December 2, 2021

Notice Board: the Honey-buzzard Season in Northumberland 2022 as it happens – Nick Rossiter

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This is the current blog for the 2022 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 in a future January. Broad headings for book are: Motivation, Historical Records, Rediscovery in Britain, Migration Patterns, Arrival and Display, Breeding Activity, Habitat, Dispersal, Wintering Grounds, Four Identification Models, Value of Field Experience, Further Studies, Bibliography. The initial costs of publishing the book in hard copy, running to perhaps 250pp, are well within my means. Some supplementary material may be published online.

May 21sz: maximum 13C, minimum 11C, moderate SW breeze, bright morning and sunny ttime, cloudy midday. Saw the pair of local Honey-buzzard at 15:00, with female low-down above the trees and male doing butterfly display at very high altitude, going out of sight. Also had 2 Pied Wagtail and 2 Tree Sparrow on bare field. Lots of work done on desktop today, sorting Festival 2023 and writing Crete 2022 reports on raptors; not finished latter, need to compile Long-legged buzzard piccies and account for 16/4. Did masses of mowing, most of large back area has now had 1 mow this season, working around the flowers like cowslip and cuckoo flower. Had good chat with son; we’re going to Sage for Prom on 23/7, booked seats on side of level 1 today at 39.50 each. Might make a London prom and fit in a visit to family. Had gr8 visit to DoW with D/D for g and chat! Xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 20th: maximum 14C, minimum 9C, moderate SW breeze, bright morning, cloudy later with a little rain. Lit fire in evening, first time in a while; house was a little cool and damp after excellent cleaning by S. Made Wylam Horsley for Honey-buzzard habitat survey in Tyne Valley E no.5, overall no.23, from 15:00-17:30. Not very good weather for raptors and none seen. Had 8 Swift, a brood of 11 tiny Mallard ducklings on Tyne, a Cormorant adult, 15 Herring Gull (10 ad, 1 2s, 4 1s). 2 LBBG (ad, 1s), 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Sand Martin. Called in W of Bywell on way home from 17:45-18:25, catching a Black Kite gliding down into trees by the Tyne; have a good idea now where the nest is in the new site; big question is old site occupied as well?. Much earlier had a male Honey-buzzard up displaying at the home site at 11:40, mobbed by 2 angry Crow and later had a Grey Wagtail displaying at West Dipton at 18:40. Funds finished a turbulent week for markets at +20k, +318k ytd gross (+18.0%), +280k ytd net with, all ytd, ftse 100 +0.1%, ftse 250 -15.5%, dow -14.0%, nasdaq tech -27.4%, bitcoin -36.9%. Natural resource stocks are proving resilient; quite a few are on yields over 11%, even major well-established companies. Have donated £500 to RNS as partner, £50 to Opera North Wagner fund and £50 to Royal Opera House Wagner fund, Wagner must cost a bit! Talked to N on Skype, mainly on music and politics, from 10:00-11:30 and will talk to son on FB video tomorrow afternoon. Not out tonite. Most stimulating day in other respects: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 19th: maximum 16C, minimum 9C, light SW breeze, sunny, very clear evening. Still in shorts, making vitamin D! Met M at T4m4l and A/P/R at G4g4s for good chats!! Looking forward, booked 2 nites on OR for Thursday-Saturday next week at BW NKH!! Made Stocksfield Mount from 14:30-16:45 in glorious weather. Had 4 Common Buzzard (3 at Cottagebank, 1 over the Mount (twice)), 2 Kestrel (male at Cottagebank, unsexed at Stocksfield E), 2 Honey-buzzard (female and male up at Cottagebank, latter quite conspicuous), 2 Black Kite (singles at Cottagebank (moving W) and Styford E (in territory)). Timings to be added. So no new Honey-buzzard but Black Kite site appears to have moved W to Styford E. 2moro afternoon it’s trip to Wylam for habitat and check on occupation at Horsley Wood. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Will dream of you: lok2tgrf: xxx XXXXXX!!!!!!

May 18th: maximum 17C, minimum 9C, light SW breeze, sunny in daytime, some rain later. Into shorts today for first time since Crete! Completed analysing habitat for Honey-buzzard at Hyons Wood, that’s no.4 in Tyne Valley E and no.22 overall. Added Hyons Wood data to BirdTrack. Next up is Wylam Horsley in Tyne Valley E; might combine that with a quick look at Bywell to see how the kites are doing! Had a recce over the local site at lunchtime from 13:00-13:30 and picked up the male Honey-buzzard hunting c2km to E of site, floating over mixed woodland, maybe on the look-out for food (frogs, bird eggs and small young), bit early for wasp nests to be any size. Had leisurely afternoon with late lunch at QHC (tuna), ttime at Nero (pain de raisins) and then G4g4t (Guinness!) with Bill and mates up to 18:00. Latest fascination in music is Prokofiev’s film score for Alexander Nevsky (you needn’t listen to it all but there’s some spirited singing!). Prokofiev is a famous Ukrainian, born in Donetsk: the airport there is named after him: Donetsk Sergei Prokofiev International Airport, destroyed by the Russians in 2014 in their 1st invasion. Very pleased to hear from someone: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Amused at Elon Musk’s Tesla being removed from the SP500 ESG index; it’s very hard being woke, even if you make pollution-reducing electric vehicles. Imagine his move to take over Twitter has annoyed the lefties. ESG has got to go: it’s creating inflation and reducing security by interfering with the flow of capital to areas that need investment, such as oil, gas and defence.

May 17th: maximum 19C, minimum 8C, light SW breeze becoming SE, sunny until ttime, then showery rain in evening. Mowed grass by neighbour’s house; no-mow May is popular but this area has no flowers and strategically cannot let it all become a jungle by early June; this is 3rd area to mow; cowslips of course just flower on; they’ve looked great this year along with the bluebells, primroses and snowdrops; none of these areas have been cut at all yet. Added records to BirdTrack from Prudhoe, including the kites! Added piccies for Honey-buzzard and Dingy Skipper below for 14/5. Will add all records, including butterflies, for Hyons Wood to BirdTrack tomorrow, when will work at home in morning with late lunch at QHC, N4c4t, G4g4t, for relaxing afternoon. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! 2 Black Kite records on BirdGuides, presumably referring to the same bird, in SW Ireland:

11:59 17/05 Black Kite Kerry Skellig Islands flew north-east towards mainland

10:51 17/05 Black Kite Kerry Skellig Islands one on Skellig Michael

plus 5 Honey-buzzard, including a pair in 4 records from the North Yorkshire site.

21:01 17/05 European Honey Buzzard Alderney Alderney 13:20 one over Mannez Quarry

20:43 17/05 European Honey Buzzard Nottinghamshire Welbeck watchpoint 10:40 male again before drifting east

17:45 17/05 European Honey Buzzard West Midlands Dudley 17:32 dark morph flew west over Lower Gornal early evening

16:46 17/05 European Honey Buzzard North Yorkshire Wykeham Forest 16:30 male still from raptor viewpoint

15:41 17/05 European Honey Buzzard North Yorkshire Wykeham Forest 15:30 male still from raptor viewpoint

11:06 17/05 European Honey Buzzard North Yorkshire Wykeham Forest 10:58 female from raptor viewpoint

10:42 17/05 European Honey Buzzard North Yorkshire Wykeham Forest 10:00 pale morph male from raptor viewpoint

Did some very rewarding fieldwork today. Out to Sinderhope in East Allen to complete survey of Black Kite sites, from 12:40-14:55 in the sunny weather. Last year there was a Black Kite male x Red Kite female here and it appears to be the same this year with the male over the hill to NE twice, very energetically floating around, before being seen in a food swap with the female close to nest site, a blur of black and red, before being seen, sneaking away from nest to NW on another feeding expedition. So presumably the same pair as last year and that means we have 4 Black Kite seen to date (single at Bywell, 2 at Prudhoe, 1 at Sinderhope), same as last year but expect Bywell to be fully occupied now and maybe some additional sites will be occupied as well. Also had a pair of Common Buzzard in low-level display to NE, a female Kestrel hunting over fields to S and a female Honey-buzzard, rearing up quickly from nest site to N, before coming down again almost as quickly (looking for mate!).. Much more to follow …

Funds have rapidly bounced back +16k wtd on first signs of revival in China; last 2 week’s falls gave an opportunity to load up on net-zero mining and oil exploration stocks. Further attack on ESG: Ethical investors have weakened the West’s defences: Matthew Lynn 2 March 2022, Spectator

It won't be the first, or indeed the most serious, casualty of the war in Ukraine. It probably won't be the second, third or even fourth. Even so when the final reckoning of the Russian onslaught is tallied up, there can be no question that the ESG – environmental, social and governance – will be on the list. Why? Because its self-righteous concentration on progressive causes like race and gender, and crucially its wishy-washy pacifism, have undermined the West's ability to defend itself.

Rewind just a few weeks and much of the City was obsessing over ESG issues. Fund managers were harassing the oil companies to stop developing domestic supplies of gas, even though our failure to do so has increased our dependence on Russia. And critically, they were demonising defence companies on the basis that making weapons was immoral or wrong. Many companies had slowly started winding down their defence units. It was not worth the hassle of trying to justify them to woke fund managers, nor was it worth the damage done to the share price.

I used to be a green but have very much abandoned them for reasons such as the above. Indeed I think the greens are Putin’s useful idiots! Also on any rational basis, how can the greens campaign so hard for the industrialisation of our remaining wild spaces (with wind and solar installations), holding the last refuges of our wildlife? The green movement has been taken over by Marxists, who have no interest in biodiversity.

May 16th: maximum 14C, minimum 9C, light E breeze, steady rain all day, clearing ttime, heavy rain at pubtime. 4 Black Kite today on BirdGuides, 3 in Kent, 1 in Argyll, Scotland:

17:49 16/05 Black Kite Argyll Dervaig, Mull l17:15 one over estuary then flew high north

and one Honey-buzzard:

20:39 16/05 European Honey Buzzard Lincolnshire Fulbeck 20:25 one flew north

Here's Black Kite piccies from Prudhoe 10/5 in display: second adult 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  and first adult 9  10  11  12  13  14  15 (pair)  16  17  18  19  20  plus pair with male Honey-buzzard (12004) 21 . Here’s habitat Jesmond (12005) 1. Here’s pair of Honey-buzzard just above the canopy on 5/5 at Bywell 1  (12003). Massive catch-up on bird records today, still to add 10/5 and 14/5 to BirdTrack and to add piccies to submissions. Made R at B4m4s where young employee of the year, a competition revived, last time it was held in 2017 under my direction; good to see young people rewarded with prize money up to £500 for 1st prize. First three were all lasses! Later made G4g4s with P 4 good chat with K on!! xxxxxx XXX!!!!!! Good news from BlackRock:

BlackRock ditches green activism over Russia energy fears: Fund titan says investing in traditional energy sources is now required to boost security.

BlackRock has warned it will vote against most shareholder green activism this year for being too extreme, in a significant u-turn by the world’s biggest money manager. The company said it was concerned about proposals to stop financing fossil fuel companies, including forcing them to decommission assets and setting absolute targets for reducing emissions in their supply chains. It comes as BlackRock said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has impacted the transition to net-zero, adding that short-term investment [unrealistic, companies will want medium-term!] in traditional energy sources is now required to boost security.

May 15th: maximum 15C, minimum 9C, light SE breeze, mainly cloudy, still milder. Made S in afternoon to see Lars Vogt in solo performance on piano with highlight Beethoven’s Hammerklavier sonata, a massive and complex work with devilish slow passages. Was brilliantly played and he got a thoroughly deserved standing ovation. He looked a bit fitter than on Friday so maybe he’s relishing the occasion. Train home at 17:55 was cancelled but just caught 17:58 10B bus outside station, which was running a few minutes late. In full daylight the bus is not so bad, passing slowly through much raptor country, finally picking up a female Honey-buzzard over Farnley ridge at 19:00, mobbed by 2 Crow; she kept gliding over her territory. That’s 7 birds (4 male, 3 female) at 5 sites now. Later made G4g4s where met A and D, latter a former computing science student at UNN, doing his course c2012 just after I’d retired. He’s got a good job with SAP, massive German software solution provider.

May 14th: maximum 16C, minimum 7C, light W breeze, sunny all day, beautiful spring day. Left OH at 10:00 in fine fettle after another good breakfast; like the area, nice atmosphere! Straight back on 10:55 train and out again in afternoon to Hyons Wood, near Prudhoe, for Honey-buzzard habitat survey and general wildlife census in perfect conditions from 14:05-16:30. The wood has been partitioned with the S area now declared private, which, whatever its legal basis, will be good for wildlife. First thing to note was the complete absence of Willow Warbler, when 40 years ago, they were so common here as to be almost uncountable. Did have some warblers: 2 Whitethroat (plus 1 at Shilford on way there), 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff. Raptors comprised a male Goshawk out hunting over S area of wood at 14:34, moving powerfully W, and a male Honey-buzzard, up very high soaring over ridge to S of Hyons Wood, at 14:20 and 14:40 for 20 minutes in total 1 (12006), mobbed by 2 Jackdaw; angry Crow in wood itself at NW end at 15:40 may indicate return to this area. Bird-type total was 22. On way back at 16:40 had a male Sparrowhawk, soaring over Stocksfield Guessburn, a favoured area. Butterflies were brilliant with 8 types: Orange-tip 13 (10 male, 3 female), Green-veined White 6, Small White 6, Small Tortoiseshell 4, Speckled Wood 6, Large White 2, Peacock 1, Dingy Skipper 14 (piccies 1  2  3 , old flat spoil heap at entrance to Wood from NW). Habitat survey was very easy with one large wood, full of birch and oak, an arable block and the rest pasture. Made DoW4g4s with D/D 4 gr8 chat! Had 2 Tawny Owl calling at Ordley on return at 23:00. Funds had a bad week as investors lost confidence in natural resource stocks as fears of recession grow. Own funds -26k on week, +297k ytd gross (+16.9%), +262k ytd net, compared with, all ytd, ftse 100 +0.5%, ftse 250 -15.2%, dow -11.4%, nasdaq tech -24.5%, bitcoin -36.2%. Expecting a tense 2 months, giving an opportunity to buy good stock cheaply with a better second half as war is given up by Russia and investors get used to commodity inflation; should point out that if oil prices stay the same, although regarded as high, they will not push inflation higher after 12 months have elapsed; plenty of potential in the energy sector IMHO with such recent underinvestment and misguided net zero dogma. Should catch up further 2moro: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

4 more Black Kite on BirdGuides from 12/5-14/5, at Cornwall, Kent, Norfolk, Suffolk. 14 Honey-buzzard on BirdGuides from 12/5-14/5 with strong arrival in Norfolk on 13/5 (don't tell me this is just one bird!).

11:09 14/05 European Honey Buzzard Nottinghamshire Welbeck watchpoint 11:07 one again

11:00 14/05 European Honey Buzzard Dorset St Aldhelm's Head 10:52 one flew in-off the sea

09:00 14/05 European Honey Buzzard Nottinghamshire Bilsthorpe 08:45 one flew north-west

12:31 13/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Stiffkey 12:28 one flew west over saltmarsh

11:55 13/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Blakeney 11:46 one flew west then turned south-west over Langham

11:26 13/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Walsey Hills NOA 11:24 one drifting west

11:23 13/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Kelling 11:14 one flew over

11:16 13/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Sheringham 10:48 one flew west

11:15 13/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Weybourne 11:05 one flew west over coastguard cottages

10:54 13/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk West Runton one flew over ridge towards coast

10:26 13/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Stockton 17:10 12/05 one flew low over the A146 between Loddon and Beccles late afternoon yesterday

10:11 13/05 European Honey Buzzard Borders undisclosed site one flew north in Southern Borders this morning

18:47 12/05 European Honey Buzzard Lincolnshire Thurlby Fen 18:37 male flew low NNW over Long Drove then lost to view behind trees

18:25 12/05 European Honey Buzzard Lincolnshire Baston & Langtoft Pits 18:25 one flew low north towards Bourne birds

May 13th: maximum 14C, minimum 5C, moderate SW breeze, sunny spells, fresh. Very good day. After hearty freshly-cooked breakfast at OH, walked down Jesmond Dene alongside the Ouse from 11:30-13:40 to Quayside. Had 20 bird types, including a pair of Mute Swan with 7 cygnets, a female Mallard with 7 tiny ducklings (plus 13 more adults), 3 Grey Wagtail (pair and single), 2 Moorhen, 3 Bullfinch, 4 Chiffchaff, 28 Blackbird (very common), 5 Chaffinch, 3 Song Thrush, 5 Wren (young emerging from hole in wall). Here’s piccies of Mute Swan brood  Mallard brood. It’s a really good city walk – undisturbed and plenty of woodland and understorey. In Germany and Belgium would certainly expect Hobby here and even Honey-buzzard. Here’s habitat Jesmond (12005) 1. So arrived in plenty of time for rehearsal where had meeting with partners and introduction to 2022-2023 season, which has 21 classical concerts as its foundation with the Lindisfarne Gospels the background so some early-themed and some English music. It’s all top secret but did let CA have a quick look, so it may have spread a little!! She’s playing in Ibert’s flute concerto in October. I trust the orchestra isn’t run on the mushroom model!! Had t with some other partners, then into concert which went off brilliantly. LV had a gr8 reception to quite a full audience, conducting the whole concert and soloist in Mozart PC 21; he looked a bit tired and indeed V pushed into q to get him some urgent sugary drink (coke) plus ketchup so he could have a rest before the actual performance. The programme was executed brilliantly with the PC very popular and followed by an encore, a Brahms sonata, with M and LV. M’s staring in Beethoven VC next season. The symphony was Dvořák 6, not so well known but with a really vibrant mv 3 and a lively mv 4, requiring some tricky rhythm changes, mastered superbly on the nite! So had a couple at the S and then caught M, back to comfy hotel!! Music and birdsong sounded gr8 with new ears! Catching up … xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 12th: maximum 13C, minimum 6C, moderate SW breeze, sunny spells, fresh. Had 2 Common Tern at Blaydon on way in, with a drake Goosander at Ovingham, plus 3 Swift and 4 Oystercatcher at Hexham. Continued indulgent streak with T4m4l with M/B for good chat, OH for 2 nites (£90 total including breakfast) with nice meal at adjacent A: chicken piccante with rw (£32 with tip); popped in later to L4rw4s where pleased to say back to normal, lively bar after its disastrous bureaucracy in the Covid-era. All appears still in delicate recovery mode. Have short chat with D/N 2moro morning and walk through the Dene along the Ouse to the Cluny where lunch b4 rehearsal and performance of RNS with LV. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 11th: maximum 13C, minimum 6C, moderate W breeze, sunny spells, fresh. In the morning, completed compilation of habitat data for Honey-buzzard site Wylam E, no.3 for Tyne Valley E and no.21 in total. Next up is Hyons Wood in Tyne Valley E. Am working on Black Kite and Honey-buzzard piccies. In the afternoon took it easy with QHC4s4l, N4c4t and G4g4t with B for gr8 chat.

2 Black Kite today nationally on BirdGuides, including one in the Scottish Borders. Since I’ve had migrants in study area, suspect there’s some colonisation in Scotland as well.

11:21 11/05 Black Kite Borders Saughtree 10/05 one reported near Saughtree Farm yesterday afternoon

3 Honey-buzzard today nationally:

17:40 11/05 European Honey Buzzard Suffolk Snape one flew over Snape Warren this afternoon

11:25 11/05 European Honey Buzzard Kent Cliftonville 10:59 one flew west

11:25 11/05 European Honey Buzzard Kent North Foreland one flew over

In the evening, reflected on a message from D on my new Lenovo laptop, saying there was a security scare and might not be able to migrate to Windows 11. That explains why I had an emergency update from Lenovo, while on the train to London, on Saturday morning. It's anti-social installing an update on the train but it wouldn't let me postpone it so went ahead and it tied up the computer and network for 20 min. I had fortunately registered with Lenovo Vantage, which keeps an eye on your machine. I updated to Windows 11 this evening, taking about an hour including download as well as installation. I think the Windows 10 I had was Windows 11 ready (or that was how it was advertised). Microsoft Office now works as well as LibreOffice. I don’t see anything to dislike here: a £100 discount for installing Windows 11 yourself is a gift! Another wee break coming up!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 10th: maximum 13C, minimum 9C, moderate W breeze, sunny spells, fresh. Further thoughts on talk: new Lenovo laptop performed beautifully, connecting straight through to data projector with windows-key+P (gives duplicate display on laptop and projector), JD was amazed, normally takes some fiddling. Here are the slides as pdf. Today on BirdGuides, a Black Kite in Cornwall and a Honey-buzzard in Norfolk:

14:39 10/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk Kelling Heath 14:35 one then flew west

Ears are still improving, adapting to new noisy world, turned down tv a couple more notches. Picking up lots of bird song again but taking me a little longer to recognise the type as out of practice; think range is OK, hearing some high-pitched calls so should be able to hear high strings and the overtones from the woodwind! It’s disgraceful this treatment is no longer on NHS: poor hearing can lead to isolation and dementia. Had great day out in Prudhoe from 11:40-14:00, even though pretty fresh weather-wise. This was the site which had a mixed pairing Red Kite x Black Kite in previous 2 years. Today had lengthy display of 2 Black Kite from 12:46-13:20 with no Red Kite in sight so this is the 2nd breeding attempt in the study area of a pure pair of Black Kite. In the fresh breeze the Black Kite performed well: they are more buoyant and stronger fliers than Red Kite. Got some piccies, one of which shows a male Honey-buzzard, menacing one of the pair of Black Kite as they get close to a mid-air mating! Also had a Common Buzzard up twice, obviously annoyed at the intrusion of the kites. So that’s a brilliant development, solidifying the Black Kite colonisation. Other birds included 3 singing Blackcap, 2 singing Garden Warbler, a Green Woodpecker in flight, 3 Skylark (2 singing), 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Mistle Thrush (carrying food), 1 Swift W (good to hear the warblers and lark again!). Total was 23 bird-types, probably benefiting from hearing improvement. Butterflies were good in sheltered areas with 5 types: 9 Speckled Wood, 5 Green-veined White, 3 Peacock, 2 Small White, 1 Small Tortoiseshell. In Hexham had a Swift, looking in territory, at 15:30 while visiting N4c4ll. Alcohol free day but back in G4g4t 2moro with B after QHC4s4l. Spent most of evening inputting bird records from 1/5 to today with just the Prudhoe records and Durham Honey-buzzard left to add now plus compile habitat for Wylam E. Funds had a torrid day on Monday, losing 20k in market melt-down, stable today. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Here's Black Kite piccies from Prudhoe 10/5 in display: second adult 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  and first adult 9  10  11  12  13  14  15 (pair)  16  17  18  19  20  plus pair with male Honey-buzzard (12004) 21 .

May 9th: maximum 16C, minimum 10C, moderate SW breeze, mostly cloudy, much fresher. On BirdGuides three more records of Black Kite in Kent, Cornwall and Derbyshire (last moving NW) bringing total for year to 81. Three more Honey-buzzard records on BirdGuides below. Weather is very poor in Spain evidently.

15:40 09/05 European Honey Buzzard Pembrokeshire Marloes 11:30 one flew north [another for Ireland?]

16:40 08/05 European Honey Buzzard Kent Teynham 16:38 one circling over village

16:08 07/05 European Honey Buzzard Norfolk South Wootton 15:00 one flew north

Had air-pressure suction removal of ear wax at CB Audio from 10:00-11:10; doesn’t hurt but quite long lying on a couch with the noise in your ears. Both ears done in turn, rh1 is 90% completed, lh1 80%; knew lh ear was the worst affected; need to self-administer olive oil drops every other day in both ears up to final appointment in 2 weeks. Change is fantastic, even during the process could find hearing improving; so have turned down all tv and radios and hearing is back to level of perhaps 10 years ago; world is a bit clicky – takes 2 weeks for the brain and ears to come to a new balance; conversation is much improved and can hear bird calls and song much better; not paid the £80 yet but great value! Not planning on hearing aid now. Gave 30-min talk to Hexham R on Logic and Love from 13:30-14:00 – all went well – a little over the head of some but others were very appreciative at being given an insight into the world of logic. I think the audience were grateful that emotions are proving much more difficult to handle on the machine! Will put up slides tomorrow. Chatted to son on FB Video from 17:00-18:00; he’s doing well, at concert on Sunday at Barbican of Sibelius 2. Made W4bigshop £46. BA have finally refunded my cancelled flight from Gibraltar to NCL last September, £97. May reconsider booking with them again. Finally made G4g4s with A/P 4 good chat! Rest 2moro!! More action in 3. Looking forward to sleep!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 8th: maximum 16C, minimum 8C, light S breeze, sunny periods, warmer. Good breakfast at 1er with scrambled egg, beans, bacon, Weetabix, coffee; able to spin it out for an hour admiring all the young Americans staying here. There were many Americans at ROH yesterday: indeed on my left I was sitting next to two who exclaimed how Wagner would have been so good at film music. Here’s the rousing prelude to Act 3 with Daniel Barenboim and the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra at the BBC Proms with the Bridal Chorus following straight on as Act 3 Scene 1 Train back was 21 min late into NCL at 15:51 dumping me from coach A at far end of platform 3 with long walk to Platform 7 for NCL-HEX which made with 20 sec to spare; next train 60 min. So back to HEX where made garage for record £66 fill-up and Co-op for late night shopping £11. Later made G4g4s where good chat with D/B/P. 2moro it’s ear-wax treatment at 10 and I’m talking to Rotary after lunch on Logic and Love!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!!

May 7th: maximum 17C, minimum 9C, light W breeze, sunny, warmer down here. Had a Honey-buzzard flying W purposefully, S of Durham City, at 10:20; also had 10 Canada Goose (5 pairs), 4 Mute Swan adult (1 sitting), a Coot at Merryshields at 09:15; a Common Tern was flying E low-down at Blaydon a little later. Did make the big city, popping into 1er Inn, KGX, to leave my bag whilst went to the show! The big show in town was Wagner’s Lohengrin, first performed 1850 in Weimar while Wagner was in exile, at the ROH, Covent Garden, billed as a matinee and indeed starting at 15:00, but going well into the evening, exiting their doors at 19:53. This was the 5th of 7 performances scheduled this spring so Lohengrin is a major feature of the current arts scene in London. Lohengrin is son of Parsifal, of Holy Grail ilk, so this is really a precursor to Parsifal, which seeing twice in June in Leeds and Gateshead, so what could be more natural than starting with this. Both Lohengrin and Parsifal are kind of religious but are often viewed as pagan rather than Christian. Because of the number of extras required as chorus and army, Lohengrin has been popular with amateur opera companies and this may not have shown it in its true glory. This was a fantastic performance with top talent, including conductor Jakub Hrůša, Lohengrin - Brandon Jovanovich, Elsa - Jennifer Davis, Ortud - Anna Smirnova, Friedrich von Telramund - Craig Colclough. The story is set in Brabant, Belgium, in mediaeval times with Lohengrin sent down by the Grail to help defend Germany from the invading hordes from the east (Hungary!). Lohengrin intervenes to save Elsa who’s accused by Friedrich and Ortud of murdering her brother Gottlieb. Act 3 is all set up for a triumphant marriage of Lohengrin and Elsa with a large double bed centre-stage, a rousing overture and a bridal chorus, the well-known Here Comes the Bride. But Elsa insists on knowing Lohengrin’s name and lineage, against his earlier conditions for the marriage, and Lohengrin says he must now leave (in his ship in the shape of a wild swan). Elsa is of course not unreasonably using intuitionistic logic to test the situation and cannot make all the connections! However, all is not lost as the swan turns out to be Elsa’s missing brother even though Lohengrin does return to the Grail, bit like Dr Who! The opera house was completely packed with very enthusiastic opera fans; did try out their prices, glass of red wine £7, glass of red wine + beef sandwiches £19.50! Pretty shattered at end, back to KGX to check-in and out for mixed grill at Block Restaurant in York Way, with a few pints of lager to rehydrate. So some consolation for original plans. Hope still recovering: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!!

May 6th: maximum 13C, minimum 7C, light W breeze, some brief sunny spells, light rain most of main daytime. Seven records of Black Kite nationally in May to date: 3 in Kent, 2 in Suffolk, 1 in Hampshire, 1 in Glamorgan. Just one Honey-buzzard in May nationally so far on BirdGuides:

15:45 04/05 European Honey Buzzard Surrey Tice's Meadow 15:39 one flew east

Did quick visit to Letah Wood from 10:50-12:10, seeing a Red Kite briefly over area E of Racecourse at 11:00 but no other raptors, including Honey-buzzard; rain was spreading in so not ideal conditions. Swallow are becoming commoner and Starling are busy carrying food to their broods. Total was 15 bird-types. Made T4m4l with M and DoW with D/D: both very enjoyable! On way back from DoW at 22:45 had at Ordley a Barn Ow and a Hare, plus a Badger at Letah Wood. Funds suffered along with general market malaise, losing early gain to finish unchanged on week but still +323k ytd while many indices and bitcoin are now down 12-22% ytd. But Falklands oilies were still well up on the week with some profits taken! Expecting volatility to continue! Gr8 glow: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! 2moro it’s 08:57 HEX-KGX and 15:00 Lohengrin @ ROH with stay at 1er Inn KGX!! XX

May 5th: maximum 14C, minimum 10C, light W breeze, some brief sunny spells and feeling humid, mild. First Swift through today with 5 at Bywell this afternoon, which visited from 13:50-16:05. Lovely to see them back again as such a clear sign of high summer. Many insects around at Stocksfield Mount, particularly St Mark’s Flies. Raptors were good, although conditions were far from perfect with heavy atmosphere. At Bywell Cottagebank a pair of Honey-buzzard were up in brief display at 14:02 with both birds again seen at 15:03, just above the canopy 1  (12003). At 14:13 a female Honey-buzzard was spotted over the Stocksfield E ridge, moving SW, but probably aiming to eventually move W. 3 Common Buzzard displayed over Bywell Cottagebank at 15:32 and singles displayed over Bywell Castle at 13:59 and 15:40. Single Red Kite were up briefly over Bywell Cottagebank at 15:30 and Short Wood also at 15:30. Bird of the day was a Black Kite in Styford E area, quite low-down over the Tyne moving E towards Bywell Castle at 14:30. So that’s 11 raptors of 4 types: 5 Common Buzzard, 3 Honey-buzzard, 2 Red Kite, 1 Black Kite. More to follow … Made T4m4l and G4g4s, latter with A/P and new lass S on; gave lift to P as he’d lent his car to his son. 2moro it’s cleaner S early at 11, T4m4l with M, DoW4g4s with D/D. Chatting to son next Monday on video; he’s just remortgaged – good timing! Markets are very troubled but sticking with natural resources in time of inflation, even though likely to be volatile; still comfortably up on week but who knows how the week will end; intensely dislike idea of windfall tax on oil/gas in UK – populist but economically illiterate if we’re to increase our energy security. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Bye beautiful: lok2tgrf xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 4th: maximum 13C, minimum 7C, light NW breeze, some sunny spells but further showers in afternoon, milder. Cut grass at front and a long patch along soak-away in back; mower did well; had put it away fully oiled and oiled it again last week to avoid start-up trouble after lay-off, good exercise! Made QHC4s4l (tuna) but missed out on ttime at G as preoccupied with the gardening. Completed talk for R next Monday (33 slides); so pleased that am having ears done before the talk as hopefully can hear comments and questions better; talk is a mixture of serious logic points and piccies of the conference and local historical sites plus a clip of some Cretan music and 2 birds: a Woodchat Shrike and a Griffon Vulture. Hope someone is feeling better: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 3rd: maximum 10C, minimum 8C, light SE breeze, gloomy, drizzle all afternoon, cool. Here’s some scenery from Crete: conference venue (Orthodox Academy), alongside Gonia Odigitria Monastery, on edge of town Kolymvari at base of Rodopos Peninsula (map), with stunning views over Lefka Ori mountains, covered in snow, highest point Pachnes 2453m asl. Made N4c4t where pleased to see S/A on. Otherwise not out, spent lots of time on talk to R, which involves sorting out some of my material. Very sad news from London for everyone concerned but understand completely: have taken recovery action as had set my heart on visit: booked outward train 2 hours earlier and will see Wagner’s Lohengrin at the Royal Opera House (£91 in the amphitheatre, not many seats left) as poor consolation. Funds +24k today on looming Falklands oil/gas boom. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 2nd: maximum 12C, minimum 6C, light NW breeze, cloudy all day, cool. Made Vienna Chamber Music Trail (in Newcastle), involving 3 concerts by RNS at 12, 2 and 4 at 3 churches: St Andrews, St John the Baptist, All Saints Presbyterian. Was really impressed by the last venue, the tall church overlooking the Quayside with a tiered auditorium and good acoustics. Had a look around the graveyard, a marvellous green enclave in the built-up environment – must be a lot of history here. The church was built 1788-1796 on a grand design with beautiful cut stone and a prominent tower. Some of the headstones have fallen over and are illegible as engravings were on soft sandstone. But they can be read now with X-ray techniques and I bet some of the great merchants of Newcastle and their families worshipped and were buried here as, like my family, many traders were non-conformist. Gather, chatting to MG, that the RNS are looking into a few more concerts here. Enjoyed the whole day, walked 12km so pretty energetic and made VicCmt4g4tg for a quickie for recovery. Music was marvellous – Beethoven, Mozart, Boulogne, Schubert, Dohnanyi, Doderer, Brahms, Strauss (arr. Schoenberg), all for small groups up to 6 and Alasdair Beatson, starring on the piano. Particularly liked Dohnanyi’s Sextet in C major, Beethoven’s Quintet for piano and winds and Schubert’s Quartettsatz in C minor. Good to have V overseeing everything after her singing yesterday! Much later made G4g4s 4 gr8 chat with P/D/B. Am sorting out piccies from Crete for talk to R and will publish some here in the next few days, showing the conference venue, our gatherings and some scenery. Laptop start-up is done, decided not to bother with pdf suite as already have free pdf reader in Edge. But have installed ftprush as need to transfer files to servers while away. Battery life appears reasonable so will take to London on trip coming up shortly; it’s significantly lighter than my Acer laptop; think it’s more like a £300 laptop than a £200 one, so grateful for discount! Old laptop is 5 years old and is a little dated in weight (2kg against 1.41kg for new one), low disk space (53GB against 128GB on new one), and software (both Windows 10 but growing inconsistencies in the Acer with the environment as a whole). Did note birds in City and did a short walk along Quayside for old time’s sake (!!), getting 8 bird-types in all: 885 Kittiwake adult (didn’t count Baltic or upstream from HLB), 296 Feral Pigeon, 20 Herring Gull (18 ad, 1 2s, 1 1s), 10 LBBG ad, 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 1 Crow, 1 Greenfinch. More to follow … xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

May 1st: maximum 13C, minimum 8C, light W breeze, heavy cloud most of day but some brighter spells, mild. Had Honey-buzzard no.3 for the season, a female in flap-flap-glide display over the area N of Bywell at 12:00 at moderate height. Made Wylam from 12:15-14:10 for Honey-buzzard habitat survey (no.3 for Tyne Valley E, no.21 for study area) which completed. No more raptors were seen but did have 2 Swallow, a Blackcap, a Whitethroat, 2 Chiffchaff, a pair of Goosander, a Cormorant adult , 12 Blackbird, 3 Tree Sparrow, with 22 bird-types in all plus 4 Orange-tip male butterflies. Caught train 14:07 from WYM-NCL and metro NCL-GHD, making S with 10 min to spare. What a fantastic concert – love singing so to have the massed choruses of Hertfordshire and Newcastle was fantastic, along with the Orchestra North East, who have a mission to tackle large-scale works. Codebreaker by James McCarthy (born 1979, Essex) was brilliant, a close-up look at the life of computing pioneer Alan Turing highlighting 3 spells in his life: his love affair with Morcom, a fellow scholar who died of TB at school; his pioneering work on the Bombe breaking the German Enigma codes used between their boats, particularly submarines, and shortening the war through the allies winning the battle of the Atlantic; his death apparently by suicide in 1952, two years after he’d been chemically castrated for admitting a homosexual liaison. The music was throbbing in places, reminding me of John Adams, though of course the end was subdued. The composer was present and had deserved enthusiastic applause. The whole performance was very warmly received. Alan Turing deserves every accolade, not just for the Bombe, but for his development of the first programmable computer machines. The creation of the universal Turing machine is one of the key landmarks of the last century. In part 2 we had A Sea Symphony by Vaughan Williams with 2 soloists and the large chorus. This was also inspiring, just for the sheer power and contrasts. Intrigued that BC was leader, particularly as thought he was not so keen on large-scale works for RNS. He’s soloist in Beethoven’s violin concerto in Durham with Orchestra North East on 9/10 So busy day, not out to G later as no mates out, saving energy for church tour 2moro. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 30th: maximum 15C, minimum 8C, light SW breeze, sunny morning, then increasing cloud and rain by ttime, mild. Started birdwatching just as sun was becoming veiled; had 3 Greenfinch and 2 Chaffinch, both recovering a little in numbers, and a Yellow Wagtail N off nearby field, 3 LBBG adult and a Song Thrush and Jay, last 2 breeding in area. Butterflies comprised a single Speckled Wood, first for year for me in UK, and a male Orange-tip. Four Black Kite records of 2 birds today, 1 in East Yorkshire, other in Dorset. There was 1 Honey-buzzard record today:

17:07 30/04 European Honey Buzzard East Sussex Robertsbridge one reported over Brightling Road mid-afternoon [no.4 for year]

Picked up new laptop, a Lenovo LENOVO IdeaPad 3i 14" Laptop - Intel® Celeron®, 128 GB SSD, Black, from Milletts in Fore Street, Hexham where DPD had ;left it for pickup, had break in N4c4c, then opened laptop and started it off by going through all the Microsoft initialisations. Microsoft has a real hang-up over OneDrive and my progress was delayed because I’m not a devotee of this approach. By evening time with difficulty in creating any new documents, decided to install LibreOffice, breaking their S architecture, and also rejected McAfee as a superfluous virus checker to Windows Defender. Have decided to stick with MS Edge for the moment as web browser as does now allow you to save any type of file. Installing next PDF Suite from Adobe and a ftp system for file transfer to web servers. Then will be ready to go! Laptop was reduced £100 by Currys – good value at £199 for cash. Met D/D at DoW4g4s for gr8 chat; seeing them on Friday next week as away on Saturday in London!! For the following week, have now booked 2 nites at the OH in J to make rehearsal, RNS performance and Fenham at Basil’s; Thursday cost £39, Friday £49, each including breakfast! 2Moro it’s the Sea at the S in the afternoon, preceded by Honey-buzzard habitat survey in Wylam E (site no.21 for study); did complete habitat survey for Throckley N today so 20 sites done now. Tyne Valley E is the present drive. Looking forward to next weekend: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 29th: maximum 13C, minimum 4C, light W breeze, sunny all day, cool evening. Did make concert by RNS which was very good, more to follow … Also completed Honey-buzzard habitat survey at Throckley N before parking at CAL. Cable arrived but laptop didn’t though latter has made a store in Hexham for pickup 2moro. Just 1 Black Kite report today, at Isle of Wight. Did have a Honey-buzzard though on BirdGuides, bringing seasonal total to 3::

14:59 29/04 European Honey Buzzard Devon Livermead 14:55 one flew east [near Torquay]

Funds had a gr8 week as dip on China’s Covid woes on Monday gave a buying opportunity. Gain on week was +42k with gain ytd +324k. Hope festival is going well: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 28th: maximum 10C, minimum 2C, light W breeze, cool and cloudy morning, afternoon brighter. Pumped up the car tyres with the new wonder electric pump, powered from the cigarette lighter. Sat outside at N4c4ll after doing big shop at W: £46. Increased monthly subscription to NWT (Northumberland Wildlife Trust) to £50 and donated £50 directly to their West Chevington appeal; donated £40 to the BTO urban bird appeal; all with gift aid. Six Black Kite sightings today (bringing seasonal total to 68):3 in Dorset, 1 in Isle of Wight, 1 in East Sussex and 1 flying NE in Lothian, Scotland, but no more Honey-buzzard. New laptop arrives tomorrow morning: existing one Acer is still going but is 5 years old and getting a little dated; may still take the Acer on trips as it’s got a good battery life; new one should work well with HDMI presentations. In regular Ag sales have been successful today on a very elegant French sweetmeat fork c1700 (0.343k) and 2 silver-handled forks c1675 (0.162k) but dipped on a James II trefid spoon 1688 (despite bidding 0.53k): forks are not cheap!! Made G4g4s where chatted to S/A about Costa Rica, a superb place for nature. Have booked up for ANPA conference in Liverpool from 8/8-12/8, where will give a paper on CT, and the RNS prom in London on 14/8. Looking forward to Ukrainian fund-raising concert on 7/5 in Finchley – all set!! Have 3 concerts this weekend: RNS dance Friday evening, RNS Sea Symphony Sunday afternoon, RNS Vienna ramble Monday afternoon. lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Here’s the monthly look at climate trends. The climate anomaly for March was +0.15C, a slight rise over recent months but broadly maintaining the pause in temperature rise over the last decade or so. Here’s the text from the GTR at the UAH page

The global temperature departure from average in March warmed to +0.15 °C (+0.27°F) with global climate trend since Dec. 1 1978 stable at +0.13 C per decade. The main warming shift occurred in the Northern Hemisphere as the area warmed by +0.26 °C (+0.47 °F) from February. This may be the beginning of the return to warmer temperatures as the La Niña typically declines in influence during the NH spring. However, latest values of various El Niño/La Niña indices indicate the La Niña may survive for several more months. Indeed, the sea surface temperatures of the key region “Niño 3.4” have remained below average through April. The latest on the evolution of La Niña and its anticipated diminishment is provided by NOAA here:

The planet’s warmest region, in terms of the monthly departure from average, was over the rural area of Kulesabza in Afghanistan where one grid cell hit +4.1 °C (+7.4 °F) above normal. This region anchored a broad warmer-than-average area from Saudi Arabia to Japan. Other warm areas were experienced in Scandinavia, Alaska/eastern Russia, central No. Atlantic, and eastern Antarctica. Reports of tremendous surface temperature values (> 38°C above average) during a brief mid-March heat wave in East Antarctica did not have much influence on the deep layer of the atmosphere as monthly anomalies in this area are typically even greater than the warmest patch of +2.5 °C reported this month. As so often happens, when one region is hot due to a stagnant weather pattern, an adjacent region is cold as a result of the same pattern. In this case the coolest departure from average occurred in Northern Turkey near the village of Kuzhaka at -3.6 °C (-6.5 °F). This was in the centre of a broad region of cool temperature from Europe to central Russia. It was cooler than average too over the tropical Pacific (La Niña), over the far North Atlantic and the far South Pacific. [Note this cold spell directly affected the luckless Ukraine]

La Niña is actually proving more persistent than expected: La Niña is present. La Niña Advisory Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are below average across most of the Pacific Ocean. The tropical Pacific atmosphere is consistent with La Niña. La Niña is favoured to continue through the Northern Hemisphere summer (59% chance during June/August 2022), with a 50-55% chance through the fall. This is likely to prolong the pause in global temperatures. The two poles both had spells of exceptional warmth but ice levels showed no extreme declines:

Spring in fits and starts. After reaching its seasonal maximum extent of 14.88 million square kilometres (5.75 million square miles) on February 25, the seasonal decline in Arctic sea ice extent through March proceeded in fits and starts. By the end of the month, extent saw little change, ending up at 14.50 million square kilometres (5.60 million square miles). The middle of March saw excitement, with several extreme warm events over the Arctic Ocean associated with large transports of water vapour into the region. The Antarctic region also experienced unusual warmth and break up of a small ice shelf.

Average Arctic sea ice extent for March 2022 was 14.59 million square kilometres (5.63 million square miles), ranking ninth lowest in the satellite record (Figure 1a). The 2022 March extent was 840,000 square kilometres (324,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average. While extent tracked below the interdecile range of the satellite record throughout the entire month, the total decline, after a series of small ups and downs, was only 250,000 square kilometres (96,500 square miles). Following the pattern seen in February, sea ice extent was below average in the Sea of Okhotsk. Extent in the Bering, Barents, and East Greenland Seas was near average for March. The Arctic Ocean was associated with large transports of water vapour into the region. The Antarctic region also experienced unusual warmth and break up of a small ice shelf.

Between March 16 and 18, a combination of an unusual high-pressure region south-east of New Zealand and a strong low pressure south of Perth, Australia, led to a pulse of warm and moist air from east Australia (the Tasman Sea) to the Antarctic coastline and up onto the East Antarctic Plateau. As the pulse of air, another example of what appears to be an atmospheric river, reached the coast, sustained periods of above-freezing temperatures and rain were observed at the coastal bases.

April 27th: maximum 8C, minimum 0C, light NE breeze, cool and cloudy. Frost on car on most recent mornings. No Black Kite reported today in UK but there was a Honey-buzzard:

08:20 27/04 European Honey Buzzard Pembrokeshire Aber Mawr 08:09 one reported flying in off sea [possibly an Irish bird]

Working hard on a report for Crete trip, producing one angled to bird migration and raptors plus butterflies; have done the migration, need to do the resident raptors and butterflies and publish soon. Sociable afternoon making N4c4t and G4g4t where had good chat with B. Was asked out for evening for another session in G by P/R but resisted! Funds had strong day as mining/oil shares boomed, reaching new record with wtd +28k, ytd +308k gross. Bought a new laptop from Currys, inexpensive LENOVO IdeaPad 3i 14" Laptop - Intel® Celeron®, 128 GB SSD, Blue, for £199 plus an HDMI cable £8 and fixed delivery slot Friday morning £10. 2moro M’s away but will go for c in HEX midday, do shopping in W and make G4g4s with A. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! lok2tgrf: XX

April 26th: maximum 9C, minimum 2C, light NNE breeze, cool and cloudy. Four Black Kite reported today in UK: 2 in Devon, 1 in Alderney, 1 in Kent. It was JLAF quarterly meeting day with field trip to Kielder and tea and meeting in Bellingham. Very enjoyable day: think we’re functioning well: here’s our leaflet explaining what we do top over. I’m in charge of the Volunteering Group involving 4 JLAF members (LB/SR/PW/me); it’s really a meta-volunteering group, looking at how we can maximise the returns for access from various volunteer activities such as walking paths and reporting on condition, maintaining paths, researching ancient rights of way from archives, liaising with parish councils. Today the whole JLAF (17 strong) met at Forestry England - North England District Office in Bellingham at 12:30 and then went on minibus to Kielder Forest at Rushy Knowe (harvesting, replanting, weevil problems, commercial strategy) and Mounces Viewpoint (former grazing fields, replanted with mixed woodland for biodiversity, still commercial, not rewilding). There were just 5 species at Mounces in an an hour: 30 Woodpigeon, 2 Siskin, 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 Crow, 2 Chaffinch. A Grey Heron was at Lanehead at 15:45. We then went to Tea on the Train, a cafe in Bellingham at the old station yard, for welcome refreshment at 16:30 and our formal meeting, which finished at 19:30. Nine bird-types were recorded at Bellingham, including 4 Chaffinch and a Greenfinch, both of which seem to be weathering their Trichomonas parasite storm. Our climate-change guru went missing in his 6-litre diesel: he chose to travel under own steam (not sharing) and apparently took a wrong turning! Did 2 bird counts – at Mounces and Bellingham. Only one raptor all day – a Kestrel at Falstone on way in to Kielder but weather (cool and still, no sun) was not conducive for them.

Here’s piccies of the male Honey-buzzard at Crete on 17/4 at 12:44: 1  2  3  4 (12001); and the pair of Honey-buzzard at Ordley on 23/4 from 13:19-13:22 with male display 1  2, female display 3 , female out to feed 4  5  6 (12002).

Got some more black ink so can print-out maps for writing-on with habitat information; hope to finish Throckley N soon. Paid Eon £259 for electricity up to end of March, correcting under-reading by their official reader which gave me a large credit, not to my advantage when have to make it up later against much more expensive units; surely he didn’t do it on purpose! Will take readings for end-April soon at the new rates. Funds are +3k wtd, with large rise in junk bonds of Indian film maker Eros (on closing deal to sell a subsidiary STX) just about overcoming significant losses in commodity stocks on China’s insane zero Covid policy affecting its own and the world economy. Massive fall in tech stocks in US today (almost 4%) led by Tesla (-10%) on Musk’s FB moves. Hearing is not too bad after all the olive oil but now stopped that treatment and awaiting physical de-wax! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 25th: maximum 9C, minimum 3C, light NE breeze, surprise steady rain at 08:00 for 2 hours, then cool and cloudy. No Black Kite seen today in UK but BirdGuides reports for week

Review of the Week: 19-25 April 2022: Black Kites were again prominent on the BirdGuides news page, with the raptor reported at up to 20 sites. Several birds were noted between Spurn, East Yorkshire, and Cornwall, with individuals multi-observed in Dorset and Kent. Notable outliers were birds photographed at Sandbach Flashes, Cheshire, and Lissagriffin, Co Cork, on 21st.

Have processed recent piccies for Honey-buzzard in Crete and Ordley and hope to publish 2moro, though have busy day with JLAF in Kielder. Made R at B4m4s 4 good meal followed by pop-in to T 4 black ink cartridge, 2 loads of kindling and a bottle of milk. Then to G4g4s with A/R and K on 4 gr8 chat! Have booked ear de-waxing session with CB in HEX on 9/5 at 10:00; it’s supposed to increase your hearing instantly by equivalent of 10 decibels; told to stop oil treatment as makes it messier for machine. Pity it’s not sooner. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 24th: maximum 11C, minimum 3C, moderate NE breeze, sunny periods, cool in the breeze, continuing very dry. Today was a great day with the return of the Honey-buzzard to my home site:

At 13:19 the returning pair of Honey-buzzard were in low-level display over the Devil's Water in Northumberland near my house, on a bright, cool day with moderate easterly breeze. This is an early return for the pair. Only one Honey-buzzard has been recorded on BirdGuides by this date for 2022. I suspect that some of the long-established birds are powerful migrants with a clear strategy for the route, making minimal stops and avoiding coastal situations where they are more likely to be seen.

So reorganised Honey-buzzard home page to set-up 2022 summary data and repackage the 2020-2021 National Survey data. Processing habitat for Throckley N today, still some way to go. Next up for habitat is Wylam Close House, another one in Tyne Valley East. Two more Black Kite reported today, in Kent and Devon. No more Honey-buzzard reported nationally since the one and only to date on 18/4 on Isle of Wight.

Did have ears examined by audiologist at SS at 09:15; she said that ears were full of wax, which needed removal and gave me name of a business in Hexham (Clare Bates, £80 for both ears) which does this by micro-suction with air pressure; relieved really as this is a common condition and underlying ears might well be OK once this is done; already take ear drops so shouldn’t be too long before done; applying best Waitrose olive oil every few hours today! Made N4c4c after appointment for recuperation where pleased 2 c S again! Much later made G4g4s with R/D/B 4 good chat and good aftercare!! 2moro it’s back to B4m4s 4 R (evening). xxxxx XXX!!!!!!!

April 23rd: maximum 12C, minimum 4C, moderate NE breeze, sunny periods, cool in the breeze. Total of 3 Black Kite seen today, 2 in Cornwall and 1 in Dorset; total of 53 sightings in British Isles in 2022 so far, including some duplicates and 2 admitted errors in id. As below sorted out banking problems: son with experience in this area said I would have been flagged because of going to Crete and making an unusually large payment from my ‘phone; after a trip to Albania he had several such issues with his bank; so split larger payments for a while and pay from desktop! Did make concert by Gould Trio and clarinettist Robert Plane at the Corbridge Parish Church St Andrews. Very spirited – loved the Bartók Contrasts; we also had pieces by Haydn, Wiener and Brahms (piano trio in C). At Corbridge had 55 Sand Martin and 2 Swallow around the Tyne Bridge at 18:30 with a pair of Goosander on the Tyne. 4 queen wasp were on pyracantha flowers at Ordley with a Small White in flight and 2 Blue Tit actively nest-building. Then went onto DoW4g4s to meet D/D for good catch-up. Earlier had chat with son on FB video: he’s looking good, just bought a bike with electrical assistance for getting to/from work (8 km). Had to be fairly early to bed as hearing test tomorrow at 09:15 at SS. Booked up PI at KGX and train fares for important concert. Looking forward to 2 weeks ahead: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 22nd: maximum 12C, minimum 6C, moderate NE breeze, sunny all day, cool in the breeze. Total of 2 Black Kite seen today in Dorset and Norfolk; total of 50 sightings in British Isles in 2022 so far, including some duplicates. Had good chats with N/D over Skype and at T4m4l with M/B. Cleaner S arrived at 15:00 so out to Throckley N for look at habitat and check for raptors. This habitat survey for Honey-buzzard is no.20 in all, no.2 for Tyne Valley E. Had just 9 bird species in all, including a Common Buzzard, a singing Chiffchaff, a Coal Tit and 2 Swallow, first seen in UK this spring. Butterflies comprised 4 Small Tortoiseshell, a Peacock and a Small White. A dead badger was on the road on way home at Throckley N at 23:15. Also a little earlier had a Common Buzzard over Rudchester. Made VctCmt4m4t (S don’t do proper meals yet); then onto S4con. Immensely popular concert – starring Four Seasons by Vivaldi with added spoken texts – and supporting cast of Corelli Concerto Grosso, Telemann Concerto for 3 Oboes, 3 Violins and Continuo, Telemann Overture from Tafelmusik II in the first half. The Vivaldi was played in great style with Rachel Podger as soloist/director, ably assisted by MW and the RNS players; it’s a very challenging piece with few breaks and lots of fast playing. The Telemann concerto with the 3 oboes was very inspiring: M O’D playing one part and the two others (JB/HC) the second part; TC was playing the lute; in the bar later he said it was insured for a bit under 10k. Had gr8 chat in bar later with CM and Braggs couple (pp). Latter gave me lift back to CAL as they live near there. Booked for Vienna Music Trail on 2/5, all 3 concerts. Had bizarre incident with Lloyds Bank on my account; payment to Co-op Visa (credit card) for £2002 (including Crete costs) on Tuesday was parked by their fraud squad; tried phoning them but 1 hour wasted in long queues, then login suspended; had already paid off the £2002 in 4 smaller sums to clear the balance and avoid interest charges of c£70. Finally 23/4 got through at 09:30 to fraud team and problem resolved amicably over ‘phone. Some new supplies of coal arrived while out mid-afternoon – 5 bags of ovoids, 3 of small doubles -- all for £144; think it may be more expensive by autumn. Funds this week finished +9k with rise in 2/3 Falkland oilers partially offset by shaky markets elsewhere. 2Moro going to a concert in Corbridge after chat with son. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 21st: maximum 14C, minimum 5C, light NE breeze, sunny all day, no clouds, another gorgeous spring day, (ground) frost on car in recent mornings! Made N4c4lm: nice to sit outside! Much later made G4g4s where met R/A for good chat. 2moro it’s Skype with N/D, T4m4l with M, RNS at S in evening, maybe meal at VicCmt b4, could well be in from CAL to make nite a little longer. Anyway good to be back on concert trail! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!! Total of 6 Black Kite seen today in Cork, Cornwall, Dorset, London, Suffolk and Cheshire.

Here’s the raptor list for Crete from 4/4-18/4 plus total for each species. Overall total is 72 birds of 13 types with Common Buzzard and Common Kestrel the commonest species and Griffon Vulture, Bonelli's Eagle and Peregrine being widespread, Some piccies are to follow.

Honey-buzzard 2, Griffon Vulture 8, Steppe Eagle 1, Bonelli's Eagle 3, Sparrowhawk 2, Black Kite 3, Long-legged Buzzard 2, Common Buzzard 30,

Barn Owl 1,

Lesser Kestrel 2, Common Kestrel 13, Red-footed Falcon 1, Peregrine 4.

I am of the firm opinion that BJ should resign as PM: if they replayed some of his press conferences from spring 2020 lecturing us on our behaviour, he comes over as a blatant hypocrite, probably still sniggering at us in private. Some people suffered so much mental illness through lack of social contact. Partygate means to me that he has to go now. As a subsidiary matter I think the current energy fiasco is partly his fault through too much of a religious zeal, as an arts student, for net zero. His time is up! We need more engineers in government and senior civil service to provide better thought-through policies in energy in physical terms.

April 20th: maximum 11C, minimum 4C, light N breeze, sunny all day, no clouds, gorgeous spring day, all of HEX in a good mood! Busy evening on the music scene: booked up 2 concerts at Sage on 1/5 Sea Symphony and 15/5 Lars Vogt recital; a festival pass for Northern Chords at St B/J from 14/5-15/5; couldn’t book online Beethoven’s Ghost Trio L&P 27/5, will try by ‘phone (later, did just that, 3 seats left, took 1); settled renewal for a domain for a Festival; staying overnight at OH in J on 13/5 as have RNS (Mozart) on the Friday nite b4 the St B/J next lunchtime; thinking seriously about a trip S to another concert. Today had jab no.4 – no ceremony – 2 minutes in a yard outside Hexham Hospital in the sunshine – very healthy! Went to N4c4l 4 recuperation, where sat outside – very sociable; then to W where spent £81 to save £7 on a voucher and then gave £5 to Big Issue seller Maria outside! Went home but came back to G4g4t where had good chat with B/A and others. Four more Black Kite in today, 2 in Dorset and singles in West Sussex and Kent. Funds are +3k wtd, markets pretty nervous and reaction to Falklands oil industry getting off its marks was pretty muted; suspect many funds will not invest in oil/gas on ESG grounds so we’re in an impasse – investment-wise, with the world doomed to sky-high energy prices until investment in new supplies is encouraged. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 19th: maximum 11C, minimum 4C, light E breeze, sunny morning, cloudy afternoon, dry, cool. Had a Tawny Owl last night at Ordley and a Common Buzzard at Loughbrow this afternoon with a Treecreeper in the Sele. Finished compiling records for Greece as below. Provisional total is:

67 species from 259 records, 14 complete lists, 12 places (all species assumed countable) Strictly provisional, will review 2moro. Raptor types total 13 with addition of migrant Red-footed Falcon.

Collected new specs from SS; they made minor adjustments to the fitting; very pleased with them – the reading pair make close-up material so clear, will encourage me to read more print; the varifocals also make the world very clear; good investment at little over £300. Have arranged a hearing test with SS for Sunday morning as suspect I’m losing the high-end of the register above 6KHz, important for bird song and maybe some music overtones; will go private here to speed things up, if necessary. Can hear people – assistant was a little surprised I wanted a test – but music and birds are important; an RIC might be appropriate. Also having jab no.4 at Hexham Fire Station tomorrow at 12:50, when out on major shopping expedition to take advantage of £7 off from W if spend £70. should be back by 14:30, maybe some gardening catch-up b4 G4g4t with B! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Big influx of Black Kite recently in British Isles with BirdGuides noting:

Review of the Week: 11-18 April 2022: A warm southerly airflow produced sublime weather conditions across much of Britain and Ireland through the week and into the Easter weekend, giving plenty of reasons for birders across the isles to get outdoors and make the most of the sun and warmth after a preceding fortnight of cool and often windy weather. One of the week's most noticeable features was the bumper arrival of Black Kites. The bank holiday weekend produced one of the bigger influxes of recent years, with more than 31 reports gracing BirdGuides news pages. No fewer than nine English counties had birds, with one in Ireland – at Knockadoon Head, Co Cork. Among these were just the fourth record for Cheshire and Wirral, and the first for Northumberland since 2014.

There have been a further 4 records today: (plus 2 before 11/4, giving total for year of 37 reports)

19:32 19/04 Black Kite Kent Broadstairs

13:21 19/04 Black Kite East Sussex Lewes, one drifted high north

13:20 19/04 Black Kite East Sussex Iford, one flew north over Iford Hill

07:07 19/04 Black Kite East Yorkshire Spurn YWT, one flew south past The Warren then south-east out to sea

And Honey-buzzard passage started yesterday in UK:

18/04 10:36 Isle of Wight : European Honey Buzzard, Ventnor, one reported flying low north towards Wroxall Down (10:29) [R]

April 18th: maximum 12C, minimum 3C, light W breeze, sunny, dry, cool. On final trip by taxi to Chania Airport, had a Peregrine female, 2 Common Buzzard and 2 Raven. At the Airport or close to it had a Black Kite (a Black Kite gliding low-down over countryside), a Common Buzzard, a Greater Short-toed Lark and a Crested Lark, plus star of the day: an Alpine Swift flying N at 13:35 just as we got ready to board; Ryanair have a nice trait of putting everyone out on the tarmac before your plane is ready or has even arrived but had priority boarding which made things more comfortable; plane was full; Ryanair got me home! Everything went well on return trip, car arrived to take me to Chania Airport, Ryanair flight on time, NCL Airport working efficiently and car started first time. Did some emergency shopping at W and made G4nb4s (no g) where met 3 mates D/P/F with K on 4 good chat. Time is against me with EEST = BST +2 so that’s it for now. Much more 2moro. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Total from Crete including all records up to 17/4:

66 species from 247 records, 13 complete lists, 9 places (all species assumed countable). Raptor types total 13 with addition of migrant Red-footed Falcon.

April 17th: maximum 22C, minimum 12C, moderate NW breeze, sunny and muggy, no rain yet but a fall of Sahara dust and by evening stormy and a little rain with the sea looking more like Atlantic breakers; Crete is about 300km from the NE coast of Libya in Africa and 300km from the Greek mainland to N so could conceivably be used for island-hopping the Mediterranean by raptors though Israel/Gibraltar safer. Better weather for seeing migrants, including start of Honey-buzzard season with a female and male coming off the sea from E at 12:33 and 12:43 respectively and flying towards southern base of the Rodopou Peninsula, presumably to feed in the more fertile land there, before continuing to N. The female was dark with long tail and wings, very sturdy flyer, male was much paler and a little slimmer. Great to see them again. Spotted them while having late breakfast in seaside cafe Mylos Taverna (omelette, 2 coffee, €14) followed much later by supper at Diktina (€22) with my hosts and 2 US ladies from Colorado – good chat. Migrant summary is: 2 Honey-buzzard W, 7 Common Swift N, 21 Swallow N, 28 House Martin N, 2 White Wagtail N, a Whiskered Tern N, 10 Bee-eater N calling, 1 female Red-footed Falcon N at 15:30. Had some interesting passerines later at Koumouli: a female/1w Pied Flycatcher, a Whinchat, a displaying Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, a singing Chiffchaff, a Sardinian Warbler, a Robin, 6 Chaffinch, plus raptors: 4 displaying Common Buzzard and an adult Red-footed Falcon female moving N. Butterflies today comprised 10 Small White, 6 Speckled Wood, 3 Large White, 4 Holly-Blue type. Had loads of tadpoles in a culvert at Koumouli. Will try and wrap it all up over the next few days. Feeling like a long rest!! In the UK quite a few Black Kite were recorded. Looking forward to return: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

There are signs that the Falklands oil industry is getting off the ground with an announcement (RNS Tel Aviv) by Israeli company Navitas today; have a fair bit invested there in 3 companies, over 1% of UK industry there! Laugh at xenophobic UK investors: announcement is in Hebrew and can we trust it but NVPT.TA rose over 5% in Tel Aviv on the news today, on Easter Sunday. A lot of other companies have been put off by Argie threats; NVPT seem unfazed by these. I’m with the 35% minority holding by the original oil discoverer RKH of which hold a few plus some of BOR and ARG, the other 2 main Falkland oil exploration companies. Now up to end of 15/4 with bird records:

60 species from 194 records, 11 complete lists, 9 places (all species assumed countable) with 11 raptor-types, now up to 12 with today’s Honey-buzzard

April 16th: maximum 20C, minimum 14C, light E breeze, sunny warm and dry morning, becoming cloudy and rain supposed to be on way overnight, which may bring down a few migrants. This morning had walk to the Cemetery b4 returning up hill to apartment where decided as sun disappeared to have a siesta to recuperate a bit, beautiful dreams, hoping for active last day. In the town had close-up views of a Woodchat Shrike and Whinchat and added to the list a flighty Yellow Wagtail going N. A pair of displaying Sardinian Warbler showed well on the hillside. Raptors comprised a Griffon Vulture S, 3 Common Buzzard and a Kestrel, diving again at the Monastery, plus very good views of an adult Long-legged Buzzard to add to the 1w bird seen earlier. This one was over the crags just W of the street holding the restaurants Argentina and Diktina and of course the quayside; this bird showed very obvious translucent bases to the inner primaries as well as unmarked long tail, dark covets and imposing appearance, bigger than a nearby Common Buzzard from which it kept apart. Butterflies comprised 8 Small White, 4 Speckled Wood, 1 yellow marbled white, 1 Clouded Yellow. Running total up to 15/4 lunchtime is:

56 species from 175 records, 10 complete lists, 8 places (all species assumed countable); raptors remain at 11 types.

Have now done the sums in full on funds for the past week and fall on week was 9k giving running totals ytd +271k gross (+15.4%), +237k net with ftse 100 +3.1% ytd (+1.0% on week), ftse 250 -10.1%, dow -5.2%, nasdaq (tech) -14.7%, bitcoin -12.4% (all ytd). Have withdrawn 1k for holiday; the last 2 weeks have seen the expected profit taking after the big rise the week before; am top-slicing to raise some cash to take advantage of any opportunities. Had good chat with son and daughter on FB messenger for an hour; son-in-law still working for the Gazprom trading arm, now bought out by the Germans with hedge fund interested in purchasing the whole lot; daughter is concentrating on her 2 daughters rather than going back to work; son is buying an electric bike to increase fitness. Had breakfast in Freshness (7) and supper at Freshness (omelette, 20€). Donated €25 to Full Circle for concert tomorrow – sorry won’t be there! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 15th: maximum 18C, minimum 11C, moderate E breeze, sunny, becoming cloudy and definitely quite chilly in afternoon without the solar glare. Had another good walking day of 11+k steps (9+ km), going out W on Kissamos road to Koumouli, along a stream which actually had a little water in it. Plenty of good insectivores in area, including a Tree Pipit, 7 Whinchat, a Red-breasted Flycatcher, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Collared Flycatcher (male, female), a Woodchat Shrike, plus 4 Common Buzzard and a Common Kestrel. Last night at 23:00 had a Barn Owl, hunting over the town near the apartment, the 11th raptor species for the trip. Early today was also a purple patch with 5 Bee-eater calling overhead as flew N on opening door of apartment and a Purple Heron flying N up the headland shortly after; also 3 Swallow N. Butterflies in the morning included a Clouded Yellow, 4 Small White, 1 Eastern Bath White. Found good Cretan butterfly site at with bird site at Birdwatching in NATURA 2000 network areas on Crete. Had breakfast at Freshness (7€), late liquid lunch at Paradise (9€) and very tasty Cretan food (lamb shepherd’s pie) for supper at Diktina (€23). Had a few Raki with apartment owner tonite in recognition of long stay! Added to BirdTrack the Barn Owl and the Kolimvarion and Orthodox Academy visits yesterday. So still need to add the barren area yesterday and today’s walk. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

49 species from 148 records, 8 complete lists, 7 places (all species assumed countable). Raptor types now number 11 with addition of Barn Owl.

April 14th: maximum 18C, minimum 11C, moderate E breeze, sunny, felt a bit cooler in the stronger breeze. Went for long walk past the monastery up the peninsula towards a diving centre (didn’t get that far!), getting past Kolymvariou Afraton, doing 14,601 steps, 10.3km today. Had a few more Griffon Vulture on walk and a Common Kestrel in the barren landscape, target of the walk. Spotted 2 Scopoli’s Shearwater scavenging behind a trawler and had a good range of birds of barren areas: Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (4, 2 pairs), Stonechat (female), Greater Short-toed Lark (11, loose flock), Crested Lark (4, 2 pairs). Some water birds at last: 2 Turnstone and a Little Egret. Migrants included 3 Swallow N and a Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin was skulking in dense vegetation near the Monastery. Butterflies, all in the Orthodox area, included a Painted Lady (new for trip), a Swallowtail, 7 Small White. Had breakfast at Freshness (7€), late liquid lunch at Paradise (barman gets the beer and snack out when I appear in the distance! 10€) and evening meal at Argentina (lamb chops again, 23€); all with good service and very enjoyable, amounts include tips of 15-20%; Greek Americano is superb but I think it’s simply dilute espresso, which comes naturally to them. A few more tourists around, mainly Scandinavian and German with a few English. Have Skype session with N/D 2moro at 10:00 BST, 12:00 EEST, after breakfast in town; plus FB video session with son on 16/4; WiFi is good enough I feel. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Have entered records for 13/4 from Skoutelonas, making running total 4/4-13/4:

48 species from 124 records, 6 complete lists, 7 places (all species assumed countable). Raptor types now number 10 with addition of Griffon Vulture and Long-legged Buzzard.

Black Kite continue to arrive in Essex:

17:13 14/04 Black Kite Essex Colchester 16:53 one flew south over St John's Estate

09:52 14/04 Black Kite Essex Stanway Green 08:45 again flew west over landfill site

Funds are down about 3k on short wtd. Will give more accurate position next Monday/Tuesday from desktop. Have started realising profits on commodity-shares (top-slicing) as feel 2 things: war may not go on beyond early May as costs enormous for both sides; western economies are suffering from inflation which could bring on a recession: the cure for high prices is high prices!

April 13th: maximum 18C, minimum 10C, light E breeze, sunny. Walked S today to Skoutelonas, an area dominated by farmland and olive groves; not sure what the access position is in Greece but had an unhindered stroll from 11:20-15:30 in ideal walking conditions. Sorting out camera disk space and laptop’s disk space today as both stretched and want to see the piccies (2.59 GB so far) on the larger screen before adding more records. Today’s star bird was Griffon Vulture with one floating N up the peninsula at 12:00 and 2 more low-down over Skoutelonas at ttime. The Bonelli’s Eagle was again displaying over Skoutelonas, also at ttime. Had 3 Common Buzzard on the walk plus a probable immature Long-legged Buzzard, which on preliminary analysis has been entered as such: “hunting over ridge; tail largely unmarked except for 4 narrow bands at end; long necked and small headed; long winged with dark carpal, dark tip; imposing bird. Still analysing”. Other great birds for the area were 3 Hoopoe, a Woodchat Shrike, 8 Serin (flock of 7 plus single in olive grove). Had 2 Barn Swallow N. Butterflies comprised 10 Small White, 6 Speckled Wood, 2 blue veins, 2 blue plain underside, 1 Large White, 1 Swallowtail. Latest BirdTrack summary for all records from 4/4-11/4 is:

39 species from 88 records, 4 complete lists, 7 places (all species assumed countable) with 8 types of raptor: Steppe Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Black Kite, Common Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Peregrine

Black Kite have started arriving in East Anglia, assumed migration route to Northumberland and all points north:

19:22 13/04 Black Kite Essex Stanway Green 19:00 one over landfill site between 18:20 and 19:00 then lost to view

10:58 13/04 Black Kite Norfolk Titchwell RSPB 12/04 probable reportedly flew west over Fen Hide yesterday afternoon

09:28 13/04 Black Kite Norfolk Winterton Dunes NNR09:25 one moving south over dunes

Had breakfast and supper (spaghetti bolognese with red wine) at Freshness and lunch at a cafe to S. Locals are very friendly – will be more around the port area gain tomorrow. Going to bed at 01:36 (14/4) feeling well! Not sure when we’ll meet again: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 12th: maximum 16C, minimum 9C, light NE breeze, sunny. Another grand day and a few more tourists around in the beach area but the hills are still blissfully quiet. Did leisurely walk from Freshness cafe for breakfast, beach, Orthodox cemetery on a hillside, Paradise cafe for late liquid lunch and Freshness cafe for spaghetti and tuna for supper. Trying to be more sensible, wearing a cap and having plenty of liquids. Had 5 Common Buzzard and 4 Common Kestrel in Kolimvarion site plus 2 Common Buzzard (a pair) and 2 Common Kestrel (also a pair), a female Sparrowhawk and a pair of Raven on the high ground above the Monastery. Passage N was very light: single Swallow and House Martin. Also had a Tawny Pipit, 10 Spanish Sparrow and a Mute Swan adult, last on the sea. Butterflies included:16 Small White, 2 Swallowtail, 3 blue with large black tips, 1 clear blue, 1 Small Copper, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Large White, 4 Clouded Yellow, plus a small brown lizard,

Running total from BirdTrack is: 33 species from 60 records, 3 complete lists, 3 places (all species assumed countable) but that does not include the trip to Chania on Saturday or today’s records. Should be able to give up to date report tomorrow.

Two more records from BirdGuides of Black Kite this spring:

12:53 12/04 Black Kite Cork Knockadoon Head one flew west over Holy Ground

20:57 06/04 Black Kite Cornwall Camel Estuary one between Wadebridge and Tregunna

So what was the illness? Think it was omicron with classical symptoms of non-stop runny nose, fatigue, sore lower back/hip and frequent urination; during 11 hours in bed last night from 22:00-09:00, was up on the hour every hour for a pee, not the ideal when your bed is up 12 steep stairs from the bathroom below and you have a sore hip! But all over now: readings this morning (temp, pulse, bp, oxygen) were 36.4C 78 108/70 98% and feeling a lot better and by this evening pulse was down at a more normal level of 63, body aches have gone, nose has stopped running, eating well and feeling energetic again. Did have some natural immunity from actually catching the Brazilian variant mildly and 3 vaccinations so after a common 24-hour delay the body's T-cells in the immune system trained to watch out for Covid, came into action and knocked out the omicron. Worth commenting on how I think I caught it; the conference enforced mask wearing and people seem to think this gives them immunity. I attended one session a few days ago in a small room, 8 in to start with but more arriving as other sessions finished. The room was poorly ventilated and crowded so I walked out, probably reducing my viral load though annoying the chair! Poor ventilation (indoors) and crowding are the main ways the virus spreads. Mask wearing gives people a false sense of security. I was wearing a mask in the room (against my better judgement). Feeling up for it now: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Funds down another 3k wtd on further profit taking; fundamentals remain sound for a commodity-focused portfolio. Interesting developments now in Canadian Manganese – becoming sought after with electric vehicles batteries in mind and North America’s drive to become self-sufficient in vital metals. Have 574500 at around 35 Canadian cents and this week they became quoted in Germany as well as a rather obscure Canadian exchange NEO. So may be able to bring them into play soon. Suspect they’ll be bought out by someone like Tesla.

April 11th: maximum 16C, minimum 10C, light E breeze, sunny. Conference finished today. Was there for last talk on axiomatic proofs and of course lunch. Said goodbye to Al! Feeling off, runny nose, sore hips and very tired but no fever and blood oxygen fine, Could be reaction to busy conference or Covid, whatever will take it easy this evening and tomorrow. Have been walking 10km a day, probably too much. This afternoon went for walk in hot sunshine up to heights above the Monastery along very well laid stone track with monuments from time to time. Did have some hirundine passage N: 12 Barn Swallow, 5 Common Swift, 16 House Martin, 8 Red-rumped Swallow, plus a skulking Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, 3 Willow Warbler, flock 10 Linnet, 3 Great Tit (1 carrying food), pair of Raven but no raptors. Butterflies comprised 16 Small White, 1 Speckled Wood, 3 deep blues, 2 Swallowtail. So it’s early to bed: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!!

April 10th: maximum 22C, minimum 12C, moderate SW breeze, sunny, so clear. At 15:30 at Monastery had a Common Kestrel male displaying over the sea to E and 3 Scopoli’s Shearwater moving slowly SE and a Zitting Cisticola was on rough ground on the cliff-edge. Full day at meeting, which was very interesting with talks on logical structures, getting closer to CT but with some interesting avenues to explore like the lambda-cube. That’s always the great reward from coming to a conference like this: plenty of new ideas and lateral thinking from leading world experts in logic. We had been treated to a piano solo on Friday night by Lúcia Donatella Jenei who played some classical material, sounded a bit like Mussorgsky’s Great Gate of Kiev, which would be topical! Tonight in a local taverna Paradise we had some Cretan music with a little dancing; so inspiring, sounded quite eastern, a mixture of Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus, very urgent sound from the fiddle and harmonics definitely east; a string trio (basically eastern violin, 2 guitars plus vocal from the trio). The concert went on from 21:00-00:30 and participants had a gr8 time! Sat with a Polish group including An but did have long chat with Al at end: logicians are a lot more fun than generally realised and many young women are now prominent in the area!! Logic is closer to language than to say engineering so more gender-neutral. Meeting finishes at lunch-time 2moro, after which will do walk around Academy for a bird list. Have eastern sounds ringing in my head: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 9th: maximum 23C, minimum 11C, moderate W breeze, sunny, so clear, incredible visibility again with snow on mountains; evidently Crete has had a long cold winter with snow at low levels just 2 weeks ago. So my stay is coinciding with a rapid warming spell. Perfect conditions for raptors today and results were amazing: single Bonelli’s Eagle displaying S of apartment at 10:00 (with pair of Common Kestrel) and S of Agia Triada on tour at 15:00; a Lesser Kestrel near Agia Triada; a male Common Kestrel displaying near Agia Triada; a male Peregrine up high over viewpoint overlooking Chania at Kalathas; 7 displaying Common Buzzard from Orthodox Academy to Agia Triada monastery and four more at Agia Triada itself. So provisional total of 18 raptors of 5 types. At Kalathas also had 3 migrant male Collared Flycatcher and a Jay. Amazing sight of 80 Pallid Swift displaying around Chania harbour with 50 Yellow-legged Gull michahellis also present. Trip was very interesting, visiting the old monastery Agia Triada, the viewpoint above Chania and Chania harbour (dating from Venetian period) where we had some drinks and a meal, getting back at 23:00 so long trip, starting at 14:00. Earlier had power cut from 06:00-10:00 with emergency lighting cutting in. Had lunch again with Al and we also had good chat at the viewpoint!! Busy 1.5 days to go at meeting; Monday afternoon will be on a local walk. Main company today on trip was some political philosophers, who met last night in restaurant, from USA and Italy, 6 of us. Hope RNS concert went well on Friday – had ticket but couldn’t make it: realise it would have been good chance to catch up!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 8th: maximum 20C, minimum 12C, moderate W breeze, sunny, so clear, incredible visibility with snow on mountains so obvious. Gave talk to workshop on Logic and Love: all went well, will post slides soon: we all went out for meal and plenty of refreshment later in Argentina restaurant including Raki liqueurs: gr8 day and evening! Earlier met lass Alexandra Petrova over lunch, from St Petersburg, now moving to Vienna: she looked a little isolated, having entered the logic competition in Russia’s name yesterday and maybe not realising all the tensions, though feel attendees would not take anything out on a fellow conference member. Feel Russia’s intelligent young people are forming a diaspora, just like those of the Jews and the Iranians. She was very happy for a chat! Incredible views today of the Cretan mountains. Had 2 Blue Tit while having breakfast at the apartment, a Great Tit at the Academy and a Holly Blue butterfly on walk in. 2moro it’s half-day out to Chania on trip, including dinner, by bus. Funds came back to earth this week with lots of selling at start of new tax year on 6/4 as punters bagged profits. Not properly worked out yet, but looks like -16k on week, +278k ytd; loss was as much as 30k before some recovery today; not inclined to sell anything, except bonds, as inflationary pressures mount. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!!

April 7th: maximum 24C, minimum 13C, light W breeze, bright morning, cloudier later with moderate breeze, warm. Having coffee on balcony at Academy at 10:45 spotted a Steppe Eagle moving slowly E at sea off headland on which the Academy stands. Then appeared to be turning SE. Quite a sight! Had a few birds in day: 1 Common Buzzard (almost certainly, not new), 5 Goldfinch and a singing Chaffinch. Had a good day at conference from 10:30-18:00, with plenty of interesting talks on logic; diagrammatic techniques are popular; CT was used in one application but no diagrams given – a pity! Main attendees are French, with whom having very interesting chats over meals (always end up with the French, they’re very stimulating and intelligent company), German, Eastern Europeans and Americans, with maybe a few more from UK than is usual. Next Universal Logic in 3 years time is in Peru (Machu Picchu). It’s a totally paperless conference this time: no programme, no badges, no handouts. We have to look at the running order each morning to see who’s actually talking but my session in the workshop Logic and Love is scheduled hopefully for tomorrow: wish me luck!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Running bird total: 25 species from 40 records, 2 complete lists, 3 places (all species assumed countable)

April 6th: maximum 20C, minimum 13C, light N breeze, hazy sunshine, warm, going up a for 1 day to 25 tomorrow as winds go SE. Just one bird to add – a singing Robin. Joined meeting for lunch at 12:30, buying 6 lunch tickets for €111. Attended workshop on Lewis Carroll’s logic. His real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and of course he was famous for the wonderful Alice books and the Hunting of the Snark. But he was an accomplished logician developing truth trees and could have been a great one if he had managed to publish the last parts of a treatise before his death. The nonsense in his tales relates to his love of absurd logical situations such as the mad tea party! Had reception early evening where met a lively Polish trumpeter, Anna Pienkowski, who loves improvised music; we had a great conversation; she’s promised to come to my talks. The trumpet does involve main expression with the right-hand and tonal adjustments and the mute with the left-hand – all very stimulating. A full day tomorrow! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 5th: maximum 20C, minimum 12C, light NE breeze, hazy sunshine, misty morning, warm. My host’s father was Jewish and his mother was Dutch so he’s not Jewish! He was brought up in Israel. Weather is from nearby Souda Bay or Chania Airport; Souda Bay has a well-known war cemetery from WW2 of allied forces (UK/ANZAC/Greek) with the NZ and Greek units putting up determined opposition in the face of overwhelming odds in the capture of Crete by the Germans and Italians in March 1941. The Cretans were a stubborn people to rule and the Germans massacred civilians in a number of villages to try and keep order; a remainder of the allied defeated forces retreated to the mountains and maintained an awkward presence through to the recapture of the island in 1944/1945. Today had lovely walk on the nearby hills, covered in beautiful spring flowers. Had 8 Common Buzzard, 4 Common Kestrel, 1 Lesser Kestrel male N at 16:00, a Peregrine, 2 Raven and a Sparrowhawk, plus plenty of butterflies and other insects; had Barn Swallow moving with 28 N seen in small groups and 6 birds also settling into breed locally; smaller birds included Chiffchaff, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Stonechat. Total was 21 bird-types. Butterflies included 9 Small White, 4 Speckled Wood, 4 deep sea blue, 4 Clouded Yellow; also a small brown lizard. Walk went through a beautifully-maintained cemetery of the Greek Orthodox church half-way up the hill. Had breakfast and pizza supper at a local cafe and a couple of beer at a restaurant by the harbour. Conference starts tomorrow afternoon and I’m speaking on Friday afternoon in the workshop Love and Logic; still putting final touches to talk. Tomorrow is start of new tax year, with an extra 20k able to be transferred to tax-free wrapper isa account; have mine all ready for transfer; isa/sipp is already my biggest fund; funds +6k wtd. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 4th: maximum 20C, minimum 13C, light E breeze, sunny, veiled at times by very high cloud, warm. Now in Crete at Kamares Sanctuaries, Kolymvari, having flown NCL-CHQ on FR410 Ryanair from 06:45-12:50 (about 4 hours as 2 hours time difference). Got pre-booked airport transfer from Chania to Kamares, which is a small complex of apartments near the Orthodox Greek Academy where the logic conference is being held. Also stayed in Hilton at airport at NCL to make departure at such an early time acceptable. So getting soft! Had good meal last night at hotel. Today a little dazed but walked around Kolymvari in afternoon from 15:30-17:30 before having excellent authentic Greek meal (lamb chops) at Argentina (name of restaurant). Raptors to date include 2 Black Kite singles and 4 displaying Common Buzzard on drive from airport, recorded as at Platanias, to apartment and locally 5 Common Buzzard and a male Common Kestrel in territory. Weather has only just warmed up on the coast and there’s masses of snow on the mountains still with skiing at a few spots. Had a few Barn Swallow and a few Pallid Swift in the distance but no great signs of migration today in limited observations. Had a few Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gull (6, 5 ad, 1 1s) in the local harbour, which will study as not so familiar with the eastern Med form. Seeing Black Kite was topical today: my page for this species in Northumberland has kicked off today in the sense of being noticed with 194 visits today by 20:45 BST. Conference starts on Wednesday lunchtime. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!!

April 3rd: maximum 8C, minimum 4C, light W breeze, some light rain showers, still feeling cool. Completed processing habitat for Honey-buzzard in Hexham Tyne Green area, making 19 done now (6 Shire, 10 Allen, 2 Tyne W, 1 Tyne E); rest will be fitted in with visits for raptors. Had a displaying Common Buzzard at 18:00 at Nafferton Farm. But it’s a kind of break now: outward bound! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 2nd: maximum 5C, minimum 0C, light NW breeze, some light rain showers. Daffodils are looking great in the cool weather. Had a Barn Owl hunting at dusk at Letah Wood at 20:10. Getting ready for trip with check-in, hotel booking at NCL on way out and still working on talk. Had good catch-up with D/D at DoW4g4s and long chat with son, who’s doing well, on FB video. Planning trips ahead: Leeds on 7/6 for Parsifal, staying overnight at Plaza near LDS; Parsifal at S on 18/6, yes going twice!, will retire to hotel overnight before flight next morning; Rienzi at Budapest later in June, booked flights via Amsterdam with KLM both ways with short break on 19/6 and longer break on 24/6 plus apartment booked by son in centre of Budapest; family trip to Marciac, near Toulouse, for 12 days in July with 2 sisters, discussing stay at nephew’s ranch; family trip with elder sister and her son’s family in French Alps, arranged already with trains, chalet, hotel in Paris booked. So looking like a lively summer; quite a lot being spent already to secure bookings. Daughter is going to come and stay in Northumberland in August for a week; their main holiday is in Seychelles! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

April 1st: maximum 5C, minimum -1C, light N breeze, snow lying in morning, thawed by lunchtime. Gr8 day out, enjoyed meeting flautist AY and 2 other flautists (Hallé, flute 2 on the night; RNS flute 2) after concert, which was very good; AY had some testing passages: the bubbling stream at the start of Vltava and one section in the Tchaikovsky. Concert was unusual in design with bias towards the tone poem type of music. The Hallé were conducted by Lionel Bringuier with soloist Timothy Ridout on viola starring in Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, which had very expansive and lively orchestration in typical Berlioz style. After the interval we heard Smetana’s Vltava from Má Vlast, a very evocative tale of a river, and Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini, which was fairly frantic in places. Late bus back didn’t get in until 00:45 (2/4), leaving Newcastle Central at 11:35, the board displayed arrival in HEX at 01:00 with 76 stops to go! Funds finished week at +69k, at a record by a few hundred! Gain ytd is +294k gross(+261k net) on need for inflation hedges, of which have plenty in commodities and the like. Not sure why people thought we could afford the 18 month closure of the economy with Covid; they weren’t in the real world and the borrowings cannot be afforded, hence the inflation; China amazingly still persists with its nutty zero Covid policy. News on major switch to small-scale nuclear (and nuclear in general) as energy source for UK is best heard for a while: a reliable low-carbon source of energy that is cheap over the whole life cycle. Don’t actually hold anything in nuclear as never thought we’d do the right thing: it’s a long term decision, which we tend to avoid. Main money is in metals (needed for energy transition) and in oil/gas (will be around for much longer than people think). Cannot easily update web site on current ‘phone; sorry it ideally needs the desktop but can use the laptop when set up when away. lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 31st: maximum 4C, minimum -1C, light N breeze, snow lying in morning, thawed by lunchtime at 150m asl but lying all day at 250m, very beautiful in bright light, had to clear snow off car at CAL but clear at HEX. Made T4m4l with M for gr8 chat and FS in SUN 4 good concert by RNS – was this home or away? Concert was well-judged mixture of serious first half, with Mendelssohn String Symphony 10 and Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings, and a lighter, vibrant second half with dances by Bartók (Roumanian, stirring!), Brahms (Liebesliederwalzer), Webern (Langsamer Satz) and Skallkottas (3 Greek dances). Someone impressed!! Enjoyed it all and met a few partners from the S for good chat. Did a lot of work on Metro coming in on presentation, taking a handout print and moving stuff around quite drastically to make it easier to present (and understand!); 1/3 of talk in final form now. 2moro it’s another concert at S, going in by train and back on last service 10 bus at 23:25. Earlier have Skype chat with N/D and cleaner’s coming in afternoon so into NCL early for meal. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 30th: maximum 3C, minimum -1C, light NE breeze, heavy sleet at times, settling on hills around but kept clear at my level (150m asl), cold. But quite heavy snow settling at 01:00 (31/3). Had 50 Fieldfare E at Ordley where 20 flying around later on; they’ve been very scarce this past autumn and winter so good to see them coming back to Norway through us. Made G4g4t 4 good chat with B/S; last time in for a bit! Worked hard on my logic and love presentation, adding a number of slides on types of relationships in CT without doing anything elaborate. Also got a slide with lots of types of love from a dictionary – just need to marry them up, so to speak!! Do wonder where lust fits in: is it extreme love or just animal satisfaction: might have trouble keeping a straight face! Funds held onto gains with a very small further +. Got an email from NCL Airport on Ryanair – 4 new routes from NCL this year to Riga, Zadar, Milan and Chania plus Ryanair opening a £150m base at the Airport: good stuff!! 2moro it’s T4m4l with M, RNS @ FS in Sunderland; looking forward to it all; will take a draft of talk to work on during the 2x50 min Metro trips from CAL; have a Metro pass on my bus pass (£25 a year if you live outside Tyne/Wear). On Friday going to Hallé, hoping 2 c favourite flautist!! Hope someone’s keeping gorgeous: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 29th: maximum 11C, minimum 4C, light NE breeze, sunny morning, becoming cloudy with sleet by midnight. Had a Great Spotted Woodpecker on nuts, first for ages, plus a Tree Sparrow in the front. Displaying Common Buzzard, in the better weather around lunchtime, comprised one at Ordley and 3 at Hexham S. Added 4 sites to Honey-buzzard records for 2002, about ½ way though the study area records with interesting sightings elsewhere in the world, still to come. Have done slides 1-7 of talk for Crete with the next 4-5 as natural sequel (hopefully, follow quickly, he says optimistically!). Made QHC4s4l but otherwise a quiet day; no big shop this week as had more left on Sunday than usual after 2 nites in hotel last week and it’s not too long b4 exit; spent £13.50 at store I in 4St. Booked up hotel (Hilton) and parking for trip – only £115 for both. Bit lucky with funds this week at +68k wtd, crossing a major landmark (2m). Amused at the contortions the green lobby is getting into, when the only obvious answer over the next 10 years is to increase home-grown fossil fuel development; new nuclear plants could then make a difference; renewables have too low an energy density for an overcrowded island like Britain; we don’t have the space necessary to house them. Was amused at a comment in the DT: someone was criticised for making a similar comment to mine above on energy sources on the grounds that it went against the laws of economics. The reply: the laws of physics are more fundamental than the laws of economics. Indeed there was a long-standing joke in the economics department at NCL Uni that the exam questions stayed the same each year: it's the answers that changed! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 28th: maximum 15C, minimum 7C, light E breeze, dull with drizzle from time to time. Started processing Hexham Tyne Green Honey-buzzard habitat with Google Earth – a lot of parkland, urban and some arable. Made B4m4l where collecting money, numbers well down on Covid, just 19 members there. Much later made G4g4s with A/P/R and K on 4 good chat; will not be seeing them for a while. Booked seat at MUPA for Rienzi in dress circle, next to son’s! Haven’t booked flights yet! Going to draft slides for Logic and Love talk tomorrow and book Airport parking and hotel for departure. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 27th: maximum 15C, minimum 7C, light E breeze, sunny. Had eye test at SS in HEX; very pleased with result – very little change from tests 4 and 7 years ago with left-eye unchanged and right-eye one notch weaker (longer-sighted), slight cataract on it but watching brief only. Eye health near perfect with no signs of diabetes or glaucoma and only faintest sign of macular degeneration. Optician said she gets 2-3 cases a day where patients are referred to their doctor, often for diabetes. One of the staff there also helps at the G (a sight for sore eyes!!). So ordered new varifocals in metal frame for general work and new reading glasses in heavy frame (like current general pair), all for bargain price of £323! As son of ophthalmic optician, don’t think this is an area on which to economise. Am retaining for active use another pair from 2018, with focal length suitable for desktop working (c0.7m), which I find very useful. For a birdwatcher, this was really good news!! Did change my diet drastically last October, when feeling as if on a bit of a slide, with elimination of all junk food, chocolate and desserts, plus more exercise with fitness watch as encouragement; some say it’s too late to change (the di(c)e is cast) but think that’s just lazy talk! Did do habitat survey for Hexham Tyne Green while in Hexham: more urban than most and with much parkland with 2 golf courses and the Green; had 3 Common Buzzard (to N, NE, E) and 1 Red Kite (to N). Total was 17 bird-types, including 2 Grey Heron and 6 LBBG (4 ad, 1 2w, 1 1w), plus a mole and 3 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies. A Pied Wagtail was on roof at Ordley at 17:00. It is Budapest in late June: going to see Wagner’s Rienzi with son at MUPA, just days after Wagner’s Parsifal at the Sage, which also seeing in Leeds. Never seen a live performance of Rienzi so very keen! Can fly from NCL via AMS on KLM. Opera IMHO is simply the upper classes behaving badly but from a category point of view, it is the pinnacle of the art form with combination of music, voice/text and actions, giving 3 levels to exploit for dramatic effects. There are cases where all 3 go in different directions such as the polonaise in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, where the music is joyful, the vocal is querulous and the actions are despondent as the title role is rejected on his return. Had hour-long chat with son (back to work in office full-time from tomorrow) and 10-min with daughter (Gazprom not ideal employer at the present time) on FB at 17:00 and it was G4g4s with P/R for good chat. So it doesn’t make you go blind: seeing is believing: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 26th: maximum 15C, minimum 4C, light E breeze, sunny, felt a little cooler but not grumbling for time of year. Completed processing of Prudhoe S habitat for Honey-buzzard; next up is Hexham Tyne Green, hope to survey tomorrow on the ground. Fairly lazy day after busy few days! Out for lunch on patio at 14:30: had 6 Common Buzzard displaying overhead – very nice sighting, with 2 Long-tailed Tit and a Chiffchaff also in garden. Booked up for RNS in Sunderland at the Fire Station next Thursday: can get the Metro right though in c50 min from CAL (it’s 25 min to GHD): looks a good programme! Chatting to son on Sunday this week as he’s in London, supporting Ukraine demo. We may well be going to Budapest in June for a bit of Wagner. Daughter’s family have all got Covid again. Loved the emails: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 25th: maximum 17C, minimum 6C, light W breeze, sunny, warm. Completed stay in NCL with hour’s chat with D/N on Skype and another cooked breakfast; eaten well in this visit with meal each nite at VicCmt. So back on 11:23, not much time to settle back in as off to S4con with RNS: only booked this recently as thought might need a rest after 2 operas in 2 nights. Glad I went: Liu was absolutely fantastic in Beethoven 3 PC , particularly movement 2 where the slow pace inspired; overall thought the performance understated the piece but that’s often a good thing. Schumann’s 2 was a surprise: full of lively sections in m1 and m2 and wistful sections in m3; lots of applause after rousing m4 to bring a gr8 evening to a close. Gather ON have lost a few more performers from Rigoletto (vocal and instrumental) to Covid and are a little stretched for Saturday, to put it mildly. Very good chat in bar later with musicians. Diversion later: fantastic: she’s absolutely gorgeous: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!! Funds on week +34k, +225k ytd, on soaring commodities. xx

March 24th: maximum 13C, minimum 6C, light SE breeze, sunny intervals, air a little polluted, quite warm. Most active day in the last 30 days as measured on my wrist watch: 13,948 steps compared with average 6,248 steps a day. Well what have I been doing: trip to Alnmouth by train 12:40-13:07, rtn 15:00-15:25; cost £10; explored salt marsh getting 35 types of bird, bracing walk, very enjoyable trip; LNER are pushing the Alnmouth stop on fast trains to/from Scotland and doing well from it; had 12 bird-types (mainly garden birds plus 60 Common Gull, flock up in air) and a mole at Lesbury; at the salt marsh at Alnmouth had 29 bird-types, including waders: Oystercatcher 1, Lapwing 1, Curlew 9, Redshank 21; herons: 1 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret; ducks: 1 Mallard, 8 Teal, 33 Wigeon, 2 Shelduck. You do get a lot of exercise just by using public transport. Handel’s Alcina was very well performed, maybe not quite as inspiring as Rigoletto but shouldn’t really compare them; I like baroque; it was very well done, another credit to ON; they are a little concerned still about Covid affecting their staff and not a complete return by their audiences yet but tonight was fairly full and it was almost full last night. A sensuous day with a marvellous small window of success opening up: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!! 2moro it’s most of morning in NCL, then back in Hexham by train for T4m4l with M. Making RNS with Sage4t; think might leave car at CAL as can stay out later; last-train service to HEX has been poor lately. xx

March 23rd: maximum 15C, minimum 6C, light SW breeze, sunny, quite warm. 8 Goosander (4 drake, 4 redhead) on the Tyne at Wylam E. Highlight of day was Verdi’s Rigoletto with Opera North; there were some substitutions due to a Covid outbreak, including the title role, but the show went on with understudies and have to say they performed very well. Show was pretty full. Act 3 is the best with the well known aria La Donna è Mobile, here with Luciano Pavarotti as the Duke of Mantua, featuring in many adverts. This act also includes a sexy seduction scene, an assassination which gets the wrong person, Gilda, who’s Rigoletto’s daughter and the lesson that money cannot buy you everything: in this case it bought you an assassin who messed up! Had good chat with Opera North’s Head of Music David Cowan in official reception in interval and his assistant Annette Saunders; they were very impressed with the way that Hans Krása’s opera had been received in Leeds and Newcastle and with the collaboration in general. Went for wander later, finding a quick and cheap Uber return to hotel. Funds reached a new high with PoO up at over $121 this evening. Some comments today by well-known financiers that ESG needs reforming: it’s distorting allocation of capital, for instance to oil and gas, which still provides 84% of the world’s energy; something I’ve been saying for a while. 2moro it’s train up the coast to Alnmouth for a walk and Alcina by Handel with ON in evening and another nite in Toon. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 22nd: maximum 15C, minimum 5C, light to moderate SE breeze, sunny, quite warm, ground frost in morning. Had the presumed same Small Tortoiseshell out at Ordley and 16 House Sparrow at the Sele in Hexham. Later as sat outside at home at 18:30 for a break, had 2 Canada Goose calling in the distance and 1,050 Common Gull, vast majority adult, flying S to roost at Derwent Reservoir. Busy day on desktop: started compiling 2002 Honey-buzzard records into BirdTrack, adding 27 records from 3 breeding sites and including those for which had a significant description; not easy as need to add times of sightings and some supplementary information from my diary; still it’s underway! For habitat have Prudhoe S map to register with Google Earth, maybe tomorrow morning. Consolidated all the information I’ve gleaned on emotion and handedness to document files; spear and shield model is favoured by some; your dominant hand carries the spear and your other hand the shield, reflected in opposite hemisphere in brain. So left-handed people may have different brains to right-handed, with everything swapped around: very interesting! In right-handed people the left hemisphere of the brain handles language, articulation and positive emotions (such as love) and the right hemisphere handles more defensive aspects, such as negative emotions (fear, grief), but also apparently creativity and intuition. Sometimes I think it’s all a bit fanciful but can well believe that the lhs controls the rhs and vice versa as that is adjointness in category theory: confusion might indicate a breakdown in standard adjointness. Think will do it all in category theory and see how that then relates to other people’s ideas. With this theory the lhs of brain (handling rhs of body) would create (free functor) and the rhs (handling lhs of body) would verify (underlying functor, apply the rules), in right-handed people. The free functor is the spear and the underlying functor the shield. Just out for lunch at QHC today, staff very chatty, dry day! Son has had detailed check-up and ultrasound scan at Stevenage Hospital: slight scarring on liver but it has recovered well and no endoscopy needed or any further tests; balanced low-salt diet required for the future; so relieved! Filled up with petrol, now 169.9p a litre at Shell in Hexham, costing £63. Council tax this coming year is £225 a month for 10 months for band F for single person. Electricity seems to be around £250 a month in the coldest months; now burning more coal, particularly smokeless ovoids, to reduce electricity usage. How will I manage? Funds +5k wtd, after record at +9k on Monday. 2moro I’m on the Toon, meal at VicCmt; opera reception and performance of Rigoletto, stay in central hotel and who knows what else: think I deserve a break!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 21st: maximum 10C, minimum 2C, light NW breeze, sunny, cool feel, ground frost in morning. Equinox was yesterday (20/3) this year. Quiet day until evening, making N4c4l and catching up on bird records. Did quite a lot of research on emotions in the brain, again looking at left/right handedness. Have been invited to Opera North double-reception at TR on Wednesday: should be a good 2 days with 2 operas and trip to the coast in day on Thursday at Alnmouth by train. Nite at G4ncl4s was gr8 with R/A out, K on and L seeing us out!! Had a female Goshawk displaying for 10 min over area S of Sele (maybe bird AH saw by Tyne in the winter, Hackwood site again?) at 14:00 with a pair of Mallard, a displaying Greenfinch and a Song Thrush also noted. AH down at Tyne Green today had a pair of displaying Common Buzzard to N at Hermitage, a pair of Goosander on Tyne and a few Teal..xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 20th: maximum 8C, minimum 1C, light SE breeze, sunny, cool feel, ground frost in morning. Made W4bigshop – £44.30 before discount of £4 on voucher, no big items this week except tea bags £5.45 and 2xgiant Shreddies at bargain of £2 each; latter are wheat-based, will go up fast soon. PoO at $111 this evening in far east sunrise. Then went for decent walk around Prudhoe Dukeshagg from 13:40-15:55, doing the Honey-buzzard habitat survey; need to interpret results with Google Earth but can say that oak seems to be popular with Black Kite. Raptors were soaring high in the settled weather: 2 Common Buzzard to SE of square, another 2 to S, a lone bird soaring over Hyons Wood; a Red Kite briefly to E towards Bradley Hall and another one, an adult, soaring over the site, unmated, waiting for Bruno; a Kestrel 1w over S of square, so 8 raptors of 3 types. Had 2 Barn Owl at Ordley at 23:45. More to follow … Made G4g4s with D/R 4 gr8 chat; then ran out of g (as so busy in pub last Thursday) so will be on ncl brown 2moro, when no R as we met on Saturday. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Another Black Kite in UK:

20/03 12:28 Isle of Wight : Black Kite, Brighstone one reported overhead then flew east (12:21)

March 19th: maximum 12C, minimum 2C, moderate SE breeze, sunny, feeling warm, ground frost in morning. From watchpoint by road outside house from 15:00-16:00 spotted 4 Common Buzzard displaying, 2 at Linnels, 2 at Peth Foot, plus a flock of 6 Siskin and first butterfly of year, a Small Tortoiseshell. Sociable, met T/K from Juniper who had just seen a Red Kite at Blackhall and a Grey Wagtail by the burn there, and DW who’s treasurer of local church, to whom I’ve given £40 a month, since Covid wrecked their already fragile funding situation. Completed processing of Honey-buzzard habitat info at the Bywell site and set up Prudhoe site on Google Earth for visit tomorrow. Great event of day was President’s Night for Rotary at Beaumont Hotel; black tie event – here’s NR just leaving his house in proper finery. Very enjoyable, so nice to get the sociable life back – first such night since 2019; the cancellation in March 2020 was one of the first casualties as panic set in. Donated a bottle of brandy (£25) to raffle: didn’t win anything myself! Chatted to son over FB video link for an hour: he’s on 4 days a week work now in person going to full-time in 2 weeks; lockdown affected his social life very badly: now made very good recovery – seeing his sister next Saturday b4 going to concert at KP; has check at Stevenage Hospital next week; he’s planning to do a formal leasehold extension on his flat which would cost 12-15k, underwritten by yours truly. For those who like winter sports here’s piccies of family 1   2  3 in the Alps 4   5 last month. Son-in-law is probably leaving Gazprom to work for another commodity trading company: very stressful times. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Harbinger of things to come – 1st Black Kite of the season in UK:

19/03 16:26 Devon: Black Kite, Galmpton one reported flying over to north (14:30) [R]

March 18th: maximum 12C, minimum 1C, light S breeze, sunny, feeling warm, ground frost in morning. Well through habitat compilation at Bywell: hope to complete it tomorrow to line up another site for habitat survey – maybe Prudhoe S, another Black Kite site. Had good chat with N/D on Skype in morning but wish they’d come out again: another Covid spike, albeit an even weaker strain, is giving them an excuse for further inaction. N had some interesting sightings: 4 Common Buzzard up over Hindley last Sunday, to add to my 14 in the Stocksfield area, plus yesterday: single Dipper at Guessburn and Tyne at Bywell and Chiffchaff singing. Cleaner S came in afternoon so went for walk around Sele from 15:10-16:40 and enjoyable N4c4t. A pair of Common Buzzard were displaying over the Abbey at 15:20, returning to Hexham S (where P lives, Hackwood?); 2 Chiffchaff were singing in the burn on W side of Sele and in total of 19 bird-types also saw 1 Treecreeper, 1 GBBG 1w, 2 Greenfinch, 7 Starling. Made DoW4g4s with D/D for gr8 chat! Had a Barn Owl by Styford roundabout on A69 at 23:00. Funds ended surprisingly higher on week after dismal Tuesday, closing week at +11k at new record on strong PoO; that’s +191k ytd gross. 2moro it’s dressing-up time!! Think will write: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 17th: maximum 10C, minimum 2C, moderate SW breeze, sunny and breezy, frost by morning. Energetic day, over several hours cutting back beech hedge further with long hedge trimmer and lopper and having a go at leylandii on N side; both sorted for this spring! Made T4m4l 4 good chat with M and G4g4s with A/L/R (P’s got a cold!); so busy in pub with funeral crowd, racegoers (Hexham races), football match on with NCL losing 1-0 to Everton and regulars; things are getting back to normal; liked the service – very sensuou4s!! So no work on various projects today. 2moro sees N/D on Skype in morning, cleaner S in afternoon when will go to N and DoW with D/D in evening! PoO soared back up today to $107 and funds reached new record: trying to keep calm!! Temporary lull in prices has made politicians complacent: what a complete b.lls-up their energy policies are proving to be. Gave £100 to In Harmony via RNS: they had some very encouraging support for the vital Festival in their newsletter!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 16th: maximum 8C, minimum 1C, light SW breeze, dull, rain at times. No gardening! Finished compiling summary tables for 2001 Honey-buzzard records, closely matched the totals obtained earlier but added one site, adjacent to another to handle a group of 3 adults together in Tyne Valley W in June 2001. Now started 2002; volume of records is going up as the species colonises! But gap is just 5 years now with records complete on Bird Track from 2007. Received from Charles Tyrwhitt a brand new silk bow-tie and braces, for Rotary President’s Night on Saturday at B, cost £29, which is a posh black tie event; I have the suit and shirt; will take a piccie!! Booked hotel in Paris near Gare de Lyon for our family trip in August – 2 rooms --£233 total. Made G4g4t with B/S 4 gr8 chat: passing views of L!! 2moro it’s gardening (sun forecast), T4m4l with M and G4g4s with the gang. Cleaner S is coming on Friday. Funds recovered in sparkling fashion after Tuesday’s crash: so volatile at moment. Wonder if I’ll see someone soon: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 15th: maximum 12C, minimum 6C, light to moderate S breeze, sunny. Compiling summary tables for 2001 Honey-buzzard records. Finished cutting of roadside hedge late afternoon; unusually some heavy work on high branches was done for free by the council this year; this was done throughout the district, probably a response to complaints by van drivers. Want to do a final trim of leylandii and beech in front to make them more manageable in future; going to apply my extended hedge trimmer. Then that’s winter jobs done and welcome to spring! Feeling fit for another season’s gardening on my 2 acre (0.81 ha) site. Had some good birds this afternoon at Ordley at 15:00: a Common Buzzard up with another in the trees by the Devil’s Water and 2 Red Kite up (a pair) towards Blackhall, plus a Song Thrush with one of these also seen at Sele. Had lunch at QHC – usual tuna sandwich and black Americano. Now thinking hard about papers at Crete, one in general session can be tilted towards an existing music presentation; the Logic in Love one though requires some novel thoughts, maybe along lines of adjointness between chaos, cosmos and eros! The cosmos provides intensional (logical) order out of chaos and eros provides the extensional (physical) realisation! This is linked to hyperdoctrines with first order (intuitionistic) logic in category theory. Anyway feeling more comfortable that will be able to contribute something. Giving talk to Rotary on 9/5 on Logic and Love: gave programme organiser (SC) a chuckle! Didn’t make much of funds performance last week as markets so chaotic; after last week’s +50k, this wtd is -20k!! Who would have thought that SE Asia would be so badly affected now by Covid (omicron) to add to the war worries and drive commodity prices lower, including PoO back below $100. Suspect both sides in the war are looking now for an honourable way out; the Russians have been stunned by the heroic resistance of the Ukrainians. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 14th: maximum 8C, minimum 3C, moderate SW breeze, light rain throughout day and evening, feeling cooler. Almost completed compiling Honey-buzzard records for 2001 into BirdTrack – have 40 records added, 1 site to do plus final analysis for web page on Northumberland Honey-buzzard. Hope to compile tomorrow Bywell habitat information with Google Earth and site visit on Sunday. Thinking about Logic and Love – need some pasted pullbacks and pushouts I think; need to consider extremes of lust and platonic forms. Made R at B4m4l – good company – went for walk in Sele later, admiring the spring flowers (snowdrop, crocus, daffodil, little blue spring) and picking up 6 Redwing, a Nuthatch and a queen bumblebee. Much later made G4g4s with 5 of us out, most for a while: A/R/P/L/me and K on!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Impressed by Marina Ovsyannikova at – very courageous. See @HannaLiubakova on Twitter: Украина и мир спасибо, Марина Овсянникова!

March 13th: maximum 11C, minimum 4C, light to moderate SE breeze, light showers in morning, then brightening up, almost warm! Made W4bigshop, just £44, no big items this week. Sat outside at N4c4ll where good to meet staff again and at the Mount, Stocksfield: we’re into early spring. Made the Mount from 14:55-16:50 for Honey-buzzard habitat survey no.1 for Tyne Valley W and no.17 overall. It worked out well with a fantastic display by Common Buzzard and the clear return of the Red Kite. Common Buzzard counts were: 3 at Bywell Cottagebank, 3 at Short Wood, 2 at Mowden Hall, 3 at Eltringham, 2 at Bywell Castle, 1 at Stocksfield E; that’s 14 in all at 6 sites with an incredible 10 at once up at 15:40 on N side of Tyne Valley. Red Kite records comprised: 1 up at Eltringham at 15:25, 2 displaying over Short Wood at 16:15 and 2 up floating over Bywell Cottagebank at 16:45; that’s 5 in all at 3 sites; they were less exuberant than the Common Buzzard. No other raptors were seen so no Goshawk for instance. So fantastic trip, seeing so many lively raptors in their best spring display form. Had 17 bird-types in all, including a Grey Wagtail, 3 displaying Greenfinch, 3 displaying Great Tit, 2 Stock Dove, plus mole and 2 Rabbit and a bumblebee. Quiet week coming up concert-wise but next week (from 21/3) is busy with operas on Wed/Thurs and RNS on Fri. Staying overnight in town for 2 nights to make the operas more of an occasion. About to complete booking of holiday in Chamonix area 20-27 August with elder sister and her family; we’re going by train to Paris, staying overnight and then continuing by train to near our chalet; no car hire, going to use public transport. Have put abstract on web for Logic and Love. M has just confirmed he’s not going so it’s all mine!! Black Kite are pouring into Europe from Africa but none reached UK yet; very few Honey-buzzard in Europe yet, maybe none reliably. Feeling fruity with all this spring activity: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Michael Heather & Nick Rossiter, Logical Types of Love, UNILOG 2022, Workshop Logic and Love, organizers: Jean-Yves Beziau,& Caroline Pires Ting, Orthodox Academy of Crete, 6-11 April 2022. abstract

March 12th: maximum 9C, minimum 6C, light to moderate SW breeze, dull, dry. First daffodils out yesterday (back patio) and today (front verge). Set-up Bywell for Honey-buzzard habitat survey tomorrow; first for Tyne Valley W, a much more lowland, arable area. Working on 2001 Honey-buzzard records, adding 12 migrants in Tarifa/Barbate area in August, a Black Kite in June at Towsbank and just one breeding site completed. Cut back beech hedge by front gate a bit more and generally trimmed off loose twigs. More birds around today at home, maybe now moving out of the Tyne Valley or from further S: a Reed Bunting male, 4 Tree Sparrow, 1 Song Thrush, a Red Kite flying over my house low-down at 09:30. Funds last week were indeed +50k, ytd +180k gross. xxxXX

March 11th: maximum 9C, minimum 7C, moderate SW breeze, sunny intervals, few showers. Sounds of the Sea: Challenging concert but very successful; tensions between 2 performers; last train was tonite a free taxi!! It’s late – 02:37 as write so much more to follow. Some of Concert was adventurous with Kyra Humphreys director/violin leading the more conventional part in Mendelssohn The Hebrides, Overture Takemitsu Toward The Sea II, Grace Williams Movements from Sea Sketches, Handel Selections from Water Music Suites. Tristan Gurney was running the adventurous part: RNS Moves Joe Cutler Concerto Grosso. a Sage Gateshead commission (world premiere) and Vivaldi La tempesta di mare. RNS Moves has disabled musicians playing with regular members of RNS and others. Some of its members play with digital aids such as headspace. The Hebrides was played with spirit and the Takemitsu was impressionist, like Debussy, with the harpist CS not seeing eye to eye with the flautist CA, clearly noticeable in the rehearsal but problems ironed out by the evening! For RNS Moves Joe Cutler’s piece was well received and the Vivaldi had an amazing recorder/violin duo (TG/MH) in a very dynamic piece. For the normal orchestra we finished with a Grace Williams piece (very vigorous) and the Water Music suite, the latter sending us all home in a good mood! A good sociable day and great music! Not balanced funds yet but looks like around 50k gain this past week. xxxXX

March 10th: maximum 10C, minimum 6C, light to moderate SE breeze, sunny, dry, feeling a lot softer, turning down heaters. Meter reader arrived in person this morning: bit ominous maybe for back-charging over period when meter not working! Cashed my £560 cheques for storm Arwen interruptions to electricity from NP: did not submit a formal claim. Had enjoyable T4m4l with M/B followed by walk around Sele where had 4 Goldcrest and 13 Redwing, all presumably in transit to Norway. Have 2 nut feeders in garden now, having bought a spare while sterilising old one with bleach. A Grey Squirrel was attracted to the new feeder but numbers of birds at feeders now declining, maybe moving further up ‘Shire to higher altitude. Made G4g4s with P/A for good crack. P lent me the book Written by Candlelight, by Liesbeth Langford, a recent speaker to Rotary, on her family's desperate life in Holland, under the Nazis: the harshness of the occupation is described in detail through a series of letters; published by Ergo in 2009. Looking forward to RNS rehearsal and concert 2moro! xxxX

March 9th: maximum 11C, minimum 7C, moderate SW breeze, sunny morning, dry, feeling a little chilly in the breeze but it is beginning to warm up! Published table for Honey-buzzard habitat for Allen as below in Table 1.1; it’s amazing how the habitat selected varies so much through a river valley from softer lowland at Ridley up to bleak moorland at Byerhope; inter-site distances also vary enormously, depending on availability of woods and richness of habitat. The inter-site distances show a gap around Allendale Town: will check this out in the coming season to see if I’ve missed one.


Inter-site distances km

Area Surveyed sq km

Altitude m of nest

Woodland %

Number of woodland features

Arable %

Pasture %

Moorland %

Coniferous woodland % of wood

Deciduous woodland % of wood

Staward N






































Staward S







































Studdon Park























Sinderhope N












Park Head
















3.39 (13 near)










Table 1.1: Habitat: Around 4 sq km of nests at Honey-buzzard Sites in Allen

Habitat will be on the back burner for a bit as prepare talks for Crete but will try and keep it going: Tyne Valley W is next. Aim to get back to adding 2001 Honey-buzzard records as well. Made N4c4t followed immediately by G4g4t: latter was very enjoyable with B/S out and the nubile L on!! 2moro it’s T4m4l with M and G4g4s with the gang! xxx

March 8th: maximum 7C, minimum 4C, moderate SE breeze, sunny until tt, dry, frost early-on. Another good day weather-wise, daffodils almost out at Ordley on my S-facing verge; crocuses are superb in Hexham Sele Park, some planted by Rotary (purple crocus is symbol for our international polio eradication campaign, with last obstacles in Afghanistan/Pakistan). Did some more gardening, cutting back ivy on roadside and trimming a little of the roadside hedge. Made QHC4s4l having tuna sandwich on brown bread and salad plus black 2-shot Americano. Completed habitat analysis for Honey-buzzard at Park Head – summary table for Allen tomorrow. Tuesday is a dry (quiet) day! Funds have started week well at +32k on wtd, a new record. Thinking the world was already short of natural resources through excessive ESG zeal and the drive to net zero, had built up holdings of loads of stocks in oil and mining before the war started. Particularly interesting today was the appointment of a UK taskforce to find new sources of oil and gas: well, try the Falklands; hold c0.4% of the shares in the Falkland oil penny stocks, which might not sound a lot but 1 share in 250 of all the potential oilfields there (currently valued by market at £60m) is not to be sniffed at; lead operator in advanced development there, Sea Lion, is an Israeli company Navitas with the Falkland proposal highlighted on its home page in press news at; the Israelis do not seem to be fazed by threats from Argentina. xxx

Started thinking hard about my papers in Crete conference, revising my knowledge of Cartesian Closed Categories and lambda-calculus. Am interested in the Greek word utopia, meaning literally ‘no place’ or ‘perfect place’ depending on the derivative Greek word: ou-topos or eu-topos respectively; topos is a very popular categorial concept after Aristotle and its role in modern typing; the popular translation of utopia into English is a perfect place but it may be that some Greek philosophers did not think one existed! There’s an interesting exercise in logic here! A popular dictionary has the definitions: “1. often capitalized : a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions; 2: an impractical scheme for social improvement; 3: an imaginary and indefinitely remote place”, reflecting the dichotomy.

Climate news for February 2022 is now available. The temperature rise from satellite measurements has flattened out since 2002 with anomaly 0.0C this month over 1991-2020 average::

UAH Global Temperature Update for February, 2022: 0.00 deg. C. March 1st, 2022 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

More detail from UAH site at shows La Niña still prevails but the link to NOAA below forecasts that La Niña will give way to ENSO-neutral conditions from late spring:

Global climate trend since Dec. 1 1978: +0.13 C per decade; February Temperatures (preliminary): Global composite temp.: +0.00 C (+0.00°F) equal to seasonal average; Northern Hemisphere: +0.01 C (+0.02 °F) above seasonal average; Southern Hemisphere: -0.02 C (-0.04 °F) below seasonal average; Tropics: -0.24 C (-0.43 °F) below seasonal average.

Notes on data released March 2, 2022 (v6.0, with 1991-2020 reference base): The global temperature departure from average in February was zero, or +0.00 °C (0.00°F). Both hemispheres were also virtually zero in their departure from normal while the La Niña-cooled tropics remained at -0.24 C (-0.43 °F). Global cooling associated with the on-going presence of La Niña typically reaches its coolest point in the months of February to April, and this may be unfolding in 2022. The latest on the evolution of La Niña and its anticipated diminishment is provided by NOAA here: ”La Niña is likely to continue into the Northern Hemisphere spring (77% chance during March-May 2022) and then transition to ENSO-neutral (56% chance during May-July 2022).”

The planet’s warmest region, in terms of the monthly departure from average, was over northern Russia in the Bulunsky District where one grid cell hit +4.6 °C (+8.2 °F) above normal. The pattern of warm and cold anomalies is related to the influence of the La Niña-induced cooling in the tropics. Other warm areas were experienced in the western North Atlantic, eastern North Pacific, Europe and western Asia with alternating regions in the far southern oceans. Paamiut off the SW coast of Greenland experienced the coldest departure from average at -5.2 C (-9.3 °F) and was surrounded by other similarly cold regions [driving the very strong jet stream, which gave such extreme wind-chills in February, particularly in northern Britain]. China experienced largely colder than normal temperatures as did the broad eastern tropical Pacific (La Niña), central US and eastern Australia.

The large-scale pattern this month favoured cool temperature over the central conterminous US and warmth along both coasts. On average then, the 48-state temperature came out near zero at -0.05 °C (-0.09 °F). Alaska was a bit warmer than usual overall, influencing the 49-state average to be just above the zero line at +0.08 °C (+0.14 °F).

Ice cover for February is unremarkable in the Arctic but low in the Antarctic:

Arctic sea ice is approaching its seasonal peak, with below-average sea ice extent in the Barents Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk, but near-average ice extent elsewhere. Antarctic sea ice extent set a record low minimum for the satellite data era. However, two regions of high interest to researchers remained locked in ice: Thwaites Glacier and the central Weddell Sea.

Average Arctic sea ice extent for February 2022 was 14.61 million square kilometers (5.64 million square miles), ranking fourteenth lowest in the satellite record. The 2022 extent was 690,000 square kilometres (266,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average.

In the south, Antarctic sea ice recently reached its late-summer minimum, dropping below all previous minimum ice extents in the satellite record (Figure 4a). For the first time since the satellite record began in 1979, extent fell below 2 million square kilometres (772,000 square miles), reaching a minimum extent of 1.92 million square kilometres (741,000 square miles) on February 25. Ice extent declined at a near-average rate though most of the month at about 40,000 square kilometres per day (15,400 square miles), then the decline slowed to about 15,000 square kilometres (5,800 square miles) per day in late February. Following the unusually early and above average sea ice maximum extent on September 1, there was a rapid decline in ice extent through the austral spring and summer, with the most notable feature being the clearing out of ice from the Ross and Amundsen Sea sectors during January and February as well as the loss of ice from the northwestern Weddell Sea region during that period.

March 7th: maximum 6C, minimum -3C, light E breeze, sunny, dry, frost early-on. Visited Whitfield Moor to do habitat survey on Park Head from 15:05-16:20; now adding details to spreadsheet with help of Google Earth; this will complete Allen for now with 10 sites done here for habitat to add to the 6 in the ‘Shire. Hopefully will publish Allen summary table tomorrow. It was beautiful weather for a brisk walk, getting 9 bird-types: 1 Crow, 5 Pheasant, 12 Golden Plover (groups of 8 and 4), 22 Woodpigeon, 2 Mallard, 2 Red Grouse, 2 Jackdaw, pair of displaying Common Buzzard over Park Head at 15:31 and 15:59, 3 Starling. .Also had a 1w Kestrel near Langley at 16:45, 2 Dipper (pair) at Cupola Bridge at 16:30, a Stoat at Lowgate at 14:50. R was good – we raised 8k in 2 days for the Ukrainian Red Cross, now banked and on its way. Talk was by BB on rural broadband, showing how it’s done with fibre cables laid under pasture. Made G4g4s 4 good chat with P/A with dancer K on! Looking forward to next concert on Friday! 2moro’s a quieter day, maybe lunch at QHC. xx

March 6th: maximum 6C, minimum -2C, light E breeze, sunny, dry, frost early and late. Made good progress on Honey-buzzard habitat survey, completing Parmently as well, site no.9 in Allen and no.15 overall. Next up is Park Head, a remote wood on E edge of Whitfield Moor, which hope to visit tomorrow afternoon; then Allen almost done, just Beacon Hill, a new site right on the moors in 2021, to do. Gulls have featured in last few days in live records: c30 Kittiwake adult back at Newcastle Quayside on 4/3 and a LBBG adult calling as it flew N at Hexham today. Had a toad crossing the road at Letah Wood and a Rabbit out at Newton last night. Made W4bigshop £63.50; many occasional large items such as washing powder, dishwasher tablets, cod liver oil tablets, kitchen towel, put cost up but noted inflation already in breakfast cereals. Then up to N4c4l 4 break and much later to G4g4s where R/P/D/B out: good 2 c so many out. It’s going to be another maniac week in markets with PoO over $128 tonite in Asia, up from $110 on Friday afternoon and $90 b4 war started. Don’t think the politicians understand the devastating effects of the sanctions on the European economy through inflation as a consequence of our lack of energy security: Europe’s politicians are so incompetent and complacent, a combination which had encouraged Russia to start the war. We are showing more backbone now but it’s too late. The UK in particular is still hoping to muddle through, unlike Germany, which has completely changed its energy policies. Kwarteng, the UK’s business secretary, is totally out of his depth, needs replacing asap. Main hope realistically is Russia decides that gains in eastern Ukraine will suffice and leaves the country partitioned with Lviv becoming the capital of a more western-orientated (and prosperous) Ukraine West. Anyway showed some faith in the future by booking a suite in Kamares Sanctuaries, a boutique-style hotel in Kolymvari in NW Crete for 2 weeks in April as staying on after conference for another week, cost €1663, visitors welcome!! Also, after difficulty of getting rides in Gibraltar/Spain, booked airport taxis both ways for a little over £90 total. We raised over £3.2k in our collection for Ukrainian refugees yesterday; we also collected on Friday and expect there will be other additions so great result for a cause, supported well by the people of Hexham. 2moro it’s R at B4m4l, trip out to Whitfield Moor and G4g4s with P/A. Paid in one tranche through a mobile scan of the cheque, £280, of my compensation from Northern Powergrid through power outages during storm Arwen. xx

March 5th: maximum 5C, minimum 1C, light NE breeze, sunny, dry. Completed processing the Monk habitat for Honey-buzzard, no.8 for Allen, no.14 overall. Next up is Parmently, which think can do from Google Earth with information from visit to nearby Monk. Collecting outside Waitrose in Hexham for Ukrainian refugees. I was running the card/phone reader. Amazing response from the public: never known anything like it: everyone donating something and amounts of £20 to £50 going through regularly on the reader: it’s good the support that’s being shown: through Rotary the money will go quickly to the front line. Did some gardening for over an hour, cutting the rose hedge around the old vegetable patch. Had long chat (1 hour) with son on FB video: he’s back at work properly on Monday, doing a 4-day week (3 in office, 1 at home) and back on the concert trail (Southbank, Barbican, Kings Place); so good to see; may help him increase his lease term, which he’s researching. Later met D/D at DoW for good chat. Yesterday had short session with N/D as cleaner S coming at 11:15; when on earth are they coming out again: it’s over!! lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 4th: maximum 5C, minimum 2C, light NW breeze, dry. Gr8 day, lovely to meet again!! Lunch at Soju & Gogi Korean was excellent --- very interesting novel food and tea with mixed starter, beef bulgogi and rice, washed down well with barley tea (boricha); company was lively!!. Rehearsal was quite combative with TZ drilling the orchestra hard; T was looking after us. Had tea at S with some partners for company. Concert was well attended (good to see) and well received. We heard Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, remembering some of his friends lost in WW1, quite poignant and surprisingly upbeat. Thomas Zehetmair violin and Ruth Killius viola led in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola in E-flat major, which was exquisite in places, so well played. After half-time we had more Mozart: Entr’actes from Thamos, King of Egypt (18th century film music) and finally Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No.2 in A minor, a little known piece but which was very effervescent including a brilliant scherzo. Think my favourite was the Sinfonia Concertante followed by the Ravel. Had scintillating chat after concert at S b4 catching last train home (which was again a bus, ice on car at HEX). So very uplifting day: pity all days aren’t like this!! xxxxx XXX !!!!!!

The onset of war in Ukraine has shattered world stock markets and boosted commodity markets with commodity stock markets somewhere in between. Final plunge on Friday finally brought down commodity stocks as well as bonds so after being +9k up on Thursday at new record, finished -4k down for the week on Friday. Still pretty resilient with own funds in commodity-related stocks with ytd +130k gross (+7.5%), +97k net with ftse 100 -5.4% ytd (-6.7% on week), ftse 250 -17.4%, dow -7.5%, nasdaq -14.9%, bitcoin -15.7% (all ytd). Commodities could well rise further so good place to be but have sold some such stocks with 79k cash held currently as now concerned about global recovery in light of the strong inflationary pressures. . .

March 3rd: maximum 6C, minimum 4C, light E breeze, dull with raw feel and light rain in afternoon and evening with thick fog over Loughbrow in evening. Moths on front porch light included Early Moth and Pale Brindled Beauty. Processed most of Monk, just the tree aggregates to prepare. Don’t know what I’d do without Google Earth: it does all the land areas so easily. Sociable day: haircut with Jd at JG, cost £25 including generous tip: said it would buy her a pint this time but not next, the way things are going. It’s good chatting to her as she knows the bar lasses who work in the G! Then at T4m4l with M 4 good crack. Finally it was G4g4s with P/R and further good chat with K on again: she didn’t realise we came out another nite in the week! Did sell heavily into the opening bell some of my oil and mining stocks, realising gains and 68k in cash; a new record today, just, even with ftse 100 down 2.6% on day. Commodities continue to gain and Russians continue to wilt! 2moro’s a busy day: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 2nd: maximum 6C, minimum 3C, light SE breeze, frost early, then dull with raw feel and light rain in afternoon and evening. Compiled yesterday's results on BirdTrack. Not processed Monk yet for habitat; think can get a bonus from yesterday of Parmently habitat survey as well as was actually in that square but first have to add Parmently to the Google Earth projects. Ag items arrived today – cost £635.26 for 2 pieces of cutlery: must be crazy! Made G4g4t with B – great chat; he’s looking well! 2moro have hair cut with Jd at 10:30 and on Saturday afternoon am helping in a Rotary collection for the poor people of Ukraine in Waitrose, Hexham. Funds reached new record today but I’m finding markets increasingly scary: starting to withdraw funds into cash and short-dated bonds: the coming recession will in turn knock commodity prices: the cure for high prices is high prices, so to speak! lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

March 1st: maximum 7C, minimum 0C, light E breeze, sunny all day, dry. Celebrated day 1 of meteorological spring by going up on the moors. Drove to the top of Whitfield Moor and in the bright light had a really satisfying 40 min (from 13:20-14:00) stimulating the optic nerve, staring at the sun: it’s very good for well-being!! Had just 3 types of bird here: 2 Red Grouse (1 calling), 1 Woodpigeon and an inspiring flock of 65 Golden Plover put up by an unknown predator and drifting around high in the sky; these are presumably local breeding birds so a good showing. Then down to work at Monk from 14:05-15:20, doing habitat survey for the Honey-buzzard: site 8 for Allen and 14 overall. Here had more waders: 4 Curlew (bubbling), 2 Oystercatcher, 5 Lapwing, with other moorland breeders: 30 Black-headed Gull adult. Also had 3 Common Gull (2 adult, 1 1w), 5 Pheasant, 1 Stock Dove, 2 Woodpigeon, 4 Feral Pigeon, 33 Jackdaw, 2 Chaffinch, that’s 11 bird-types plus some moles. Last night had a Tawny Owl calling in the Sele at 00:15, plus a Badger and a Brown Hare on the road at 00:30. Filled up with petrol on return today in Hexham – £58.50 – with PoO rising rapidly to $107 and £ falling slightly suggest don’’t delay filling up. Other commodities soaring, as Russia has large proportion of world supplies, are wheat, corn (maize), nickel, palladium, but all are going up to some extent: inflation is going to be a headache. As said here many times over the last year, energy security has been neglected in Europe and to a slightly lesser extent in the US. We are now paying the price. Ideas that we can replace Russian supplies of oil and gas are fanciful: these products are already in short supply in the world so we will need to put in some hefty bids to secure additional supplies. It is sometimes said that Russia is only the 3rd biggest producer but for practical purposes it’s equal first with Saudi Arabia and the US. The west is heading for an inflationary recession as increased commodity prices absorb discretionary consumer spending. Indigenous oil and gas fields and nuclear power stations need to be developed and the UK also needs to find storage capacity for gas so that it is not totally dependent on spot prices. It’s worth stating that oil and gas currently provide 85% of total energy in the UK, including electricity generation, heating and transport. April 2022 inflation figures will be dramatic! Funds are +1k on wtd, surviving drops of c2% in most indices this week. Bitcoin has risen: expect it to be used in bypassing sanctions. Own funds had gains in non-Russian commodity stocks and falls in Russian commodity stocks, former just winning! PoO has risen to $108.72 Brent as write! Made N4c4t where good to meet S again. Not out tonite: a dry day, try to keep Tuesdays that way. 2moro hope to meet B again at G4g4t; Looking forward to rehearsal and concert on Friday!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 28th: maximum 9C, minimum 0C, light SW breeze, dull, rain in afternoon, wind-chill 3C this evening. Winter relaxes its grip! Busy evening making B4m4s with Rotary and G4g4s with A/R/P, latter with K on and L as boss: very nice!! Will visit Monk tomorrow when the sun returns. Hope to also start adding 2001 records to BirdTrack; moving into the more modern era now, with hopefully fewer adjustments to the current totals. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 27th: maximum 7C, minimum 4C, light to moderate SE breeze, sunny, dry, wind-chill 2C this evening. Think we’re in early spring! Made W4bigshop £52 minus £4 on coupon. Made the Sh4c4ll in Wentworth for a change – staff very pleasant there but feel everyone’s in a better mood with the weather being brighter. Completed processing of Byerhope habitat data for Honey-buzzard – no. 7 in Allen and 13 overall; next up is Monk on the West Allen near Whitfield Hall. Completed the Honey-buzzard compilation for 2000: 22 records, 20 in Northumberland with 19 involving breeding at 7 sites (8 juvenile raised) and 1 involving 2 male migrants E. The 2 outside my home county were 1 in Scotland in the Highlands on 31/5 and a migrant at Agadir, Morocco: “25/4: 1 Honey-buzzard flapping S at about noon over Agadir, looking for thermals, long narrow wings, long stringy tail, wings held down in glide, pale area outside of carpal”. Next up is 2001 but now have the full records in a computer file so it’s a copy and paste task. Did some work on family tree, adding a few Wiveliscombe entries (John (a miller), Ruth, Nicholas, George Rossiter (a miller) from 1652-1707) to set up switching the line in that direction. Made G4g4s with R/P/D/J, improving turnout, good 2 c. Delighted to hear from someone – good idea!! lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 26th: maximum 8C, minimum 1C, light to moderate S breeze, hazy sunshine, dry, wind-chill 3C this evening. Some moths emerging: Early Moth, Alucita hexadactyla, as it gets less severe. Made more progress on 2000 Honey-buzzard records with just one site left to do; this was the foot-and-mouth year but, as with Covid, didn’t let it affect much what I wanted to do!! Had good chat with son: he’s going to Southbank tomorrow for a 3-part concert: Tamara Stefanovich: 20 Sonatas (for piano). He’s not quite back to work – in discussion with Uni’s occupational health officer for final clearance. Address-wise the NHS does not operate a database approach – one fact in one place – they can hold any number of addresses for a person across their empire. Son is finding some comms are going astray to long out-of-date addresses – not good! Made DoW with D/D 4 good chat: thank goodness for those who’ve kept coming out during the ‘pandemic’. Think Londoners should be careful what they wish for in terms of banishing the Russians – might reduce house prices! They surely have contingency plans for being thrown out of SWIFT: it’s never a good idea to use a payments system for political pressure: it becomes discredited. lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 25th: maximum 6C, minimum 4C, W wind moderate becoming lighter, sunny, dry, wind-chill 1C this evening. Sunrise 07:09, sunset 17:35, day length 10 hours 26 min, increasing now at 4.5 min/day, as we move towards the equinox on 21/3 with its theoretical 12 hours day-length, in practice a little more as light is bent through the atmosphere. Had walk at Dipton Wood S from 15:25-17:20 seeing a good range of birds, including a male Kestrel and a Barn Owl, actively hunting over an overgrown field. Also had 6 Common Crossbill, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 5 Chaffinch, in total of 17 bird-types. Had another Barn Owl on way back at Dukesfield, sitting on a post, at 17:30. No Goshawk seen: that was the target species. Made N4c4ll where good to have S/H on and earlier had good chat with N/D on Skype; no sign of N returning to live concerts, such a pity, there’s going to be more food available on 4/3 and 11/3 when at S4reh. Survived the volatile week fund-wise with gain of +24k, making gain ytd of +135k gross (+7.6%), +102k net with ytd ftse 100 +1.4%, ftse 250 -11.0%, dow -6.3%, nasdaq -12.5%, bitcoin -16.0%. Commodities are still the preferred sector with prices soaring as come out of Covid and with supplies restricted by past years of underinvestment. The energy transition (net zero) is driving materials like copper, nickel and lithium higher. ESG criteria need to be adapted to extractive industries: shiny tech toys have a heavy environmental cost, which needs to be acknowledged by their users and planned for in their intended take-up. The cloud is an example of a concept, apparently free in the sky, but in reality masses of processors in vast data warehouses, made of many scarce metals and with significant power usage. Never neglect the physical side!! She’s gorgeous: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 24th: maximum 3C, minimum 1C, moderate cold W breeze, weak sunshine, heavy showers, wind-chill -5C this evening. Windy spell with severe wind-chill is coming to an end – gr8 news! Sociable day, meeting M/S at T4m4l and R/A at G4g4s; pub was really rowdy with 2 parties in progress, one involving M – good to see!! Tidied up some retained material from the ongoing clear-out. So we’re at war now!! Funds still a bit ahead this week overall on large energy holdings: expecting UK to finally approve exploitation of North Sea and Falklands oil and gas reserves as an interim move in the energy transition. Bought some Russian/Ukrainian stocks today at unbelievable prices: well that’s the theory anyway!! Won an Ag spoon in auction today (1699 William III) plus a fork (1735 George II). 2moro it’s Skype with N/D from 10-11:30, N4c4l and walk out while cleaner S is busy from 15:30; not out in evening – DoW with D/D is Saturday. XXX!!! Admiringly: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 23rd: maximum 8C, minimum 0C, moderate cold W breeze, sunny morning, heavy rain late afternoon and evening. Started adding Honey-buzzard records for 2000 to BirdTrack, about ½ done by end of day; not as easy as expected as computer file just had a summary of breeding records, so I’ve had to go back to the notebook to get the detail. Fortunately I do have detailed accounts for 2001-2006 in computer files. Didn’t make QHC as had gr8 news that B felt well enough again to come to G4g4t where we met for good catch-up; he’s had tumours on his spine and kidney, former removed privately to jump the queue as he was in such pain, the latter by NHS at RVI. So things are looking up this week with B back and son starting work again. Bar service was special!! Feeling more optimistic about weather with strong winds finishing on Friday as we move into late winter. 2moro it’s T4m4l with M and G4g4s with the gang; no fieldwork is planned. XXX!!!

February 22nd: maximum 9C, minimum 3C, moderate cold W breeze, heavy rain morning turning showery, some weak sunny spells. BirdTrack still down, must have been a serious crash; I thought they had the database at University of East Anglia under Oracle with full data security measures taken. So surprised it’s taking this long to restore! Update next day: Actually service restored yesterday: message was not updated. Made Allenheads Byerhope from 14:55-16:30; it’s 20 miles from Hexham so took an additional 30 min each way in the car. Bitter conditions up there at 435m asl in the strong wind, wind-chill close to 0C. Bird list was not bad: a Common Buzzard up with 2 Raven, 32 Jackdaw, 4 Woodpigeon, 2 Red Grouse, 1 Common Gull adult, 4 Chaffinch, 1 Blackbird, 7 Blue Tit, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Dunnock, 1 Wren – 12 types, with a Rabbit the only mammal. Had 25 Fieldfare at Studdon Park on way home, where 30 Redwing were present. No waders were seen; first will be back soon on the moors. This is the first 2x2 square analysed to contain moorland. Next step is to analyse results with Google Earth; then think will go up the West Allen to Monk. Had hour long chat with big sis in evening – good to keep in touch. We are still going to Switzerland in August, probably by train, with nephew’s family. 2moro it’s lunch at QHC but no field trips are planned. Funds are +1k on wtd; commodities are still outperforming other sectors, which continue to fall. The sanctions packages were very weak because western Europe lacks energy security: it is dependent for 40% of its gas supplies on Russia. Didn’t notice any realism emerging in our leaders: just the usual mindless quotes about more renewables (unreliable) and nuclear (years away but should have been part of a replacement programme since 2000). Develop our indigenous gas and oil supplies now or forever be weak! Hope the gorgeous one is fit: XXX!!!

February 21st: maximum 9C, minimum 4C, moderate W breeze becoming light, a few hail showers, sunny periods. Despite the storms think we are gradually emerging from winter as minimum temperatures rise. Had 2 Song Thrush and a Bullfinch in the Sele after lunch and 2 Yellowhammer and a Nuthatch on food at home plus a Rabbit at Ordley .Completed analysis of Studdon Park habitat and set up Byerhope as next place to visit, maybe tomorrow. Made R @ B4m4l where it was my turn to collect the lunch money through a point of sale machine: makes it all very easy as no one has to count the cash while having lunch; it was a low-key business meeting. Hanns M flew for the Luftwaffe in the north Africa campaign, was shot down, taken prisoner and moved to a PoW camp in Bristol. Like quite a lot of people at the end of the war there was no home for him to return to (Silesia was now in Poland) so he remained in SW England, working in Devon as an agricultural labourer where he met Marjorie Spencer my mother-in-law, who was a domestic science teacher. As restrictions were lessened on the types of work ex-PoW could do, he became a railway guard for GWR on the service to London Paddington from Devon. He wasn’t a Wagner fan: favourite music was the Red Army and other eastern themes! Made G4g4s for good chat with R/A and K on!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 20th: maximum 9C, minimum 0C, moderate W breeze, such heavy rain, all roads and drains awash ahead of storm Franklin, drain from dining room roof blocked by debris presumably from my sweeping of flat roof – removed the moss at the outfall, quite a woosh as whole column of water came out in a rush; temperatures falling steadily in evening as winds approached gale force W and at 23:00 0C actual, -7C wind-chill, with snow falling. Analysed Studdon Park woodland, almost ready for next site Byerhope to complete East Allen (but not West Allen). BirdTrack web site down so cannot add any more historical records at the moment. Did add some material to WikiTree on John Rossiter, elder brother to my line through Thomas Rossiter, died 1777 in Tiverton, Devon, with a PCC will, quite wealthy, containing much family detail. He married twice but had no children so the money went to his nephews and nieces after a 17 year delay while his second wife Hannah, a much younger women and married herself once before, enjoyed the assets in trust. Also added the marriage of late wife’s parents finding that her father Hanns Joachim Makosch descended from Johannes Wilhelm Makosch, a farmer, from near Breslau, Silesia, Prussia, Germany, now in Poland and today called Wroclaw. There’s a memorial stone to Hanns at Bad Säckingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany set up by one of his few relations who remained in Germany. Made concert by Florilegium at QH with M in afternoon; well attended and liked the Haydn – symphonies 101, 94, 104 played by a string quartet and a flautist with arrangement by Salomon; we also had a flute quartet by Mozart. Very enjoyable and went with M to HoE for a rw and chat afterwards. Much later made G4g4s where met R. P comes back from Madeira tomorrow. XXX

February 19th: maximum 4C, minimum 2C, light W breeze, dry, sunny. Did make Studdon Park from 12:55-14:15, for Honey-buzzard habitat survey no.6 in Allen. There’s a big gap between this site and the next one to N at Oakpool; is there a missed site, maybe in the wood by the approach to Allendale from NE but never seen any birds of prey there driving past; must check this season. Had 10 bird-types in the walk: 7 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 Wren, 3 Blue Tit, 2 Crow, 1 Chaffinch, 8 Woodpigeon, 2 drake Mallard, 1 Coal Tit, 27 Jackdaw, with some mole hills for the mammals. On way there at 12:45 had a Black Grouse cock on wall at Stublick and a male Goshawk flying over the moor at Yellow Rigg/Elrington (site no.4 for the species this late winter). On the way back at 14:25 had 60 Redwing at Lowgate. Made N4c4ll with bit of shopping in Super Drug (plasters) and WH Smith (coloured Biro pens for map marking in the habitat survey, Super Glue). Super Glue assisted in repair of glasses where pin came out on rhs; quite a coincidence that glasses had this problem hours after I’d made an eye-test appointment with Spec Savers for 27/3. Sight is fine but haven't had a test for 6 years and think I’ll be a little more long-sighted. Increased payment each month to BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) to £40, in line with payments to other favoured charities. Had good chat over FB video with son for an hour at ttime: impressed with his resilience, he’s back at concerts (Barbican last Thursday) and returns to work (relaxed full-time) on Tuesday. The clinic provides each week a 30-min chat with a psychologist over Zoom and a social evening with former ‘inmates’ for a year; this is all part of the initial package. We’re discussing increasing the lease on his flat from 70 to 99 years to keep its value. Met D/D 4 good chat at DoW4g4s. 2moro it’s going to be wet: pleased to have concert at QH in afternoon with M and drink afterwards. XXX

February 18th: maximum 5C, minimum 1C, strong NW breeze, storm Eunice, sleet in morning, then dry. Early-on had good chat on Skype with D/N. Set up habitat survey for Studdon Park on Google Earth – hope to get out and visit the site tomorrow. Decided not to go out today, so missed Sage concert but did watch it on LiveStream. Weather very wild and lost confidence in public transport, which seems to cancel operations at the slightest hint of trouble, let alone when there is real trouble like today with fallen trees. Concert was very good: enjoyed Chopin PC 1 – lovely lilt in mv 3 and the Schubert 3, which was played in very spirited style. More to follow …. Bad week for markets – US stocks in free fall and even the previously robust ftse 100 lost 1.9% this week. Reason is ostensibly the prospects of war between Russia and the Ukraine. But feel it runs deeper than that with inflation and supply shortages spooking companies and individuals. Question is whether governments are going to risk a recession to get inflation under control. Anyway sticking to strategy, holding large numbers of bonds and commodity stocks, particularly those in the ‘new’ metals for electrification of energy and in traditional oil companies. Didn’t work out this week at -24k gross, -27k net, leaving gain ytd at +110k gross (+6.3%), +77k net, with ftse 100 ytd +1.75%, ftse 250 -9.0% and dow (major US) -6.2% and NASDAQ (tech stocks) -13.4%. Overvalued tech stocks are crashing, making many investors feel poor, and bitcoin has also slumped by 13.5% ytd. Really it’s the unwinding of the cash printed to get the world through the Covid pandemic. Day did have one very bright spot: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 17th: maximum 6C, minimum 2C, moderate NW breeze, tail-end of storm Dudley, mostly dry, becoming cooler. Completed processing of Ridley habitat information with Google Earth so now done 6 sites in ‘Shire and 5 sites in Allen for habitat, 11 in all; next up is Studdon Park, near Allendale, when it becomes more comfortable outdoors. uPVC window lock arrived – very prompt and fitted by lunchtime; one snag – existing rh screw was covered by a metal casing, which was removed using a titanium-drill bit, but otherwise straight-forward and window is now duly locked with a key for cost of £3.75! Waiting to see how storm Eunice plays out before going into NCL for RNS; last train is running on current timetable but will check again when booking. Don’t think wind will be the problem up here but it could well be snow. Made T4m4l on own as M not out this week; will see him at concert at QH on Sunday afternoon. Daughter’s family are in the Alps on a skiing holiday – looks great, have got some piccies. Made G4g4s 4 good chat with R/A. XXX! Thinking of someone gorgeous!! xx lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 16th: maximum 9C, minimum 5C, W gale with damaging gusts, storm Dudley, rain morning and early afternoon, mild. No obvious damage at 01:00 17/2 but not been outside yet; power has stayed on with not even a blip. Storm Eunice looks less windy in the N but is sucking in polar air and we’re forecast heavy snow on Friday midday and afternoon so it might be the stream for RNS. Had a good stab at 1999 records for Honey-buzzard today, completing the task from handwritten entries in notebook with 9 localities, 28 records, for Northumberland plus in Holland: 2 Honey-buzzard (1 pale/1 dark) at De Slufter on Texel 26/05/1999 in afternoon; also went to forest near Zwolle on 28/05/1999 15:00-16:00 but no Honey-buzzard seen there. Texel is a marvellous place for wildlife, bit like Holy Island; think it might be a little wild there tonight and tomorrow and the ferry crossing might be a little rough! The updated 1999 position is now on the population page for Honey-buzzard in Northumberland. Next up is processing the Ridley habitat with Google Earth before getting back to 2000-2005 Honey-buzzard records, adding them to BirdTrack, but this time copy and paste from Word documents. Today made QHC4m4l (tuna sandwich and salad) and bought some more bird food (nuts, seed) from SGN in the market place; birds are going through a bag of nuts a day – very hungry. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 15th: maximum 6C, minimum 3C, light SW breeze, mostly dry, mild. Song Thrush singing in Sele Park, Hexham, at 16:45 – first for year, what a tonic! Now added 16 Honey-buzzard records from 8 localities for 1999: just the 2 pioneering sites at Staward to do. Did do some preparation for storm Dudley: sweeping flat roof of leaves, moss and debris, fixing a loose slate and tightening the gutter supports. Was a problem though: to get on the flat roof requires squirming through a window, just above the height of the flat roof, and on way back in broke the key off, with the window then locking in closed position so would not be able to open it again. In hand though with order in for new uPVC handle with lock for £3.79; picked the lock with a thin screwdriver to open the window again – don’t think they give you much security! Sent personalised birthday card and mug on Moonpig to older granddaughter S, soon to be 7! Also sending 3k towards her school fees (to her mum!)! Made N4c4t with S on and chatted to cleaner S and her daughter D when they came this afternoon. Resumed clear-out, feeling in the mood; bought some glue (along with roofing mastic and WD40) in Yorkshire store to fix the shelf. Markets under a lot of pressure this week over Ukraine situation; own funds down 13k on wtd but feel commodities will lead the way higher again once current uncertainty is resolved; many shares are priced for much lower commodity prices so even if the commodities just stay the same, the shares should get a lift eventually. Storm Dudley is amber and Eunice, close behind, is yellow so hoping the power stays on. XXX

February 14th: maximum 8C, minimum 4C, light W breeze, light rain from time to time, mild. Bulbs are coming through strongly now, both at home and in the Sele. Had a Barn Owl hunting over my field at dusk at 17:20, no doubt after voles, lovely sight. Added records from 5-6 sites now for 1999, time-consuming going through the handwritten notebook but the remaining years are all in doc files, so mainly copy and paste with review. Today visited R at B4m4l where we had a talk on rewilding, looking at the Italian experience; she went on to talk about Kielder; I asked her in q&a about the Lynx but she clammed up quickly. Plans to reintroduce the Lynx into the UK are on hold showing our ultra-cautious approach. Many European countries have viable Lynx populations and their natural prey of small deer makes them ideal as an apex predator in wooded areas e.g. Kielder. They are planning to reintroduce the Golden Eagle into Kielder though which is a good idea. Much later made G4g4s with A/R 4 good chat with M on! Have completed this phase of clear-out, much stuff ending up for composting under the large conifers on the edge of the field. Need some glue to fix a shelf that had collapsed, then can reload sorted material. Want to do a bit of reinforcing outside b4 storm expected Wed/Thurs. Back on the concert trail on Fri/Sun. My trip away only loses me one concert, on 8/4. xxx

February 13th: maximum 8C, minimum 4C, light S breeze, light rain, mild. At Ordley had 4 Lesser Redpoll on alder mast yesterday on edge of field and a Jay on birdtable today. A Common Buzzard was displaying at Letah Wood in the rain today – getting fruity! This evening Early Moth and the Chestnut moth were on the wing. Added records for Honey-buzzard from one site in 1999 to BirdTrack, so under way with 7-8 more sites to do. Started to think about the Logic and Love workshop: it may be thought of as a joke but it’s actually really serious: love is not amenable to Boolean Logic (the classical AND, OR, NOT operators with a double negative meaning true): it’s much more subtle: some of us will be using intuitionistic logic which can express much more subtle outcomes, in between the classical true and false: intuition may well be the underlying theme: in category theory intuitionistic logic is represented by the Heyting algebra, developed by Dutch mathematician Arend Heyting at the University of Amsterdam. So the Workshop is inviting a discussion on more subtle and novel forms of logic!! All the same there might be the odd snigger: Unilog (Universal Logic 2022) is a relaxed meeting!! Back in the real world made W4bigshop, spending more at £59, and N4c4ll where pleased to have H on, welcome breaks from large clear-out in place. Made G4g4s with R/B/D for good chat and nitecap: favourite bar-lass was back on: very impressive!! So tomorrow it’s VD: will be thinking of someone: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

February 12th: maximum 7C, minimum 6C, early ground frost, moderate W breeze, mostly cloudy, wind-chill 2C max, wind finally dropped in evening. Snowdrops are out beautifully and daffodils are growing rapidly with closed buds emerging strongly. Doing significant clear-out of old material of all sorts to realise some buffer space, scanning some material before chucking it. Reason is usual one – have mislaid a few items and need to sort the clutter to relocate them. Key throw-outs are computer manuals (no demand for these – aesthetic value low) and dictionaries and the like (Google Translate does everything now). Have uncovered some interesting personal items, which will reveal later. Chatted to son over FB video link for an hour – he’s recovering well, been given leave to go back to work, might go down in March to see big sis and the 3 of us could go to Peter Grimes at ROH. Also made DoW4g4s with D/D 4 good chat!

Unilog 2022 is going ahead from 6/4-11/4; booked flights NCL-CHQ by Ryanair for 4/4-18/4 for total of £166. Have 2 papers scheduled. Most interest at moment is in Logic and Love workshop where we have an abstract for Logical Types of Love! Not sure whether there’s a practical session! After supporting so many worthy causes this year, am going to pamper myself now but any exciting company would be very welcome!! Have still to book hotels, waiting for ideas from the conference as it’s good to be in hotel with other delegates and can get a discount through the conference. XXX!!

February 11th: maximum 5C, minimum 1C, early ground frost, light SW breeze, sunny all day, wind at last dropped but not for long. Did make Ridley/Morralee at Allen Banks where walked to highest point and studied the habitat from 13:30-15:15; very few birds around but did have a Common Buzzard over nearby Lipwood at 11:25 in total of just 11 types. Have to register the habitat with Google Earth, maybe 2moro. Updated final 2 tables on 1998 records to the web. Decided to do 1999 records next; my archive system has failed me here, having saved all Honey-buzzard reports from 1993 to the present but have lost that one year and only a summary is on the web. So compiling the records from my handwritten year notebooks – my writing then was little better than it is now! Foreign trips that year included 2 weeks in August in Gambia (Senegambia Hotel) with incursion into Senegal with wife and a week in May in Amsterdam and Texel, Holland, with N, me driving off North Sea Ferry from North Shields; will search the notes for Honey-buzzard, certainly some in Holland but in Gambia would have had to be 1s birds as adults away breeding in Europe at that time. In 1999 I was County Bird Recorder for Northumberland and north Tyne & Wear and lecturer in databases and systems analysis in Computing Science at Newcastle University; my wife (AR) was teacher (soon to be Assistant Head) and head of history and drama at Hexham Middle School. Funds had a good week at +16k, taking ytd gain to +134k gross (+7.6%), +104k net, with ftse 100 ytd +3.2%, ftse 250 -6.1%; closed 4k below peak yesterday on weakness of US stocks. Commodities continue to rise, particularly PoO, now over $95 a barrel Brent. Have granddaughter S’s birthday next week, closing the main season for donations. Delighted to see BAF had good closure in Leeds and Gateshead – marvellous outcome for the Festival and for music in the north!! xx

February 10th: maximum 5C, minimum 2C, moderate to strong W breeze, sunny all day, wind again made it feel chilly with wind-chill temperature -2C max. Even the hardiest locals were calling it cold today! Met M at T4m4l 4 good chat with vegetarian quiche my choice and R/A at G4g4s for another good social. Added 1998 records for Honey-buzzard to BirdTrack for Northumberland (from a computer file, 17 records) and for Belgium (from handwritten notebook, a pair at Namur (River) Sambre on 26/8 during a logic conference there), also noting a nil report for Mull, Scotland, in May. Need to add analysis of 1998 records to the population file and will then go back through my handwritten notebooks for 1990-1997 to check for Honey-buzzard records outside Northumberland. Will continue habitat survey with visit to Ridley tomorrow after chat in morning on Skype to N/D. Very happy to meet someone again: it’s funny how when you think someone’s gone for good that they suddenly reappear: XXX!!!

February 9th: maximum 6C, minimum 1C, moderate W breeze, sunny all day, wind again made it feel chilly with wind-chill temperature 2C max. This strong, cool wind just goes on and on. Dentist visit was leisurely, some 30 min, not sure that I really want to spend a lot of time in the chair but HL is charming and a very good practitioner. Had inside of crowned tooth cleaned up without any numbing by a coarse grinder – pretty brave by my standards! Crown was refitted and teeth cleaned with ultrasonics, producing quite a lot of blood from the edges of the gums; given instructions on how to use an electric toothbrush more effectively; cost band 2 £65.20; next inspection in 3 months time! Bought new electric toothbrush in Superdrug for £13! Did have lunch at QHC – tuna sandwich with salad, nice and mushy for the reinstated crown, which she gave a 50% chance of lasting a year or two as there’s not much of the tooth left on which to fix the crown; if comes out again, the tooth will have to be extracted (would be my 2nd gap!); cauliflower cheese tonite! Walked 5.1km today, around Corbridge and Sele. Donated £40 + GA to Friends of Hexhamshire Parish Burial Ground (for late wife). Bought tickets for the 6 RNS concerts in the spring for £240 (without discount 10%, couldn’t get that to work but good cause) and also bought a ticket for £18 for Haydn concert (symphonies 94, 101, 104, plus Mozart Flute Quartet 1) by Floriegium on period instruments at QH, Hexham, on 20/2 at 15:00. Also booked with NH for 2 rehearsals for RNS on 4/3 and 11/3. Funds reached a new record today on renewed optimism for pandemic being largely over with net gain ytd now climbing over 100k; PoO back up over $91 a barrel of Brent quality. Weather very blustery 2moro so lengthy lunch with M at T, compilation of 1998 Honey-buzzard records on Bird Track, G4g4s, leaving Ridley habitat survey (no.11 in total, no.5 for Allen) for the better weather on Friday. Have completed compilation of Sinderhope habitat. 2moro is close of BAF: it’s been a gr8 1: XXX!!

February 8th: maximum 7C, minimum 3C, moderate W breeze, dull morning, brighter later, wind made it feel chilly with wind-chill temperature 3C max. Did make Sinderhope area on East Allen for Honey-buzzard habitat survey no.10 (no.4 for Allen); easier than some as mostly pasture with woodland restricted to the valley. Sorted out the maps on Google Earth this evening so ready for next one in main Allen at Ridley, the lowest one in the valley altitude-wise. Was up at Sinderhope from 12:00-13:50, getting 10 types of bird including a pair of displaying Common Buzzard at the S wood and a single over the N wood, plus a Raven over pasture to E, 26 Common Gull, 3 Stock Dove, a drake Mallard, 3 Crow, 4 Rook, 22 Jackdaw, 3 Coal Tit, 1 Woodpigeon; plus loads of moles, including 90 strung out on wires (always hate this practice). Had a Kestrel hunting at Snape at 11:45. Most cheering sight was as came out of front door at 11:30: 2 Lapwing flying W, onto higher ground to breed in the spring. Came back to N4c4ll for restoration where treated well. Walked 5.9km today, most at Sinderhope. Loved the review of the Brundibár opera performance at the Sage, particularly the 2nd paragraph! 2moro it’s dentists in Corbridge at 10:10 for re-fixing of crown, including a bit of drilling to remove a little decay, cleaning and x-ray: not my favourite pastime! Will be happier by lunchtime, when may well go out to QHC. Funds are +5k on wtd as mining stocks rise but things in general are a little choppy still. xx

February 7th: maximum 9C, minimum 6C, moderate W breeze, sunny morning, cloudy later, much milder by afternoon. Added all 1997 records for Honey-buzzard, including notes, to BirdTrack, 16 from Northumberland (6 sites, 5 breeding, 1 present). So just 1998-2005 to do! It’s very blustery at the moment in the ‘Shire but think it may quieten down enough for habitat survey at Sinderhope tomorrow. Had some interesting birds today: 3 Mistle Thrush, 30 Linnet at Ordley with the most encouraging sight of a pair of Goshawk displaying over Slaley Forest Dukesfield at 14:40; that’s 3 sites for Goshawk already! Also in walk around Sele at 14:15 had a Song Thrush (1st for year) and 8 Blackbird, plus a Common Buzzard over Letah Wood at 12:10. Made Rotary at B4m4l – good chat – and speaker on park runs, to which we gave some money, was entertaining! More social life at G4g4s with R/A and dancer K on: she was impressed that I’d been to the ballet: hope for me yet!! After yesterday’s concert gave £44 + GA to Newcastle Phoenix Choir, based at StJStB in Fenham: feel they need support and like their support for people with mental problems. Hope opera performances went well: xx!!

Pause persists in latest climate data. Temperature anomaly on satellite data for January 2022 was just +0.03C over 1991-2020 average with in more detail global climate trend since Dec. 1 1978 reducing to +0.13 C per decade:

The global temperature departure from average in January fell from December to what is essentially zero, at +0.03 °C (+0.05 °F). Equatorial cooling associated with the on-going presence of La Niña continued and the tropics are now substantially below the 30-year average at -0.24 °C (-0.43 °F). As is often noted on these reports, the maximum cooling effect of La Niñas usually occurs sometime from February to May.

The planet’s warmest region, in terms of the monthly departure from average, was over eastern Russia where one grid cell hit +4.6 °C (+8.2 °F) above normal in the Bilibinsky District. The pattern of warm and cold anomalies is related to the influence of the La Niña-induced cooling in the tropics. Other warm areas were experienced in the No. Atlantic and alternating regions in the far southern oceans. Tukarak Island in the Hudson Bay, Canada, came in with the coldest grid cell and was -3.5°C (-6.3 °F) below average. The cool regions in the tropical Pacific (due to La Niña) led to a pattern that produced cold areas in NE Canada and along the Antarctic coastline of the Western Hemisphere. It was also quite cool over the No. Africa, parts of SE Asia and the subtropical western Pacific.

The Arctic sea ice persists more than predicted, not the narrative the scribe wants:

Arctic sea ice this January: so last decade. February 3, 2022. While January began with sea ice extent below average, by the end of the month, extent increased. January 2022 finished as the sixteenth lowest extent in the satellite record above all years since 2009, with the exception of 2013 and 2014. This illustrates the large natural variability in sea ice conditions. However, winter ice extent is a poor indicator of what the ice extent will look like this coming September.

The same source indicates Antarctic ice is at low levels, but this seems counter-intuitive with the recent record-cold Antarctic winter:

This January, Antarctic sea ice was the second lowest ice extent in the 44-year record (Figure 5a). Regionally, ice extent is tracking below levels observed for 2017 in the Indian and Pacific sectors, but above levels for that year in other sectors (Figure 5b). In 2017, only the Ross Sea region had record low extent, so it was the driver of the overall record low hemispheric extent. Similarly, this year none of the individual regions have record low extents, but all are well below average leading to the second lowest Antarctic sea ice in the satellite record, above 2017.

The latest on this La Niña event can be found here.

ENSO Alert System Status: La Niña Advisory

La Niña is present

Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are below average across the east central and eastern Pacific Ocean.

The tropical Pacific atmosphere is consistent with La Niña.

La Niña is likely to continue into the Northern Hemisphere spring (67% chance during March May 2022) and then transition to ENSO neutral (51% chance during April June 2022).

February 6th: maximum 3C, minimum 0C, moderate W breeze, sleet showers in morning, wind chill -6C, bitterly cold in the ‘Shire. Coal stove is doing wonders: house is lovely and warm. Many people in the ‘Shire burn coal or wood to keep themselves warm. Added all 1996 records for Honey-buzzard, including notes, to BirdTrack, one from Devon (1 breeding site) and 19 from Northumberland (6 sites, 1 migrant, 5 breeding). That leaves about a 10-year gap in records on BirdTrack which am filling as want to match up habitat with order of colonisation to see what was particularly favourable. A bit of a birdie day: masses around bird table and nuts in morning with 14 Blue Tit, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Tree Sparrow (1st for year), 1 Greenfinch, 5 Chaffinch, 3 Great Tit. 1 Coal Tit, with 12 Redwing on turnip field. Putting loads of food out at the moment and it’s attracting many deserving cases. Had a female/1w Brambling on the grain yesterday. Made Wylam from 14:10 – 17:15, parking at station near Tyne, getting 10 bird-types in all, including 5 Goosander on Tyne (4 drake, 1 redhead) plus an impressive female Goshawk beating the bounds over the Station at 14:20 and the woodland to S; Goshawk breed here regularly so this is another (2nd) breeding record for them in 2022. 40 Redwing were at Horsley at 14:05 so some signs of Scandinavian breeders moving towards return. A Woodcock was flying over Ordley at 17:45 as returned home. Main purpose of visit to Wylam was for most agreeable bird topic: the Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams played exquisitely by AR on violin with choral backing as part of a packed concert by the St James Consort. Really enjoyed the whole concert!! Unilog are starting to arrange the conference on Universal Logic at Crete. Mike and I have a paper in the Logic and Love Workshop titled Logical Types of Love leaning on the classics: quite a challenge and guess who’s presenting it! We have one more paper accepted; will put up further details soon but Crete is my big spend this spring!! M is still suffering from long Covid. Made G4g4s with R for good chat; P’s off to Madeira for 2 weeks. So was a gr8 day!! xx

February 5th: maximum 7C, minimum 2C, moderate W breeze, rain all day, raw feel. Made W4bigshop £52 and chatted with son via FB video for 45 min at 17:00: he’s making good progress, both physically and mentally. Ended day at DoW4g4s with D/D 4 good chat: staff are very friendly there! 2moro afternoon Winter Tales presents in St Oswin’s Church, Wylam: shall be there, looks a good programme!! Need a good sleep!! xx

February 4th: maximum 4C, minimum 2C, moderate W breeze, sunny but feeling cold in wind. A good social day with the lunch at Cassia in Corbridge (Italian) with the IT gang of 5. Had 10 min chat on Skype with N/D before scurrying off to get train. Gave train a miss in evening as saw on website last one was cancelled and don’t like last buses, which they’d put on instead. So it was drive to CAL and then Metro through to GHD. Concert was decidedly Spanish – very lively and rhythmic, particularly the pieces by De Falla: Three Cornered Hat Suite No.1 and El Amor Brujo Suite. The Granados piece – Intermezzo from Goyescas – was very lyrical. Craig Ogden was the well-known soloist on guitar in Rodrigo’s Fantasia para un gentilhombre. We had an encore from the soloist and by the RNS at the end: overall a cheering experience. Had a nitecap there after the concert with plenty of good chat, including pp Christine and the woodwind gang! Metro back at 23:00 was slower than expected as got stuck at SGos waiting for Airport connection. But drive back was quick, just 30 min, so still beat bus and lit the coal fire, which had pre-laid, to warm up the place overnight. 2moro it’s chat with son at 17:00 over FB video link and DoW4g4s with D/D. Funds were off 1k, first weekly fall since late November but still up ytd 118k gross (+6.7%) and 88k net with ftse 100 ytd +1.8% and ftse 250 -7.5%. xx

February 3rd: maximum 8C, minimum 3C, moderate W breeze, dull, dry, mild. Still in the big city, making CT4s4l (Coffee Trader, old haunt when at unn!) and walk along Quayside from 14:30-16:00 where had 10 bird-types: Herring Gull 101, Feral Pigeon 53, Black-headed Gull 15 (13 ad, 2 1w), Woodpigeon 6, Crow 4, Cormorant 2 (ad, 1w), Magpie 2, GBBG 1 1w, Collared Dove 1, Sparrowhawk 1 female hunting over north bank. But no LBBG or Kittiwake, as will happen soon in late winter. Yesterday had great sighting of a Red Kite over my house at Ordley at 14:15. First seen this year and have been out a lot more this winter in Honey-buzzard habitat surveys so think this is a returning record, not one that has lied low. Walked 6.9km yesterday and 10.8km today: city life is very healthy! Highlight of day was the Nutcracker ballet live at TR in the evening by Scottish Ballet to a pretty-full hardly-a-mask-to-be-seen audience, in the Upper Circle anyway. In the large orchestra (60 strong) were the partners NB (cello) and EG (lead-flute). There were many more women than men there and, in MCP circles, men who like ballet are sadly thought to be odd! Performance was very moving – it’s obviously a simple story with the girl dreaming that her toys come alive – but the music by Tchaikovsky is sublime, particularly the grand pas de deux between the Nutcracker (representing the nut-cracking toy in the form of a prince) and the Sugar Plum Fairy. You can see a concert performance of this by Gergiev on youtube. Pleased to hear from someone: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! 2moro it’s check-out but back in again in evening after lunch in Corbridge with the IT gang for the RNS; last train cancelled so in via CAL.

Cost of living crisis – what a disaster as a result of net zero policies and a lack of capitalist principles in energy going back 20 years. Having a house in band F will not give me any rebate on council tax but at least I’ve benefited from owning many oil and gas shares. The only escape route is to open up our indigenous gas and oil supplies, even including fracking, while we wait 10-20 years for unreliable renewables to prove their worth or otherwise. The time-scale for the energy transition is far too short. The EU is classifying gas (and nuclear) as an essential part of the transition. Why can’t we show such pragmatism? We’re run by idealogical bigots! PoO Brent up to $91 a barrel this evening; petrol prices will go up again. ESG is a major distorting force, diverting capital from energy producers, so reducing supply. On another topic – crash in Facebook (Meta) shares down 25% in a day was forecast by Saxo in a recent webinar.

February 2nd: maximum 9C, minimum 4C, moderate W breeze, some sunshine, feeling milder. Closing BAF concert was both sublime and poignant. Dora Pejačević: Piano Quintet was the sublime part, Natalie Klouda: Piano Quintet (Special Commission) was ultra-poignant with harsh ending mirroring Alma Rose’s tragic death at the hands of the Nazis. Enjoyed whole evening: BAF is a fantastic achievement and really happy to be involved. Someone is very desirable: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!! Staying over for 2 nites and finding there’s 2 concerts at Kings Hall tomorrow might visit those with trip along Quayside in between (lunchtime one is certainly on). It’s Nutcracker 2moro at TR; might have short trip on Metro later!! xx

February 1st: maximum 9C, minimum 6C, moderate to fresh W breeze, some sunshine but feeling cool in strong winds. Days are lengthening rapidly: sunrise 08:00. sunset 16:45. so day length up to 8 hours 45 min; in next 7 weeks has to reach 12 hours for equinox so that’s plus 4 min a day on average (faster as cross equinox). Don’t like this weather – too much like Wuthering Heights up here! Glad I’ve got the concerts to keep me warm. Made QH4s4l but otherwise a quiet day before 4 nites out in a row!! Completed survey of Honey-buzzard habitat at Oakpool (3rd site in Allen and 9th site overall); pleased at progress but not going out again until it quietens down weather-wise; next site to do is Sinderhope N. Funds +2k on wtd after +5k yesterday at new record, a little choppy; have even bought a few tech-related shares after their big falls. So looking forward to 2moro loads: xx.

January 31st: maximum 5C, minimum 3C, moderate W breeze after gale force winds from W overnight, some sunshine but feeling cool in strong winds. Made N4c4t, Rotary at Masonic Hall 4m4s and G4g4s, last with P/A/R 4 good chat with K on. Talk at Rotary was by school pyramid chief executive GA – very good, amazing how the school buildings have been improved in the rebuilding of Hexham High School and Hexham Middle School, now on same site. We had a power cut at the Masons, due to a fuse going but it was repaired very quickly so we could see the slides of the schools. Still a glow from yesterday, maintained this afternoon: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 30th: maximum 5C, minimum 1C, W gale after calm start to day, sunny becoming cloudy with rain, feeling cool in strong winds. Had a Kestrel perched by Brocks Bushes in hedgerow at 16:50. Festival was brill, really enjoyed combination of ON and RNS with ON Youth Chorus excelling. It’s such a landmark for the Festival to achieve such a prestigious event with full support from its supporters. Liked the trios played before, really tricky to play, both by Hans Krása: Tanec and Passacaglia & Fuge, for violin, viola and cello with AR/JS/DH. The opera Brundibár, also by Hans Krása, rather reminded me of a Kurt Weill piece, not surprising really, as they were both creative in the 1930s and 1940s and liked exploring relationships between relatively ordinary people. Thought the two young kids Pepíček and Aninka were well played by Hazel Read and Scarlett Banks and Samuel Mills did well as the baddy in the title role! Suspect that the production will mature and the 2nd performance in Leeds will be the pinnacle! Gr8 social event: pleased to meet JL again and hopefully this time we will meet at the ROH (in Peter Grimes, not Tristan); the AD is doing brilliantly, not just in the music, but in overcoming the bureaucracy to get the bar re-opened!! The Festival has certainly captured the imagination of the music-going public this year without sacrificing any of its ideals, a great achievement! Drove to CAL and then used the Metro – surprised to find my annual Metro pass (free off-peak for residents of Northumberland) had expired but easily renewed at the machine at CAL for £24. I last renewed it when I came back from Kenya last January. Made G4g4s 4 nite-cap with D/P/R with K on. An exhilarating day!! xx Absolutely gorgeous!! lok2tgrf!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 29th: maximum 8C, minimum 1C, SW gale, sunny but warmth blown away in the wind. Out to Oakpool from its W flank to study Honey-buzzard habitat from 15:00-16:05; pretty punishing conditions in the gale with small branches all over the place on the roads; didn’t feel mild at all in the gale. Wildlife was lying low but did have 50 feeding Fieldfare in a field at Stublick, where a Roe Deer was in a plantation. At Cupola Bridge had a pale Common Buzzard, as seen a few days ago, up hunting at 15:20. At Oakpool had another Common Buzzard low through the trees,1 Pheasant, 2 Jackdaw, 3 Woodpigeon, 1 Blackbird, so that’s just 5 bird-types in the survey area, plus some mole. Walked 3.5km today and 6.5km yesterday, with 2 bridge crossings. Chatted with son and daughter from their homes at 17:00 for 40 min on FB video chat – he’s recovering well, walking much better and keen to get back to work in person; has joined 3 support groups, had flat deep-cleaned, electric appliance problems being sorted and £150 order for home delivery from Waitrose. Made DoW at 20:30 for 2 hours with D/D for good chat, following Skype chat with N/D as usual yesterday. 2moro it’s the big concert at S, greeted with much anticipation, going in from CAL-GHD as evening train service not good on Sunday. xx

January 28th: maximum 8C, minimum 7C, moderate SW breeze, cloudy, very mild for time of year. Completed Staward S habitat survey for Honey-buzzard and started on Oakpool. Concert was magnificent: RLP with new conductor Domingo Hindoyan were superb: loved the Ravel PC with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet as soloist; he was amazingly suited to the role, playing the fast movements 1 and 3 with verve and the beautiful (slow) movement 2 with great sensitivity, backed up in m2 with evocative woodwind oboe, flute and clarinet. Also liked the Bolero by Ravel, a popular item but none the worse for that, played with great panache by the whole orchestra. Ravel’s sad Pavane pour une Infante Défunte brought the best out of the woodwind. We also heard Debussy’s Jeux, Poème dansé and Roussel’s Suite No. 2 from Bacchus et Ariane. So all French with Ravel’s music starring. Chatted in bar afterwards with TO’D, who’d helped their woodwind out after one of their players got isolated with Covid and CM, who’s playing in an important rehearsal tomorrow morning (Sunday performance almost sold-out now). Funds had a very erratic week, falling 20k on black Monday, but after a clean-out, ending the week +6k at a new record, with recovery in mining stocks and some timely purchases of depressed oil stock and junk bonds. Change ytd is +117k gross (+6.6%), +89k net. There’s a move from the logical to the physical with ftse 100 (ytd +1.1%) holding up better than US dow (ytd -4.4%) and ftse 250 (-7.8%) and particularly the US nasdaq (tech) at -12.0% ytd (from 1/1) even after yesterday’s rally of 3% and bitcoin -20%. Some fashionable tech and green stocks, with sparse earnings profiles, are down 25-50% in a month. Never neglect the physical!! Cash is 131k. No withdrawals this week but have scheduled 2k for Festival on 1 Feb and 3k for elder grand-daughter’s birthday in mid-Feb. Next week am staying in NCL mid-week from Wed-Fri at place near station to avoid too much travelling with all the concerts coming up, including the ballet on Thurs. xx

January 27th: maximum 8C, minimum 3C, moderate and gusty W breeze, sunny, frost-free; will take this for end-January. Have completed analysis of Staward S on Google Earth using field work from yesterday; need to calculate percentages for each tree-type, using spreadsheet, and compile summary figures for the site; next up is Oakpool, then going to do some moorland areas, all in Allen. Sociable day, meeting M/B at T4m4l – had vegetarian cottage pie with baked beans – and G4g4s where met R/A/P – all gr8 chat. Bought 2 bags of kindling for £4.98 at Yorkshire store; makes lighting of fire very easy. Son heads for home tomorrow after high standards of care, both mentally and physically; chatting to him with daughter on Saturday early evening on video link.

All happening at once: CDMN is listing next Monday in Toronto; will not increase funds value but will hopefully increase liquidity by a bit over £100k:

Toronto, Ontario--(Newsfile Corp. - January 27, 2022) - Canadian Manganese Company Inc. ("Canadian Manganese" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that the Company has received final approval to list its common shares on the Neo Exchange Inc. Trading is expected to commence at market open on January 31, 2022 under the symbol "CDMN". "Approval for listing is a meaningful milestone for the Company, and we are excited to be a part of the growing list of critical mineral companies choosing to list on NEO, a stock exchange that is quickly becoming the recognized leader in facilitating access to capital for Canada's innovation economy," stated Matthew Allas, President and CEO of Canadian Manganese. "Our choice to list with NEO provides us with access to an exchange focused on providing an equitable marketplace to all investors, which we believe will increase investor confidence, facilitate greater liquidity, and maximize the Company's profile," added Matthew Allas.

ABOUT CANADIAN MANGANESE: Canadian Manganese is a battery metals company whose principal focus is advancing the development and commercialization of its wholly-owned Woodstock Project, a manganese carbonate ore deposit strategically located in New Brunswick, Canada. The Company's mission is to become the global ESG leader and primary North American based supplier of high purity manganese products to the lithium-ion battery industry, in particular the electric vehicle market.

Funds reached a new record today with PoO around $89-90 a barrel for Brent grade, highest for 8 years.

January 26th: maximum 7C, minimum 3C, moderate and gusty W breeze, mainly cloudy, few sunny intervals, continuing dry, largely frost-free but did see frost on car at dawn. While cleaner S hard at it, out to Staward Gorge from 14:30-16:30 for habitat survey for Honey-buzzard in Staward S. Staward Gorge is spectacular with the Allen cutting though a deeply wooded area 1 2 (mainly pine and larch with some birch and oak); the scenery is quite reminiscent of Schwarzwald in Germany (the Black Forest) so ideal for raptors; it’s also home to the Dormouse, its most northerly outpost in Britain and the Dipper, one seen today 1. The sign mentions the National Trust (run E bank) and the Whitfield Estate (run W bank and S area by Cupola Bridge, where parked). The two Honey-buzzard sites in the Gorge are both in conifers, just 1.5km apart suggesting rich habitat, and are both on the W side, so they favour the shooting estate! A network of footpaths ruins through the NT land. Had good walk (6 km for day) looking at the habitat and finding a good range of birds, including the Dipper, and a male Goshawk, hunting Woodpigeon and Jackdaw: first of year and included in this year’s breeding sites as this species breeds very early, claiming territory in late January and February. Also had 3 Common Buzzard, 1 pair display and 1 bird patrolling, a Treecreeper, 2 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Stock Dove, 1 Greenfinch, 2 Wren, 6 Coal Tit, with commoner species: 240 Jackdaw, 9 Rook, 31 Woodpigeon, 8 Pheasant, So total of 13 bird-types, plus some moles. Earlier made W4shop £52.44 including £12 for 2 smart new pillow cases and N4c4l where made to feel very welcome. Tomorrow is freedom day no.2 in England, away with masks; doubtless some venues will try and make us persevere but it will be hard work for them; there’s no evidence masks work and the 100,000’s of cases of omicron in France and UK during mask-wearing phase shows they don’t work; I did wear a mask in Waitrose today but won’t next week; some people will be wearing them for months!! They don’t work because the virus size is such that it can easily pass through the fabric in the cloth-type of mask, users finger dirty masks infecting themselves and the masks are not washed often enough. Medical-grade masks may be better but for most people the social disadvantages outweigh any medical benefits in my view. 2moro is T4m4l with M/B and G4g4s with the gang; then another round of concerts starts on Friday with a break on Saturday for DoW with D/D. Watched Act 2 of Wagner’s Tristan on DVD: so sensuous with Isolde but we’re still waiting for the climax; comes in the Liebestod (love in death) at the end of Act 3 after 4 hours without a diatonic closure: longing is the hallmark of the opera!! xx

Hope for one of my busted bonds (Eros of Bollywood fame, bit outside my normal sphere, absolutely hammered by Covid in India and selling US asset STX to raise money to pay off debt!):

Lions Gate in talks to acquire STX, boost library – Variety. Jan. 26, 2022 1:59 PM ETLions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF.A), LGF.B, ESGCBy: Jason Aycock, SA News Editor 3 Comments: CinemaCon 2018 - CinemaCon 2018 STXfilms Invites You To A Sneak Preview of their Future Films: Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment.

Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF.A -0.8%, LGF.B -0.9%) is in talks to acquire some or all of STX Entertainment, Variety reports - a development that could boost the profile of two of Hollywood's nascent "mini-major" studios. It would also be a divergence from STX's planned sale to private equity's Najafi Cos. Bollywood entertainment player Eros International became Eros STX Global (ESGC +9.5%) through its acquisition of STX in July 2020. But that marriage turned rough with a poor integration that tanked Eros' stock price. Last month brought a deal for Eros to sell STX to Najafi.

That deal included a 45-day "go-shop" period to allow for seeking better bids. Now, along with Lions Gate, several other bidders are said to be pursuing topping Najafi's offer for STX. Najafi's deal is valued at $173 million (most of which is assuming STX debt) and it's "hesitant" to get out of the way, according to the report. Now Read: Lions Gate jumps following Wells Fargo upgrade, sees nearly 50% upside

January 25th: maximum 4C, minimum 3C, light W breeze, gloomy day, frost-free; we’re getting through the coldest part of the year quite well at the moment. Sunset 16:31, sunrise 8:12, day length 8 hours 19 mins, up over an hour since the solstice now. Snowdrops coming through in higher numbers. Have started habitat survey for Staward S, nest only 1.5km from that for Staward N; hope to do field trip to S of the 4km square tomorrow afternoon. Virtually WFH today – Saxo Markets webinar on electric vehicles at 11-12 – bit of a blatant push for Polestar and Chinese EVs – resisted! Then JLAF meeting from 13:30-17:30 on Teams (just 5 minute break) – interesting presentations on A1 dualling provisions for access and wildlife and net zero for the Park (is it suitable with its rambling open spaces and sparse population for EVs?). Didn’t really enjoy the format – much prefer face to face, though can see it saves a lot of travelling (net zero!). Indeed thoroughly unhealthy day, can see why people suffer mentally and physically from being a couch potato. Tomorrow going out for several activities! Funds down 14k wtd after massive sell-off on markets but do have 227k in cash to cover incidentals! Think oil is best bet for cautious reinvestment once Ukraine is cooling down but interest rate rises and high inflation (partly due to net zero) are putting a damper on markets generally; have retained some mining stocks but was a little too overweight, even exposed! Thought it was a good write-up in the Chronicle!! xx

January 24th: maximum 6C, minimum 2C, light W breeze, some brightness, ground frost in evening on car. Made Rotary at B4m4l, fishcakes and winter greens, very healthy. Talk was by Northumberland Police Commissioner (elected); she was very personable but didn’t dispel the idea that she’s just another layer in the bureaucracy with too few front-line troops. Attendance was very high c45, nearly all our members are coming out now. Much later made G4g4s with A/R/P for good chat with K on! Markets in very depressed mass sell-off today, finally catching up with resource shares. Lost most of last week’s gain but have joined in the selling with 115k in cash by tonight; don’t like overwhelmingly negative sentiment and it’s time for a bear market. Am mainly in high liquidity shares, which will aid further sales. 2moro it’s JLAF meeting at 13:30 on Teams, which have downloaded this evening. I bought a new DVD player (Panasonic) which got working this evening: test was Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde from Bayreuth Act 1 – superb!! Had 40 min chat with son on ‘phone: improvement maintained, gaining balance and strength in legs, liver not affected as badly as first thought, flat being deep-cleaned tomorrow, out on Thursday to flat, electrician round on Saturday to check immersion heater and a storage heater, plenty of support networks put forward. He’s been very impressed with the clinic! He does plan to come up here, once flat established as secure base; that sounds very sensible. He’s on long-term sick leave from work. xx

January 23rd: maximum 6C, minimum 3C, light W breeze, some brightness but mainly cloudy, quite a run without real frosts. Added to WikiTree Thomas William May, naval gunner from Plymouth, who married Sarah Jane Dasher (my gt-gt-grandmother) in Plymouth in 1861. Made no.2 of Festival concerts with Cobweb Orchestra, leader AR, who was soloist in a Dvořák: Romance. Very enjoyable concert with a central European feel, also playing another piece from Rosy Wertheim, an overture, and a Symphony by the Czech composer Jan Václav Voříšek. So we’ve had 3 Wertheim pieces, all very pleasingly harmonic, and the Voříšek was a good find, shades of Dvořák maybe. We had another Dvořák piece as an encore and I see they’re playing Dvořák 8 next month so obviously the orchestra has a liking for Czech music! Pleased for social afterwards and gr8 to meet someone. Continued exploring neighbouring watering-holes, visiting Branches before and Kenilworth afterwards, with travel by car and Metro. Branches would be a gr8 place for a meal – very classy!! Made G on return to meet R/P 4g4s – good chat! Home visit was so exciting again!! xx

January 22nd: maximum 7C, minimum 5C, light W breeze, some brightness but mainly cloudy. Pale Brindled Beauty moth at window at front – 1st for year. Have improved Table 1 further, in data representation and in caption, plus adding number of woodland features, an important measure of woodland diversity. Added George Holbrook to WikiTree, have all 8 great-grand parents documented now. Opening concert of Festival was great: really enjoyed the Wertheim and Bosmans, so well played and setting is suited for concerts I feel, best of the churches. Surprise was the Schönthal, A bird flew over Jerusalem, for flute and piano, which was quite disturbing but point taken. Overall the concert did meet its aim of raising awareness of the Holocaust and reviving the music of female composers associated with the injustices. Congratulations to the players AR, YK, DG, LU, UA, CM, PB, JS: standing ovation at end was justified! My legal friend ex-neighbour surfaced again – well, well!! Had to dash off!! But arrived early, making Bar Blanc for a drink! Walked 6km today. Hoping for video chat with son in next 2 days. xx

January 21st: maximum 6C, minimum 2C, light NW breeze, sunny and clear, very slight ground frost at times. Did sort out precision in Table 1.0 for habitat. Made concert in evening: very good, impressed with variety and talent! SM starred in CPE Bach’s Cello Concerto, CA on flute joined Rachel Redmond soprano in arias from Rameau’s Suite of Arias and MW was virtuoso throughout but particularly in Brandenburg Concerto 3. Concert finished with Haydn 8 and started with a short piece by Duarte. DS was dynamic conductor throughout. CA’s a worthy flautist successor to JB, EG and AY. Joined them for a drink in bar at S afterwards b4 catching last train back. Return of audience has stalled with poor attendance today and future bookings not good. Can vouch that all my contacts who have opted out of society continue to resolutely do so like N/D who chatted to over Skype this morning. Amazing week for markets with big crash in tech, down 7% on week and 15% this year, and continued slump in bitcoin. Energy and commodities were doing well but they suffered quite a reverse today. Own funds finished week +26k making gain ytd +111k gross (+6.3%), +83k net, with ftse 100 ytd +1.4%, ftse 250 -5.0% (note: poor performance of last index, that’s mainly UK domestic stocks with ftse 100 international stocks, often big oil and mining). Withdrew 1.5k this week to pay off Xmas-bloated credit cards of 2k. Falklands oil continues to be a little more favoured: have around 0.33% in each of major 3 oil/gas companies there, so own about 1 part in 300 of the whole industry there – risky if development is stalled but could be very lucrative. Israeli company Navitas are potential leaders in finance. Another concert tomorrow – will use train again but on Sunday trains are replaced by buses so may be out to CAL. Walked 6km today, including both ways NCL-GHD. Looking forward to the opening concert!! xx

January 20th: maximum 2C, minimum 0C, light NW breeze, sunny and clear, frost on car later at home. Had a Rabbit at Hexham S and a Tawny Owl calling in Sele late in evening. Made T4m4l with M/B – good chat and nice to support them. Much later it was G4g4s with A/P/R for further good social life. Excellent news from son in that his balance has returned and he’s walking freely again – that’s 21 days into treatment (28 days including hospital) – says a lot for the clinic’s expertise, the dedication of their staff and mental will-power of son, still 7 days to go with vitamins the final focus; flat is to be deep-cleaned before his return by Uber; hoping for video chat in next few days. Falklands oil looks to be approaching take-off: another 2-digit gain in funds today. Busy cultural weekend coming up – 3 concerts in 3 days – looking forward to it!! Here’s summary data for Honey-buzzard habitat in the ‘Shire:


Inter-site distances km

Area Surveyed sq km

Altitude m of nest

Woodland %

Number of woodland features

Arable %

Pasture %

Parkland %

Coniferous woodland % of wood

Deciduous woodland % of wood

West Dipton






























































Dipton Wood S













2.91 (7 nearest)










Table 1.0: Habitat: Around 4 sq km of nests at Honey-buzzard Sites in Hexhamshire

This is just a prototype, needs adjusting in precision and in how inter-site distances are presented. But it’s a start! Have completed habitat survey for Staward N in Allen: next up is Staward S. xx

January 19th: maximum 7C, minimum -1C, moderate NW breeze, sunny with dazzling low sun when driving W. Up early to attend webinar at 09:30 GMT (17:30 Hong Kong time!) from Saxo Markets on prospects for Asian recovery. Not into Asian stocks but thought it might broaden my horizons! Indonesia was tipped as best prospect for advance with China and associated markets thought promising in view of depressed current levels. Resilience from falling US stock markets was thought to be there. Some read across to my commodity stocks, which had another 2-digit rise today. Made QHC4m4l to keep me going with tuna lunch after W4shop where spent £47, then tidied up for cleaner S who came at 15:00. I went for a walk on edge of Hexhamshire Common at Kings Law from 15:20-16:55 in bracing, clear weather. Had just 7 bird-types: 6 Red Grouse, 7 Rook, 1 Common Gull adult, 1 Black Grouse cock feeding, a Kestrel 1w out hunting at 15:55, a Common Buzzard perched in a deciduous tree at 16:10, 5 Bullfinch (flying off moor into conifers), but 3 were new for the ytd: the 2 grouse and the Kestrel, so up to 50 bird-types ytd. Also had some signs of moles. Was good exercise, have done 6km in each of last 2 days. Have dropped OpenOffice as main document writer and spreadsheet, now using LibreOffice free collaborative software from Germany; did donate $40 for my 2 machines, desk- and lap-top. Reason for change was OpenOffice's poor performance, not responding for lengthy spells, even with small files, let alone a large spreadsheet; think it's lost the plot with integration with MS Windows. LibreOffice is much faster, particularly on the laptop, with no pauses. xx

Intriguing find in family history research. Obtained birth and death certificates from GRO for my great-grandfather George Holbrook of Penzance, married to my great-grandmother Annie Elizabeth (May) Holbrook, who committed suicide in Penzance Harbour in 1904. He was born as George Holbrook, 2nd September 1857, at Market Jew Street, Penzance, son of Alfred Holbrook, Harbour Master (Merchant Service), and Jane Holbrook, formerly Phillips; informant was Jane Holbrook, mother, of Market Jew Street, Penzance on 26th September 1857. He died on 1st September 1902 at 19 North Parade, Penzance, aged 45 years, solicitor's accountant, from general paralysis, exhaustion, certified by H Russell Phillips; informant RT Holbrook, brother, in attendance, of 25 Chapel Street. Penzance, on 3rd September 1902. General paralysis was a bit of a mystery at the time but is now thought to result from untreated syphilis psychologist. We can speculate that Annie also had untreated syphilis, which has a severe effect on mental stability in its tertiary stage (neurosyphilis). Whatever her choice of suicide location in Penzance Harbour has operatic overtones, in view of her father-in-law being Harbour Master there. Family lore is that George died in a riding accident: was told never to go there! Syphilis is now treated with antibiotics.

Congratulations to Boris on ditching most of our restrictions for tackling Covid. He's been right in his approach to Covid over the last 8 months, defying SAGE and restoring some social stability again. Now he needs to look at his net zero approach and accept that the energy transition is going to take decades. Also delighted that the RSPB have woken up and are opposing the latest massive wind ideas off Scotland without much stronger conservation measures. A leading charity has expressed concerns about the potentially devastating impact of ScotWind on Scotland’s seabirds:

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland says the scale of new offshore wind farms could “accelerate some seabird species towards extinction” unless there’s major action. According to the organisation, the projects already approved in Scotland are forecast to “kill hundreds of seabirds”, ranging from Kittiwakes to Puffins. And the new raft of developments, which will be greater in size, would “greatly increase” the impact on wildlife. “Offshore wind has an important role to play in helping halt climate change. However, the offshore wind projects already consented in Scotland are predicted to kill hundreds of seabirds like kittiwakes, gannets and puffins every year. The potential projects announced today would be many times bigger than those existing projects and would greatly increase those impacts."

January 18th: maximum 6C, minimum 4C, moderate SW breeze, sunny, enjoyable weather for time of year, unusually bright and sunset out to 16:17 now, 37 min later than at darkest. Got out for good walk in afternoon, making Staward N in Allen Valley from 14:10-16:40 for Honey-buzzard habitat survey no.7, first outside the 'Shire. It was so refreshing to see a pair of Raven displaying over the northern end of the gorge where a Common Buzzard was also up in flamboyant display. Had 10 bird-types at Staward S, including 3 Siskin, 1 House Sparrow, 4 Blackbird, 5 Great Tit, 1 Mistle Thrush. Then 8 bird-types at Staward N, including 2 Raven, 1 Common Buzzard, 340 Jackdaw, 97 Rook, 1 Starling. Moles were common in both squares. Quiet day otherwise. Caught up with recent web pages on climate and lockdowns as below. Staward N habitat is very diverse, lots of small patches of wood of different types. Funds are +7k on wtd; commodity stocks are rallying with oil price over $88 a barrel now. xx

Here's the monthly look at recent climate data for December 2021. Temperature anomaly from satellite readings was +0.21C for the month. The annual average anomaly for 2021 was +0.134 deg. C above the 30-year mean (1991-2020), which places it as the 8th warmest year in the 43 year satellite record, behind 2016, 2020, 1998, 2019, 2017, 2010, and 2015 A more detailed look at the UAH data shows that global climate trend since Dec. 1 1978 remains at +0.14 C per decade. An extremely warm feature in the North Pacific lifted NH values to +0.27 °C. This warmth was large enough to mitigate the tropical cooling associated with the continued presence of La Niña where a decline from 0.14 °C to +0.03 °C was measured. Further:

As noted, the warmest region, in terms of the monthly departure from average, was +6.5 °C in the North Pacific Ocean near the Dateline. Usually, the warmest and coolest anomalies are found in the atmosphere over land, but this feature broke that pattern. Downstream impacts, known as teleconnections are seen in the cold region in Western Canada and warm areas in the central US and over Greenland. Indeed, it seems this N. Pacific hot spot was in turn induced by the cold anomaly (i.e., La Niña) near Hawaii. Warm departures also occurred in Central Asia and areas in the southern oceans around 50 to 60° S latitude.

The coldest grid cell appeared, as is often the case, just downstream of the hottest spot (in the N. Pacific) in northern Alberta, Canada, and was -5.2 °C. The region around the Hawaiian Islands was especially cool even with its near-tropical location (due to La Niña). Other cool areas were found in the subtropical southern hemisphere, NE Europe, N. India, S. Africa and NE Russia.

ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions, Update prepared by: Climate Prediction Center / NCEP 17 January 2022

La Niña is present.

Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are below average across the east-central and eastern Pacific Ocean.

The tropical Pacific atmosphere is consistent with La Niña.

La Niña is likely to continue into the Northern Hemisphere spring (67% chance during March-May 2022) and then transition to ENSO-neutral (51% chance during April-June 2022).

South Pole froze over in coldest winter on record by Yasemin Saplakoglu published October 05, 2021

Antarctica's frigid winter temperatures are in contrast to trends in the rest of the world, which overall recorded its fourth hottest summer. The South Pole just had its coldest winter on record. Between April and September, a research station sitting on a high plateau in Antarctica, registered an average temperature of minus 78 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 61 degrees Celsius). That's the coldest temperature recorded since record keeping began in 1957, and about 4.5 F (2.5 C) lower than the most recent 30-year average, according to The Washington Post.

Arctic Ice News and Analysis: A good winter, relatively speaking January 5, 2022

By early January 2022, Arctic sea ice extent, while well below average, was within the lowest decile of recorded extents of the 1981 to 2010 reference period. Sea ice now completely covers Hudson Bay; the only area with substantially below average extent is in southern Baffin Bay and north of Labrador. Average Arctic sea ice extent for December 2021 was 12.19 million square kilometers (4.71 million square miles), which ranked thirteenth lowest in the satellite record. The 2021 extent was 650,000 square kilometers (251,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average. As of early January 2022, sea ice completely covers Hudson Bay. The only area with extent remarkably below normal is southern Baffin Bay and off the coast of Labrador, where the December sea ice extent ranked fourth lowest.

Antarctic sea ice extent for December 2021 was 9.2 million square kilometers (3.55 million square miles). Antarctic sea ice extent for December 2021 was low overall, tracking at similar extents seen in 2017. Regionally, extent was particularly low in the Weddell Sea and southern Ross Sea regions. Several large polynyas formed in the eastern Weddell Sea; the Maud Rise Polynya opened in late November and then spread east to northeast. This is unusual; normally, the polynya extends south and west of its initiation point. The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) was in a strong positive phase through the first half of the month, indicating strong westerly winds and a strong low-pressure area in the Amundsen Sea. Sea ice conditions are not yet favourable for two planned cruises near Thwaites Glacier, one by the US Antarctic research program (RV Nathaniel B. Palmer) and the other by the South Korean (RV Araon). Ships are due to arrive in late January.

So gradual warming compared to 30 years ago is well-established but we do seem to be almost on a plateau now. Hence the switch to individual weather disasters in the media by the doom mongers. But the data, kept by EM-DAT in Belgium, which is widely viewed as an authoritative source for data on global disasters, show that from 2000 to 2021, the number of global weather and climate disasters declined by about 10%, which is very good news and completely contrary to conventional wisdom. The period since 2000 is viewed as the most reliable for data reliability, but it is safe to say that even since 2000, coverage has improved. So the 10% decline is possibly an underestimate. The trends reported here are consistent with independent, peer-reviewed research. Reality check: Global weather and climate disasters 2000 to 2021. Roger Pielke Jr., 5 January 2022.

January 17th: maximum 7C, minimum 0C, light W breeze, sunny, enjoyable weather for time of year, unusually bright and sunset out to 16:16 now, 36 min later than at darkest. Sociable day with R @ B4m4l and G4g4s with the lads (R/P/A) and K, the dancer, on. Indeed so sociable that delayed the blog! Did take piccie of leylandii as sheared last week: it's not designed to be a piccie of the wheelie bins but at 1.065m high they do give a calibration showing the hedge is 3m high. Don't tell me it needs trimming a bit more on lhs; it's in hand (vaguely!).

Enjoyed an interview on Sky News with Prof. Tim Spector, Scientific Co-Founder, ZOE, Professor of Epidemiology, Kings College London. He thought that the modelling had been wrong (far too pessimistic) which he attributed partly to voluntary changes in our behaviour (less mixing) as the virus takes off. He also thought that 5 days was right for self-isolation after infection as an average working figure and that Covid would now abate until next autumn when a further milder version might emerge. The DT was a little more forthright about the modeller's failures:

Looking back at lockdown: how we got it wrong. We used scientific modelling to map the pandemic, but it seems that it painted a grimmer picture than what actually materialised. “Should models be used to lock people down? No, they shouldn’t,” says Professor Graham Medley, chair of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M). “Our job is to lay out a range of possibilities for the future, but it can’t predict the future. “Government has to make difficult decisions to get the country through the epidemic with the least possible harm, but the harms accrue from the controls as well as the virus.”

The speed of the pandemic hasn’t helped matters. Complex models that, ordinarily, would have been developed over months or even years have been required within days. Often, the underlying assumptions have already changed by the time they are released for public scrutiny. A week is a long time in politics, but it’s an age in a pandemic,” says Medley.

I particularly liked this comment on the DT article:

Julie Bower – 3 DAYS AGO – I have a PhD in modelling and statistics and have taught it at undergraduate and Masters level and supervised PhD students. If my students had produced the models used in this pandemic they would never have got their degrees. Just about every rule of modelling good practice was broken.

The abuse and misuse of modelling in this pandemic has been shocking and requires its own inquiry. There are two main reasons the modelling has led to catastrophic decision making. First, the input data and underlying model relationships (i.e. equations) were not properly tested and validated. Second, the modelling was used as a 'crystal ball' to justify political decisions that had already been made rather than being used test and inform policy making decisions.

I am actually quite angry at the way the media plays modelling in general; scientists are cynical about their motives. It's extraordinary how such uni-dimensional modelling was ever tolerated, ignoring the effects of isolation on the economy and on people's well-being. With a daughter losing a 'secure' job with an airline and a son suffering mentally do have first-hand experience of the current devastating consequences of lockdowns on people, who are fundamentally social animals.

2moro it's habitat survey at Honey-buzzard site of Staward N (Allen) and attempt to tabulate the habitat results from the 'Shire. xx

January 16th: maximum 6C, minimum 1C, light SW breeze becoming moderate W later, sunny. Had c10 black flies around the flowering ivy at Ordley, which has just about finished flowering now; snowdrops are pushing through in the back and daffodils are bursting through at ground level; on turnip field had 87 Redwing, 60 Linnet, 2 Mistle Thrush, plus a Greenfinch on the bird seed. Completed habitat study for 6 sites in Devils' Water for Honey-buzzard; will publish some results soon and move on to 2 more sites in the Allen (Staward N, Staward S). Compiled some more data for the Dashper family in Plymouth. They were so poor: by far the poorest part of my ancestry discovered so far, living in a boarding house for a while and thereafter in packed lodgings with high infant mortality and occupations of labourer and in laundry, undoubtedly in the slums of mid-19th century Plymouth, Devon, which was a major naval port at the time with an itinerant population, ideal for settling refugees. Can see why nobody wanted me to pursue the maternal mtDNA line: it is fairly desperate but they did manage quite quickly to make some better marriages and climb the social ladder; they must have been bright or alluring, probably the former, some evidence for numeracy in occupations/spouses. 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