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.

August 4th: max 19C, min 12C, light S breeze, bright sunny periods with more cloud early afternoon, warm. Had good day with family, certainly have to be up for it with a 6- and 4-year old granddaughters to entertain. We made Hexham Tyne Green playground and short walk along Tyne in morning, W4shop midday, lunch out in own garden on patio, early supper at 18:00 at Buongiorno (Italian Ristorante!) in Back Street, Hexham, cost same as County (to 1p!). The Italian Restaurant, like the Beaumont, has thrived through the pandemic; there's been a binary divide in Hexham with wet pubs like the Tap and the Globe struggling and those feeding families doing well. Daughter was surprised how warm Hexham is but think the pony-ride tomorrow might remind her that it can be cooler! She's cooking 2moro night and we're off to B for good meal on Friday. Am joining M for presentation by Zoom at Katowice Whitehead meeting from 16:00-18:30 on Friday afternoon; think will get younger granddaughter I to present! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 3rd: max 19C, min 11C, light NW breeze, sunshine most of day, warm. Spent morning shuffling more papers on bedroom floor, a good exercise as have been through everything, cleared a lot of clutter and found some good items for web pages. Made NCL to fetch family off 15:49 KGX-NCL; quite a lot of luggage, they think it's going to be cold up here! Drove straight home and a riotous time was had by all before out to County for meal at 18:15 as everyone starving; nearly all of food was eaten and reasonable price at £53 including 5.12 tip. The County does better than just produce pub grub and children's meals were well judged, both in portions and quality. Early nite followed! Funds are +8k on wtd with positive trends in all markets, in spite of worries of resurgence of Covid in USA and China and fall in PoO by $4 a barrel. Opportunity did arise and was taken with the gorgeous one: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 2nd: max 18C, min 9C, light W breeze, sunshine most of day, warmer. Made B4m4l with R; first meeting face to face for 17 months; marvellous meeting the members again; 17 of us turned out, well below full numbers but meal and chat were good! P's resigned, objecting to £110 annual membership fee. Spent afternoon clearing piles of paper (magazines, books, circulars) from floor of daughter's room where 'parked' for filing purposes! Not finished yet but was a good exercise with some filed upstairs in bookcases and rest thrown out for recycling. Identified a fair number of articles for the Honey-buzzard pages. Did make G but only one out of my gang: quiet spell may not be a bad thing before the family arrive! 2moro will get the kids' car seats into the car and meet them in NCL station! The long-stay car park only costs £5 now after 09:30 until 04:29 next day: a bargain! Funds made a new record today. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 1st: max 15C, min 10C, light W breeze, dull in morning, becoming brighter by evening but continuing cool, dry, put on storage heater in daughter's bedroom to air it. Made StJStB4con – very impressed, the Telemann Fantasia was a great piece with which to start; the chorus and violin blended well to good effect, particularly in the last piece. Did manage a rw for sustenance! Gave £20 before concert and a further £10 afterwards to show my appreciation! Drive in was easy enough – dry run for Tuesday when collecting daughter and family from Central Station off 15:49. Raptor-wise it was day of the falcon, presumably because it was too cool for the broad-winged variety to get going. So had a male Hobby at Newton and a juvenile Kestrel W of Throckley going in and stopped off at Prudhoe S on way back seeing there another male Hobby and 2 juvenile Kestrel. So that's 3 Kestrel and 2 Hobby total; not bad for more or less incidental sightings. Didn't feel like G4g4s as no-one out on Sunday any more but will be there 2moro and at Rotary at lunchtime at B for first face-to-face meeting for 17 months. Today added piccies to Greater London Honey-buzzard page, some worked-up from scratch, and zero Honey-buzzard records in 2019 report to Bucks page. Have ordered the 2012 Bucks Bird Atlas on Ebay for £10 + 4.25 postage. Now working on Gloucestershire page, downloaded BirdGuides records over 10 years and located my records and piccies for 2014, none of which have been indexed and published before. Have put my records on a map of the Cotswolds area. Added Barhaugh records to home page for national Honey-buzzard survey as below:

  1. Upper South Tyne, Barhaugh

    1. 15/07/21: male moved towards site but backed off, 1 sample still 1 , female flying around close to nesting area, male gliding into site clip and 4 derived stills 1  2  3  4 , watch 14:05-18:20.

Have not started adding autumn passage records for Honey-buzzard from BirdGuides yet as records continue to look like those from breeding areas, whether the observers appreciate that or not! Last year birds were moving in late July, a bad sign as it means their nesting attempts have failed. Early indications up here are that wasp populations are healthy and the weather has been mostly suitable with warm spells interspersed by wetter, cooler ones, keeping the ground warm and moist for the wasps. So very pleasing: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 31st: max 15C, min 11C, light N breeze, dull with rain most of time with some heavy bursts, continuing cool, put on storage heater in living room, closed all roof lights. A gr8 day; did make NCL from RDM, attending wind concert, quintet of flute, clarinet, oboe, horn, basoon, from RNS with DG on clarinet. Quite a good attendance considering the weather and we could sit in 'comfort' in deckchairs to enjoy the music. Programme was varied and popular, including Malcolm Arnold's Sea Shanties and Bartók's Hungarian Dances. So enjoyed it! Retreated to MP where recognised more staff from visits before Covid; well looked after and had à la carte including pepperoni pizza, very spicy, with a little rw. They wondered where N was: you won't be seeing him for a while! NCL was almost frantic – gr8 to see so many people out enjoying themselves – MP was busy again and RBG in which have tiny shareholding was also very busy. Back on 17:03 and to W4bigshop – £62. There were other attractions: released so much tension from earlier in week: she's gorgeous, fantastic: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Fascinating insight into RKH's claim at https://icsid.worldbank.org/cases/case-database/case-detail?CaseNo=ARB/17/14. Is it well-founded rumour or just speculation?

Italy24 News English: Big oil: the cage-states treaty, Italy can lose 275 million: Friday 30th July 2021 07:52 PM. The first millions could be paid out in a few hours, when the arbitration award between the Italian state and Rockhopper is filed. If the arbitrators of the ISDS (Investor-state dispute settlement) were to agree with the British company, Italy would find itself with up to $ 275 million less in cash. In fact, the request made amounts to that much […]. https://www.italy24news.com/local/amp/139862

Count at Quayside was of 8 bird-types: Kittiwake 935 (mixture of adult and juvenile, thought to be more juvenile than adult now; 560 birds Newcastle side, 375 birds Gateshead side), Feral Pigeon 40, Herring Gull 22 (19 adult, 2 juvenile on Tyne, 1 2s), 6 LBBG (1 juvenile on Tyne), 3 Crow, 2 Woodpigeon, 17 Black-headed Gull adult, 2 Cormorant adult.

July 30th: max 16C, min 12C, light N breeze, dull with heavy rain in morning and showers in afternoon, continuing cool. Completed processing Haltwhistle North Wood visit on 24/7 so almost up to date with records. Weather was too grey and cool for field work so went to N4c4t where had a relaxing chat with several regulars. Put a large Canary Palm outside on the patio in the rain from my dining room yesterday; it's looking a bit better already after being soaked and allowed to drain properly without a pot base. Had good chat with N/D on Skype for 105 min in morning and gr8 chat with D/D at W4g4s; enjoyed return there and staff were pleased to see us again; it was quite busy; we actually talked a lot about the Olympics as D is a press sports photographer; we did strongly support the inclusion of ROC. Noted a few raptors on travels: single juvenile Common Buzzard at Loughbrow at 17:00 and Dilston at 19:50 and a juvenile Barn Owl at Ordley on fence at 23:10. Funds had good week in choppy conditions, at +12k, giving gain ytd at +480k gross (+38.9%), +463k net, with ftse 100 ytd +7.7% and ftse 250 +14.1%. Funds are 3k short of record. PoO rallied well from flash slump, over $75 Brent again; MBS continued to rise, +5k this week. Put 25k into bonds this week as defensive measure. Rising Covid cases in USA is a cause for concern but recent sharp correction in prices of oil stocks may well discount trouble here; in any event the public are shunning public transport and using private cars increasing petrol consumption and of course PPE requires extensive use of plastics; have to accept that recovery in airline travel looks some way off. Two days of music in Toon is an exciting prospect; normal train in but will have meal at MP after concert; will drive on Sunday. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 29th: max 20C, min 14C, moderate W breeze, a few sunny spells, heavy showers, continuing cool. Main effort today was entering records for recent Black Kite days on 20/7 and 26/7; takes quite a while going through each photo, analysing it carefully. Have now added all recent records to BirdTrack except those for 24/7 North Wood. Hope to get some fieldwork in 2moro afternoon, maybe in SW for National Honey-buzzard survey but looks wet there so maybe it's the E. Did receive today Bucks Bird Report for 2019 but no entries at all for Honey-buzzard; they do even seem to be worrying about whether Hobby are still breeding in the County so maybe coverage of raptor sites is poor. Did make G4g4s where A out and a few others; good crack but no pretence that things are anywhere near normal! Had a Barn Owl on way home in Ordley N and a young Brown Hare browsing weeds in my front garden this afternoon: will not be popular with everyone! Did one coat of putting green paint on touch-up areas: looking better already. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 28th: max 17C, min 12C, moderate W breeze, a few sunny spells, heavy showers, much cooler. Completed documenting trip to Barhaugh on 15/7. Today made Spitalshield Moor on NW side of 'Hexhamshire Common from 15:40-16:55 where just brightening up after a heavy shower. Had 3 Kestrel (adult female up at 16:06 on clearance in weather, juvenile up at 16:32 practising hovering, both at Spitalshield Moor E, at 16:55 a juvenile out hunting at Spital Shield), 1 Red Kite (adult up briefly over the Rowley Burn at 16:25), 1 Common Buzzard (adult out hunting over field at 15:40), plus 11 Curlew, 7 Lapwing E, 3 Yellowhammer, 30 Swallow (many juvenile), 2 House Martin, 3 Meadow Pipit. Total was 18 bird-types plus mammals: Rabbit 2, Brown Hare 2. Number of Red Kite in the 'Shire is very heartening. This visit was prompted by cleaner S arriving at 15:30. Didn't go straight home, made G4g4t where good chat with some mates not seen for a while but pub was still on the quiet side; B was coming but had given in to a bad leg. 2moro afternoon having a 'phone chat with MG, viola leader of RNS, in a scheme to keep partners in touch with players; that's a very good idea!! Decided to swing my interests towards the arts for the weekend: Quayside at 14:00 for the winds and afternoon out, maybe meal at MP; Sunday at StJStB for some more gr8 music!! lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 27th: max 21C, min 14C, calm, very sultry, some hazy sunshine, break-down is in progress early evening with steady heavy rain, high humidity. Made GHD for late-morning concert at Saltwell Park, which was very entertaining, with a dance theme; lunch in Low Fell was great!! Good for keeping fit: walked back to GHD metro and did a lap or 2 of the Park. Caught RDM-NCL at 10:06 with return at 14:56; taxi from NCL-Park for £10.80 made logistics a lot smoother with an extra hour in bed! Did wear mask in taxi and inside Metro train but nowhere else; libertarians of course don't say 'never wear a mask': it's up to common sense of the individual. Think might be a catch-up day 2moro xx. Counted a few birds, 12 types, on walk back from Saltwell Park, including the lake there: Canada Goose 28, Coot 3, Feral Pigeon 28, Black-headed Gull 25 (20 adult, 5 juvenile), Herring Gull 11 (10 adult, 1 juvenile), LBBG 7 adult, Moorhen 1, Woodpigeon 9, Crow 9, House Sparrow 1, Jackdaw 2. Had a Little Grebe on Merryshields GP at 10:15. See Purple Hairstreak entry for yesterday 26/7, an exciting development in Ordley natural history! Funds are +6k on wtd; still exiting equity, perhaps better expressed as becoming more selective, focussing on situations which have extra potential rather than bread-and-butter items which drift up and down with the market. So within the oil market, favouring gas, which is benefiting from the dismal operational performance of wind and development projects, priced for non-execution, which is unrealistic with current energy shortage. But overall trend is that funds when they become available from equity sales are 50% reinvested in bonds so quite defensive really. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 26th: max 23C, min 14C, light W breeze, very sultry, some sunshine in afternoon when feeling quite hot, because of high humidity. Extracted Gloucestershire records from BirdTrack for map of Honey-buzzard in the Cotswolds. Dashed to Bywell from 14:00-15:35 to keep an eye on raptors: not disappointed, they might feel like sleeping but they're raising young who need to be fed. Had Black Kite adult soaring on arrival, then gliding down to N and coming back SE into nesting area 14:10-14:11, where the juvenile could be seen crouched under the canopy perched on a branch at 14:32, obviously becoming a little wiser to the ways of the world; a Red Kite juvenile was hunting to E at 14:32, floating low-down; a male Hobby was up over the site at 14:40 with a juvenile Common Buzzard before coming back into the trees; a male Honey-buzzard was flapping out to the NW to feed with deep wing beats and no attempt to soar at 14:55. So that's 5 types of raptor, pretty impressive. Total for all birds was 21 types, including 25 Swallow (many young), 14 Goldfinch (flock 9), 30 adult Black-headed Gull (up in air anting). Had 7 types of butterfly, including a Comma. Back to N4c4t and much later to G4g4s where met A with the lively M on; we actually chatted leaning on the bar!! At home had as many as 6 Purple Hairstreak butterfly at 18:00, flying wildly around the tops of ash and field maple trees; this is a reported behaviour of Black Hairstreak (feeding on nectar from aphids) but took some piccies and these were clearly Purple Hairstreak with pale grey underside and dark purple on centre of upperside. There are oak trees in my hedge and to the north, which haven't grown as fast as ash, birch or alder but they are healthy and gaining strength. The colonisation of my field by Purple Hairstreak shows the transformation from prairie in the early 1980s to deciduous jungle is now producing returns, with the Swift nesting next door and the 3 Pied Flycatcher seen in spring, probably nesting here. Lea Grange has been converted to a wildlife bridge between the Linnels in the Devil's Water and Letah Wood in the West Dipton Burn. 2moro looking forward to concert in GHD in morning!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 25th: max 21C, min 12C, light E breeze, a grey day until evening when sun came out, full moon later on looked very bright, dry. Did some watching at Ordley from 13:00-15:00 with highlight at 13:17 a juvenile female Goshawk up over Peth Foot, presumably from breeding records earlier in season here and at Whitley Chapel. Total was just 11 types, including Swift 4, Common Gull 2 adult, Chiffchaff 1. Butterflies included 2 Purple Hairstreak, flying around the top of tall ash trees with oak trees in vicinity; see 26/7 for yet more hairstreaks and their significance.

As threatened:

Added Honey-buzzard page for Greater London with full records from visits in 2014-2019 (Honey-buzzard in Greater London).

So keeping book going in spite of fieldwork pressures. The research on other counties is giving a lot of insight and useful comparisons. This latest page also brings in the 2000 and 2008 national movements of Honey-buzzard. Next up is the Cotswolds! Had a quiet day, mowing a large area of grass with clover in the morning, visiting C4c4ll for variety and G4g4s with P for good chat. Interesting article published today in Guardian/Observer: Outrage as Italy faces multimillion pound damages to UK oil firm https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jul/25/outrage-as-italy-faces-multimillion-pound-damages-to-uk-oil-firm. Rockhopper in recent RNS to shareholders say the result from the tribunal will be known by the end of July [end of coming week in practice] but don't reveal any outcome so wonder whether there's been a leak. 'fraid hold 857k shares in RKH (0.19% of company, cost 8.02p each); will keep u posted; this is one strand of my Falklands adventure! Have decided to visit GHD on Tuesday and Fenham on Sunday!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 24th: max 21C, min 10C, light NE breeze, sunny throughout but veiled sun for much of afternoon, dry. For Newcastle today, sunrise 05:01, sunset 21:22, day length 16 hours 21 min, so since Solstice lost 32 min morning, 29 min evening, 1 hour 1 min overall. True darkness occurs from 23:26-02:56, outside of nautical twilight (sun 12 deg below horizon) so only 3 hour 30 min of real darkness. We're still not into astronomical twilight (sun 18 deg below horizon), which kicks in on 5/8, when stars more visible. Made upper South Tyne for the 3rd time this season, going for extensive walk around North Wood, Haltwhistle, from 13:35-17:40. This was far from walking up to a wood and watching it as this is a strange site with the birds moving around from year to year. Took packed lunch and prepared for a challenge, walking from the Featherstone end right through North Wood, to edge of South Tyne by the wooded ridge, which has been popular in the past. Had a juvenile Kestrel here but nothing else. Walked back to Featherstone end and studied the wood there, which is popular with migrant Honey-buzzard, but still no birds seen. So drove back to A69 bypass, parked by the entrance to Bellister Castle and walked along the track to Wydon. And success! At 17:07 a female Honey-buzzard was seen soaring effortlessly and deliberately from a conifer plantation to W (shunning the deciduous woodland I'd been watching closely) to moderate height before floating off N to forage. She was accompanied by a male Hobby so a double find at this late stage in the walk (11040). Earlier from 15:34-15:43 a juvenile Kestrel was up to W of main deciduous area. A Common Buzzard was up low-down at Whitechapel at 13:20. Had 28 bird-types, including Oystercatcher 10, Common Sandpiper 2, some gulls SW: 6 LBBG, 2 Common Gull, 1 Black-headed Gull (all adult), 1 Greater Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Jay, 183 Jackdaw, 4 Sand Martin, 15 Swallow, 1 Blackcap, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Lesser Redpoll. Also had 6 types of butterfly and 2 Common Spotted Orchid. Made W4bigshop – £58 today so prices stable maybe. At 18:40 as returning home, the female Honey-buzzard was up over the site, disappearing by time I'd parked the car! Delighted to say have not worn a mask all week: in pubs, in coffee bars, on trains, in railway stations, in supermarkets. About ½ the people on the NCL-WYM train were wearing masks and a similar number at Central Station. In Iceland mask wearing is about 25% and in Waitrose it's 80%. But no aggravation and happy for those staff who have ditched their masks and can live more comfortably again. I like to see people's faces again: it's part of being human!

Bad news for coffee drinkers: Wild Weather in Biggest Coffee Exporter Sparks Price Surge. The world’s biggest coffee supplier is facing some of the coldest weather in more than 25 years, dimming hopes for the harvest and threatening to raise prices for the popular beverage. Temperatures in Brazil’s coffee-growing regions fell below zero Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) for hours on Tuesday, with southern Minas Gerais the coldest since 1994, according to Rural Clima. Damage to coffee as well as some orange groves was “very significant,” said Marco Antonio dos Santos, a meteorologist at Rural Clima in Valinhos. Another cold front is expected late next week https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-20/wild-weather-in-biggest-coffee-exporter-sparks-price-surge. Strange how the exceptionally low temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere's winter are being ignored by the MSM. Did buy and read FT: slightly sombre I thought after Monday's mini-crash even if a recovery was made. Main message was that in market terms we are well along the recovery cycle and we know what comes next! Am going to book up for all RNS autumn concerts on 27/7; cannot make 18/9 one on current flight schedule GIB-NCL but that might change so will book it anyway. Next up is 31/7 Quayside for pop-up!! Might make NCL also on Wed!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xxxxxxxX

July 23rd: max 22C, min 12C, light E breeze, sunny throughout, dry. Updated Cumbria Honey-buzzard report with item from Birdwatch May 2020 on breeding in South Cumbria and Bucks report with firmer information on the significance of The Ridgeway for breeding and migrant Honey-buzzard. Will do Greater London over the weekend – promise! Major catch-up on records in improved circumstances. BirdTrack now allows you to input butterfly, orchid, reptile, amphibian records in addition to existing bird, dragonfly, mammal records. Marvellously convenient – will save a lot of time and improve accuracy of recording. So cleared many papers off desk, waiting for processing of butterflies and other taxa, by adding the records to BirdTrack, instead of to a myriad of other tools, including MapMate, spreadsheets or this NB. Moth recording has ceased for the moment to give more time for the book. Processed clip and piccies for Honey-buzzard at Barhaugh on 15/7; will submit results to BirdTrack tomorrow with copy to here; this is site no.7 in SW of study area for national survey; will visit site no.8 tomorrow. Bulb for fridge-freezer arrived on Monday and was fitted same day – it works! Putting Green Paint by Dulux arrived yesterday, having been taken in by neighbours; will touch up soon in dining room and front porch! Also arrived today was new book on migration strategy of raptors – very interesting and scholarly: Migration Strategies of Birds of Prey in Western Palearctic, edited By Michele Panuccio, Ugo Mellone, Nicolantonio Agostini, CRC Press 320pp (2022); cost was £68 from NHBS. A quick look suggests far more orderly movements by raptors than those assumed by my critics on the 2000 and 2008 movements in the UK, who are out of order I'm afraid with the continental consensus! Had good chat with N on Skype in morning and great dinner with D/D at DoW. At local site had a male Honey-buzzard up over Peth Foot at 12:40, floating, dived down very quickly in spectacular style. On drive back from Lamb Shield to Ordley at 23:00 had 2 Badger, 2 Fox, 1 Brown Hare, 1 Barn Owl. Funds finished the week -1k, a result not thought possible earlier in the week after miserable Monday. Sold another chunk of oil equity this morning in de-risking. MBS was +7k on week so largely offsetting actual losses in equities of 8k. On ytd funds are +468k gross (+37.9%), +451k net, with ftse 100 +7.6%. ftse 250 +13.7%. Was good yesterday: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 22nd: max 21C, min 16C, light NE breeze off North Sea, a grey day but remained dry; forecasters were wrong-footed by persistence of the low cloud. A great day out with all sorts of action. Made NCL from WYM, visiting Quayside, Wylam itself for check on local raptors on E side, G4g4s!! Kittiwake colony is thriving and 2 Common Buzzard and a Honey-buzzard were seen. Will report 2moro in more detail; was very moving: do realise may not go on much longer: quite poignant: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Count on Quayside was 7 bird-types: 1505 Kittiwake (955 birds on Newcastle side, 550 birds on Durham side; counts include fledged juvenile and the breeding adult), 76 Feral Pigeon, 48 Herring Gull (34 adult, 14 fledged juvenile on the river), 4 Black-headed Gull (3 adult, 1 juvenile), 4 LBBG adult, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Greenfinch. At Wylam from 15:10-18:05 raptors were scarce in grey weather but at site near Close House had a juvenile Common Buzzard from 16:15-16:20 close-up and an adult Common Buzzard hunting to N at 17:17. No sign of Honey-buzzard while sitting close to the site but while retreating at 17:11 caught a male out of the back door and soaring with some flapping in grey still conditions to height on NW side of site; it then drifted off to NE to forage; so that's another new site for year. Total at Wylam was 30 bird-types, including 4 Grey Heron, 7 Tree Sparrow (fledged here), 7 Goldfinch, 3 Sand Martin, 8 Swift, 3 Oystercatcher. An adult male Kestrel was hovering over Ovington turn-off from A69 at 18:15.

July 21st: max 25C, min 15C, light NE breeze, bright sunshine throughout, dry. Here's Black Kite cropped piccies at breeding site from earlier in the season: pair adult display 18/5 1  2, one adult up 25/5 3  4, one adult up repeatedly 7/6 5  6  7, one adult foraging over Tyne nearby 22/6 8  9. Suspect not everyone will be happy with the exciting Black Kite record; it's not in the south or East Anglia, which were more highly fancied for start of colonisation; it suggests that SW Northumberland does have special attractions for raptors. In the immediate area for the breeding Black Kite are 7 other species breeding: Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Honey-buzzard, Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Hobby. On the high moors of SW/W Northumberland we have breeding Merlin and Hen Harrier. In Kielder Forest we have breeding Osprey and Peregrine and on the coast we have Marsh Harrier. So that's 12 regular breeders for the County with occasional others such as Black Kite, Montagu's Harrier and historically the 2 eagles: Golden and White-tailed. Had nice evening g from 20:00-21:00 sitting outside at home, noting 6 Swift (2 pairs have bred at Lea Grange, raising 1 young each), 4 Swallow juvenile, juveniles of Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock. The Swift like hawking insects over my wild field. Earlier cleaner S came at 15:30 so decided to do a trip up the 'Shire looking for kite. Made King's Law from 15:25-16:15 where had 12 bird-types, including 2 Red Kite, an adult and juvenile, over a freshly-cut hay field from 15:45-16:13, plus 8 Common Gull adult, an anxious Red Grouse and a Meadow Pipit. Then onto Lilswood Grange where had another Red Kite, a juvenile, soaring high at 16:34 from a little to S of Burntshield Haugh. On the moorland around the Grange had 10 types of bird, including 7 Common Gull (6 adult, 1 1s), 1 Meadow Pipit, 6 Swallow (some juvenile), 1 House Martin. A male Honey-buzzard was floating over wood on moor to S of Harwood Shield Farm, near Riddlehamhope at 16:28, a new site for year but a regular one for the species, one of the highest in altitude in the study area at around 420m asl. Had a good chat with a couple from Skipton who had rented a cottage in the 'Shire: most peaceful place they know! Earlier made D4m4s with the IT gang; good social occasion and good food with 6 of us out! 2moro it's NCL from WYM on usual schedule!! Rebound in markets today put me into +ve territory on wtd. Hope it was good playing outside: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xxxxxxxX

July 20th: max 25C, min 14C, light NW breeze changing to light E breeze in late afternoon, bright sunshine throughout, dry. Another great day in the field: out to the site in the E where there's the mixed pairing of Black Kite x Red Kite from 12:00-14:30, right across the warmest part of the day. From my regular vantage point saw 2 Honey-buzzard, female and male, up from the kite breeding-area, soaring above site and quickly coming down again; female: 12:36-12:37, 12:45, 12:51-12:56, male: 12:55 (pair up together), 13:01-13:02 with a Red Kite adult far to E at Bradley Hall at 12:22, circling low-down, and 4 Common Buzzard – adult + juvenile towards Bradley Hall 12:55, juvenile in local wood at 13:04-13:12 (perched and in flight) and juvenile W of Durham Riding at 13:36. The Honey-buzzard activity did rouse the Black Kite; he was up briefly with the female Honey-buzzard at 12:37, moving above her in an attempt to show territorial superiority. No other sightings of the local kite so decided to go for a walk around the wood, always a good tactic with raptors as their curiosity means that they like to get up and keep an eye on you! Made S extreme of wood and cut back on footpath, reaching a clearing and there way above me were adult Red Kite and adult Black Kite slowly gliding overhead at 13:53-13:55. Got back to field and there at 14:11 through a gap in the trees could see a very weak-flying juvenile kite momentarily above the canopy before going down again. Not sure there's just the 1 juvenile so it's 1+ at the moment. Have got one snap at range: the juvenile appears to have a Red Kite tail (red, long and thin, but fork not assessable), Black Kite wing shape (relatively broad), Black Kite underwing (dark) and a mixture plumage-wise, being a dark ruddy-brown but that's very preliminary a view. Will obviously come back but great to see the progress! This is a repeat of the 2020 breeding season here with Black Kite x Red Kite; the Black Kite is assumed to be the male because of the role he plays in defending the territory. There were 19 bird types, including 6 Herring Gull adult and 3 Stock Dove, and 8 types of butterfly, including 20 Small Skipper. Have another possible Black Kite site to check (cold, no sightings to date) on Thursday from WYM on return from NCL. Friday will be out W again, when cooler, for Honey-buzzard survey. Have prepared cropped images of 9 piccies of Black Kite from the 'pure' site: Black Kite records in 2021 at site in SW Northumberland, England, where newly-fledged juvenile seen on 18/7: pair adult display 18/5, one adult up 25/5, one adult up repeatedly 7/6, one adult foraging over Tyne nearby 22/6, to be published tomorrow.

Got back to N4c4ll where ignored a conspicuous notice on mask wearing; Iceland was what I'd hoped for: staff humanised, most not wearing masks, and about half the customers, including me, not wearing them; enjoyed solidarity with the checkout-lass! C are easing up on masks so might return: a wink from someone!! Markets yesterday had their worst day for months so funds -11k as it stands but could have been far worse if had not reduced exposure to risk assets and increased bond holdings. Reasons for fall were worries about a Covid resurgence and high inflation; recent falls in commodity prices should stop inflation getting out of hand. Haven't sold any more equities as think price level is now low with upside potential. 2moro it's Danielle's for lunch for 6 – a feast for the IT gang! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 19th: max 24C, min 14C, light N breeze, bright sunshine after grey start, dry. Completed documentation of juvenile Black Kite, as below, with submission to BirdTrack and publicity on Twitter. Freedom day went well: no mask on me in newsagents (happy for trade), Nero (whatever customer feels comfortable with), Globe (order at bar, move round with no mask). Iceland looks OK for shopping, no checking there. Met P/A at G4g4s for good chat, hearing about their recent short cruise and trip to Isle of Man respectively; charming M was on after her isolation in the pingdemic! Lloyds Bank was closed because of the pingdemic and Barclays appeared to have a very convoluted system just to get in, judging by the mingling crowd outside. Concerned at number of people still wearing masks outside: it's pointless. So a positive day I feel – masks are so dehumanising and the great majority, even kept clean, are of marginal benefit in stopping the spread of viruses; dirty masks are a health hazard. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 18th: max 24C, min 14C, light breeze, bright sunshine until ttime when cloud moved in from NE, dry. Eureka!! Today Black Kite proven to breed in SW Northumberland with freshly-fledged juvenile out on the branches late afternoon, mobbed by a Kestrel from time to time. Here's a short clip https://vimeo.com/576527319 of the juvenile, mobbed by the Kestrel, which had family in the area, probably 2 adult + 2 juvenile. The Black Kite occupied several different perches at 16:34-16:36, 17:15-17:30 and 17:40-17:41, not far apart in distance, under pressure from the Kestrel. It perched right out in the open, giving good chance for photographs. It was a jaunty, cocky bird, seemingly undaunted by its new surroundings. It was keen on facing SE, so maybe its parents bring in food from the Merryshields GP/River Tyne area. Last year had a mixed Black Kite x Red Kite pair, fledging one young; this year that mixed pair is still ongoing but at today's site, studied since the spring, both adults were Black Kite. This could be first confirmed breeding in the UK but sure they bred last year somewhere N of the 'Shire as had 2 juvenile moving SW on 20/8 at Ordley. Numbers recorded in UK are increasing rapidly and now go right through the breeding season. Here are some cropped stills of the perched juvenile 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14. This bird will be off to Africa in a few weeks; Black Kite was the commonest raptor in my recent trip to East Africa. Also had a Common Buzzard adult soaring high to E of Cottagebank at 17:01 plus 2 (adult and juvenile) Common Buzzard up at 16:15 to W of Peepy. Total for birds in visit from 15:40-18:00 was 14 types. Mammals comprised 6 Brown Hare, 2 Rabbit. Skipped the G tonite, fed up with lack of mates! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Here are the Honey-buzzard piccies from yesterday, all cropped: male 1  2  3  4  5, female 6  7  8 (11030). xx

July 17th: max 26C, min 17C, light W breeze, bright sunshine virtually all day, dry, hottest day of the year so far. Big day for catching up on records, recording all except Barhaugh Hall on 15/7. Also updated Bucks Honey-buzzard with findings from their 2008 report: very interesting as don't think they've seen any migrants but they have found a few breeding sites; see Buckinghamshire; still waiting for their atlas and the 2019 report. Will get on with Greater London. Ordered a new bulb for the Bosch fridge-freezer and some Dulux putting green paint to do some touching up of existing paintwork on walls, both on Ebay, and sent a birthday card to younger sister by Moonpig. Went to W4bigshop spending £67 with a few erratic items on the list, like dishwasher tablets; checkout lass was very chatty! Did get out for a study of the local site as wanted to play with a few settings on the Nikon P1000 camera. The bird pre-program is great for perched birds but maybe not so ideal for flying birds. So tried A setting (aperture priority) and upped ISO from 100 to 400. Obligingly both male and female Honey-buzzard did appear and at 1.5km range got some sharp shots at around aperture F6 and shutter speed 1/2500 second with ISO 400. Light of course was very good. Still need to reference focus and exposure on a large dark object as near the bird as possible, by half-depressing the shutter. Saturation drops a bit with the higher ISO and shorter shutter speed but structure is captured very well. Will publish the results! Details of the sightings: the male Honey-buzzard was seen at 17:14 floating over a field c1km to E of site; he lost height for 0.5km approaching the site still in view and then dropped below the canopy for the final approach. He was up at 17:33 again to the S of the site, moving to moderate height before coming back into the nesting area; at 17:38 the female appeared climbing quickly to S of site and then appeared to go off to hunt; so it looks as if the female had called the male back and decided it was her turn to forage! (11030). also see were 2 Stock Dove, 1 House Sparrow visiting a nest-hole, 4 Black-headed Gull juvenile, 1 Swift visiting nest next door. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

The June 2021 climate anomaly shows -0.01C over the 1991-2020 average; the global summary from the satellite readings is shown on this map at https://www.nsstc.uah.edu/climate/. Obvious are the hot areas over NW USA and over Scandinavia and NW Russia but all were counterbalanced by a very cold Antarctica and adjacent areas in the Southern Hemisphere. Indeed it's been exceptionally cold in Namibia (-10C) and Botswana (-7.7C) and you do wonder whether the recent troubles in South Africa are linked to the cold there. Down to -15C is the forecast for South Africa over the next few days and recently Cape Town and Port Elisabeth have been in the +2-3C range https://mkweather.com/antarctic-winter-in-africa-namibia-100c-botswana-77c/. Whatever, the climate change fanatics go from one area of the globe to another, picking the cases that might support their arguments and ignoring those that don't, such as the freeze in southern Africa. San Francisco is now cooler than the 'Shire and Los Angeles the same as London but that's of course not news! The map at https://www.nsstc.uah.edu/climate/ is accompanied by a plot of the anomalies from 1978-2021. You can see that the trend has roughly been from -0.2C to +0.2C over 43 years, that's about +0.1C a decade or +1C a century, something for which we should be planning carefully; certainly not running around like headless chickens preaching doom; our children have a future. A moderate La Niña effect this winter, as now confidently predicted, is going to depress world surface temperatures a little more. So expect the climate change disciples to continue focussing on dramatic weather events rather than on the underlying scientifically-derived temperature averages. Heat islands in cities due to the masses of concrete involved are another complication in measuring temperatures reliably https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/how-these-5-cities-became-the-most-intense-urban-heat-islands/981815. We need to redesign cities to include many more green spaces, particularly woods, to improve life for the residents.

July 16th: max 24C, min 12C, light NW breeze, bright sunshine virtually all day, dry. Relaxing in the sun! Had Skype session 100 min with N/D from 10:00-11:30, made N4c4l sitting outside, noticed a little temptation, cut a lot of grass late afternoon and made DoW4g4s with D/D. DoW was very friendly, 2 of the staff there N/K were stalwarts in the W so we do know some of the staff already. Our Tory MP GO used to be a regular but he's now moved to Broomley so only seen rarely now. No progress on records today, will do better 2moro! Next week got 2 meals: D4m4l on Wednesday with the IT gang and DoW4m4s on Friday with D/D to celebrate their birthdays. So may be NCL on Thursday, might suit!! Panic is setting in on Covid cases; does the UK really have the second highest total in world, just beaten by Indonesia. Would like to know: how many cases are serious, mild or asymptomatic? What are the age ranges for current infections? How many hospitalisations are of people who caught Covid while in hospital for something else? How many people are leaving hospital each day? What is the total number of cases for fully vaccinated people and are they asymptomatic or suffering mild or serious disease? Without this breakdown the cases are just being used as a technique to maximise fear. Well certainly some panic in stocks, and had fall of 13k in past week leaving gain ytd at +469k (+38.0%) gross, +452k net, with ftse 100 +7.3%, ftse 250 + 11.7%. Bonds held up with MBS +2k and others rising a little. Sold some more oil stocks, most at good profit, and am reinvesting 50% of proceeds in bonds. LNER evidently still want their customers to wear masks, presumably because of Scottish connections, so reviewing trip to Devon. Looking forward to the pop-ups!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Had single Tawny Owl calling at Dipton Wood N and Lamb Shield on way home around 23:00.

July 15th: max 21C, min 12C, light NE breeze, bright sunshine virtually all day, dry. Magnificent weather, had long trip out in SW of County in Alston area, leaving house at 12:10 and getting home at 20:15, so fieldwork predominated today. Had 5 types of raptor including Honey-buzzard. Off to G4g4s straight after supper so no time to analyse further; was an interesting nite!! 2moro it's the other W, in Newton, with D/D. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Had 8 bird species on Whitfield Moor (Ouston area) from 12:45-13:20 and 19:00-19:30 getting 8 types: 16 Meadow Pipit (with fledged young), 2 LBBG adult (circling over Willyshaw Moss), a female Kestrel (carrying food off moor at 12:51 and 13:12), 2 Curlew, 1 Crow, 8 Woodpigeon, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Stonechat juvenile (perched up on young Sitka Spruce). Stopped at Gilderdale Bridge from 13:40-14:05 and 18:20-1845, getting 11 types: 1 Red Kite juvenile (juvenile up soaring weakly on W side at 13:48), 2 Common Buzzard (single adult up on W side at 13:44 and 18:40), 1 adult male Goshawk (up high over Kirkside, in vigorous flight at 13:40), 3 Feral Pigeon, 1 Stock Dove, 9 Woodpigeon, 7 Jackdaw, 1 Crow, 14 Swallow, 3 Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch. Main part of trip was at Williamston S/Barhaugh from 14:05-18:20. In the Barhaugh area while watching local site had a male Honey-buzzard appearing to come into the site at 15:15 (cropped stills 1  2  3) but then backing off and disappearing into a copse to E. At 15:28 the female Honey-buzzard came out of the site, did a quick low circuit and returned to presumed nesting area. At 15:33 had a few sharp calls from the female, obviously not happy at my presence; a clip was taken of the nest site. Having walked on a little to S, the male was seen in a rapid glide from the moor to the SE, descending rapidly into valley, with alarm calls from Curlew, and then making final approach to nesting area at canopy level; here's a clip and some derived stills 1  2  3  4  5 (11035). Breeding was confirmed at Barhaugh for Common Buzzard with a juvenile flushed at close range and flying into a tree where quite visible from 16:46-16:51, with an adult seen at 16:18. An adult male Kestrel was up high at 17:08 over Williamston S. Total for bird-types in Barhaugh was 28, including Lapwing 3, Curlew 6, Oystercatcher 2, Swallow 11, Long-tailed Tit 20, Chiffchaff 3, Spotted Flycatcher 2, Pied Wagtail 3; also had 2 mammals: Rabbit 4, Brown Hare 1; 1 dragonfly: Common Darter; 4 butterfly. Total for trip was 34 species of bird.

July 14th: max 21C, min 14C, light W breeze, bright sunshine in home area all day, dry, bit cloudier in the E. Buckinghamshire bird reports for 2000 and 2008 arrived and have been through the 2000 one, extracting the large number of records in that significant year for national Honey-buzzard migration; also found more details of the suspected breeding record for that year. Did make NCL, the young are fledging at the Kittiwake colony, practising flapping their wings on the ledges, all set for take-off – exciting! Working on some slides for a Zoom-based conference at Katowice, Poland, for early August with Mike: Formal Order and the ‘Loveliness’ of Nature. Granddaughters are staying then, maybe they can give the paper! They like drawing: it's innate! Conference is Sixth Summer School in Process Thought 2021 and we're in a Panel on "Education and Natural Sciences and Mathematics” on 6/8 http://espt.eu/. S restored place to some semblance of order; gave her a bit extra at £60 for more trouble needed after 3 weeks away! Drinks at W on Friday evening has been cancelled by them as most staff self-isolating; think the whole country will be self-isolating soon. Test and trace should be closed down now; it's mainly picking up asymptomatic cases or false positives, then forcing people who've been alerted, to self-isolate. Mortality this year is below the 10-year average, not what you expect in a pandemic. Delighted with the gorgeous one: some challenges today: all overcome: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Total at Quayside was 8 bird-types, comprising: 1200 Kittiwake (770 birds on Newcastle side, 430 birds on Gateshead side. Count includes some fledged juveniles, ready for first flight so count of adults will be less), 34 Herring Gull adult, 7 LBBG adult, 23 Black-headed Gull adult, 69 Feral Pigeon, 1 Woodpigeon, 2 Crow (adult and juvenile), 2 Mute Swan adult.

July 13th: max 21C, min 13C, light NE breeze, gloomy start but bright and sunny in afternoon and early evening, dry. Didn't expect the weather to improve so quickly with leisurely N4c4ll and more active grass cutting, including smashing up debris, under the cleared area where extensive overhanging branches of crab apple removed. But from 16:10-16:50 studied local Honey-buzzard site and pleased to see male coming in to site from SE from 16:27-16:28, floating, disappearing into the canopy with 400m to go to do the remaining distance under cover. The female came out from 16:32-16:34 soaring to moderate height and then repeating the male's line of travel back into the site; think she was just exercising as cannot have caught anything in that activity. Also had a Common Buzzard adult up over Peth Foot at 16:32 and a pair of Common Buzzard adult up over Slaley Forest NW at 16:44. The Swift is still nesting in neighbour's eaves with 2 birds in area, along with 6 Swallow in family group and a Sand Martin, rare around here. A Raven was flying E over Slaley Forest Dukesfield at 16:42. Gulls on a nearby field comprised 15 Black-headed Gull (10 adult, 5 juvenile) and 2 Common Gull (adult, 1s). So very active spell – nothing like weather clearing! At Hexham 2 days ago over Fore Street had a family group of 4 Oystercatcher right over centre of town; they've bred on nearby roofs. Funds were down 2k on wtd with MBS rise slowing down as expected, while details of what the court win means for MBS's finances is reckoned, including determination and award of costs and whether PIBS interest can be afforded. Taking a position that oil development will start on the Falkland Islands, buying shares in 3 companies. 2moro cleaner S is back, marvellous, and will make NCL, also marvellous!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Latest results for National Honey-buzzard survey from 8/7, posted on home page at http://nickrossiter.org.uk/hbweb/index.html

  1. Lower South Tyne, Greenshaw Plain

    1. 08/07/21: female in, followed by male out, 1 sample still female 1 , watch 15:45-17:55

  2. Lower South Tyne, Allerwash

    1. 08/07/21: male out from site, 1 sample still 1 , watch 15:45-17:55

July 12th: max 16C, min 14C, light NE breeze, gloomy all day with spells of heavy rain. Took poor weather as motivation for catch-up on bookwork, processing the piccies from Warden on 8/7, moving the videos on Sperm Whale in the Azores in 2017 to vimeo, producing video from Bledlow in Chilterns on 09/09.2007 (290) and posting on vimeo, adding same video to Bucks Honey-buzzard page, creating Greater London Honey-buzzard page (next up!). So busy day, not out into Hexham except for G4g4s where no mates out; think they might have seen the BBC local news, which did its best to play up the horrors of Covid. Pleased to hear from someone!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!

July 11th: max 19C, min 14C, light SSW breeze becoming light SE in evening, bright and sunny morning followed by gloomy conditions with spells of heavy rain. The weather pattern was complicated after noon with a northward band of heavy showers running up the Pennines and extending a little to the E for a while but not forecast to reach Newcastle. So determined to get out, left house at 11:20 in bright sunshine but with massive cloud building to W. By time I got to Dilston on edge of 'Shire it had started raining but pressed on to Bywell where it was sunny for about an hour before the rain arrived. Left there and moved further E again to Prudhoe but here only had 10 min before the rain arrived. The good thing is that the raptors were active: it was the midday soar and they could see the need to hunt before the rain arrived. So at Bywell Cottagebank from 11:40-13:05 had 2 Honey-buzzard up, male at 12:05 hanging over site to S almost stationary for a while before returning N, and female, up briefly at 12:34 clearly looking out for mate, 2 Common Buzzard adult clearly with young in the trees up regularly from 12:05-12:16, a Kestrel male hunting vigorously at 12:25 and a Hobby male coming in from the E as the rain started at 12:21. So that was 4 types. When I left I was soaked but went on to Prudhoe Dukeshagg from 13:15-13:40 where had a Black Kite returning to its nesting area in flap-flap-glide mode as the rain arrived at 13:30. I stayed another 40 min, sitting in the car, to see if it would clear but it didn't so back to Hexham, where it was now just overcast, to N4c4t. Total for trip was 15 bird-types at Bywell and 16 overall; a Weasel was hunting at Bywell. The dogs were amusing in Prudhoe: one reluctant dog came back twice on its own and tried to get into the owner's car but he insisted on the walk putting it on a lead in the end; another looked at its owner as if to say 'are we really going to do this?'. A few were more loyal and obedient! I think the British in general are more relaxed about rain than they used to be. Had another Kestrel, a female, on the A69 above Corbridge on drive back, giving total of 8 raptors of 5 types so quite successful really. Have ordered Bucks bird reports for years 2000, 2008 and 2019; first 2 are national 'hot' migration years for Honey-buzzard and 2019 is last to be published, cost £13 including p&p. Will be in G 2moro and NCL on Wed. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Wrapped up spring migration totals for Honey-buzzard on BirdGuides, closing on 19/6. Total for 2021 is 94, compared to 103 in 2020, 83 in 2019, 107 in 2018 and 94 in 2017 so surprisingly constant over the 5 years, suggesting that the birds counted are UK breeding birds, rather than strays from the continent, which would show much more variation in the counts according to the prevailing weather conditions. The big question is what proportion of the population is seen on migration by birdwatchers. I reckon 5-10%, far less than for say Osprey, which frequent estuaries and lakes, popular haunts for birders. Very few birders frequent woodland and farmland so much less chance of Honey-buzzard being spotted. So we're looking at very roughly 1,000-2,000 birds, that's 500-1,000 pairs, for the UK.

July 10th: max 19C, min 13C, light SE breeze, overcast, almost gloomy, little brighter at times when muggy, dry. Progress on book with Bucks Honey-buzzard draft in publishable form as below, from Home Page:

4th July 2021: Added Honey-buzzard map for south-east England from own sightings (Honey-buzzard in Buckinghamshire).

10th July 2021: Updated page for Buckinghamshire with full records from visits in 2007-2019 (Honey-buzzard in Buckinghamshire).

Was in Washington DC from 16:00-18:00 to join a Zoom presentation from the Cobb Institute, named in honour of its founder John Cobb, which promotes a process-relational way of understanding and living in the world:

This is a reminder about tomorrow morning's conversation with Tim Eastman about Untying the Gordian Knot. Once again, Matt Segall will be our MC and facilitator. The main focus for this session be the second chapter of the book. After a brief review of the chapter by Tim, Michael Epperson, Randall Auxier, and Elias Zafiris will offer responses. The four of them will then have a brief discussion, and after that you'll be able to share your comments, questions, and insights.

They were discussing Chapter 2 of Tim's book, in which we get about ½ a page of favourable review for our category theory approach. Tim did mention us verbally, again supporting our approach, a view which was not shared by all commentators! Mike was there as well, on Zoom. No fieldwork today but should be out tomorrow for the midday soar. Only out to W4bigshop spending £59; think prices have stabilised. Did buy FT, confirming that reflation trade is overdone and bonds are making a comeback; have already taken some action on that but will encourage current strategy for equities, which is profit taking, when the opportunity arises, and reinvestment of 40% of the proceeds in bonds. Not out 2moro nite: there's a certain football match on and you need to book your place for hours to get a seat! Cleaner S is fit again, coming next week – what a relief! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 9th: max 18C, min 13C, light W breeze, overcast, almost dry, a few spots of rain from time to time. Packed social day, well timed with weather rather gloomy. Skype session was interesting, trying to find out when they are coming out again, maybe never, c20% of the country feels that way evidently! T4m4l went well with good chat over quiche and salad; Tans is attracting young Vegans and Vegetarians for take-away, through social media publicity, very welcome! W4g4s was gr8 for chat with D/D, who continue to be enthusiastic about going out! Daughter's family is in Crete for a week: here's piccies of elder and younger granddaughters settling in. Son is house-sitting for them, looking after cat and dog. Short of sleep last night with duration from 02:30-08:30, so had 90 min sleep this afternoon for catch-up! Funds were up +23k on week, giving +483k on ytd gross (+39.1%) and +466k net, with ftse 100 +9.0% and ftse 250 +13.8%. MBS were up 29k so other investments fell 6k, mainly on shaky Thursday when ftse 100 down over 2%. Had sold over 100k of oil stocks earlier in the week, as too overweight in the sector, putting 34k into bonds and holding 55k in cash; still have plenty left. Stopped in Dipton Wood, middle section, on way back from pub at 22:40-23:00, getting 3+ Tawny Owl, family group, plus a churring Nightjar, and a Roe Deer. At Lamb Shield at 23:10 had a Badger to add to a Weasel yesterday. A dead Stoat was on the road at Loughbrow 2 days ago. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 8th: max 19C, min 11C, light to moderate W breeze, sunny periods, dry. Good weather for raptors and got out for the 4 o'clock soar from 15:45-17:55 in optimistic mood to Warden in lower South Tyne. This was certainly justified with 4 Common Buzzard at 3 sites, a Kestrel, a Red Kite and 3 Honey-buzzard at 2 sites. So that's 2 more sites added to the National Honey-buzzard Survey. In more detail the Red Kite was up hunting over W side of Warden Hill at 16:17 and 16:44; the Kestrel was a male up over Warden Hill hunting at 16:00; the Common Buzzard comprised a pair up at Warden Hill from 16:02-16:10, one of which was carrying a dead Rook, presumably to try and tempt the young in the air, a ploy they resisted; further sightings were 1 over the Greenshaw Plain Honey-buzzard site at 16:32 and another up in the Allerwash area at 16:58. At the Greenshaw Plain site at 16:44 the female Honey-buzzard was seen returning from the SW floating quite low-down 1  2  3, before dropping c200m from the nesting area and moving into the canopy to escape being visible; the male came out of this site at 17:10, drifting to SW and again keeping low, moving 0.5km before being lost to sight 4  5  6; so some alternation of duty here (11020). At the Allerwash site the male was seen at 16:35 coming out of the wood and circling low-down for a while before soaring to considerable height before gliding off NE to feed; not long after at 16:46 he was spotted moving E 1 towards the South Tyne river, when lost to sight (11021). Single cropped images are here for Allerwash 2 and Greenshaw Plain 7. Total for trip was 25 bird-types, including 62 Sand Martin (some nesting in bank), 7 Oystercatcher (including fledged young), 12 Black-headed Gull (9 adult, 3 juvenile), 1 juvenile Skylark, 2 juvenile Grey Wagtail, 1+ fledged Bullfinch. Earlier made Salute with the R family for lunch (A/A/A!), all very good, had a Niçoise salade as meal, which was so tasty and nutritious, full of tuna, anchovy, egg and salad, with a bit of red wine to wash it down. We're meeting again with the rest of the gang at D on 21/7 for lunch. Much later made G4g4s with R/P/A for good crack! 2moro have N/D on Skype at 10:00, T4m4l with M at noon and W4g4s with D/D in evening – busy social life! Yesterday was gr8: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Following climate/weather trends with great interest. The extreme warmth in parts of the Northern Hemisphere is being counterbalanced by extreme cold in the Southern Hemisphere https://mkweather.com/2-different-worlds-june-2021-extremely-hot-in-the-northern-but-anomalously-cold-in-the-southern-hemisphere/ so, for the planet as a whole, June 2021 returned another small negative temperature anomaly of -0.01 deg C https://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/. Warming continues at 0.14 deg C per decade, certainly of concern but hardly an emergency. ENSO-neutral is favoured through the Northern Hemisphere summer, with chances of La Niña increasing into the fall and winter 2021-22; see slide 23 in https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf. La Niña is particularly associated with dry weather in western North America so a worrying forecast for them. World temperatures appear to decline in La Niña periods and appear to rise in El Nino spells, giving rise to much debate about underlying trends!

July 7th: max 19C, min 12C, light W breeze, sunny intervals, dry! Added Towsbank, Lambley, Coanwood Pond, Hargill House, Whitfield Moor on 1/7 to BirdTrack, 45 records, 36 species for the day, including 8 types of bird of prey with Short-eared Owl to add to 7 diurnal raptors found in the afternoon. Booked up for all 4 operas with ON at Theatre Royal, NCL – Carmen, Alcina, Rigoletto (Verdi) and Trouble in Tahiti/ West Side Story (Bernstein) – for £170 in Upper Circle in November/March; seeing some operas twice, in LDS/NCL, but it's been so long, will be a pleasure! Loved trip to NCL – very sensuous, quite gorgeous in fact – lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Will come again!! xx

Birds comprised a Nuthatch and a singing Blackcap at Riding Mill, a family party of 7 Mute Swan, including 5 medium-sized chicks at Merryshields GP, a Canada Goose family party on Tyne of 2 adult and 7 just-fledged juvenile, 10 Sand Martin at Wylam including some young on the wing. At Quayside 1490 Kittiwake adult were present, 960 on Newcastle side, 530 on Gateshead side; some chicks were visible but not counted. 20 Herring Gull (all adult) and 8 LBBG (all adult) were noted as well as 1 Black-headed Gull adult. Other birds were Feral Pigeon 38, Woodpigeon 3, Mute Swan 2 adult, Magpie 1, for total of 8 bird-types.

July 6th: max 14C, min 11C, moderate SW breeze, heavy rain early on followed by light rain for rest of day, dreadful weather! Have completed processing upper South Tyne piccies for Honey-buzzard from 1/7, as below, copied from home page section on National Survey:

  1. Upper South Tyne, Towsbank

    1. 01/07/21: female (thought to be 3cy) over field near site, 2 sample stills 1  2, watch 15:05-18:15

  2. Upper South Tyne, Lambley

    1. 01/07/21: male over area in contention with Common Buzzard, 4 sample stills 1  2  3  4, watch 15:05-18:15

Had hair cut at JG with Jd in morning, all very chatty, informal and efficient! Cost £25 including £5.50 tip. Was notified by email that I've 'Attended & Completed your National Speed Awareness Course', so good news. Attended last Zoom presentation from Opera North from 19:00-20:00 on The Orchestra & Chorus of Opera North: A Year in the Life with Orchestra & Chorus Director Phil Boughton and Chorus Master Oliver Rundell as chairs of this event, assisted by Andrew Mason (clarinet), Catherine Landen (first violin), Paul Gibson (bass), Victoria Sharp (soprano). All very interesting on how they've coped/adapted to Covid since March 2020 with some clips of their achievements. It was a webinar so could relax with a beer and a packet of crisps! Will add Towsbank and Coanwood Pond records to BirdTrack tomorrow so ready for next field trip in SW on Thursday afternoon, not so far this time. Funds are +15k on wtd, almost entirely due to further rise in MBS, after withdrawal 1k for RNS made last week. Sold 50k of oil stocks this afternoon of which 20k will go into bonds. RDM-NCL 2moro!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xxxx

July 5th: max 18C, min 13C, light E breeze becoming W, some rain in morning followed by bright afternoon and evening as wind moved W. Speed Awareness Course on Zoom was lively with just 7 attendees, think there should have been 10. We were individually asked questions frequently on matters such as what does this road layout mean, what would you do in this situation, how can you improve your driving, so close attention required. Did learn a lot and enjoyed teaching style of our trainer G. I was furthest N at Hexham in the clientèle and clearly the oldest; if you couldn't handle Zoom, including frequent muting and un-muting and having the right installation, then you would have to pay the fine of £100, take 3 points on your licence and face increased insurance premiums; not actively participating or turning off your audio/video would also lead to failure. As it is paid £73 for the course but no conviction, no points or elevated insurance. If you have another offence within 3 years of original, you must take the fine and points for the new offence, so am being careful! They were very keen on you not taking any shots of the screen; anything found on social media would lead to a police report. As drove into Hexham after the course at 16:00 saw the male Honey-buzzard from the local site up to NE of nesting area, circling over the Devil's Water below, looking for foraging opportunities. Made N4c4t for good break! Caught up with recent records added to BirdTrack, except for important ones from Towsbank trip which will add tomorrow (in the rain). OPEC+ talks broke down with Saudi and UAE at loggerheads. But it's not the tragedy that you might expect; the whole deal including plans to significantly increase production is now put on ice so markets will tighten further; you do wonder whether they've not done the breakdown deliberately so as to benefit from still higher oil prices; PoO Brent is over $77 a barrel by this evening. Made G4g4s where good to have M on and 4 of us out, so with P/A/A for good crack! Hope the gorgeous one is back and it all went well, sure it did: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 4th: max 20C, min 13C, light E breeze, torrential downpours from time to time, few sunny intervals, close. Not the sort of weather for raptors soaring with swirling low cloud and flash bursts of rain and the odd thunder clap. Found an interesting website on twilight, with definitions of Civil – sun is 6 degrees below horizon; Nautical – sun is 12 degrees below horizon; Astronomical – sun is 18 degrees below horizon. So on our Solstice day in Newcastle (21/6), Civil Twilight runs from 03:59-22:28, Nautical from 02:37-23:51. and Astronomical runs all day and night. Nautical twilight gives a good measure of when there's a bright glow in the sky, indicating that real darkness only occurs from 23:51-02:37 https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/@2641679?month=6&year=2021, which fits in with my subjective impression. On 26/7 astronomical twilight becomes less than the whole day and night, marking perhaps the time when the days do appear to be shortening. No fieldwork today as too close, except a quick scan at 12:30 from Ordley, seeing a Nuthatch, 18 adult Black-headed Gull, 4 Common Gull (1 adult, 3 1s), 1 adult LBBG. Did a lot more cutting on the crab apples, just one more session needed, gr8 exercise! Further processing was done of Bucks data, going back to 2013 with just 1 year to go (2007). Have Speed Awareness Course tomorrow from 13:00-15:30 on Zoom from Stanley, cost £73, resulting from 37 mph in 30 limit on 9/5 in Corbridge Road, Hexham; will be on my best behaviour! Haircut on Tuesday with Jd and maybe into NCL on Wednesday. Today made G4g4s but no mates out; let's get life back to normal but all was not lost!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xxxxxxxxxx

Have added feelings on the last RNS concert on 25/6; basically it was brilliant: good for Beethoven, who is a * composer!! Booked up for 3 operas in Leeds for Parsifal (Wagner), Carmen (Bizet) and Alcina (Handel); really wanted to guarantee the Parsifal but needed to book a package of 3. Total was £130.25. Also going to book up tomorrow with Theatre Royal, Newcastle, for the 4 shows, including Carmen, Alcina, Rigoletto (Verdi) and Trouble in Tahiti/ West Side Story (Bernstein). Will be interested to see how the Leeds/ Newcastle experiences compare. Parsifal may of course be performed at the Sage but no guarantee of that yet; if it is, I'll see it twice! Became a friend of the Theatre Royal for £45.

July 3rd: max 17C, min 13C, light E breeze, persistent rain, becoming heavier late afternoon, dull. Only trip out today was W4bigshop, spending £47.50 b4 discount of £3. Did some major work on Honey-buzzard, adding records to database from Allen trip last Sunday to the Staward area and preparing some multimedia from trips to Bucks in 2014. Still some more to do in both areas: Honey-buzzard records from last Thursday at Towsbank and some clips of juvenile Honey-buzzard calls in the Chilterns in September 2014. Must remember to order some literature 2moro from Bucks Bird Club. Have booked flights with BA from NCL-GIB, changing at LHR, for 4/9-18/9 so I can check on departing Honey-buzzard from my study area, cost £260. Hotels are scarce and expensive so leaving booking a bit in case Spain opens up some more and people relocate! Good luck 2moro: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 2nd: max 17C, min 12C, light E breeze, patchy light rain early afternoon, muggy, clear by evening. 11 days post-Solstice: sunrise 04:35, sunset 21:50, day length 17 hours 15 min. So day length -7 min, of which 6 at dawn, 1 at dusk. Very strong glow tonite in NE sky at 02:00. Had good chat with N/D on Skype from 10:00-11:45 in morning, made N4c4t in afternoon and W4g4s with D/D in evening for good catch-up. Stopped off at Dipton Wood N from 22:25-22:50 and had, in beautiful evening, a family party of 4 Tawny Owl, 3 roding Woodcock and a churring Nightjar. Updating Bucks page with multimedia from my own observations, including habitat shots.

Here's update on garden in piccies from 29/6: 10 Northern Marsh Orchid 1  2  3  4  5  6, Cowslip seeding 7, grass jungle (field, crazy for a hay fever sufferer!) 8, Crab Apple hand-sawn branch, the cut 9 and the disconnected branch 10. Note the busy moles!

Funds had a good week after a shaky start with gain 15k, of which 9k MBS, returning ytd gain of +459k gross (+37.2%), +443k net after withdrawals, with ftse 100 ytd +9.1%, ftse 250 +13.1%. Continued gain in MBS suggests that interest payments are being restarted, giving me 29.14k income a year; such income is liable to tax but over half is in tax exempt ISA and SIPP accounts and can offset some in unsheltered accounts by increasing gifts. Oil stocks are still lagging PoO which finished around $76 a barrel of Brent, after OPEC+ is dragging its heels on increasing production to meet surging demand; since £ is now sliding a little, petrol prices will be rising and natural-gas prices are going through the roof as renewable energy cannot cope. Covid is now just one of 30 endemic respiratory diseases, certainly unpleasant but nothing justifying the extreme restrictions we're still under. I'm increasingly not wearing a mask indoors away from home as it's useless health-wise and a symbol of serfdom! Still in auction market, buying a dognose Ag rattail spoon 1705 (Queen Anne) for £190 on Ebay. Hope concert prep is going well: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 1st: max 19C, min 10C, light E breeze, bright sunshine all day, beautiful weather continues. Did day 2 in SW for National Honey-buzzard Survey, visiting from 15:05-18:15, Towsbank, occupied since 1993 and 1st site in county where species noted. Had one Honey-buzzard close to the nest site and another one at site to N, 2 Red Kite at 2 sites at Towsbank N at 17:17 in contention with Common Buzzard and soaring at Snope Burn at 15:05 on arrival, 4 Common Buzzard at 3 sites and a Sparrowhawk male at 17:27 at Towsbank middle in junky mode. In more detail at Towsbank 1  2 had a female Honey-buzzard at 15:36 c200m from the nest flying out to N over a field from the River South Tyne area and returning quickly to the river area on my S side 1  2 with cropped versions here 1  2 (11010). This bird is interesting in that it has some immature features: a pale cere, a dark eye, and a significant dark area on the wing-tip but has adult-type barring on the remiges and tail, adult tail-shape with rounded corners, and long tail as in adult. It is growing P4 on its right wing. The Kestrel-style mantle colour is fairly common in the study area's Honey-buzzard in both male and female adults with ruddy juveniles tending to show a darker red-brown. I've assigned it as a 3cy female, and will be interested in what turns up on the next visit; in particular is this a breeding female or an extra bird in the territory? The second Honey-buzzard was up from 16:18-16:26 at Lambley to the N 1  2, where a male was up in contention with a Common Buzzard. Here's some piccies 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 with cropped versions here of 1-4 as 1  2  3  4 (11011). This is a typical slender adult male with a dark grey mantle colour, long, narrow tail and long wings, pinched in at base and bulging in the middle. Great day out, South Tyne is so wild and beautiful. Humour is good as well as on this sign 1. Total for this part of trip was 31 bird-types, including a Pheasant female with 4 chicks, 10 Swift with 1 occupying a nest, 4 Oystercatcher as a family group, 4 Lapwing with 1 NE and 3 breeding, 1 singing Curlew, 1 Common Sandpiper on the riverbed, 10 Swallow with 1 at an occupied nest, 4 Chiffchaff in a family group, a Treecreeper, 4 Song Thrush including a juvenile, 4 Spotted Flycatcher (2 pairs: 1 in Eals village carrying food, 1 in Towsbank by South Tyne), 23 House Sparrow, 2 Siskin.

On way home stopped at Coanwood Pond for check from 18:15-18:40, seeing 45 Greylag Goose (2 broods of 2 and 3 almost-fully grown juveniles among the flock), 17 Mallard, 6 Wigeon (group of six, comprising 2 adult female and 4 almost fully-grown juvenile, so looks like 2 pairs bred here raising 2+2 or 3+1), 7 Oystercatcher and 5 Curlew both comprised young and there was also a flock of 15 Lapwing. Small numbers of Black-headed Gull attempt to breed here most years so the 1 juvenile is considered to be locally bred; 4 adult were present. Passerines included a family party of 6 Goldfinch and 2 Sedge Warbler. Total at the Pond, in a casual count, was 9 types. A loose flock of 60 Curlew was on cut hayfield at Hargill House at 19:00. A Short-eared Owl was flying low over moorland at Agarshill Fell, Whitfield Moor, at 19:10

Earlier it was parcel day, receiving from Royal Mail 2 pieces of George I Ag, mote spoon and tablespoon, marked c1722 and 1717 respectively, cost £187.33 from auction run by Ag Spoon Club, plus Kent Bird Report for 2018. Was assured that DPD were delivering the European Bird Breeding Atlas 2 (cost £77 including £8 postage) from 12.26-13.26 so hurried home from meeting M for good chat at T4c4c but it was 14:35 before the heavy parcel arrived. Then straight out to the South Tyne for the 4 o'clock soar! Not home until 19:30 when had quick supper b4 making G4g4s where 5 of us out for great crack. Funds made new record high today as OPEC+ (OPEC and Russia) appeared to reach a deal, keeping supplies on a tight leash. Donated 1k to Sage Recovery Fund with gift aid, on debit card. Lots k 2 t gorgeous 1: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xx

June 30th: max 19C, min 10C, light E breeze, cloudy morning followed by bright sunshine in afternoon, beautiful weather continues. Did get out today, to NCL, and it was fantastic!! Had a pair of Hobby over the woods just to SSE of WYM Station at 15:15; it's a better year for them with hopefully more pairs to be found in SW area. The brood of Mute Swan at Merryshields GP continues at 5 youngsters, now middle sized, with 2 accompanying adults. Had a family party of 4 Chiffchaff at RM Station and a Grey Heron at Blaydon. Confirmed arrangements with ON, all very efficient! On Quayside had 1290 Kittiwake (young visible now, 830 birds on Newcastle side, 460 birds on Gateshead side), 50 Feral Pigeon, 34 Herring Gull (all adult), 5 LBBG (all adult), 4 Carrion Crow (a family party of 4 near High-Level Bridge on Newcastle side), 2 Mute Swan adult, 2 Black-headed Gull adult, 1 Mallard female, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Greenfinch; total is 10 bird-types. Renewed hosting package 4G for the Festival. 2moro hindered a little by deliveries, put off my mammoth European Bird Atlas from 12 today to some time tomorrow and also expecting 2 items of Ag. About to add my Bucks sightings to the new Honey-buzzard page for Bucks and order a few back numbers of their annual reports and their Breeding Atlas published in 2012 to get some more background. Big sis is being interviewed by Sky News on Friday morning as her report on the harmful effects of asbestos in schools, in particular mesothelioma, is published by the Department of Education. She's spent a lot of time on it so hope she gets some coverage; not sure it will be broadcast immediately, depends what's on. Did some more energetic grass-cutting around the pony-shelters, just about got the vegetation under control everywhere now, which is good for fitness. Absence makes the heart grow fonder: strong feelings: plenty of action: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xx

June 29th: max 19C, min 10C, light NE breeze, bright sunshine all day, beautiful weather continues. Didn't get away from the house today, sunbathing, birdwatching over the Devil's Water, and much work at the back, trimming area by back gate, cutting grass alongside meadow and cutting a large branch off the Crab Apple, which was growing too close to the dining room extension. This last was done with a hand-saw with plenty of WD40 to lubricate the cutting and stop it binding. Haven't dragged the felled branch clear yet, thought it better to give the insects on it a chance to move to another part of the tree. To cap a great spring for wildflowers have 10 Northern Marsh Orchid growing on my back 'lawn'! Found a large frog near the pond and a Swift (bird) flew into my neighbour's eaves so must be nesting there. Only raptor seen was a Common Buzzard coming off its site in the valley below and going out to hunt at 13:03. Made much progress on Bucks Honey-buzzard: it's very interesting that South Bucks is apparently more popular with them than the AONB Chilterns. Had a swift response from ON (KH):

That is absolutely fantastic news that you wish to upgrade your support to Silver, and it is so heartening to hear of your reasons for doing so, which I will of course share with the wider team. We really do feel incredibly lucky to have Patrons such as yourself by our side. In terms of facilitating your upgrade to Silver Patronage, I think the simplest thing to do would be to amend your current monthly Direct Debit, if that were ok with you? [from £62.50 a month to £150 a month]

Funds had a bit of a reaction after 4 weekly-rises in a row at -10k on wtd. More specifically it's OPEC+ meeting on Thursday and those of a nervous disposition, remembering past rows, are selling out! Actually am winding-back equity positions now with 30-40% of sale proceeds going into bonds (not distressed ones!); the rest is though being fed back into opportunities! 2moro it's NCL with repeat schedule. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

June 28th: max 20C, min 10C, light E breeze, bright sunshine all day, beautiful weather. Did a massive amount of gardening in the front, getting out both the mower and the trimmer; mainly cutting back grass, brambles and nettles; there are so many flowers this year and it's humming loudly with the sound of bees, bumble bees and wasps; with relevance to Honey-buzzard, numbers of wasps are at high levels, well up on last year, particularly on the cotoneaster (horizontalis and simonsii); numbers of bees are also up but bumble bees seems to be scarcer though reasonably common. Made N4c4t and G4g4s, latter for good chat with P/R while watching end of Switzerland vs France game, with former amazingly winning the penalty shoot-out 5-4; pleased to have M on. Did compile the piccies from the start of the Survey yesterday, given below. On the home page the results for 2020 have been moved into a Report page with this year's results now occupying the column. Next survey day is expected to be Thursday 1/7. Catch-up 2moro on various matters, including concert on Friday and my Honey-buzzard records for Bucks and Greater London, which are now sorted and mapped. Very pleased with comms from the gorgeous one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

National Honey-buzzard Survey 2020-2021

Survey work NR 2020 S/SE study area Report

Survey work NR 2021 SW study area

Fieldwork completed for 2021: 27/06-

  1. Allen, Staward N

    1. 27/06/21: male gliding into site, perched briefly on top of tree, 4 sample stills 1  2  3  4, watch: 14:00-18:00.

  2. Allen, Staward S

    1. 27/06/21: male soaring very high over site, 1 sample still 1 , watch: 14:00-18:00.

June 27th: max 17C, min 12C, light W breeze, overcast to 13:00, then brighter and sunny periods, much warmer, from 14:00, forecast by Met Office spot on. Took forecast at face value and thinking it would be a fantastic afternoon for raptors made out with packed lunch to Staward Gorge, arriving at 14:00 as the skies started to clear, and slowly making my way to the Peel and back. After 70 hours of murk, raptors were getting very frustrated at not being able to fly properly and readily get up in the air. And so it proved, getting an incredible 7 types of raptor in the visit, which lasted up to 18:00. They didn't all get up in the air at once and some were distant; total is: Honey-buzzard 3 male at 3 sites, Common Buzzard 2 birds at one site, Red Kite 1 bird at 1 site, Hen Harrier 1 adult male at 1 site, Goshawk 1 male at 1 site, Sparrowhawk 1 female at 1 site, Hobby 2 male at 2 sites, so that's 11 raptors. Also had 4 Raven at 2 sites, a Treecreeper, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 9 Chiffchaff, 1 Tree Pipit, 3 Meadow Pipit, 7 breeding Curlew and a flock of 25 moving W. Two of the Honey-buzzard were at 2 sites included in the National Honey-buzzard survey this season, as reported for 28/6 above. At 15:20 a male was soaring high over the Staward S site, moving into the base of a dark cloud and lost to sight (11002). Here's original and cropped. Another male Honey-buzzard was seen gliding rapidly from E at 17:06, coming down into a wood to SW of previous site, which was destroyed when the entire plantation owned by the National Trust was felled in 2019. They used to retreat into the area they are now nesting in, owned by Whitfield Estate, but have no worries about the change in ownership of the land: the Estate already have a number of Honey-buzzard pairs on their land. The male dropped under the canopy briefly before coming back to the top of a conifer on which he perched for a minute at 17:07, giving piccies at full size 1   2   3   4, and cropped 1 2  3  4. When perched on the tree a male Hobby popped up to the top of a tree in the same wood at 17:08. 2 Common Buzzard were up to N of Honey-buzzard site, moving out to forage at 16:08 and 17:23. A Sparrowhawk female went out to hunt at 16:17 in active flight. At 14:40 a Goshawk male was up briefly high over Staward N. Total for Staward N was 18 types with same for Staward S; trip total was 31 types. Shortly after arrival at 14:07 a male Hobby was diving rapidly into the Gorge. At 14:55 a male Honey-buzzard was floating over the moors to the W over Parkhead Fell. From 15:10-15:15 an adult male Hen Harrier and a Red Kite were up in mild contention to the W at Whitfield Moor – Beacon Hill. For the first time ever, did not meet a soul in the entire walk, assume people did not trust the forecast. A Common Buzzard was up over the field at Newbiggin Farm on return at 17:45; it or another was on post by side of road at 21:45 near Letah Wood. Late into G as watched Belgium beat Portugal 1-0 but caught mates up quickly in the drinking stakes; gr8 to have l helping!! It's now 03:00 – E sky is lightening – time for bed: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! May be in NCL on Wed xx

June 26th: max 14C, min 9C, light NE breeze, drizzle from time to time, no sun, cold, heating still on in main living area. Updated NW England page with Yorkshire Dales records for Honey-buzzard in 2019. From home page:

26th June 2021: Updated page for Cumbria/north Lancashire/Yorkshire Dales with full records from visit to Yorkshire Dales in 2019 (Honey-buzzard in Cumbria/north Lancashire/Yorkshire Dales).

For book, next up is Bucks. Added Grindon Lough records from 24/6 to BirdTrack, still mulling 3 gulls, which will add directly. No point in chasing Honey-buzzard in dull, wet weather so watched € football. To make some use of time, caught up on some tasks: fixing a loose plastic cover on downstairs power shower with a little bit of glue; painting a patch upstairs where needed access to pipes; fixing a bookshelf where bracket had broken; with a hacksaw, taking a sliver off a piece of wood in parquet floor in dining room so it beds down; reattached blind on roof-light in bedroom to runners; reading through a box full of magazines, journals, papers, and sorting contents, mostly being thrown out but some filed upstairs. Did prepare the Festival's web site for 2022 – hope she likes it!! Got out to N4c4ll where pleased to have S on. Made W4bigshop but only £30 as been out a lot this week. Tried the Stilton and port for supper – very rich! Hoping to get out 2moro afternoon as murk clears, to start National Honey-buzzard survey for 2021 in SW of County. Hope concert was brill: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

June 25th: max 11C, min 10C, moderate N breeze, heavy rain from time to time, cloudy throughout, cold, heating back on in main living area. Had good chat with N on Skype from 10:00-11:30, D off to dentist and his wife has done her back in. Into NCL mid-afternoon on 15:05 ex-RDM, making MP4m4t. Had good meal there of ham & mushroom pizza, mixed salad, some rw and coffee, all for £31.25, including service charge; had lengthy chat about how much they'd changed since March 2020 and they said very little, though staff seemed to be all new to me while menu and prices were similar to before; think will still patronise it, hopefully with N, when he comes out from prison. Made S for more refreshments b4 concert, which was fantastic; very happy to hear some Wagner and B4 was breathtaking; new conductor and leader really excelled, as a necessarily small audience of c300, we did make our presence felt – more to follow. Wagner's Siegfried Idyll was played in its concert version, which is very soft and loving. In the opera Siegfried in the Ring the Idyll in Act III Finale becomes more an impassioned plea by Siegfried for Brünnhilde to become his bride and forsake her Valkyrie past; she does, giving a glorious closing love scene!! Anyway the RNS played it with great precision and delicacy and found it very convincing; they should play more Wagner! Beethoven 4 was also played superbly; this is my 2nd favourite B symphony after 3 (Eroica). The openings to both movements 1 and 2 are brooding with dramatic climaxes, indeed movement 2 of B4 is surely a masterpiece in its own right. I suspect Wagner was tremendously influenced by both symphonies 3 and 4 of Beethoven; his expansive brooding style took these 2 symphonies to their logical conclusion in The Ring; indeed during the Beethoven symphony weekend at the Sage this was suggested as a general point by a speaker from Durham University. Wagner was Beethoven's successor. Of course Wagner also took B9 (choral) forward with complete integration in music of voice and instruments. Here's an inspiring recording of B4 by Karajan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uliun1CMR8s.

Back on penultimate train at 21:25, resisted temptation to go to W, instead going into Dipton Wood and Lamb Shield to listen for crepuscular signs of life, just an agitated Tawny Oil at Dipton E. Funds had one of their best weeks ever at +129k, with 126k of this coming from MBS issues; the market has rightly decided that MBS will be in a position soon to restart PIBS payments, maybe as early as October, in which case have 5k in accrued interest, to add to gains. Have retained all of holdings, would start selling some in October if payments resume then. Gain on ytd is 444k gross (+36.0%), 428k net, with ftse 100 +9.3%, ftse 250 +12.6%. A lot of the gain is in corporate bonds (MBS/ENQ1), hence free of CGT; the interest paid though is taxed. Have asked of KH to be made a silver patron of Opera North at 1.8k a year, compared to 0.75k a year as current bronze patron; will donate 1k to RNS recovery fund next week (currently at advocate level) and will be able to contribute more to the Festival so that it can meet its additional expenditure for the opera; all support will be gift-aided. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

June 24th: max 19C, min 10C, light W breeze, warm up to mid-afternoon, moderate, steady rain later on moderate W breeze, welcome for parched ground. Hay fever bad after trip to Grindon, lots of late grass pollen in area! Housekeeping in morning, with bottles to bank, W4smallshop for materials for cleaner S, cash for S, then relaxation at N4c4l. Out to a low-level Grindon Lough, after recent lack of rain, from 15:40-17:10 to see again the Red-necked Phalarope but it wasn't there, having apparently disappeared in last few hours! Waders were scarce: 2 Dunlin adult, 3 Redshank juvenile, 15 Lapwing, including some juvenile. Waterfowl were also scarce with a Mute Swan adult, Canada Goose 2 adult with 5 fully-grown juveniles, Mallard 13, Teal 11. Also had 11 Swallow, 4 Sand Martin, 6 Pied Wagtail (with fledged young), 3 Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit. Gulls are always interesting here, had 6 GBBG (ad, 4 2s, 1 1s), 2 LBBG ad, 12 BHG (11 ad, 1 juv), 1 Med YLG michahellis 1s, 2 Caspian Gull (ad, 1s), so 5 types, need to look closely at piccies to confirm. Total was 18 bird-types with 2 gull species as possible additions. It started raining quite hard as left. On doorstep found Fortnum & Mason package of port & Stilton, very classy, from daughter; should have arrived last Sunday, this was attempt 3 by DPD with original having gone past 2 days currency. Delighted at MW's appointment as Leader of RNS; she came over very well in recent concert (1/5) with the orchestra, both as a player and personality-wise! Much later made G4g4s with R/P/A; AH reported a brood of 5 Goosander chicks with female at Hexham Tyne Green today; gr8 to have l on. Pouring with rain at 01:00 25/6, dry spell well and truly finished! Looking forward to MP and RNS concert 2moro. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

June 23rd: max 15C, min 12C, light W breeze, brief wet spell late afternoon, bright earlier but cool. Post-solstice by 2 days: sunrise 04:30, sunset still 21:51, day length 17 hours 21 min, the downward slide starts. Up to date on records, adding all of yesterday's to BirdTrack. Downloaded all Yorkshire records, mostly from E side, and plotted them on a map; going to concentrate on West Yorkshire ones first, to complete NW England report. On Zoom mid-morning from 10:00-10:45: “We hope you’re able to join us tomorrow for our Coffee with the Company Zoom Meeting, where Technical Manager and company member for over 25 years, Peter Restall, will answer your burning questions about being backstage at Opera North.“ All very interesting, with growing environmental pressures to recycle or reuse costumes and effects and the challenge of different theatre sizes within their range, TR at NCL being one of the smaller venues stage-wise. Peter thought the use of digital aids to performance may have peaked, at least temporarily. Thinking of becoming a silver patron at ON, cost 1.8k a year, compared to 0.75k a year for current bronze-patron status. Then out to lunch from 12:15-15:00 at D4m4l; had 2 courses (salmon pate and duck), some rw and plenty of good chat with 5 of us out, from the IT gang, former academics at UNN in computing science; we spent £120. Went home and had another sleep, feeling quite fit on waking up, when had what I would have had for breakfast (omitted today) and no more drink! Think I'll go to MP on Friday afternoon, b4 the S4con, not with N though as he's still shielding. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xx

June 22nd: max 17C, min 8C, light NW breeze, dry, bright sunshine. Solstice: sunrise still 04:29, sunset still 21:51, day length 17 hours 22 min. Every day is shorter for the next 6 months until the winter solstice. Did a little consolidation on the regional Honey-buzzard maps and sheets, adding the Nairn locality to the Scotland Highlands map; it had been left off the regional map for Scotland as that was based on the Highlands administrative area. Also added the north Lancashire sheet, containing one record from 2010, to the Cumbria/north Lancashire report. Looking at West Yorkshire next. Did do some fieldwork today, down to Bywell north from 12:45-14:40 to get a different angle on the raptors in the area. It was quiet but steady, as expected with raptors now right into their breeding season. Had a male Honey-buzzard up over Stocksfield E at 13:15, hanging high-up; have not seen any birds in the Eltringham/Merryshields area this season, only site missing in Tyne Valley W, so wonder whether they've moved a little S, will need to check the maps and piccies. Next up at 13:39 was a Red Kite high-up hunting over Broomleyfell area on E side of A69. Shortly after at 13:45 a female Honey-buzzard was high up over Shilford, carrying some food, to SW of site. Very slowly she came down, eventually dropping into the W end of the plantation in which they nest and moving through the canopy to the E side: sneaky! Finally at 14:11 had a Black Kite in the vicinity of the Tyne, slightly to the W of Bywell Castle, foraging over the area, before drifting slowly N towards me. Total for trip was 22 bird-types, including 4 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Lapwing (adult and medium-sized chick), 3 Mistle Thrush, 5 Goldfinch. Mammals comprised 2 Brown Hare, 1 Rabbit. Earlier in watch over the valley from 11:00-11:20 at home had at 11:12 had a Goshawk male up briefly at Peth Foot, in hunting mode. AH told me last night (21/6) about a female Goshawk he'd had at Hexham Tyne Green W, a few days earlier (19/6); they're doing a bit better at the moment. So that's 4 types of raptor in the day: 2 Honey-buzzard, 1 Red Kite, 1 Black Kite, 1 Goshawk, with a new site and new bird (female at Shilford) for the season for the Honey-buzzard. At 17:00 at Ordley had a female Pied Flycatcher in the same area as the 2 males were seen, wonder if they're breeding, after all my garden/field is ½ way between Linnels and Letah Wood and there are natural nest holes in the Ash on the road. Came back to HEX to N4c4ll, where met DW for good chat; he's a keen supporter of the RNS but hasn't been to the revived live performances yet; he complained about the Welly not serving him when he turned up without a booking, even though they had space: he's crossed them off his list! Am enjoying return to Nero. Got home, had a good meal of sardines and salad and went to sleep for 2 hours, quite knocked out even though no booze. Did check I had Festival's full pages for events and artists for last season and I do so can see way forward! 2moro it's big lunch, don't think I'll make NCL as well. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Funds continue to rise with shortage of oil and gas driving up their prices and at last oil shares are beginning to respond; oil and gas companies are very profitable at the moment but their share prices are held back by the prevailing ESG woke views that oil/gas use is going to decline rapidly. No chance: the world has made the wrong decision in going for renewable energy as its saviour from the 'climate emergency'; the unreliable nature of renewables makes them unsuited to providing the baseload in a modern society; further the much vaunted storage systems as backup cannot be scaled up and biomass is just a sick joke, destroying biodiversity. We should have gone for nuclear and gas (with oil used for petrol, petrochemicals and plastics) and some renewables, maybe 20-25%, and no biomass. MBS bonds advanced a little more; the pricing for MBSP and MBSR reflects their interest rates of 6.75% and 8.0% respectively, so maybe the market thinks MBS is a going concern! MBS is now far too high a proportion of my funds but will go along with entire current holding in the recovery phase. Bonds are free of capital gains tax; quite a few of mine are held in isa/sipp anyway. Gain on wtd is 117k.

June 21st: max 13C, min 7C, light NE breeze, few light showers early on, cloudy with sunny intervals, very cool. Solstice: sunrise still 04:29, sunset still 21:51, day length 17 hours 22 min. Dancing naked is very bracing today! From home page updated Honey-buzzard in Cumbria page with map and sheet for records:

21st June 2021: Updated page for Cumbria/north Lancashire with full records now from visits in 2007-2019 (Honey-buzzard in Cumbria).

Pleased at pace of summarising my records of Honey-buzzard around the country. Next up is Lancashire and West Yorkshire for records to complete NW England. Didn't look promising for raptors in such cool, dull weather so concentrated on records. Really heavy 3 volumes of Birds of Sussex by Walpole-Bond arrived safely by Hermes courier; has some interesting information on Sussex historical midsummer records of Honey-buzzard. Funds had record one-day rise of 105k almost entirely on MBS case win with a small contribution from bounce back from quadwitching by oil stocks! Not sold any MBS PIBS, expect them to go significantly higher by October when interest should resume though they may be volatile for a while. Actually did think it was difficult on that Friday so no problem – versatility rules!! Have lunch at Danielle's in HEX on Wednesday with IT gang A/A/M/B; might come into NCL later. Good crowd at G4g4s with R/P/A/R all out and M on; think fear is on the decline! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

June 20th: max 15C, min 9C, light NE breeze, dry, cloudy with sunny intervals, cool. 1 day to solstice: sunrise still 04:29, sunset still 21:51, day length 17 hours 22 min. Published Cornwall Honey-buzzard records, all 3 of them, from 2017 with on home page::

20th June 2021: Updated page for Cornwall with full records from visits in 2017 (Honey-buzzard in Cornwall).

Next up is Cumbria/North Lancashire for map and full records. Clearing space on bookshelves – throwing out for recycling all recent BB as now available digitally to subscribers and there's no residual value in the printed copies. Keeping the older ones because I like them! Did watch the whole saga of the Gulls vs Hartlepool for the NL play-off final at Bristol City's ground with full coverage from BT Sport. It went on from 14:00-16:00 for normal time, 16:00-16:40 for extra time and 16:40-17:00 for penalties. Scores were level at 1-1 after normal time and extra time but the Gulls lost 5-4 on penalties. So that was sad, made worse that we had some very poor refereeing decisions, including disallowing 2 perfectly good goals and refusing a strong penalty appeal. The Hartlepool fans behaved very badly after the victory, invading the pitch en masse, goading Torquay supporters and surrounding Torquay players on the pitch and mocking them, with Sunderland loanee to Torquay Mbunga-Kimpioka particularly targeted. All in all, not very savoury but there may be a silver lining: better to be near the top of a lower league than struggling in a higher division! The game will be remembered for our Brazilian 'keeper Covolan Cauagnari scoring our equaliser with a header at 90+5 to take the game into extra time: he used to play in a Brazil youth team with Alisson, Liverpool's 'keeper, who also scored this season with a late goal against WBA. Anyway it's only a game!! Made G4g4s with R and good chat, more of us out 2moro. Get stripped off for a dance in the dew on the solstice tomorrow: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xxxx

June 19th: max 17C, min 9C, light E breeze, dry, cloudy from time to time, some bright sunshine. 2 days to solstice: sunrise 04:29, sunset 21:51, day length 17 hours 22 min; solstice means stationary – when the sun's angle stands still; our day length for practical purposes is at its peak; the bright glow in the sky to N is continuing all night from 22:30-04:00 after sunset and before dawn. Have closed display period for Honey-buzzard on 14/6, opening the rearing period on 15/6. This fits in with observations with no displaying birds seen since 13/6, even high-circling males, and birds clearly hunting near their breeding areas on 15/6 and today. The slowdown in movements on BirdGuides (below) also suggests that birds are settling in for the rearing period. Have updated the home page accordingly with the display phase closing:

Display period: 16/4-14/6 22 sites (21 male, 11 female: 32 total)

Migrant totals have not changed since 6/6 (below) at total 8 (5 male, 3 female) from 16/4-2/6. Had great afternoon out, with late packed lunch, on the common near Healey from 14:55-17:50 with many heathland species present in the area, including Linnet (30, in singles or small groups), Meadow Pipit (14, including 1 displaying), Tree Pipit (total 3, 1 displaying plus 2 singles), Woodlark (two separately on open area, no signs of breeding. though of course habitat is suitable; nearby Dipton Wood has many suitable breeding areas now as do plantations to SE of the Common), Skylark (1 song flighting), Yellowhammer (7), Whinchat (pair in gorse/bracken area), Ring Ousel (one in same area as last time), Bullfinch (1 female), Goldfinch (2), Curlew (2 with 1 singing), Siskin (2 singles), Mistle Thrush (5, family party). Raptors comprised a Red Kite flying over area to S at Healey Mill at 15:04, an adult male Kestrel hunting over the Common at 14:58, a male Honey-buzzard, mobbed by a female Hobby, foraging and carrying food over March Burn to N in vicinity of extreme W part of Riding Mill at 16:03. So that's 4 raptors of 4 types. Total for all birds was 32 types. Mammals featured with 5 Brown Hare and a Rabbit. Published all Devon Honey-buzzard records, while providing updates for 2019; entry on home page:

19th June 2021: Brought page for Honey-buzzard in Devon up to date and added full records for all sightings (Honey-buzzard in Devon).

Next weekend I will be starting on year 2 of the National Honey-buzzard survey, visiting the SW of the County, which has been neglected a little in recent years. Have already established that the 2 core parts of the study area (Devil's Water, Tyne Valley W) are almost fully occupied again so am maintaining the control. Tomorrow there's a football match …. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xxxx

Honey-buzzard arrival is down to a trickle, with 3 since 12/6, bringing total for June to 30, to add to 52 for May and 12 for April, giving spring total 94. Black Kite spring total is 93 from 8/4-19/6. Bad weather in southern England may be holding up a few birds.

12:46 16/06 European Honey Buzzard Alderney/ Alderney 12:42 one in low over cliffs by impot then north

16:40 15/06 European Honey Buzzard West Sussex Shoreham-by-Sea 10:30 one drifted over north side this morning

08:46 13/06 European Honey Buzzard Suffolk Minsmere RSPB one flew north over South Belt; also Spotted Redshank on scrape

June 18th: max 16C, min 9C, light NE breeze, bright day with some sunny spells and some heavier cloud, 3 days to solstice. First task of day was to visit Supreme Court at 10:00 on live stream for judgment on case below. Thought we (MBS) were destined to almost certainly lose their appeal and current bond prices had nothing in them for a bonus from the result. So while listening to Lord Reed was amazed when he said the appeal was going to be allowed. Bond prices rose sharply c25% once dealing started again https://www.londonstockexchange.com/live-markets/market-data-dashboard/price-explorer?q=mbs&world=quotes with this comment by MBS on what the result means https://www.londonstockexchange.com/news-article/MBSR/statement-regarding-supreme-court-judgment/15023898. Hold 398k nominal in MBS bonds (2.69% of total issue of their PIBS of £14.788m), bought for 88k over last 2 years (22% of nominal price), worth today 183k. Gain on week in MBS was 38k, offsetting loss of 6k on rest of funds in very weak markets (quadwitching!), including 3k withdrawal. So funds gained 32k on week, raising gain ytd to 315k gross (+25.5%), 299k net, with ftse 100 on ytd +7.5%, ftse 250 +11.0%. If interest payments resume on the PIBS next year, as expected, then my annual fixed dividends would be £29.14k a year or 32.93% on original investment.

Supreme Court: Manchester Building Society (Appellant) v Grant Thornton UK LLP (Respondent) [2021] UKSC 20 On appeal from: [2019] EWCA Civ 40 https://www.supremecourt.uk/press-summary/uksc-2019-0040.html

This appeal concerns the approach to ascertaining the scope of a defendant’s duty of care laid down in South Australia Asset Management Corpn v York Montague Ltd [1997] AC 191 ("SAAMCO"), in the context of professional advice given by accountants. It is one of two appeals heard by the same panel of seven justices, examining the application of SAAMCO in different fields. It is being handed down and should be read together with the Court’s judgment in Khan v Meadows [2021] UKSC 21.

The appellant, Manchester Building Society (the "society") is a small mutual building society. Until 2012, the society’s accounts were audited by the respondent, Grant Thornton UK LLP ("Grant Thornton"), a firm of accountants. In 2006 and annually thereafter, Grant Thornton incorrectly and negligently advised the society that its accounts could be prepared according to a method known as "hedge accounting" and that accounts prepared using that method gave a true and fair view of the society’s financial position. In reliance on that advice, the society carried on a strategy of entering into long-term interest rate swaps as a hedge against the cost of borrowing money to fund its lifetime mortgages business. The misstated accounts served to hide volatility in the society’s capital position and what became a severe mismatch between the negative value of the swaps and the value of the mortgages which the swaps were supposed to hedge. When, in 2013, Grant Thornton realised its error, the society had to restate its accounts, showing substantially reduced assets and insufficient regulatory capital. To remedy the situation, the society closed out the interest rate swap contracts early at a cost of over £32m.

The issue on this appeal is whether the society can recover in damages the cost of closing out the swaps from Grant Thornton. The trial judge and the Court of Appeal held it cannot, in each case based on their understanding of the scope of duty principle illustrated in SAAMCO.

Judgment

The Supreme Court unanimously allows the appeal. It holds that the society suffered a loss falling within the scope of the duty of care assumed by Grant Thornton, having regard to the purpose for which it gave its advice on the use of hedge accounting. Grant Thornton is liable for the loss suffered by the society in breaking the swaps early, subject to a reduction in damages of 50% for contributory negligence. Lord Hodge and Lord Sales give the lead judgment with whom Lord Reed, Lady Black and Lord Kitchin agree. Lord Burrows and Lord Leggatt each give a concurring judgment.

So at 10:15 joined N/D for normal Skype chat until 11:45, all very matey, had warned them that I would be late and elaborated a little. Then got out hedge trimmer to cut front garden and roadside verge b4 making N4c4ll. Later made W4g4s with D/D where football match on, which we ignored, prefer to chat! Stopped briefly in Dipton Wood at 22:45 where had 2 Tawny Owl calling to add to a Tawny Owl calling in the Sele, Hexham, last night with 3+ Tawny Owl landing on my roof and making a racket later. Have received a lovely father's day card and grandad's card from daughter's lot! Next Friday, no W, back to Sage and maybe MP b4!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

June 17th: max 18C, min 9C, light W breeze, mainly sunny with some fair weather cumulus, 4 days to solstice. Entry on home page:

17th June 2021: Updated pages for counties in central southern England (Isle of Wight, Hampshire, Sussex) and south west England (Devon, Cornwall) with all sightings mapped.

Another sociable day, making T4c4c with M/B and G4g4s with R/P/R, both for good chats! Made public the mapping of my Honey-buzzard sightings as above with details of the records to follow soon for Devon and Cornwall. This time have secured the Birds of Sussex 1938 though paid £5 more to reflect true cost of postage. Amazon order arrived today at 17:15 – very efficient – installed CO sensor immediately and checked tyre pressures with inflator, no leakage on 3 of them at 2.1 bar and one just slightly down at 2.05 bar; a quick burst from the compressor restored it to right pressure. Impressed with inflator, runs off car's power socket, more usually used for cigarette lighting so very little manual effort. Good glow from yesterday: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xxxx

June 16th: max 18C, min 9C, light W breeze, cloudy with sunny intervals, 5 days to solstice, sunrise 04:29, sunset 21:50, day length 17 hours 21 min for tomorrow (17/6).

Did some more work on Honey-buzzard in Sussex, adding information from the 2 books received so far:

des Forges and Harber (1963) summarise the status of the Honey-buzzard in Sussex as follows:

About sixty have been recorded since 1837. There have been only three records since 1938, the most recent being of one seen at Beach Head on August 27th, 1960.

There is one record for May (26th, 1925, near Eastbourne) but all other spring records are for June. Autumn records are from late August to early November with most in September and October.”

Shrubb (1979) recorded the status as: Rare passage migrant. Although the number recorded has greatly increased in recent years, no real change in status may have occurred. He added to the account of des Forges & Harber:

Between 1961 and 1976 there were 35 records for: May (four), June (three), August (five), September (21), and October (two). Spring dates fell between 9 May (1971, Beachy Head, the earliest county record), and autumn dates between 16 August and 24 October. All but seven of these birds were seen at or near Beachy Head, where watching for passage raptores (sic) has been carried out regularly since 1965. Probably Honey Buzzards are regular passage migrants there, at least in autumn.”

Shrubb clearly suspects that the increased numbers in the 1960s and 1970s may be due to increased observer effort at Beachy Head, rather than representing a genuine increase in numbers. However, rather ambiguously he does record in Table XII (p.333) Honey-buzzard as a passage migrant, with change in status – increasing in county – with the reason being 'British population increase ?'. So there was some uncertainty as to the status of the Honey-buzzard in Sussex, even though numbers recorded were increasing.

My initial purchase of Birds of Sussex by Walpole-Bond (1938) on Abe Books had a major problem: bookseller had already sold it. So I've ordered again from another store tonight for £113.20, including postage. Had brisk walk along Quayside in my shorts! Did make NCL; train in was 18 min late as it had to give way to 2 late-running 'expresses' from CAR. Was made to feel very welcome: she's so motivating: hope the gorgeous one's not going to disappear for long this autumn. Had 8 species on Quayside: 1255 Kittiwake (860 adult Newcastle side, 395 adult Gateshead side), 29 Feral Pigeon, 13 Herring Gull adult, 3 LBBG adult, 2 Jackdaw, 2 Crow, 2 Greenfinch, 2 Goldfinch. While in the market also bought on ebay a cocktail watch and a watch key, both marked with my grandfather's sales logo Rossiter for £28 total and more practically, on Amazon, a carbon monoxide sensor needed for safety with solid fuel fire for £14 and a digital portable tyre inflator for the Škoda for £22; my existing sensor has expired and the inflator (not a pump) is going to be very convenient. No problems with new car but only done 2,250 miles since November; mileage will increase in next 2 months as doing more survey work in the South Tyne. I like the car: rugged and economical! lok2tgrf xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xxxxxx

June 15th: max 21C, min 14C, light SW breeze, sunny virtually all day, solstice is 21/6 this year. Did do a bit of scanning the skies from home at 12:00-12:45, had a male Honey-buzzard flying out to forage to N at 12:28 straight from his nest site. Two Common Buzzard circled overhead at 12:10 followed by a single hanging close to my house from 12:32-12:36. Pleased to have a Large Red Damselfly on my pond (so 2 species of damselfly now, see 6/6 8/6) and a young toad in the grass near same pond. Moles are thriving, which will not please my neighbours! Two male Pied Flycatcher were in the Field Maple copse at 16:30, must be birds from Letah Wood, c2km away to N, where they breed (see 29/6). A Chiffchaff was feeding actively in an ash tree by the road at 12:10. Did loads of grass cutting today: all of the back area has been done over the past 2 days; also did some tidying-up in dining room, recovering a 50-year old zither, which have cleaned and put upstairs in son's room next to his old viola. Will be into NCL 2moro from RDM ex 12:05, rtn 14:56. Funds continue to rise with PoO, now reaching over $74 a barrel of Brent. Gain on wtd is 10k gross, 7k net, latter after present! Have to thank all the woke sentiment for making oil shares so cheap! It's going to take a while for investment in new oil production to overcome the current shortage. If it happens the energy transition will take at least 20 years and that's only for developed countries. It's proving difficult to extend the life of existing nuclear power stations and there aren't enough new ones under construction. Unreliability of wind and solar is going to lead to natural gas being our dominant fuel for the foreseeable future with oil still needed for chemicals and plastics everywhere and for transport in the developing world. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

June 14th: max 16C, min 8C, moderate W breeze, cloudy, dry, much cooler feel. Did a lot of gardening in afternoon, with more invigorating weather, lower pollen count reducing hay fever, and last but not least, pressing need! Earlier made N4c4ll where did sit outside. Completed processing yesterday's trip to Warden so right up to date with records. Much later made G4g4s where good to have M on but no friends out. A quiet day: lawyer mate tmmhf returned to London!! Gave son 3k for birthday and that will be going rate for birthdays and Xmas for family for next year; last payments were 2.5k; new total is 24k a year. Here's latest piccie of grandkids, 6 and 4: older one is far taller than younger one! They're going to Greece soon for a week with son pet-sitting their dog and cat in their house. Been watching the new news channel GB, like the freer debate on issues like lockdown. Things don't look good for the theatre and hospitality sectors:

Equity, the performing arts union, said the delay was a "catastrophic blow" and called for more grants to support the sector as well as reform of support measures for the self-employed, which it says excludes a large proportion of its members. https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-lost-summer-fear-over-delay-to-end-of-lockdown-restrictions-12332615

Business groups have warned that pubs, bars, restaurants and nightclubs face significant hardship or collapse after the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in England was postponed for four weeks without new financial support from the government. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jun/14/restaurants-and-pubs-face-collapse-during-extended-england-lockdown

There's so much fear around. About half the people walking around the streets of Hexham outside at lunchtime are wearing masks, contrary to advice. Landlord of G was depressed. Why does continental Europe have so many fewer cases than us when they are lagging our vaccination effort? Why has much of the US reopened completely (e.g. Texas, Florida) without any problems? Problem countries now are mainly in South America – Brazil, Argentina, Colombia – with Indian totals declining. Russia and Iran suffer from persistently high cases. Why are the UK's the highest in Europe, even above those in Turkey, and almost as high as the US, which has a much higher population. Why aren't the media asking these questions? Suspect that overcrowding in deprived areas of the world, combined with vaccine hesitancy in such areas, is keeping the pandemic going. Might come into Toon on Wednesday!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xx

June 13th: max 22C, min 14C, moderate SW breeze, sunny periods, superb weather. Sunrise 04:30, sunset 21:47. day length 17 hours 17 min, about a week to the summer solstice. Made Warden for good walk along lower South Tyne from 15:50-17:45, getting Honey-buzzard at 3 sites (2,2,1), Common Buzzard at 2 and Red Kite and Raven at 1. The raptors were really active in perfect conditions with a breeze and strong sunshine. The Honey-buzzard display was so vigorous at the site to W (Allerwash) that wonder if we're near the end of this year's display; certainly when the birds are so conspicuous that you wonder how people can possibly miss them, that's the signal for the start of invisibility! The birds here were up from 16:10-16:45 (35 min), alternating high floating together with vigorous chasing closer to the ground. At the 2 other sites (Hexham High Wood, Greenshaw Plain), the males were doing high circling, indicating that the female is sitting and the males are signalling to late migrants that the site is occupied. The male at High Wood was right over the nesting area but the one at Greenshaw Plain at 16:48 was half-way towards the Frankham site, obviously concerned at the wild party taking place! Near the end the female at Greenshaw Plain came out flying E over the South Tyne at 17:18. Common Buzzard comprised a pair up over Warden Hill from 15:56-16:40 and a single which came out flapping heavily towards Warden Hill from Greenshaw Plain at 17:38. 2 Red Kite were up over Warden Hill, one up with the Common Buzzard at 15:57, the other hunting over the W slopes of Warden Hill at 16:25. The Raven was aggressively mobbing the Common Buzzard over Warden Hill at 15:56. Total for bird-types for the trip was 33, including a brood of 3 large young Mallard, 6 Oystercatcher, a Great Spotted Woodpecker by a nest hole, 2 Sand Martin, 12 Swallow, single Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, 2 Grey Wagtail (adult and juvenile), 1 Lesser Redpoll. Quite a day: lawyer mate tmmhf returned from London!!! Watched cursorily Hartlepool beat Stockport 1-0 in other NL semi-final, a dour game not like yesterday's; so it's NE vs SW next Sunday in Bristol. Caught up completely on Honey-buzzard records while watching. Made G4g4s where 3 of us P/R + me out for good crack. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xxxx

June 12th: max 17C, min 12C, light SW breeze, sunny periods. Brought bird records almost up to date, need to process 10/6 Hexham NE and Quayside yesterday. NL football, see below, caught my attention today; the other semi-final is tomorrow 13/6 Stockport vs Hartlepool at noon. After match made HEX for catch-up: SD for new Gillette shaver + 12 blades (£15), N4c4t (good ambience, sat outside, very friendly), P4ft&hc + rw, W4bigshop (£50, less this week but more spent elsewhere). Also had dishwasher and washing machine both in action. You can guess I've fallen out with C; they're too lazy to put tables outside and seem to enjoy bossing people around inside, very poor PR. FT was good read, explaining why oil is on a more secure footing with all the woke pressures to reduce supply while demand continues to rise. One of my best investments over the past 2 years has been ENQ1 https://www.londonstockexchange.com/stock/ENQ1/enquest-plc/company-page – Enquest's 7% debt, available at 30% of face value in the crash in April 2020 (yielding 23% flat, 46% to maturity at 100% in 2023!) and now trading at 97%. Have made 80k on that but must admit when buying it in the crash, it was not easy – forcing my finger down onto the buy button! Enquest, registered in the UK, is an oil producer in the northern North Sea and Malaysia, which has just refinanced its debt. Dismayed at timidity of UK in removing final Covid restrictions but could be beneficial to funds as virtually nothing in UK domestic stocks while invested heavily in North American stocks and UK $-exporting companies, which will benefit from likely fall in £. Hope that further help will be made available to the theatre/concert industry. Pleased to receive message today from Public Campaign for the Arts: “Dear Nick, Fantastic news: over 160,000 people have now joined you in signing the Public Campaign for the Arts petition against planned cuts to arts courses in higher education … “. Have son's birthday next week and daughter has sent me latest piccie of the 2 darlings! Had a glass of Malbec tonight – to absent friends, from my duplicate bottle! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xx

Honey-buzzard continue to arrive, with 5 since 9/6, bringing total for June to 27, to add to 52 for May and 12 for April, giving spring total 91. Black Kite spring total is 88 from 8/4-12/6, amazing!

20:43 12/06 European Honey Buzzard Kent Dungeness RSPB one flew over Boulderwall Farm towards power station this afternoon

16:32 12/06 European Honey Buzzard Kent Kingsdown 16:05 one flew north

12:23 12/06 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Sheringham 08:50 one flew west

22:52 11/06 European Honey Buzzard Dorset Lytchett Bay

09:57 10/06 European Honey Buzzard Kent Dungeness NNR 09:51 one flew in off the sea

June 11th: max 16C, min 13C, moderate SW breeze, sunny periods. Highlight of day was reopening of Sage for live concerts by RNS – a Bach fest led brilliantly by violinist Rachel Podger. We heard 4 pieces, Sonata From Cantata: Der Himmel Lacht! Die Erde Jubilieret!; Brandenburg Concerto No.1 In F; Violin Concerto In A Minor; Orchestral Suite No.3 In D Major. The first piece was very lively: when the heavens laugh, the earth rejoices. The best known piece was the last one, from which the Air on a G String is derived, playing a significant role in Hamlet cigar adverts, before they were banned under early woke legislation! The players had changed the A and E strings of their violins to original gut, which gave a beautiful, more mellow sound; didn't notice any tuning problems which can occur! So it was all beautifully played and was so lovely to have a live concert. Thought the logistics of the event were handled better, regulations were light touch with more enjoyment allowed. The pre-concert performance by 4 RNS players was a brilliant idea, giving value-added to those that had attended in person, and a good opportunity to eye up a beauty!! Made B4g4s, great to be back there, and caught last train back to RDM. Matinee went very well – becoming a student of clouds – she's so gorgeous -- lok2tgrf … xxxxx XXX!!!!!! At start of day had 2-hour session with shielding mates N/D on Skype. Funds had a good week at +13k with continued recovery in oil market, making gain on ytd 280k gross (+22.7%), 267k net, with ftse 100 on ytd +9.3%, ftse 250 +13.0%. Count at Quayside was 9 bird-types: Kittiwake 1065 adults, 740 on Newcastle side, 325 on Gateshead side, 20 Feral Pigeon, 18 Herring Gull (17 ad, 1 2s), 4 LBBG ad, 2 Magpie, 2 Jackdaw, 2 Greenfinch, 1 Blackbird, 1 GBBG 1s.

At 14:45 12/6 just spent 3 hours watching the Gulls on BT Sport, beating Notts Co 4-2 after extra time to reach the final of the NL play-off next Sunday at Bristol: brilliant!! Did think BT commentary was a little biased, in favour of aristocrats Notts Co; smooth possession is useful but not as important as decisively taking your chances. Querying our penalty on the grounds that Ellis did get a toe to the ball is also a populist view on the rules; CLE was felled by the physical challenge when in a goalscoring position; CLE's choreography was however spot-on! Game changer was our lively forward subs at start of ET to run at the visitors' defence. Crowd at Torquay was fantastically supportive (not many masks there!) and the location of the final on neutral ground at Bristol in the SW may be a help for the Devon club. Wembley's not available because of the €s: Belgium 3 Russia 0 maybe divided loyalty! xx

June 10th: max 16C, min 9C, moderate SW breeze, cloudy at times but mostly sunny, feeling fresher by day. Met M at T4c4c for enjoyable chat. Cleaner S came at 15:30 so out then to Hexham NE, E of Egger plant, by Anick Grange, a regular Honey-buzzard site, from 15:30-17:25. Had the male up at 15:42, 15:45 and 16:19 with the female at 15:46, both keeping very close to a part of a Scots Pine copse, where suspect nest-building is under way. Had a pale Common Buzzard up ,over same area plus another patrolling to SE. A Red Kite was seen and heard as it came down in a small copse of trees to W at 17:15. An oil-seed rape crop, almost finished flowering, held a Whitethroat, a pair of Reed Bunting and a Sedge Warbler – it's a substitute for reeds. Total for birds was 27 types, including 2 Stock Dove, 2 agitated Oystercatcher, a Common Gull 1s, 3 Sand Martin, 2 Yellowhammer. Have a backlog of field sightings now to add to database and here – next task while ease up on fieldwork. Made G4g4s where 7 of us out – marvellous, including 3 people who hadn't been out since the lockdown. Landlord J's arm is very poorly, though fully set now, needs 6-8 weeks to recover; his daughter l is helping out in the business in a grand way! Made webinars in Japan at 18:00 and Leeds at 19:00, former for Mike's paper, now added to CT page (M's good at the sociology), latter for Stephen Sondheim who was born into a Jewish family in New York City, and is still alive, aged 91. The panel consisted of Dame Josephine Barstow (Madam Armfeldt, soprano, unable to connect to Webinar tonite), Stephanie Corley (Desiree, soprano), David Benedict (Sondheim biographer and writer), Madeleine Boyd (Set & Costume Designer), Jim Holmes (Conductor). Was all new to me and not my typical genre but some fascinating information. A Little Night Music, to be performed soon in Leeds, was written in 1973 and the whole piece is almost entirely in waltz (3) time, representing the prevailing triangular relationships (sounds like category theory!). An advantage of a webinar is that you can make coffee and generally fiddle around. I did play some of the pieces on my phone, including Send In The Clowns sung by Barbra Streisand, which I found quite sensuous https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODqj9Mq39FM. Looking forward loads to 2moro: will be cheering on: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xxxx

June 9th: max 19C, min 14C, moderate SW breeze, cloudy at times but mostly sunny, feeling fresher by day with the stronger breeze and night times much warmer. Another trip out to Tyne Valley W, chasing Honey-buzzard sites in a core area, making Shilford from Broomley side from 12:35-13:55. Cleaned up on 2 sites with a Common Buzzard, a Red Kite and a male Honey-buzzard up low-down over the back of the nesting wood at Shilford, in a bit of aggravation. When raptors nest together, there tends to be a little tension over who's the boss which is good as it makes the birds more visible! Action only lasted 30 seconds – what you might call a quick climax!! Later had another male Honey-buzzard coming my way from the next site to the W at Farnley; he was flying high and then suddenly put the brakes on, turned round and went back to his own site; maybe the Shilford male, who was already a little elevated, was getting ready to intercept! Far more males (17) have been seen than females (8) in the study area this season in the 18 sites occupied; the males are behaving normally, maybe the females are busy nest-building (below the canopy) in the reduced time available after the cold start weather-wise. It's also possible that some have not arrived yet (see below with migrants clearly continuing to come). Had a female Kestrel hunting at Dilston at 12:25. Other birds, in trip total of 28 bird-types, included a Yellow Wagtail male, carrying food, a singing Curlew, 2 agitated Whitethroat, 3 Yellowhammer, 7 Linnet, 1 singing Willow Warbler. The Sussex book from 1963 arrived but it doesn't itemise earlier records in the county so have ordered from Abe Books History of the Birds of Sussex by JA Walpole-Bond, 3 volumes, 1140 pp, 53 colour plates (1938) – a collector's item, love old books – £125 + 3.95 p&p. Made Sal4c4ll where fortuitously met A/A from Slaley, who've been shielding, for good chat; also met 3 mates from the G there – so very sociable!! Funds made new record today! Could do with more days like yesterday: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xx

Mike and I are involved in a session in Japan tomorrow: M's handling the discussion! I'm attending an Opera North Zoom session at 19:00 tomorrow – Sondheim Insight Event.

Michael Heather and Nick Rossiter AB00191 Cultural Emergentism

Michael Heather (michael.heather@btinternet.com, University of Cambridge), Nick Rossiter (Northumbria University)

The Theory of Evolution is a cultural belief and itself a prime example of the evolution of culture. At first sight emergence might be thought to belong more naturally to the alternative culture of creationism. Although not explicit in Darwin’s work emergence was nevertheless implicit to any notion of change and soon afterwards introduced within ‘emergent evolution’. More recently the two concepts have become allied through the perceived process of self-organisation in statistics. Now however the two have been brought even closer by the move from self-organisation to self creation. The self-creation of mutants within COVID-19 is an example of the pressing social problem of cultural evolution.

Simple evolution is bottom up while creation is simply top down and the concept of emergent evolution seems both simultaneously. Classically problematic self creation may well rely on processes of quantum mechanics. This paper examines formally how that is to be understood in the higher logic of monadism.

Cultural Evolution Society, Conference 2021 Sapporo, virtual sessions hosted by Hokkaido University, Japan

10/06/21 Plenary Talk 4 (Live), 17:10-18:10, Main stage; Speaker: Marcus Feldman (Stanford University); Discussion Session 2, 18:10-19:00, Gathertown

https://www.chain.hokudai.ac.jp/CES2020/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/fullprogram.pdf https://www.chain.hokudai.ac.jp/CES2020/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/abstracts.pdf

Honey-buzzard continue to arrive, with 10 since 4/6, bringing total for June to 22, to add to 52 for May and 12 for April, giving spring total 86. Black Kite spring total is 85 from 8/4-9/6, amazing!

10:05 09/06 European Honey Buzzard Kent St Margaret's at Cliffe 10:04 one flew inland at Bockhill Farm

10:02 09/06 European Honey Buzzard Kent South Foreland 09:55 one flew in off the sea and continued north

16:35 08/06 European Honey Buzzard Devon Exwick 16:15 adult female flew north-east

18:05 07/06 European Honey Buzzard Hampshire Titchfield one flew south along River Meon then over The Solent and lost to view towards Osborne House, Isle of Wight

13:48 07/06 European Honey Buzzard Isle of Wight East Cowes 12:05 one over Osborne Bay then flew south-west (observed from Titchfield)

14:17 06/06 European Honey Buzzard East Sussex Firle 14:00 one drifted east

13:06 06/06 European Honey Buzzard Lincolnshire Skegness 12:53 one flew in off the sea over Skegness Pier

11:14 06/06 European Honey Buzzard Kent Sandwich Bay 11:10 one flew south over Green Wall; also 80+ Red Kites flew through prior to 11:05

16:29 05/06 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Blofield Heath one flew over Hemblington Church

14:32 05/06 European Honey Buzzard Kent Sholden 14:29 one flew north

June 8th: max 17C, min 11C, light SW breeze, cloudy and humid with occasional sunny intervals. From home page:

8th June 2021: Added Honey-buzzard page from visit to Sussex in May/June 2019 (Honey-buzzard in Sussex).

Added discussion, await earlier material by post. Next up is Bucks. Scanned the Devil's Water around 13:15, seeing a Red Kite again up over Steel and, in the farmer's field opposite mine, a male Common Blue Damselfly plus 6 Tree Sparrow, collecting food for their young. Made N4c4ll, where S was doing the honours well! Noticed a very dejected Big Issue seller – it's a hard job in HEX – bought one from her for £5, lovely smile! Into WJS for dinner – marvellous, right up to top expectations, good food, was gr8 to be given plans for next season, will help fully maybe pro rata!! Back on 21:25 NCL-RDM and decided to drive to N tip of Dipton Wood and take some reflective nite air from 22:10-22:40. Had 3 roding Woodcock, a calling Tawny Owl and a churring Nightjar, the last 'singing' from 22:25-22:32; a Barn Owl was in flight at Lamb Shield at 22:45 giving 4 iconic species of the nite! Funds +1k on wtd with oil shares still lagging PoO, now over $72. Certainly looked good: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xx

June 7th: max 17C, min 9C, light SW breeze, cloudy and humid, occasional hazy sunny spells, light shower at lunchtime. So car parked at lunchtime at Stocksfield Station got a wash! Was at Stocksfield Mount from 11:50-13:35 for a bizarre session. I was expecting sun to come out more strongly, breaking through the murk, and so did the raptors with 5 types clearly mobilising low-down at Bywell Cottagebank from 12:07-12:29, comprising a Red Kite and a male Sparrowhawk up at 12:07, a Black Kite and a female Honey-buzzard appearing below the Red Kite, close to the canopy, at 12:08, a Black Kite up at 12:20 with Common Buzzard briefly seen, Black Kite up again at 12:27 with a male Honey-buzzard flying through the tree-tops low into the site, Red Kite up again at 12:29. Very encouraging but then the cloud thickened, eventually leading to a shower, and activity ceased at this site. Did pick up raptors elsewhere in view though with a Red Kite, mobbed by Jackdaw, at Bywell Castle at 13:04, a male Honey-buzzard in high circling at Whittle Dene at 13:07 and at 2nd site in this tetrad a Red Kite gliding into the Short Wood E site at 13:14. Stopped at Shilford from 13:35-14:00 where had a Red Kite up briefly, hanging over western area of site. So raptor total for area was 9 birds of 5 types: 3 Red Kite, 3 Honey-buzzard (new site at Whittle Dene with male, new female at Bywell), 1 Black Kite (clearly breeding), 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Common Buzzard. Trip total was 25 bird-types, including a Green Woodpecker, 2 Jay, 1 singing Chiffchaff. Later viewing Devil's Water from home at 16:50 had a Red Kite up at Whitley Chapel and a Common Buzzard, carrying prey, at Peth Foot. Found N closed for lunch at HEX so back to only 1 staff member on; went to courtyard of Salute (Italian) for coffee and shortbread. Much later 4 of us (me/P/R/R) made G where had good chat, with M on; not busy, a lot of hospitality places are struggling to make money with restrictions. Looking forward 2 2moro!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Added map to my web pages for my Honey-buzzard records in central southern England:

A map of NR's sightings of Honey-buzzard in central southern England, including Hampshire, Sussex and Isle of Wight, from 2012-2019 is available here.

June 6th: max 18C, min 10C, light W breeze becoming E later, strong sunshine in morning, cloudier in afternoon, dry. Make hay while the sun shines, so had a lightning trip of an hour to Slaley Forest NW from 16:45-17:45. This was the last of the 'Shire sites to be visited this season and was delighted to find a male Honey-buzzard present: picked him up at 17:10 1km to N in straight-line flapping flight towards the site, lost him behind some trees and then at 17:12 he came up briefly above the regular nest site, which I intend to visit this year, climbing a little and then diving quickly down into the trees. This result means 6/6 Shire sites are occupied this year – very satisfying! Later at 17:29 had 2 Red Kite here, over a silage-cut field, presumed to be from 2 different sites as the food was the attraction, not the territory. Other counts were 9 Curlew (reassuring in view of declines away from the county), 2 Stock Dove, 3 Swift, a Bullfinch, a Greenfinch, in total of 22 bird-types. Had a female Common Blue Damselfly in my field, well away from water. Did a lot of work on Sussex page today, worth it because it is a county with high passage numbers and breeding population; need to add Discussion and early material when it arrives. Pleased that maintaining progress on book while keeping the fieldwork going! Made Cnt4g4s tonite as G closed – friendly enough but quiet! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Here are running totals for the current season (from home page at http://nickrossiter.org.uk/hbweb/index.html), just to show the population of the Honey-buzzard continues to be healthy.

Breeding: Running Totals to 6/6 (all data compiled)

Total Sites

Male

Female

Total Adult

Sites Occupied Fledging

Total Juvenile

15

14

7

21

N/A

N/A



Study Area 2021: Migrants

Spring: Totals 16/4 to 6/6

Male

Female

Juv-enile

Total

5

3

N/A

8

1 female arriving from S and overshooting slightly over nest site Ordley (Devil's Water) 16/4; 1 male intruder at a Bywell site, 1 female, 3 male soaring high and moving NW at same site (Tyne Valley W) 18/5. 1 male pale-phase intruder at Prudhoe S, departing to N high-up (Tyne Valley E) 27/5. 1 female intruder feeding away from pair in SW corner of Dipton Wood (Devil's Water) 2/6.


June 5th: max 20C, min 11C, light W breeze, strong sunshine all day, a few short cloudy spells, dry. Another fine day, went for walk in N side of Dipton Wood from 13:00-15:30. Confirmed Woodlark breeding with 2 birds seen, 1 carrying food, perched at the top of a tree. Also had 2 pairs of Stonechat and 2 pairs of Tree Pipit, 2 Mistle Thrush (all these species also carrying food), 6 Siskin and single singing Willow Warbler and Garden Warbler. Across the valley at the Swallowship site a female Honey-buzzard was floating over the woodland W of Dukes House at 13:47 before going to ground for feeding purposes, not seen again; the male was up over similar spot at 14:41, doing briefly some butterfly display before also disappearing into the woodland. That's 5 out of 6 'Shire sites now found to be occupied, 1 still to visit. Then made W4bigshop spending £71; sure that prices are going up, particularly of fruit and salad. Had a 2s Common Gull flying over Ordley at 17:00. Bought FT – it's keen on non-USA value-oriented stocks – agree with that! Had long chat with big sis on 'phone – 1 hour and 10 min – good catch-up! Still writing up Sussex Honey-buzzard; have ordered on ebay the books by Forges & Harber (1963, £7.80 incl p&p) and Shrubb (1979, £5.52 incl p&p) to see in more detail what happened earlier. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

June 4th: max 17C, min 7C, light W breeze, strong sunshine all day, dry. Sunrise 04:35, sunset 21:39, day length 17 hour 4 min. As came back from W at 23:00 glow in NW sky from Dipton Wood was very bright and by 02:30 the first signs of dawn are visible in NE. It's marvellous weather at just the right time!! Cut back the verge and the beech hedge by the front gate to increase visibility; everything has grown so fast over the past 2 weeks. Almost caught up with records, compiling 27/5 Prudhoe S as final one. Made N4c4ll where sat outside and W4g4s where sat inside with D/D for good chat. At dusk had a Long-eared Owl fly across the road at Dipton Wood E at 22:40 and 2 roding Woodcock and a calling Tawny Owl in the centre of the wood at 23:00. Funds had a good week with PoO at $71.53 by the end; gain was 20k on week raising gain ytd to 267k gross (+21.7%), 254k net, with ftse 100 at +8.3%, ftse 250 +13.5%. Funds are 4k off record on 10/5. Sussex Bird Report 2019 has arrived – quick! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Honey-buzzard continue to be very mobile, with 12 since 31/5, bringing total for June to 12, to add to 52 for May and 12 for April, giving spring total 76. Black Kite spring total is also 76, from 8/4-3/6.

19:45 04/06 European Honey Buzzard Gloucestershire Winchcombe 18:10 one at Langley Hill Wood this evening before flying off north

14:22 04/06 European Honey Buzzard North Yorkshire Scarborough 10:03 male flew north over South Cliff between 09:55 and 10:03

11:43 04/06 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Norwich 10:30 one flew south over Daniels Road

20:38 03/06 European Honey Buzzard Alderney Alderney male flew over Burhou at midday

11:46 03/06 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Hickling Broad 11:35 one flew north

09:49 03/06 European Honey Buzzard West Yorkshire Fairburn Ings RSPB 09:30 one flew north

09:38 03/06 European Honey Buzzard West Yorkshire St Aidan's RSPB (Swillington Ings) 09:20 one over Main Lake then continued south-east

23:04 02/06 European Honey Buzzard Alderney Alderney 16:00 01/06 one flew east over golf course; also Eurasian Spoonbill

14:47 02/06 European Honey Buzzard Hampshire Hill Head one flew south towards Cowes this morning

12:14 02/06 European Honey Buzzard Leicestershire and Rutland Market Harborough 12:10 one flew over towards Dingley/ Desborough

11:44 02/06 European Honey Buzzard Guernsey Jaonneuse Bay 10:23 one flew north

18:05 01/06 European Honey Buzzard Hampshire Acres Down 12:50 one early afternoon; also 2 Northern Goshawk

June 3rd: max 18C, min 9C, light E breeze becoming W at ttime, hazy sunshine in morning, cloudy in afternoon. Met M/B for good chat at T4c4c; they are very welcoming! Given up C4c while they try and sort out how to manage their space in a hospitable manner! G was almost closed this evening but day was saved by J's daughter helping out: could see the odd amusing problem – daughters answer back more than staff!! There were 4 of us out for lively catch-up – marvellous! G is however closing on Saturday and Sunday. Desperately need full opening so that SD can be abandoned. Weather was not so good for raptors with cloudy skies and virtually no wind but did make Prospect Hill from 15:15-17:15 while cleaner S at my house. No Honey-buzzard or indeed other broad-winged raptors seen but did have a pair of Hobby in exciting aerial display: at 16:51 pair up displaying to W end of hill, with male Goshawk below, keeping an evil eye open. Also had a Little Egret in the valley below at Farnley at 16:05 – 1st seen in the county for a while. Total for trip was 25 types, also including 5 House Martin, a Lapwing, 4 Yellowhammer, 3 Skylark, 3 Linnet. Later had first Nightjar of the season, hawking over the road at Letah Wood at 23:50. Thinking of someone: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

June 2nd: max 19C, min 10C, light E breeze, sunny after early mist, in shorts all day! Did some more work on Gilbert White, adding the 1781 Honey-buzzard record to the Hampshire page and updating references. Made C4c4ll and then went for walk from 14:50-16:25 along the S edge of Dipton Wood, prime raptor country. Almost immediately at 15:01 had a female Honey-buzzard over the SW corner, hanging fairly low-down and moving very slowly to E; she was a dark bird, rather like a dark-phase juvenile in shade; think she was in hunting mode, slowly patrolling over the trees looking for a place to land for a walkabout; she did come down quickly and was not seen again. Last year's site is close to a Goshawk site but did not see the latter today. However, did have the male climbing quickly and then descending rapidly at 15:33 and 15:50, and the dark red-brown female keeping lower but also up above the canopy at 15:48 and 16:02; they didn't have any direct interaction! Neither deviated at all from the block of trees in which they nest so presume the female seen earlier is an intruder, probably a bird on its way to higher ground in Northumberland or Scotland. Did suspect that the frequent activity at the nest site was being used to deter invaders! A Common Buzzard was up briefly at 15:31 near the Honey-buzzard's nest site but again there was no interaction. Total of 26 bird-types included 2 agitated Curlew, a Tree Sparrow, 3 Siskin, 65 Starling, enormous gathering of 560 Rook on freshly-cut field for silage with 2 LBBG (ad, 2s) and 7 Herring Gull, 1 singing Chiffchaff. As yesterday followed walk with some energetic grass cutting area by pony shelters; the vegetation is growing so fast with the rapid rise in temperature, even the Ash trees are coming out, surely one of latest ever for them. “If the oak comes out before the ash, the summer will be a splash”: we shall see – other way round is a soak! Think I'm getting quite fit! Hope work is going well: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Recovered 25 video clips from 31/5 as HQ MP4 using winfr:

winfr g: d:\recovery /extensive /n *.MP4

So reassuring but btw: don't let old SD (Secure Digital) card or indeed any drive get into anyone else's hands: they could restore piccies and document files from years ago, even if they show as deleted. It is commonly believed that re-formatting will erase all data but this is not generally true: a new empty directory is created with disk checked for errors but data is usually left as it was, though it can now be overwritten. Data wiping is a solution popular with businesses – typically overwriting the whole disk or card with zeros or ones. Or you could fill the whole card with a clip of today's TV! That is why when my laptop totally failed in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2010 I brought it home -- couldn't risk it being dissected locally – and buried it in my field, where the 2017 failure also lies! I burn old SD cards and portable disks on my fire!

June 1st: max 21C, min 8C, light SE breeze, sunny throughout, dry, in shorts all day! No fieldwork today, taking it steadily as want to keep up the book side. Today made a lot of progress on Hampshire account (adding Gilbert White's record 1780) and Sussex account, adding my own records, and cheque book arrived so sent off for 2019 Sussex Bird Report for £13. Made N4c4ll, could sit outside there while C hadn't put their tables out, prefer the outdoors mode! One problem emerged today; yesterday the Nikon camera SD card had run out of disk space and the battery was very low, meaning couldn't transfer the piccies to the computer as normally do straight after taking. So today recharged the Nikon, copied all the files copied already to main computer to 2 external drives (giving 3 copies of each) and then erased all the files on the Nikon card. Oh dear, lost yesterday's snaps, which were good. But could recover- erasing a card or disk usually just means the index is emptied with the snaps still there in their original bits (rather like deleting a book index doesn't affect the text). So downloaded Windows File Recovery (winfr), put the camera with the 'empty' SD card into the g drive, created a directory recovery on my main d drive and used flag extensive for flexible file format search and n/.JPG to pick up image files. Command for winfr (in Command Prompt) was:

winfr g: d:\recovery /extensive /n *.JPG

After 90 min 2587 image files were recovered including in the middle my 42 snaps from yesterday, which copied to the main computer. So very satisfying! Will repeat exercise tomorrow to get back the video clips (.MP4, so /n *.MP4); had to recharge camera battery again after this first run. Of course the police often use such software after they believe for instance some child pornography or other incriminating data has been deleted. There are ways to permanently erase data but computers normally like to be efficient and take short-cuts. Good start to the week for PoO with Brent at $70.77 a barrel as write. OPEC+ are going to raise production a bit but not enough to meet demand and the Iran/USA talks are hitting a few problems. So funds +15k on wtd. Canadian Manganese (materials for EV batteries) seem to be very close to a listing with a prominent SEDAR Profile on their home page, a requisite for the market authorities. Daughter and granddaughters are visiting from 3/8-7/8 – look forward to that! Not too much planned for 2moro: hope work goes very well and M is being visited by his partner's Anglo-Iranian children! lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 31st: max 20C, min 10C, moderate SE breeze, sunny all day, dry, in shorts all day but with insect repellent in play as the clegs (gadflies) emerge! Had great afternoon out, making Pithouse Fell (Slaley Forest SE) from 14:35-16:55, where had 4 Honey-buzzard at 3 sites, all on the edge of heather moor, plus 3 Common Buzzard at 2 sites and a Red Kite. Also had some archetypal moorland birds, including a Ring Ousel singing from Scots Pine copse in middle of moor, 2 Twite as singles flying off the moor to grass pasture to E, 8 Curlew (very agitated), 2 Lapwing, 2 Cuckoo calling (1st of year), 3 Skylark all singing, 10 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Red Grouse calling, 5 Mistle Thrush, 4 Greylag Goose. At 14:39 a male Honey-buzzard drifted over the moor from the NW, keeping in a straight line before dropping onto fields on edge of moor to SE; alarm calls from Curlew alerted me to his presence; at 16:25 a female Honey-buzzard came over from the NW and landed on the open moor to N where she was presumably going to feed. 2 Common Buzzard were up repeatedly over smallish wood to N of Scots Pine copse. At 14:54 a male Honey-buzzard was soaring high above Slaley Forest Trygill, soon being lost to sight; a Common Buzzard was hunting in the same area at 15:45. At 16:34 had a male Honey-buzzard feeding on the top of Cowbyers Fell above Blanchland village; he was mobbed aggressively by 2 Curlew. A Red Kite was hunting over the moorland edge on Pithouse Fell S at 16:00. Total for bird-types for trip was 23. Butterflies included a Small Heath and one Common Heath moth was seen. Did some heavy grass cutting later, attacking area near pond and paths onto field and into orchard – first cut of the year for this area. Then into G4g4s where met P for good chat. Delighted with invitation: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! A very good day for mammals with a Hedgehog at Juniper at ttime, 2 Hare and a young Red Fox at Ordley at dusk, and 6 Badger (a lone adult and an adult escorting 4 medium-sized young) at Letah Wood at 23:30.

Honey-buzzard – more arrivals on BirdGuides in warming weather, with 4 since 29/5, bringing total for May to 52, to add to April's 12, giving spring total 64. Black Kite spring total is 71.

18:40 31/05 European Honey Buzzard Gloucestershire Frampton-on-Severn one flew north-east over Frampton Pools

13:52 31/05 European Honey Buzzard West Yorkshire Crofton 13:43 one flew north

08:55 31/05 European Honey Buzzard Gloucestershire Stone 08:19 possible flew over to north-east

13:13 30/05 European Honey Buzzard London Chessington 12:30 one flew south-east mobbed by crows

May 30th: max 18C, min 8C, light E breeze, sunny all day, dry, much better, sunbathing on patio in shorts at 12:45, picked up the female and male Honey-buzzard taking off from the local site; the male quickly went higher, looking for full display, but the female soon sank back into their wood – suspect eggs are imminent; she's been back a lot longer than the male and is clearly keen to get on with the breeding cycle. Caught 13:54 RDM-NCL, easily arriving at venue at 14:45, where had steady supply of refreshments. Marvellous to be present at a live concert again, atmosphere and music were marvellous; the 2 violinists played very well!! Programme comprised Jean-Marie Leclair: sonata for two violins, Reinhold Gliere: duos for two violins, Sergey Prokofiev: sonata for two violins. I particularly liked the Gliere with its very contrasting movements. Stayed for a brown ale, chatting to the attendees and staff – all hoping for better times ahead for the industry! NCL was much busier in the bars and the trains were quite full. Made G4g4s with P for good chat. Still most of our mates not coming out but R is coming out from Thursday. 2moro back in the field!! Other birds today included a Mute Swan brood of 4 chicks at Merryshields GP, a Mute Swan 1s at Ovingham, 5 Oystercatcher to E of Merryshields Wood, together on field, and 2 excited Tawny Owl at Ordley at 23:30, indicating fledging is imminent.

May 29th: max 18C, min 8C, light E breeze, cloudy in morning with bright spells becoming much more sunny later, dry, improving trend continues. Have compiled all records for Bywell and Stocksfield over last 11 days, about to sort Prudhoe's. Today sat in garden over lunchtime, ticking off the male Honey-buzzard from Dotland, floating high over S of his territory at 13:30; in field had single Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler singing. Later made Letah Wood, close to home, from 15:50-17:35 where picked up a male Honey-buzzard, doing butterfly display to N of me and to E of his territory at 16:00, so could spend most of visit chasing woodland birds. Also had a Common Buzzard here at 16:33 and pleased to hear 2 singing male Pied Flycatcher in NW corner. Also had, in total of 24 bird-types, a Woodcock flying into a copse in broad daylight, 9 Blue Tit, with a few carrying food, 1 Nuthatch, 1 agitated Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Greenfinch, 9 Blackbird, 5 Swallow, 1 singing Blackcap. Then it was W4bigshop spending £65, think prices are going up! Thought the Copland Appalachian Spring Suite was so nostalgic and 'outdoors'; the Shaker dance is the highlight, with its exciting rhythm and its thrilling climax in penultimate part; whole piece is quite a test for the woodwind with KB starring on the flute. Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 reminded me of Kurt Weill's American opera and indeed is contemporary with them, being from the 1940s, another good example; thought Francesca Chiejina, soprano, was very convincing. John Wilson conducted well, would like to see him do more of this type of concert. Compère was better last time!! Tomorrow afternoon live concerts kick off again and I will be there: very exciting: so looking forward to it!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Honey-buzzard – much higher numbers recorded on BirdGuides in warming weather, with 12 since 24/5, bringing total for May to 48, to add to April's 12, giving spring total 60. Black Kite spring total is 63. Tempted to say for people at last catching up with Honey-buzzard, that they're now becoming rather passé – another raptor is the talk of the town! And like the Honey-buzzard it will appreciate the wilder areas of the north. https://www.countrylife.co.uk/news/black-kites-set-to-colonise-the-uk-for-the-first-time-201968. Not sure the colonisation is due to climate change – that's too slow a pace: more likely to be due to healthy populations on near continent and much better social attitudes to raptors by UK landowners, since 1990. Black Kite avoid unnecessary sea crossings but for purpose of securing new territories, the English Channel in its narrower parts is not a barrier. Very familiar with Black Kite from my trips abroad; for instance had, in Kenya in January 2021, 23 as migrants from the north along with 10 of the closely related Yellow-billed Kite, which are resident in Africa.

19:39 29/05 European Honey Buzzard Devon Ottery St Mary possible flew over

19:31 29/05 European Honey Buzzard Cumbria Skinburness one flew over

17:56 29/05 European Honey Buzzard North Yorkshire Wykeham Forest three from raptor viewpoint [+2, breeding area]

14:12 28/05 European Honey Buzzard Kent Teynham 13:55 one flew high to north-west

12:59 28/05 European Honey Buzzard Kent Fordwich one flying over early afternoon

12:49 28/05 European Honey Buzzard Wiltshire Britford Water Meadows probable flew north

12:42 28/05 European Honey Buzzard Kent Collard's Lake 12:25 one flew over at height

17:28 27/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Titchwell RSPB 17:11 one flew south-west over visitor centre

15:30 27/05 European Honey Buzzard North Yorkshire Kettlewell 10:00 adult flew west mid-morning

11:14 26/05 European Honey Buzzard West Sussex Stopham 10:35 one flew north

08:44 26/05 European Honey Buzzard Suffolk North Warren RSPB one flew north over North Marsh; also Western Osprey flew south

May 28th: max 16C, min 8C, light W breeze, overcast, dry, improving trend continues. A gr8 day! Good chat with N/D on Skype for 2 hours from 10:00; think they're going to shield for some time. Cut large area of back grass while it stayed dry, avoiding this year's good crop of cowslip and cuckoo flower; follow more enlightened advice now on grass cutting, perhaps every 4 weeks, giving time for things other than grass to grow, and cut in patches. Made C4c4ll where good views! Tuned in to livestreamed concert from Sage by RNS; more to add on this but thought the first 2 pieces were a little insipid, the Barber was brilliant and the Copland was fantastic!! Then out to W to meet D/D; pleased to see it truly busy and we had long chat!! Funds had 3rd week in row of losses, -6k, but PoO continues to rise as Covid fades with large numbers now only in India, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia. Of course woke pressure on the oil and gas industry is immense but the climate emergency does not exist and is now being openly challenged: temperatures are steadily rising at just over 0.1C per decade but this is entirely manageable. Gain on ytd is reduced to 246k gross (+20.0%), 234k net, with ftse 100 on ytd +7.6%, ftse 250 +12.8%. So good stuff concert-wise: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 27th: max 16C, min 8C, light E breeze, sunny, dry, amazing! Following Scottish update, did the same for Ireland:

28th May 2021: Updated page for Ireland with full records from visits between 2012 and 2016 with all sightings mapped (Honey-buzzard in Ireland)

New content is:

The table below summarises observations made by NR from 2012-2016 in Ireland. These sightings are available as the original 11 records from 9 places in a spreadsheet and on a map.

Next up is more work on historical Sussex. Made Prudhoe S from 12:25-14:50 in the much improved weather, taking a packed lunch to make visit more efficient! Still got to look at piccies but preliminary view is 6 types of raptor (12 birds) – fantastic area – including 4 Honey-buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 3 Common Buzzard, 1 Goshawk, 2 Red Kite, 1 Black Kite. The pair of Honey-buzzard were settling in well at Prudhoe S with the darkish male up high over site at 12:45-12:46 and 13:01 and the female usually close to the trees at 12:44, 13:01, 13:55, 14:28 but with a long climb into the sky high-up from 13:55-14:00, disappearing into the base of a cloud. Another male, a pale-phase bird, was high-up over the site at 12:45 in stand-off with the presumed darker resident male; the pale bird went N, not to be seen again. Other birds in this area included 3 Common Buzzard, with a resident pair, and a Red Kite over the nearby wood; at 14:15 a female Kestrel out hunting over the grass. The local Red Kite was sharing a territory with a Black Kite, which were up together at 12:48; the Red Kite disappeared back into the wood but the Black Kite, presumed male, was up in contention with the female Honey-buzzard at 13:51 and from 14:28-14:29; this appears to be the same mixed pairing as last year. Had a male Goshawk up over Prudhoe E at 13:30 with Common Buzzard up in same area at 14:05. Had a male Honey-buzzard soaring to great height over Hyons Wood at 14:05. another Red Kite was up high to S over Leadgate. Total for trip was 21 bird-types, including 6 Skylark, 3 Curlew, 2 Blackcap. Called in at N4c4t where pleased to have S on for good chat!! Did some grass cutting at front when got home and later made G4g4s on own as mates still shielding and P is in London, inspecting his tenant! But was good 4 chat: poor landlord J has had an accident on his bike in the Lakes with car running into him: fortunately wearing all the gear including helmet, spine support and tough fabric but still got badly broken right hand with all fingers fractured. Car was damaged and driver is helping police with their enquiries! Quiet everywhere still except that posh B looked pretty full: sign of the widening gap between haves and have nots. 2moro it's Skype with N/D in morning and much later RNS concert in evening; forecast is for a duller day with some rain. Feeling gr8 after yesterday: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 26th: max 13C, min 7C, light W breeze, dull, some light rain with a few heavier showers in morning. Did make T4c4c with M 4 good chat; then NCL for gr8 experience as usual, returning on 15:23 after buying lunch at station. Kittiwake colony is going very well with 960 adults (690 birds on Newcastle side, 270 birds on Durham side), 65 Feral Pigeon, 17 Herring Gull (15 ad, 1 2s, 1 1s), 11 LBBG (10 ad, 1 1s), 4 Crow, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Greenfinch, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Blackbird, 1 Magpie, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Grey Wagtail (juvenile, presumably fledged on rooftops of the City). Managed 12 types of bird in all, not bad! In evening on BT Sport watched MUN lose on penalties 10-11 to Villareal, near Valencia, of Spain in Europa League final in Gdansk, Poland, after 1-1 aet, not the best of games, think each thought they could win it on penalties at the end; MUN's goalie failed to save any of 11 penalties aimed at him and also missed the crucial kick himself, so he did stop one going in! Have generated records and map for Ireland to add to my Ireland Honey-buzzard page. Started work on Sussex page as plenty can be done without latest reports; added my totals, the BirdGuides migration totals and think will start the historical bit with no less than Gilbert White's account of the Honey-buzzard nesting at Selborne in the South Downs from the 18th century. We (NH/me) did visit Selborne in 2019 but weather not good and no Honey-buzzard seen. She's in perfect form: truly gorgeous: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 25th: max 10C, min 6C, light NW breeze, dull, heavy showers interspersed by lighter ones, little drier at ttime. Big day for my Scottish records, on my home page:

25th May 2021: Updated page for Scotland with full records from visits between 2000 and 2015 with all sightings mapped (Honey-buzzard in Scotland).

New content is:

Because questions will inevitably arise as to whether the recent sharp increase in breeding Honey-buzzard reported for Scotland is an artefact or real, NR's full results from 2000-2015 are now published, in the form of a spreadsheet, sorted by date and latitude. 49 records from 32 places are itemised in a full report with no data withheld.

Maps are also published of sightings for Scotland as a whole (2000-2015), Highland (2000-2012), Perth and Kinross (2001-2015), Trossachs (2002-2008), Dumfries and Galloway (2004). Some further analysis of the results is planned for the book, including numbers, site density, habitat, seasonality, comparison with Northumberland and the recent results published in Scottish Birds.

So really pressing on with material for book now. It's great having all records fully digitised. Started Sussex, which is really interesting as a growing significant population acknowledged up to c2012 but want to find out latest position; getting a new cheque book as that is how they (SOS) mainly accept money for their annual reports! After C4c4l where tmsuo was on again, made Bywell for closer look at the 'raptor' wood from 15:05-16:50. Weather was poor but the small birds were all quite cheerful, maybe happy that their predators were hauled-up! Did have some interesting piccies in the ttime mini-break in the weather! Total was 30 types of bird, including an adult female Sparrowhawk up on slight clearing in weather at 16:31, a Common Buzzard up at 16:35 briefly with another raptor, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, a singing Blackcap, a singing Whitethroat, 2 Treecreeper, 8 Swift, 16 House Martin, 11 Swallow, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 12 Blackbird (including fledged young), 13 Goldfinch, 3 Greenfinch, 1 White Wagtail. Also had 3 types of mammal: 5 Rabbit, 2 Mole, 1 Brown Hare. 2moro it's T4c4c with M, then 12:40 ex-HEX express!! Would say everywhere in hospitality is on the quiet side still with some regulars just not coming out and late nite trade poorest of all. Commodity shares still soft so funds -3k on wtd. Not re-invested anything yet, indeed sold a bit more so cash up to 130k. Speculators still leaving all markets so happy to keep a lower profile. PoO is back up over $68 with US driving season about to start and physical oil stocks declining. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 24th: max 13C, min 7C, light W breeze, bright sunshine, dry, sunbathing in shorts on patio! Completed processing 18/5 raptor fest this evening – what a session, 6 types! Highlight for today was that the male Honey-buzzard at the local site has returned and was displaying over the territory at ttime 16:24 with the female getting up once from the valley but staying low: looks like she's getting the breeding under way without delay having spent a month here before the male arrived. But she's not picked up another mate: he is last year's sky dancer!! Also had 2 Red Kite up at 2 local sites (Whitley Chapel, Peth Foot) and a Common Buzzard up briefly at latter. Made G4g4s, just missing P, where good to have M on again; pleased that A is in fine fettle!! Just like old times xx!! Should make NCL on Wednesday by train. Looking forward to concerts at weekend!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! xx

Honey-buzzard very poor numbers recorded on BirdGuides in dismal weather, with 4 since 18/5, bringing total for May to 36, to add to April's 12, giving spring total 48. Black Kite spring total is 58.

09:08 24/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Stalham 09:05 one flew north

10:24 23/05 European Honey Buzzard Nottinghamshire Welbeck watchpoint 10:20 two from watchpoint [+1]

19:43 22/05 European Honey Buzzard Nottinghamshire Welbeck watchpoint male from watchpoint

13:17 19/05 European Honey Buzzard Kent Cliffs End 12:30 male flew over Cottington Road

May 23rd: max 11C, min 5C, light W breeze, dull, heavy rain in evening (unbelievable for the season! – see analysis below). Took a break from the Honey-buzzard book – looking at some climate/weather papers/blogs. Also started up work again on WikiTree, recording all my family history research for posterity. Found some interesting sources, will report later in week. Cryptos continue to plummet (they trade 24/7); may affect other speculative positions. Otherwise encouraged by decline of CV globally, even including big cities in India now. Made N4c4t where again very welcome and G4g4s where many regulars still not out but had good time! Feeling good after the weekend, despite the weather and the football (we are indeed 2nd – play-offs). xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 2021 was really cold in Europe: averaged over all of Europe, it was the coldest April since 2003 according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, the European Union’s climate-monitoring agency. But some parts of Europe shivered through coldest April in decades, and it’s not relenting. The United Kingdom saw its coldest average low temperature in April since 1922. A frigid April weather pattern deprived much of Europe of springtime and the cold, stormy weather has yet to fully retreat https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/05/05/europe-cold-april-2021/. Reading University provides up to the minute data at http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/weatherdata/Reading_monthly_summaries.html for its local weather-reading site; this is currently showing -2.1C from average for May up to 20/5 with -2.7C already declared for April as average of minimum and maximum; these are serious anomalies!

Globally for perspective, “the April 2021 surface temperature was 0.79°C (1.42°F) above the 20th century average of 13.7°C (56.7°F). This was the smallest value for April since 2013 and was the ninth warmest April in the 142-year record. April 2021 marked the 45th consecutive April and the 436th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average. December 1984 was the last time a monthly temperature was below average“ https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/202104. From the Washington Post source: “The linear warming trend since January, 1979 remains at +0.14 C/decade (+0.12 C/decade over the global-averaged oceans, and +0.18 C/decade over global-averaged land).” So the long term warming continues for the present but the slow current rate is hardly an emergency.

Research at Northumbria University on the sun, whose effects, currently negative, are ignored by some climate models, may need to be taken more seriously:

In this editorial I will demonstrate with newly discovered solar activity proxy-magnetic field that the Sun has entered into the modern Grand Solar Minimum (2020–2053) that will lead to a significant reduction of solar magnetic field and activity like during Maunder minimum leading to noticeable reduction of terrestrial temperature. Valentina Zharkova https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23328940.2020.1796243.

It's the negative Arctic Oscillation which is the immediate cause of our terrible weather in western Europe. And things don't look as if they're going to get better soon: could cause some local questioning of AGW!

Arctic Oscillation and Polar Vortex Analysis and Forecasts May 14, 2021. I have been fascinated by the relatively cool spring in Europe this year, as I am sure many others, most of whom actually live in Europe. The cool weather across Europe is related to in large part unusually active Greenland blocking [the Greenland high pressure system]. Greenland blocking is a feature more commonly associated with winter weather and what is the source of the Greenland blocking is an interesting question. In the previous blog the GFS forecasts were suggesting that Greenland blocking was fading, and European temperatures were on the rise. In today’s blog that is no longer the case with a return of Greenland blocking predicted. And with more ridging/high pressure predicted in and around Greenland, troughing and seasonably cool weather could be anticipated for large parts of Europe into the foreseeable future. Another circulation feature is more reminiscent of winter than late spring is Ural blocking. And the Ural blocking [the Ural high pressure system] looks to have an impact on the hemispheric circulation.

It seems to me the warming of geopotential heights in the lower stratosphere is related to increasing ridging/high pressure in the Central Arctic in the troposphere the second half of May. But could rising geopotential heights in the lower stratosphere contribute to either amplifying or even persisting the predicted ridging/high pressure across Greenland? I don’t know but if yes then the cool spring in Europe could linger into early summer and the trend of European summers heating up could take a pause this year. Greenland blocking can also result in cooler weather in the Eastern US. Unusually strong summer high latitude blocking can bring record temperatures to the Arctic but can also force some cooler and/or wetter downstream https://www.aer.com/science-research/climate-weather/arctic-oscillation/.

But western US, the Arctic itself and Siberia may see higher temperatures so expect the AGW supporters to be focussing on these. Finally La Niña, which globally depresses temperature, has weakened with expectation of ENSO-neutral over the northern summer before switching back again to La Niña from August (slide 23 in 13/05/21 https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf). So interesting times and plenty of debating material but the woke news channels do not allow any discussion at all: total disgrace: BBC News and Sky News should have their broadcasting licences withdrawn (and not just for this!).

May 22nd: max 10C, min 4C, light NW breeze, dull, dry, little sunshine at ttime. Made Grindon Lough from 17:40-18:55; water level was low, much mud, in spite of recent rain. The female Red-necked Phalarope was readily seen, swimming off S shore; it's become a regular spring visitor. Waders were good: 7 types: 2 Oystercatcher, 5 Lapwing, 5 Ringed Plover, 4 Curlew, 2 Dunlin, 1 Red-necked Phalarope, 5 Redshank. Gulls were of 4 types: BHG 13 (12 ad, 1 1s), GBBG 3 2s, LBBG 7 (3 ad, 2 2s, 2 1s), HG (2 2s, 8 1s); checked closely for Caspian Gull, 1 1s HG was promising but not enough of the required features; last year they were feeding on weed/bugs in the Lough, now disappeared. Had a brood of Canada Goose (4 medium-sized chicks), a pair of Shelduck and a drake Wigeon. Passerines included a female Wheatear, 7 Goldfinch, 5 Meadow Pipit, 1 Skylark. Total was 29 bird-types, adding 4 to my year list for UK, now 117, and 13 for total for May, now 64; have not processed Bywell's records for Tuesday yet. Then made W4bigshop, spending £50 after cashing-in vouchers worth £5! Not spending so much there now pubs are open again: don't preload! Earlier watched Gulls draw 2-2 with Barnet on livestream from Plainmoor. Plan was to get loads of goals to boost goal difference: 2-0 up after 23 min, so plan on, then blew it with inept defending! We made the fatal mistake of totally underestimating Barnet, who could easily have won it in the end. We're likely now to be 2nd (after Sutton who should take title and automatic promotion), in pole position in the play-offs: more tension! Did a bit of tidying-up in Butser Hill piccies (Hampshire) and resizing a clip from Peth Foot in July 2019 down from 140MB to 33MB, to release some disk space for Sussex records, which will not take long to compile. Did watch Euro Song Contest, always good for a laugh; voted for Israel who didn't do badly in the end (better than UK anyway!); Italy won it and the Dutch did a superb job of putting on a dynamic show, in the current climate, in Rotterdam. So glad that live music is returning; masks should be ditched immediately! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 21st: max 10C, min 4C, light E breeze, dull, overcast, showery rain. Dismal weather continues, will provide some more general comment tomorrow on what's happening. Have completed the work on Hampshire records, with earlier work done on Isle of Wight records, all referenced from home page:

6th May 2021: Added Honey-buzzard page from visit to Isle of Wight in June 2015 (Honey-buzzard on the Isle of Wight).

21st May 2021: Added Honey-buzzard page from visits to Hampshire from 2014-2019, with comparison to results from the New Forest and Hampshire by the fieldworkers there (Honey-buzzard in Hampshire).

Next up is Sussex. Kept social life going with N/D on Skype from 10:00-11:45; they had to watch me eating breakfast as up late at 09:40 after sleep of the innocent!! Made N4c4t where good to meet S again. Was gr8 to make W4g4s with D/D; we were made to feel very welcome inside. Nowhere is that busy, people are still a little cautious and the number of people walking around outside in Hexham with face masks on is ridiculous! Think the government has got the population so fearful that it may be a while before some are confident of going out again in the way we used to. A little concerned about the markets after a further slide this afternoon in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, bringing down metal prices again; oil rallied a bit today to almost $67 after a bad week on the US/Iran talks going well, which means increased exports of oil from Iran. Biden must be very naive to consider trusting Iran on limiting their nuclear initiatives. Own funds were -8k, bringing gain ytd down to +252k gross (+20.4%), +240k net, with ftse 100 +7.5% and ftse 250 +11.3%. Decided to raise some money by selling big mining and oil equipment stocks, giving cash of 127k by end of week; need to rethink strategy as risks of shocks to frothy and complacent markets seem to be increasing. Did enjoy trip to NCL!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 20th: max 10C, min 8C, fresh SE breeze, heavy rain moving in mid-morning and continuing rest of day; cold spring continues with high G(reenland) predominating. Added last records from Herts trip 28/4 with walk in Welwyn N and journey back to Kingston. Completed draft of Hampshire Honey-buzzard account; need to do final run through before publishing tomorrow; note that requisite variety is the very opposite of the fashionable cancel culture. Stay in NCL was very rewarding, back on 10:57 to RDM. Don't think any hospitality venue is making much money with current restrictions on packing density but at least they can restore customer relationships after 6 months off. I'm trying to support everyone in my life so C4c4t and G4g4s, latter for good chat with P. Cleaner S came this afternoon so house is sparkling! Walk in rain in Sele Park delivered a female Bullfinch, 2 feeding Oystercatcher, 2 Swift. Some good news from son with work, where appointed project leader of important finance initiative in the Uni and started project supervision in computer science on the academic side; think he's benefited greatly from going back to work in the office 3 days a week. Strongly suspect that people working on the premises will get noticed more than those WFH. Most satisfying conclusion to trip: she's so gorgeous: lok2tgfr: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 19th: max 14C, min 5C, light W breeze, sunny periods with occasional minor cloudy spells and light showers! Brighter than yesterday but migrant raptors will have moved on: it's the end of the damp (blocking) spells that are magic. Had good chat with M at T and they were pleased to see us back with a 50% discount on scones! Still being given VIP rooms, will need to work on this!! Great to be back in a lively NCL, even with a PL football match on with real supporters (Toon 1, Blades 0). Watched some of it in V&C where had good supper. Lovely to hear the sounds of people enjoying themselves again! But best of all was the warm welcome: must come again: lok2tgrf: she's gorgeous: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 18th: max 12C, min 5C, light NW breeze, sunny periods with occasional minor cloudy spells, dry, polar air – brilliant! Thought it would be gr8 and it was: made Stocksfield Mount from 12:25-14:55, complete with packed lunch (Danish Blue cheese, French stick, salad, banana, orange, + black coffee, water). Had single Common Buzzard at Bywell Cottagebank, Bywell Castle, Shilford and Whittle Dene; single female Sparrowhawk over Eltringham at12:40; the male Honey-buzzard at Bywell Cottagebank as last year, a slim bird with pale head/neck, narrow dark carpal area and very little black on wingtip – he was keeping low, keen on feeding at 12:41; at 13:12 he was up again floating over area to W; another male Honey-buzzard to E, also slim but purplish and quite fired up over Short Wood E but again keeping low – feeding, clearly a migrant intruder, keeping his distance from the tenant, at 12:57; a pair of Hobby briefly displaying over Bywell Cottagebank (at 13:05 a female Hobby diving towards a Common Buzzard; pair up displaying at 14:21); single Red Kite up over Short Wood E and Tofts Wood to NW of Newton. Had further Honey-buzzard high in the sky and moving NW – a lone female at 13:01 going high and moving NW, 2 male up together at 13:18 before moving off NW, a lone male up at 13:44 before moving off NW, so that's 4 in total all following the A68 into Scotland! These migrants have been blocked by the wet weather: timing is everything. Another Red Kite was up in contention with a pair of displaying raptors of another species at 14:18, which I think is colonising Britain, particularly northern England and Scotland. So just Kestrel and Goshawk missing, which have been seen here already this year. Gulls comprised 5 LBBG (3 ad, 1 2s, 1 1s) and an adult gull W with limited black and white in wingtip, maybe a 3s Herring Gull. Also had 10 Swift, feeding over a wide area, 4 displaying Swallow and 4 House Martin N plus single singing Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Total for raptors is 6 types. There were plenty of St Mark's Fly hatching. Last night had 2 Hare and a Roe Deer female, heavy with fawn, at Ordley plus a badger at Letah Wood – good, going out in the dark! Made N4c4t where greeted enthusiastically and sat outside, very nice watching the world go by! Then back home to do some energetic grass cutting, 3rd large area cut this season, outside the dining room and patio. Have started the Discussion section in the Hampshire write-up, which is good book fodder. Think requisite variety is the key: the notion that a certain amount of diversity in viewpoints and perspectives is required for groups and organizations to address complex problems as they emerge. Funds are +5k on wtd so that's OK but volatility is rising and realising some cash in case we have a pullback! PoO did make 70 today but came back quickly – a little concerning. The trouble is that long trades are crowded everywhere. Back to Tans tomorrow morning, with M: T4c4c, followed ex-RDM 13:05 and C4c4l at NCL. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Total raptors were of 5 types: Honey-buzzard 6 (5 male, 1 female, 1 tenant male, 1 feeding migrant male, 4 NW (1 female, 3 male)); Common Buzzard 4 (at 4 sites), Red Kite 3 (at 3 sites), Hobby 2 (pair), 1 Sparrowhawk (female), with maybe another!

Honey-buzzard still well recorded on BirdGuides, with 5 since 16/5, bringing total for May to 32, to add to April's 12, giving spring total 44. Black Kite spring total is 56.

12:30 18/05 European Honey Buzzard Lincolnshire Freiston Shore RSPB 12:15 one flew over to NNW

11:09 18/05 European Honey Buzzard North Yorkshire Wykeham Forest 11:00 one again from raptor viewpoint; from A170 at Wykeham take minor road north to Highwood Brow for 6.4km to T-junction then left for 500m to car park at SE936887

09:17 18/05 European Honey Buzzard Kent Westbere GPs one flew over high to south-west

08:50 18/05 European Honey Buzzard Guernsey Le Foulon 08:45 one flew north-west over Rohais

12:26 17/05 European Honey Buzzard Kent Sandwich Bay 12:25 one drifted over observatory

May 17th: max 11C, min 6C, light NW breeze, cloudy, heavy rain in short bursts for much of day, ground saturated. Reopening day, celebrated by making C4c4t with P and G4g4s with a gang of 6; former was quiet, we were the only people inside for a while but G was pretty busy; gr8 to chat again over a c and a g; SW/AW were in Panama for 2 months from early December to early February, beats my Kenya escape; FC and family made up the remainder with M doing the honours! Pleased 2 c tmsuo!! Completed Hampshire 2019 records, from one site only; most of records that year were on the Sussex side. So close to wrapping up! Weather may be better 2moro so out with packed lunch to Tyne Valley W is the intention. PoO is $69.69 Brent, so close to the psychologically important $70 figure! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 16th: max 10C, min 7C, light E breeze, cloudy, heavy rain for much of day, ground quite wet now, amazingly quick change from drought! Completed 2018 sightings in Hampshire so just one more year to do, 2019, when 3 sites in South Downs and trips to Rowlands Castle for ANPA finished as it moved to Liverpool. It's taking a while but the clear finding is that, after fledging, Honey-buzzard form family parties for a couple of weeks, which display above the canopy, just like in Northumberland. It's been a very bad week for fieldwork with much gloom and rain and not much sign of improvement. Still compiling material for book is top priority. Watched the RNS stream from Friday night again: still very convincing, think the creativity, enthusiasm, liveliness and skill come over very well. Overlooked yesterday Organum Light by Dobrinka Tabikova: fascinating piece, intrigued by mention of Einstein and photons. Before Einstein physicists thought that light was continuous but Einstein considered it comprised a stream of discreet but tiny photons. In music on the violin microtones might be an analogy. From the sublime to the ridiculous: Hatters (4th in NL) versus Gulls (2nd in NL) at 12:15 from Stockport on BT Sport (streamed live as video on my laptop). A thrilling game going 1-0, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, with both sides in last 15 minutes rushing up and down the pitch trying to get a winner. We're virtually guaranteed 2nd now but 1st is out of our hands if Sutton get 4 points from their remaining 2 games. Made W4shop to get some fresh red grapefruit, to which I'm addicted (they were out of stock on Friday); then up to C4c4t to satisfy another addiction! Was drinking that in Sele under the bandstand in the rain when little sis phoned and we had an hour's lively chat; invited down to Devon this summer – late June maybe! We are at one on the pandemic: get everything opened up now! So exciting day 2moro with G open again and C opening inside! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Honey-buzzard still very well recorded on BirdGuides, with 11 since 13/5, bringing total for May to 27, to add to April's 12, giving spring total 39. Black Kite spring total is 54. Honey-buzzard totals in recent springs on BirdGuides are 103 (2020), 83 (2019), 107 (2018), 94 (2017).

16:38 16/05 European Honey Buzzard Kent Northward Hill RSPB one reported this afternoon

15:05 16/05 European Honey Buzzard Pembrokeshire Eglwyswrw one flew north over nearby Pengelli Forest mid-afternoon

13:34 16/05 European Honey Buzzard East Yorkshire Hornsea Mere 12:55 one flew east

10:10 16/05 European Honey Buzzard Lincolnshire Gibraltar Point NNR one flew north over East Dunes early morning; also Little Gull at Croft Marsh

09:46 16/05 European Honey Buzzard Kent Dungeness NNR 09:20 one in Trapping Area then flew low east and continued out to sea

22:25 15/05 European Honey Buzzard Lincolnshire Gibraltar Point NNR one flew north today; also 2 Little Gulls, 2 Eurasian Spoonbills, Spotted Redshank and Great Egret

21:32 15/05 European Honey Buzzard North Yorkshire Crossgates one flew west

13:56 15/05 European Honey Buzzard Lincolnshire Gibraltar Point NNR one

11:29 15/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Blakeney Point one flew south-east late morning; also Eurasian Spoonbill flew east over Halfway House

13:59 14/05 European Honey Buzzard Dorset Coward's Marsh one flew east

10:15 14/05 European Honey Buzzard Suffolk Dunwich Heath NT 10:10 one flew north

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; the music reminded me of the Birds (Messiaen: Abîme des oiseaux). 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!!!!!! Had a Barn Owl at Ordley and 2 Woodcock roding over Dipton Wood.

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!!!!!! Had 8 bird-types at Quayside: 930 Kittiwake adult, many sitting on nests, 51 Feral Pigeon, 22 Herring Gull (14 ad. 1 2s, 7 1s), 7 LBBG ad, 5 Woodpigeon, 2 Magpie, 1 Blackbird singing, 1 Jackdaw.

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 displaying at Healey Mill, 2 displaying over Eastwood Common where also a lone bird low-down, so 3 sites), 2 Honey-buzzard (male in butterfly display early-on at 13:24, pair display later at 15:15 with some fairly close-up shots in March Burn), 2 Red Kite (pair at Healey Mill at 13:00), 2 Kestrel (pair hunting separately), 1 Sparrowhawk (adult male hunting low-down over Common). 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 a Ring Ousel flushed from the Common, presumably a migrant attracted to the heath, and a Tree Pipit but no Woodlark seen. Also had 4 LBBG ad W, 1 Curlew singing, 7 Swallow, 12 Meadow Pipit (some displaying), 32 Linnet (including a flock of 11, still settling down). Total was 21 bird-types for walk. 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 (including Singlers Marsh, where water levels were low); good numbers of marshland birds and in brighter spells had 6 Red Kite and a Common Buzzard up. Total was 26 types, including pair of Gadwall, 3 Moorhen, a brood of tiny Mallard with 2 chicks, 9 Blackbird, 4 Greenfinch, 4 Goldfinch. 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 with a Red Kite up at Digswell, 15:25 to FPK, with Common Buzzard in tree at Potters Bar N, 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