Notice Board: the Honey-buzzard Season in Northumberland 2021 as it happens – Nick Rossiter

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This is the current blog for the 2021 season, updated daily, giving recent activity.

The main aim in the new season is to write a book on Honey-buzzard, using my experience in British Isles, continental Europe and Africa, dating from 1993. Field work in 2021 in Northumberland will complement this task, filling in gaps and reinforcing findings. Further lengthy trips in mind abroad are Israel/Tarifa/Gibraltar in September and Kenya Highlands and coast next January. Broad headings for book are: Motivation, Historical Records, Rediscovery in Britain, Migration Patterns, Arrival and Display, Breeding Activity, Dispersal, Wintering Grounds, Four Identification Models, Value of Field Experience, Further Studies, Bibliography. The initial costs of publishing the book in hard copy, running to perhaps 250pp, are well within my means. Some supplementary material may be published online.

May 15th: max 10C, min 6C, light E breeze, cloudy, cool. Brought Hampshire Honey-buzzard up to 2017 inclusive, so just 2 more years to go for my own records. Posted on vimeo a clip of Honey-Buzzard in Rathmacknee, Co Wexford, Ireland in November 2015. Made Peggs4ft+rw; FT is also relieved that some of the bubble in markets is deflating. I've deliberately been moving profits into large, profitable businesses as these are more liquid if things really do turn rough: that is you can still sell in volume in a falling market. Recent choices are also commodity-focused to protect against an upsurge in inflation. Well anyway that's the plan but … Still inspired by last night's concert booked up for the next stream of RNS from Sage on 28/5, paying £30+£10 donation. My quarterly £500 pp donation to RNS for MG is payable Monday! Made hfb4f&c+mp4t for a change: quite tasty! Next week it's G4g4s on Monday and into Toon on Wednesday for stop-over!! Keep looking gorgeous: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 14th: max 11C, min 6C, light E breeze, cloudy, cool. Completed decorating in dining room, some relief! Made N4c4t where a few sociable chats! Fantastic concert – very well thought through with great themes, inspirational for the players and the audience, really enjoyed it!! Five Composers, 4 Seasons, was the title. The concert centred on Piazzolla's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires composed between 1965 and 1970. It's a lively piece following the arrangement in the 1990s of Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov, who arranged the pieces for solo violin and string orchestra. The soloists were all so accomplished and stylish: MS, G-AM, KN, AT-T, and rightly appreciated by their colleagues. In a similar flamboyant style we heard Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante with 4 soloists AR (violin), SM (cello), M O'D (oboe), SR (bassoon), playing in front of the sinfonia, often in pairs against each other. A contrast was provided by the mournful Sonata for Solo Clarinet by the French female composer Germaine Taillferre, played well by Jessica Lee. I loved the introduction to the concert, putting us in the mood for a non-conventional musical evening with plenty of spirit and skill! So roll on the live concerts!! Markets had some bad times this week with 2 spells on different days when the ftse 100 was down over 2%. Some of this may have been due to distress selling as frothy sections of the market, such as cryptocurrencies e.g. bitcoin, SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company), hyped greens stocks, all tanked heavily. It's well known that collapses in 'bad' areas feed into 'good' areas as some holders are left with nothing else to sell to meet commitments such as margin calls. The 'value' stocks, which I hold mainly, were resilient with ftse 100 down just 1.2% on week in the end. Own funds finished -7k on week, reducing gain on ytd to 260k gross (+21.1%), 248k net with ftse 100 +7.9%, ftse 250 +11.0%. It's healthy that some of the froth is being removed but don't think that the affected areas are anywhere near worth buying for recovery! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 13th: max 14C, min 5C, light E breeze, sunny most of day, no showers developing for a change. Some sunbathing today on patio in shorts! A Garden Warbler was singing from the bushes on edge of my field, just returned. A Raven was flying W over Slaley Forest near Dukesfield, becoming commoner. No sign of the local Honey-buzzard today, even though scanning the area from time to time; male is still to arrive. Flowers are beautiful this spring: cowslip and bluebell are the latest to shine. Almost completed dining room decoration on ceiling. Completed processing piccies for 2014-2015 Hampshire and now on 2016. The shots clearly show family party display up in the air as in Northumberland. Most ringers do not study their quarry after it's fledged: the business has already been done! So proving to be a valuable exercise! Spoke to daughter today: everyone OK but husband and elder granddaughter still getting headaches from time to time, younger granddaughter finally tested positive but no symptoms! Made C4c4t and B4rw4s. Looking forward a lot to concert tomorrow!! xxxxx XXX!!!!! xxxXX

A flurry of Honey-buzzard on BirdGuides, since 10/5, bringing total for May to 16, to add to April's 12, giving spring total 28. Black Kite spring total is 51.

14:18 13/05 European Honey Buzzard South Yorkshire Thorne Moors NNR one flew south

12:36 13/05 European Honey Buzzard Suffolk Aldeburgh 11:55 one flew south

12:04 13/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Hickling Broad 11:50 one over Brendan's Marsh; also White Stork [seen them here myself]

11:37 13/05 European Honey Buzzard Suffolk Minsmere RSPB 11:33 one flew south over Eastbridge

13:01 12/05 European Honey Buzzard Kent Stodmarsh NNR one flew north-east

17:41 11/05 European Honey Buzzard Cambridgeshire Fordham 16:00 adult male flew low south-west

16:56 11/05 European Honey Buzzard Gloucestershire Cinderford 09/05 one flew north over Edgehills Bog on Sunday

14:46 11/05 European Honey Buzzard Guernsey St Saviour's Reservoir 10:40 one flew towards airport this morning

10:08 11/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk South Walsham tail-less individual reported over Fleet Dike then drifted south-east

May 12th: max 13C, min 5C, light W breeze, sunny morning, becoming steadily more cloudy, odd shower at tea-time! At 19:00 had the local female Honey-buzzard flying low-down from NE to NW of my house over the pastures below, heavily mobbed by 2 Crow, before sliding S towards the old nest site. Completed processing on vimeo the 3 Honey-buzzard clips from 09/07/2018 at the local nest-site (8900) and a clip from 22/05/2019 of 2 Honey-buzzard in dispute at Dipton Wood S (9021); all have been reprocessed into mp4 from the initial mts files at higher quality. BT server disk space released so can process the Hampshire stills tomorrow. Did meet M at sal4c4c for good chat. Had gr8 trip to NCL on train, feel people are easing up a little (anyway those that do go out!) and behaving more naturally. In early evening did another coat of paint on ceiling and cut some grass at the back for first time this year, preserving wild flowers as much as possible. Booked up for the 2 RNS concerts in June to attend as part of the live audience, paying £32 and donating £26 in total! Was a brilliant rendezvous: she's so gorgeous: very stimulating: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 11th: max 14C, min 6C, moderate SW breeze, sunny morning, becoming steadily more cloudy, heavy rain at tea-time, bit like the tropics really! Have posted 2 higher quality video on vimeo of Honey-buzzard in Northumberland, from July 2018; first instalments for this exciting nest visit. When completed will delete current low quality versions from my BT web server to make space for my Hampshire piccies of Honey-buzzard, so that's the drive! Dyvels was inexplicably closed so went with P to Angel in Corbridge for garlic bread and g; we had gr8 catch-up. Angel was the place which made the national papers on refusing to serve a 78-year old man without the app; they now have a prominent sign saying pay as you like! It's a good spot as you can watch the world go by! Waitress was charming!! Had 10 Swift, 5 Sand Martin, 3 Swallow, on the bridge over the Tyne there and a Redstart female at Lamb Shield. Put 2 coats on dining room ceiling joints today, needs 2 more on whole area, then done. Funds are down 5k on wtd after big falls this week with ftse 100 -2.6%. There are worries about inflation taking off, pushing up interest rates. Commodities themselves continue to rise so happy with current holdings. 2moro social life goes up a gear with sal4c4c with M, NCL on train!! Prepared source odt file for DM and uploaded it to server. Keep looking gorgeous: xxxxx XXX!!!!! xxxxxxxxxxxXXX

May 10th: max 13C, min 6C, moderate SW breeze, sunny intervals, heavy bursts of rain. Got out in shorts on the patio at 11:30 but not long before the heavy showers started. Continued decorating – upstairs bathroom where fittings moved, dining room ceiling where new board inserted – restoration is very satisfying. Then found water spraying from top of gutter at roof level and a very cross Blue Tit (nesting near there!). Loosened clamp at bottom of downpipe, wiggled pipe around and masses of silt came out, the whole downpipe emptying spectacularly in seconds! Re-tightened clamp and all worked well in subsequent downpours! Did make C4c4t and I4sshop; must compliment former on employment policy! Met a few of the gang on pavement outside B and agreed to meet P 2moro at Dyvels; was still wearing shorts which amused them – you have to pretend it's late spring! Attended Rotary talk on Zoom by Andrew Birley at 18:30 on latest findings at Vindolanda, near the Roman Wall at Housesteads. He's the third generation of the Birley family to direct this work. They've uncovered a Christian church in the excavations dating from around 6th century AD, before Cuthbert 634-687, and throwing a lot of previous theories into rapid revision. Incredibly they found a lead chalice in the remains of the church https://www.vindolanda.com/news/unique-christian-artefact-uncovered-at-vindolanda. As instructed must make a visit soon! Son and I went there last spring before CV closure. Completed compiling their side of the Hampshire story, now organising my piccies and accounts. Have already booked up for stream to a * concert on 14/5 with RNS and today booked a table for another * one on 30/5!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Six more records on BirdGuides since 2/5, bringing total for May to 7, to add to April's 12, giving spring total 19. Black Kite total so far this spring in Britain is 44, plenty in northern England, colonisation surely in progress: hope we're going to handle this raptor's colonisation better than that of Honey-buzzard!

12:22 10/05 European Honey Buzzard North Yorkshire Ravenscar 11:03 one flew in off the sea then flew west

21:11 09/05 European Honey Buzzard Kent North Foreland one flew over early afternoon

17:09 09/05 European Honey Buzzard South Yorkshire Rawmarsh 15:55 one flew north-west over Stubbin Pit Top

14:00 09/05 European Honey Buzzard Lancashire Tarnbrook 13:25 possible flew north-west

14:19 07/05 European Honey Buzzard Guernsey St Peter Port 12:26 one drifted east over Vauvert

13:57 07/05 European Honey Buzzard Somerset & Bristol Sparkford 10:15 one reported over A303 between Podimore and Sparkford

May 9th: max 14C, min 7C, moderate SW breeze, cloudy, dry. Feeling milder and went for good walk on Eastwood Common, near Healey, from 12:55-15:30. Had 5 types of raptor: 5 Common Buzzard (2,2,1 at 3 sites), 2 Honey-buzzard (male in butterfly display early-on, pair display later with some fairly close-up shots in March Burn), 2 Red Kite (pair), 2 Kestrel (pair), 1 Sparrowhawk (male out hunting). A Raven was a great sight, they're finally colonising Northumberland away from the uplands where their chances of survival from human interference are far higher. Summer visitors included a Ring Ousel, presumably a migrant attracted to the heath, and a Tree Pipit but no Woodlark seen. More to follow …In my field had a Willow Warbler singing, 1st of season. Well that was a great distraction from Honey-buzzard in Hampshire but resumed that later getting up to end of 2011 for the New Forest studies. In evening watched stream from Barbican of LSO/Rattle: Das Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth), Mahler, with the mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená and tenor Andrew Staples. It's a work of great depth with some lighter moments but the sombre Der Abschied (The Farewell) which concludes the work is particularly poignant. Mahler appears to be rationalising his own death in terms of natural cycles. The final words ‘Ewig… ewig…’ (Forever… forever…) are repeated over and over again as the music attempts to find some conclusion. Magdalena Kožená showed such stage-presence in this lengthy final part of 30 min: most of the time she's not singing but she is acting throughout! The performance was brilliant in every respect. Cost £12.50 with further £12.50 donation. Son also was very impressed! We're keeping in almost daily contact now. This week may make NCL by train on Wednesday!! Warm enough for the pub soon again, maybe. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Look also at the Common Buzzard in N&TBC bulletin for March 2021, soaring away:

Buzzard Buteo buteo

Ten birds, including three displaying pairs, were at Gosforth Subsidence Pond on 20th (MJC) and ten were over Beanley Wood on 30th (IBDa/KDa). Nine were at Old Hazelrigg (Belford) (DF) and at East Holywell (Whitley Bay) (AC) on 20th, eight were soaring at Alnwick Moor (TRD/JD) and seven were at Colpitts (Slaley) (MH) on 20th. Six birds were noted at Bellasis Bridge (Blagdon) on 1st (MH), Wark (North Tyne) on 10th an 27th (PRM), R South Tyne (Melkridge) on 16th (SJH), Kielder on 25th (ADM) and Derwent Reservoir on 26th (IFo). 100 records of one to five birds were received this month. [I'm in the 100 somewhere, with 14 records]

May 8th: max 12C, min 7C, moderate SE breeze, heavy rain at lunchtime, overcast for most of rest of day. Definitely milder: did not need to light fire tonight for 1st time for a while. Made a lot of progress on account of Honey-buzzard in Hampshire: all very good for book as brings in a series of letters from 2003-2005 about trends in populations both locally in the New Forest and nationally. The new section gives the motivation for dealing with the letters in detail as well as presenting my own findings. Still some way to go and haven't brought in my own records yet, but account is going to be 4-5 pages long so decent chunk for book. Feeling totally fit today so the vaccine appears to have seen off the nasty Brazilian variant. Went into HEX to Peggs4FT,HC, rw and C4c4t; from C4 last night Costa coffee contains more caffeine than other brands; thought going there gave me a buzz!! FT was a little worried about markets being overvalued but more sanguine now that the tech sector has cooled. Quite critical of cryptocurrencies with their huge carbon footprints for mining them. Had walk around Sele getting a Swift, first of season, flying down Beaumont Street. Yesterday had a Whitethroat song flighting over the hawthorn hedge at the W end of my field with 2 House Martin and 2 Swallow in area, feeding. Looking forward to re-opening: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Good news in N&TBC bulletin for March 2021, confirming massive colonisation by Red Kite as found by me last year:

Red Kite Heavy signs of expansion as 46 sightings this month. [on front page]

Red Kite Milvus milvus [systematic account]

Six birds, including four simultaneously, were at Shotley Station, all in Northumberland on 16th (MH). Three birds, two adults and a 2nd cal. yr bird, were at a confidential site on 27th (PRM). Two birds were at Crooked Oak (Carterway Heads) & Snods Edge on 9th (IFo), Winnows Hill (Slaley Forest) on 18th (MH), two flew N at Pegswood on 20th (AT) and two were Colpitts (Slaley) also on 20th (MH). On 26th two were at Derwent Reservoir and on 28th two were at Ordley (BNR) and two were at a confidential site (PRM). Single birds were noted at 24 locations throughout the month. [BNR is me!]

May 7th: max 9C, min 1C, light N breeze, sunny intervals, more cloudy in afternoon, spells of rain. Practical consequences: sunbathing on patio in morning after good chat with N/D on Skype, no W4g4s as pub closed early (staff unsurprisingly p.ssed off with wet weather earlier!). Interesting we now increasingly rely on the weather for our power supplies (wind, solar) and enjoying a pint (sitting outside), bit like back to the middle ages. Roll on 17/5 and restoration of some sanity! Working hard on Hants Honey-buzzard. Was hoping for a quick mention of my records but getting drawn into the slightly murky status of the history of Honey-buzzard in the New Forest – typical academic! So have many windows open in Chrome on various Hampshire publications; hope to draw a line through it all tomorrow, for which no doubt they will be very grateful! Latest message from daughter says we had the Brazilian variant of CV with elder granddaughter quick recovery, younger granddaughter immune, her husband bowled over in spite of jab 1 in March, she with no jabs yet also quite poorly. But they are slowly recovering now. Whole school Holy Cross Prep, Kingston, is being tested at the moment. So nice to know the variant with which I had a brush: still having spells of slight weakness but jab 2 (15 days ago) has clearly been a great help! Son had jab 1 today. Funds had another good week on firm commodity prices: roll on the EV rush even though I think their introduction should be over many more years. On week +23k; on ytd gain is +267k gross (+21.7%), +255k net. Ftse 100 on ytd is +9.2%, ftse 250 +13.2%. Rotation from growth (tech) to value (more traditional companies) is proceeding apace; significant losses in many of last year's highly fashionable areas, such as Zoom, renewable energy, some US tech giants, EV makers. Son says it's Mahler's Song of the Earth in livestream from Barbican on Sunday night: will be there!

May 6th: max 7C, min 3C, light NW breeze, sunny spells early on, cloudy with cool showers in afternoon.

Added Honey-buzzard page to home page from visit to Isle of Wight in June 2015 (Honey-buzzard on the Isle of Wight). This is the first of a number of new entries, summarising in one place my findings in a county or area, both for birds and habitat. This will aid the book writing! Next up is Hants.

Cleaner S came at noon for a couple of hours so forced out to W4bigshop £67 (last week's on way home from London lacked efficiency!) and walk on Tyne Green from 12:30-13:50. Interesting walk, for instance 32 Swallow (2 feeding birds plus flock of 30 arriving from NW, ahead of hail storm, and continuing SE as flurry moved in), 2 Sand Martin, 1 House Martin, 1 Common Sandpiper (first of season here, did see some in Kenya!), 2 Oystercatcher, 9 Blackbird, 1 singing Nuthatch, 13 BHG (11 adult, 2 1s). 3 adult Herring Gull. Total was 19 bird-types. Also had Orange-tip male and female. Stop-over is booked!! Had good working day so feeling happy with that; did have a very sound nap at tt, still think I'm in recovery mode! Watched ON's streamed concert from Whitehall Road Sessions: “D’un Matin de Printemps (Of a Spring Morning) was the last work Boulanger composed in her short and troubled life, bringing joy, magic and showing little of the sadness that coloured her other pieces. Farrenc's Piano Quintet No.2 is exhilarating and richly coloured, showcasing the full range of possibilities for the instrument. Zawadzki is joined by members of the ensemble for a live performance of My Boy of the Birds, from Walking Home: Sound Pieces from Lockdown, and performs an improvisation.” Becoming an expert on Boulanger (see 17/4 RNS), Farrenc is so underrated, Zawadzki is very innovative! Donated £30 to recognise their talents! Yesterday was gr8: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 5th: max 8C, min 1C, light N breeze, sunny spells, spectacular thunder clouds, at teatime a violent hail storm in 'Shire covering the ground and giving rise to local flooding. Did make Quayside where had 550 Kittiwake (occupying nests, all adult), 12 Herring Gull (6 adult, 5 1s, 1 2s), 8 LBBG (all adult), 40 Feral Pigeon, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Crow, 1 Blackbird singing, 2 Greenfinch (pair, good to see in view of massive decline nationally due to a virus), so 8 types in all. Met M at S4c4c where a little sunshine in the courtyard made it bearable; we had good chat. Then into NCL by car, 2 reasons: precaution after mild CV infection, don't like wearing masks on trains. Parked on Quayside – plenty of space – outside areas including bars are a lot quieter since initial burst of activity but roads quite busy outside city centre. Might stop-over 19/5 for peek at Toon!! Caught up on 2/5 and today's records in evening but think I'm a little more laid-back since infection; not getting so much done but not surprising really; 2moro marks jab 2 + 14 days so fully vaccinated; am continuing to wash clothes worn recently. Am thinking of documenting my remaining Honey-buzzard records outside Northumberland, starting with Hants/IoW, as good material for book. Big day in commodities with US economy taking-off well and concerns about scarcity of supplies for EVs raising metal prices; PoO neared $70 for barrel of Brent in afternoon on fall in US stockpiles of Crude. Was a gr8 reunion: she's absolutely gorgeous: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xxxxxx

May 4th: max 6C, min 1C, moderate NW breeze, cloudy, rain from time to time. Completed processing 27/4 at Sherrardspark Wood, just S of Welwyn. Daughter reported she and husband are both feeling exhausted with virus while daughters are fine: S only really showed symptoms for 2 days, younger I still negative but since she's been at nursery through pandemic, suspect she's got all sorts of weird antibodies and T-cell programming, capable of dealing with most things! Anyway she was really glad that I'd survived! Getting out more, made C4c4t, Sele and B4rw4s; 2moro it's S4c4c in HEX with M outside and drive into NCL. Have washed all inner and outer clothes in past day with detergent in machine just to make sure virus isn't lingering. Watched Notts Co vs Sutton tonite on BT: winning penalty by former, down to 10 men, at 90+4 will have been roundly cheered by Gulls' fans!! Booked up for stream from RNS on 14/5, paying £30 + £10 donation. Supported Public Campaign for the Arts petitioning against cuts to arts subjects in HE and donated £10.61. Funds are +2k to new record on wtd, avoiding flash crash today, which hammered bubbly tech and green energy stocks. Looking forward to 2moro: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 3rd: max 8C, min 3C, moderate SW breeze, cloudy, persistent rain in afternoon: a typical early May bank holiday: move it! Opened account for 2021 Honey-buzzard on home page, adding Kenya records and setting scene for Northumberland this year, all as below. Did make HEX for some shopping, getting a new corded digital mouse from T for £7, not worth investigating too closely what's wrong with old one! Did make C4c4l where delighted to meet tmsuo!! Followed the text on the Gulls' web page as we beat Chesterfield (2-0) on their ground for the first time ever, putting us 4 points clear of Sutton who have 2 games in hand. Chesterfield were mortified at being beaten by us, saying they looked like the league leaders! Feeling fine today; keeping my contacts to a minimum for a few days; libido is returning; thinking of driving into NCL on Wed. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Out of Study Area 2021

Coast, Malindi, Kenya (6/1-26/1): Mida Creek mangroves, 1 juvenile up at moderate height 8/1; Mida Creek mangroves, 1 juvenile perched in cover 19/1.

Hinterland to Malindi, Kenya (6/1-26/1): Jilore (lake), 1 female perched on dead tree 24/1.

Tsavo East National Park, Kenya (10/1-12/1): Voi Lodge area, 3 juvenile in low-level flight, 5 juvenile high-up over Lion kill area above large raptors, 2 juvenile perched in cover 11/1; Voi Lodge area, 1 juvenile in low-level flight, 1 juvenile perched on mound 12/1.

Kenya Summary 6/1-26/1: total 15 birds; 1 female, 14 juvenile; 12 at Tsavo on safari, 2 in mangroves on coast, 1 at large inland lake; 5 perched in cover, 4 in low-level flight, 1 up at some height, 5 high-up over Lion kill above large raptors.

Northumberland field work

The pattern of fieldwork will change this year, with a concentration on filling in gaps and reinforcing findings. A few nest site visits may be done this year. It is intended to support the national Honey-buzzard survey, looking out from vantage points in the SW of the County, complementing last year's work in the S/SE. The book is under way! No Lion census work this year!

Northumberland results to date (16/4-2/5)

3 sites (1 male, 2 female: 3 total) occupied; 1 female migrant arriving from S and overshooting slightly over nest site, Ordley (Devil's Water) 16/4.

May 2nd: max 10C, min 3C, light W breeze, mostly cloudy, few sunny intervals, few light showers. Had 2 Honey-buzzard today: the early returning female at the local site was up again floating around for 4 minutes at 13:50 but she was alone so her mate is not back yet; have some stills and a clip. The other female Honey-buzzard was at the Hexham N site, beating her way W over the Tyne, as seen from the Sele at 16:03. Also had single Common Buzzard at Peth Foot (up at 13:45), Acomb S (up at 15:30 for short flight) and Beaufront W (up at 15:45 briefly). Had 18 species in Hexham itself from 14:30-16:30, including a Song Thrush, 2 Greenfinch, 4 Oystercatcher (2 pairs on roof-tops), 1 Swallow W. Have got some material to publish: will get on with it! Daughter gone down with CV, confirmed as +ve after severe fatigue yesterday, turning to fever today; elder granddaughter S is 'OK'; younger granddaughter I aged 4 is still testing -ve as is husband. Since I has been at nursery throughout, wonder whether she's already caught it on the quiet. My health dramatically improved today, fatigue and headache gone; a good sign was appetite and sleep were good throughout. Suspect I did indeed catch CV from my 6-year old granddaughter on Wednesday but the infection was mild as the antibodies and T-cells stimulated by the vaccine knocked it out quickly. My neck glands were swollen this morning, caused by lymphocyte attacking the virus, but back to normal by evening. This limited reaction is evidently quite common: vaccinated people can still catch CV but the infections tend to be mild and further transmission is much reduced. Anyone who refuses the vaccine IMHO is taking a risky approach, both for themselves and for prolonging the pandemic (and I'm a contrarian!). Did first grass-cutting of season, at front, and went for walk and coffee in Sele Park, Hexham; not feeling the cold anymore. Did check on son: he's got several quotes for c£500 for the immersion heater work and hopes to get one to start mid-week; he's also getting his CV jab 1 next week. Renewed my car insurance today: Budget had upped my renewal from £250 last May to £362 this May, using excuse of new car, so used Money Supermarket and got a quote of half that from LV, which have already accepted and have also quickly cancelled Budget's policy. It's shark-infested waters! Hoping fitness continues to improve and that daughter's bout is mild: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

One more record on BirdGuides, making total for May 1, to add to April's 12, giving spring total 13:

11:12 02/05 European Honey Buzzard Hampshire New Forest 11:03 adult flew north-east over A31

May 1st: max 7C, min 2C, light E breeze, mostly cloudy, sunny spells late-on, one light shower. Not out today. Did watch 2 streamed events: the Gulls vs Eastleigh at 15:00 and the RNS concert Spring has Sprung at 20:30 (time was my choice!). The Gulls were brilliant, winning 3-1, and overcoming a bogey side, who'd won 8 and drawn 1 of our previous 9 encounters. Manager GJ said before the game we'll have to change that and they did! So we're still top with 5 games to go but all 4 leading sides won, 3 of them also by 3-1. Concert was brilliant, gr8 2 c so many familiar faces again. The theme of spring was a good one, maybe reflecting not just the (belated) natural seasonal change but emerging from the pandemic. Birds featured well with First Cuckoo by Delius and Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams; the latter was a great party piece by former leader BC so MW had a lot riding on her performance: she rose to the challenge, absolutely superb. Thea Musgrave's Green was a fascinating piece with interesting harmonies and competing themes; good to see adventurous choices continue to be made in programme selection. Schumann 1 'Spring' came over well with plenty of life and spirited playing: I was pleasantly surprised by how dramatic it was: full of energy like unfolding spring. Was good to have MW as leader again and hope FK wlil become our regular principal flautist; we seemed to be a flute missing so she had to play extra loud! Gr8 to see some other players back: it's good for the soul!! Still possessed by fatigue with dull headache so continuing to take it easy and staying in the warm; daughter had to cancel her vaccination today as she's in quarantine! To the gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 30th: max 7C, min 1C, light NW breeze, mostly cloudy, few sunny intervals, few light showers. Perishing (continued!). April 2021 might be the coldest April in UK in modern records with dramatic effect on crops, particularly fruit; same in France where wine crop already knackered. La Niña is still dominating world weather; forecast is for a more neutral summer before La Niña reasserts itself in the autumn, giving a further pause in temperatures rising across the planet https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf. Took it easy today, feeling a little tired still; daughter and younger granddaughter have both tested negative for CV today but another girl in S's class has tested positive so whole class going on remote learning next week. With just about 30 cases daily at the moment in Kingston the school must be a significant contributor with 3 cases now in the one class of 6-year olds. S had a headache and fever overnight but is now recovering. Decided to watch concert 2moro when hopefully more alert; looking forward to this! Did have chat with N/D on Skype from 10:00-11:45; very enjoyable but how are they going to get back into sociable activities! Funds had good week on impressive turnround in big-oil's profits in Q1/2021 with gain of 17k, taking ytd to +245k (+19.8%) gross, +232k net, with ftse 100 +6.7% and ftse 250 +11.8%. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Four more records since 22/4 on BirdGuides, making total for month 12.

12:54 30/04 European Honey Buzzard Hampshire Ringwood 12:49 one flew east

12:25 29/04 European Honey Buzzard Suffolk Pipps Ford one reportedly flew east

13:13 25/04 European Honey Buzzard Dorset Wimborne Minster 11:00 possible flew north-east over Eyemead; also Western Osprey

09:03 25/04 European Honey Buzzard Northumberland Holy Island 08:50 one reported south over village [always good to see a sighting in Northumberland!]

April 29th: max 7C, min 2C, light NE breeze, mostly cloudy, few sunny intervals, heavy hail showers (Hexham Racecourse). Perishing again, grass hardly grown at all but cowslips and marsh-marigold out beautifully. Up bright and early, got Uber to pick me up at 07:00 for LHR T5 (took 55 min, cost £40 including tip) and everything, including the flight, went according to plan. Plane was about 1/3 full, such a pity for BA. That was my 7th flight this year, NCL-LHR 2, LHR-NCL 1, LHR-ADD 1, ADD-MBA 1, MBA-ADD 1, ADD-LHR 1, 3 with BA, 4 with Ethiopia Airlines. Think next time I'll use BA to Kenya as just one hop from Kenya to UK, keeping cross-border transfers simpler. At the moment of course, Kenya's red listing means there are no direct flights between the country and the UK. Made W4mshop, only £39, as buying more beer in pubs! Caught up on loads of tasks, but still to process the 2 trips in Welwyn area, which were a bit of an eye-opener, never realised there was such good habitat in the area. Bombshell in evening: elder granddaughter sent home early from school feeling ill and later, as well as a teacher there, tested +ve for CV! I was reading her a story yesterday evening but away from her home for 2 days before that. Anyway I'm at jab 2 + 7 days so close to maximum protection but think it will be wise to reduce activities for say 5 days to see if anything develops. In any case am feeling quite fatigued after the busy trip. So no NCL 2moro: so sorry!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 28th: max 12C, min 4C, light E breeze, cloudy all day but bit brighter around lunchtime, light cool showers. Another long walk, this time out to the wetlands to N of Welwyn village; good numbers of marshland birds and in brighter spells had 6 Red Kite and a Common Buzzard up, plus a potential Honey-buzzard, need to check piccies. Welwyn is a good centre for wildlife, plenty of edge-lands. Fetched lunch from M&S again, then farewell chat to son who's already got some quotes from plumbers and is also chasing up his GP over jab 1. He's back at work physically for 3 days a week from Monday – gr8 stuff! Then 14:32 301 bus from Welwyn village on bus pass to WGC, 15:25 to FPK, Victoria Line to VXH, train 16:16 to NBT, all punctual and met by daughter at station at 16:50. Gr8 to have a bath and to meet everyone again. 2moro it's up at 06:20 with Uber to LHR, flight at 09:20 to NCL. Coming SH in car but Friday will be in to NCL!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xxxx

April 27th: max 14C, min 6C, light E breeze, cloudy with brief sunny intervals, dry. Went for long walk in morning/early afternoon from Welwyn towards Welwyn Garden City from 10:55-15:00, getting masses of woodland birds, plus 11 Common Buzzard (3 Sherrardspark Wood 14:04 displaying together, 2 by side of road to W here at 12:17 and 13:36; 2 Digswell 14:27 displaying; 1 by motorway at 11:15 Welwyn S, 3 up nearby at 11:25 in display) and 3 Red Kite (displaying together 14:22 at Digswell). Total for trip was 23 bird-types including 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 2 Nuthatch, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Jay, 5 displaying Stock Dove, plus 4 Grey Squirrel. Son was WFH. We made W4m+rw4s in evening and had good chat, spending £100. Can see more the effect of the ridiculously long lockdowns on single people in terms of isolation and deprivation. He's going back to 3 days a week at the workplace next week, which is good. The Barrington Declaration which encouraged shielding by older people and discouraged large gatherings, while encouraging others to lead more normal lives, was IMHO a good way forward but was never properly discussed on MSM and by politicians. We can never lockdown again for an illness that barely registers on the annual mortality registers. Giving son £750 tomorrow for urgent plumbing repairs and new clothes! On a lighter note The Gulls remain top of the table, entering stoppage time at 1-1 home to Aldershot, having a penalty awarded and rescinded at 90+5 and heading home through Boden at 90+7: gr8 stuff!! After more time at Welwyn back to Kingston late afternoon 2moro: daughter's loss of job at VA another casualty of CV. Freelance workers have also suffered everywhere: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 26th: max 12C, min 3C, moderate E breeze, sunny all day, dry (Hatfield). Did meet big sis at Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, where we had packed lunch complete with sandwiches, scones, jam, cream, strawberry and coffee. We walked down to the lakes with star bird a Black Kite powering N over the whole length of the park (Powerfully flying from S extreme of park at 13:07, moving to N extreme rapidly and disappearing, still going N. Dark underside and shallow fork). Also had a Common Buzzard here (up several times over central area) and another brood of 6 Egyptian Goose, plus 20 Swallow in total of 29 bird-types. A Peacock butterfly was seen. Mammals comprised 14 Fallow Deer. We had very good chat and walk – lovely to meet up again; I'll be round to her house next time!! Back home to Kingston where noisy farewell amid drive to NBT for 15:50 to VXH, followed by Victoria Line to FPK and 17:01 to WGC (all for £10.45); son not there yet so went into Starbucks and met him a bit later. We got taxi to his owned flat on leasehold at Welwyn. Plumbing/heating is an issue: got 3 blocked sinks working within 60 minutes by using boiling water; now monitoring immersion heater to see what it really does in heating the water! May be conflict between timers, requiring an electrician. Think electric space heating needs updating as old storage heaters inefficient and expensive. We went to another Welly in Welwyn for supper, a nice and warm outside area with 2 heaters to keep the chill off. Had good meal with rw, sea bass for myself, cost £74, including tip. Going back tomorrow night. Flat needs ready supply of hot water to be hygienic! Not sure I'm going to get my daily bath! Whatever his WiFi works well. Funds reached another record high today on continued rise in Cu prices and more encouraging view of oil company prospects. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 25th: max 13C, min 5C, moderate E breeze, sunny all day, dry, felt cooler than yesterday. We made Boaters by the Thames in Kingston, and the surrounding park, from 11:45-14:30. Had gr8 lunch at the Boaters, having roast pork for a change; it was not warm, the pub area, beautifully set by the Thames, is well covered by trees which kept the sun off. But we managed well and went for a stroll afterwards to a coffee shop in the park (Canbury Gardens), which was warmer in direct sunshine. Bird count for Kingston upon Thames NW was good: 18 types at least, including 9 Egyptian Goose (3 pairs, 1 with 3 smallish young, as found in Kenya where it is the naturally occurring commonest goose!), 4 Mandarin, 6 Ring-necked Parakeet, 4 Coot, 15 Canada Goose, 2 Tufted Duck, 6 Mute Swan, 1 Great Crested Grebe. First 4 species are new for the year, bringing my running annual total for ytd to 99 in UK (later 100 as Alexandra Park records added, including Reed Bunting, very scarce in SW Northumberland). World total in ytd is 269, including Kenya's 179. Sat in garden chatting for much of afternoon in strong sunshine. Made arrangements for 2moro with big sis and son – good social visit all-round!! Son-in-law was very interested in how my shares are doing: told him I was into commodity shares and not doing so badly which was well received. Missing the fancied ones: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 24th: max 15C, min 5C, moderate E breeze, sunny all day, dry. S had gymnastics class in morning and maths in afternoon. While she was at the gym we went to Alexandra Park from 10:30-111:30, a park with a fascinating nature slant, including a pond. We had a good walk there and did find 2 Moorhen, 4 Reed Bunting, a Mallard, a singing Blackcap, 4 Ring-necked Parakeet, in total of 10 bird-types, plus 2 Comma butterflies. Had a Green Woodpecker yaffling in Richmond Park ( W edge), heard from daughter's garden from 14:30-16:30, along with 12 Ring-necked Parakeet, in total of 11 types. Butterflies comprised a Holly Blue and 2 Orange-tip (male, female). Mammals comprised 4 Grey Squirrel and a Red Fox (latter at dusk). We had a BBQ in evening -- steak, chicken, maize, pepper – very tasty. Did watch Toon's marvellous late equaliser at Liverpool (90+5) and the Gulls' even later equaliser home to Notts Co, from 2-0 down at 90+8. Lovely to see Liverpool's sense of entitlement shattered! Here for one more day with lunch at Boaters in Kingston tomorrow – all action!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 23rd: max 16C, min 6C, light E breeze, sunny all day, dry (Richmond). Boarded 11:25 NCL-LHR and very smooth flight with great views to W (certainly Anglesey, possibly Ireland) and to E to east coast. Plane was ½ full so no signs the flights will be increased above current 5 a week, compared to c20 pre-pandemic. Met by daughter and younger granddaughter at T5, short stay carpark, so very convenient trip. Gr8 to meet all the family again, including also S elder granddaughter now at Holy Cross School and M gas trader, not forgetting Snowy the white Persian cat and Leo the beige wee poodle. Added easily Ring-necked Parakeet to my year list and a Fox balancing on their wall marking the boundary with Richmond Park was a bonus (for me!). Funds recovered most of losses at start of week, finishing -3k on week by end. I starts at same private school as S in September; may contribute a little more. So all's well: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 22nd: max 12C, min -1C, light W breeze, sunny all day, dry. Caught up with bird records; thinking of using a more interactive package for butterfly records than MapMate. Maybe iRecord Butterflies app which you can use in the field on a smart phone with GPS being used for localities: worth a try I think. Only caution is that in moorland areas there is sometimes no Internet signal so would need a grid reference facility as well for more passive use. Did have jab 2 at Sele Practice at 11:50, no queues or crowding this time, waited 2 min, then in and out 10 min later. Cautioned on jab 2 having more side effects than jab 1 but no reaction yet. Then sat outside C4c4el in the sunshine b4 making Dyv4g4l; P brought along R as well (from G crowd) and we had a very good catch-up. So gr8 to have social life restored, including particularly yesterday!! Short break coming up: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

One more record today on BirdGuides, from Scotland:

22/04 18:28 Lothian : European Honey Buzzard, Torness Power Station one reportedly flew north (17:35) [R]

April 21st: max 9C, min -1C, light NE cool breeze, sunny all day, thought I heard a shower in the nite, might have dreamt it! On Quayside had a male Peregrine Falcon flying from central Newcastle over the Tyne, to E of Baltic, going out to hunt. In total of 9 bird-types also had 450 Kittiwake adult on nest sites, 90 Feral Pigeon, 38 Herring Gull (30 ad, 3 2s, 5 1s), 6 LBBG ad, 1 GBBG 1s, 2 Crow, 2 Magpie, 2 Woodpigeon. In Hexham had 2 Swallow near High School and a Blackcap singing at the train station. From train had 2 Oystercatcher and a Goosander drake at Hexham E, 8 Tufted Duck and 2 Mute Swan adult at Merryshields GP, a Mute Swan adult at Ovingham, 10 Goosander drake at Wylam E. Have completed Jordan 2015, roll on Israel 2021!! Next up are 3 of the days in the South Africa trip of 2018 which have still to fully analyse, all the rest are done. Train in/out was busier than recently but then they're only running one an hour now compared to 3 before CV. Amazingly met a Torquay supporter in toon, we must have recognised a kindred spirit, had good chat, he was actually born in Plymouth but now lives in Chester-le-Street; he also supports Argyle – incredible that we got chatting! So what are the characteristics of a Devon man: unkempt, cocky, weather-worn, no accent!! They did a survey once and found that Devonians spend more time outdoors than people from any other part of the UK. Anyway my resolution to come a bit earlier was spoilt, will do better next Friday week!! Earlier coffee in M's garden went very well; his partner B came around; she's recovering from pneumonia (definitely not CV). 2moro it's chat on Skype with N/D at 10 and jab 2 at Sele Practice at 11:50 b4 Dyv4g4l with P to recuperate! Was gr8 to be back: she's so lovely and gorgeous: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

One more record today on BirdGuides:

21/04 10:37 Kent : European Honey Buzzard, Elmley NNR one reported west over access road (10:06) [R]

April 20th: max 12C, min -1C, light and variable winds, dry, cloudy midday, otherwise bright. Almost completed Mukawir, with just a couple of butterfly id to attempt, then Jordan 2015 is done! Catch-up on shopping today: 2 pairs of trousers and a shirt at M&S £64, car wash by the gang at T £10, Peggs4rw&times £9 with N4c4l, sitting outside, as treat; met T ex-Rotary outside and had good chat with him; has to be C next time with the delights of tmsuo!! Watched the Gulls play Woking in the evening on the livestream from Surrey; we won 2-0 keeping us in title race; they gifted us 2 opportunities early-on which we took and then we just played the game out; suspect we were not at full strength, resting a few players, as Woking's form has been terrible lately but the manager never discusses who's available to keep our rivals guessing! Markets had the real frighteners today with the ftse 100 down over 2% as the CV in India seems out of control; the infection numbers from there are c1/3 of the entire world's on a daily basis but of course it has a population of 1.39 billion. Numbers in the US states are stable or slowly declining. In western Europe only France's figures give cause for concern; in eastern Europe Turkey has high numbers of cases. Own funds fell 13k on wtd so significant correction but confident in situation in the summer. 2moro it's M's4c4c then HEX-NCL 12:16. Looking forward to the big city and seeing how it's recovering with end of lockdown! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 19th: max 16C, min 4C, light and variable winds, dry, bright sunshine nearly all day, feeling warm. Made Staward from 13:05-16:05, walking down to the Pele where had late lunch. Gr8 to be out in the sunshine with the bonus of another Honey-buzzard, a male floating over mixed wood/pasture at Staward S at 13:43, rather like the female near the Devil's Water on 17/4; such low-level reconnaissance of the breeding territory is also rather akin to an inspection, seeing how things have shaped up since last season. It was the day of the Kestrel, with single males displaying at Stublick Chimneys, Langley, Staward S, and a female near the road at Yellow Rigg, making total of 4 birds. Also had single Common Buzzard at Staward S and Staward N. A pair of Raven were prospecting at Staward N. Also had 6 Curlew, 2 Lapwing, 2 Swallow N, 7 Stock Dove, 23 Common Gull (11 ad, 2 2s, 10 1s), 15 Black-headed Gull adult, 1 Herring Gull 1s, 2 Meadow Pipit, 1 Jay. Total was 21 bird-types at Stublick. Did have hair trimmed at JG by Jd, feel better for that, cost £25 including £5.50 tip; she's good with the chat! She did say that some people, mainly men presumably, are now cutting their own with clippers; think the resulting ultra-short hair matches the rise of the puritans taking advantage of CV; before WW1 men often did wear their hair longer than now but having your hair long in that war meant that you were not conscripted. After cut made C4c4c sitting outside where tmsuo looked good!! Did make B4rw4s sitting outside, a bit cool, but lovely to be out (under the heater!). So some resurgence of social activity – about time too! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Two more records today on BirdGuides, including another from Guernsey:

19/04 13:31 Guernsey : European Honey Buzzard, Les Grand Pre one flew north harried by 2 Common Buzzards [WP]

19/04 10:03 Cornwall : European Honey Buzzard, Downderry one reported yesterday [R]

Earlier there was a misidentification, later corrected:

18/04 19:01 Devon : European Honey Buzzard, Aveton Gifford pale morph reported flying north (also reported over Soar at 14:15) (14:30) [R]. 18/04 21:44 Devon : European Honey Buzzard, Aveton Gifford reported pale morph over here and Soar reidentified as a Western Marsh Harrier from photographs [X] [Marsh Harrier is a definite id pitfall, more so than Common Buzzard IMHO]

April 18th: max 12C, min 1C, frost-free, light and variable winds, dry; no 'patio-work' today; big hatch of moths tonite but not capturing and releasing them at present as focused on projects in hand! Have added Honey-buzzard records from 1994-1995 to BirdTrack and added tables for the results for these years, as well as 1993, in same format as in 2020 to the Honey-buzzard in Northumberland population page at http://nickrossiter.org.uk/hbweb/northumberlandhb.htm. Next up is 1996, leaving 1997-2005 to do. Progressed Jordan results by completing Ajloun Forest return (20/7) and adding videos (Bonelli's Eagle family party, Streaked Scrub Warbler, panoramic view to W, including Dead Sea) from Mukawir (21/7) to vimeo collection. Next up is historical remains at this Salome site, leaving the wildlife to be compiled. Did make C4c4t 4TA to Sele and vigorous walk around the park and up Elvaston Drive where leave car to increase exercise! 2moro it's hair-cut at JG at 11:15 with Jd, C4c4l and trip out to the Allen for a walk, looking for raptors. Caught up with the Dittes/Sousa post-concert chat from Friday: interesting times! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 17th: max 12C, min -1C, frost early-on, light SE breeze, dry, 1 hour in shorts on patio this lunchtime. The newly arrived female is still around; at 13:20 she was circling low-down over pasture c1km to SE of nest site, occasionally dropping to ground, feeding much like Red Kite in the Chilterns, maybe scooping a worm or a grub from the grass; she was mobbed by a Crow once. Also had a pair of Red Kite displaying over Peth Foot, a male Sparrowhawk displaying over Juniper, 2 Curlew displaying, a Swallow flying around, an LBBG adult calling as it flew NE. Completed 25/7 Amman from Jordan trip, leaving just Mukawir (21/07/2015) and a final check to do. Added 1994 Honey-buzzard records to BirdTrack; had added 1993 the start of it all earlier so will press on with 1995 tomorrow. I have all English records added from 2006 and all Scottish from 2000 so would be good to get everything loaded for deriving material for the book. Have all the older records in computer files except possibly for 1999, which wlil be in paper form or in notebook. There were far fewer records then each year as the colonisation was just starting up until 2001. Enjoyed RNS concert with theme Dawn and Dusk at S, as streamed from last night's recording. Good to see the orchestra back on stage. Loved Prokofiev 1, such a light touch and marvellous motifs, brought out well by new conductor DS; the Berlioz Les nuits d’été was not nearly as cheerful as expected with very dark middle movements; it was beautifully sung by Sarah Connolly, mezzo soprano; Lili Boulanger's D’un Matin du Printemps was poignant -- what a pity she died aged only 24; Haydn 6 was very well played! Impressed by flautist FK and leader for the evening MW. Let's hope we have real audiences soon. Might make NCL Wednesday lunchtime! Have 2nd CV jab scheduled for 11:50 next Thursday, immediately after Skype chat with N/D and not long before wee trip! Funds had a good week at +10k on increasing hopes of rapid recovery from CV boosting all commodity prices, which are basis for most of my investments, betting on oil staying around a lot longer than many people expect and on EVs making inroads but pushing up metal prices, giving a brake (sorry!) on their progress. On ytd it's now +230k gross (+18.7%), +218k net, with ftse 100 +7.5% and ftse 250 +12.0%. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 16th: max 11C, min -1C, frost early-on, light S breeze, dry; 1 hour in shorts on patio this morning. Darling: I'm home!! At 14:10 while having lunch on the patio looked up into the sky, not sure why (maybe she'd called!), and there was the returning female Honey-buzzard circling high-up right over my house just below the cumulus cloud cover, having covered 7400km from west Africa in maybe 6 weeks. She hung for a while, peering down at constant height, and then glided deliberately to the S, losing height quickly, back to the Devil's Water, where she went into cover. This is my 19th April record for Honey-buzzard since 2006 when started recording for BirdTrack. But this is the earliest date so far, one day earlier than 17/04/08 when a female was at Farnley (Corbridge). Birds have been recorded on 21/04 three times: 2011 Farnley female, 2014 Ordley female, 2015 Bywell female. So for the local site this is the earliest by 5 days. Note the 5 earliest birds anywhere have all been female though in general I normally consider the males get back first (needs checking!). I suspect she'd been flying at height, just below the clouds and maybe had overshot a little. Think her feelings on seeing me again were mixed: the eyesight of Honey-buzzard is phenomenal with ability to pick up wasps in the gloom at long range. On cue a queen wasp started foraging on a few dandelion flowers. But Honey-buzzard cannot exist on them in April/May as there are so few around: some people actually think they eat hymenoptera now but that would be an insane policy as each wasp now is potentially hundreds or thousands later on. They eat grubs, slugs, frogs, bird eggs, young birds and young rodents in spring. Earlier at 13:30 had checked the Devil's Water area, picking up 3 Common Buzzard and 2 Red Kite over Dukesfield and a Common Buzzard perched on the top of a tall tree over the Devil's Water. This last bird remained perched even while the Honey-buzzard descended into the burn, presumably weary acceptance: the b.stards are back!! Had been asked by P to go to Dyv4l again but declined as going out in evening and I'm not really that keen on lunchtime drinking as you don't get much done later in the day. In shorts made C4c4t 4TA which took to Sele; amazed at 16:30 to have an Osprey drifting N at moderate height, so a good day for raptors: 4 Common Buzzard, 2 Red Kite, 1 Honey-buzzard, 1 Osprey. Very pleased to meet tmsuo again!! As temperatures plummeted made W4g4s with D/D: gr8 chat, marvellous to see them again but we were frozen after over 2 hours out in the open! Much earlier had lively Skype chat with N/D: not sure how they are going to re-enter the more general social world again – a problem for many older people I feel. Haven't seen S concert and sequel yet, a treat for 2moro!! Sank quickly into hot bath to dream of the world: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Funds +10k on week, more 2moro on this and Amman!

April 15th: max 11C, min -1C, frost early-on, light E breeze, dry, airstream definitely warming; 40 min in shorts on patio this morning. Did meet P at D4m4l; it wasn't warm but I'm probably more used to sitting outside than some and we had a couple of hours catch-up, which was gr8 for both of us! Incidentally another Corbridge pub The Angel was in the DT this morning for refusing to serve a 78-year old recently widowed man because he didn't have a smart phone to order via the app. The Dyvels was very relaxed and while I did sign in through the NHS app P just left his name and phone number on a piece of paper and we were served with a smile at the table outside; they've really gone to town on constructing an outside covered area but we were on the grass. Followed that with a trip to Prudhoe Dukeshagg to look for kite (even Black!) from 15:10-16:55 but didn't see any; did have 4 Common Buzzard at 2 sites (one up at 15:12 to SE, 2 up over Dukeshagg at 15:16, 1 low-down to E at 15:58) and 2 Kestrel at 2 sites (adult male up several times hunting from 'kite' wood, one hunting in distance to SW). Also had 6 Herring Gull (3 ad, 3 2s), 1 Curlew, 1 Siskin, in total of 16 bird-types. Butterflies comprised 3 Peacock, 2 Small Tortoiseshell. A Jay was at Lamb Shield. At Corbridge had an Orange -tip male, a queen wasp and a Small Tortoiseshell. S was at home making the place sparkle!! Did complete processing Petra-Amman and Amman 24/7, leaving 25/7 and 21/7 to do. 2moro it's Skype with N/D in morning and W4g4s with D/D in evening: delighted to be back in social intercourse again!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 14th: max 10C, min -1C, frost early-on, wind light and variable, dry; airstream not so strikingly polar with shift in wind; as write (00:30 15/4), gas is contributing 60% of our electric power supplies and nuclear 20% with 'renewables' just about disabled by the weather and time of day! Would personally like nuclear, with its high energy density and reliability, to be at least 40%; we should be moving towards that! Had 2 pairs of displaying Common buzzard today at Juniper and Dukesfield with one bird at the top of a tree at Peth Foot yesterday, suggesting that incubation is under way. Completed the nature at Petra so 23/7 all done; next up is drive to Amman and Amman itself on 24/7-25/7, which should do tomorrow, leaving Mukawir 21/7 as only trip to sort. Appropriately enough watched Exodus on Film4 tonite: film was banned by the Egyptians, can't see why! Had gr8 catch-up with M at S4c4c in their coolish courtyard; afterwards had a male Blackcap singing near the Wentworth CP, first for year, and a queen wasp; meeting P at Dyvels, Corbridge, 2moro for lunch and of course it's W4g4s on Friday with D/D. PoO rose 5% today to $66.32 a barrel of Brent on fall in US stocks of crude oil and products and better outlook forecast, sending own funds to record level, exceeding that reached a month ago; many oil shares have come back 10-40% since so plenty of scope for further rises. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Two more records today on BirdGuides so they are beginning to arrive:

14/04 10:08 Guernsey : European Honey Buzzard, Les Martins one flew east over Rue Sauvage mobbed by Raven [WP]

14/04 18:18 Pembrokeshire : European Honey Buzzard, Martin's Haven pale morph flew north over Renny Slip (18:15) [maybe an Irish bird]

April 13th: max 8C, min -1C, frost early-on, wind light NW, a light shower in afternoon, hazy sunshine in morning. Not so good for a tan today with less-strong sunshine but did make 30 min in the patio. Did a lot of work on Petra piccies, processing completely 61 images of the historical remains! Next up is the wildlife found there, fairly limited! Not out until 21:00 after the Gulls' latest blinder, going to B4rw4s where just 8 people out in the cool; they closed at 21:30 so limited celebration of Sutton vs Gulls, watched on livestream from Croydon. Gulls scored late (as usual!) in 81st minute, winning 1-0 but only after a late free-kick scare in 96th minute when from a good position, the Sutton player blasted over. So with around 9 games to go (out of 42) anyone of Hartlepool (64 points), Sutton (63) and Torquay (63) can win the title and automatic promotion, with Stockport (58) on an outside chance. Funds are +2k on wtd; detect better feeling in the oil commodity market, not reflected in shares with India, Brazil and Turkey the CV problems at the moment. Nanny has returned in some kinda caretaker role: fascinating!! 2moro am meeting M at Salute in Back Street 4c4c and big catch-up; they have a big courtyard. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 12th: max 8C, min -1C, frost early-on on car, wind light NW, dry. Had an hour's sunbathing on patio in shorts, refreshing my tan, sun is getting more powerful as not much more than 2 months from solstice but of course airstream is polar. For Jordan, completed days 1 (Madaba early Christian churches, Mount Nebo from where Moses saw the promised land), 2 (Jarash Roman remains site, Ajloun wooded nature reserve), 4 (2 spectacular Wadi – Mujib, Dana, Karak Castle crusades) with 3 to go: 3 Mukawir overlooking the Dead Sea (where Salome danced for King Herod and John the Baptist was beheaded (Richard Strauss's opera!)), 5 Petra (remains from the Nabataean Arabs (one of the 7 new wonders of the world)), 6-7 (Petra-Amman, Amman city and amphitheatre). Next up is 5 – Petra. No pubs today; did make C4c4t and sat outside b4 walk in Sele; might make N 2moro! Gather W was heaving today so just as well booked for Friday, may check TR 2moro! Had long chat with big sis on phone (60 min); she's going to come round to Richmond Park for catch-up when I'm down directly! Also attended Rotary AGM which lasted 15 min – everything nodded through! So there you go … xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 11th: max 6C, min -2C, frost early-on with a little snow still lying from the previous evening, wind N light, sunny spells. Did manage 30 min sitting out in shorts on the patio but a few bigger clouds soon put paid to that with temperature plummeting as sun obscured! Made N4c4t 4TA to Sele; they're planning to put a few tables out tomorrow. Main activities were the worthy project Jordan and the Mediaeval Global Warming (MGW) period – did it exist or not? Made great progress on former, virtually completing 3 days out of the 5 with Karak Castle of Crusader fame being indexed and a string of id of birds and butterflies made/confirmed. It was far warmer there than in Kenya, up to 40C but it was a dry heat; not many tourists go there then as its too hot but we survived, with plentiful drink supplies. A popular ruse in a Jordan hotel is to serve coffee/tea on the ground floor and alcohol on the roof, so the locals do not see what's going on. Sad to see the distressed plight of the country; they have taken in vast numbers of Syrian refugees and when we were there the internal war in Syria was in full flow. MGW is another fight to the death: the climate change people cannot afford to admit it as it raises other possibilities for climate change than man-made carbon-burning; the doubters think it's a strong card as it introduces other ways in which temperatures could rise. So I've looked at plenty of evidence from both sides and am still weighing it up! After 40 years in the profession of modelling real-world systems with database and systems analysis techniques, I'm well aware of the emotional attachment that people develop for their models, which become almost like their pets (pet theories!). We used prototyping in computing to shake people out of unrealistic assumptions at an early stage. The real danger is when the models become entrenched with too much to lose in a rethink. A clear motivation in my research of using category theory to represent real-world systems was to escape into a richer world. from that limited by modelling:

The Austrian/American mathematician Kurt Gödel sums up models in his incompleteness theorems -- two theorems of mathematical logic -- that demonstrate the inherent limitations of every formal axiomatic system capable of modelling basic arithmetic. These results, published in 1931, are important both in mathematical logic and in the philosophy of mathematics [Wiki]. The first incompleteness theorem states that in any consistent formal system within which a certain amount of arithmetic can be carried out, there are statements of the language of F which can neither be proved nor disproved in F.. According to the second incompleteness theorem, such a formal system cannot prove that the system itself is consistent (assuming it is indeed consistent) https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/goedel-incompleteness/. Gödel was at the University of Vienna in the 1930s; he was not Jewish but had many Jewish friends and left in 1939 for Princeton University, where he became close friends with Einstein.

So beware of modelling, particularly when told it's infallible as in the Covid debacle. Category theory extends real-world representations over three levels, providing the necessary metadata and meta-metadata to make a system complete. Anyway enough of that!! First record today on BirdGuides:

11/04 18:12 North Yorkshire : European Honey Buzzard, Copmanthorpe one reportedly flew north (17:35) [R]

Very early but there are lots of Hobby in southern England. Will start watching my local site, which always sees an early return. Wonder if I'll have a drink outside tomorrow!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 10th: max 6C, min -2C, light NW breeze, sat out in morning in corner of patio in shorts, sunbathing for an hour; snow flurries from 16:30-19:30 giving a little accumulation: that's April for you! Watched the Gulls play Weymouth in the afternoon: they certainly make their supporters sweat, coming back from 0-1 at interval to win 2-1 with another late goal in 85th minute. Hartlepool are top but they've played 3 more games than us; we (3rd) visit 2nd placed Sutton on Tuesday nite! I think the reason we score so many late goals is that we raise the tempo around the 80th minute, passing the ball faster and physically moving around more quickly, against generally tiring opposition. Did make Peggs 4 rw, papers, snacks, spending £13.51, including FT. This last paper was pessimistic on outlook for stocks – too high already, everything priced in – and had noteworthy articles on severe frosts in the last few days destroying a lot of the French wine industry and on Jordan's dire economy, affected by collapse of tourism. Many developing countries, dependant on tourism, are going to be in similar straits, such as Kenya and Thailand. Continued work on Jordan 2015, adding from 20/7 our visit to the Ajloun Forest Reserve, where had faint hopes of Crested Honey-buzzard, not realised! Have sorted W with D/D for 20:00-22:00 next Friday; really looking forward to that; fortunately RNS stream can be watched over the weekend. Hair cut is booked with Jd for Monday morning 19/4; she phoned me up!! So hope all is gr8 with the gorgeous ones: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 9th: max 6C, min -1C, a cold day but quite sunny so felt better, wind light to moderate W, a few snow flakes. Carrying on with the climate modelling, another very recent paper is causing a stir: National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. "New study ties solar variability to the onset of decadal La Niña events." ScienceDaily. 5 April 2021. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210405075853.htm. You might think that climate models would cover the sun's power but in fact it gets little attention because it's rated as a constant. The paper's findings:

A new study shows a correlation between the end of solar cycles and a switch from El Niño to La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean, suggesting that solar variability can drive seasonal weather variability on Earth. The 22-year cycle begins when oppositely charged magnetic bands that wrap the Sun appear near the star's polar latitudes, according to their recent studies. Over the cycle, these bands migrate toward the equator -- causing sunspots to appear as they travel across the mid-latitudes. The cycle ends when the bands meet in the middle, mutually annihilating one another in what the research team calls a terminator event. These terminators provide precise guideposts for the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next.

The researchers imposed these terminator events over sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific stretching back to 1960. They found that the five terminator events that occurred between that time and 2010-11 all coincided with a flip from an El Niño (when sea surface temperatures are warmer than average) to a La Niña (when the sea surface temperatures are cooler than average). The end of the most recent solar cycle -- which is unfolding now -- is also coinciding with the beginning of a La Niña event.

"We are not the first scientists to study how solar variability may drive changes to the Earth system," Leamon said. "But we are the first to apply the 22-year solar clock. The result -- five consecutive terminators lining up with a switch in the El Nino oscillation -- is not likely to be a coincidence." In fact, the researchers did a number of statistical analyses to determine the likelihood that the correlation was just a fluke. They found there was only a 1 in 5,000 chance or less (depending on the statistical test) that all five terminator events included in the study would randomly coincide with the flip in ocean temperatures. Now that a sixth terminator event -- and the corresponding start of a new solar cycle in 2020 -- has also coincided with an La Niña event, the chance of a random occurrence is even more remote, the authors said.

The paper does not delve into what physical connection between the Sun and Earth could be responsible for the correlation, but the authors note that there are several possibilities that warrant further study, including the influence of the Sun's magnetic field on the amount of cosmic rays that escape into the solar system and ultimately bombard Earth. However, a robust physical link between cosmic rays variations and climate has yet to be determined.

Peer-reviewed citation for the study: Robert J. Leamon, Scott W. McIntosh, Daniel R. Marsh. Termination of Solar Cycles and Correlated Tropospheric Variability. Earth and Space Science, 2021; 8 (4) DOI:10.1029/2020EA001223

Comments by NR: the climate models do not explain El Niño/La Niña transitions, arguing that it's just a cycle which does not affect the long-term trends. However I would have more confidence in the coverage of the models if they could explain what is going on. Now it appears that the sun cycles, as ignored by the climate modellers, can explain such transitions with La Niña starting up after a sunspot terminator event. So there appears to be a physical connection between the sun and the earth, which is still to be discovered, that enables the sun to 'control' the El Niño/La Niña transitions. Cosmic rays are one potential source of energy and warrant further research. Incidentally you may wonder why the transitions have Spanish names: they were given by Pacific fishermen off the coast of South America, whose expeditions were dramatically affected by whether the sea currents were cold or warm.

Had good chat with N/D from 10:00 for 100 min this morning, made W4bigshop £56 and Sele4c4t with TA again from B £4. Streamed live performance of The Seven Deadly Sins / Mahagonny Songspiel by Kurt Weill from ROH; son thought it was brilliant and so did I! Cost £10 + 20 donation. In preparation for next trip to Middle East indexing piccies from Jordan visit in July 2015 on NB 2015; got some marvellous piccies of old Christian churches, their mosaics and archaeological Roman remains at Madaba, Jarash, Mount Nebo, sorted with Petra (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade!), Mukawir, Karak and Amman to come. Went with son and a friend of his, Sean, who knew the country well and acted as guide. I'd already put up the birds of prey but would be a great pity to lose the other material. Funds had a snakes and ladders week, ending up slightly positive at +6k on week and +221k (+17.9%) on ytd (gross) with net at +208k. Ftse 100 is +5.9% ytd and ftse 250 +10.6%. There's still a lot of pessimism about, concerning CV, vaccination rates and re-opening, which is giving poor sentiment at the moment, though most people do expect things to be better by the summer. It's a bit of a trader's market! D/D want to go the W next Friday night and so do I! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 8th: max 8C, min 1C, moderate W breeze, occasional rain, very little sunshine, feeling cold. Very interesting global climate results for March 2021:

UAH Global Temperature Update for March 2021: -0.01 deg. C [temperature anomaly (change) from average 1991-2020, so negative]. https://www.drroyspencer.com/2021/04/uah-global-temperature-update-for-march-2021-0-01-deg-c/?mc_cid=ae7ffba38b&mc_eid=cb6f58eb35

Comments by climate scientists: Right on time, the maximum impact from the current La Niña is finally being felt on global tropospheric [surface] temperatures. The global average oceanic tropospheric temperature anomaly is -0.07 deg. C, the lowest since November 2013. The tropical (20N-20S) departure from average (-0.29 deg. C) is the coolest since June of 2012. Australia is the coolest (-0.79 deg. C) since August 2014. That is a big drop. Using the 1981-2010 baseline this is equivalent to a +0.11C anomaly. Will it go lower? Also consider the Nino 1-2 area has seen a significant cooling over the past couple of weeks. This could be a sign we are going to see La Niña conditions throughout 2021 and into 2022. That would mean more upwelling cold water and a continued drop in SSTs. I expect much of the warming of the previous 6 years will now be lost. It now appears it was all ENSO driven. What happens next will likely depend on what happens with the PDO and AMO. If the main ocean oscillations go negative then the Monckton pause is likely to extend longer and longer.

Notes by NR: El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) exerts a warming effect on global temperatures, La Niña exerts a cooling effect on global temperatures. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) are climate cycles that meteorologists say allow them to measure the sea surface temperature based on decades-long timescales. The AMO phenomenon was discovered in the 1980s and the PDO around the 1990s. SST is the sea surface temperature.

[Monckton pause]: Christopher Monckton (January 2021): "At long last, following the warming effect of the El Niño of 2016, there are signs of a reasonably significant La Niña, which may well usher in another Pause in global temperature, which may even prove similar to the Great Pause that endured for 224 months from January 1997 to August 2015, during which a third of our entire industrial-era influence on global temperature drove a zero trend in global warming. ... As we come close to entering the la Niña, the trend in global mean surface temperature has already been zero for 5 years 4 months. https://www.climatedepot.com/2021/01/15/a-new-temperature-pause-zero-global-warming-for-5-years-4-months/

Comments by NR: not the sort of news the climate modellers were expecting – another significant pause in global temperature rises, meaning that temperatures are only 0.3C above their 1998 level (+0.13 C per decade, less if the pause continues as expected). How long it will take for the gentle pace of temperature rise to filter through to the MSM, ESG and politicians remains to be seen. Many have invested far too much capital in the 'emergency' theory so don't expect any quick changes. During the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (warming phase) the propaganda was endless; we don't hear so much during the La Niña (cooling phase), which could be embarrassing for COP 26, the next UN climate meeting to be held in Glasgow in November 2021 when La Niña may still be in full flow. They might even postpone COP 26! I agree with the phase-out of coal as it's a very polluting fuel but oil and gas are one of the main contributors to our increased prosperity in the last 100 years and we should phase them out globally over a similar timescale to preserve the well-being of everyone on the planet.

The RNS Zoom meeting yesterday with principal partners was very interesting. Dinis Sousa our new main conductor came over very well and the meeting went on for 65 min in the enthusiasm. He did say that Baroque (JS Bach in particular) was his favourite music but I did press him at the end on the spirited Shostakovitch quintet he had performed with RNS members and he did profess to a strong interest in modern music (real modern music, Shostakovitch is classical now!). Thorben looked happy at that – Arts Council money! Tonight attended Zoom presentation by our county N&TBC Bird Club; that was a talk on how our records are used by the BTO for research purposes. Talk was well given by BTO's Associate Director for Research, Rob Robinson, and included detailed discussion of the plight of Greenfinch and Curlew. Increased my monthly sub to the Salvation Army from £20 to £25 (there but for the grace of God go I!) and started a new monthly payment to Northumberland Wildlife Trust (NWT) for £40; they hold a large number of nature reserves in the county; I've been a member for 40 years but feel can help a bit more now. Did make Sele4c4ll with TA again from B; getting in with them b4 they open again next week with tables outside – scheming! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 7th: a cool day but much less Arctic than Monday/Tuesday (5th/6th), max 4C, min -3C, windchill -1C at 22:00 in warming trend through evening, cloudy, dry, wind light to moderate WNW. Went to Sele in morning after B4c4c TA, with nice carrot cake and good coffee; they're opening their pavement area next week but are still doing TA. With cleaning due by S, went to Derwent Reservoir Ruffside/Winnowshill in afternoon from 15:05-16:45; star bird was 1st Swallow of the year, in the company of 7 Sand Martin, feeding over the water. Also had a Hen Harrier sky-dancing and 3 Common Buzzard with loads more to report! Nite air was very soothing: very exciting!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 6th: another day of high wind chill and, with less sun, feeling more Arctic than yesterday; max 2C, min -3C, windchill min -7C at 23:00, fairly frequent hail showers, one heavy enough to cover the ground and roof-lights, wind NW moderate. So good thing had plenty of bird-food – grain, crushed peanuts, whole peanuts. New phone, the Galaxy, arrived a day early through DPD; put SIM from old phone into new one and used Smart Switch to transfer data (contacts, conversations, other app data) from old phone to new one, placing them side by side and having Smart Switch software active on each. Had several updates, some large, to the software base of Samsung and Google, but all went well and after about 80 min had the new phone in complete working order on PAYG, including messaging and calls, 4G data if turn off WiFi and retaining old number. It's about twice the size of the old phone physically with reputedly a good camera and plenty of memory so can hold loads of apps. The old phone was full app-wise. So looks like a good move particularly with all the apps coming out to control our lives!! Not out today, too cold to be hanging around! Funds are level pegging on 1st 2 days of week, though only North American markets were open on Monday; still adjusting flows from oil to metals. So xxxxx XXX to the gorgeous ones!!!!!

April 5th: moderate NW breeze from Arctic, max 4C, min -3C but windchill at dawn tomorrow (6/4) is -10C, dry except for a few snow flurries, one of which settled at dawn (5/4). Windchill could be damaging!! Had lunch on patio, sheltered from wind and in full sun, bare arms, very nice! Did make Sele4walk later on – it was perishing! Watched the Gulls (3rd) have a massive 1-0 victory away to Wrexham (4th); our winner like so many this season came late at 90+3; the Wrexham commentators on the livestream had switched off and were rambling on (oh dear it's gone in!), wonder if their team had also lost concentration, thinking it was petering out for a draw while the Gulls had brought 6 players up into their penalty area for a long throw. Anyway we're still in with a chance of the title! Our new Sunderland star Benji was injured on 29 min and substituted. Looking forward to next Monday (12/4), wonder if nearest pub TR will be open, nothing on website; W in RM will be open as will Dy in CRB and B in HEX but no G in HEX and CNT looks doubtful! Might even get a haircut directly! Trip plans are Israel (raptor watching and coast) in September, US (Boise, Idaho, raptor conference, Rocky Mountains again) in October, Kenya (highlands and coast) in January but not a single booking or even an enquiry made yet. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 4th: back to that effing wind again, moderate cool W breeze, max 8C, min -3C, frost on car early-on, dry, sunny until ttime. Not too busy today. Did add to BirdTrack my records from last Thursday on Quayside and yesterday on Whitfield Moor; here's some piccies of the moorland from yesterday 1  2  3  4; it's on a grander scale to the 'Shire, bit more like Scotland! The smoke on the W side is the heather burning done each spring to remove old heather, replacing it eventually with young shoots, which the grouse like to eat. Had gr8 chat for an hour with 'kids' and grandkids: here's screenshot 1 of the 5 of us, son looks a bit like a gangster in the shadows, granddaughters don't like to be left out! Have booked up with BA for flights in late April 6 days apart, cost £186.01 return, a bit more than train but quicker to SW London and the air-service needs supporting; am staying with daughter mainly but will visit son for 2 days in middle, may end up as plumbing advisor/paymaster on electric boiler problems! Son started back in the office last week for 2 days a week in deference to single workers. Granddaughter S is going to start learning the violin at her school in September – gr8 stuff!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 3rd: beautiful sunny day though definite light polar airstream from N, dry, Haltwhistle 12C max (2C more than in 'Shire), 0C min. Great walk today from 13:05-16:35 out on W side of Whitfield Moor, parking at Eals Bridge and walking up track to shooting hut on Snope Common, over ½ way to Whitfield Lough. That's up to 370m asl from 70m asl at Eals in walk of 6km in all. The Lough is at 490m asl, about 2km further on, so did about 60% of that hike; the last bit is off track on open moor so is more of a challenge. But it's a good start in getting fully fit. For first time in a while had a proper picnic at highest point reached – always tastes good outside. Met 2 gamekeepers, both very cheery! Best of the birds was a Wheatear, first of the season, a female, with a Greyhen (female Black Grouse, flushed from side of a wall), a Grey Partridge, 9 Red Grouse and 10 Pheasant making up the game-birds and 29 Lapwing and 11 Curlew comprising the displaying waders. Also had pair of Greylag Goose, 12 Meadow Pipit (1 W, 2 display, 9 feed), 3 Oystercatcher and 8 Pied Wagtail. Only raptors seen were 2 displaying Common Buzzard over Towsbank to N. Total was 22 bird-types, spread over 3 tetrads. Butterflies comprised 2 Peacock and 5 Small Tortoiseshell. Car did well fuel-wise, giving 52mpg in each direction; the A69 is quite economical particularly with its 60mph average-speed traps but there's a lot more gear-changing on the upper South Tyne roads. Filled up at Henshaw Garage with 95 unleaded E5 for £49.88. In the 'Shire from cold starts the car gives 42mpg going into Hexham and back, think that's much better than the old Fox: who needs electric!! I'm actually very pleased with the purchase: it's a rugged car, suitable for poorer road surfaces and difficult driving conditions, but has good performance on hills with better than expected fuel consumption. With planned emphasis on the Haltwhistle-Alston and Allen areas this coming season, the new car is very much a plus point. At end of trip did make P4FT, HC & rw but too late for C, not vital today! Made the mistake of watching 'Return of the Living Dead' on Film4! 2moro have chat with son and daughter on FB video at 7pm to finalise London trip. Have completed processing of East Africa records. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Final bird results from East Africa for January 2021:

Kenya – 183 species from 403 records, 12 complete lists, 17 places (all species assumed countable). Groups: waders 26, gulls 6+2 subspecies, terns 6, raptors 35, herons/storks 20. Ethiopia -- 8 species from 8 records, 1 complete lists, 1 places (all species assumed countable). Add 2 types from total 8 types found in Ethiopia to Kenya total for trip total, giving 185 bird-types. Final summary for East Africa is 185 species from 411 records, 13 complete lists, 18 places (all species assumed countable).

April 2nd: remaining cool but quite sunny and pleasant, max 9C, min 0C, frost on car at 06:00, dry, light N breeze. Had good chat on Skype with N/D from 10:00-11:45, time changed because of football: I wanted to watch Torquay and D wanted to listen to the Sunderland game. Chat went well so we're going to stick with this time for a while as that leaves rest of day free. Well we both won: Gulls 1-0 in 83rd minute and Sunderland more convincingly 3-1. We've now won our last 3 home games 1-0, 2-0, 1-0; we played a young Sunderland player on loan Benji Kimpioka, who looks very promising. Our star forward Danny Wright returned after hamstring injury from Boxing Day and scored our winning goal! Then out to W4bigshop, spending £67. Did meet tmsuo!!! Pressed on with Tsavo East Voi other birds 11/1 afternoon drive and completed labelling piccies, just need to index them and add all the records for this afternoon drive to BirdTrack, then done! Expect to do this tomorrow but am breaking out in the W of county for good walk in upper South Tyne midday as early recce for Honey-buzzard survey work later this year. Kenya is being added to the red list in spite of low number of cases. Bought new phone, a Samsung Galaxy A12, for £149 from Vodafone plus a £20 big value bundle including 20GB of data (PAYG); it's arriving on Wednesday 7/4. No point in getting a 5G phone out here but do need a reliable phone as no landline and do use it for matters such as share trading on the move, so need Android/Google! Backed-up everything from current phone on to Samsung Cloud; current charge is 71% so in flight mode nearly all of time for it to last until Wednesday; not confident it will charge again! Am going down to London in late April, staying with daughter and son in turn, perhaps over 6 days, flying with BA NCL-LHR-NCL. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Fine discussion article by Professor Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University: Lockdowners Should Hang their Heads in Shame (American Institute for Economic Research 02/04/21 https://www.aier.org/article/professor-gupta-lockdowners-should-hang-their-heads-in-shame/). Quotes on our middle class attitudes:

Well, first of all, there is this fantasy that lockdowns protect the vulnerable and that’s not true. Lockdowns have harmed the vulnerable people, lockdowns expose vulnerable people. Because what we have enjoyed as lockdown in not just developed but developing countries, what is a protection of the wealthy or at least people who have enough resources to be able, maybe not wealthy, but just generally the middle classes to different degrees. Obviously, if you’re very wealthy, then none of it matters. What do you do? You just sit in your beautiful estate and it’s kind of fun actually. If you are in just… Or an academic like myself, I live in a nice house in Oxford, my daughters came back during lockdown and worked at home, which was really quite a privilege. It was wonderful to have them back. We have a nice garden, we have a dog been walking, it’s fine. Lockdown is not a problem for the people who have the privilege, are fortunate enough to have nice enough accommodation. Other than the fact that we can’t go to art galleries and concerts, oh well there’s always recordings. It’s not a problem.

In this country, the idea that lockdowns protected vulnerable people is a real fallacy. Because what happened and they keep saying, “Oh, look at all these poor people who died.” Well that’s funny, because those poor people are the people who were obliged during lockdown to go out to earn a living, and classed as essential workers. They drove buses, they cleaned the hospitals. Not surprisingly, some of them who shouldn’t have been doing that. Obviously most people don’t actually die from this disease, but some of them had comorbidities, have diabetes, were overweight or obese or whatever it is, had asthma and should not have been out there. Instead of protecting those people, we protected the middle classes who are now saying oh, okay, do we really need to lift lockdown? Maybe, okay we do want our kids to go to school.

April 1st: much cooler as wind turns NE off North Sea, 7C max, 1C min, a little drizzle overnight, dull morning but brightening up markedly later! Did make NCL, fascinating, full of allure!! Did make Quayside where in patchy concentration had 10 bird-types: Kittiwake 495 adult, Feral Pigeon 120, LBBG 19 adult (major increase), Herring Gull 16 (15 adult, 1 2s), Crow 4, Magpie 1, Woodpigeon 2, Blackbird 1, Cormorant 1 1s, Mallard 1 female. LBBG were also evident from train: 2 at Ovingham and 9 at factory roof colony in Derwenthaugh, which also hosted 17 Herring Gull, latter building nests. Had Goosander pairs on Tyne at Wylam W and Wylam E, an extra drake Goosander at Wylam E, and 3 Cormorant adult at Newburn. Was lovely to catch-up, chat was brill and glad keeping +ve in spite of everything: bon voyage!!! Did complete raptor labelling and indexing for Tsavo East 11/1 afternoon drive, adding 4 to day count to make 25 types of raptor for just one day. So now it's the other birds for this drive and the whole adventure is completed!! Moved a long Honey-buzzard video from 2012 at Wylam (9/6 1030) to vimeo to make space for the raptor piccies, which are full size at c7MB each. Funds had a tense week with worries about another wave of CV, economic recovery and future of oil as a fuel. So down 11k, just about wiping out the previous week's gain, leaving gain on ytd at 214k (+17.4%) gross, 202k net, compared to ftse 100 +3.2%, ftse 250 +8.0%. Just like on Thursday exactly 4 weeks ago, today was another tense OPEC+ day with the right end-product: only very slow rise in production until CV is really waning. Peak oil had been thought to be 2019 but now it's predicted for 2026 and the developing world is likely to be hooked on it for a lot longer. CV is out of control in Brazil, France, Turkey and Poland. Today was also last day for tax-loss selling for year 2020-2021; am expecting next week to be better as new ISA funds, including mine, flow into the market and PoO stabilises! Phone is OK – charges off laptop but not off wall; tried several different adaptors on the wall but no better; wall charging is at 1 amp and laptop at 0.5 amp so laptop takes longer but is kinder to the circuitry; must beware of leaving laptop plugged into the mains fully charged as that's bad for the laptop battery; looks like the phone's battery electrics are fragile and may replace soon; the phone, a Samsung J3 with Android/Google, was bought on PAYG on 29/08/18 so on minimal contract at moment with Vodafone, bundled with broadband. Spain is not looking so likely for September raptor passage on CV trends: could go to Middle East (Israel) and see the magnificent raptor passage there of Russian birds! Gr8 action today: she's fantastic: empathy's a big winner: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 31st: beautiful weather, max 18C, min 4C, wind light and variable, dry, sunny all time up to 16:00 when became misty as wind went NE. Was out at Slaley Forest Ladycross, walking along the edge of Blanchland Moor from 10:55-12:50, seeing 19 bird-types in all, including moorland birds: Red Grouse 9, Curlew 3, Meadow Pipit (13 breeding, 1 W, 24 NW, total 38), Stonechat a pair, Skylark 3, with water birds: 3 Mallard, 2 Greylag Goose, others: 1 Chiffchaff Singing, 1 Nuthatch singing, 4 Siskin NW. Raptors comprised a Red Kite at Slaley Forest E and a Common Buzzard at Slaley Trygill. Insects included 3 Peacock butterflies, a Fox Moth larva sunning itself and 9 Green Tiger Beetle. So that was great exercise in lovely habitat. Added records to BirdTrack: March 2021 total is 71 bird-types, making 85 for the year. Had lunch in Sele where a Small Tortoiseshell was out. 2moro it's NCL, hopefully in normal style!! Made some progress on raptor id for Tsavo 11/1 afternoon drive but not completed yet! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xxxx

March 30th: beautiful day, max 15C, min 7C, wind light SW, dry, sunny all day. Did a lot of gardening around the patio and house walls on W side, clearing a lot of dead overhang of bramble and rose and cutting back hard the ivy; bonus was releasing a lot of grape hyacinth and some daffodils from the cover above them so they can now flower in all their spring glory. The daffodils along the front wall on the roadside are stunning this year! There's no doubt that my gardening has benefited from the pandemic with the 2 ponds reinstated last spring and much overgrown vegetation cut back. The cowslips are going to be beautiful over the next few weeks: they're wild of course so a major bonus for the environment. Had a Peacock butterfly in my field. 2moro cleaner S is coming at 11 so will be out for a walk, maybe Slaley Forest; then into HEX for lunch. Still full steam ahead on Tsavo records, have completed animals (mammals) and views for afternoon drive 11/1 in all aspects; next up is the raptors, including 2 more Honey-buzzard. Funds are -3k on first 2 days of week; PoO continues to be a little fragile though is holding above $64 a barrel of Brent, which is a big improvement on the winter levels of low to mid 40s. Think many oil shares are priced as if PoO will return to $55, which is unlikely as OPEC are in control; metal miners are doing better. End of this week is end of tax year so some UK-focused tax-loss selling, particularly affecting recovery stocks, and new ISA year starting next Tuesday, meaning another 20k can be transferred from trading account to ISA account. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xx

March 29th: mild 10c max, 8C min, still moderate to fresh NW breeze, dry. Great progress today on Tsavo, completing all facets of morning drive 11/1 with result:

Kenya running totals: 178 species from 379 records, 12 complete lists, 17 places (all species assumed countable). Groups: waders 26, gulls 6+2 subspecies, terns 6, raptors 34, herons/storks 20. Includes all records but for Tsavo East safari park afternoon drive 11/1. Add 2 types from Ethiopia for trip running total. So in all that's 180 bird-types.

Will start tomorrow on the much shorter afternoon drive 11/1 (126 piccies as against 390) to wrap things up; light was good and some very clear shots. Did go for break in HEX in afternoon, meeting R member GR in Sele for good chat: we went through all the beer gardens in the area that are likely to open 12/4. Trip to London is on for late April: daughter keen for me to visit, haven't heard from son yet. Sponsored dance-athon was completed in style, 31 min by S (against 20 min in original spec) but no pro rata top-up needed! Samsung 'phone is giving charging problems – won't charge on wall, even after clean-out of fluff in port, but does charge from the laptop, at slower rate, so will see how it goes left-on all night. Have already started research on replacement! Did take the nite air: very stimulating: keeps me fit!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 28th: rising temperatures during day and evening, 10C by end of day but still moderate to fresh SW breeze; some rain showers. Did get out in the field and orchard, cutting down vegetation such as brambles and sloe; sheltered orchard contains some beautiful primroses in flower and cowslips budding rapidly; inspected the new fence put in last year on N boundary – it's been put in very well, no problems at all; did cut some shoots of shrubs along the boundary to keep the fence free of undergrowth for the time being. Red Kite are nesting very close, a little to W, had both birds in the pair low over the garden today. A male Kestrel was at Houtley and a Great Spotted Woodpecker on my nuts! Continued to work hard on the Tsavo records for 11/1; have been through all the piccies looking for 'other' birds (non-raptors) and recording and labelling them; will index them tomorrow and check 12 piccies where no assignment made yet. Met Cs outside house for good chat; they've been thinking of going on a safari but are a little apprehensive about whether it's too strenuous; I strongly encouraged them to go (to Kenya of course!). Did make C4c4t 4TA for sanity trip and a bit of exercise in Sele. Thinking of trip to London in late April to see 'kids'! Could stay with each for a couple of days. Looking further ahead, think Kenya January 2022 is a cert; Spain September 2021 is a probable! Kenya's definite because I can do some work for a charity there, while giving them some money! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 27th: another perishing early spring day, 6C max, 4C min, moderate W breeze, wind-chill reduced max to 0C-2C over midday! There was some decent sunshine though so light was good. Worked really hard on the raptors in the morning game drive of 11/1 at Tsavo East Voi and completed indexing the piccies and checking them; all in all 20 types of raptor in this one drive from 06:30-13:30, amazingly rich habitat. Next up is labelling and indexing the other birds in this drive and addition of all the 11/1 morning's records to BirdTrack. Did make HEX for walkabout, visiting Peggs 4 rw, papers, snacks, spending £12.51, including FT. Also made SN at Shambles for some more peanuts for the birds £5 and C4c4ll 4TA £6.20, including tip £1. Trying to spend more locally and to use cash more to increase sense of normality. Haven't bought the FT for a while: it's good for overall trends and background information but not so good for investments as it's very nuanced in everything it says so you end up hesitating and losing an opportunity. Delighted with 'phone liaison!! Suez Canal drama looks finely poised: spring tides do indeed give higher high-tides to facilitate floating off but they also give lower low-tides, which could leave the hull with less support so that it starts fracturing! Think it's time for bed 01:23 (GMT) and 'lose an hour' as clocks go forward, maybe for last time as US and EU I think are planning to remove 'daylight saving'. Anyway sleep well: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 26th: bright after rain mid-morning but cool at 8C max, 0C min, on moderate W breeze, originating on isobars from Greenland; wind-chill knocks typically 4C off the max but did bare my arms at Sele and on patio at home to make some vitamin D in the bright sunshine. Made W4bigshop, spending £70, followed by C4c4ll 4TA and Sele. Gr8 to meet tmro again and matters are progressing with tmsuo!! Had usual good long chat with N/D on Skype for 100 min. Have transferred some Honey-buzzard clips from 2020 to vimeo and used the space released to hold all the raptor piccies from morning drive at Tsavo E Voi on 11/1 so can do final check and analysis 2moro. Things are developing rapidly at CanMan:

Canadian Manganese Announces Agreement with Maximos Metals to form a New Technology Metals Focused Company with New Financing of $5 Million: Toronto, March 26, 2021 – Canadian Manganese Company Inc. (the “Company” or “CMC”), is pleased to announce it has entered into an agreement with Maximos Metals Corp. (“Maximos”) to create a new Technology Metals company with an immediate strategic focus on the advancement of CMC’s Woodstock manganese property in New Brunswick to produce high purity electrolytic manganese metal and/or high purity manganese sulphate monohydrate for the growing battery metals market. Private Placement Financing $5 Million In connection with the transaction, CMC will complete a non-brokered, private placement equity financing (the "Financing") through an offering of Subscription Receipts at a price of $0.30 per flow-through receipt and $0.225 per non-flow-through receipt, of which CMC has already received subscriptions for a minimum of $5 million, led by key supporting investors, including certain Maximos insiders, Clarion Finance Pte Ltd. and Commodity Capital. https://www.canadianmanganese.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/CMCNR2021MAR26-Acquisition-of-Maximos-and-5-Million-Financing.pdf.

So placement price is 30c suggesting a market price of 40-50c when dealings eventually begin. Might get to one C$ after a while but a few $ does look a bit optimistic (thought so!). PoO and oil shares had the wildest week for a year on worries about Covid, the Suez Canal blockage and technical issues (over-bought) with rise/fall of $4 in a day on a few occasions. But held on and funds finished week +13k, making change on ytd +226k gross (+18.3%), +213k net, compared to ftse 100 +3.2%, ftse 250 +6.8%. Finished all payments for Kenya holiday (c£5k) this week so decks cleared for another break! Felt closer yesterday: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 25th: apparently mild still at 9C max, 6C min, but moderate W breeze made it feel cool and very few people out, particularly compared to last week; dry up to late evening when a few showers. This cool breeze is with us for at least a week, often happens in early spring: the temperature goes up and so does the wind, increasing the wind-chill factor, which knocks 4-5C off the reported temperatures, making it feel like 1-4C at the moment. Did make NCL for very bracing walk along the Quayside but only 5 bird-types and Kittiwakes were not sitting on the ledges as much as last week, presumably because of the wind-chill. Totals for 5 bird-types seen were: Feral Pigeon 60, Herring Gull 58 (45 adult, 7 2s, 6 1s), Kittiwake 180 adult, Crow 5, Woodpigeon 1. Moving more videos to vimeo to make way for Kenya stuff on the BT server where up against my quota of 100GB; the videos are better presented and played on vimeo so it's a positive move. Hope to resolve some of these issues tomorrow. Certainly an inspired trip: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 24th: dry again but brisk W breeze made it feel cool still, max 8C, min 5C. Cleaner S came today so out on moors for brisk walk from 12:00-13:45 near Derwent at Pithouse Fell N. Really enjoyed it, lovely to be out in the heather again. Birds are returning to the moors. Had total of 14 species, including 6 Common Buzzard (pairs displaying at 3 sites: Pithouse N, Pithouse S, Slaley Forest E), 1 Kestrel (female hunting), 1 Curlew, 1 Lapwing, 1 Raven, 1 Black-headed Gull (adult to W), 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Mallard (female), 5 Greylag Goose (pair), 5 Stock Dove together, 1 Crossbill, 29 Meadow Pipit (23 feed, 2 display, 2 W, 2 NW), 3 Twite W, 5 Mistle Thrush. No Red Grouse or Red Kite! Pressed on with Tsavo E morning session 11/1, completing raptor labelling. Had 9+ Honey-buzzard in this drive, with 5+ up in air above the Lion kill, two singles perched low-down in cover, 2 in low-level flight. Will upload raptor images to server tomorrow and index them, checking id carefully. Then need to go through all the slides for this drive looking for birds other than raptors, before adding the morning drive results to BirdTrack. The afternoon drive was a lot shorter but still saw loads! Running total for Honey-buzzard in Kenya is now 14+ with further birds at Jilore (1, inland lake), Mida Creek (2, mangroves), Tsavo East (2 birds,12/1 drive) and there's still the afternoon drive 11/1 to process. These will all be Russian birds, almost all juvenile, probably not met a soul in the enormous conifer forests and appear quite tame; they will have migrated through the Middle East (Lebanon, Israel), crossing into Egypt and following the Nile due S, eventually arriving in the Rift Valley and the big-game parks. The juveniles will spend over a further year in Africa before moving N in spring 2022. Very keen on a month in Kenya next January! It's an ill wind that blows no-one any good: closure of Suez Canal rescued oil prices from a rough spell! Raptors will already be passing over the Canal on their way back to their northern breeding grounds on the steppes and in the forests. 2moro it's the big city: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 23rd: dry today but felt quite a lot cooler in the moderate W breeze, max 8C, min 4C; some sunshine in morning. Had a Common Buzzard up over the Linnels and a Red Kite over the house, hunting. Continued to work hard on the Tsavo East Voi morning drive of 11/1, looking at the raptors. It's very exciting, finding quite a few Honey-buzzard in flight, perched under the canopy of trees and up in the air above the Lion kill area. So what are they doing above the Lion kill: are they waiting to attack or preparing to scavenge? Don't think so; think they've been flushed from the area of the kill by the large eagles and vultures gathering overhead; Honey-buzzard would be fair game for an eagle so they've climbed high in the sky to be above the other raptors. Without the lions you would have no idea that Honey-buzzard are typically walking through the bush foraging. So Honey-buzzard are very cautious in their life in the bush and their numbers are likely massively under-recorded! Also found the piccies of the one Lion seen before the kill, a male disappearing down a glade, which have added. The raptor piccies are still being labelled – quite a task! Had request from granddaughter S to sponsor her in 20 min dance-athon for Lenten Charity in Zambia; agreed to match her father's £50! Did add “Mind she does it though!” So time for bed: thinking of someone lovely: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Still inspired by the latest Canadian Manganese report at https://www.canadianmanganese.com/. Extracts:

Canadian Manganese is a Canadian mineral development company aiming to become a supplier of high-purity electrolytic manganese metal products for the rechargeable battery industry. The Woodstock Project covers mineral claims covering 58 km2 and hosts the Plymouth Mn-Fe deposit, which hosts a mineral resource estimate of Inferred resources totalling 44.8 million tonnes grading 9.85% Mn and 14.15% Fe at a 3.5% Mn cut-off, or 9.72 billion pounds of contained manganese. In addition, the Woodstock project hosts several undeveloped deposits including the North Hartford and South Hartford deposits located less than 2 km on strike to the north of the Plymouth Mn-Fe deposit. Historical uncategorized resource estimates for the Hartford deposits include 45 million tonnes grading 8% Mn and 12% Fe in the North Hartford deposit and an additional 45 million tonnes grading 8% Mn and 12% Fe in the South Hartford deposit. “

People are being carried away a little. From the ADVFN chat on Minco:

The presentation is super. Interesting bits of info. The importance and need for manganese. So many car companies starting to produce EVs. 95% of world supply produced in China, the rest in south Africa. With just 60 million shares issued a few dollars a share should be within reach. Question is when will Tesla/Musk and similar take interest.” [based from earlier posts on similar company's market capitalisations, such as Manganese X and American Manganese]

I hold 574,500 shares out of the 59,683,564 in issue, that's 0.96%, worth at C$3 each, some C$1.72m. I'm being a little more cautious particularly as CanMan are unquoted, having just raised my spreadsheet value from 30 to 35 Canadian cent, but admit there's exciting potential! PoO has slumped this week and so have oil shares on overbought market conditions technically and CV apparently increasing again in Europe and India. Remaining oil shares are -12k but junior miners other than CanMan are +6k and CanMan write-up is +9k (after currency adjustment) so overall +3k. Looks likely that turmoil will continue until the perceived CV situation calms down. The data doesn't suggest that the virus is out of control, except in Brazil, Turkey and Poland, and possibly France. Note how the first 3 of these countries all have despicable populist leaders!

March 22nd: bright sunshine in morning becoming veiled in afternoon, max 9C, min 4C, dry, light W breeze. Did have quick scan of the Devil's Water at lunchtime, picking up 2 Common Buzzard over Slaley Forest Trygill and 1 up over the local site at Linnels. Later in Sele had a calling Chiffchaff, the third for the year. Main effort today was processing the piccies from Tsavo E Voi for morning game drive on 11/1; worked hard and completed all the animals (that is the mammals!), including the many shots of the Lion family and kill. Next up is the raptors for the same drive, which looks a very interesting collection, particularly in the area around the Lion kill. All the labelled piccies are held on the BT server and indexed from NB 2020, prior to transfer to a dedicated report page. So everything is backed up externally. Did make Hexham for a break, going to paper shop P for the first time for ages, buying Times, some crisps plus a bottle of red wine for £5.95 – not bad and the wine even tasted good! I paid with a £10 note, raising some change for a tip in C4c4t. Think we should all start doing such things in the normal way. Met J, landlord of G, who confirmed no opening in April as with 3 tables outside not worth it: potential clashes between visitors and regulars! As pass the G, regularly see old mates from there passing wistfully by! Neighbours who have separated appear to be moving, that is J (the man, lawyer, lecturer at unn) has got a self-drive van and is loading stuff up; K (the woman, lawyer, high-powered finance) is in Jesmond at weekends and London during the week. Since Kenya they've employed a nanny to help J during the week with the 2 kids, boy aged 9, girl aged 7, who go to private school in Newcastle; shall miss the nanny!! Wonder if place will be sold or rented, in the circumstances presumably the former. Whatever looks like a change is coming up! Tawny Owls are calling right outside my house, as they've been doing for the last month. Think it's time for bed: 01:52 – good nite: sweet dreams xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xx

March 21st: beautiful weather today to mark the Equinox: 11C max, 3C min, sunny most of day but sometimes veiled, dry, light W breeze. Made Stocksfield Mount from 11:55-13:30, parking at the Station, as small car park built as part of the amenity was full. Plenty of action with Common Buzzard: 3 displaying over Bywell Cottagebank at 12:20, 1 up over Whittle Dene at 12:50; Goshawk: a male displaying over Bywell Cottagebank at 12:20: Red Kite: singles out hunting over Mowden Hall at 12:40 and Bywell Cottagebank at 12:45. Summer migrants included a Chiffchaff singing, an LBBG adult E and a Woodlark, initially moving W but then turning SW as came past the Mount at 13:05. 2 Lapwing flew W, presumably towards the moors, and a Pied Wagtail flew N. Singing birds included a Green Woodpecker, a Song Thrush, a Mistle Thrush with 2 Bullfinch calling. 6 Greenfinch was noteworthy as rare in 'Shire now. Total for bird-types was about 30, pretty good! Then made Hexham at C4c4ll 4 TA and Sele, b4 coming home for lunch on the patio and sitting down for the concert from the Globe by the Frankland Quartet, which enjoyed! Good to see 4 members of RNS (SA, SR, JS, DH) keeping the show on the road: it was an adventurous programme, particularly liked the wonderful atmosphere in Megh Malhar by Egidija Medekšaitė; she used an Indian-style to evoke approaching rain. M8 was very abrasive and indeed was about the Scottish motorway. Composer Anna Meredith uses the viola to good effect; there are probably uncomfortable truths in the music relating to the environmental damage that motorways cause. The concert started with Ravel's only string quartet, a lively and varied piece in typical Ravel tradition. So very pleased that I attended! Female composers are becoming much more recognised in the NE. Having tea in the garden, picked up a Chiffchaff, feeding in the Bird Cherry tree. Started on Tsavo East 11/1 in evening: such exciting piccies of the Lions with their kill and surrounding wildlife, trying to get in on the spoils; this is going to take a few days! Can't believe we have to wait 3 more weeks before the pubs and non-retail open; we are squandering the benefits of the vaccination programme with a far too heavy application of the precautionary principle. The EU of course also applied the precautionary principle far too heavily to the vaccination process itself and is now suffering an increase in cases. Israel and the US are opening up much faster after major vaccination programmes. Life involves risk and we need to be educated in working out what is acceptable and how to adapt to situations. Our response to Covid has turned me into a raving libertarian I'm afraid. I'm not having my hair cut until JG's properly open again – a good excuse to wear it long; quite a lot of men have cut almost all of their hair off using clippers: they look like convicts! Anyway let's enjoy the lasses, the weather, the music and the hawks displaying overhead!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 20th: mild, 11C max, 4C min, not as warm as predicted, up on the edge of the Pennines, moderate N breeze, dry, daffodils on front wall fully out now but ones in shade lagging. Equinox tomorrow – in theory 12 hours day,12 hours night, but the day is 12 hours 14 min long on 21/3 because of the way the light bends over the horizon. Cut the garden rose hedge around the old vegetable bed – took a couple of hours – good exercise! Did get out for brief watch from road looking over the Devil's Water around 13:30, getting a gr8 display of raptors: Common Buzzard 5, with 3 at Slaley Forest NW, 2 at Linnels; Goshawk 2, male and female displaying over Slaley Forest NW; 1 Red Kite, bird back for 1st time at the Linnels. So that's 8 raptors of 3 types. DW, Treasurer of local church walked by: very happy with my help!! Six Fieldfare were around my field at dusk. So not out today but will make Stocksfield 2moro followed by refreshments in HEX! Reviewed Lees' paper on the Honey-buzzard movement in 2008; gave a complete rebuttal, 1 page long, in http://nickrossiter.org.uk/hbweb/appendix%20ii%20hb%20regional%20reports%202008.html; to be source material for Chapter 4 in book. Next up is 11/1 middle day on Safari at Tsavo East, where had some Honey-buzzard and Lions! Bought some more bird food yesterday; 2 Grey Squirrel are tucking in well! The 5 remaining scones have all gone, think to the Crows. So here's to the gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 19th: cooler, 8C max, 6C min, dry, overcast, almost calm. Made W4bigshop £59, C4c4ll 4TA, Sele, and then had long video chat with N/D on Skype for 100 min. Stuck into Lincs Bird Report 2008, studying AL's paper. It's good for stretching my ideas as he's using the same data with entirely different modelling. But I think his results are framed almost entirely on the assumption that the number of Honey-buzzard breeding in the UK is very small, leading necessarily into other strange assumptions on Honey-buzzard migration to come up with an account that is even remotely credible; I'm now highly motivated to write the book to correct that misconception! Watched stream of The Dream from ROH (2017), the ballet with a little singing and lots of music by Mendelssohn based on Shakespeare's play (you might guess – A Midsummer Night's Dream). Enjoyed it; paid £3 +£20 donation with GA. See Welly are starting up again on 12/4, taking bookings online from 26/3: better contact D/D and reinstate the app! Expected correction to the oil rally at last materialised; the Saxo guy indicated that a flash crash might occur soon; so did sell even more of the volatile stuff but didn't account for the PFC debacle. That lost 11k this week and total funds were -17k, reducing gain on ytd to 212k gross (+17.2%), 200k net, compared with ftse 100 +2.7% and ftse 250 +6.5%. It was quad-witching day today – loads of money-market settlements – think markets will be more settled next week. Mn is one of the new hot metals for EV batteries with Tesla using it to replace some of the Co. The US and Canada also treat Mn now as a strategic metal, which should be sourced in North America, not China. Canadian Manganese, of which hold 1% from Minco days, is seeking a private placement, giving a very revealing valuation, hopefully soon! Canadian Manganese has huge reserves (9.6 billion pounds) of Manganese in carbonate form in New Brunswick, ideal for making very pure (>99.5%) Manganese battery cathodes. Have 40k in cash and am moving slowly from oil to metals. Yesterday was lovely: out more soon: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 18th: very mild, almost warm, 14C max, 6C min, light N breeze, cloudy with a few bright intervals. Did make NCL for walk along Quayside; had 10 types of bird with Kittiwake calling well and numbers increasing; no Black-headed Gull as many moved inland now to breeding areas but did have a Grey Wagtail and 3 LBBG adult. Other totals from 13:00-15:30 were 161 Feral Pigeon (displaying), 46 Herring Gull (34 adult, 2 2s, 10 1s), 535 Kittiwake (adult), 6 Crow, 1 Cormorant adult, 3 Mallard, 6 Magpie, 6 Woodpigeon. : Train journeys were productive: much more to report. Also made HEX where delighted to see tmeo again, going up in the world! Someone from a cafe, not C/N, gave me 6 unsold scones: ate 1, put 3 out for the wildlife and kept 2 for 2moro! Completed checking Appendix II of 2008 Honey-buzzard Movement Report; there's some very interesting stuff in there including my own observations at Stocksfield which need emphasising more as they give a real record of what was going on inland; also realise that I haven't reviewed the Lincs report by Zander (Alexander Lees) of Bird Forum fame. So going to do that tomorrow! His paper looks to be a classical example of Confirmation Bias, the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one's prior beliefs or values [Wiki]; to my mind many climate scientists and biologists exhibit this weakness; that's why climate science is a misnomer and 'follow the science' is dangerous. Did watch a trio (clarinet, viola, piano; Anna Hashimoto, Meghan Cassidy and Florian Mitrea) play at St Mary's, Perivale, performing Brahms, Schumann, Mozart; very smooth and relaxing, donated £20 + GA to the church. Booked up at the Globe for the Frankland SQ on Sunday, paying £20. The bestest was amazing: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 17th: another beautiful day, sunny all time, 11C max, 4C min, light N breeze, dry. Did pick up P and drove him to Sage CP from where we walked down to Ouseburn area, making the Cluny, which was of course closed. We did have c4l at a small cafe, which was doing a good trade, and sat out in the sun. Kittiwake are calling now and in Ouseburn had a singing Wren, 8 Mallard, 2 Moorhen and 4 Blackbird, with a Herring Gull adult eating an enormous eel. Traffic was fairly light: I come in via Skinnersburn, crossing the Swing Bridge; don't pretend to understand most of Gateshead's traffic layout. So that was better social! Quayside was fairly busy, mainly students out I felt. Had a Kestrel hunting N of Wylam on way back; yesterday had a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Nuthatch in my garden. Processed and updated a lot more links in the 2008 Honey-buzzard Movement report but not finished yet. Booked up for 2 RNS concerts in the new programme for 2nd half of April: paid £30 + £3 donation + GA for each. Not sure whether to pay less and donate more but in the end decided the musicians should be recognised for their worth! Anyway it's gr8 news: looking forward to the stream. 2moro it's NCL on regular plan from CRB on own: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 16th: beautiful day, sunny all time, 10C max, 3C min, light N breeze, dry. Sat outside in Sele and on patio at home with bare arms to make some vitamin D; this winter for 1st time have taken pills as well but also will have made a lot in Kenya in the sunshine there. Daffodils are c50% out and the baby sheep, called lambs, are gambolling in the field opposite; quite a few are black this year. Primroses are out in the old orchard but cowslips are some way off yet. Attended an unusual webinar for me this morning: an hour-long Saxo presentation on commodities for their investors who appear to like this part of the market; very interesting, giving insight into what are the trends and what break points or reversals might occur. They thought PoO might consolidate for a while like most other commodities, even including Cu and Ni, used in EVs; food stuffs are scarce so their prices are rising and Au, Pt, U were also thought to be good investments in the current climate: Au as an inflation hedge, Pt, U for their environmental merits. C4c4l was as good as it gets!! PoO was a bit wobbly today with EU vaccine cock-ups suggesting the continent might be some way from a recovery. Have done a bit more top-slicing and diversification but hit by PFC.L crash this week (-25%) on loss of contract work in UAE through corruption problems; funds overall are -11k with 8k of that PFC where averaging down cautiously. Breaking out tomorrow with P: he's driving us in to the Sage Car Park from where we're walking to the Tyne Bar at the Ouse Burn for some TA lunch! Quayside might score twice this week!! Kept up the momentum on Honey-buzzard, checking the links in the account of the 2008 movement of Honey-buzzard to see whether they still work and if not updating them. This is work in progress. Weather Underground still have all the data on the web but the url have changed so updating them. The 2008 movement is one of the important sections in Chapter 4 of the book 'Movements in Britain'. It's not going to be an e-book but the links need to work to bring everything together. So closer 2moro: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 15th: light NW breeze, sunny in morning up to lunchtime, max 8C, min 4C, dry, sat out on patio at lunchtime and some daffodils are now out along front wall. That's a great tonic! Had a Grey Wagtail on a neighbour's roof in the morning, presumably going to breed on the Devil's Water. Didn't go far off the property today but the vicar came round for 20 min, delivering the forms on his bike; decided on £40 a month + GA for the C of E Church – St Helens, Whitley Chapel. The vicar's very interesting to chat to; he was a merchant seaman so knows a lot about people and the world! Most surprising visitor outside was M from the G, the pub evidently opening mid-May as no real beer garden for use from early April!! M's actually a good 'Shire lass and it's gr8 she'll still be at the G. Did some more work on Münch, the scanning is not so easy as get more into the middle of the monograph as the pages don't lie flat and the text disappears towards the binding. Tempted to unbind it as it's not a collector's item; the A5 pages are held in the binding by glue. Then after scanning more easily and reliably can re-glue or even buy another one for £29 from NHBS. Up to p.21 now. So time for bed: it's 02:15: some company would be lovely: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 14th: fresh NW wind moderating during afternoon, 6C max, 3C min, some heavy showers with sunshine in between. Hope Mother's day was suitably acknowledged!! Had a pair of Common Buzzard adult up at 17:30 over Linnels as breeze finally dropped, quite low-down. Updated Honey-buzzard page with migration data for SW Northumberland in 2020 (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland). Also added the results to NB 2020. The final posting of the results always takes longer than expected as there's quite a lot of checking, attention to detail and testing. Had put aside bird records from Northumberland for most of this month: put that right this evening: now have 44 species in March and 73 for ytd in UK. Did make HEX for a break late afternoon, going to C4c4t 4TA; tmsuo is very tempting; tmro has the knack!! Had walk around Sele from Elvaston, keeps me fit and sane. Can't believe that restrictions don't end until 21/6; think all libertarians have a lot of empathy with the women who are paying respects to SE; the restrictions on people meeting outside are anyway ridiculous with virus numbers so low and many people vaccinated now; people must be allowed to protest freely; low interest rates may not last and that means borrowings should not be allowed to grow further through the summer; evidently 20% of the population are more comfortable with lockdown than without as they have developed anxiety about going out. Agoraphobia, a fear of not being able to escape, must stem originally from times when there were many more dangerous animals around (including human tribes!). Claustrophobia may have similar origins: fear of being trapped in an enclosed space. I experience Acrophobia in my dreams – quite vivid and high-up but don't actually fall off – one interpretation of this is that I'm living too close to the edge!! Still studying CV cases as world totals stabilise after a considerable decline; hot spots are Brazil, France, Italy, Poland. Delighted to hear from someone!! 2moro it's back to the translation of Münch. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 13th: fresh NW breeze continued, max 5C, min 2C, wind-chill -2C, some heavy showers of sleet; wind is dropping on Monday. Masses of work done today on Honey-buzzard results for 2020, analysing the migration totals. Have compiled the table with comments within and now just need to write an overview paragraph and publish it, all set for tomorrow. The results go into the Honey-buzzard population page and NB 2020 (last year's). So that just leaves the middle safari day at Voi, maybe to do in the next week but it's back to the book tomorrow again. Some football watched this weekend on BT Sport: the Toon vs Villa – didn't we do well in the 94th minute – and the Gulls at Boreham Wood this evening – 0-0 – we were a little fortunate, having a rest at the moment and no longer top. Did make C4c4l and Sele where had brisk walk: you have to be pretty hardy to survive outside these days. Devon M has submitted our paper on quantum logic to the Gdańsk conference in late June: he's feeling a little stronger after his heart bypass op and long Covid. I do intend to go S and SW in England in the spring to see everyone again! So keenly xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 12th: strong SW winds continued, quite a lot of sunshine but didn't feel warm; max 5C, min 1C, wind-chill -2C in evening. Daffodils along front wall are almost out: spring is not far off! Made W4bigshop spending £64; long-term staff there must be p.ssed off with no bonus this year. Translated all of Flemish paper on 2008 movement to check on what it actually says: we agree on the blocking but while they're aware of the enormous numbers of Honey-buzzard in England, they completely ignore them in the analysis, including the critical data showing that the East Anglia movement precedes the one in Benelux, that birds were flying E in East Anglia and that flocks in England were mixed-age like the ones in Benelux: very strange! However, I copied everything I could find on the web straight-away into my own disk space as I know things can be transient and are tweaked or deleted as time goes on. Funds had another good week, 6th week in a row that they have risen, this time +10k after 1k withdrawal, making gain ytd 230k gross (18.6%), 217k net, compared to ftse 100 +3.6% and ftse 250 +6.9%. PoO Brent is $69.2 a barrel (42 gallons!), having made $71.5 on Monday; a year ago it was around $30 a barrel as Covid struck. Am switching a few bonds and top-slices from gains from oil into leading mining stocks, which have come back off highs, to diversify a bit. Electric vehicles will be good for metals. Did you know that 42 gallons of crude results in 30 gallons of refined products, mainly gasoline (petrol) and distillates (diesel, heating fuel)? Did make C4c4ll where tmsuo looked gr8!! Bumped into tmro, who's very sensuous!! Had good Skype chat with N/D for 100 minutes at 16:00: it's amazing we never run out of stories! Looks like a quiet weekend coming up. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 11th: wild and perishing, max 7C, min 2C, strong SW wind, some sunny intervals and showers. Did make NCL, doing walk along Quayside in comparative solitude; was bracing and even the birds weren't showing well, just 8 types, including: 76 Feral Pigeon, 10 Woodpigeon, 59 Kittiwake adult (some on ledges), 41 Herring Gull (23 adult, 11 2s, 7 1s), 3 Black-headed Gull adult, 1 GBBG 1s, 4 Crow, 1 Magpie. The large gulls at Derwenthaugh on the factory roof are settling in with 15 Herring Gull adults in nest building and 4 LBBG adults as pairs. Did see Z again; she's an Anglo-Iranian from the Tyne Valley who was a bar lass at the G for a while!! Did some more work on the book, copying over the 2008 movement main-files published in html. I had thought that the critical Belgian paper, which supports my view that the Honey-buzzard were blocked by poor weather, rather than drifting, had disappeared from the web but found it in a more respectable location at http://www.natuurkoepel.be/vwg/archief/roofvogeltrek2008.pdf. It's in Flemish with abstract in Dutch, English and French. So while copying across the files to the book directory, updated the url to the new one and also its entry in the references. I was pleased re-reading my write-up of this movement: it did take 6 years to reach final form in 2014. So timely invitation received today by email:

The Raptor Research Foundation invites the submission of oral and poster abstracts for our annual scientific conference. The conference will be hosted by The Peregrine Fund as an in-person event in Boise, Idaho, from the 8th–14th of October, 2021.Presentations on any aspect of raptor biology, ecology, research techniques, conservation, and management are encouraged. Eight symposia are planned for the three day scientific program. While one day of the program will be made available virtually, presenters are required to attend the conference in-person to be included in the scientific program.

I'm planning to attend in person and submit an abstract on the 2008 movement of Honey-buzzard for oral presentation. I've attended the last 2 RRF meetings in Kruger, RSA, in November 2018 and Colorado, USA, in November 2019. I think the next one is in either Malaysia or Mexico so good to keep my hand in! You can see I'm getting more ambitious with my Honey-buzzard work! Bidding keenly for some Ag over last 2 days on Ebay: up to £780 for a 1639 apostle spoon but that went for £980 and up to £474 for 6 rattail spoons 1722 but that went for £494. When I attended auction sales fairly regularly I was not always popular, bidding up quite a lot of items and ending up with relatively few: better luck next time! Listened this evening to Tippett Quartet playing Beethoven and Schubert in Perivale; gave 0.02k + GA, for which did get thanks. Was gr8 to get some relaxation: most satisfying: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 10th: mild 10C max, 6C min, but rain from time to time and strong SW winds. Cleaner S came in morning so off to Corbridge for walk along the Tyne to W from 11:00-12:35; parked at S side of bridge, normally only come here to see the dentist so had to get that out of my mind! Quite a few Fieldfare were around, preparing for trip to Norway; single pairs of Goosander and Goldeneye and 4 Oystercatcher (2 W) were on the Tyne plus a Common Buzzard perched on low trees on N side of Tyne at 12:05, 102 Fieldfare (flock high-up over village); total was 20 bird-types. Had 80 more Fieldfare at Letah Wood at 10:50, 200 Lapwing over Farnley with a Common Buzzard up below at 11:45. Hit a dry interlude which was good, before making HEX to go to C4c4l TA in Sele Park. Back home cleared a pile of material by the computer, unearthing the printed monograph 'Münch, Hans, Der Wespenbussard, Die Neue Brehm Bucherei 151 98pp, A. Ziemsen Verlag, Wittenberg, Lutherstadt (1955); reprinted Westarp (2004).' This is the only existing large-scale writing dedicated to the the Honey-buzzard that I know, but it's in German and has been almost completely ignored by the British, in spite of a reprint being made available (in German!). So decided to translate it. Started with a quote from the web – £3,500 for 31k words; doubtless it would be perfect but decided to look at alternatives. Took first 15 pages and scanned them into pdf documents with Canon Scan Utility; edited each document with Acrobat so that the text became available for copy, followed by paste into Google Translate; then copied the English output into an OpenOffice document. Didn't take too long and found text very interesting so it's good to carry on this way. It's not scholarly to ignore earlier work on the same topic and 'compare and contrast' is a very rewarding activity. But then I'm an academic so would think that! Cannot publish the resulting full text without copyright permission as a translation is a derivative of the original, not a new work. I bought this book on 25/02/2008 and it's lain around for 13 years untouched but technology for translation is now much improved. The clear-out produced a few gems including a comparison between Red Kite and Black Kite in April 2019 Birdwatch by Dick Forsman; this has also been scanned, my preferred way of saving paper if possible. Alerted readers from Scotland and Ireland about the forthcoming book by adding a header to the current pages. Updated references with the latest publications in Scottish Birds.

Incidentally if you look up Hans Münch you'll find one who is much better known: Hans Wilhelm Münch (14 May 1911 – 2001). “He was a German Nazi Party member who worked as an SS doctor during World War II at the Auschwitz concentration camp from 1943 to 1945 in German occupied Poland. Münch was nicknamed The Good Man of Auschwitz for his refusal to assist in the mass murders there. He developed many elaborate ruses to keep inmates alive. He was the only person acquitted of war crimes at the 1947 Auschwitz trial in Kraków, where many inmates testified in his favour. “ The end of his life was marked by several controversies. [Wiki]

Getting keener on cooking, having 3-4 meals a week cooked myself now, even if some are frozen from bulk cooking. Even ran out of spices and bought some more Sage and Rosemary last Monday. Hexham does look a bit run down but they have repaired the shelter!! 2moro it's the big city, rain or shine: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 9th: milder but still a little raw outside; max 8C, min 4C, moderate W breeze, mainly cloudy, rain from time to time. Made N4c4ll followed by walk in Sele; lovely to see the schools in full operation again, including the Sele Primary. Did meet quite a few friends, including the Vicar A for Whitley Chapel; he did say (after a build-up!) that they were feeling the pinch and I said I'd make a monthly contribution + GA; form to be brought around tomorrow! A is a model vicar, acting as visitor to the sick in Hexham and Tyneside. The Church is an important institution in the 'Shire. Have created directories for the book and publicised it on the index (home) page as well as here. I retrieved a lot of my original writings from the 1990s on disk when I was County Bird Recorder. Good to have preserved so much vital information from 20-30 years ago in computer files, which can be read today. I always steered clear of programs which store your data in a method only know to them. So many of these files now copied to Historical section and held as text or OpenOffice files. Made one change to the paragraph above, Britain to British Isles, latter including Ireland. Watched a really exciting football match in European Champions League, Round of 16, on BT Sport – Juventus vs Porto – won by the Portuguese side 4-4 on away goals. It was played in Italy; Porto got their decisive goal in extra time at 115 min, with a free kick driven under the wall from 30m! Funds are +2k on wtd with profit taking in oil and the shares this week offset by a few favoured stocks still moving ahead. Cleaner S comes tomorrow morning when I'll be out for a walk. Making NCL on Thursday as last week!! So all to play for: xxxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Have quickly completed final totals on BirdGuides for spring and autumn Honey-buzzard migrants in Britain. In 2020 the autumn total was 133 birds. There was a much heavier movement than usual in the first half of August in 2020, possibly due to food scarcity as noted in the productivity data for Northumberland. Total for 2019 in autumn was 112 birds so a significant increase this year. In spring 2020 running total is 103+ on BirdGuides, compared with 83 in 2019. So 236 birds in all in 2020 compared with 195 in 2019. Next up is analysis of Honey-buzzard migration data in Northumberland for 2020.

March 8th: damp day with rain from time to time, max 7C, min 4C, moderate W breeze. New introduction above sets out the priority for 2021! Starting work now: material developed will not be published on these pages though updates on progress will be revealed. Still have a few items to wrap up for 2020: middle day of Tsavo safari, final BirdGuides totals for migrating Honey-buzzard, analysis of my own migration counts. The Kenya findings will go in this NB when sorted as they are the first records for 2021. Nice to keep things going throughout the year!

Not forgetting the arts: did attend Webinar Breaking Barriers: The Many Faces of Women in Opera from Opera North with chair Christine Chibnall and panel of Dame Josephine Barstow, Giselle Allen, Sandra Piques Eddy, all of whom have sung many leading female roles. Carmen was discussed quite a bit, a role SPE has played a number of times: “Carmen is such an iconic woman-role. Everyone has a different view of Carmen -- hard, empowered, sensuous, confident, villain (SPE didn't agree with last).” JB thought that “Verdi ladies are different: they make a moral decision not to benefit them at all and stick with it.” Janáček was rated highly for understanding women: perhaps writing from his own unhappy and complicated relationships – Jenůfa stands out. Puccini heroines were thought to be calculating, not just the obvious Tosca but also Mime in La Bohème. It was thought that the most challenging female role was Salome because the intensity is maintained so long. I did put up a query in the chat: “Wagner's heroines in dying, provide redemption for a man (Flying Dutchman, Tannhäuser) or a race in general (Götterdämmerung). How do you rationalise this?” But they didn't get round to discussing it. Think I know the answer: Wagner felt literally that any woman should die for him! It was a very good hour! Incidentally Giselle was in Brussels, in quarantine, before a live performance of Turn of the Screw by Britten as performed in Newcastle last year by ON. Sandra was in Boston MA and JB in Sussex. Daughter's delighted that S was back to school today and sure she's not alone. They're coming up to see me again in the summer for a week. So more time to practise: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Recent relevant references: (more reading here)

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

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

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

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