildlife because they want to save money. Of course you shouldn't really fly but that's a difficult one!! xxxx

Final birds seen in Colorado on 16/11 were 2 skeins of Cackling Goose, totalling c60, moving S, in sunny, dry weather at 10:10. No more raptors at close to tour.

November 15th: not quite 20C but did make 17C max, light W breeze, dry, sunny in afternoon, 5C min. In spite of good weather, not nearly so many birds around as on 3/11 when did think the ameliorating weather and late season gave almost ideal conditions for seeing migrants. Out today from 11:15-15:30 including a lengthy break in Starbucks and another bagel with soft cheese! Highlight today was the passage of Cackling Goose S with total of 214 counted in daytime moving 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8, in small V-shaped flocks, giving high-pitched calls; the largest flock was 110; some more were moving overhead in the dark, maybe 50, as went out for supper at 20:00. Piccies 7, 8 of Cackling Goose also show at 11:48 a single Greater White-fronted Goose moving S but detached from the main group. Also had 24 Canada Goose S at 12:38 plus a local movement of 37 1  2. Raptors comprised 4 Red-tailed Hawk (as pair to NE at 13:25 1 and 2 local singles at 11:40 1  2  3 and 13:05 4  5  6  7), 2 Bald Eagle (adult S at 11:41 1  2  3  4  5, juvenile perched at 12:25 6  7), a Short-eared Owl (same as our species of that name) perched on a post at 15:06 in the prairie to E 1  2  3  4, a new raptor for trip, bringing total to 15. Other birds were 4 Mallard, 127 Feral Pigeon 1, 12 Starling, 3 House Sparrow, 11 Western Meadowlark 1, 4 Brown-headed Cowbird, a Ring-billed Gull adult N, so 13 bird-types altogether. Had another Cottontail Rabbit (possible Mountain form). Supper was good with pork chop and plenty of sautéed vegetables, washed down with a couple of Nitro, water and coffee! Cost was $44 including tip of $7. Have checked in: DL1779, DEN to MPS, 1:47pm-4:38pm; DL10, MPS to LHR, 5:44pm-7:45am next day! Spent a few hours analysing Buchans' massive amount of paper work on their demerger and listing! As ever valuing is not easy but minimum of 142k looks probable, with initial depression of price as some holders rush to get some cash out. Against that there will be strategic buying by some investors looking to acquire a stake and junior miners are due a recovery on any improvement in the trade war position. Looking forward to bringing substantial assets back into play!! Funds this week were unchanged; now have 226k in managed funds and have mainly selected large companies for individual equity investments. But do have the odd wager for significant upside!! So maybe c u n Thursday: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

November 14th: sunny again with max 14C, min 3C. Did return to DEN getting shuttle at 12:15 from Hotel Estes to the Airport; I then got the free Best Western shuttle to the same hotel as before: Best Western DIA Inn and Apartments. The shuttle from Estes was very interesting; I was the only passenger and sat upfront with the driver who in 2 hours gave me an excellent guide's view of Colorado; gave him $10 as it felt like an individual ride! Out in the field from 16:10-17:15 with sun setting about 16:50 in the prairie, designated as Commercial Land, to E of Tower Road. Had roosts of Starling 1 of 135, House Sparrow 1  2 of 30 and Feral Pigeon of 75, all European colonists! Did get some interesting raptors: 2 Northern Harrier from 16:29-16:34 (ringtail 1  2  3  4 and male 1), a Great Horned Owl 1  2 on same post as last time at 16:48, a Rough-legged Hawk 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8 flying in flap-flap-glide mode towards complex at 16:30; the Rough-legged Hawk (Buzzard) is the closest of the North American Buteo to our Common Buzzard in plumage. The ponds near the hotel had thawed and contained 5 Mallard with some Canada Geese heard from a distant pond and 2 Cackling Goose moving S at 16:17 1  2  3. Total was 9 bird types. Mammals comprised 4 Mule Deer 1 and a Cottontail Rabbit 1  2 (possible Mountain form). Have labelled these piccies and uploaded to server so just need indexing and adding to BirdTrack. Also had 2 Red-tailed Hawk on way from Estes to Denver at Lyons and Lafayette. Back to Holiday Inn for supper: a couple of Nitro, some chilli soup, a spicy burrito and coffee, all for $48 including $7 tip. Very hungry, rather lost appetite at Estes, a sign of mild altitude sickness. Also have some chilblains on ankles and right knee flared up for 24 hours after walk at -12C (cold muscles) but recovered quickly again after 2 long hot baths thinking of the world!! So last day in field tomorrow with maximum forecast to reach 20C in Airport area. Really looking forward to return: am feeling fit after all the exercise: lok2tgrf: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 13th: sunny all day with fresh breeze at dawn steadily declining to light W by dusk, max 7C, min -5C; when out always feels chilly except when in the sun at midday; my younger sister has been watching the weather and she says it's not beach weather! The low humidity plays hell with your skin! Today did move to E end of lake, with these peaks in view throughout 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8, for another long walk from 11:30-15:45 when retired to the Pizza in New York place for an excellent pizza and some beer. Views to the NW included these grasslands 1 and the mountains 1 and to N included these crags 1. Fairly quiet until late in session when a flurry of activity by passerines and raptors. Had 2 Bald Eagle S (one adult so impressive coming overhead at 14:30 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14, a juvenile at 15:13 15) and a Sharp-shinned Hawk S at 13:30 over the peaks that I'd identified yesterday as good for giving orographic lift. Also seen were 2 Red-tailed Hawk, clearly not afraid of altitude, and looking in territory at 14:59 1  2  3  4  5  6. A Loggerhead Shrike by a rough area by the river was a very interesting find 1 where also had very close-up views of a female/1w Ring-necked Duck 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8. 2 Two-barred Crossbill flew S out of some conifers. In area visited today the conifers were taller and closer together as dropped slightly in altitude. Other species today were 8 Sagebrush Sparrow (in flock near hotel), 16 Feral Pigeon, 12 American Crow, including flock of 11 1  2  3  4  5  6, 6 Raven, 1 Magpie 1, 34 Clark's Nutcracker, including a flock of 19, 1 Red Crossbill, 1 Black-headed Grosbeak 1  2, 2 American Robin 1, 6 Red-winged Blackbird, 1 Cassin's Kingbird 1. Went out again at dusk from 17:00-17:45 up the Elk Trail. Did get an owl calling, a Great Horned Owl, with mixture of disyllabic and monosyllabic hoots at 17:30; thought at first it might have been a Barred Owl, a keen subject at the raptor conference as it's been expanding its range rapidly and interfering with other owl species, particularly the threatened Spotted Owl but still rare in Colorado and didn't have the variation of that species in its calls. Also considered Long-eared Owl but that species doesn't tend to call in the autumn and its hoots are longer. The Great Horned Owl is evidently the commonest owl in Colorado https://www.coloradovirtuallibrary.org/resource-sharing/state-pubs-blog/colorados-owl-species/. Raptor species count remains at 14. Total for day was 18 bird-types. Had one rodent, a Wyoming Ground Squirrel, an unstriped small grey ground squirrel, running on the road near the Pizza restaurant. The Elk Trail contains some very posh, well spaced mansions but the roads are public so they cannot throw anyone out who's keeping off their gardens. What is really obvious is that Americans drive everywhere in very large cars; petrol was $2.75 a gallon which calculate as 56p a litre (128p in UK). Cheap fuel is absolutely vital to fund the American dream which means that taxing fossil fuels is off the agenda and the massive growth in shale supplies is essential to stop OPEC dictating oil prices; baffled by the shale boom as it's been largely loss-making: why do investors throw their money at it? Is there some sneaky subsidy? Whatever oil at say $85 a barrel, currently $62, would not be tolerated by the nation. Slipping a bit on the documentation but not out of hand! Did find a video motivating: she's very talented: lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!! 2moro it's back on the bus at 13:00 to BW near DEN: the return starts!! xxxx

November 12th: rapid temperature swing did take place, going from -6C to 11C in 4 hours in the sunshine this morning as wind went from N to W. It was also superb conditions for raptors with a W breeze of 20 mph and had some migrants with single Rough-legged Hawk at 11:50 (same as our Rough-legged Buzzard), Bald Eagle adult at 12:47 1  2 and Sharp-shinned Hawk at 13:05 1 (similar to our Sparrowhawk) moving S; some of the migrants in Colorado originate from Alaska. Resident raptors comprised 2 Peregrine Falcon (to E and N 1 of town), a Sharp-shinned Hawk (to E of town), a Prairie Falcon 1 (to N of town, the mystery bird at the Peregrine site 1 yesterday, related fairly closely to Peregrine Falcon). So that's 7 raptors of 5 types, 3 new for trip, bringing total to 14. E of town included these peaks 1  2 which going to study more closely 2moro. Initial visit this morning was to the estate area of Estes Park with aptly named Elk Trail/Coyote Run roads 1, extensive grassland 1 and meadows 1. In the distance the mountains were striking 1. Common Raven were common with 10 noted 1  2  3  4  5 and on Estes Lake 1  2 there were 8 Greater Scaup (7 shown here 1) and 4 Mallard 1. Also had some mainly colourful passerines emerging from cover: 6 House Finch 1  2  3  4, 1 Black-headed Grosbeak 1, 1 Steller's Jay 1, 1 American Robin 1  2, 2 Mountain Chickadee 1  2. Also seen in total of 17 types were 13 American Crow, 7 Feral Pigeon, 2 Canada Goose, 3 Clark's Nutcracker. Had long walk from 11:20-16:20 to take advantage of conditions but that included an hour in Starbucks to warm up a bit! Mammal-wise had close encounter with a buck Mule Deer 1  2  3 but the Elk have moved to another golf-course (evidently!). However, here's some droppings 1! 2moro thinking of going E of the town as the peaks there had some raptor passage activity! Starting to anticipate return: have 3 concerts in row from 22/11-24/11: lok2tgrf!!!!!! There's a lot of politics on US TV though adverts occupy most of the schedule! Interested to see that Colorado was a swing state but is more solidly Democrat now with an influx of tech businesses; it's not the typical mid-west state anymore. xxx

November 11th: totals from 2/11-9/11 on the plain are 38 species from 63 records, 5 complete lists, 5 places. Raptors: 9 types, 30 birds: Red-tailed Hawk 17, Bald Eagle 5, Merlin 2, Osprey 1, Goshawk 1, Northern Harrier 1, Ferruginous Hawk 1, Great Horned Owl 1, American Kestrel 1.

Weather was a little cool this morning at 08:00 at -12C, sunny, calm, 2cm of snow (not much!). Overall today it was max 1C, min -13C, with brilliant sunshine all day but a very chilly airstream from N. 2moro they're forecasting a 30F (17C) temperature swing upwards mid-morning in 6 hours, after another very hard frost tonite, as winds go round to the S again and no more snow is forecast in my stay. The mountains looked very beautiful at dawn 1  2  3  4  5  6. Against my better judgment yesterday, did go out for walk at 12:00 at -7C; snow had melted quickly and sun was bright but it was still amazingly cold with camera working slowly and biro pens not working at all. Ted Baker coat was very warm and also had Berghaus gloves and hat but no scarf. By 15:00 when finished it was up to 1C. I went for a walk along Elk Trail, a road giving access to many posh lodges. Didn't see any Elk but did have another good showing of Common Raven 5 (3 on crags, 2 feeding locally) and America Crow (21). Highlight was 2 Peregrine Falcon in territorial dispute over crag to N at 12:49 with another falcon (brownish, to be identified), amazing high-pace chase not captured by low-pace camera (and photographer!) but here's habitat 1  2  3. Golden Eagle and Peregrine Falcon were the most featured in talks at RRF so good that I've found some in the broad areas that they cover. Up to 11 raptor species now. Also had 2 Mallard S, 2 Mountain Chickadee, 6 Pine Siskin (similar to ours but not same), 1 Hairy Woodpecker. So 7 bird-types, 3 new. Went to Starbucks 4 late lunch, where had a bagel, soft cheese, cappuccino. Day had another highlight: as strolling back in the dark at 19:00 from a trip to Rambo's Longhorn Liquor Store heard some high-pitched howling from the Elk Trail visited earlier: no wolves here but coyotes: marvellous: it pays to go out in the dark! Bought some Nitro at the Store; it's Colorado's answer to Guinness, which they also sold but Nitro was $2 more for 6-pack! Said I'd try some and report back! So might be sitting outside tomorrow; hope it all goes well in the big city: lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 10th: compiled all totals from 2/11-9/11 on the plain, waiting for BirdTrack to provide aggregates! Settled bill with Hilton in Fort Collins of $999.16 for 6 nights and a few bevvies! Uber driver Pablo arrived quickly and we sailed off into the mountains. As we got into the steep gorge leading into Estes he started to panic a little as his navigator stopped working; indeed it didn't come back as we got into the open again but fortunately Google Maps was working well on my 'phone and we made Hotel Estes with no problem. Took an hour, climbed 2500 feet and cost $57 + 14 tip, not bad but quote from here to the Airport is $100 as there's no Uber base and it's 80 miles; booked a shuttle for $55. Hotel Estes checked me in early at 12:15 and I went for long walk from 12:30-16:00, mainly around Lake Estes. Now up to 7,500 feet asl with patchy snow around: it's very beautiful! Here's piccies of mountains 1  2  3  4  5  6  7, lake 1  2  3  4 (last showing residual ice), a strange cloud 1. Today up here it's been 14C max, -9C min with big freeze last night in clear skies. At 23:00 it's about to snow for several hours at -6C so think Monday is a rest-day! So what have I seen: plenty of Elk (105), including stags, down by the golf course 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11, with prominent warning sign 12, ignored by some 7 trying to get piccies on their 'phones! Also good was 1 Golden Eagle 1, in rugged habitat 1 bought up by irritation at displaying Common Raven (same as ours), bringing raptor list to 10! Common Raven were indeed that being seen around a peak to N 1  2  3 at 13:26, 13:59, 14:40, habitat here 1, and a peak to SE 1  2  3 at 14:15 and 14:29, also occupied by Golden Eagle, with habitat here 1; total for Raven was 12, many displaying! Other Corvids were 13 American Crow 1 and a Black-billed Magpie (same as ours). Memories of the Alps were revived with the number of Nutcracker around: 69 Clark's Nutcracker 1  2, largest flock 45. Water birds comprised 2 Canada Goose 1 (everywhere location-wise!), 2 Mallard, 3 Greater Scaup. European colonists comprised 4 Feral Pigeon, 3 House Sparrow (1 male, 2 female). Other passerines were 6 Redpoll, 6 Red Crossbill (same as our Common Crossbill), 8 Mountain Chickadee. Total was 13 species, 7 new for the trip. Had pizza at a local roadside place, not bad, well cooked and a few beers washed it down well. Not quite at the outer limits of trip, planning walk on Wednesday into the sparse conifer forest surrounding Estes; should be good, no grizzly bears around here (extinct in 1920s) but there are the smaller black bears with 10,000-12,000 in Colorado. Delighted to hear from someone!!! I'm sure she's looking great: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

November 9th: warm today at 20C max, all-day sunshine, almost calm, falling away quickly to 3C at night with the low humidity of 35% at midday. Went for walk along Creek from 11:15-12:45; had to get some exercise in the warm sunshine! Some frogs were croaking in the Creek and a few grasshopper were hopping around the grass banks. Birds comprised 8 types: American Crow 1, Blue Jay 5, Canada Goose 130 (few close-ups here 1  2  3), Mallard 3, Belted Kingfisher 1, Northern Flicker 1, Great Blue Heron 1 1  2  3 (like our Grey Heron), Red-tailed Hawk 1 dark-phase juvenile 1  2  3  4  5, looking like a snake eagle perched in a tall tree. Had another Grey Squirrel up a tree. Did make the 1st talks at 08:00 but was maybe a little fragile! After sorting records to 8/11 now have for birds in USA trip: 34 species from 54 records, 4 complete lists, 5 places. Raptors total 8 types with one owl species to add. Added a few more birds in today's walk. Main conference finished at 15:00; it's been very good; can see that ecology analysis around Honey-buzzard nest-sites using Google maps and my GIS positions would be very useful, indeed essential; will start that on return. Next RRF is at Boise University, Idaho, from 3-8 October 2020, reachable by plane from LAX or SEA as entry points from flights from LHR; this one is being held in conjunction with the Peregrine Fund's 50th anniversary and they're hoping for 500 attendees as against 400 for this year's. One after that will be in Malaysia. They're making great efforts to attract more students from developing countries to attend RRF and are going to ask members to make extra voluntary contributions to help fund this. Banquet and award presentation was very fine and enjoyable and said fond farewell to many mates after it: RRF is a very constructive organisation! 2moro it's check-out here and up into the hills with Uber: getting wilder but same state and still in mountain time-zone: hope preparations for F @ LON are going well: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 8th: hard day at work with learned presentations on raptors until 18:00, then downhill a little with Rio Grande's Agave Room for traditional Colorado welcome, including superb Mexican food, a staple of Colorado cuisine. Amazing with Marguerite offered as aperitif: maximum 3, tequila with bitter-sweet lemon on top and the spirit below: 3 was maximum quoted but only had 1, concentrating on red wine! Suggested we started some line dancing to appease the determined local C&W band but a lot of resistance there: maybe for the best but it did look like the perfect opportunity!! We moved onto the Trail a thriving Colorado pub where you you could savour all the delights of the wild west of the US. As mates thought about erratically walking back to hotel decided to withdraw getting Uber for $7 +$3 tip: so easy, reliable and comfortable! Weather was beautiful today at 15C max, -3C min, with even a couple of grasshopper on a bank in the hotel grounds at 14:00 when sunning myself; note the frosts at night continue. So 2 more days at conference: very good company and discussions. Tu souhaite des rêves éclatants pour anticiper l'excitation! Have caught up with finances with gain of 3k over last 2 weeks, making +60k gross and +44k net on year to date after 16k of withdrawals. Have been watching some Bloomberg TV in hotel; they think that a major shift is coming in markets with growing trend for reflation instead of deflation: 'silly' -ve and ultra-low bond yields will disappear as quality bonds decline in value: natural resource stocks, junk bonds and indeed most equities, other than bond-proxies, will be clear winners: let's hope they're right! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!! 2moro it's lectures early-on at 08:00 followed by cocktails and banquet in evening to close the conference. We're in a warm spell, up to 19C max today, min 3C.

November 7th: very busy and satisfying day at the conference with a relevant plenary on controversial issues in raptor studies, many interesting oral presentations and a stimulating poster session in the evening. Two of the posters were on the Mississippi Kite, an insectivorous species which eats dragonflies on the wing, rather like our Hobby. There's no real counterpart to the Honey-buzzard in North America with the closest being the rather distant Swallow-tailed Kite. The plenary did give me some ideas for Chapter 1 for my book: why is a book on this subject necessary: because current information is so scant, based on limited samples and perspective, and with beliefs that are out of date. No one at the conference knows anything about Honey-buzzard as so little accessible literature. The genetic classification of the Honey-buzzard within the diverse kite family is something that needs to be framed in some detail. Had long chat with a lass RMc from Northern Ireland who's working on Peregrine breeding success in the Arctic, based at Alberta University! The poster session was a very good social event with bar and snacks on hand to improve our stamina! Booked up last part of trip, with 4 nights from Sunday at Hotel Estes in Estes Park, 7500 feet asl, compared to around 5000 feet asl at Fort Collins and Denver; expecting to travel by Uber in an hour's drive. Hoping to catch up with some bears, coyotes, mountain lions, Golden Eagle and Rough-tailed Hawk!! Final 2 nights are again at Best Western hotel at Denver Airport, where had very good raptors on my spare day at start of trip. Temperatures are to fluctuate wildly, up to 16C at weekend before declining to -5C max, -15C min on Monday with quick recovery by Tuesday! 2moro is same again but with poster session replaced by dinner/entertainment in down-town Fort Collins! Next year's meeting is in Idaho, USA: opportunity for more travel to the NW! Bed's a little lonely: thinking of some gorgeous company: xxxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 6th: sunny at start but declining midday to cloud and raw moderate NE wind with light rain by evening near freezing point, max 9C, min -1C. Trip out was very interesting with good company in our 8-seater bus, of which we ran two. The 16,000 acre Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge was created fairly recently, mainly from old military and industrial land, which cost a fortune to clear. Now it's pristine prairie, one of the strongholds of Bison (c200 of which 50 seen 1  2  3  4), Mule Deer (15 seen 1   2  3), White-tailed Deer (2 seen 1), Prairie Dog (30 seen 1  2  3  4  5), all of which we ticked in a safari-style tour. We also had a talk from a ranger on the Black-footed Ferret captive breeding programme and their reintroduction into the Refuge; we did see a few of this species in cages 1  2  3  4, one of the rarest predators in the wild in the world. A visit to the National Eagle Repository, situated within the Refuge, was also made. This seems a bizarre project, preparing eagle parts from eagles found dead (Bald, Golden) for Native Americans who were denied access to such vital ceremonial parts when the two species were formally protected. However, it seems to be working well with increasing links to conservation bodies, following up poisoning, electrocution and shooting incidents, to investigate the cause and threatening prosecution in some cases. Overall we were at the Refuge from 09:45-15:45. Reception in evening was very lively, raptor workers are like musicians in that they excel in being great company!! Computing scientists and engineers don't do so well! Raptors today included 2 Red-tailed Hawk ½ way on journey to Refuge at 09:00 and, on the Refuge itself, 8 Red-tailed Hawk 1  2  3, 2 Bald Eagle juvenile 1  2, 1 Merlin (attacking a small passerine in quick dive), 1 Ferruginous Hawk, last-named photographed on ground 1  2  3  4 and new for trip, bringing total of raptors to 9 types. Other birds included Red-winged Blackbird 6 1  2  3, Western Meadowlark 2, Feral Pigeon 2, American Crow 3, Canada Goose 310, Ring-necked Duck 4, Lesser Scaup 20, Snow Goose 2, Ring-billed Gull 43 adult, California Gull 2 1W, Bufflehead 1 male. Total for all birds was 15 types. 2moro sees the start of formal talks at 08:00, beginning with a plenary, going to be busy! So lok2t gorgeous one who I'm missing a lot: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 5th: quite warm in the bright sunshine at 13C today, but falling rapidly to 0C at nite. Went for long walk in the sunshine from Hilton to E from 10:35-14:10 along Prospect Road to Riverbends Ponds. Very few birds in the suburbs but the ponds were good with a range of western North American geese, ducks, grebes and gulls, some 11 types: Ring-billed Gull 1 adult NW, 3 adult on ponds 1  2; California Gull1 1w 1; Canada Goose 20 E, 6 on ponds 1; Lesser Scaup 7 1; Ring-necked Duck 2 1; Pied-billed Grebe 2 1; Redhead 9; Canvasback 1 female-type 1; Green-winged Teal 5; Hooded Merganser 4 redhead 1  2; Barrow's Goldeneye 2 redhead 1. Also had 4 Blue Jay 1, 2 House Finch, 1 Black-capped Chickadee, 1 American Robin, in total of 16 species of bird. A Grey Squirrel was in the Hilton grounds. Have completely processed 1st 2 days of records in Colorado so not too far behind. No raptors today but did have 17 American Crow 1, common birds calling on US films, even when the scenes are in the UK. Registered for raptor meeting this afternoon, and pace of arrival by others increasing with field trip tomorrow, back to Denver near my hotel there in the Wildlife Refuge. Am eating well, prices are similar to CB or MP in NCL even with the poor exchange rate but gratuity of 15-20% is essential, by adding it to the voucher in writing, if you want happy service! Actually service standards are high everywhere and food in Hilton is quality, not quantity. Have big social reception tomorrow evening so excitement is mounting! Hope PbP went well: publicity looks very purposeful: keep fit: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

Major news today was that unlisted Canadian mineral explorer Buchans Resources is planning to go public in 3 components: Canadian Manganese (Mn in New Brunswick), Minco Exploration (Ireland, Zn/Pb near Glencore's huge find of Zn/Pb), and the residue of Buchans (mainly Zn/Pb in Newfoundland). Have major interest in this, holding a little over 1% of Buchans, built up from the large stake in the Irish explorer Minco that accumulated a few years ago. My net cost is -32k, yes negative after selling the Au royalties to Dalradian (a Northern Ireland company), with current estimated value of c170k but cannot realise the profit with the lack of a listing. So that's potentially great news http://www.buchansresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/BRLNR2019NOV4.pdf with timetable of 10/12 for special meeting of Buchans in Toronto to approve the scheme; then applications have to be made for the listings but could all be done by Xmas as prospectus are presumably well under way. Not sure the initial valuations on flotation will be more than my estimated value but the listings offer a lot more flexibility and, if you're vain, will boost substantially brokers' portfolio valuations! As one wag wrote on a chat page, you wait ages for a bus and then 3 come along at once! There's very little mention of the Zn/Pb prospect held by Minco at Nenthead in the North Pennines: this is very much on the back burner but will continue to be held by the new Irish subsidiary. Good to see that Minco will ride again: they will sit well with my current Irish Zn/Pb holdings!!

November 4th: keeping cool today at 9C max, 0C min, but dry and sunny so feeling good outdoors in a light S breeze; no rain forecast in next 6 days but fluctuating max depending on position of cold fronts. Got shuttle from BW hotel to the futuristic DEN airport 1 where connected with bus, not limousine!, which took c15 of us to Fort Collins in an hour's journey. We were then split up into smaller buses to reach our final destination in the city at c12:30. The Hilton 1  2 kindly checked me into a room straight away but then I did sign off $950 for the 6 nites! It's good that the $:£ rate is off its worst at 1.29 against 1.20 a few weeks ago. Went for walk from 14:00-16:00 down the Creek track, which has an interesting mixture of ponds, bog and deciduous trees 1  2  3. The Rocky Mountains are closer 1  2  3  4 but not there yet! Met RS, one of mates from RSA, on this walk; he was looking for his 4th bird species; I managed just 6 after considerably more time: Canada Goose 75, Mallard 14 1, Blue Jay 10 1  2, Feral Pigeon 8, Common Redpoll 7, Canvasback 2 (redhead). I did think yesterday was brilliant for the season, because of the fortunate weather circumstances. The only raptor today was an American Kestrel on the side of the motorway about ½ way through the journey over. Still that does bring me up to 8 types of bird of prey! Met JS at dinner in hotel; he was also in RSA! Registration starts tomorrow afternoon: I've come over early to get settled! Well made 23:20 tonite (06:20 next morning in UK) before going to bed: delighted with fb posts: very good for ultimate success I feel!! lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

November 3rd: it's been very cold in Colorado for the last 2 weeks with a heavy snowfall in the last week. Today there was some thaw as the sun shone most of the day with max 10C and min -1C. Here's the prairie 1 and a frozen pond 1. There were a lot of birds moving, some N presumably to reclaim areas which they've had to evacuate and some S, presumably continuing their migration. The area around Tower Road, 6 miles from the Airport, is mainly prairie land so although the hotel area I'm in is not that inspiring, it's superb for wildlife. So out for wander round from 09:30 to 13:30. Migrants S included Canada Goose (of 210 seen, 70 S, 1  2), Western Meadowlark (13 seen, 8 S), Common Redpoll (9 S), Brown-headed Cowbird (17 S). Movements N were of gulls, maybe repositioning with Ring-billed Gull (91 adult and 1 2w N, 1  2  3  4, but some came back S again later). Residents included vast numbers of Feral Pigeon (at least 300, 1), Brewer's Blackbird (3, 3), Starling (6 feeding, 50 roost near hotel), California Gull (3 adult, 1  2  3  4  5  6  7). Raptors were very good, comprising 7 types: 6 Red-tailed Hawk, similar to our Common Buzzard 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8 , 2 came very close 9  10  11  12  13  14  15; no.6 which shows one perched on electric power-lines in a treeless area emphasises the need for proper earthing of the circuitry, which seems OK here judging by the numbers of raptors around. An Osprey (same species as ours) flew NW at 9:35 and a ringtail Northern Harrier (similar to our Hen Harrier) was hunting over prairie to E at 9:44. At 12:30 3 Bald Eagle (closest for us is White-tailed Eagle) were in some trees on W side of hotel complex, a juvenile seen flapping in before perching 1  2  3 and a subadult 4  5  6 and an adult perched 7. A juvenile female Northern Goshawk (same type as ours) was flying along the line of trees near where the Bald Eagle were later sitting at 12:10. A female Merlin (same type as ours) was picked up at some distance on the top of a post at 11:50, plucking a small item of prey 1  2  3  4  5. Remaining 1, an eared owl on a post in the long grass at 13:09, was a Great Horned Owl 1  2  3. Total for all bird-types was just 16 of which almost half were raptors. Mammals included Black-tailed Prairie Dogs, the ones that stand upright so appealingly, with 20 noted 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8. There was a scare with these concerning the plague this August, see https://gizmodo.com/plague-infected-prairie-dogs-force-areas-near-denver-to-1837371189, not sure whether it's been resolved, it's only bubonic plague: don't think I've any flea bites! Here's some shots of the Rockies to the W 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9. Some more to add from today …. Did love the video for PbP: it's great to see the number of approvals!! 2moro it's on to Hilton in Fort Collins at 10:30 by limousine, with conference starting in the evening! Am missing someone: xxxxx XXX!!!!! To bed at 23:10, 'acclimatising'!!

November 2nd: up at 05:40, Heathrow Connect EAL-T23 at 06:42, LHR-DTW at 09:25, DTW-DEN at 16:05 (20:05 GMT), arrive DEN at 18:00 (24:00 GMT), arrive hotel Best Western Plus Denver International Inn in Tower Road after locating shuttle bus, at 18:55 (00:55 GMT 3/11). So all went brilliantly with Delta, Virgin's partner in transatlantic routes. Only tense bit was the visa queue at DTW, which took an hour to navigate, and then had a light-touch security baggage check, but did survive and plenty of time for connection really. Did get a lot done on topos paper, completing merger with Liverpool variant. The plane from LHR-DTW was only ½ full so plenty of space (such a difference, particularly as it was the economy that was quietest) and could have had a good standby deal but the DTW-DEN leg was full so would have have had to spend the night in Detroit or gone on a circuit if had gone that way. Feeling a little dry on arrival, kept off alcohol on trip because of need to keep focused. But did have a few st at nearby Holiday Inn: very stimulating company, particularly Kim!! So to bed at 21:40 (03:40 GMT 3/11)! It's snowy here and around freezing but will get out for a local walk tomorrow. Hope all is going well back home with the gorgeous one: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Some general information on Denver/Colorado; Denver is a mile above sea-level and Colorado has the highest average altitude of any US state; it's a dry area because it's on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, in a rain shadow. It's a southern state, c40deg N, about the same as Alicante in Spain. So the sun is strong but the climate is continental with low temperatures in winter, particularly at night. Skiing-wise it's more like the Alps than Scandinavia. Took some piccies as came in on the plane to Denver 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8; note the prairie structure with neat grasslands poxed by areas where cultivation has not been possible and the increased snow-cover as came into land near Denver, from 300 miles out. It's really uncool taking piccies from the plane but they do reveal a lot, in the big picture! Colorado today is 6 hours behind London but tomorrow that gap becomes 7 hours as the US goes off summer-time. So my sense of time is being severely challenged! Day length is 10 hours 34 min, compared to 9 hours 9 min at Hexham.

November 1st: well made 1st base at EAL at 16:46 in perfect time. Very pleased with send-off by someone: pity she's not coming as well: very sad!! Had good catch-up with big sis; up early 2moro for vs4039 (LHT-DTW), vs1691 (DTW-DEN), both with Delta, some 15 hours of air-travel beckon! Got some useful work done on topos paper on train, adding 4 diagrams on music notation from the Liverpool paper; expecting to get some more done on 1st plane anyway. Main aims of trip are to get inspiration for my book on Honey-buzzard, meet again the friends I made last year in South Africa and to see the Rocky Mountains and their wildlife in a wintry setting. Today in DEN it was sunny all day, 1C max and -8C min with much the same for the next 4 days; so it's not a beach holiday! Signs of stirring in Wall Street later today in natural resource stocks and commodities; just possibly a signal that the 15-month bear market in such stocks is coming to a close (or not!). Maybe I'll get some insight in the next 2 weeks. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 31st: a good clear day, arrangements-wise, b4 exodus. Did make C4c4l where tmsuo played the temptress in style!! Much later made HoN4st4s for good crack with A/M; in 3 weeks time it's the R&C, which is now closed on Tuesdays; quite a lively atmosphere with some (not us!) dressing up for Halloween! Fairly organised I hope but the immigration authorities in DTW will be the final arbiter! Paying cleaner S 140 for cleaning and checking place while away. Looking forward to meeting tggo again!! So short move 2moro, relatively speaking, to EAL, will miss greatly the gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 30th: another day, another opera, going with N to CB4m4t and to TR4con: Handel's Giulio Cesare. This is the ultimate baroque opera, beautifully sung with interesting revolving structure on stage to vary the scenic background. Quite sensuous in places with Cleopatra seducing Caesar successfully, initially in the guise of her servant Lydia! More to follow … Unusually N was coming back on last train to Stocksfield so we went to VctCmt4g4s: no opportunity for seeing my favoured one!! But we had caught-up a little earlier after a long absence: lok2tgfr xxxxx XXX!!! 2moro it's getting ready plus HoN4st4s with IT mates who have been flexible in switching from Tuesday. Will have some constructive issues: looking at Festival pages and local Red Kite totals for 2019!! xxxx

October 29th: great day and nite out in the big city. Did make all the festivities associated with ON's tour at the TR with pre-concert, mid-concert receptions not forgetting the opera itself La Bohème, which was so typical Puccini with a tearful ending as the innocent Mimi passes away; that role was played empathetically by Katie Bird. The band, 80 strong, played very purposefully and thought Marcello was played particularly well by Timothy Nelson. Was sitting next to another organiser of the Festival: what a coincidence! We had good chat! The plot and motive seems straight-forward which isn't always the case with Puccini. Tosca for instance hints at the corruption of the Catholic Church and the Army; Madame Butterfly looks at the adverse consequences abroad of American imperialism. Made VctCmt4m4t (gammon, egg, chips, pint g) to line stomach and Cnt4g4s as nite cap! There were major attractions during the visit: most sensational: every time is better: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M and back to BC at 16:30 and TR again with N to see Giulio Cesare. Think it will be train from HEX ex 15:29. Alas N is chaperoning me onto the return train as he's going back to SKS. NCL to EAL is 12:25 1/11. Have reserved seats on the Delta flights: window for internal US flights and aisle for Atlantic; all free of charge! Like the emails in the middle of the nite: 'tis a pity when your mate goes into a deep beauty sleep!! xxx

October 28th: completed all processing of the data for 21/8. Upcoming outing will be, on my calculations, trip 11 to the US; went there regularly when lecturer at Newcastle University for computing conferences; breakdown of the 10 previous trips is California 4 (Stanford 2, Palo Alto, San Francisco), Florida 2 (Miami 2), Arizona 1 (Tucson), Washington DC 1, Michigan 1 (Detroit, entry port this time), New York 1 (last trip, for birthday treat, Met Opera live, Puccini's La Bohème, 14/01/2014, as seeing tomorrow by ON!; also went to Shostakovitch 7 at Carnegie Hall, 13/01/2014, in charity concert for Children of Syria http://www.iaac.us/newsletter/Children-of-Syria-Concert.htm; few there would have thought the crisis would still be continuing as we go into 2020). Not been to Canada, except for a refuelling touchdown in Newfoundland, nor to Mexico but had 2 weeks in Barbados over one Xmas/New Year. Never been to the Rocky Mountains before so it's completely new territory with particular attractions!! Made C4c4l where met P, who's written off his 10-year old car in a collision with a truck: no personal injuries fortunately. He's got a really swanky hire car at the moment! tmsuo is very tempting: she's driving me insane (and she knows it!). Much later made G4g4s where the fanciable A was more revealing!! Met P again; they're carting his crashed car off early tomorrow morning which is quite poignant: I'm attached to my crate!! Otherwise glamorous tasks like watering house plants and washing main filter of hoover to make it effective again! Did some work on topos paper, now on critical link section between last published version and the Liverpool presentation; not too difficult as it was an obvious question as to how musical notation would be handled! 2moro it's 13:56 HEX-NCL with relaxing session b4 the ON festivities begin: opera does have a strange effect on me!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 27th: working hard on final Honey-buzzard nest-site visit to Swallowship on 21/8. Have processed 2 clips containing juvenile bill snapping and chicken calls and many piccies showing the nest and the remains below, indeed all done but for final addition to BirdTrack. So decks cleared early this autumn with all forms processed for birds and dragonflies! Will process Red Kite annual totals first as that is where there is most general interest. Continued planning for Denver; booked 2 nights on arrival at Best Western plus Denver International Airport Inn for $223; it's 6 miles from Airport, next to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge where we're going on the field trip so that will be good for the Sunday. Bought new Aerolite suitcase for £55; it fits in the cabin and feels very solid; old one is in the bin! Studied the conference programme; see tggo has 3 papers!! Did make N4c4t and G4g4s, with new bar-lass D excelling at latter! There were 8 of us out in the dommies group for good chat. No FT anywhere! So hope someone's keeping fit: will miss her a lot: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 26th: spook day in Hexham with all staff in C dressed appropriately; rhwso looked gr8 as did tmsuo and tbld!! No FT anywhere but may arrive for Sunday. Doing final arrangements for trip to US, booking train fares NCL-EAL (no challenge there!) and transportation (their term!) from DEN Airport to Hilton, Fort Collins, 2 days after arrival, cost $54 including tip $5 with Groome. Think will next book hotel at DEN Airport for 2 nights; there's a cheap light railway from there to Downtown for my spare day there. Then have booked everything up to 10/11 when conference finishes; final 5-6 days are open but could remain in Fort Collins if it's great for nature and scenery, which everyone says it is, or drift off somewhere else! A highlight of the RRF conference is an all-day field trip to the National Eagle Repository & Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Knee is shaping up well for the trip as long as avoid sudden turns! May need to get a new light suitcase as current one's handle is broken: will be carry-on to speed up transits and maybe Hilton have a laundry service! After 2 weeks of strong gains, funds were in reverse this week, mainly due to the racehorse stumbling a bit on profit-taking! That accounted for 6k of the 9k reduction but the nag is still well up on 2 weeks ago. Have ditched a lot of UK domestic stocks: cannot believe the mess over Brexit is getting worse: switched some funds into cash and some into international natural-resource stocks: have done very well on UK housebuilding and insurance shares over the last few months when a conclusion seemed more likely! Did some more work on the topos this evening, dealing with substitution and pasting. Gr8 glow from yesterday: she's so stimulating: lok2tgrf!!!!! xxxxxxxxxx!!

October 25th: found the 20/8 visit to Stocksfield Mount had been well written up on 22/8 so it was mainly a task for adding the data to BirdTrack: now done! So just one data sheet to go, the final nest-site visit to Swallowship on 21/8. Did make MP4m4t with N, where we had another stimulating long chat on the woes of Brexit! Onto S4con where had a really great performance of Haydn's Creation. Why this is not performed more escapes me! Soloists Mary Bevan (soprano), Stuart Jackson (tenor), James Platt (bass) were superb though the burly male duo did rather spoil the view!! The tenor came through the Samling route: good to see! The RNS Chorus were infiltrated by Quay Voices to give an impressive depth to their sound. The orchestra played brilliantly, not least violin 1 and the 3 flutes!! The conductor Paul McCreesh drilled everything very well, injecting a little humour with the deep ruffled note of the trombones at one point. Social afterwards was good meeting among others AP, M and DS (a chorus girl!). Someone did look really fabulous, quite a ko: interesting taste for gin as no ps!!! Night ended with a meeting of minds: she's so gorgeous: de beaux rêves après un si bon travail: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! On way home in car Classic FM played Ravel PC slow movement: so apt: really moving: love the piano at the start and the oboe at the end!! Quieter day tomorrow!! xx

October 24th: weather continued improvement of yesterday, sunny, light SW breeze, 11C, but is now going to get cooler. Completed processing Staward Honey-buzzard piccies and records from 19/8; very pleased to find in the piccies that a juvenile Honey-buzzard was perched in the nest-tree at Staward N so they did fledge young in spite of all the trees being felled around them; well done that woodman spotting the stress ahead! Only 2 data sheets to go now: clearing the decks well for the book! Had nice message from Ticket Secretary of HASS for my donation of £60 to the Sound of Music: “Thank you very much once again for your very generous donation. Your continued support is very much appreciated by all within the society. Rehearsals are going very well and to plan! The Von Trapp children are a delight and very excited by their up and coming performances. I am sorry that you won't get to see the show but I am sure that you will be having a wonderful time in Colorado.” You can book here: https://www.queenshall.co.uk/events/sound-music. Withdrawal activity, donation-wise, declines now until Xmas but will be repeating 1k to the wonderful Festival on 1/12 (and later as last year) and quarterly 0.5k on 15/11 for RNS flautist!! Made C4c4l and G4g4s where 3 of us out for good crack; bar-lass A looked superb!! Booked car parking at NCL Airport for long visit to US: not flying from there but thought it was too long to leave the car at HEX station. 2moro it's C4c4ll, CAL-NCL, MP with N at 17:00, S4con, maybe W4g4s; looking forward to the concert, it may not be as dynamic as Cappella Mediterranea but thoughts will be with you!! lok 2t gorgeous one: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

October 23rd: busy day socially meeting M at T4c4c, B at G4g4t (gave him piano greats ticket for 1/11) and FC 4 talk, sponsored by Rotary, by Rob Caskie on the North-West Passage. The talk was interesting, giving us 60 min of history of the great explorers culminating after some grizzly ends in Amundsen's successful adventures; it was well attended. Spent 2 hours in QH in afternoon working on pasted pullbacks as substitutions in the music example; taking it very slowly to make sure it's right before turning the handle! Cleaner S didn't make it as problems at B – switched to Thursday. Brilliant end to day: some flexibility required: desire conquers all: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! 2moro much more time at home to be productive!! xx

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – October total 8, total for autumn (from 17/8) 112, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9-14/9, older siblings from 24/9-, younger siblings from 30/9-:

23/10 20:28 Cornwall : European Honey Buzzard, Cot Valley one flew over heading north

October 22nd: did finish completely the compiling of bird-data from the Honey-buzzard nest-visit on 17/8 to Kellas N (9209), all included below. With just 3 data sheets left to process, now on Staward 19/8. Did make C4c4l where tmsuo was indeed a distraction! Highlight of day was r&c4m4s with the IT gang, 5 of us out for good crack, cost only £22 per head including a couple of Murphy for me! Festival is shaping up well, like the Iranian influence!! Very pleased with votes on Brexit; Johnson could be tempted to really call an election, which he will find difficult to win once the inevitable gains of LD in the S/SW and of SNP in Scotland take effect, plus the loss of a diminishing DUP in Northern Ireland. Entering 2020 the case for a confirmatory referendum will look a lot stronger: 4 years since last one and terms of leaving very different from those voted upon in 2016; Johnson reminds me of a double-glazing salesman hustling along a sale; he's not really PM material; his guiding star DT is running into increasing problems in US! 2moro sees a busy day starting with T4c4c with M, QH in afternoon, G4g4t with B, FC4talk; hope last doesn't go on too long, 60min it says on FC site!! Maybe another rendezvous: sure to be exciting: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

October 21st: almost finished processing bird records from trip with JLAF on 17/10; currently have 17 types at Seahouses, 39 at Budle Bay, 2 at Ross. Have done final check on piccies at Budle Bay, indexed them below and compiled aggregate totals for the trip: 48 species from 58 records, 2 complete lists, 3 places. Two raptors were found in the trip: single Hen Harrier ringtail at Ross and Common Buzzard at Budle Bay. Did make Rotary for a well-attended business meeting; new format made it overrun by 15 minutes! Completed thoughts on film Good Posture (15/10). Much later made G4g4s where no mates out; picked out by 2 lasses who were very friendly! Had 3 Tawny Owl tonight: 1 flushed at Houtley at 22:00, 2 calling at Ordley at 00:05 (22/10). Must finish compiling Kellas N nest-visit 2moro but C4c4l will be a distraction! lok2t gorgeous one who I'm missing: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 20th: went to concert by RNS at 15:00 at Hexham Abbey; music was great with Wagner's Siegfried Idyll and Mahler 1 coming over well well in the acoustics of the Abbey, which seemed to fit in well with the rich harmonies of the pieces. Good to have EG on flute/piccolo and TG as strong leader! Did chat to RNS rep there; she was more interested in numbers, which were down a bit, than the programme, which I thought might have been a little heavy for the 'provinces': But we cannot have Quatre Saisons every time! Audience gave a standing ovation at the end so the Mahler was very well appreciated by those packed into the main aisle. Surprised that no refreshments were available at any point; that would have increased the social (and marketing) impact of the occasion; indeed thought overall it was a bit perfunctory administration-wise but musically brilliant! Did process the 15/10 trip to Stocksfield; next up is Seahouses on 17/10. Here's the result of my verge cutting yesterday 1  2. Gratified that my ESTA application to USA has been approved speedily within 36 hours; big sis can put me up in London at both ends. Final trip was to G4g4s where usual good chat with 5 mates, including P. This week have R at B4m4l 2moro, R&C4m4s with IT gang on Tuesday, and FC4talk (Forum Cinema) at 19:30 on Wednesday but may well later make HEX-NCL4g4s!! With N we're making MP4m4t and S4con on Friday. Hope the gorgeous one is keeping fit and beautiful: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

October 19th: did some verge/hedge trimming this morning, cutting scrub and long grass so that the daffodils can come through well in the spring. Near the end it started to rain but had enough momentum to finish the task! The trim also improves visibility when you're driving out of the communal entrance for our 3 properties so good for neighbourly relations! Made C4c4l where standards were maintained: very enjoyable lunch!! Then CAL-NCL at 16:15 and MP4m4t with N. Concert in S2 was great. I've got a front-row seat this season in that hall! V was very chatty!! The central feature of each piece was Alasdair Beatson on the piano; he was very impressive and encouraging for those who might have been a little nervous. Schönberg's Chamber Symphony 1 was fairly abrasive and because it was an arrangement (by Webern) for a reduced number of players, it kept all 5 of them very busy. It came over well from the players on flute (AY), clarinet (WK), violin (IB), cello (DH), piano (AB). Thought the clarinet was a little loud but maybe that's because I was on the front row! Clara Schumann's Three Romances for Violin/Piano was much smoother with an even tempo across each part; MS was supported well by AB. The Brahms Piano Quintet was superb, such a deep and lively piece, quite weighty, with G-AM on violin 1, AB on piano, JN on violin 2, MG (welcome back!) on viola, DH on cello. Noted that Herman Levi, the Jewish conductor, encouraged Brahms to orchestrate it this way; Levi is well known in certain operatic circles for his collaboration with Wagner in the pioneering performances of Parsifal at Bayreuth! Coda was very exciting with the gorgeous one: so satisfying: great end to night: lok2tgrf xxxxx XXX!!!!! 2moro it's RNS at my local HA – looking forward to it!! xx

October 18th: did meet M/B at T4c4c for good chat! Then remembered to send big sis a birthday card: it was yesterday: better late than never! Applied for visa to USA under ESTA scheme; cost is $14 for a visitor from UK for up to 90 days. Much later made W4g4s with 3 mates. Need to process backlog of bird records from last few days. 2moro it's C4c4ll, CAL-NCL meeting N at 17:00 at MP, S4con at 20:00!! On mobile had to reset APN using Samsung's MMS settings to get it to work: then fetched images beautifully!! Always like to see a challenge: it did indeed seem thrilling from the Tweets: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

We had a good meeting yesterday discussing Northumberland's access to the countryside, with emphasis on the National Coastal Path: note from chair - “Just to echo Marion’s note, a really great day yesterday so much healthy and constructive input. What a location as well!”. You can read more about us at https://www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/about-us/looking-after-the-park/joint-local-access-forum/.

August 2019 bulletin N&TBC [note 6 birds in Hexhamshire, backing up my claims]

Red Kite Milvus milvus: Six individuals were found on moorland from Whitley Chapel to Harwood Shield on 8th (AJ/ASH/AJN/TW) and single birds were also noted at West Minsteracres on 5th (IFo) and at Airy Holm Reservoir (near Shotleyfield) on 28th (IFo).

Well how did funds do in these turbulent times? Had further solid rise of 12k bringing gain on year to 67k (51k after withdrawals) with further rise in domestic UK stocks on hopes for avoiding a no-deal Brexit. With the total at the highest level in 2019, am now 29k off all-time record on 2/10/18. It will be a nervous Saturday with the Brexit votes in the Commons!

October 17th: busy day with JLAF from 12:30-22:15 but we did get to see the seaside at Budle Bay and Seahouses. Former was a difficult problem because of seasonal differences in access to cater for the birds; the path directly along the water's edge would only be used from July-August with a path further inland being used for the remaining 10 months; we thought this would be confusing and using names like alternative paths would suggest to some that they could take either; careful wording is needed; we did agree with the need to protect the wildlife from disturbance! At the latter they're experimenting with more flexible paths, encouraging walkers to go through some dunes on whichever route they like; this again is not that simple as there are 'route pedants' who want to be given a set route and to follow it precisely. We walked c4km in all so good workout: still going! Loved the return to the coast; have not been there for a while; it's such beautiful scenery and weather was perfect with continuous sunshine, light SW breeze, dry. Birds of course were brilliant and added some to my year-list! Over conifers at Ross had a ringtail Hen Harrier up at 15:44, mobbed by 30 Rook; this wood 1 is rather like The Raven at Wexford, a good place for migratory raptors, including Honey-buzzard. Budle Bay per se held vast numbers of birds 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9, a pretty convincing picture for the JLAF members 1 of its vital importance for wild birds as an east coast migratory and feeding haven. The 39 types noted included light-bellied Brent Goose (415), dark-bellied Brent Goose (2), Barnacle Goose (35), Pink-footed Goose (202, 1 in flight), Shelduck (150), Shoveler (25), Red-breasted Merganser (6), Little Egret (5), Grey Plover (25), Bar-tailed Godwit (5), Black-tailed Godwit (1), Dunlin (30), Redshank (50), Goldcrest (4), Mistle Thrush (1). At Seahouses 1  2  3 from 16:00-17:10 had this Turnstone 1 on the beach (1 of 2) plus 3 Red-throated Diver, 6 Eider, 2 Common Scoter, 1 Gannet, 30 Curlew, 200 Lapwing, 2 Skylark, 2 Tree Sparrow, 1 Reed Bunting, in total of 17 species. Couldn't find a Shag! Summary for whole day is: 48 species from 58 records, 2 complete lists, 3 places. This sandcastle was well built 1 but sadly unattended as tide came in! We had tea and the evening meeting at Belford before coming back in the bus to National Park HQ in Hexham, from where I scurried off to the G4g4s, to meet 3 mates! Not impressed with MMS software in Messages for Samsung Android!! Hope it was a thrilling evening for the talented one: sure it was: xxxxx XXX!!!!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M and W4g4s. Have 2 concerts in weekend: Saturday night at S with N and Sunday afternoon locally at Hexham Abbey!! xx

October 16th: completed run-through of the many (actually 8) clips of Honey-buzzard calls, mainly anxiety ones, from Kellas on 17/8 (9209). Next step is to convert the call sections from mts to mp4 format, the latter being more compact and standard for the web. Went through the piccies of the Honey-buzzard juvenile yesterday at Eltringham (9182); it's a different bird from that on 12/10, being smaller and slighter. Updated 2 biogs for the Festival! Made QH at 15:00 for more work on topos paper; it's proving to be a very useful exercise on data structuring in general with CT. Did make G4g4t, chatting to M as B away for the day, seeing relatives. So hope someone has a thrilling day, playing all those notes; it's the sort of programme my son would love to go to in London! lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! 2moro it's LAF from 12:30-20:30 at Belford in N of county, looking at the coastal path progress and discussing some alternatives; may see some migrants!! Will think of someone!! Day will close as fairly often with G4g4s!!

October 15th: bit murky but mostly dry today with weak sunny intervals, 12C, virtually calm. Went to Stocksfield Mount again from 15:05-16:55 and had a Honey-buzzard at Eltringham at 15:55, which floated around leisurely before sinking back to the ground 1  2  3  4 (9182); this was the only raptor seen in calm conditions; it was dark-phase and fairly light-weight, different in size to the one seen here on 12/10; also up briefly at 15:42 and 16:39. Main other feature of the afternoon was the arrival of Scandinavian migrants with Redwing (64, moving in all directions (most 28 S) with just 2 feeding), Fieldfare (8 S), Brambling (4, 2 SW, 1 W, 1 drop out of sky from E), all noted as very mobile. A few Mistle Thrush were also moving (1 S, 1 W) and 2 Siskin may well have been migrants. So that was exciting, seeing the birds come out of the sky and head for a clump of haws for refuelling. Total was 19 types of bird. A Red Admiral butterfly was feeding on ivy blossom 1. Did make C4c4l where pleased 2 c tmsuo again: she was actually very chatty!! While sitting there news came through on my mobile of GLEN (Glencore), the mining giant, buying a stake of 11.58% in ZNG (Group Eleven, Canadian junior mining company) which owns 70% of large areas of land at Stonepark, Ireland, adjacent to Glencore's own massive Pallas Green deposit of Zn/Pb. ARK (Arkle), an Irish junior mining company, owns 23.44% of Stonepark. Arkle used to be called CON for Connemara but changed their name to the racehorse, apparently to add a bit of credibility!! Anyway have shares in all 3 companies, holding 0.9% of ZNG and 1.8% of ARK, so things may be looking up! Knee was painful this morning so reinstated compression support and it's much more comfortable again, indeed best it's been since the injury. Did make TC where saw Good Posture, a bit of fieldwork really, looking into the mind of a young attractive lady with a very complicated life!! Bit of a budget film, produced by Dolly Wells and starring Grace Van Patten as the brat Lilian, brought up in a middle-class area of Brooklyn. But outcome is actually good as Lilian takes on producing a documentary for a famous author with whom she is staying and makes a decent go of it! The film ends with a a much more positive Lilian! Switch to Tuesday for this week worked brilliantly: satisfaction ratings were sky-high: so sensuous: she's beautiful: lok2tgrf xxxxx XXX!!!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l, G4g4t with B and catch-up!! xx

October 14th: well big celebrations as the crate passed its MOT at KF, maybe not in flying colours but comfortably with total of £350 spent on full service, MOT fee, 1 new tyre, 2 suspension bits, mending of ABS circuit on 1 wheel, alignment. Still to do is non-urgent job to replace the 2 front disks (£145) which will have done in a couple of weeks; said needed to spread the cost; don't want to appear as last of the big spenders! Work lasted from 08:30-17:00 so fairly intensive. Spent much of day in QH Library with long stay at N4l; maximum rest today now strapping off knee as all feels a little strange! Made major breakthrough on topos paper by identifying pasted pullbacks with type substitution, with a few well-written papers in the computing science/category theory area for support; underpins whole (at the time heuristic) approach at Liverpool University, strengthening the coming further publication. Jd did superb job on hair and eyebrows – increasing frequency from 12 weeks to 8 weeks to keep her happy and me smart! Booked sojourn after La Bohème!! Made R @ B4m4t and G4g4s where met Bb for good chat with Mg on: he used to work at Denver so had a lot to say including the problems of altitude. Not a lot of time for the web today but did label c20 piccies of the nest in Scots Pine at Kellas (9209) and update the Thanks page!! 2moro it's C4c4l, trip out, CAL-NCL at 19:00, TC4f!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! xx

October 13th: rained all day from 11:00 after being dull from dawn, mild, 12C, light SE breeze. Had very productive day, sorting yesterday's trip to the Mount and finalising the Aquitaine bird records from July. Also got a grip on the topos paper, producing a new diagram prior to revisiting the pasting. Did make G4g4s where plenty of crack with 7 of us out! Have only 4 data sheets of bird/insect records left to process for 2019: next up is Kellas 17/8 (9209). Might switch film nite to Tuesday as computing mates not around!! Have 2 preoccupied days this week: 2moro with MOT starting at 08:30, hair-cut at 11:00 and R @ B4m4t; Thursday with dentist and JLAF trip to N of county. If car has extended stay in garage (as is probably likely!), might come into L&P after session with Jade! Pain in knee has almost gone so sturdy strapping removed: feels a bit weak and needs regular exercise to build up muscle tone again: pleased with progress! Going to 2 operas by ON at end of month; might linger after La Bohème on 29/10 with the generous hospitality!! So thinking a lot of the gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! By noon: looking smarter after haircut but not heard from garage yet and don't want to appear anxious: think will stay close to base until know what's happening! xx

October 12th: 12C, light southerly breeze, sunny, dry. And the Honey-buzzard season continues with a dark-phase juvenile at Stocksfield E today, floating effortlessly up in the air from 15:36-15:39, accompanied by 2 Jackdaw 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19 (9181). This is almost certainly a Scottish-bred bird with the locally raised ones leaving the Tyne Valley by the end of September. Earlier there were bursts of Corvids and Lapwing in restless flocks on the fields at Stocksfield E, no doubt disturbed by the Honey-buzzard. Visit was from 15:00-16:40. Other raptors were 2 Red Kite (one N of Wylam at 15:18, a juvenile over Stocksfield E at 16:11), a Sparrowhawk male up over Stocksfield E at 15:55, a Common Buzzard juvenile in flap-flap-glide mode 1  2  3  4  5  6 from E of Guessburn towards Bywell Castle at 15:42. So that's 5 raptors of 4 types: not bad! Also had 2 Stock Dove, 2 Jay, 1 Goldcrest, in total of 26 species with the pick being a Green Sandpiper flying low W over the Tyne. After W4shop got back to Ordley at 17:30 where a flock of 15 Redwing was eagerly feeding on haws to recuperate from the North Sea crossing. Piccies are on server but need indexing and it's late: 02:13 13/10! Not the only person to be up late!! Did add the indexed piccies of the possible Honey-buzzard site at Katzenloch, South Tyrol, on 29/9 and added 2 artists to the Festival pages. Did make C4c4l where very pleased to meet the inspirational rhwso and tbld. FT was moderately supportive of big rise yesterday but I think there may be some profit-taking and nervous selling next week to keep the see-saw going; so relieved I've got some cash again as opportunities there will be! It's going to rain 2moro all-day so will catch up on correspondence!! lok2t gorgeous one: she's done an amazing job: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! xxx

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – October total 7, total for autumn (from 17/8) 111, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9-14/9, older siblings from 24/9-, younger siblings from 30/9-:

12/10 11:50 Shetland : European Honey Buzzard, Toft, Mainland dark morph flew south over ferry terminal

October 11th: quite windy from SW, cooler, 13C, rain showers. What a week on the markets where 'ruined' on Thursday morning at 10am at -11k, partial salvation by close on Thursday to -2k and then amazing recovery today to +28k on the week. All due to Brexit with total pessimism on Thursday morning giving way to significant optimism on Friday that no-deal exit is now very unlikely at the end of the month. Did top-slice a bit this afternoon, raising 26k in cash for trading opportunities next week. FTSE 250 was up 4%; have to go back to 2009 when coming out of the great financial crisis for similar sharp rises with many banks and building shares up 10%. So have been following the dealing screen closely today. Concert was fantastic with LV conducting and playing Mendelssohn PC1 with great feeling and panache; love this concerto with its great variety. The RNS also played Dvorák 7 with great sensitivity and dynamism. More to follow … Did have quiche + rw at S with partners b4 the concert, giving news catch-up. Latest gossip is we'll have no flute players soon: such a pity with AY/EG in great form today! Nite finished in style in dark sensuality: plenty of thrills: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf xxxxx XXX!!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l and maybe trip out!! xxxx

October 10th: showery, mild, 15C, sunny intervals. Had a juvenile Common Buzzard, flushed from side of road near Ordley village at 13:00 while driving into Hexham; almost in the car with me! Connected 10m Ethernet cable from router to desktop and it worked so well that immediately cancelled satellite BB from Bigblu. So now have 35Mbits BB without the latency, the pause before transmission/receipt of data as signal goes into space and back. And it's half the price with Vodafone at £23 a month against £45 a month with Bigblu. It's good for marketability of country properties: families cannot accept old BB speeds. No gardening today: time to rest! Did though make C4c4l and G4g4s where met P; pleased to have Mb on!! Completed processing of South Tyrol bird records and piccies but there's still the diverse butterflies and a few piccies of habitat at Katzenloch, taken on 29/8, another potential Honey-buzzard site, latter will add tomorrow. Summaries for South Tyrol are at 1/9 below. So that's a major milestone in 2019 records; will check a few queries on the Toulouse data and then wrap that one up for birds as well. Festival site is now advanced on home and events pages: programme looks great, time to sort the artists!! 2moro it's N4c4c, RDM-NCL at 16:05, S4t (Nick's away), S4con, W4g4s and hopefully engaging the favoured, gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – October total 6, total for autumn (from 17/8) 110, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9-14/9, older siblings from 24/9-, younger siblings from 30/9-:

10/10 09:19 Durham : European Honey Buzzard, Whitburn Coastal Park possible in off the sea (09:10) [?]

October 9th: sunny intervals, moderate SW breeze, occasional light shower, mild. At Ordley at 14:00 had 8 Pied/White Wagtail migrants drop in onto my roof and a Common Buzzard adult in the valley. 2 Redwing moved W at Hexham at 15:15. Processed some of 29/8 piccies from South Tyrol. Busy day seeing M at T4c4c for good chat, completing cutting of high leylandii hedge 1  2 (but is he going to pick up the cuttings!), adding some material to topos/monad/music paper in QH while S smartened up the house, G4g4t with B (who's very keen on the Piano Great ticket in particular, in exchange for a bottle of wine!). Did make TC where saw Ad Astra, a deep-space adventure, which was much more exciting than some of the genre! More to come on this … Bit of a limp still but can walk faster and best of all libido has returned!! That's much more satisfying for all: very happy: may the gorgeous one keep fit: lok2tgrf!!!!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – October total 5, total for autumn (from 17/8) 109, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9-14/9, older siblings from 24/9-, younger siblings from 30/9-:

09/10 10:16 Surrey : European Honey Buzzard, Leith Hill one flew west over tower mid-morning

October 8th: sunny, dry, moderate W breeze, what a change! At 15:30 had 3 Redwing W at Ordley and 2 Red Kite up together at Dukesfield. At 00:05 (9/10) had a Tawny Owl calling at Slaley W. Completed processing records from last full day in South Tyrol, 30/8, on which 6 types of raptor were seen. Aiming to largely complete 29/8 tomorrow when can produce full summary of the great trip. Cutting hedges started today with a vengeance with the brute of the leylandii; sides and most of top done with a mohican cut on the top, which will remove tomorrow with the longer-reach electric trimmer! Intruder-alarm man S did arrive on time; he's a keen photographer of stars (dark skies!). Booked accommodation in Fort Collins Hilton at $866 for 6 nights; that's the home for the conference so very convenient! Price in £ is a little uncertain with current chaos! Did make C4c4l and much later HoN4st4s with M/A and M on again, following her around!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M, G4g4t with B, CAL-NCL at 19:00, TC4f!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – October total 4, total for autumn (from 17/8) 108, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9-14/9, now into older siblings from 24/9-:

08/10 13:15 East Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Flamborough Head juvenile flew south from Thornwick over Lighthouse Road near Ocean View Farm (13:14)

October 7th: wild and windy this morning on brisk SW wind but some sunshine by tea-time. Engineer from Openreach, contracted by Vodafone, arrived at 08:30, tested the old BT line and pronounced it of good quality with green signal. He then went away to do the connections at the exchange, returning at 12:00 to do final BB connection and testing. All's good with laptop and 'phone benefiting from 35Mbps download speed on WiFi; that's faster than the satellite and there's no monthly limit; ordered 10m Ethernet cable for £8.60 to connect desktop to the router. So that's all progress! Engineer left at 12:38 making me late for R in Beaumont at 12:45 but with falling membership greeted well by members and hotel staff! Much later made G4g4s where 4 of us out and good to have M/A on!! Worked hard on records from Seis E on 30/8 in the morning, doing much labelling and indexing on that superb morning for raptors; will index piccies and compile data tomorrow. Updated Find Us for Festival! 2moro it's the turn of the intruder-alarm man to spoil my beauty sleep at 9:30; will make C4c4l and maybe HoN with IT mates in evening. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 6th: another day of very wet and gloomy weather; wonder how the young Honey-buzzard are faring; they will be able to feed well, just not move towards Africa. Concentrated on the desk job compiling piccies and records for 30/8 at the lake at Völser Weiher and the 7 Raven and 2 Golden Eagle on the magnificent mountains to E at Gabels Mull (2389m asl). Next up is 30/8 morning, a good spell for raptors. Added the stimulating events to the Festival website. Did make N4c4t where a good chat with a couple of mates and pleased to have S on!! Later made G4g4s where 7 of us out in our group for good reunion! Knee has made great strides today (sorry!). After hot bath late-on all pain gone and stiffness much reduced: the rest, ice and compression treatment seems to have worked quickly. Must be the tender kiss!!! Have to be careful not to aggravate it; hope is that drain on physical energy from it will now go away! 2moro morning Vodafone are coming to check my BB potential (not as high as they think!); also have intruder alarm service on Tuesday morning and hair cut at JG + car MOT/full service at KF next Monday. lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Satellite BB from Bigblu down again as write! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, G4g4s!! Back to TC this week at normal time for plenty of space!! xx

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – October total 3, total for autumn (from 17/8) 107, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9-14/9, now into older siblings from 24/9-:

06/10 17:19 Isles of Scilly : European Honey Buzzard, St Agnes one over Porth Killier heading towards Turks Head

06/10 17:28 Isles of Scilly : European Honey Buzzard, St Mary's one over airport late afternoon

October 5th: active at my desk, compiling records and accounts for visit to Schmung Schwaige, South Tyrol, on 28/8, including finding 2 Honey-buzzard juvenile at 1810m asl! Updated home page for the splendid Festival! Did make C4c4l where rhwso looked good with tbld providing inspiration!! Read FT closely in view of prevailing gloom with last week the worst for 18 months with ftse down over 3%. Growing political chaos in US and UK is not helping matters. Own funds last week were down 16k (1.5%) so in last 4 weeks, things have been very volatile at +27k, -7k, -4k, -16k, bringing me back to the starting point! Own portfolio is defensive, populated mainly by high-yielding, cash-rich, low-debt companies. Anticipate being in this choppy phase until at least February 2020 when the extreme risk-off mentality will have lasted 18 months. That's a common length for bear markets but think that terminology may not be so apt now. Knee continues to improve: can now drive comfortably: had warm bath and can see bruise is on inside of right-knee, so MCL (medial collateral ligament) tear grade 1, same as in August 2014, when tried to walk it off and it became grade 2: not doing that this time!! To the talented, gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! 2moro looks like C4c4ll and G4g4s. Aucun changement dans mes envies!!

October 4th: total for trip to North Yorkshire was 45 types of bird, including 3 raptors: Common Buzzard 5 birds at 3 sites including at least 1 juvenile; Honey-buzzard 4 juvenile at 2 sites with 3 S and 1 migrant on open moor, maybe resting; 1 Kestrel male. The Honey-buzzard records are significant (for me!) as we're getting close to the Lancashire/Yorkshire area where Common Buzzard migrants are regularly reported at this time, for instance 9 Common Buzzard SW on Trektellen on 2/10 (same day as our 2 S) at Bury https://www.trektellen.nl/count/view/795/20191002. It's a very sensitive issue as challenging id offends people's egos (it's like a wrong note in music!); however, Common Buzzard is not a migratory species in the UK and id of juvenile Honey-buzzard requires a lot of experience. Butterflies comprised single Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell.

Caught up on quite a lot of piccies and records in September: poorly knee encourages desk work! Some improvement today: pain on standing and climbing/descending stairs largely gone but walking is far too slow under heavy strapping (½ normal speed) and car driving using the pedals is still quite painful. At 00:30 5/10, after 72 hours from injury, into postinflammatory phase so will have a hot bath, much favoured activity, in the morning, and relax! Off painkillers – never been keen on those. Friends say I should have disassembled the bed: that's what they do! Did make S4con with MP at 17:00 with N, local at 22:00, last train NCL-RDM, W4g4s, so not much concession there to normal activities; walked as usual. Concert with RLPO was brilliant: Sergej Krylov was a wild and passionate violinist in Tchaikovsky VC, playing with such vigour in the high passages that his bow rapidly eroded! He got tremendous applause and played a Paganini encore. After half-time we had R Strauss' Death and Transfiguration, which brought the best out of the large orchestra, with tremendous climaxes. Stravinsky's Symphony in 3 Movements closed the concert; this appeared difficult to play with complicated cross-rhythms all over the place. Overall with Vasily Petrenko as conductor, there was a very definite eastern European feel! Pleased to see NB (cello) and MS (violin 1) in the orchestra! Night closed in great style: at last after the discomfort a large dopamine release (aren't scientists fun!): made effort so worthwhile: good for morale: she's absolutely gorgeous: lok2tgrf!!!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l and recuperation!!

October 3rd: sorted final Settle records but not posted all piccies yet; getting ready to post final statistics; also processing late September records for Honey-buzzard at the Ordley site. Added some Meyerbeer material to Wagner discussion below. Did make W4shop and G4g4s (where good chat to P) but left C4c4l up the hill to 2moro! Did Rest, Ice (3 times today), Support (strapping) part of RISE but didn't really do Elevation (keeping knee above horizontal). No pain killers: hope after 48 hours (00:00 4/10) inflammation phase will be nearing its end. Got the injury in bed through trying to turn leg when foot trapped in bedding (honest!); suspect muscles were tired after jumping around Skipton Castle; I normally sleep in very loose bedding!! Booked LHR-DEN 2/11-16/11 economy return for £378.42, changing at DTW on way out and MSP on way back. Flights are VS4039/VS1691 (out) and VS1554/VS4040 (return). At this price not worth going standby where you would pay basic taxes, charges of c£200, except for possibility of upgrade. Was going via New York with daughter but she's concentrating on her new job so I'm going direct now. 2moro after the coffee it's intended to be RDM-NCL ex 16:05, MP with N, S4con with RLP, W4g4s!! Should be OK if walk slowly!! lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!! No bb as write at 00:15 04/10; Vodafone did deliver router with engineer coming on 7/10 for installation of their bb on the BT line; satellite bb with Bigblu has been very unreliable lately and will be cancelled if the new system works; will update blog when available. Threatened with chaperone tonite! xxx!!

October 2nd: not a good end to yesterday, twisted knee through sudden manoeuvre, injuring ligament(s) on right knee. Think it's grade 1 (stretched but not torn or broken ligament) so will be painful and limiting for 2 weeks and need careful nurturing for a further 2-4 weeks. What a s.d! We came back from Settle a little early but while waiting outside for taxi to drive us 800m in glorious sunshine, did see 2 Honey-buzzard juvenile move S at 10:47, mobbed by Corvids, one dark-phase, the other a little lighter. They appeared to have come out of the Giggleswick area in the calm conditions and climbed slowly in the sky to the S, soon leaving the Corvids, mainly Jackdaw, behind 1  2 (9180). I thought I might have had a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard on pasture to SW of Giggleswick yesterday (1/10) but light was too bad to capture it on camera and confirm it. Also this morning had a Common Buzzard and a Kestrel (adult male) up over ridge to E at 11:37. A Swallow and 4 Skylark flew S. Total watch this morning was 10:00-11:55. Had the only butterflies of the trip this morning: single Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell. We said goodbye to the staff at the Falcon; we've had a very comfortable stay and the staff were very obliging; liked R from yesterday!! Journey through Pennines from Settle to Carlisle was magical with tremendous visibility and hence views. After saying goodbye to N after our great trip, found driving was difficult but did eventually park in Beaumont Street for short hobble to G4g4t where met B for good chat; wanted to see him as not seen him since his trip to France. Back home applied ice in form of wet tea-towel deposited in freezer and strapped the knee; no hot bath, not recommended for 72 hours until peak swelling has passed; no Ibuprofen as can delay healing if used in first 48 hours but did take 2 Paracetamol late in evening (encouraged!). 2moro is quiet day with just delivery from Vodafone of new router but hope to be in C4c4l and W4shop in daytime and maybe G4g4s later. Like the KP and 4S concept in context of nature!! Trust the gorgeous one is keeping fit: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – October total 1, total for autumn (from 17/8) 105, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9-14/9, now into older siblings from 24/9-:

02/10 13:31 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Dungeness RSPB one flew south-east past Visitor Centre (08:00)

October 1st: after yesterday's walk of 10km, more leisurely today with strong ENE breeze this morning at 11C this morning, with driving rain and sunny interludes. Felt like November! We took train down to Skipton 1, a dales town closer to Leeds, 3 stops from Settle, indeed the outer limit of the Leeds transport system with electric-powered trains to Bradford and Leeds. Looked around from 12:45-16:25 in cold rain! We bagged a bit of culture visiting Skipton Holy Trinity Church 1  2  3 and Skipton Castle 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9; latter was very interesting dating from Norman times in 1090 through to the Civil War when it was held by the Royalists under siege for 3 years. Near Gargrave had a Little Egret and 7 Greylag Goose. At Settle had 2 flighty Redwing, in top of beech tree, at Falcon Manor at 17:00 plus 2 GBBG 2w over the valley. 2moro we're going for walk on E side looking for more Honey-buzzard b4 catching train back at 14:17 ex SET 4 CAR (and HEX). Been an excellent break but mind turning now to the delights of the NE: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

September 30th: revealing day for Honey-buzzard in the central Pennines belt. Have long been puzzled by the number of Common Buzzard migrants reported on Trektellen in September and October in this area, particularly surprising for a non-migratory species. The timing points to Honey-buzzard and the limited id skills to juvenile Honey-buzzard. So today had the chance to check matters out as the weather improved. From 08:15-10:30 we were in Settle area with light SW breeze, misty, bright overhead, dry; then from 10:30-14:45 in the Giggleswick Langcliffe area when visibility improved, with weak hazy sunshine, dry, cloud increasing at end, almost calm. Next belt of rain came in at 17:00, to last well into tomorrow in daytime. Although brighter, weather conditions were not good for raptors with such slight winds. Had a Common Buzzard juvenile overhead at Langcliffe at 13:30 but it was flapping. At 12:54 had a large bird on horizon 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 (9178) to E at Langcliffe Scar W, flapping heavily to N, low-down over the rough vegetation (habitat here 8  9  10); it was a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard, quite young looking as relatively compact for the species but with classical jizz (high wing amplitude, broad wings, long neck, thin tail, very dark); it appeared to either land on the high hillside for foraging or turned around and presumably resumed flying S. It had flown out of a relatively large upland beech wood, where it had presumably taken refuge. The next sighting at 13:38 was clearer. Another dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard was flying along the same high ridge, gaining a little orographic lift perhaps if a little more breeze up there 1  2  3 (9179). This one was older than the other with longer wings and tail, and was making good progress S, passing at least the start of the beech wood with it not being clear if it landed there. These could be Northumbrian, Cumbrian or Scottish birds. I've noticed birds going down the upper South Tyne turn SW at Slaggyford, towards the Eden, avoiding top of Hartside. They would then cross Ribblehead at the top of the Eden/Ribble watershed before coming down the Ribble as noted today. Getting orographic (ridge) lift is vital for an economical traverse of the Pennines, which they can generally do on the W side, where the prevailing wind is SW. So very interesting results! Had some other migrants: Meadow Pipit (22: 3 SW, 9 S, 10 N), Brambling (2 arrived from E, dropping out of sky onto beech area), Swallow (8 S), House Martin (6 S), Goldcrest (1), Mistle Thrush (4: 1 N, 3 others). Three tribes of Long-tailed Tit totalling 28 birds was noteworthy as was 13 LBBG (11 adult, 2 juvenile). A Raven was also seen in the Honey-buzzard migration area. Total for trip to date is 38 types of bird; no butterflies have been seen but there are a few wasps and hover fly on flowering ivy. Looks wet tomorrow so we may go to Skipton for some shopping! On Wednesday when sunshine is promised planning to go to Ribblehead on way back for check on area (and any Honey-buzzard migrants using ridge lift). It's RLP on Friday, when maybe back into action!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – September total 31, total for autumn (from 17/8) 104, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9-14/9, now into older siblings from 24/9-:

30/09 16:58 Gloucestershire : European Honey Buzzard, Longney dark-morph juvenile flew downriver mid-morning (09:15)

27/09 16:13 Isles of Scilly : European Honey Buzzard, St Mary's juvenile flew over Porth Cressa and The Garrison (14:00)

September 29th: very wet for start of trip but rain had largely stopped by time made Settle. The train journey from Carlisle to Settle is very spectacular, particularly around the Dent/Ribblehead area and visibility was good for this part of the journey. We're staying at the Falcon Manor 1  2, a modest place on S edge of town. Settle is a typical Dales town, rather like Nenthead in natural setting 1  2  3  4 but with richer residents and maybe not so much fun! Ribble Valley runs N-S so might get some Honey-buzzard migrants. Today had 3 (resident) Common Buzzard on E side of valley at Settle (view 1 above), a Raven at Dent and, at Ribblehead (300m asl), 1 Wheatear and 3 Meadow Pipit. At Settle itself from 14:30-17:45 had 20 species of bird, including 2 House Martin, 6 Meadow Pipit, 4 LBBG N, 1 alba Wagtail N. Earlier had a Red Kite juvenile up in drizzle over Hexham N at 11:30 and was good to be seen off in style by thfsn!! Dinner was massive, having Sunday lunch for evening meal plus a few g. WiFi is not good: none in bedroom and ftp is blocked in bar but have workarounds for that! Delighted that starring role went well!! 2moro we're out for short walk to Giggleswick Scar with rain not forecast until tea-time. Did read some of Jewry in Music book on way over: according to Conway, Wagner behaved rather like the worst of modern-day professors, not acknowledging those who helped him, taking advantage of others when it suited him and making destructive comments on others while he borrowed their ideas: bit of a c..t really; but he was involved heavily with Jewish composers and musicians of the day; his intense jealousy of Meyerbeer's success was destabilising for all. But I might add: where is Meyerbeer today? Still reading: has all the hallmarks of a controversy with entrenched positions! How did I get into this! Better to stick to xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Extracts from Jewry in Music p.197-200 in Chapter Germany: Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer and the Rest.

Serious efforts have been undertaken by some academics to demonstrate anti-Jewish prejudices on the part of Richard Wagner before 1850. The most assiduous writer in this case [is] Paul Lawrence Rose. … His evidence, however, does not sufficiently support his assumption. … Primary evidence of Wagner's attitudes to Jews in general (as opposed to Meyerbeer in particular), is thin on the ground. … If anything, as Katz has pointed out, Wagner's associations before 1850 would have marked him a philo-Semite …. A long list of Jewish friends, colleagues, supporters and benefactors, runs through Wagner's life”, for instance:

Patrons in Paris: Mme Gottschalk, Samuel Lehrs; Horn-player: Jean Rodolfe Lewy (Viennese, assisted with Wagner's development of the instrument, including the Wagner horn); Author: Heinrich Hesse (story-line or inspiration for Wagner's operas). Wagner initially benefited from contact with Meyerbeer: "In 1838 Wagner met [him] by chance in Boulogne , who undertook to look over the draft of his opera Rienzi, and promised him recommendations in Paris on the strength of this, as well as introducing him to Moscheles. Around this time Wagner drafted a long article praising Meyerbeer as a man and artist and stating that 'to go beyond Meyerbeer is impossible' in a letter to Meyerbeer of 26 July 1840". ... "Apart from lending him money and giving him moral support, Meyerbeer successfully recommended Rienzi for its premiere in Dresden in 1842 and also procured the acceptance by Berlin of both Rienzi and Der fliegende Holländer. As late as 1840 Wagner was signing himself to Meyerbeer 'your ever greatly beholden'.

Those who, in the 1840s, criticised the “young Germany” intellectual movement, with which Wagner was allied, for being 'cosmopolitan', 'un-German' or 'Young Palestine', therefore need have looked no further than the young composer for a satisfactory vindication, had they wished to consider the above examples.”

But in his later writings: “Virtually all Wagner's musical, financial or social debts to Jews were omitted, deleted or toned down in his own later accounts of his life to avoid such embarrassment”. In particular Wagner's attitude to Meyerbeer rapidly changed as his own reputation grew, by developing his own style. "... by this time Wagner was also finding his own feet and beginning to discern yawning differences between his conception of opera and that of his erstwhile patron." A letter from Wagner to Schumann in 1843 highlights Wagner's scorn of Meyerbeer -- 'striving after superficial popularity' -- and the help he received from Meyerbeer -- 'to the extent that I now find myself in his debt'. Wagner therefore expresses artistic opposition to Meyerbeer while acknowledging the help he received from him.

September 28th: weather was dry today after very heavy rain overnight, mild, light SW breeze, 15C. Completed grass cutting for year, demolishing last of the long grass by the pony shelters; nest up is the hedges and shrubs in the front. Did have a quick look for raptors over the Devil's Water around 13:30 (13:30-13:50) and had 5 in all: the Honey-buzzard dark-phase juvenile, restless and moving fairly high from 13:32-13:35 but still not off 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 (9174); 2 Common Buzzard together, adult and juvenile, below the Honey-buzzard; 1 Red Kite adult with a juvenile from 13:35-13:37. Also had a Swallow SW and late butterflies: 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Small White. Completed processing of bird records for 7/9 so close to being up to date for September records now. Did make C4c4l where just missed trhwso but did catch up with her later!! Booked tickets for Giulio Cesare on 30/10 for myself and N to add to my Bohème on 29/10; also booked for Mahler's 1 concert at Abbey, Hexham, on 20/10 and train tickets for next trip. So really early start 2moro at 11:35 on next trek; let's hope line isn't washed away! Will think of the gorgeous one tomorrow afternoon: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

September 27th: another exciting day! Concert was very enjoyable: NC was the soloist performing brilliantly in Saint-Saëns CC1, playing an encore after that and 2 more pieces in the Spotlight to conclude the evening. She is such a talented and warm performer: certainly an asset to a Festival! The concert was really Ladies Night with conductor Giedrė Šlekytė, from Lithuania, NC, Tansy Davies' Plumes (commissioned as part of RNS' 60th birthday celebrations) and a performance of (Louise) Farrenc's S3, which should be further up the concert repertoire; it did have Beethoven overtones, particularly movement 2 which had lots of tension, as in movement 2 of B4. The men were left with the composers Wagner and Saint-Saëns. Was particularly interested in how RNS would approach the Idyll; it's not an easy piece as it's a complex structure with a number of alternating sections and the romance is restrained with subtle climaxes. Thought they did well, bringing out the love while maintaining concentration. The Idyll bears some resemblance to the work of Mendelssohn IMHO, including for instance the restrained use of horns and the complex interplay of the instruments. Delighted to meet the charming duo of flautists EG and AY and another delightful duo later!! Back on last train to W4g4s in RDM where 5 of us out for brief but good catch-up. Earlier made C4c4l where tmsuo looked the part, processed 8/9 bird records and started on 7/9 bird records. Nite had beautiful climax: urgency is a virtue: looked fantastic: she's gorgeous: lok2tgrf xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! Funds had wild week as populists everywhere run amok: -14k at one stage but big rally Friday gave change for week as -2k gross, reducing to -4k net, after 1.7k of withdrawals, including 1k for younger granddaughter's birthday. 2moro it's C4c4l, maybe trip out, catch-up! Next day it's off am with N; very sorry to miss the *dom: will be brilliant!!

Am taking the book Jewry in Music: Entry to the Profession from the Enlightenment to Richard Wagner by David Conway on next trip: the title is a deliberate play on Wagner's infamous text 'Das Judentum in der Musik'. Because of his extensive contact with Jewish musicians, Wagner ranks 3rd after Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer in index entries in the book. There is a play on words A Vulture is Almost an Eagle, discussed by Conway at http://www.jewryinmusic.com/vulture_.html. Wagner's biological father may well have been Ludwig Geyer [http://nickrossiter.org.uk/music/marx_vs_wagner%20timeline.html], the German name for Vulture used by Jews, which in the developing anti-Semitic climate deeply troubled Wagner. Why don't the male heirs in direct descent from Richard Wagner take Y-DNA tests? Or maybe they already have! Not perhaps ideal for the Third Reich to have had a left-wing composer of partial Jewish descent as one of its guiding lights.

September 26th: caught up on records for 11/9 (Slaley Forest) and recent ones for the 'Shire up to today. Weather today was cooler 16C, damp in morning, weak sunshine later, gusty SW breeze. From 17:18-17:27 a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard was seen 0.5km S of Shield Hall, mobbed by a Corvid initially, rising and putting up Woodpigeon and Rook before going very high; it then came back quickly towards normal site to SE of house; it then rose again high but came back to normal site again; signs of a juvenile getting ready to go 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14 (9173). Next task is to add data from fruitful visit on 8/9 around 'Shire to BirdTrack with multimedia all done for this day. Made G4g4s where met Tuesday's gang -1: good chat and nice to have L on!! 2moro it's C4c4l, RDM-NCL 16:05, MP with N, S4con with extract from Wagner's Siegfried (Idyll), Natalie Clein on cello (S-S CC1), Farrenc (S3) and encore Plumes by Tansy Davies, followed by W4g4s!! Fais de beaux rêves: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

September 25th: trip to Leeds University, School of Music, was well worthwhile with speaker Dr Bryan White from the School giving us an in-depth insight into Handel and his opera Giulio Cesare; did take some notes which will polish soon; learnt a lot about the Baroque period, Handel's Hannover/Hanoverian connections and tensions, Opera Seria, castrato, comparison with 19th century opera, the plot (and story) in Giulio Cesare. Pleased to meet ON team including KH who confirmed 29/10 is hospitality day at TR – already booked! Trains (TPE) were comfortable and roughly on time. Did the 20 min walk from LDS to the School both ways, using Google Maps. Did some useful work on music/topos/monad paper, investigating how to integrate ANPA 40 into the already-published Socanthro journal paper; plan is to add extra material at end of S3 (natural category theory) expanding intension/extension to include the different genre and to revise S4, the topos, to bring the data structures into line with ANPA 40, where the intension/extension relationship is extended over the whole topos; the monad section and main thrust of paper will need very minor changes. This can be published in the ANPA 40 proceedings and in another journal. Also made some notes on the Handel on train back in Notepad on my 'phone (which is 'perfect' again) for emailing to server. Did have a Honey-buzzard juvenile on way down between Dalton and Birkby on a stubble field S of Darlington; a regular occurrence for me on farmland in North Yorkshire. Was most exciting and satisfying time; late nite scene was incredible; split worked brilliantly; slept like a saint: she's so gorgeous: fond farewell: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Notes on Caesar were:

Gc Handel 1722 major rival boccerini not same subtlety and delicacy as H so failed to last. Gc is most performed of his operas, good singing, popular topic, ?. H wanted to be thought of as an opera composer but remembered more for his choral music. Gc was seria opera with aria, recitative, little drama. Very popular in Italy. H became popular in England with Hanoverian monarchy and outgrew his Hanover origins. Castrato just before puberty given small op on testes which interfered with hormones, stopping voice from breaking and making them infertile. Hard choice because only minority went on to become successful singers!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – September total 29, total for autumn (from 17/8) 102 (ton-up!), main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9-14/9, now into older siblings from 24/9-:

25/09 18:51 Cambridgeshire : European Honey Buzzard, Grafham Water pale juvenile flew low south this evening

25/09 16:10 Fife : European Honey Buzzard, Dunfermline juvenile flew east at Dempster Place loosely associated with 4 Common Buzzards (15:20)

25/09 12:59 Isles of Scilly : European Honey Buzzard, St Mary's juvenile flew from Peninnis to The Garrison (12:58)

25/09 12:06 Isles of Scilly : European Honey Buzzard, St Mary's juvenile flew over Port Hellick towards Lower Moors (11:58)

24/09 14:39 East Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Bubwith village juvenile flew south over Bubwith village (23/09 13:00)

September 24th: weather is very wet, heavy rain all day on moderate SW breeze, mild. Might persuade a few young Honey-buzzard to pack their bags! Did make dentists where told that base for crown had lost a little chip but worth trying to re-cement once more as next step will be extraction. So superglue produced and still in place tonite, all for £22.60. Meal at Beaumont was very good with 5 of us out, spending £187 on 3 courses and drinks: service was lovely: had bonus cognac at end! Then out to R&C4m4s to meet the IT gang for further good chat. Sorted out piccies for 11/9 below, trip to Slaley Forest (9162); just need to add data to BirdTrack. Marvellous news from the Supreme Court today: loved piccie of BJ with Trump: you judge people by the company they keep: 2 unprincipled populists! Did think of the gorgeous one at 20:30 CEST (and later!): hope it was gr8: look forward to clips!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M followed by Opera Uncovered: Giulio Cesare in Leeds University; it's a very exciting day!!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Coming to the foreground now is trip to Colorado, Rocky Mountains, USA, for RRF from 5/11-10/11. Have already registered, including for the odd field trip. Trip will start in New York c1/11 and finish somewhere c15/11. It's quite a big trip!! Do have short trip with N from 29/9 for 4 days in Yorkshire Dales by train HEX ex 11:35 on present plans; mixed feelings on one aspect of this (spiders!).

September 23rd: weather was mild, 18C, light to moderate SW breeze, rain arriving late afternoon. Made R @ B4m4l where speaker did an unashamed sales pitch for his wealth management company: not quite within the rules but the club's suffering from tensions caused by a power-crazy secretary, not checked sufficiently by the president, so think most members looking for more tranquillity will just let it pass. Had leisurely visit to N4c4ll before going home and doing some energetic grass-cutting on the outer limits: good for the libido!! Kept an eye out for raptors and had a juvenile Honey-buzzard at each of the local sites plus a male Sparrowhawk flying over house at Ordley at 16:48. At 16:45 and 16:54 the local dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard came flapping into the SE of the view from my house over pasture by the Devil's Water; it then circled and went back out again to SE 1  2  3 (9172). The other dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard was seen over stubble to W at 17:20, presumed from Dotland site. A Hornet was again sighted flying fast over my field. Processed last Monday's records (16/9) from Stocksfield and Corbridge to keep up the pressure on recent field trips. Made G4g4s where pleased to have Mg on! 2moro it's dentists at Corbridge at 15:30 for another go at re-cementing the crown, 18:30 to B4m4s with 4 of the gang from the G, 21:00 to R&C4m4s. Will have to have a soggy meal! Loved the clip of the end of prom 72: bonne chance pour demain à Paris: vous serez sûrement géniaux!! Travel for ON in Leeds looks like: HEX ex 13:41, NCL ex 15:15, with return LDS ex 20:10. Should be gr8!! lok2tgrf!!!!!!

September 22nd: warm rain most of day, probably good for garden but even better for my records, spending c8 hours on massive catch-up including bird records back to 17/9 and on 28/8 at the lake SW of Seis. These records were completely processed, including adding to BirdTrack and indexing the piccies on the web site, so pleased with that. Did go for walk at dusk to Dotland, getting 2 toad, a hare, a rabbit, a Tawny Owl, 7 Robin, 6 Blackbird. Had nitecap at G4g4s where plenty of good crack! Someone's exciting life continues: very impressed: gorgeous she is: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

September 21st: another very warm day at 20C, moderate SE breeze, sunny all day, dry. It's now the equinox (equal daylight across the globe) and appropriately weather is supposed to be going downhill slowly! Had a fantastic afternoon out around Hexham High Wood from 14:30-15:50, for walk from Lowgate N towards A69. Had 2 groups of juvenile Honey-buzzard, one a little to the W of High Wood of 2 birds, which did some mutual circling low-down over the trees, like the 2 yesterday, plus a bit of talon grappling; this duo, both dark-phase, was up briefly from 14:45-14:46 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14 (9170); the other further W, also of 2 birds, due S of the Greenshaw Plain site. This latter duo, dark-phase and brown-phase, were stronger fliers, going to moderate height at times and looking more confident in their ability; they were up for a long time from 14:44-15:34 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17 plus clip (9171). These 2 duos could merge to form a pre-emigration gang. The habitat in which they were feeding was an intimate mixture of small unimproved pastures, stubble and small woodland 18  19. So this raises the total number of sites where fledging noted to 22 of which a minimum of 12 had fledged 2 young. It's been another excellent breeding season. Other raptors were a female Kestrel, diving onto some prey, on a stubble field and a splendid juvenile male Goshawk, menacingly circling over woodland at W end of High Wood at 15:13 captured on clip and stills 1  2; has it been bred there? So total for trip was 6 raptors of 3 types: 4 Honey-buzzard juvenile at 2 sites, 1 Goshawk juvenile male, 1 Kestrel female. For all bird species total was 17, including 4 types of tit with 13 Long-tailed Tit, single Treecreeper and Goldcrest. Very interesting were the sightings in flight of 2 Hornet: 1 at High Wood, the other at Ordley in my back garden over a large area of rose hips. Butterfish included 18 Speckled Wood and 3 Red Admiral at Hexham High Wood. Earlier made C4c4l where tmsuo is a lot more matey!! Read FT: some emphasis on need for Brexit compromise so that the country can get on with other things; might second that if Brino! Decided to dally after Leeds trip!! Les Dissonances looks so exciting: l'amour et la mort: Wagner's Tristan und Isolde (harmonic closure after 4 hours 20 minutes of longing in opera but wow, what a passionate climax in the liebestod!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NvUyCdKAxM, R Strauss' oboe concerto, Schönberg's Pelléas und Mélisande (another intense story of a difficult romantic situation, with both partners in the tryst dying!). What a great opportunity with climax in Paris!! 2moro may try and catch up with records and gardening but doubtless will be tempted out a bit more if sun comes out! Might make N4c4ll and G4g4s!! lok2tgrf!!!!!! xx

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – September total 24, total for autumn (from 17/8) 97, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9-14/9, now into older siblings:

21/09 22:11 Cornwall : European Honey Buzzard, St Columb Major one reported at nearby Castle An Dinas [R]

[These seem surprising on SE breeze, not Honey-buzzard juvenile??:

21/09 11:24 Durham : Rough-legged Buzzard, Gateshead one flew south-east over Queen Elizabeth Hospital

21/09 10:31 Northumberland : Rough-legged Buzzard, Grindon Lough probable to north-east above Housesteads then drifted east [?] ]

September 20th: glorious weather continued at 21C, light S breeze, sunny, dry. Visited Beaufront W, near Anick Grange, from 14:15-15:30 where intensive agricultural work in progress, planting winter wheat. Raptors were good here, including 3 Common Buzzard (family group), 1 Red Kite (juvenile, hanging for ages in sky to NE around 14:26), 2 Honey-buzzard (dark-phase juvenile, up at 15:20 to W of Anick Grange, with another brown juvenile, keeping close company, low-down over trees in rough pasture area. Here's shots of birds 1  2  3  4  5  6 and habitat 7  8  9 (9169)), 1 Sparrowhawk (male), 1 Kestrel (adult male in tree). Earlier at Ordley around 13:30 had 3 Common Buzzard up, a Red Kite (juvenile, W of Dukesfield), the regular locally-reared brown-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard coming up quickly from trees overlooking the Devil's Water and then diving back again at 15:39, 120 Pink-footed Goose S in 1 skein and 7 Lapwing N. On the road had a Common Buzzard at Prospect Hill at 15:40 and an adult Red Kite at Shilford at 16:10. So total raptors for day was 7 Common Buzzard, 3 Red Kite, 3 Honey-buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, that's 15 birds of 5 types. Total for all bird species was 17 types, including 10 Chaffinch and 10 Goldfinch. Made NCL: tested Vodafone connection 48 hours after set-up and it worked: updated configuration for contract instead of payg and that worked as well on mobile data: oh joy!! Might still use WhatsApp more as diversification!! Made MP4m4t with N where good catch-up, then onto S4con with LV in Piano Greats. Didn't find the Mozart (PS 2) that inspiring but it got better with Janáček's PS 1 sounding harsh and dramatic and Liszt's Ballade 2 having some lovely dark harmonies and rhythms. After HT we had Schubert's PS 23, a meaty piece with lots of contrasts; this was inspiring!! Made W4g4s off last train for good chat with mates before arriving home at 00:55. Was a gorgeous end to day: most inspiring: andante: she's the favourite: lok2tgrf: XXX!!!!!!

After last week's meteoric rise back to harsh realities of Brexit this week with fall of 7k but maybe much of fall due to profit taking and to investors relieved to get out with many holding large losses on UK domestic issues. Managed funds now up to 200k. Suspect EU will want to do a deal to avoid a neo-fascist state emerging on their border, undercutting them in trade on all social and environmental standards. This will involve modifying the backstop agreement, putting in the insurance scheme Northern Ireland with the Irish Republic; the DUP will object but going from a majority of -45 to one of -65 is not the end of the world and the DUP could be shafted at the next general election anyway by its strong support for Brexit in a province which voted to remain. Next week cellist NC is playing at S on Friday: promises to be one of the great concerts of the season. Also going to a talk at Opera North in Leeds on Wednesday at 18:00, maybe dallying on way back!! xx

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – September total 23, total for autumn (from 17/8) 96, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9-14/9

18/09 07:24 Dorset : European Honey Buzzard, Portland flew south over the Bill early morning

18/09 09:56 West Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Ringstone Edge Reservoir one flew over early afternoon yesterday (17/09 12:30)

19/09 17:48 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head one reported yesterday [R]

September 19th: more glorious sunshine, 18C, light to moderate SW breeze. After my fix at C4c4l made Wentworth area of Hexham from 14:30-15:00 to scan the hillside to Hexham N on far side of A69. Plenty of action here with a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard flying through the tops of the trees from 14:44-14:45 1  2  3 (9168), 3 Red Kite up with 2 juvenile low-down and a juvenile later soaring high with an adult, a Sparrowhawk female out to hunt. Had skeins of Pink-footed Goose passing S over March Burn 2 days ago (50) and over Ordley today (50) at 12:55: winter visitors from the high Arctic. Have about a week left of the fledging season on my reckoning so need to keep the pressure up, particularly in the core area of the 'Shire and Tyne Valley W. P had a family party of 5 Common Buzzard up over Hackwood, Hexham S. Resumed grass cutting by rose hedge: under control would say, 1st time for a while! Much later made G4g4s where sat next to a crowd from Haltwhistle who were in good spirits; the lass next to me lives 50m from where we used to live in Town Foot. The noise in the next room could be heard 100m away: famous family!! Good to have A on!! 2moro it's trip out mid-morning, C4c4l, RDM-NCL 16:05, MP with N, S4con with LV on piano, W4g4s!! C'est la vie: fais de beaux rêves: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

September 18th: did visit Vodafone at their shop in Eldon Square for about an hour; it appears that I was right to come in as the new contract had been sidelined for some reason; so that contract has been resubmitted for resumption of service within 72 hours; also discussed swapping broadband to Vodafone, signing provisional agreement; the satellite service that I have is much less reliable under BigBlu than with Avon though did hack down some vegetation today to see whether that is a problem; Vodafone would charge £23 a month as against BigBlu's £44 a month. Went to BC4m4t with N; not bad but dislike how places that automatically add a gratuity to the bill then expect a further tip on top of that! Concert at WB was brilliant: minimalist music played with style and enthusiasm. In part 1 we had Reich's Duet, for strings, Mellits' Black, for a pair of bass clarinet, and Missy Mazzoli's Ecstatic Science, for flute, clarinet and strings. I liked the Ecstatic Science, unusual woodwind noises, not quite finishing right maybe with the odd giggle! The duo on the bass clarinet included DG, SR's other ½! Glass' Symphony 3, in part 2, was the weightiest item on the agenda, with interesting slight variations in each player's score (like Ligeti!). This came over really well and got enthusiastic applause! Then popped into Hotspur, an old haunt when at NCL! Was a gr8 day for romance, both early and late: so happy to be back for both of us: plenty of action: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 17th: glorious weather, sunny all day, 15C, light to moderate SW breeze. Had successful fieldwork in afternoon from 14:30-16:45 in area S of Dipton Wood where found for Honey-buzzard 1 new brood of 2 and another new brood of 1+, both in sites where found the nest-tree so that's reassuring to see the success. Also for this species had the dark-phase juvenile at Ordley, floating at moderate height at 14:36 before descending back to trees SE of my house, a familiar haunt for them this autumn 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8 (9167), and a juvenile at Dipton Wood S at 15:10 (9165) floating above a juvenile male Goshawk, in rampant hunting mode. A Common Buzzard was also seen at Ordley in flap-flap-glide mode. In the March Burn site where present from 15:00-16:45 had a Kestrel juvenile soon after arrival but had to wait almost 90 minutes before seeing the Honey-buzzard. From 16:19-16:26 2 birds (female, juvenile) soared very high and indulged in much diving at each other 1  2 (9164); a presumed younger juvenile came out of the trees and was well below them (as a 2); when it finally climbed high enough to join them, they disappeared: cruel! At 16:29 a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard flapped slowly from E towards the site at Kellas N, a 1+, 1 (9166). So raptor total was 8 birds of 4 types: 5 Honey-buzzard (1 female, 4 juvenile), 1 Kestrel (juvenile, flushed at close range on arrival at March Burn), 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Goshawk (male). Total for trip was 23 types of bird, including 10 Linnet, 3 Yellowhammer, 6 Chaffinch, 14 Swallow S. Had a flock of 40 Goldfinch near Letah Wood. Appear to be in a bootstrap problem with Vodafone; will see them 2moro afternoon; meanwhile using WhatsApp through WiFi for messaging to keep things up!! Unusually made C4c4t where tmsuo was on: much more talkative this time!! The IT crowd did come out for good crack in HoN: Mg was on here as well, not sure who's following who!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M and main business of day ko with CAL-NCL at 15:00!! Looking forward to it: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – September total 20, total for autumn (from 17/8) 93, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9:

17/09 10:41 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Northward Hill RSPB male flew over main wood (10:38) [interesting both claimed as male, could be from upland areas where season later]

17/09 15:20 Surrey : European Honey Buzzard, Ripley male flew south-west mid-afternoon

September 16th: a trying day; set off for dentist appointment and car started misfiring with catalytic converter warning light on; decided couldn't make Corbridge so staggered up the hill to Loughbrow and down to KF in Hexham, stopping several times for a break. They were having trouble with their WiFi links all down but said they'd diagnose the problem in 1.5 hours. So up to N4c4c and a very sociable time with people I haven't met so much over the summer, together with the inspirational tbld (from C!!). Back to KF who said it was the spark plugs and the ignition coil which needed replacing (not the cat(alyst), that was a symptom from dirty engine gases). So said OK and they said come back at 5. A bit of time to spare so caught the bus to Stocksfield for raptor studies on the Mount from 14:55-16:00 in good weather conditions: moderate SW breeze, bright, dry. This was very productive seeing 12 raptors of 4 types: 3 Honey-buzzard - a Honey-buzzard juvenile up briefly over Short Wood at moderate height on arrival, 2 Honey-buzzard juveniles up in playful display with much diving over Stocksfield E captured on clip and in stills 1  2  3  4 with habitat 5 (9163, new site for fledging in 2019, Elrington); 7 Red Kite – 3 at Short Wood E (ad, 2 juv), 2 at Cottagebank (both juv), 2 at Stocksfield E (ad, juv); 1 Common Buzzard juvenile over Stocksfield E; 1 Kestrel over Stocksfield E. Honey-buzzard and Red Kite are so graceful, a joy to watch and both doing so well. Total for trip to Stocksfield was 14 bird species; earlier at Corbridge at 14:20 had 3 Goosander redhead, a Dipper and 8 alba Wagtail. Back to KF who had just got the parts and fitted them quickly; all for £260 so pleased with the garage for the speedy solution and it goes noticeably better! An aggravation was Vodafone: I'm in the middle of switching contracts and they'd stopped one this morning without starting the other. So no 'phone or messages; got off bus at Corbridge to see the dentists who were very sympathetic and gave me another appointment next Tuesday. The no.10 buses do actually have decent WiFi, which was useful. Will throttle Vodafone on Wednesday afternoon in Newcastle if no progress by then! Can see them b4 BC with N at 5 and minimalist RNS (great programme at Wylam Brewery) at 8. Missed the R do but not too worried about that really: P has resigned and I think it is getting too jolly and stuffy! Did make G4g4s where 6 of us out for good crack with Mg on!! Should have gone to bed really on return from KF as they say these things come in threes. 2moro it's C4c4l and trip out to March Burn for further check on Honey-buzzard at Tyne Valley W sites; maybe out later but these IT people are a little erratic! So more or less intact: lok2t gorgeous one!!!!!! xxxx!!

September 15th: after yesterday's sunshine, dull today but very little rain, 15C, light NW breeze. Might get a little Honey-buzzard emigration on Monday (16/9) with passage of cold front overnight. Had 2 Red Kite yesterday (adult, juvenile) over roundabout at Hexham N on A69 at 14:45 so that's another breeding site. Did make N4c4l and G4g4s (only 3 of us out but good 2 c M) but more time to self, completing processing of records from Seis W on 27/8, registering 4 sites for Honey-buzzard to date. Son in his new flat today assembled bed and curtains and ordered washing machine: not sure what influence I really have! Oil price is spiking tonight (Brent +13%) after attacks in SA; have a few which might sell; fill up your tanks; some shorters could be destroyed! Gave LibDems £25 for their more +ve Remain stance. 2moro it's dentist in CRB at 09:50 (can they refit old crown which kept), Roman fort Corstopitum with R at 11, Rat in Anick for lunch, also with R. Later onto Stocksfield Mount for raptor watch. In evening planning on G4g4s but always open to offers!! Hope the gorgeous one is fit: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

September 14th: opening concert was a grand affair and very well supported with even level 3 being open. Went with N. The Shostakovitch went well: PC 2 with LV was very enjoyable in the boisterous first and last movements and poignant in the middle movement; we had an encore, quite an extensive one, of a Shostakovitch piano trio with LV, KH, SM, which was beautiful!! Some people don't like these extras, thinking they're an attempt to sneak modern music into the programme! But really there's nothing surely controversial about DS's PT, maybe a Stockhausen piece should be tried! The programme was all Russian with the well-known chemist Borodin the composer of the first piece In the Steppes of Central Asia. AY was gr8 throughout on the flute: pity about November! Tchaikovsky 6 came over well well, particularly the march in movement 3, but always think movement 4 is so difficult as it attempts to portray death as it actually happens rather than the great climatic version of grand opera, such as in Wagner's liebestod (love in death) in Tristan und Isolde. Not sure they got it right, the enduring flickers of hope didn't seem strong enough. Do think that many people underrate Tchaikovsky: he's a lot more than the Sugar-plum Fairy! His opera Eugene Onegin for instance has a lot of depth. Anyway social side went well, meeting N at MP at 16:00 where keenly welcomed back and partners at the reception before the concert. We made Br for a drink later. Much earlier made C4c4l for most enjoyable environment and amazed to see someone – very interesting!! Two Red Kite, adult and juvenile, were NE of Hexham at Oakwood at 14:20. Hope close of festival at Bremen went well: Beethoven VC was surely not from memory as well: such feats!! Plenty of good reviews, for instance https://bachtrack.com/review-prom-72-collon-aurora-berlioz-symphonie-fantastique-september-2019. I'd rate it up with the Ring in Budapest as one of my great recent musical experiences. A quieter day 2moro, making N4c4l and G4g4s: maybe more action on Monday!! 2 concerts next week on Wed/Fri. lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – September total 18, total for autumn (from 17/8) 91, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9:

14/09 20:50 Devon : European Honey Buzzard, Colyford Common LNR one flew over (11:00)

14/09 08:47 Isle of Wight : European Honey Buzzard, Bonchurch one over Bonchurch Down then flew south over the sea (08:44)

14/09 08:04 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, West Rise Marsh one flew south-west (07:35)

13/09 17:48 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Wheldrake Ings YWT one flew low over this morning

13/09 08:53 Aberdeenshire : European Honey Buzzard, Ythan Estuary one flew inland (08:45)

12/09 10:24 Norfolk : European Honey Buzzard, Welney WWT flew north of the visitor centre along the Hundred Foot Bank (10:10)

September 13th: woke up at 10:05, too late for breakfast and not so much time to make KGX at 12:30; taxi for getting back was good idea on reflection -- nice to have someone who cares; cost was £19.80 + 2.50 tip!! Had meal yesterday at Byron in Gloucester Road on recommendation of son: they asked me intensely about allergies when ordering, can see why today on court case they are facing. LNER got me back on time: much better run railway than Virgin's on western side. Spent a lot of time on both legs of the journey, looking at combination of Socanthro paper with the ANPA Liverpool one; it's just a case of revising the topos design and the Liverpool one is more compelling as it better links player to score. Prom 72 came over brilliantly on TV BBC4; creativity by Aurora Orchestra and conductor Nicholas Collon was very evident; I'd not realised that Berlioz was such a revolutionary composer; thought the left wing played superbly!! Funds had the best week for ages (not very precise!) at +27k, taking gain on year to 54k gross, 39k net. The bid for GFRD contributed just 8k of the gain, the rest being a broad-based rise in UK domestic equities on more optimism that a no-deal Brexit can be avoided. At the same time international equities benefited from an easing of US-China trade tensions but the sharp rise in the £ has muted this gain in £ terms. Cash is right down to 14k. Don't think GFRD is reflecting at all the full value of the bid from BVS: often happens, profit taking and caution over whether bid will go through are 2 factors keeping the price down. Dividend on GFRD of 3.46k (35p a share) payable on 4/12 whatever happens is nicely timed! Giving 1k to younger granddaughter for her 3rd birthday this weekend; it goes into a Junior Isa so she can have a big party when she's 18! They're going to Disneyland in Paris to celebrate. Here's piccie of them both on S's very recent day 1 in formal school at age 4.5; Richmond Park is 10m away! Much later today made W4g4s where 5 of us out for good crack until 00:30 (14/9)! Had 3 Honey-buzzard today from train on way up: a juvenile Honey-buzzard at 13:05 was soaring near Stilton E, dark phase; a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard was quartering the ground over stubble at Hurworth at 15:10; a female Honey-buzzard was moving S on S outskirts of Darlington at 15:20. A Kestrel was at Newark at 13:50 and a Red Kite at Great Heck at 14:20. 2moro its C4c4l, CRB-NCL, MP4m4t with N, reception at S, S4con: a busy day!! lok2tgrf!!!!!!

September 12th: busy day making proms at Royal Albert Hall to see and hear Aurora's late-nite performance (prom 73) of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique: truly fantastic, loved the dark setting, the actor Mathew Baynton and the orchestra! Good social setting seeing son b4 at Queen's Arms and plenty of gr8 dialogue later!! Can see the prom 72 on TV tomorrow evening (BBC4 19:30-21:00) but there's nothing like a live performance! Will compare it with performance 2. Marvellous farewell: lok2tgrf!!!!! A great day out, well worth it: back safely at PI in Chiswick via taxi at end!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

September 11th: good weather for raptors today with sunny spells on moderate SW breeze, mild 15C. Did go out to Slaley Forest site on W side from 15:05-17:00 while S busy at home. This site adjoins the heather on Blanchland Moor with fairly rough scrubby pastureland and extensive forests: perfect habitat for Honey-buzzard. Had frequent sightings of Honey-buzzard over the rough pasture, clearly foraging over the area with 1 spectacular dive onto the ground from high-up. Total was a female and 2 dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard, indicating that departure of the females is not complete. Their feeding style was to hang low-down over the ground, clearly looking for grubs and the like. Have plenty of piccies of the 2 Honey-buzzard juvenile 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12 and one of the female 1 (9162). this completes the 'Shire study with 5 broods of 2 and successful fledging at another site but number not known: brilliant season! Also had 4 Red Kite at 2 sites: an adult 1 and 2 juvenile 2 at one, a juvenile at another; the colonisation of the Beldon Burn has been followed by a successful colonisation of the Devil's Water, over the watershed, after a few hiccoughs. Common Buzzard totalled 5 at 2 sites: adult and 2 juvenile at one, 2 juvenile at another. So raptor total was 12 birds of 3 types. A flock of 25 Mistle Thrush was impressive and 2 Raven were on site: have they bred locally? In total of 16 bird species had 3 Meadow Pipit (1 S), 1 alba Wagtail S, 25 Swallow and 7 House Martin. Made good progress on 27/8 Seis am Schlern; just need to index piccies. Earlier made C4c4l where delivery man managed to cage me in while stacking the shelf: what you call a captive customer: smiles all round!! Mood in the City is more positive towards domestic UK shares; maybe it thinks BJ will not survive until 31/10! With the cancellation of my Times and Telegraph subs, I did review others but Bloomberg retained enthusiastically: they think we're insane on Brexit, provide very good commentary and strongly support the arts. Guardian sub was of course increased; I've always been a supporter. Funds +16k in 1st 3 days but will it last? Not out later: want to be at best 2moro!! It's 10:56 ex HEX for TUG and first-thing next day at 12:30 ex KGX. So seen all the trailers: delivery time now: best of luck for the performances!!!! lok2tgrf: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

September 10th: mild today and humid with sunshine in afternoon on light SW breeze, 15C. Suddenly remembered while dozing at 10:30 that was meeting N at the shack [Wentworth Cafe] to go to the AF at the Wentworth. So sudden action, getting there at 11:15 for coffee. We had good catch-up, not having met for quite a while but it's 16:00 at MP for further chat and prelude to opening nite at S. Bought a couple of Ag berry spoons 1804 (George III) for 100 (marked 125); gilded, good makers Peter & Ann Bateman, superb condition! Take-over bid for GFRD (Linden Homes, hold 9367) by BVS should help figures this week; housebuilders are incredibly cheap at 4-7 P/E (price/earnings ratio: P/E of 4 means the company earns its share price in 4 years; compare that to bond interest at 1% where takes 100 years to double your money at simple interest; FT was commenting on this on Saturday, saying that on a long view some equities look very cheap! No one out tonite so decided to have a break! Sorted the multimedia for 8/9, really pleased with that as that's the most time-consuming part of the records. Also did some work on web pages, improving ease of maintenance by using include HTML facility to copy in frequently used code over many pages: one fact in one place. Looking forward to the marvellous event coming up: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! Day out in N Germany for that inspirational series (#tag dreamteam!) sounds gr8!! 2moro it's C4c4l, trip out to last 'Shire site to check for Honey-buzzard, cleaner S is back (thank goodness), G4g4s (B away so later!).

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – September total 12, total for autumn (from 17/8) 85, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9:

09/09 08:34 East Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Spurn YWT one flew south past the Warren and over the River Humber

09/09 14:43 Durham : European Honey Buzzard, The Leas, S. Shields juvenile dark morph flew north-west over mount (14:20) [might have been an adult female]

10/09 17:25 Perth & Kinross : European Honey Buzzard, Aberfeldy adult male flew south-west at 13:45

September 9th: rain in morning gave way to a sunnier afternoon and did a lot of grass cutting. Completed processing piccies for 7/9 which took a lot of time. Need to start on 8/9 now; determined not to have a big backlog of records like last year. Made N4c4l and R @ B4m4s where we had a talk on poetry and witchcraft! Later it was G4g4s with the gang – 4 of us out; it was very busy with football on and M doing the honours: pleased to meet tcmmo again!! Appreciated proximity with the thfsn!! Laughed at this story, bit of schadenfreude:

Arctic tours ship MS MALMO with 16 passengers on board got stuck in ice on Sep 3 off Longyearbyen, Svalbard Archipelago, halfway between Norway and North Pole. The ship is on Arctic tour with Climate Change documentary film team, and tourists, concerned with Climate Change and melting Arctic ice. All 16 Climate Change warriors were evacuated by helicopter in challenging conditions, all are safe. --Maritime Bulletin, 4 September 2019

Always like to see zealots brought down to earth! I've actually been to 80 deg 32 min in that area in 1979: they approached the pack ice very gingerly. Now if only the Brexit bus would (metaphorically) drive off the cliff! Brexit is why this update is late: watched on Sky News the suspension of Parliament happening around 02:30 (10/9) and all the associated demonstrations and antics. Have been looking at referenda from the ethical point of view. Countries which specialise in such votes have strong ethical safeguards so that the minority losing a vote do not suffer unduly from the outcome. Brexiters say 52-48 means winner takes all but this is totally wrong ethically: some of the 48% might suffer big losses such as loss of citizenship and split families, and in destruction of their businesses. Brino (Brexit in name only) was probably the logical outcome to such a close vote. And now it's 49% remain 44% leave on current polls so another referendum might not confirm the result. A further critical point is that the result of a referendum is the design for which Parliament has to do the implementation: it may not be possible to implement the design in the simple way that some voters intended. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

September 8th: another good day weather-wise for raptors with max 15C, strong sunshine, light NW breeze in morning, turning SE later. But moderated yesterday's pace, visiting one site West Dipton for a little over an hour from 11:30-12:40. Provisional view is that had total of 4 Honey-buzzard in trip: an adult female and 1 juvenile at Swallowship, an adult female and 1 juvenile at West Dipton. The Swallowship birds comprised a dusky female floating around over the fields towards Linnels Bridge at 12:02 1  2  3  4  5 (9137) and a dark-phase juvenile, not the one seen twice since fledging, with short P8 but rest of wing-tip fully grown up at 12:08 1  2 (9138). The West Dipton birds comprised a female up over the wood to NW from 12:13-12:19 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  with habitat 11 (9139) trying hard to get a juvenile up in the air, which she eventually did at 12:19 1  2  3  4  5  6 (9140); the dark-phase juvenile moved N over the ridge towards Hexham, a popular feeding area it seems. The most amazing record was at 15:38 of a juvenile Honey-buzzard heard giving chicken calls from the untidy hedge on the W side of my field (recorded!); here's clip of calls (1s 6s 9s 56s, mp4) and still of habitat jpg (9141). Also had a Red Kite juvenile at Dipton Wood E at 12:08. Total for trip was 13 bird types including 11 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff. 2 Southern Hawker dragonfly were mating on the air at Letah Wood. Damp 2moro so should catch up on last 2 days. Did make G4g4s where good crowd out: plenty of chat! 2moro it's N4c4l, R @ B4m4s, G4g4s!! Booked up 4 days (3 nights) with N at end of this month in Settle in Yorkshire Dales. Hotel this week is PI in Chiswick with king-sized bed!! Enjoy the culture of N Germany: lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – September total 9, total for autumn (from 17/8) 82, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9, females from 7/9:

08/09 10:21 East Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Grimston one flew south this morning; also a possible Slavonian Grebe flew past distantly offshore

08/09 10:24 South Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Old Moor RSPB (Dearne Valley) one flew south-west at 10:11

08/09 12:51 Northamptonshire : European Honey Buzzard, Islip one over high circling south early afternoon (12:44)

08/09 13:12 Surrey : European Honey Buzzard, Dorking one flew west over Denbies Hillside NT (12:45)

September 7th: important day in the Honey-buzzard calendar: with the males largely gone, it's now the turn of the females to leave. Weather was perfect for migration and display with polar air: light N breeze, 13C, sunny periods, cumulus clouds. Up with the lark, at 11:06 was outside in my dressing gown dumping some vegetable matter for compost when suddenly realised the local female Honey-buzzard was coming right over my house in a beating of the bounds manoeuvre, often a prelude for an immediate exit. Thought she muttered as she came over: “bye f....r; c u next May”. Anyway that was round the back so grabbed the camera and went out the front, where picked her up beginning to soar with 2 juveniles hanging on below 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12 (9132). She left them way behind, eventually rising above the clouds and at 11:16 floating off to S: Africa here I come! The 2 juveniles returned to the ground, one of them being quite conspicuous about an hour later at 12:12, appearing to revel in taking over the territory from 12:11-12:15 13  14  15  16  17  18 with some Crow on the tops of the trees as usual when the Honey-buzzard are about 19  20 (9132). At 12:18 a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard was up over Slaley Forest (Trygill site), well in the background, flapping low over the trees to NE 1 (9133). Went into Hexham 4c and took bins/camera in case anything popped up. Well walked right around Hexham with good views to N seeing nothing but as was about to get in the car up Elvaston at 15:00 noticed the Jackdaw were very restless. Sure enough to SE was a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard floating low down over the Hackwood Estate; took some video 1 and some piccies 2  3  4  5  6  7  8 (9134); this bird is still growing outer primaries so quite immature; it was later seen drifting back S, towards the area on the ridge E of the racecourse; suspect it's from Swallowship site as outer primaries are similar in growth to those of the juvenile seen there on 21/8 (9210). Walked along the road from Ordley to Dotland from 15:40-17:45 picking up another migrant, a female from Dipton Wood S who at 15:55 came out of the trees and decisively soared very high on her own, before floating away to S like the one earlier in the day 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17 (9135). Not all the females have left from the 'Shire: one was at Dotland in display with another juvenile at 16:44 1  2  3 (9136). But expect that the 2nd phase of emigration is now well under way. At 17:27 flushed a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard from a perch overlooking a pig farm, maybe looking for grubs and beetles in the mud below; this bird quickly went behind some trees and flew back towards Dotland so assume it's the 2nd juvenile fledged at this site.

Today's total for raptors in Hexhamshire was 11 including 9 Honey-buzzard (3 female, 6 juvenile) at 6 sites and 2 Common Buzzard – juvenile flushed from small field popular with rabbits at Ordley and another juvenile calling at Dotland. Total for all bird types was 35, including 260 Lapwing, 2 Skylark S, 4 Stock Dove, 16 Swallow SW, 15 House Martin SW, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Marsh Tit, 2 Tree Sparrow, 8 Bullfinch, 15 Greenfinch. Worrying sign of the disease's advance is this ash tree on the roadside along my field showing early signs of ash dieback. The disease is particularly noticeable in isolated trees and those near arable fields, maybe those stressed and vulnerable; mature trees are more resilient: the disease seems to favour middle-aged trees but the 'Shire is going to be badly affected as our common roadside tree is the ash. Today was good for lepidoptera with this Elephant Hawk-Moth larva 1  2 on the road near my house; it feeds on rose-bay willow-herb and the name comes from the long neck of the larva. Painted Lady 1 continue to have a remarkable summer. Saw a Humming-Bird Hawk-Moth in Hexham on some flowers near the Shambles. Had a good diversion in C4c4l where rhwso looked good with tmsuo and tbld providing inspiration!! Next week is going to be stunning, particularly Thursday: lok2tgrf: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – September total 5, total for autumn (from 17/8) 78, main emigration of males was from 23/8-1/9:

07/09 20:40 Ceredigion : European Honey Buzzard, Eglwys Fach one at Cwm Einon flew to wood north of valley mid-afternoon (15:00)

September 6th: working hard on South Tyrol trip (26/8), sorted out many piccies (see below) and added bird records to BirdTrack; this was the best trip for alpine meadow scenery. Now looking at trip to Seis am Schlern W on 27/8 where had the best family party display of Honey-buzzard on the trip. Made old haunt N4c4l and W4g4s where there were 5 of us out for good catch-up; other N's had another chest infection but should be alright for next Friday and Saturday. Out in the field 2moro when wind drops in afternoon, looking for juvenile Honey-buzzard in the 'Shire. DH reported 2 Red Kite today, presumed adult and juvenile, at Holeyn Road, Wylam (N of village, towards A69); this site has been used before several times. BT have more or less caught up with email backlog, so that's creditable; they must have enormous servers to store the incoming unprocessed traffic; not got everything though! Funds staggered up another 3k buoyed by the brilliant blocking, for the moment, of no-deal Brexit. It's really strange for the £ to rise 2% against the $ on an opposition led by Corbyn wining some important debates! The Tories are behaving like a load of ideological nutters! Some in the markets are looking for a minority Labour government in loose coalition with the LibDems as the best (least worst) option. Gain on year is 27k gross, 13k net after withdrawals of 14.4k. Nothing spectacular but preservation of capital, while keeping in touch with markets, is the main priority. Funds are split between domestic UK stocks, international natural resource stocks, bonds to hedge bets, with much more in managed funds (190k, split same way as own stocks) than usual. Cash is down to 35k. So 2moro it's C4c4l, trip out, relaxation!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

Very pleased to welcome Luciana Berger MP to the LibDems: sure she'll find we're a very enlightened party. They're suggesting at the next election she may stand for Finchley, which includes Golders Green. I've never got to the bottom of why as a family, when I was young, we made several visits to Golders Green to see my father's relations. Evidently when he was studying chemistry at Imperial College, well away from his home in Devon, they used to provide some care. It must be on his maternal side, maybe relations of Sarah King who married my great-grandfather Ebenezer R in the Bristol Register Office in 1875. She would have been my father's paternal grandmother. Ebenezer died young in Teignmouth in 1888 and she was left with 3 children and an embryonic jewellery business. She passed on a thriving jewellery business to her son George R, my grandfather, whose twin sister Rose was mother to Sir Evan Norton, a solicitor and millionaire in the 1960s. She did marry again in Teignmouth, becoming Sarah Poole. She was thought to be eccentric at best, mad at worst, but suspect that successful Victorian/Edwardian business women were regarded by men with grave suspicion!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts – September total 4, total for autumn (from 17/8) 77:

05/09 12:16 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Shellness/Swale NNR, Sheppey one flew on off sea at Shellness this morning

01/09 21:36 Surrey : European Honey Buzzard, Thursley Common one flew over with Common Buzzards south of Shrike Hill

01/09 15:28 Shetland : European Honey Buzzard, Fair Isle one flew north over West Cliffs (15:19)

01/09 12:40 London : European Honey Buzzard, Woolwich one flew south-west over Plumstead Common (11:55)

September 5th: cool today on moderate NW breeze, 15C, sunny spells. Did do quite a lot of record processing, including Pitshanger Park and Osterley Park on 2/9, Innsbruck Airport on 31/8 but only ½ way through the high plateau's Seiser Arm on 26/8. About to add the Honey-buzzard piccies for Seiser Arm at Bocia de Mont (9312). Busy with Google Calendar, adding all concerts booked via Sage, and making new bookings at Leeds University, School of Music, for Opera Uncovered: Giulio Cesare, early evening 25/9, and for La Bohème TR 29/10 (both Opera North). Made C4c4l where good 2 c tmsuo and G4g4s where 4 of us out for good chat with N on!! Got back into grass cutting: rate of growth is decreasing rapidly: makes me feel fitter: lok2tmbo: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!. BT email crashed badly over last 24 hours; they've lost some important messages! 2moro it's C4c4l and W4g4s!!

September 4th: cool today on moderate NW breeze, 14C, sunny spells. No fieldwork as finishing the processing of records from 23/8-25/8: Prospect Hill, Allerwash (Northumberland), Seis am Schlern E, Seis am Schlern W, Schlern-Rosengarten Nature Park NW (South Tyrol, Italy), Innsbruck Airport (Austria); all done! 2moro it's the other end of the trip and 26/8. Had good crack with M and partner B at T4c4c and with B at G4g4t. Tickets arrived for new season at Sage, costing 1050.80 of which 1/3 paid in instalments to date. NH 'phoned to check if I'm coming to reception before opening night on 14/9: I am, never miss such events! So have to add them all to Google Calendar now to stop me double booking. 'Phoned Corbridge Dental Surgery to inform them of detachment of crown fitted 8 months ago; happened in Italy, retaining old crown; to be examined 16/9; superglue required! Updated Samsung J3 to Android 9 OS; as usual after a system update could not connect for 4G mobile data; they did send me a configuration settings message, which installed but still didn't work; reset APN (Access Point Name), installed again, still didn't work; then found they'd turned off mobile data usage in the installation so set that on and all working! As a chess player would not call a general election until early November: letting your opponent stew is a very good strategy, sapping morale and increasing the chances of eventual victory! So getting back into action: 2moro it's C4c4l and G4g4s: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 3rd: well 1 dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard today flapping low-down over a field between 2 plantations at Ridley Hall at 17:00; this is a new site for year, raising total of sites to 30. Also had a Red Kite near Watford Gap and 2 Common Buzzard juvenile just E of Haltwhistle. Weather was mostly cloudy, cool W breeze, 16C in South Tyne Valley. Travelled on W coast because KGX was closed the weekend before last. Don't think Virgin are up to LNER standards: we were 15 min late leaving EUS and still 10 min late at CAR; windows are too small, cannot see much out of most of them; WiFi wasn't working and 4G out in the countryside was very erratic for much of the journey; reservations were not working (not that I had one!). Nice to be on the CAR-HEX line, which has good visibility over the many Honey-buzzard sites! Back to W4shop and R&C4m in short visit with A. Lots of data transfers this evening, consolidating the interesting results from the South Tyrol. Delighted with today's events in Parliament; let's hope the substantive bill preventing no-deal clears the Commons tomorrow and the Lords by Friday; thought this smile on Theresa May https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/sep/03/commons-showdown-looms-in-battle-over-no-deal-brexit-live was hilarious: revenge is a dish best served cold! Booked a hotel in Chiswick for my next stay in the capital!! Think need to concentrate on catch-up of records tomorrow but will make T4c4c with M and G4g4t with B! Love dark music: practice makes perfect: delighted with the present: nocturnal emails are fun: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

September 2nd: beautiful morning with hot sunshine on moderate W breeze, becoming much cloudier later, 21C. Had walk around Pitshanger Park from 12:00-13:10 followed by lunch at Cinnamon in Pitshanger Lane. Had 5 Small White and a Large White in the Park. Later with sis made Osterley Park where had 2 Common Buzzard (1 adult, 1 juvenile, in some interaction low-down, from 16:13-16:14) and a juvenile brown-phase Honey-buzzard at 16:08 coming up from lake area in E part and moving W at moderate altitude; it had a full crop so may have been feeding by the lake. Here are some piccies 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11 of bird and of typical parkland habitat 12  13  14  15 (9130). Had total of 21 bird species here but only 8 at Pitshanger. At Osterley bird species included Egyptian Goose (1), Pochard (1 drake), Tufted Duck (11, including female with 8 large chicks 1  2  3  4), Ring-necked Parakeet (6), Mistle Thrush (5). SC certainly is relevant: many dictators initially rely on false reassurances to achieve their aims! We watched DVD Peterloo (Massacre) tonight; very sobering; some of the unrest was caused by the Corn Laws putting tariffs on wheat imports and increasing the price of bread (Trump kindly note); the (Manchester) Guardian directly emerged from the massacre in 1821 saying it would "zealously enforce the principles of civil and religious liberty ... warmly advocate the cause of Reform ...”.; a proper memorial was finally placed on the site just before the 200th anniversary this year; our electoral system is rotten today with the first-past-the-post system enabling parties with 30% of the popular vote to govern: that's what Hitler had. 2moro it's EAL-EUS-CAR-HEX, ex EUS at 12:30. Looking forward to return but will be back soon!! lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

September 1st: trip to WGC took almost as long as flight home yesterday! 11:48 leave house to walk to EAL where caught 12:03 Central Line to Oxford Circus, change for Victoria Line to Finsbury Park and Great Northern to WGC, arrive 13:30. Daughter's family arrived as well and we had a look at new flat; suggested he deals more with IKEA, including paying for assembly, and Argos for white goods, including 12-months free interest period, as he has salary to be much better off as initial bunched payments are worked through. Toured local facilities including Bebo (WGC), Italian for meal and Rose & Crown (Welwyn village) for afters. Approved of choice of property in the village, much more likely to become fashionable than the sprawling WGC. R&C was a good pub: would be my choice for a local! Son & I discussed at length the compelling concerts on 12/9, reaching a decision!! Started journey back on 301 bus at 19:31 from village to WGC, missing crowds from Arsenal vs Tottenham match played 16:30-18:20. So very good to see the set-up in Welwyn!! Big changes in digital newspaper subscriptions today: cancelled Times and Telegraph and installed Guardian premium: cannot support dictator BJ's mouthpieces! Here's piccies of us in South Tyrol on last morning at Seis: straight and fun!! 2moro big sis is minding nephew's kids in morning when will make Pitshanger Park but we will go somewhere local in afternoon such as Burnham Beeches. Might see a Honey-buzzard! Absence makes the heart grow fonder: sure she's looking good: lok2tgrf!!!!!

Honey-buzzard summary for South Tyrol, Italy (24/8-31/8): Seis am Schlern E, 1 juvenile in territory 25/8, 30/8, 1300m asl; Seis am Schlern W, 1 female with 1 juvenile in territory 25/8, 1 female with 2 juvenile in territory 27/8, 1 juvenile in territory 29/8, 1120m asl; Bocia de Mont, 1 juvenile in territory 26/8, 1780m asl; Marinzen, 1 juvenile in territory 27/8, 1400m asl; Schmung Schwaige, 2 juvenile in territory 28/8, 1 juvenile soar high and move S 30/8,1810m asl. Total 5 sites in Seis am Schlern area, 8 birds (1 female, 7 juvenile).

Summary of birds for South Tyrol, Italy (24/8-31/8): 38 species from 116 records, 10 complete lists, 15 places. Birds of prey: 33 birds of 8 types: 8 Honey-buzzard (1 female, 7 juvenile, at 5 sites), 8 Common Buzzard (included juvenile, at 5 sites), 5 Golden Eagle (4 adult, 1 juvenile, at 3 sites), 5 Kestrel (included juvenile, at 3 sites), 3 Goshawk (adult male, adult female, juvenile male, at 1 site), 2 Hobby (male, female, at 1 site), 1 Sparrowhawk (1 juvenile female, at 1 site), 1 Eurasian Pygmy Owl (at 1 site). Interesting specialities of the area were Alpine Swift (9 birds, 2 sites), Grey-headed Woodpecker (2, 2), Nutcracker (45, 5), Raven (10, 3), Crag Martin (6, 2), Icterine Warbler (1, 1), Firecrest (12, 2), Fieldfare (12, 2), Black Redstart (2, 2), Collared Flycatcher (1, 1), Italian Sparrow (10, 3), Citril Finch (35, 1).

Here's all bird records from South Tyrol and all bird records from Austria.

Summary of butterflies for South Tyrol, Italy (24/8-31/8): 22 types from 122 records, 8 complete lists, 950-1800m asl, 4 places: Adonis Blue 1, Brimstone 3, Clouded Yellow 3, Common Blue 2, High Brown Fritillary 6, Large Ringlet 2, Large White 4, Marbled White 2, Meadow Brown 11, Painted Lady 14, Red Admiral 6, Ringlet 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 36, Small Heath 1, Small White 5, Southern Small White 8, Speckled Wood 1, Swallowtail 1, Wall Brown 1, Water Ringlet 7, White Admiral 2, Wood White 5. Moth records comprise Common Footman 1, Privet Hawk (larva) 1, Silver Y 1, Humming-bird Hawk-moth 2.

Here's all butterfly records from South Tyrol.

August 31st: weather on drive back was sunny, humid, 28C, not best for the driving conditions. Well we finished off well at the villa with group piccie, eating everything left in the house, tidying up. We left at 10:00 to do the 120km in 3 hours with Matt driving but it did not turn out well. There was a major crash on the Brenner Pass and on the alternative road that we took another crash so we were crawling along. As we came to a halt by a wood I seized the opportunity to have a p which started a trend with lots of relieved Germans emerging from the bushes!! Most of the cars were indeed German returning from holiday in Italy. Our car was marked SK (for Slovakia). So we didn't get back to INN airport until 14:30, instead of the booked-in 13:00. The car-hire people said the lateness didn't matter as we hadn't gone over into another 24-hour period. But C/M missed their flight to FRA and re-booked on our flight for £800 between them! On road had 2 Common Buzzard at Kollmann, 8 Alpine Swift at Waidbruck (both Italy), a Nutcracker at Raitis (Austria). On the side of the runway at INN had 2 Kestrel (juvenile, unaged), 74 Carrion Crow, 2 House Sparrow, 1 White Wagtail. INN airport is fun for take-off – massive revving and acceleration to get lift-off at the end of the short runway. Now back in EAL after great holiday, seeing son, with own flat, and daughter and family 2moro in WGC. Funds had a resilient week at +2k considering that the suspension of Parliament did knock UK equities; continuing to move money from sales of non-dividend, more speculative, stocks to managed funds (up to 184k) and relatively solid UK equities and mining stocks. So not so exciting as a few years ago but perhaps better for the troubled times. Matters are looking up elsewhere: should be a great performance: lok2tgrf!!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts - August total (from 17/8) 73, total for autumn 73:

31/08 11:23 Glamorgan : European Honey Buzzard, Cardiff one reported flying north-east over Rhiwbina [R]

August 30th: last full day at villa, it's been a great trip! From 10:45-12:00 had an amazing display of raptors in very clear, sunny weather, light and variable breeze, 27C. Visibility was good, with these mountains 1 well to W showing snow on its slopes. At Seis E had 5 raptors of 4 types up together at 11:06: the dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard, a male juvenile Goshawk 1, 2 Common Kestrel, 1 Common Buzzard. They were joined by an adult female Goshawk at 11:10 1  2  3 who spoilt the party by doing some threatening powerful soaring. Here are the piccies of the Honey-buzzard up on own at 11:06 1  2, with Common Buzzard at 11:06 3, with adult female Goshawk at 11:10 4  5  6 and shot of habitat 7. The Honey-buzzard floated around over the pasture in the gap in the cliff with the other raptors; it maintained this position in the presence of the juvenile male Goshawk but quickly went higher and disappeared when the adult female Goshawk arrived (9317). At Schmung Schwaige (Seis far E) had another juvenile Honey-buzzard present from 11:25-11:45, soaring from 11:36-11:45 to tremendous height and disappearing, almost certainly an emigrant 1; the rugged habitat is shown here 2  3, altitude 1820m asl (9318). Near to base had a juvenile female Sparrowhawk out hunting 1  2  3  4  5  6 at 11:13 so good morning for accipiter. Total of bird types in morning was 17, including Grey-headed Woodpecker 1, Green Woodpecker 1, Jay 1, Nutcracker 2, Carrion Crow 4, Crag Martin 2, Firecrest 4. Had 8 types of butterfly at the ranch: 13 Silver-washed Fritillary 1  2, 8 Meadow Brown 1  2, 4 Small White 1, 4 Painted Lady, 2 High Brown Fritillary 1  2, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Wood White 1, 1 Large White. Later we went to the lake at Völser Weiher from 14:40-17:20 where spotted 2 more Golden Eagle, adult and juvenile in floating and diving action 1  2  3  4  5  6 from 16:16-16:21, plus a family group of 7 Raven 1  2  3  4  5  6 at 16:03 on top of an enormous crag at Gabels Mull, 2389m asl. Birds at the lake itself were of just 2 types: 5 Chaffinch 1, 2 Great Tit, making 4 types in all, including the high mountain crags. Butterflies comprised 4 types: single Large Ringlet 1  2  3, Swallowtail, Brimstone, Speckled Wood 1,. No Honey-buzzard were seen at Seis W so suspect adult female here has left and juveniles are taking it easy in her absence! Here's some more local habitat shots 1  2  3  4 for potential Honey-buzzard. Total for raptors for day was 6 types: Goshawk 2, Kestrel 2, Golden Eagle 2, Honey-buzzard 2, Common Buzzard 1, Sparrowhawk 1. We had a good time in evening, drinking up all the left-overs! 2moro it's 18:45 INN-LHR on BA685, then staying with big sis! Of 4 of us in car, niece and partner continue to LHR via FRA and nephew and family are driving separately to MUN b4 going to LHR 2moro. Let's keep it up a bit more: xxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Should have mentioned before, our villa is on Henrik-Ibsen-Straße, Seis am Schlern, named after the famous Norwegian playwright who spent a significant amount of time in Italy.

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts - August total (from 17/8) 72, total for autumn 72, the 4 in Dorset could be from N Britain – it's due S of W Northumberland:

30/08 13:12 West Midlands : European Honey Buzzard, Marsh Lane NR unconfirmed report of one at paddocks north-west of A452/B4102 roundabout [?]

30/08 12:21 Dorset : European Honey Buzzard, Lodmoor RSPB four flew south (12:14)

30/08 19:33 Hampshire : European Honey Buzzard, Old Basing one flew over Barton's Mill towards Blackdam (19:04)

August 29th: weather cloudy with light rain showers up to early afternoon then sunny and warm 26C, almost calm. Went to N side of Seis today with big sis, visiting Kastelruth where we had lunch, with a spicy goulash soup. We were here from 12:30-13:30 getting just 2 species: 6 Carrion Crow 1  2, 1 Swallow but also took some piccies of the mixed pasture/woodland habitat 1  2  3  4  5, just to the W of Marinzen where a juvenile Honey-buzzard was seen on 27/8. Then went to Telfen (NW of Seis) where walked to Laranz for magnificent views 1  2 towards the Schlern mountain group. At this viewpoint a large brown shape was caught out of the corner of my eye on the E end of the pasture near the viewpoint, moving a little S by swerving into cover. The pasture runs down steeply towards the NW edge of Seis with Rung Puntschn woods, holding mixed conifers of variable age, on the S side. I didn't see the 'shape' again but what was obvious was the attention of 6 spaced-out Carrion Crow, all perched high on trees in the area and making angry calls from time to time 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9. They slowly moved W so presumed they were watching a juvenile Honey-buzzard keeping very low in the ample cover. The juvenile Honey-buzzard did give the chicken call once at 57s on the clip 1, with Carrion Crow calling at the start; I give a quick summary to my elder sister at the end of the clip. Some piccies of the habitat are shown here 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8 (9316). This is not a new site, being the one identified in Seis W on 25/8 (9311) and 27/8 (9313) at about 1120m asl; the sites found complete a circle around Seis am Schlern. Two species of flycatcher confirmed the site is insect rich: 1 Collared Flycatcher juvenile 1  2  3, 6 Spotted Flycatcher in 2 family groups 1. Did take some piccies of suitable habitat for Honey-buzzard at Katzenloch 1  2  3  4, 1km N of Telfen and 1.8 km N of Ring Puntschn, height 1100m asl. Total for trip to Kastelruth, Telfen and Laranz was just 7 bird-types with 5 Great Tit and 2 Mistle Thrush making up the numbers. Butterflies comprised 2 types at Telfen – 1 Clouded Yellow, 1 Wall Brown – and took piccies of 3 types back at the villa – 2 High Brown Fritillary 1  2  3, 1 Silver-washed Fritillary 1, 1 White Admiral 1  2. We went for evening meal in the Pizzeria Zum Woscht, where I had favourite Pizza Napoli, full of anchovies, apple doughnuts, a glass of red wine and cafe Americano. Cost was €86.80 for 6 of us, plus €10 tip; actually a little cheaper than MP! All very good and back to the villa for some beers and good crack! Will go to A concert, looks superb, will quickly ask one or two family members as well!! Staying with big sis for 3 nites when back from INN, to see son's flat and daughter's family! Good to know someone's in a German-speaking area as well tonight and hope first nite went well!! lok2tgrf: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts - August total (from 17/8) 66, total for autumn 66, looks like the 1st bird moving in NE England:

29/08 12:25 West Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Medmerry RSPB probable flew north-east; also 2 Whinchats from Ham viewpoint (09:20) [?]

29/08 11:30 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Worth Marsh one flew south (11:00)

29/08 09:50 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Scarborough one flew south-east over Crossgates (09:49)

August 28th: hazy sunshine most of day with the occasional shower, virtually calm, 26C, then the most magnificent thunderstorm at dusk with torrential rain and frequent lightning and thunder: we sat outside under the wide eaves with a bit of vino, marvelling at the spectacle! Out for morning walk from 10:50-13:15. Honey-buzzard survey continues to go well, getting another juvenile in the gap between Ratzes at 1300m asl (Seis E) and Bocia de Mont at a peak marked 1753m asl; suspect it may have been bred a little further E in Schmung Schwaige area at 1811m asl; this one was up at 11:39 doing flap-flap-glide through the tops of the tall conifers on the ridge before coming down on pastureland behind 1; another juvenile was up floating over the ridge a little to N where the Hobby were seen at 12:12 2  3  4; some habitat shots were taken 5  6  7  8  9 (9315). This is the 5th site found, did not expect such success at high altitude. There was plenty of pastureland between the wooded areas, some of it being actively worked for winter food for the cattle. Also had a pair of Hobby high up on a ridge a little to the E of the chair-lift at 11:57 1  2  3. Here are piccies of a Carrion Crow 1  2, the magnificent peak Schlern 1 and the ruins of the old castle Salego 1. Had 2 Raven at Ratzes at 12:12. Total for morning trip was 16 bird species, including 63 Swallow (55 S), 2 Crag Martin, 8 House Martin, 18 Mistle Thrush in single flock, 30 Nutcracker, 8 Carrion Crow, 1 Grey-headed Woodpecker, 2 Green Woodpecker, 4 Italian Sparrow. In the afternoon we all went to Völser Weiher at 1036m asl from 14:40-16:50, a lake 4km to SW of Seis for a walk and a meal. Here's a piccie of us, from left to right: Gill Reed (big sis), Matt, Julie (niece, partner to Matt), Emily, Clare (mum to Emily and Ben), Ben, John (nephew, partner to Clare, dad to Emily and Ben). John did a massive mountain trek of 34km yesterday. Didn't like the alternative name Waldsee given to the lake; has connotations of postcards in the Holocaust where it was a fictitious name for Auschwitz. Total for bird species here in immediate area was only 5 types. Habitat looked suitable for Honey-buzzard with lake, ponds, tall trees and pasture 1  2  3  4  5  6  7; maybe they've fledged and gone already. Had an adult Golden Eagle nearby 1  2  3  4  5  6, lifting off a peak to SE at 15:36 at Hammerwand 2128m asl, 4 km away, bringing total to 3 of this species; also had a distant Raven there, soaring high 1  2. Butterflies comprised just 2 types: 2 High Brown Fritillary (1 worn) 1  2  3  4  5  6  7, 1 Silver-washed Fritillary. We did massive shop in Despar (Spar, really) of €109.35, our turn to cook and buy! BJ might well have over-played his hand with proroguing of Parliament for 5 weeks. Reminds me of a South American dictatorship, made complete with American approval of the regime by a tweet from their president. There are real electoral risks for the Tories as they appear to be becoming an English nationalist party; at the next election they could lose 12 seats in Scotland and 4 in Wales; the DUP could lose 5 in Northern Ireland as they fail to match the remain mood of the people there and the LibDems could retake 20 seats in SW England, which they've represented for much of the last 25 years. Anyway signed the petition with now over 1m signatures and will join any demonstration organised in Newcastle. So (as the Germans like to say!) collected masses of material, much of it still to process but it's a very good trip. Delighted to hear about A concert: lok2tgrf!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts - August total (from 17/8) 63, total for autumn 63:

28/08 07:40 Surrey : European Honey Buzzard, Chipstead one reported over to south-west on Sunday afternoon (25/08 16:35) [R]

28/08 14:19 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Dungeness RSPB one drifted south-east over Burrowes Pit; also 2 Black Terns (12:10)

28/08 15:24 Isle of Wight : European Honey Buzzard, St Boniface Down one flew low to west (14:08)

August 27th: weather was sunny all-day with none of the thundery showers in the afternoon and evening, max 29C, light and variable winds. Went for walk in morning from 10:30-13:45 to Seis W where had had the female and juvenile Honey-buzzard on 25/8. Had to wait for one hour before the family party emerged over Rung Puntschn, a female Honey-buzzard together with 2 dark-phase juvenile. She kept above them throughout the flight from 11:29-11:33 with the 2 juvenile keeping close to each other initially well below. At the top of the soar the 3 birds all met together before diving back to ground again. One of the birds was captured low-down over the nest-site wood at 11:35. Piccies are here of birds 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10, coming down into habitat 11  12  13 with further shots of habitat taken earlier 14  15 (9313). Next star was an adult male Goshawk up at 12:05 over craggy dense woodland to E (Seis am Schlern E); he went off quickly to hunt. Final raptor was another juvenile Honey-buzzard to NE of Seis at 12:21, a new site Marinzen (1400m asl), with intimate mixture of alpine pasture and woods with tall spruce 1  2  3  4  5  6  7. The dark-phase juvenile was floating low-down over the edge of the high wood 8, possibly also in 6 (9314). The Honey-buzzard scene is particularly interesting as the birds are behaving much like those in Northumberland by 10/9 (so 2 weeks earlier here) with the juveniles left alone in their territory and continuing to forage there for a while. The behaviour of the one soaring family party with adult and juveniles up together is also similar to that in Northumberland. The false statements that juvenile Honey-buzzard once fledged do not remain in their breeding areas are based on 1) misidentification of juvenile Honey-buzzard as Common Buzzard, 2) perhaps studies of isolated territories where surrounding habitat is more readily accessible without conflict: something that can only be corrected by an authoritative book on the subject! Had some other interesting birds today: in a clump of rowan with berries an Icterine Warbler and 4 Fieldfare 1  2, a Grey Wagtail on this stream 1, a Nutcracker (1 of 3) in flight 1, a Black Redstart, a Chiffchaff and a Green Woodpecker. Total for trip was 17 bird-types. Butterflies comprised 7 Silver-washed Fritillary 1, 6 Painted Lady 1, 3 Southern Small White 1  2, 2 Large White, 2 Red Admiral 1 and single Large Ringlet 1  2, Meadow Brown 1, Brimstone, Clouded Yellow, Small White 1. A Humming-bird Hawk-moth was also seen. So all is going well: miss the gorgeous one: look forward so much to seeing her again: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts - August total (from 17/8) 60, total for autumn 60; continuing high counts from Kent and Sussex today, totalling 5 birds with singles in Norfolk and Yorkshire, making 7 in total. These will still mainly be emigrating males. Weather was hot in SE, 32C London, light W breeze (10 kph), clear. Last year's counts were 29 in August and 82 for the whole autumn!

27/08 11:03 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Dungeness RSPB one drifting south (11:02)

27/08 12:02 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head one still (11:32)

27/08 12:26 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Dungeness NNR one flew across the Point and out to fishing boats (12:15)

27/08 12:33 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head still then moved off east (12:32)

27/08 12:59 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Dungeness RSPB again, circling over Visitor Centre (12:59)

27/08 14:48 Norfolk : European Honey Buzzard, Ormesby Broad flew over towards Martham (14:42)

27/08 22:38 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Muston one flew north-west between Muston and Folkton on Sunday

August 26th: weather was much the same as yesterday, 26C, virtually calm, sunny morning, cloud increasing at 14:00, thunderstorms at 16:00, light rain in evening. Everything is very green. Here's a musical greeting from the area. We went up on the ski-lift to the famous Seiser Alm, a large area of montane meadow at just over 1800m asl. We had lunch at a restaurant including a bit of dunkel bier and I went off to survey a gorge Bocia de Mont (1780m asl) at the E end of the plateau from 12:30-14:00 where there were some large trees giving easy access to the pastureland. This walk was very productive seeing a juvenile Kestrel 1  2  3  4, 2 Common Buzzard (adult, juvenile, 1  2  3  4  5  6  7) and yes a dark-phase Honey-buzzard juvenile, which had clearly brought the Common Buzzard up in the air by flying through their territory. The Honey-buzzard was floating over open pastureland complete with musical cows, which looked a little brown, maybe past its best for the cows, and was clearly foraging at 1780m asl. Have some piccies of the bird 1  2  3  4  5 and the habitat 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12, which looks able to hold Honey-buzzard if there's a mixture of tall trees and pastureland in the area (9312). The site is 4km from Seis am Schlern E so just about room for another site between them. Wonder how high they really go! 1800m is 6000 feet! Plenty of other birds on the top, from 11:10-15:00, particularly Nutcracker (19, 1  2, à la suite), Citril Finch (35, single flock, feeding on ground), Common Crossbill (2 singles), Italian Sparrow (4, 1  2  3  4), House Sparrow (1 male, possibly an intergrade with Italian Sparrow 5). While waiting for the (free) bus to take us to the start of the chair lift at 10:30-10:33 (not free, €16 return) had a pair of Golden Eagle adult at the same place as yesterday, Schlern Burgstall (Schlern-Rosengarten Nature Park NW) 2500m asl 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18. At Schmung Schwaige at 1800m in conifers just before the main plateau, from chair-lift had 2 Common Buzzard and 4 Nutcracker. Total for trip was 13 species on or near the high plateau, including 4 Common Buzzard, 2 Golden Eagle, 1 Kestrel, 1 Honey-buzzard. Took some closer habitat shots for Honey-buzzard at Seis W 1  2  3  4  5  6 (9311, continued). Had 4 types of butterfly on the plateau: 7 Water Ringlet 1  2  3, 3 Wood White 1  2, 1 Adonis Blue 1, 1 Silver-washed Fritillary, bringing running total to 16 types of 50 insects. My turn for shopping so stocked up on plenty of beer at the local Despar! Worth pointing out that South Tyrol was in Austria but was transferred to Italy after WW1 so it has a dual Germany/Italy feel about it with many locals speaking both languages to some extent. So, behind with records as nice to be sociable but very pleased at progress with the Honey-buzzard at 3 sites occupied by a female and 3 juveniles. As going to bed at 23:00 had a small owl fly across the garden; it did not call but was clearly smaller than Little Owl and spruce habitat is ideal for Pygmy Owl so that's the id. Will be very much more settled after this trip: looking forward to that in many ways: always gr8 to be home!! lok2t fancied one xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts - August total (from 17/8) 53, total for autumn 53; continuing high counts from Kent and Sussex today, totalling 5 birds with 3 probables in Devon and a single in Gloucestershire, making 9 in total. These will still mainly be emigrating males. Weather was hot in SE, 33.3C record at Heathrow, light ENE breeze (8 kph), clear.

26/08 10:47 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Dungeness NNR one over viewpoint

26/08 11:17 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Dungeness NNR still over east side of Long Pits then flew towards Lade

26/08 12:24 West Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Truleigh Hillone today; also Pied Flycatcher

26/08 16:35 Gloucestershire : European Honey Buzzard, Oldbury Power Station one flew south yesterday

26/08 17:19 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, North Foreland one flew in off sea late afternoon (17:14)

26/08 17:49 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, North Foreland one flew south-west (16:45)

26/08 20:39 Devon : European Honey Buzzard, Ashburton three probables flew south-west [?]

August 25th: never a day without a Honey-buzzard!! Weather was warm on hot sunshine at 26C by 13:00; huge clouds were building up and following some dry thunder at 15:00 it poured with rain at 16:00 for an hour without any thunder at all. Observations were from 10:20-20:00. Today's first star was a juvenile Honey-buzzard in Seis am Schlern, on E side in a craggy area near Ratzes at 1300m asl, covered in tall spruce trees with much pasture on NW side 1  2  3  4  5. The dark-phase juvenile flew across the valley from E to W at 11:31 1  2  3 landing in some dense vegetation on the W side of the craggy gorge (9310). Suspect that as long as there are the upland summer-grazing meadows and some trees around, Honey-buzzard will not care too much about the altitude. Stayed at the villa today (piccies 1  2, of car 3, and view from my bedroom window of the peak Schlern 4) except for a walk mid-afternoon, up to the presumed site, where near the top of the ski-lift heard 3 chicken-calls from the juvenile Honey-buzzard from a Scots Pine plantation 1. This is confirmed breeding, amazing for a day's work in a completely new area! Also had an adult Golden Eagle up from the NW shoulder of the peak Schlern at 12:17 at Schlern-Rosengarten Nature Park NW. Two more medium-sized raptors were up together at distance to the W of Seis at 12:24: a female Honey-buzzard, soaring high and another smaller bird in the haze, a weak-flying juvenile, keeping well below. So this is another Honey-buzzard territory, c2.5km W (classical spacing) of the other site on the W side of Seis, in a large conifer plantation near Rung Puntschn 1  2  3  4 at 1120m asl. The habitat is shown here from long-range 1  2 (9311). A Common Buzzard was in the same area at 13:20. The butterflies were fantastic on the buddleia bushes with 39 insects of 15 types in chalet garden, including 13 Silver-washed Fritillary 1  2  3, 5 Southern Small White 1  2, 4 Painted Lady 1, 3 Red Admiral 1, 2 Marbled White 1, 2 Meadow Brown 1  2, 2 Common Blue 1  2, 1 White Admiral 1  2  3, 1 Comma 1, 1 Brimstone Butterfly 1, 1 Small Heath 1; sis found a Privet Hawk larva, looking to pupate 1; other moths were single Common Footman 1 and Silver Y 1. Other birds, in total of 15 species for day, included single Alpine Swift, Green Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Spotted Flycatcher, Carrion Crow (roost of 20 at dusk after 9 seen in day, no Hooded Crow seen). Everyone's gelling well! 2moro we're going up on a ski-lift to the high plateau above Seis. So plenty to see and experience!! lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts - August total (from 17/8) 44, total for autumn 44; continuing high counts from Kent and Sussex today, totalling 7 birds with 2 in Jersey and one further bird in Yorkshire. These will mainly be emigrating males. Weather was hot in SE, 30C, light NE breeze (10 kph), clear.

25/08 15:28 European Honey Buzzard Jersey Noirmont Point 09:30 two flew over heading east

25/08 09:42 West Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Pulborough Brooks RSPB one again yesterday

25/08 10:48 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Walmer one flew inland over back fields (10:20)

25/08 11:11 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, St Margaret's at Cliffe adult male flew south at Bockhill Farm (10:40)

25/08 11:28 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Bekesbourne one flew west (11:15)

25/08 13:15 West Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Headingley one flew low over Western Stand

25/08 15:03 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Ninfield one flew south over Catsfield (11:45)

25/08 15:04 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Fairlight two flew east (10:45)

August 24th: well we're here now in Seis am Schlern, South Tyrol, Italy, in the Italian Dolomites at a height of 1000m asl. Arrived from LHR-INN almost on time but others were 30 min late; we picked up the hire car, a red Nuova Kia CEED 5-door 1.4l. I drove us all with plenty of space to spare to the villa, some 120km, arriving about 21:00. It's good for people with elderly crates to drive hire cars to see how things have moved on: besides central locking(!), the car encourages lane discipline on motorways by providing beeps when you cross a white line, including the inside one, and by the steering turning automatically to follow a lane: amazing! We climbed up and up from Innsbruck to the Brenner Pass, on tolled motorways, and then down and down towards Bozen and up and up again in the dark to Seis, the last having a number of hairpin bends. Got a nice room with view (apparently) of the 2,563m high Schlern. Appropriately we had pasta for supper and a few local beers, dunkel tomorrow! Had a Common Buzzard on the Italian side and 7 Raven on the Austrian side. Weather was dull after earlier rain but mild at 20C and no breeze. A typical day here sees sunny morning and showers in the afternoon, 26C, little wind. Local walks 2moro! Flew over Brussels and Frankfurt today: so quite close really: doux rêve au plus s.xy: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts - August total (from 17/8) 34, total for autumn 34; amazing counts from Kent and Sussex today, totalling 19 birds with one further bird at Cornwall. Beachy Head had 8 and Dungeness 5. These will mainly be emigrating males. Weather was very warm in SE, 28C, light E breeze (10 kph), clear.

24/08 10:41 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head three again over pub (10:27)

24/08 11:52 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head one circling over Went Hill (11:47)

24/08 12:00 West Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, West Wittering one flew east

24/08 12:12 West Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Worthing one flew south-east (11:45)

24/08 13:21 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Dungeness RSPB two flew west over car park (13:18)

24/08 13:29 Cornwall : European Honey Buzzard, Drift Reservoir one drifted south (13:15)

24/08 14:17 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Dungeness RSPB three flew over Boulderwall Farm (13:28-13:37)

24/08 15:24 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Crowlink NT at least two flew over this morning; also Western Osprey

24/08 17:03 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Telscombe adult male pale morph over Telscombe Tye

24/08 18:18 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head four; also 10 Pied Flycatchers

24/08 18:24 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Lydd one from Robin Hood Watchpoint

August 23rd: fine day, bit warmer, 17C, light W breeze. Out to Prospect Hill, overlooking Farnley, from 12:40-13:50 and was in luck with a brown-phase Honey-buzzard sitting in a tree below the nesting area at 13:09, dropping deeper into the Tyne Valley. Then from 13:18-13:22 had a family party of 4 Honey-buzzard up over the N side of the valley, the pair of adult up first and moving to medium height with the straggling pair of juvenile (brown phase, dark phase) well below. Eventually they united way up in the sky as they drifted c1km to E of nesting area before disappearing from sight; a juvenile was seen a little later at 13:26-13:27 struggling to get back W to its home area. So that was very good, another brood of 2, indicating yet another successful breeding season for Honey-buzzard in the Tyne Valley 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16 (9128). Had 3 other raptor types in the brief visit: a Kestrel juvenile out to hunt at 12:54; single Red Kite up at Thornbrough at 13:30 (a juvenile) and at Styford at 13:44 (an adult); a Common Buzzard juvenile up at Styford at 13:45. Total was 12 species of bird, including Nuthatch (1), Linnet (7), Yellowhammer (2). On train over to CAR had a male Honey-buzzard plus a juvenile Kestrel over the N side of the lower South Tyne Valley at Allerwash at 16:12. Up to 9 occupied sites for Honey-buzzard in fledging season with 14+ young raised. Virgin train from CAR-EUS was on time: amazing, think that's 1st time it's happened to me! Took tube down Victoria Line to Oxford Circus to continue on Central Line to EAL. Funds were +2k this week, doing significantly better this morning before Trump started another tantrum with the Chinese leader. BJ's meetings with AM and EM went down well because of better chemistry on view! Off at 12:15 2moro by taxi to LHR, where we get assistance for big sis to the gate. Same at INN, where later meet her daughter and husband before hiring car to drive 120km to our villa in South Tyrol, Italy, which costs £4.3k a week of which I've paid ¼. I'm lead driver! Other guests are her son, wife and 2 children. So looking forward to a bit of style! Should be vultures and eagles in area plus of course Honey-buzzard, which nest to high altitude in the Alps. I think we may get through quite a lot of vino! There's a ski-lift nearby to take us up to the mountain slopes but no skiing in August!! So au revoir xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Keep gorgeous!! xxxx!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts - August total (from 17/8) 14, total for autumn 14; amazing counts from Beachy Head, obviously a good lunch; our visit to South Downs (West Sussex/East Hampshire) in May was very productive for Honey-buzzard:

23/08 08:02 West Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Pulborough Brooks RSPB one from West Mead Hide yesterday morning (22/08 10:30)

23/08 12:23 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head two from the pub early afternoon (12:15)

23/08 14:00 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Beachy Head three flew over mid-afternoon (13:30)

August 22nd: gloomy all day with spells of drizzle and light rain, light SW breeze, 16C. No fieldwork today, but did work out details of trip out on 20/8. At 14:09 had 2 Common Buzzard up over Letah Wood, a noisy adult 1 and a juvenile. At 15:43 spotted a male Honey-buzzard coming low out of the nest site at Shilford and rapidly gaining height, moving to E in the breeze; at some height he hung in the breeze looking back at the nest and presumably his family. Once at Stocksfield Mount, had a juvenile Common Buzzard up over Bywell Castle at 15:43 1; at 17:10 a different juvenile and an adult 1 were up together here. At 15:57 a Red Kite adult flapped across the open area W of Bywell Cottagebank towards Toft Hill and another adult was up over Cottagebank itself at 16:19; a juvenile appeared here at 16:19 encouraged into the air by the adult; at 17:00 the full family party of 4 birds (2 adult, 2 juvenile) was up at Cottagebank, rising to a moderate height with the adults above the juveniles. At Whittle Burn a male Honey-buzzard came up briefly low-down at 15:57 doing a recce before a practice flight 1  2; he was up again briefly at 16:01; at last from 16:48-16:56 the family party of 4 birds (male, female, 2 dark-phase juvenile) took to the air, slowly climbing to an enormous height while drifting in the breeze to the E; the male dive-bombed each juvenile several times; the adults climbed higher than the juveniles who were still up low-down at the end of the display, flying on their own to increase their confidence; these juveniles have more rounded primary tips than the ones in 9117, hence older, but still show some indent around P8 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24 (9116). At Styford an adult and a juvenile Red Kite came up over the site together at 16:22, drifting towards the E towards Cottagebank. From 17:00-17:08 a family party of 4 Honey-buzzard (male, female, 2 dark-phase juvenile) were up in the air over Bywell Cottagebank; the male initiated action coming up with the juveniles from the trees with the female joining them from the E, the male went up to moderate height with the 2 juvenile anchored below not far above the trees; the juveniles show middle outer primaries not fully grown yet as is common at this stage; the female drifted back to ground, maybe in the middle of some interesting foraging 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13 (9117). Finally at 17:53 back home at Ordley had 2 Red Kite juvenile and a Common Buzzard up to S of Devil's Water; it's excellent to see a family party of 2 juvenile Red Kite in the 'Shire. So totals are Honey-buzzard 9 (3 sites, 3 male, 2 female, 4 juvenile), Red Kite 8 (3 sites, 3 adult, 5 juvenile), Common Buzzard 6 (3 sites, 1 adult, 5 juvenile). No smaller raptors seen. Well that's a major job done! Number of bird-types noted was 16, including a Woodlark, flying around the Stocksfield Mount at moderate height, looking like a local movement. Migrants included 2 Black-Headed Gull W, 23 Common Gull adult W, 1 Swift W, 1 Herring Gull adult E. Added 2 Tawny Owl calling at Prudhoe at 00:15 (21/8) so actually 4 raptor-types in the spell. The Ardennes are very good for Honey-buzzard, plenty of woods with open countryside between them and a relaxed atmosphere: good choice: enjoy!! Made C4c4l where had appointment with P; thought the use of foot by tmsuo to shut fridge was good form!! Went on to 'Spoons with P for f&c+mp and a glass of water: last of the big spenders! Late-on made G4g4s; just 3 of us out, pleased 2 c A again!! So just getting the lederhosen out: it's HEX-EUS ex 16:12 2moro and LHR-INN BA684 the next day at 14:45. N not keen on logistics of Perthshire so think it'll be Settle for our autumn break; plotting a wee trip in mid-September to tackle the Munro Ben Chonzie (931m), maybe staying in Crieff; will be space in the bed!! Fascinating article in Guardian – Blow to 10,000-hour rule as study finds practice doesn't always make perfect – Research of violinists undermines popular idea as average players practise more than best ones https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/aug/21/practice-does-not-always-make-perfect-violinists-10000-hour-rule – maybe talent, a natural aptitude, is underrated by those with more money than sense but keep spending is the watchword! Hoping to do check on a local pair of Honey-buzzard tomorrow morning; feeling a little demob happy as the end of another season is in sight. Will be long-time no see: missed her a lot: lok2tgrf!!!!!!

August 21st: so all 10 site visits completed, really pleased to achieve that before next break! Weather was sunny, 16C, moderate W breeze, becoming cloudier towards end but remaining dry. Visit was to Swallowship, on the edge of the Devil's Water in the 'Shire, from 12:35-16:25 with about 3 hours of that walking in rough habitat down forest glades, such as these 1  2 where there's a pond rich in wildlife (4 Southern Hawker, 1 Common Darter dragonflies, 7 types of butterfly). Had a bonus at the start at 12:39 with a female Honey-buzzard doing flap-flap-glide from S to N over the N edge of Dipton Wood into cover; this was presumably the flying practice ground, being elevated a little. Later at 13:39 a juvenile Red Kite did a very similar manoeuvre but at higher altitude. Was then sworn at by angry Common Buzzard adults from 12:46-12:51, protecting their 2 young near the entrance to Swallowship. So onto the Honey-buzzard site where suspected strongly that the young had fledged. The nest was high in a Scots Pine in the crown of the tree so not easy to see from the ground, with in addition other trees obscuring the view 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16. The tree was overhanging the Devil's Water and it would be a difficult climb, with a 25m tree on top of a bank of similar height. There were some signs below but the number of Wood Ant meant that small feathers would be quickly removed and some feathers would blow into the gorge; there were 3 small white down 1  2  3, 2 large white down 4, 2 Woodpigeon kill 5, plus 2 heavy splash, 10 medium splash 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10. The juvenile often keep the nesting area as a focal point as they get fed there by the adults. At 14:11 heard a single chicken call from a juvenile clip 1 as put my arms around the tree for girth measurement (126 cm) and at 14:35 heard a hard sound like bill snapping together with the chicken call clip 2. These calls came from the trees on the opposite side of the burn, indicating a juvenile Honey-buzzard was lurking there. Having lunch back on the field just outside the site picked up a juvenile Honey-buzzard, which had been perched in a tree, moving back towards the site on the W side. This was captured on video 1 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15 (9210); the uneven primary feathers are still growing but the bird was flying well so fledged for at least a week probably. Would take this as a different juvenile to that heard in the site so total for visit was 3 Honey-buzzard (female, 2 juvenile). Total for bird-types was 12, including a Siskin and a Treecreeper. Celebrated completion of site visits with a couple of g at the G with B. 2moro it's out in morning to check another site, C4c4l, processing of new material and that for 20/8, G4g4s. Hope someone's enjoying their break in the land of the Eagle!! Bet she's keeping gorgeous: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Colleague M is presenting a paper of ours on 28/8 in the 12th International Whitehead Conference, Section 5: Whitehead, mathematics, logic and natural sciences (Head: Vesselin Petrov), Michael Heather & Nick Rossiter. ‘Now’ as Instant, ‘Now’ as Interval: Examples from the Process of Music, in the University of Brasilia, but he's giving the presentation from Totnes, Devon, by Skype!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts - August total (from 17/8) 8, total for autumn 8:

21/08 14:28 West Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Pulborough Brooks RSPB one circled over mid-afternoon

21/08 17:19 East Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Hastings one flew over to west (14:35)

August 20th: a great day all-round; went to Stocksfield Mount from 15:30-17:25 in ideal weather for raptors: sunny, not too hot 16C, moderate steady W breeze, dry. Red Kite, Honey-buzzard and Common Buzzard all featured well (see 22/8 for details). B4 made C4c4l where tmsuo was on in style with tbld's mum, who was very chatty!! Later made R&C with A/M for good chat; it was very busy with harvest almost in! Had an inspired evening: feel we're closer again: gr8 rendezvous lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it's T4c4c with M and G4g4t with B, plus major attempt to catch-up on records! But may add a few more in afternoon: have to strike while the iron is hot! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! About to do site visit no.10 to complete the year's series: it's a real slog: in fact completed it, so satisfying!!

Honey-buzzard autumn migration from BirdGuides: counts - August total (from 17/8) 6, total for autumn 6:

20/08 16:09 Highland : European Honey Buzzard, Grantown-on-Spey one flew over Castle Grant

20/08 16:08 Hampshire : European Honey Buzzard, Fishlake Meadows HIWWT one flew over (11:47)

20/08 15:04 Cornwall : European Honey Buzzard, St Blazey one flew over Imerys, Par Moor Road (11:00)

August 19th: stuck energetically into the early-fledging sites at the moment with trip to Staward from 15:40-17:35 on moderate W breeze, 15C, sunny spells, feeling cool in the gusty breeze. At the S site had the female up at 16:34 over a ridge with the dark-phase juvenile right below 1 but the breeze was strong and the juvenile quickly came back to the trees, followed rapidly by its mother (9113); the male was not seen here but he could well be tending the other juvenile. The Staward N site is of particular interest as it was here that felling had destroyed all the neighbouring trees. Result today was a little inconclusive at start: at 17:02 the male was seen lifting off the trees on the ridge on E side of the gorge which is a popular flight-training area 1 (9114). He moved a little to N out of sight in an area where they have nested before so maybe this will be next year's site; the tall spruce remaining on my site visit have been left in the flat area below so that's another possible nesting area. Feeling is it was too breezy to bring the young up so maybe this was abandonment of any practice for the day; alternatively the young may have not fledged yet as progress will have been slowed by the nest tree becoming isolated with the female having to spend nearly all of her time on sentry duties. Anyway the continued occupation was an encouraging sign! However, at 17:12 looking back at isolated nest tree from path towards Gingle Pot noted a pale Honey-buzzard juvenile perched on the lone nest-tree itself 2  3  4; it even did a quick circuit 5. So that's great news for their success against the odds; goes down as 1+ (9114). At Staward S found a Common Buzzard tail feather 1  2. You need to be a 'cattle man' to survive at Staward: here's a group of bullocks 1  2  3 who were hoping to chase me for a bit of fun: you have to stand your ground! Total for bird-types at Staward was 13, including 17 Swallow (10 S), 10 House Martin, 4 Meadow Pipit, 1 Stock Dove. Also had a Common Darter dragonfly. Back home where it was a little less windy had instant success from 17:55-18:00 with the female and second juvenile up together c1km to SE of nest site. As predicted this was a more gentle affair than yesterday with the female hanging low over the ground and another dark-phase juvenile making occasional forays up into the air before coming back to the ground 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17 (9115). Also here was a juvenile Red Kite hanging in the breeze. Did make R @ B4m4l where speaker did not appear as mother-in-law ill; we were given chats by visitors from Queensland and Wales. Much later made G4g4s with 4 of us out; M was on; good 2 c A!! Sage have caught up with my DD for concerts this coming season: paid £350 in past 10 days (1/3 of total), +500 for principal flautist sponsorship and 20 for a draw: it's going to be an exciting season; looking forward to opening concert on 14/9!! 2moro it's C4c4l with P, trip out E, probably R&C later with A/M and who knows!! xxxxxxxxxx to the gorgeous one!!!!!!

Into Honey-buzzard autumn migration now with, since 17/8 on BirdGuides, count 3 August, 3 total for autumn:

18/08 15:51 Cambridgeshire : European Honey Buzzard, Ferry Meadows CP one flew over yesterday afternoon (identified from photographs) (17/08 14:00)

19/08 20:23 West Sussex : European Honey Buzzard, Black Down NT adult female circled west of ridge before heading off south-west (10:00)

19/08 13:35 Lincolnshire : European Honey Buzzard, Chamber's Farm Wood NR one flew over (13:32)

August 18th: we have lift-off literally with first Honey-buzzard juvenile, a dark phase, seen in the air today at 17:58 over the local site accompanied by the male (its father!); the duo were actually over the same area where the male was doing the butterfly flight yesterday, an area with a crested woodland 1 1km to the E of the sunken nesting area; such elevated areas help to give the juvenile lift in the stronger breeze (sunny today, warm, light W breeze, high cirrus) when doing their first flights. Observations today were on and off from 13:05-20:00. The male was seen first at 17:50 today, coming up briefly over the crested area, doing some reconnaissance. This juvenile was only up about a minute, escorted very closely at the start by the male who then playfully moved quickly above and below the youngster who came rapidly back to the trees 2  3 (9112). Crows were very agitated in the area at 18:20. The female has not been seen yet; she is probably with the younger juvenile as birds of prey often split the young between them in encouraging flight, showing how to feed and how to keep safe! The males are more robust with the juveniles than the females, often playfully dive-bombing them (bring them up rough!). As this is an early lowland site, he will be off in a week (c25/8), leaving the female to mind the young for a further 10-14 days (4/9-8/9); the elder youngster leaves around 10 days later (14/9-18/9) and the younger sibling may linger another 10 days to 24/9-28/9. Total for visit was 18 types of bird, including 12 Swallow (2 W), 8 House Martin, 1 Goldcrest, 5 Greenfinch.

In the UK only the male Honey-buzzard are identified reasonably well; the female and particularly the juveniles are called buzzard, implying Common Buzzard: very poor id skills! So the fledging is a great development; don't think I can take the credit though!! Earlier did masses of grass cutting; getting on top of the garden now that vegetation growth rates are rapidly declining. Did make C4c4t and much later G4g4s where 7 of us out for good crack. A certain office -- it's only 4 minutes from my hotel – whoops: good (discreet) change in strategy!! Amazed that the Brexiters have called their campaign paper Yellowhammer, after the bird. It's long been known as a bird of ill omen and its song is usually noted as a 'little bit of bread and no cheese': so food shortages! In Liverpool found these 2 comical posters, doubting the wisdom of Brexit 1  2. 2moro it's R @ B4m4l and G4g4s and maybe trip out in afternoon. lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

August 17th: cloudy and cool start but becoming fine in afternoon with moderate SW breeze, dry. So did do Honey-buzzard site visit no.9 (out of 10) from 14:45-17:55 to Kellas N, near Slaley Hall. Visit was very successful, finding nest in Scots Pine, close to last year's site, a bulky affair looking quite solid but without the fresh decoration on the rim applied to the nest when newly built; it was at the base of the canopy in the tree with easy access from a small clearing adjacent to the nest 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23. Had some alarm and anxiety calls from time to time, which were mostly recorded. Here are clips of anxiety calls, presumed to be from male 1  2  3, guik calls 4, series of plaintive calls, almost whimpering, 5. There were plenty of signs to E of nest, which appeared to be still occupied. Remains included 2 medium splash 1  2, 1 heavy splash 1, 14 small white down 1  2  3  4  5  6, 1 Woodpigeon kill, 8 large white down 1  2  3  4, 1 white tarsal feather 1, 1 brown body feather, 77mm long 1  2. Girth of tree was 97cm. Best of all on exit from nesting area at 16:57 the male Honey-buzzard came to see me off the premises, giving excellent views on this clip 1 as he drifted off S to a feeding area (9209). Was not convinced the female was present for most of my visit: she may have been out hunting; did have a glimpse of the male through the trees c100m from the nest itself, quite rare. But at the end she must have been present for the male to drift off away from the area. In same area had a Common Buzzard juvenile up at 15:25 1. Total for birds was 13 types including 1 flushed Woodcock, 3 Green Woodpecker, 5 Coal Tit, 3 calling Chiffchaff, 1 Bullfinch.

On return home at 18:15 decided to scan the local site to see whether the young had fledged yet. Had the male come up, spooking 150 Common Gull adult, before climbing above them, leaning back to the E of the site (1km to E of nest) against the moderate breeze, and doing some butterfly display in a quite triumphant mode with no other Honey-buzzard around 1  2  3  4  5 (9111). Suspect the young are out on the branches and he's showing off so fledging phase (for the survey) will start tomorrow and rearing phase will end today; it's rather arbitrary when the change is made as progress of the season depends on altitude to a significant extent. Had lovely soak in bath after the trip; that's so welcome for avoiding stiffness (in muscles!) and washing off insecticide. All the site visits are fairly testing as they nest in secluded overgrown places. Earlier at C4c4l pleased 2 c trhwso and tmsuo and had long chat with tbld who wants to join me in Italy!! Really enjoy my Saturday coffee!! Next weekend is chaos on the trains with KGX closed from 24/8-25/8; could not get a reservation on 23/8 for NCL-KGX so booked HEX-CAR-EUS where finally got a reservation on an evening train. Having a fairly sedentary period in next 2 months though going away with N somewhere for a few days but he wants to go to the Yorkshire Dales (twee) and I want to go to Perthshire (wild)! Might be following someone around: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! 2moro it's some more grass cutting, catch-up on records and most certainly G4g4s!!

Funds were down again this week at -7k. Fall in late July and August to date is around 3% as against 6% for the ftse but do have 67k in cash. Reasons for weakness are Trump reopening trade war with China, troubles in Hong Kong, fears of world recession and of course Brexit! I'm picking up small amounts of stock in FTSE 250 funds (HSBC), emerging market funds (Fidelity), global high-yield bond funds (JPM), UK house builders, construction and insurance companies on bad days. With 'safe' bonds giving -ve or next to nothing returns and many mainstream equities giving 6-13%, it's an amazing risk-off environment. Think the bull/bear terms are not suitable for current state of affairs: many sections of the market have been declining steadily for 12 months; the overall indexes don't look so bad because a few defensive sectors have held up relatively well and tech shares have continued advancing in the US. But it's overall certainly not a bull market and commentators should stop saying that! I prefer the terms risk-on and risk-off for measuring investor sentiment in current choppy markets. FT was interesting read in C4c4l with editorial advocating increased capital works on infrastructure in all countries as no more can be done with monetary policy. BJ to his credit appears to be at last ending austerity in the UK, which has left the infrastructure/support system no longer fit for purpose (think schools, health service, care homes, police, prisons, roads, railways, power supplies for starters!).

August 16th: wet today with a few bright spells in afternoon, moderate SW breeze, 17C. At L&P did do a memory dump of all current thoughts on the ANPA 40 paper, bringing number of slides to 37. The pullback diagrams seem to model musical practice well with the Conductor as the initial object of the topos. Made a generic acknowledgement of inspiration from musicians. Remaining task is to merge last year's topos diagrams with this year's, then think can publish, preferably soon in light of the number of pirates around! The monad and the brain activities of last year remain unchanged. The continuous aspects are next year's work. Could say I'm becoming more discreet!! Here's the details added this evening on the Visiting Research Fellow home page:

Rossiter, Nick, & Heather, Michael, Physical Sounds as Colimits in the Topos, ANPA 40, Dept Physics, Liverpool University, UK, 10-15 August (2019). abstract pdf, presentation pdf.


Summary for trip to Liverpool/Chester reads for Honey-buzzard on home page [did keep an eye on the birds, cannot resist!]:

Liverpool/Chester (10/8-15/8): Chester Littleton, 1 male floating over area for 2 minutes 13/8.

So that's 2 of the highlites in my life!! A third gave a gr8 reunion today; lovely to be back: the Gods smiled on us: she's highly desirable: lok2tgrf!!!!!! Made N4c4t and W4g4s, former with A in focus, latter with just 3 of us out but we had excellent chat! 2moro it's C4c4l and Honey-buzzard site visit no.9. xxxx!!

August 15th: sunny, light W breeze, 17C, dry. Left Hallmark Inn at 10:15 after good chat with ANPA enthusiast LK over breakfast. He has an interesting new position, spending some of the summer in Siberia: “The Laboratory of Topology and Dynamics [Novosibirsk State University] was created within the framework of the grant of the Government of Russia (contract No. 14.Y26.31.0025) under the direction of the leading scientist professor Louis Hirsch Kauffman from the University of Illinois at Chicago.” http://labtd.nsu.ru/index_en.html As a discrete physicist he's one of my supporters in using CT! Managed to get to CAR almost on time but then chaos reigned over getting sets ready to run and was 25 min late into HEX. Went to W 4 big shop; later out to meet M/A for good crack at HoN. Was a beautiful evening: very enthusiastic: lok2tmbo: she's so sensuous: love the vibes!!!!! 2moro it's 10:00 CRB-NCL for work at L&P on presentation while all uploaded in mind; planning to integrate the results from last year and this year: all good intentions; lunch at CT then home!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

August 14th: rained all day, so wet! Last day of lectures; MJ's paper on Fractals in Music was clearly looking at unsaid adjoints, so possibly inspired by my last year's paper, whose IP is protected by early publication. He's also using anticipation, the free functor, so plenty of influence there. Doing these things outside of category theory is much harder! This was the zany day; pleased to be included this year on day 2 with the heavyweights! We made 'Spoons at LIV Lime Street for our evening meal: f&c+mp and a pint of g; had good final chat with everyone! Much later made Font, a bar in the Uni where a fanatical crowd cheered on Liverpool's win 2(5)-2(4) on penalties aet: made sure I looked enthusiastic!! So it's LIV-CAR-HEX ex 10:45 2moro: should be out in the evening! Next trip is then 8 days away. gt is lovely: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

August 13th: team-building day trip to Chester today, catching 09:28 LIV-CTR with 10 other attendees at conference, with leader PR. Party comprised 3 from England, 1 Scotland, 1 Bulgaria, 3 USA, 3 Russia (1 called Nadia, the other 2 Nina, including a speaker's 12-year old daughter, who's seeing the world). Weather was cool and showery at start but it settled down into a very fine and warm afternoon. Chester has so much history, dating from Roman times with amphitheatre remains and the city walls through Norman times with the old and new cathedrals to the present with many important residents and their houses through to the 19th century. Had lunch at the cathedral and dinner at Thai restaurant Ruan Orchid; hungry at latter as we walked the entire length of the City walls in late afternoon. Back on 21:00 train after a very enjoyable day out in great company. Total for bird-types in Chester City was 24 including 19 nesting House Martin, 1 soaring Common Buzzard juvenile 1, 3 Common Gull adult, 1 Gadwall, 6 Cormorant, 2 Raven drifting high overhead 1. Star of the day was a male Honey-buzzard: at 14:32 a commotion was noted to E (towards Littleton). A male Honey-buzzard was seen floating over the area, with Jackdaw, Black-headed Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull all up (9110). The Honey-buzzard hung over the area for 2 minutes before subsiding down again and all went quiet. Butterflies comprised 7 Large White, 6 Painted Lady, 8 Small White, 1 Holly Blue, with 1 leaf-mine noted: Stigmella aurella, gallery on bramble. 2moro is last day for ANPA talks so attending that; think there are 2 on music so looking forward to it all. Then it's back LIV-HEX via CAR on Thursday morning; expect to make L&P on Friday to consolidate the presentation from comments made on 12/8! lok2t gorgeous one: looking forward to return: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 12th: talk went just fine, plenty of support for line of CT assisting in understanding of musical practice. Did get some dissent from a LIV local with particular interests in musicology but didn't rise to bait and he was assured by others that CT is a natural for composition applications. He sat next to me at dinner and guess what, he's a great Wagner fan so big turnaround!! Conference dinner was at Matou restaurant on riverside of the Mersey; brilliant views of the riverside, including moving Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Curlew; weather was damp, cloudy, light SW breeze. Here's pdf for the talk. Total for bird species in Liverpool over whole visit was 12 types, with Lesser Black-backed Gull the most noteworthy, nesting raucously on many roofs.

August 11th: number of slides up to 30 now as talk completed this evening, spurning any evening out on the town! Not displeased with outcome!! Chaired this afternoon's session, including a discussion one: all went smoothly with everyone encouraged to contribute! 2moro it's 15:00 for own talk: wish me luck!! lok2t gorgeous one: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

August 10th: in Hexham slight clearance after heavy rain over last 36 hours, cool at 18C, moderate W breeze. While waiting for train at HEX had at Hexham Hermitage at 13:00, a Honey-buzzard female floating low-down anxiously over wood to N for 5 min, obviously with young about to fledge. Weather got worse and worse as approached CAR so could concentrate on work. On the departure board at CAR was one entry for going S, the 11:49 for PRE not due until 14:42. Heavy rain had flooded the track in Scotland. Eventually that arrived at 14:55 and enjoyed first class seating in the chaos until PRE where missed 15:31 connection to LIV, finally catching 16:31 so one hour late. Upside was got loads of work done, writing 17 complete original slides for my talk (maybe 10 to go but some copies from previous talks). An interesting thought is that the adjointness between Timeline and Occasion measures the conductor to some extent. Checked into Heritage Liverpool on Mount Pleasant and walked short way to Philharmonic Dining Rooms where met colleagues for a couple. This was a fascinating large drinking hall with rooms called Brahms and Liszt; it's next to the Philharmonic Hall where the Royal Liverpool Phil play! We then had a tour of the Physics Department in Liverpool University and a meal at Papillon nearby where 8 of us spent £212. It's a very friendly city, settling in well! 2moro we're hard at work!! Thinking of the gorgeous one: wish she was here: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

August 9th: stormy today, with heavy rain am; quite muggy 20C on light E breeze. Problems in balancing wind farms and gas plants brought the national grid down; that's the way it goes when unstable wind supplies go above 20% of the total! Spent much of day working on the ANPA paper, finally cracking it, using some results from our earlier jitter paper in relating timeline (as laid out in score) to occasion (as actually played). Not planning any acknowledgements in this paper as the angle is far more technical, rather than aesthetic, including how the score can be coded in category theory. So just need to add to the slides all the diagrams constructed with OpenOffice Draw in the last couple of weeks, add a bit on Now from Whitehead and pray: we're a co-operative lot really!! Not much on Honey-buzzard today, did play the 1st clip and found some clear alarm calls of presumed male Honey-buzzard mixed up with those of a Jay; these were before entered the main site: the males often perch a little outside the main nesting area (9207). Did make C4c4l where met P/M for good chat; tmsuo looked good!! Funds -12k this week as our populists run amok. That leaves gain on year at 27k gross,13k net. No further comment except that £ crisis is looking increasingly likely over next few weeks as markets lose confidence in BJ's growing shambles! Made W4g4s with 4 of the gang for good catch-up! 2moro it's HEX-LIV via CAR and PRE, ex 12:55. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

August 8th: another landmark day, completing 8/10 Honey-buzzard site visits, while they're still at the rearing stage. Today made Shilford from 12:20-16:20 in mainly sunny weather, quite humid, 19C, dry except for one brief shower on light SE breeze. Didn't see any Honey-buzzard but there were plenty of signs close to a nest in Scots Pine, with heavy splash right below. Recordings are 1) alarm calls, presumed male, 2-15 2-16 2-19 2-21, following Jay calls 10s 16s 29s 32s 33s, on outskirts of site as entered at 13:21 where male was presumed to be the sentry bird clip 1; 2) anxiety call, presumed female, 21s, at 13:35, closer to nest where female displaced clip 2; 3) alarm call, presumed female, 13s, 3) anxiety calls 22s 24s 27s 1-10 1-11 1-12, at nest at 13:41 with female in attendance in cover clip 3 (9207). The nest in a Scots Pine tree was 50m away from last year's nest in the same line of trees; the nest was on top of a bough, stretching about ½ the way around the trunk of the tree at the bottom of the canopy 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14 (narrow white object, also on 18)  15  16 (with heavy splash on rim)  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24; the girth of the tree at base was 166cm. Below the nest were found 5 heavy splash 1  2  3  4  5  6, 9 medium splash 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9, 1 large white down 1  2, 5 small white down. It's an energetic visit, with a lengthy walk-in and rough bramble-dominated vegetation near the nest itself; only 30 min rest to eat my lunch in the schedule above. Total was 17 bird types, including 3 Jay, 1 calling Chiffchaff, 9 Swallow, 10 Coal Tit, 2 Bullfinch. Butterflies were again fantastic with 12 types in the walk, including Wall Butterfly, Small Skipper, Comma, Holly Blue 1  2  3, plus flavour of the month 5 Painted Lady. Photographed masses of leaf mines for id later. Indeed by 24/05/2020 had identified 18 species of Microlepidoptera from leaf mines and spinning plus 3 carpet moths, making 33 species of Lepidoptera altogether; this was the last data sheet to be analysed from 2019. Will leave last 2 nest visits until back in mid-August when the young are starting to fledge. Booked train tickets HEX-LIV via CAR; we're assembling on Saturday evening for a welcome drink at the Philharmonia, next to where the Liverpool Phil play! I'm looking forward to the trip, for taking the CT/Music theme forward, for meeting my good friends in ANPA and for seeing Liverpool again after a long time away! Still masses of work to do on the presentation but have a lot more uploaded in my mind than a week ago with time jitter, weak colimits, adjointness, mediation, all coming to the fore! Made N4c4t for recuperation where met P for good chat; later there were 5 of us at G4g4s where gr8 to have N on!! 2moro will make C4c4l, maybe do some 'gardening', write the outline with slide headings for the presentation and visit W4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

August 7th: mostly sunny today, feeling fresher at 19C on moderate W breeze, dry. Had a juvenile Common Buzzard at Mowden Hall at 18:40. Did make T4c4c with M for good catch-up, QH Lib 4 some work while S at house, G4g4t with B, TC4film. The film was Tie me up! Tie me Down! Bar lass M gave me such a look when I mentioned its name!! I thought the film was a dark love story with humorous touches rather than an exercise in sadomasochism, such as in Berlin Syndrome. It was made in Spain by Almodóvar in 1989, with dialogue in Spanish with English subtitles. The gate was quite large! The leading roles were played by Victoria Abril as Marina Osorio, an actress in the story with a drug problem and who likes playing with things in the bath, and Antonio Banderas as Ricky, a discharged mental patient with many skills as a thief and who initially ties up Marina on her bed to stop her escaping! The twist in the story is that it all ends happily with Marina and Antonio going off to get married, rather than her escaping into the distance: she seemed to like being tied up after a while!! So is seeing such films good for my reputation? Doing site visit 8 tomorrow before the rain on Friday, with trip to G4g4s later. Tonite ended brilliantly with the *: have reflex reaction when think of her: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 6th: heavy showers today, mild in between, 22C, light W breeze. Raptors were active in between the showers: a Honey-buzzard female floating over bank just to W of Ryton Willows site at 10:25, a Sparrowhawk male up over Blaydon at 10:30 in display, a Red Kite adult up over Short Wood E, Bywell, at 16:20, and a Honey-buzzard male floating over Tyne, W of Farnley, at 16:30. Made great progress on physical sounds presentation at L&P, producing 5 new pullbacks on the Score bringing together pitch, note, octave, chord, accent, to add to the 5 prepared for last year's paper; pleased that the new pullbacks just slot in naturally to last year's structure through a decomposition of categories S and V (Score and Variant) as pointed out in defence of the strategy adopted last year. Next steps are to match Occasion, a place in the Score, across the various categories and to relate Occasion to the Now of the philosopher Whitehead. Worked from 10:40 to 15:30 with lengthy lunch break at CT4s4l, walking through heavy rain! Result will be far from a ready to publish paper but the presentation will readily support the development of a second paper. Back home have indexed all pictures from Courties on 29/7 and updated the entry for Aquitaine on the home page to give the final findings. Made R&C with the computing guys A/M for good chat! Exuberant reunion with the gorgeous one: where there's a will, there's a way: gt's very motivating: lok2tgrf: xxxxxx!!!!! Do have a couple of clips from 27/7. 2moro it's T4c4c with M, G4g4t with B and much later TC with CAL-NCL ex 19:00. xxxx!!!

August 5th: fresher today, 22C, sunny, moderate SW breeze, dry. Had hair-cut at JG (good work by Jd), went to R @ B4m4l for good company and finished off with chat at G4g4s, with M on and A looking good!! Spent a lot of time checking that car hire from Innsbruck will allow us to travel on to Italian Dolomites; got 2 different answers but in the end did get clarification on screen that we could just book the extra country at the desk for €20 on arrival; screen capture quickly made!! All the best people are going to Italy this year!! Progressed categorial diagrams to extent that hope to finalise the musical score structure tomorrow at L&P, starting at CRB at 10:00 (crack of dawn!). Have connected 2 issues that I'd never really considered before as related: that's the essence of research. Looking at my maternal genealogy, I was circumcised when about a week old, at the insistence of my mother: nothing to do with me! I'm happy with it: it's supposed to give some health benefits. It certainly wasn't normal practice in SW England, thinking of communal showers at school where nearly everyone had the foreskin intact: need to look further back maybe for the tradition!! Obviously something to be highlighted in my ancestry documents!! Think the gt is lovely: beautifully shaped!! Possibly TC on Wednesday! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

August 4th: weather was very muggy this morning at 23C with 80% humidity and light SW breeze. Did masses of grass cutting in morning, taking out all the early-summer grass which has got quite thick. Welcome the exercise and hot bath afterwards (like yesterday) is great restoration! Had a family group of 4 Common Buzzard in distance to S at Slaley Forest but no sign of the local Honey-buzzard. Had 12 types of butterfly (52 insects) in the garden/field in good numbers; shows benefit of slack habitat management for insects! List is: Peacock (9), Small Tortoiseshell (4), Painted Lady (13), Red Admiral (1), Small White (5), Large White (7), Meadow Brown (2), Small Skipper (4), Ringlet (3), Comma (1), Speckled Wood (2), Green-veined White (1). There were some showers with large drops of rain mid-afternoon accompanied by thunder but heavy rain did not really arrive until evening when out to G4g4s with the dynamic E on!! Have sorted out some piccies from 29/7 trip in Aquitaine, deciding that 6 sites is eventual Honey-buzzard total with one site (Marciac W) being recorded as a duplicate on 29/7 as S of Courties. Made good progress on Liverpool paper, finally constructing 2 categorial figures for the Score structure; amazing how approaching deadline focuses the mind! Planning to make L&P on Tuesday all-day to concentrate the mind further! 2moro it's JG for hair-cut with Jd, R @ B4m4l, G4g4s!! Looking forward to someone's return: missed her zest: she's gorgeous: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

August 3rd: weather was warm and muggy 23C, light W breeze, mainly overcast. Did make C4c4l where talented show, pleased to meet trhwso!! Challenging trip to Oakpool, East Allen, for Honey-buzzard site visit 7/10 from 14:50-18:30. Last year's nest in oak had been abandoned with only a few twigs left and no signs underneath; tried a group of 3 oak trees to the SE, which have been used in the past but no signs at all; so went to N extreme of wood along a track kindly cut by the Pheasant shooters but nothing here also. So wondered where they'd gone. The wood appeared less used by humans than for many years with no clear footpaths and no vehicle tracks to the Pheasant pens, where at last some clues. Noted a little medium splash and more importantly a little way to the S some small white down caught in the ground elder. This is in an area formerly used for access by the 'keepers on foot to the Pheasant feeding bins but little used now as they come in by vehicle from the N side. Finally found the nest in a fork in an oak tree, just below the crown with very extensive deposition of oak sprays around the fork. Although the nest superficially looked very fresh 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12, was not convinced that it was intact, maybe suffering storm damage in which case the juveniles would be out marching on the branches. Looked hard but couldn't see the young out this way; will monitor clips closely for any chicken-type calls (the hunger cries of the young). Clip 1a, part of a larger MTS clip of 5 min 7 sec, was taken at 16:01 on the edge of the clearing in the middle of the wood where new tree planting with plastic guards has been done; I was looking S, back towards the lane. At 27s, 37s, 45s, 55s on the original timings, faint anxiety Honey-buzzard calls can be heard, confirming the presence of adults in the S part of the wood. Clip 1b, later in same original clip, has slightly crosser anxiety calls at 2-50, 3-00, 3-09, 3-21 on original clip with a juvenile chicken call at 3-29. Remains close to the nest tree were 6 small white down 1  2  3  4  5  6, 2 medium splash 1  2; the down indicates that the nest is in the immediate vicinity. While walking down the lane on the steep hill approaching the site at 15:11 had the male Honey-buzzard floating over the site briefly before a rapid descent 1  2  3  4  5 (9206); good of him to alert me to continued occupation in view of subsequent difficulties. Would expect full fledging here in 2 weeks time. Other raptors seen were a family party of 4 Common Buzzard on other (W) side of valley above Cupola Bridge and a Red Kite juvenile with them 1  2 (new site for the Kite) at 16:50. Total for bird-types was 27, including 1 Swift, 1 Raven, 4 Sand Martin, 1 Whinchat, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Bullfinch. Butterflies were incredible getting 11 types, including 9 Painted Lady 1, 1 Purple Hairstreak, 1 Small Skipper. At home had 17 Peacock and 10 Painted Lady on buddleia. There's a massive Painted Lady movement northwards over the whole of the UK. Ash die-back is really getting a hold now, particularly in the higher land in the dales and along arable land in the 'Shire, where maybe the trees are a little more stressed 1; none yet on those in my field and on the other side of the road. Maybe thinking of someone. The newly-promoted Gulls started life well in tier 5 - NL, at home annihilating Boreham Wood 2-1, who played 2/3 of the match with 10 men! Going to pub yesterday had a Barn Owl at Ordley at 21:55 (2/8) and a Nightjar at Lamb Shield at 00:45 (3/8). When back watched some challenging late nite TV films on piranha taking over a swimming lido and intelligent ants taking over the Arizona desert!

Encouraging number of (confirmatory) Red Kite reports in N&TBC bulletin for June 2019:

NTBC June 2019 bulletin: Red Kite Milvus Milvus

On 11th two birds were at Carterway Heads (IFo) and single birds were seen at Ovingham on 1st (ASJ), nr Slaley Forest on 3rd (IFo), Allensford on 4th (IFo), Humshaugh on 8th (TWi), Tynemouth on 9th (MK), Coanwood Common on 14th (AA), Derwent Reservoir on 15th (IFo), Carterway Heads on 16th (PRM), Harthope Valley on 25th (LJM et al.) and Airy Holm Reservoir on 29th (IFo).

It's also relevant for the local Red Kite that an article in this month's BB discusses the success of the reintroduction nationally. Only the Black Isle population near Inverness is highlighted as a serious laggard in its success through continued human persecution. So the one in NE England is considered a success, in line with my findings! 2moro hope to do some grass-cutting, maybe make C4c4l and much later G4g4s!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!

August 2nd: made N4c4l where met P for good chat; loitering, surprisingly bumped into trhwso!! Made a lot of progress in records from France with just 29/7 to do now; have made a start on these, confirming first sites found for Red Kite and Honey-buzzard and labelling views of the Pyrénées. Weather was much wetter than expected today with frequent showers in muggy conditions so neither grass-cutting nor field trips but looks better tomorrow afternoon before wetter again on Sunday. Also wet somewhere else, fascinating culture!! Late in evening made W4g4s where 5 of us out for good catch-up; we will be meeting the next 2 Fridays. Terrible week for markets with populists in full cry, first BJ going all-out for reckless no-deal Brexit, then DT re-starting trade war with China. Can see some similarities with how tyrannies have gained power in the past through 'good' people in the middle refusing to get stuck in. The LibDems are our main hope in countering populism as at least they speak out decisively! Own funds lost gains of last 2 weeks, closing 13k down but it could have been worse! I think we've been in a kind of bear market since August 2018 in terms of the risk that investors will accept; would expect this phase to last another 3-6 months so move to quality continues. Have at last received confirmation of booking for Sage concerts in the next season with £175 per month for 6 months; they've obviously had some problems with their direct debit system as the first 2 payments are both being taken this month but anyway very pleased to see it's all under control now and of course looking forward to the music!! 2moro it's C4c4l and hopefully activities outside. lok2t gorgeous one!!!!!

August 1st: all went smoothly today travel-wise with train just 6 min late! Did a lot of work on train on Liverpool paper, taking a simple example of a scale and working it through to a formal category, using subobjects and pullbacks. There's plenty of scope for extending the example with vector spaces to handle more realistic scenarios. Had a Red Kite over Hitchin. Made G4g4s where 6 of us out: good to have N on and A/M in attendance!! Still feeling relaxed after tour of France. Hope to make progress on recording sightings in France tomorrow. Enjoying the story from the continent: commanding gesture: magnificent backdrop: culture and allure!!! lok2t gorgeous one: xxxx!!!!! Stayed up to 02:30 to see LibDems gain Brecon, a leave (Brexit) seat, from Cons in by-election: warning to Boris whose majority, even with DUP, is now 1-2! 2moro it's C4c4l and W4g4s!!

July 31st: met daughter and granddaughters at WWT at Barnes, SW London, which is a duck centre by the Thames. We were there from 13:45-17:00. Weather was mild 25C, moderate and gusty S breeze, occasional shower. Had a male Peregrine hunting over the E edge of reserve. In total of 22 bird-types had breeding Canada Goose, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, plus 4 Mandarin Duck, 1 Egyptian Goose, 1 Reed Bunting female/juvenile type. S and I were both very keen to use my bins though not sure exactly what they saw; anyway here's piccies of Sophia 1  2 (4.4) and Isabella 1  2 (2.9); they were both in very good mood today so maybe keen on nature (or is it the cafe?); we had a fantastic session pond-dipping – very well organised by the centre! Went back to Kingston for supper before returning on 65/297 buses; earlier had taken UG to Hammersmith. They've just got permission to build an extra storey on their house overlooking Richmond Park, making it 3-levels. Son completed his house purchase today. Registered for RRF conference at Fort Collins, Colorado, in November. Must say someone looks absolutely stunning today on their hols: lok2t gorgeous one: xxxx!!!!! 2moro it's 12:30 KGX-NCL without the love!!

Summary for birds in Aquitaine from 23/7-30/7: 52 species from 163 records, 7 complete lists, 13 places. Besides the raptors below, interesting birds recorded were Cattle Egret (7 birds, 3 sites), Little Egret (1, 1), Woodcock (1, 1), Turtle Dove (3, 2), Collared Dove (very common), Swift (140 moving between S and W), Bee-eater (1 E, 2 calling overhead), Hoopoe (3, 1, bred), Wryneck (1, 1), Woodchat Shrike (1, 1), Golden Oriole (1, 1), Woodlark (1, 1), Crested Lark (1, 1), Chiffchaff (1, 1), Sedge Warbler (1, 1), Black Redstart (5, 1, bred), House Sparrow (very common), Ortolan Bunting (1, 1), Cirl Bunting (1, 1).

Summary for raptors in Aquitaine from 23/7-30/7. Total was 109 birds of 11 types: Bl