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Notice Board: the Honey-buzzard Season in Northumberland 2023 as it happened – Nick Rossiter

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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 2023 in Northumberland will complement this task, filling in gaps and reinforcing findings. Further lengthy trips in mind abroad for 2023 are Georgia (Tbilisi, Batumi) in August/September and Kenya (Masai Mara) in December. 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.

This Notice Board is now closed as regards onward days. However, Kenya and Georgia updates will continue to be applied under their historical dates. See 2024 for the new 2024 Notice Board.

Highlights of Year from Honey-buzzard home page at http://nickrossiter.org.uk/hbweb/index.html:

News 2023

20/04/23 Black Kite arrival: 1st seen, an adult at Prudhoe.

30/04/23: Honey-buzzard arrival: 1st seen, a pair at Ordley in active display.

23/06/23: Honey-buzzard numbers maintained with successful spring survey in the settled weather: display period 30/4-16/6: 27 sites occupied, 38 adults seen - 24 male, 14 female.

23/06/23: Osprey site occupied on the Tyne near Hexham -- first breeding on a river system in Northumberland in recent times.

24/06/23: Black Kite numbers maintained: display period 20/4-31/5: 7 sites occupied; 2 with pairs seen: total 9 adults seen.

30/12/23: Hobby is showing some resilience at lower population levels than previously with 6 sites occupied in 2023 (Population of the Hobby in SW Northumberland).

01/01/24: Goshawk shows poor productivity for second year running, persecution suspected (Population of the Goshawk in SW Northumberland).

07/01/24: Osprey raised one young from a site on the River Tyne (Population of the Osprey in SW Northumberland).

13/01/24: Black Kite fantastic colonisation continues: 12 sites occupied, 17 adults seen, 16+ juveniles fledged (Population of the Black Kite in Northumberland).

21/01/24: Red Kite perplexing results for 2023, 43 sites occupied, just 11 broods with 18+ juveniles fledged (Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland).

04/02/24: Honey-buzzard breeding numbers maintained in core area; overall 29 sites found occupied with 43 adult seen; productivity unknown as NR absent in Georgia but 5+ juveniles known to be fledged by mid-August (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland).




March 23rd: maximum 6C, minimum 3C, fresh W, sunny intervals, perishing in wind: 0C was wind-chill adjusted temperature. Completed 23/12 Mombasa NE indexing and addition to BirdTrack, with 23 types of bird seen at/from our hotel. Made DoW4g4s with D/D for good chat. Booked up for HASS’s Big Sing on 26/4 at HEX High School.

March 22nd: maximum 7C, minimum 2C, fresh W, sunny but feeling cold in fresh and gusty wind. Made QHC4s4l where good to meet S!! Then fetched L and drove into GHD to GH4con, preceded by rehearsal. It was MC’s last performance with RNS after 37 years of action – a poignant day celebrated at the end of the rehearsal with speeches and presents, and a smaller ceremony at the end of the concert. The violas have been amazingly stable with the current 4 establishing themselves 17 years ago. JS’s wife Chrissie was playing as a 5th viola today. Contrast that with the flutes where the current 2 are both expecting happy events! First piece today was The Field is Woven by Naomi Pinnock, a rather subdued piece with high-pitched percussion and strings, described as minimalist, but not in the Adams or Glass style. Best piece was Mendelssohn's VC, played by Christian Tetzlaff who was superb both in he rehearsal and the actual performance; don’t think he knows the meaning of keeping it subdued. After a very expressive andante, he played the close of the final movement so fast that Dinis was left urging the orchestra to keep up! The large audience loved it and he played a Bach encore. The second half was Schumann 2, which had an appealing adagio (mv 3), an interesting slow start to mv 1 and good moments in the allegro (mv 4). Drove home to HEX, don’t really understand the massive roundabout in Gateshead outside the GH; I’m a country bumpkin really! Funds finished week +17k after 1k withdrawal, the 4th weekly gain in a row and just below high of yesterday.

March 21st: maximum 9C, minimum 5C, moderate W, dull all day, some light rain in afternoon and evening, felt cool. Working hard on Mombasa 23/12 at Hotel Bliss and on the reef. Had 2 Dunnock singing in Elvaston. Met M at T4m4l 4 good chat; cost gone up to £29.50 for the 2 of us for 2 omelette and 4 Americano. Cables ordered yesterday arrived this afternoon and they do indeed enable 2 of the front SS ports to be used for fast connectors to the 2 external drives so 3 USB-A ports free at the back now. Still thinking about camera connectors; might just get a dock for multiple USB ports fed from back to make it easier for insertion. Old computer still works and main parts are on a table in the old study. Much cabling cleared with new machine as some peripherals get their power through the USB connection. Booked HON-WAT, KGX-NCL and regular hotel in NCL for return from funeral next week. Funds reached new peak today, finally getting above total on 30/12/2023; gain ytd is +8k net but +40k gross.

March 20th: maximum 8C, minimum 5C, light SE, dull and wet morning, brighter afternoon but no sun, cooler. New computer and display unit duly arrived by Parcelforce at 15:00. Worked hard unpacking, removing old computer and some peripherals, cleaning and washing vacated area, installing new machine, downloading software and uploading saved data from backup external drives. All went very smoothly and up running at 21:00 with no issues. Data transfers were much faster than on old machine even though using USB-A for external drive connections. Ordered two cables (£10) to connect SS front-panel ports to the external drives; this will speed them up and release 2 USB-A ports at the back where only one spare now. Downloaded Libre Office and Thunderbird (£20 donation each) for word processing and email respectively, though have paid for a year's subscription to Microsoft Office (£80) for compatibility purposes. Even the old sound system and old printer -- just plugged them in and they worked. This update has been done on the new machine! Completed Diani Beach 22/12 processing this morning. Next up is 23/12 Mombasa.

March 19th: maximum 11C, minimum 6C, moderate SW, bright morning, cloudy later, mild. In garden had 3 Song Thrush singing at dusk, plus at Peth Foot, 3 Common Buzzard displaying and a Red Kite up a little further to S at 13:00. Primrose out well in orchard with last of Snowdrop and 1 Cowslip out early. On roadside daffodils are marvellous, particularly where leaves dumped from hedge trimming. Working hard on 22/12 Dania Beach where 5 types of tern identified and 1 Gull, Sooty Gull. Should finish this day tomorrow. 'Phoned both sisters over funeral next week; think will go down in niece's car with big sis and son, staying overnight in Ealing on way there, and catch train HON-WAT with son, then KGX-NCL and rest in NCL b4 back to HEX on Good Friday morning (to sound of Parsifal!). Made Cnt4g4s with M 4 good chat late-on. A Brown Hare was at Loughbrow on way back. Funds are -2k wtd, not much action. New computer and HD video display is being delivered tomorrow afternoon.

One more Black Kite: 10:20 19/03 Black Kite East Sussex Wild Park LNR 10:15 one flew low overhead

March 18th: maximum 12C, minimum 9C, light S, bright morning, cloudy later, mild. First butterfly of the year, a Peacock, in the back garden, flying against the dining room window from outside. Had a Grey Squirrel in front garden, plus 4 Bullfinch on a fruit tree, near the orchard, and 3 Rabbit overall. Otherwise hard at work reorganising disk space on the desktop tower computer, to make way for a new one, HP Z2 G9 Tower Workstation – Core™ i5, from HP for £950 plus a new HD monitor for £120, coming in a couple of days. So masses of work cutting down old D drive towards 300GB to fit on the 500GB SSD and ensuring the 2 external drives 3TB and 4TB have enough spare space on them by removing some duplication. Did make G4g4s for good chat with A/R, with L on.

March 17th: maximum 13C, minimum 7C, moderate SW, bright morning, sunny later, much milder. Long lie-in to restore equilibrium. Received 5 emails on how much people had enjoyed last night - very gratifying, and we made a decent profit, to go to charity, after I tightened up sundry (wasteful) expenditure and boosted raffle takings. Joined Campaign for Arts as a monthly donor of £5 plus gift aid; it is aiming to improve music education in state schools. Highlight of day was walk on Hexhamshire Common, 2nd in new boots, at Kings Law from 16:40-18:15. Nice waders: 25 Curlew (including 12 onto moor at dusk), 7 Lapwing (all displaying), 6 Oystercatcher (displaying), 5 Golden Plover (feeding on in-bye fields), plus 5 Meadow Pipit (1 displaying), 17 Red Grouse (many displaying), 4 Pheasant, 130 Common Gull adult feeding on fields + 320 overhead to S at dusk, 14 Black-headed Gull adult, 2 Stock Dove, 2 Mistle Thrush, 2 Song Thrush, in total of 17 bird-types, with one Brown Hare on way out. On arriving home at Ordley at 18:30 had amazing overhead movement of Common Gull, 2 flocks of c500 each, calling wildly and moving S towards Derwent Reservoir, getting very excited before return to Norway for breeding. At 16:30 at Ordley had singing Mistle Thrush and drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker to add to yesterday's list. Much later had a Tawny Owl on road at Letah Wood and one calling at Sele, Hexham. Made G4g4s with A/R 4 good chat with E on; gr8 to c L/A!! No weekly R meeting 2moro -- another lie-in!! Finished processing 21/12 Mombasa including Haller Park and looked at terns for 22/12 at Diani Beach

March 16th: maximum 9C, minimum 6C, light SE, bright morning, rain evening, felt milder but max still cool. Did final winter task in garden cutting the long 75m roadside hedge around lunchtime. Had lengthy chat on roadside with DW, treasurer of Whitley Chapel PCC, very grateful for my £40 pcm donation. Definite signs of spring yesterday and today: able to go outside without being paralysed by the cold and flowers such as daffodils coming along beautifully. Birds are responding well. Today from 12:30-14:30 while dealing with the hedge had a Chiffchaff calling in garden, a flock of 20 Goldfinch in a mobile flock, 50 Common Gull with spring-time flight call, 2 Common Buzzard displaying, a floating Red Kite, a singing Nuthatch, in total of 21 bird-types. At Letah Wood had a Song Thrush at dusk and a Badger on way home. Main event of day was President's Night for R, where played a central role as MC, in position of President-Elect, compère for the malarkey and making introductions and thanking people who've helped. All went off fine -- think made a good impression.

Black Kite sightings to date this calendar year:

08:05 16/03 Black Kite Suffolk Aldeburgh 07:52 possible circled over town with Red Kites

13:26 14/03 Black Kite London Romford one reported over fields by A12 near Aldi late morning

08:47 29/01 Black Kite Hampshire Sherfield on Loddon 15:00 28/01

March 15th: maximum 9C, minimum 4C, moderate gusty SW becoming light W, bright morning, rain afternoon, drier later and cooler. Processed piccies for 20/12 Mombasa, next up is 21/12 Haller Park and Jesus Fort, Mombasa. Had short chat with N/D at 10:00 from hotel room on Skype; find their continued recluse behaviour quite baffling! Met M at T4m4l and D/D at DoW4g4s so keeping up social life. Funds +6k on week so steady but unspectacular progress. Came back to HEX, seeing on Tyne 13 Goosander (11 ad male, 2 imm male) E of Wylam and a Goosander drake in territory W of Wylam. Much later at 23:00 had a Hedgehog at Loughbrow and a Barn Owl at Ordley. Bemused how the world apparently accepts Hamas figures for Palestinian casualties in Gaza as accurate. So gratified to read the report at Tablet: How the Gaza Ministry of Health Fakes Casualty Numbers: The evidence is in their own poorly fabricated figures by Abraham Wyner 07/03/2024. The neatness of the Hamas data and the strange relationships over time between male, female and child fatalities are questioned. People are very bad at questioning statistics: just look at the unthinking acceptance of fabricated weather/climate data.

March 14th: maximum 12C, minimum 10C, moderate SW, rain morning, turning drier afternoon, mild. On Tyneside for the day so made Tyne Estuary from 13:20-15:00 for a spot of birdwatching. Had 21 types including 4 types of wader: 1 Redshank, 3 Oystercatcher, 4 Turnstone, 1 Curlew, plus 2 Eider female/1w, a 1w Kestrel hunting close-up at the Priory, 13 Kittiwake ad, 4 GBBG (3 1w, 1 ad), 7 Cormorant. On return to NCL, made CT4s4ll near Monument, for refreshment. LBBG (4 ad) were already in rooftop occupation down Grey Street. Major event of day was TR again for ON’s performance of Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart (usually translated as ‘Women are like that’), an interesting work with razor-like geometric symmetry: 6 singers (2 couples, 2 onlookers; 3 men, 3 women; a clean exchange of partners), no clutter like a chorus, a lot of introspective examination. Indeed more like Wagner in the few singers and close examination of moral situations. In the opera, the men behave with promiscuity as well but maybe with a little more hypocrisy so it’s not misogynist! Anyway enjoyed it all but less wine drinking as had to buy my own! Back to HEX 2moro morning.

March 13th: maximum 11C, minimum 8C, light S, drizzle in morning, heavier rain later. Made QHC4s4l where pleased to meet S!! Main event of day was ON’s double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni and Aleko by Rachmaninov at TR. Very impressive, enjoyed receptions for patrons before and during interval, and the opera productions were very inventive. The plots of the two single-act operas were similar with passionate affairs between a wife and an interloping male, resulting in the jealous husband shooting dead the interloper! What was intriguing was that in both operas the same actors played the interloper (Andrés Presno) and the jilted husband (Robert Hayward). The temptress was played by Giselle Allen in the former opera and by Elin Pritchard in the latter. So the double bill was held together by some imaginative casting. The music in Mascagni’s was more obviously appealing, based on his Easter music, but Rachmaninov’s had some beautiful dark passages, even though it was an early work. Staying in usual hotel near station! Traditional fare next! Made great progress on 30/8 Kutaisi, completing the indexing. Back to Mombasa now. Funds +2k wtd after fluctuating ride!

March 12th: maximum 9C, minimum 8C, light SW, drizzle from time to time, gloomy, milder feel. Had stroll around garden near dusk 17:30. Some signs of the season: 1 Lapwing displaying, 200 Common Gull flying S to roost at Derwent Reservoir, 2 Song Thrush singing, 60 Redwing earlier in day, some singing from ash trees by road. Two evenings ago on 10/3 at Ordley at 23:30 had 2 Tawny Owl in animated conversation, a Barn Owl on the fence. In last 2 days have had 6 Oystercatcher displaying over Tyne from Hexham Station, 2 on Tyne at Corbridge and 2 in Hexham town centre. Finally found time to progress Martvili 30/8 in Georgia, completing labelling and resizing; now need to index these piccies to complete middle part of Georgia visit; the exciting large raptor seen near the canyon was a Black Vulture. A Griffon Vulture was seen at Gelati. These records raise the trip's total to 19 raptor-types. Met M at Cnt4g4s and good chat. Received short clip of ON's next season, to include Kurt Weill's Love Life and Richard Wagner's guess what -- the Flying Dutchman! More opera coming up ...

March 11th: maximum 7C, minimum 4C, light E, drizzle from time to time, gloomy. Busy day, collecting 2 new pairs of specs from SS at 09:30, dentist appointment at 10:30 in Corbridge where had temporary paste on damaged tooth before full repair in 2 weeks, R at 12:00 to admin lunch, projector and raffle collection. R approved 2.5k to MSF for Gaza relief; this meets with my approval. Back home, got fire started again, sorted some stuff. Then made G4g4s with R/A/L 4 good chat, with A on!! Not a lot of time for anything constructive, hope to do better 2moro! Concerned about investment in FXPO, a Ukrainian iron/steel company, where shareholders seem threatened by various court cases, forcing sale of valuable assets for nought. Sold out today at a loss: think Ukraine is a very corrupt country, business-wise. The people certainly deserve our support but such corruption needs to be eliminated forcibly and quickly if the country is going to be incorporated more into the European sphere.

March 10th: maximum 5C, minimum 3C, moderate E, gloomy, rain, quite damp. Very sad news that brother-in-law David, husband of younger sister, aged 87, passed away this morning. He was a very good partner to her for c20 years. she has 3 boys by an earlier marriage, who have been very supportive throughout the current illness. Back in Hexham after another disastrous train journey, comments to wait.

March 9th: maximum 11C, minimum 5C, light E, sunny, dry, quite bracing in the breeze. Highlight of trip was visit to Royal Opera House with son, as treat for my birthday. Had meal there before concert at Piazza. Very pleasantly surprised at ambience and cost: relaxed, good food and wine, all for £142 for the two of us. Opera was Wagner's Flying Dutchman, his first hit, composed in the 1840s when he was a young rebel politically like Marx. It's a romantic tale of a sailor, doomed to sail the Seven Seas for eternity after a curse by the devil but allowed to return to land every 7 years to seek in one day a true love to break the spell. The Dutchman, with plenty of treasure on board, comes ashore in Norway. He meets a captain, who in return for his riches, offers Senta his daughter, who has heard of the legend, and agrees to the bargain. They meet, have a rapturous embrace, and seal the deal. Meanwhile the lads from both ships have a rowdy sing-song ending with the local lads fleeing in terror. Eric, who thought he was Senta's boyfriend, pleads with her to stay but she declines. However, the Dutchman overhears and thinks she is betraying him. He leaves bemoaning his fate. Senta jumps in the water and starts to drown, showing her eternal love. The Dutchman joins her and also drowns but is redeemed from the curse through her sacrifice. So closure if not exactly a happy ending. Musically there are dramatic climaxes, marking storms, and there are leitmotivs for such storms, harmony (spinning) and the Dutchman, so taking on some of the later Wagner style. Bryn Terfel was brilliant as the Dutchman, strong voice and good acting. Elizabet Strid played Senta. We've see her before in Budapest - great voice and like the best sopranos hits the top notes with assurance. The conductor Henrik Nánási kept a very even pace, under great control throughout. We made British Museum in afternoon to look at European mediaeval history; crusaders were very interesting carving out the shape of modern Israel in the south, including Gaza and Aqaba. Muslims were present in much of Spain and in Sicily. So marvellous day all told!!

March 8th: maximum 8C, minimum 5C, moderate E, sunny, dry, quite bracing in the breeze. Stayed in Ealing until 4pm. Went for short walk around Pitshanger Park, adding a Nuthatch, 4 Herring Gull, 2 Blue Tit, to current list. Big sis is being moved into Cardio ward. Tried new route from Ealing Broadway to Hatfield, going Elisabeth line to Farringdon, Thameslink to WGC; a quick and more comfortable route than the UG. At Hatfield had 2 Ring-necked Parakeet; never seen them this far out. Good to meet son again. We checked on Müpa and found that the Ring was selling out quickly so we booked the whole cycle from 20/6-23/6 in Budapest. Cost just £460 for the two of us. Walküre looks as if it will sell out very soon, followed by Rheingold. 2moro it’s the Flying Dutchman at the ROH with meal there beforehand. Tonight we had supper at Rodi, a Greek restaurant in Welwyn, packed, very tasty food, £111 for the two of us. Funds finished week +6k, with more interest in Falklands shares, of which own 4 companies now (RKH, BOR, JHI, FIH).

March 7th: maximum 11C, minimum 5C, light SE, sunny, dry. A traumatic day with relative’s health: my brother-in-law is in his last days aged 86 from terminal cancer; big sis is OK on the surface but after a recent scare with neck pain, she’s now been diagnosed as having had a mild heart attack and is currently in Ealing Hospital where hoping to have a stent inserted; I persuaded her to take it more seriously so she’s been readmitted and is under observation. As on own invited to nephew’s place in Chiswick for supper and chat, which was very convivial, with he, his wife and 2 kids, now teenagers. Went over by Uber for £22 + £5 tip, came back on UG from Turnham Green to Ealing Broadway, where had a couple of g at the Shanakee Irish pub. So all a bit tense; sis has resigned from ROH trip so just 2 (son, me) going now on Saturday but pleased to heat that nephew, wife and a few friends are going to see it next week. Funds are +9k wtd. Earlier had a walk in Pitshanger Park, seeing many Red-necked Parakeet, in total of 12 bird-types and had a coffee and toasted sandwich at Cinnamon, a cosy cafe in Pitshanger Lane.

March 6th: maximum 8C, minimum 2C, light SE, misty, dull. Another disastrous journey to London by LNER with signal failure near Grantham causing chaos for hours. Thrown off 13:30 (NCL depart) at York, caught CC to Sheffield and then EM to London St Pancras, arriving there at 19:38, 3 hours 2 min later than supposed arrival on the 13:30. So not into EAL until 20:45. Had good chat with big sis! Too crowded to do anything useful on the long train journeys. Detour was free and will get full refund of fare but would rather have got there on time.

March 5th: maximum 9C, minimum 4C, light SE, dry, mild, quite sunny at times and sun getting higher by the day. Main event of day was R Cncl, where Admin Team continue to report solid work. Had a lazy morning, catching up on rest from the busy weekend. Still got the chesty cough; hope it's better by Saturday! Started labelling Kutaisi. Georgia, piccies from 30/8. When finished these, will do Mombasa piccies, leaving Batumi and main safari to catch up completely.

March 4th: maximum 6C, minimum 2C, light SE, dry, bright, becoming cloudy in evening with light rain on moderate SE. Back briefly b4 trip to LON for ROH. Made CNT4m4l with R, where presented PN at Abbey with 'final' deadline of this Friday! Have R Cncl 2moro at tt. Made G4g4s with R/A 4 good chat and further welcome rehydration, with L on !! Still got bad cough but feeling stronger.

March 3rd: maximum 6C, minimum 0C, light SW, dry, bright. Well went to all of the Big Bruckner Weekend at the GH. Second big festival of the year. There were many doubts over how the public would respond but big turnout with H1 filled and H2 open. J was delighted, having just returned from Amsterdam where DS conducted the CB very recently. They had an admirable host in John Suchet who introduced every event and chaired the panel session, with Julian Horton and Katherine Hambridge, both from Music, Durham University. John's a great fan of Wagner, whose spectre hung over the whole weekend, as he was worshipped by Bruckner. But this was a weekend for Bruckner's music, showing his great achievements and the relative neglect of his music. We had S7 on Friday night with the RLPO under Domingo Hindoyan; the Great Mass on Saturday afternoon with TZ, the RNS orchestra, chorus and Durham chorus; S8 on Saturday evening with ME and the Halle; SQ on Sunday morning with RNS members, including MW, HS, MG, MC, GW; S9 on Sunday afternoon with Alpesh Chauhan and the BBC Scottish SO.

With orchestras c85-90 strong, including for the symphonies 4-8 Wagner tuba horns, the instrument Wagner developed for his operas, it was an impressive on-stage presence. The strength of Bruckner's symphonies came over well, with my favourite the S8 showing a great range of harmonies and some amazing climaxes. Some 9 Bruckner motets were performed, in total, before each symphony, showing the beauty with which he handled the human voice. Socially it was a great weekend, chatting to a number of partners, quite intently over the weekend. Stayed at BW Kent in Jesmond, very comfortable, easy access to GHD and reasonably priced. So a gr8 long weekend. Will add some more impressions when back in HEX on 4/3.

March 2nd: maximum 4C, minimum 0C, dull, further sleet, moderate SE. Had a Kittiwake adult at the colony on the Tyne, coming in at dusk.

March 1st: maximum 3C, minimum 0C, dull, snow afternoon, turning to sleet later. further sleet, moderate SE. Not a good start to the weekend music festival. Snow coming in, so left early. Then no trains as strike, so caught 685 bus into NCL. Funds are +14k on week, much better feel to the stocks.

February 29th: maximum 6C, minimum -1C, moderate SW, dry, bright morning, cloudier later, a familiar pattern. Did stir after 2 days of inaction, making SS in HEX for eye test: opted for extra 3-dimensional shots of eye and whole test took 50 min with a couple of interruptions. Eyes are healthy, small cataract on edge of one eye not affecting vision and not growing, no glaucoma. So that's reassuring. On vision slightly more long-sighted so ordered a new varifocal pair and a pair for moderate range, mainly computer screen, total cost £349; basic test was free. Cough held off until bill was being prepared: then had a real spasm! Relaxed at QHC4s4l where had good chat with S!! Then up to see P whose wife M is now home again; had good chat, promised to give reference to physio who could help and duly followed up on this later after seeing A/R at G4g4s and gr8 crack: L was in good form!! 2moro need to get plenty of cough sweets for sucking during the Bruckner; can go long spells without coughing but then get a real bout with spasms. Just heard Sky News at midnight: quote in headlines "charity MAP described as a massacre" but when we got to main news item no reference to massacre or MAP, maybe a complaint received in the 10 min elapsed. Had 2 Roe Deer, a Badger and a Wood Mouse on way home at 23:45.

February 28th: maximum 10C, minimum 4C, moderate SW, dry, bright morning, cloudier later, rain by evening, milder. Added the few piccies from Kutaisi 28/8-29/8 to web page below. Next up is the exciting day out from Kutaisi on 30/8 to the monastery at Gelati and the canyons and caves around Martvili, labelling first, which will take a little while. Not out today but feeling better. Will resume business and social activities tomorrow. Thinking of replacing my main desktop computer (a games machine, when bought) as it's becoming stretched on RAM for some applications e.g. web browsers, mail. See you can get a new games machine, super-powerful and robust in all respects, for around 1.3k; current one is stuck on Windows 10 and is 12 years old; much easier to migrate to a new machine when it is still working. Should add I'm not a games player but the games machines have the best graphics, data access and durability. Really looking forward to this Bruckner weekend 1/3-4/3, the ROH next weekend and then ON the week after.

February 27th: maximum 5C, minimum -1C, light W, sunny morning, cloudier later, still cool. Was a false dawn last evening, cold persisting, feeling quite rough and, unusually for me, cancelled 2 events: CNT4g4s tonite and R walk tomorrow. Eating well still and taking palliatives, Paracetamol and cough syrup; hope to be better by Thursday for routine eye test and Friday for Bruckner weekend. Added Nairobi bird records to BirdTrack (35 bird-types, including 7 raptor-types) and added up mammals, giving 15 types, pretty good! Now on Kutaisi, Georgia, 28/8. Working hard on family history, in particular my Irish connection, with lots of research on the Co. Wexford family in the 17th century; my male DNA Y-haplogroup R-L21 indicates an Irish origin Wikipedia. Funds are just -2k wtd after a bigger fall Monday. 2moro is another day at home.

February 26th: maximum 6C, minimum -1C, light SW, sunny start, cloudier later, still cool. Completed Nairobi National Park 13/12. Back to Georgia with Kutaisi tomorrow. Busy morning at R with speaker's Apple equipment again showing incompatibility with HDMI in spite of adapters; think this is a real problem for Apple: arrogance in face of major standard for TV/computer displays. Had asked speaker to provide his own projector as backup, which he did, and all worked well, showing Bellingham Heritage Centre off to good effect. In future we will ask speakers with Apples to provide a memory stick with Windows compatible software to connect through HDMI to my laptop. Deserted top table to chat with president after me (CP) and LS over plans for next year's meal management; we made good progress. Appeared to sleep well night before but temperature still up to 37.7C in middle of night and a lot of coughing/sneezing. Think I'm shaking it off though: feeling more up for it with L!! Made G4g4s with R/A 4 good chat with A on.

February 25th: maximum 6C, minimum 2C, light NE, sunny spells in morning, cloudier later, still cool. Completed Nairobi National Park labelling and 1/2 way through indexing. A quiet day. Had a delirious night yesterday with vivid dreams and temperature up to 38.0C but after 11 hours sleep, felt better; immune system obviously in overdrive! Out to G4g4s with A only as R in Manchester and P in bad state. Music is looking up with Bruckner weekend from 1/3-3/3, staying in Jesmond, and Wagner's Flying Dutchman at ROH in London on 9/3, staying with son and big sis. Son and I are planning another Ring cycle in early July at Budapest.

February 24th: maximum 6C, minimum -1C, light SW, sunny spells in morning, cloudier later, still cool. Still ploughing on with Nairobi National Park, will finish labelling tomorrow. Highlight of day was concert at Hexham Abbey with Bradley Creswick's Western Swingfonia ·featuring 2 violins, a double bass (Siân Hicks from RNS), an accordion, percussion, some singing, with a very lively concert, ranging from Hungarian dances and some further Bartók, to mainstream Irish gig pieces, even including a romp around the Abbey by the performers (Bradley style!). There was a very good attendance and I sat with L/K/T at front of the North Knave. Did make B4rw4s where met P/V for a celebration of the event. Chatted up by RS earlier, a trustee of the Hexham Music Festival, where reaffirmed my desire to make a significant donation this year. Have developed a cough and cold, which is a bit debilitating. But compared to some of my contemporary friends and relations, must count my blessings: this is a bleak time!

February 23rd: maximum 5C, minimum 2C, light SW, sunny periods, cool but brightness and rising sun in the sky made it feel spring-like. Continued with 13/12 Nairobi National Park, labelling wooded area around the river. Made M's place 4 toastie and coffee as he was waiting in for OpenReach on BB issue; quite tasty and good chat. Then went into Sele as close to where he lives 4 good walk around and for sit-down in the sun! A Grey Heron was flying over Letah Wood. Funds had a very poor week; think everyone but me is putting their money in Nvidia! Finished -21k, losing all of last week's gross gain of 19k. Encouraging feature though is the Falklands where tenders issued for housing for oil workers; not a great effect on shares yet but good sign that Israeli company Navitas is going all-speed ahead to get the North Falklands Basin open asap.

February 22nd: maximum 6C, minimum 2C, moderate W, sunny intervals, breezy, much cooler. Made QHC4s4l, where gr8 to meet S for good chat with L on!! Had walk around Sele; nice in spring with inspiring crocus display. A female Sparrowhawk was in active hunting mode, putting everything up. Also in total of 16 bird-types, had single singing Nuthatch and Chaffinch. More work on Nairobi National Park from 13/12, indexing Cheetah and other species on the plain after the ponds. Made G4g4s with A/R 4 good chat with L on. On way back at 23:50 had 2 Roe Deer and a Brown Hare at Newbiggin. 2moro no concert, seeing M at T4m4l.

February 21st: maximum 12C, minimum 6C, fresh SW, sunny intervals, breezy, last mild day. Did much work on piccies from Nairobi National Park 13/12 but still some way to go! Went round with R to meet P at 3pm; he's very frail with 4 visits a day from rehabilitators and his wife sadly in hospital after chemo. We tried to cheer him up, maybe succeeded a bit. Watched film 'London has Fallen' in evening. Made in 2016 it was regarded as far-fetched when launched though popular at the box office and was also condemned as racist. I found it a bit chilling with attack on London masterminded from the capital of Yemen, our security services infiltrated by Muslims who opened fire on those who were loyal and a deep hatred for ourselves and our values. Eventually the attackers were overcome and a drone destroyed the masterminds and their headquarters in Yemen. Suspect our security services are at the moment checking carefully for exactly such a scenario! Went for short walk after seeing P, getting, in total of 16 bird-types, a 1w Kestrel, 4 Stock Dove, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a singing Mistle Thrush, 3 singing Song Thrush, at Letah Wood. Not out in evening -- had a non-alcoholic beer.

February 20th: maximum 10C, minimum 4C, fresh W, bright morning, cloudy afternoon with some driving rain. No gardening today but did try out new walking boots, walking 7k steps on familiar road out to Dotland; no problems whatsoever so will go on R walk on 28/2 in Allerwash area. Highlight of walk was a 1w Caspian Gull flying NW at close-range, 2 bubbling Curlew (1st back), 4 displaying Lapwing, 1 1w Kestrel and a flock of 8 Reed Bunting in a flooded stubble field. Total was 16 b9ird-types. Completed piccies for Tbilisi with 27/8 Botanical Gardens; last day here was very productive. Now going back to Nairobi to do the marvellous day at the Nairobi National Park on 13/12, then back to Georgia with Kutaisi part of trip. Going to see P 2moro in afternoon with R; know things are very difficult but resisting a caring role: it's beyond me, stroke victims can be quite bitter, he has relations including son close-by and just don't think I've got the spare energy. Made Cnt4g4s with M 4 good catch up; he's recovered his equilibrium! At 23:30 had a Fox at Newbiggin and a Barn Owl hunting on road beside my house! Funds -12k wtd on severe weakness in big miners during results season; have sold most of them but adding a bit from tomorrow.

February 19th: maximum 9C, minimum 7C, moderate W, sunny morning, cloudy afternoon. Had a 1w Kestrel on wires at Houtley and a female Sparrowhawk hunting over my field and then moving W at Ordley. Completed hedge trimming around the old veg patch in the afternoon; also sawed off branch of declining plum tree and threw it into the old sofa mix. R for lunch took normal significant organisation but all went well even with 3 late-registering attendees and short report to business meeting was well received. The Emergency Donation Committee announced that they would not be proceeding with the planned donation to MAP and would have another meeting next Monday; their chair said it was difficult to find a charity that met with everyone's approval but this is vaguely ridiculous as surely everyone would agree with Anera or MSF; maybe another Hamas supporter will be suggested! Made G4g4s with R, and L on! Completed most of Tbilisi 27/8 below, including a few Honey-buzzard piccies; just butterflies to index. Had 58 min chat with big sis on phone, staying with her for few days in early March in London before moving to son's.

February 18th: maximum 11C, minimum 7C, moderate W, bright all day. Did some hedge trimming for an hour, on my side of party hedge and on rose hedge around old vegetable bed; still some more to do here; ground is so wet, no dry standing points, all squelchy! But at least it's mild and starting to turn down storage heaters in peripheral areas. Hamas charity donation (MAP) by R is blocked; president and secretary both backed me up, saying we should seek another charity, active on the ground and neutral politically. What worries me is that the donation would have gone through but for my hours of research, done against a very tight deadline. Things will change when I become President on 1/7. Tonite made G4g4s with R 4 good chat; he was very impressed with my work against MAP; g goes up soon to £5 a pint at the G, cheaper than at most places. On way back at 23:45 had a badger at Letah Wood and a frog at Ordley, jumping across the road.

February 17th: maximum 12C, minimum 8C, light W, bright lunchtime, rain later. Up late after good night's sleep! Made QHC4s4l to make up for Friday's absence. Then bought some new walking boots as current ones old and leaky. Raised a few eyebrows at my age but if the boots leak you do less walking, only walk on unchallenging solid surfaces and get unfit. So it's £99 well spent at MWh in my view in their new big store in 4St, where Iceland used to be. Aiming to increase daily walking to 6k steps over next month. Met D/D at DoW4g4s for good chat; they're off to Austria for 10 days and then we're both occupied elsewhere for 2 weeks so mid-March before we meet again. Faced with a quandary at R; the overseas aid team have proposed a 2k grant to MAP for aid to Palestine, which my research shows is a politically-inspired Hamas supporter with recent warnings from the UK Charity Commissioners; I do support aid for the Palestinians but only to a non-political organisation, in line with R's objectives and my responsibilities as a Trustee. It's a hustle. Council members given 36 hours to comment and vote by members on Monday. I've formally objected already, asking for a different charity to be selected. Funds had a good week, +19k gross, +13k net, with 6k withdrawals, including 4k for elder granddaughter's birthday today and 2k for credit cards for new sofa and Lyme Regis holiday booking.

February 16th: maximum 11C, minimum 6C, light W, rain later, brighter morning. Rehearsal was very hard work, particularly since they'd played the programme the previous night at Carlisle and was a little worried over how things were going but the Concert was superb, with a fantastic rendering of Beethoven 3, my favourite symphony by anyone, particularly liking mv 2,4 which with their brooding passages, influenced many later composers such as Wagner, Brahms and Tchaikovsky; the horns were superb in mv 3, a major test for them. We also had one of the superbly talented Kanneh-Mason family, Isata, playing Clara Schumann's PC, an exciting piece, much neglected by prejudice against female composers though evidently it was liked when first performed; the mv 3, finale, is very exciting; the pianist was low-key in the rehearsal but was completely fired-up for the public performance, coming over as very inspired; we had a Schubert encore. The concert started with Robert Schumann's unfinished symphony 'Zwickau', which was a little strange; evidently they played Prokofiev's Classic Symphony at Carlisle the night before, a much more exciting piece! The lead clarinetist was a * throughout!! Altogether a most stimulating day, walked 9k steps over HLB both ways, and had closing drink with L at GH.

February 15th: maximum 13C, minimum 8C, light W, very mild and damp, some rain showers. Working very hard on Tbilisi Botanical Gardens piccies, so many piccies and so many insects; not much time tomorrow, should finish labelling and indexing on Saturday; it's an exciting collection! When finish this, will switch to Nairobi. Not an easy morning. Payment to W failed because I'd changed the type of account with Lloyds and I had to rapidly pay at 10:50 to a collection office, when van was approaching my house! Then made T when M did not show up; had a chat with him later, he's becoming depressed understandably at his partner's demise. But much later A did turn up at G4g4s and we had good chat, with L in attendance!! Had good walk in Sele after lunch getting 2 displaying Oystercatcher and 2 calling Bullfinch, but no Song Thrush. Keeping up 5k paces well for past month and may well increase it tomorrow with rehearsal and concert at GH, with my favourite symphony Beethoven 3.


February 14th: maximum 10C, minimum 6C, light S, dull, misty, light rain towards midnight. Quiet day at home though did get a walk in at teatime, when just getting dark, added another Song Thrush singing towards Juniper, making 6 in area. Sent personalised birthday card to older granddaughter through Sharethelove, a UAE firm serving Dubai; cost was 54 AED, about £11. Daughter's family are still waiting to move into their fixed abode; now in their 2nd temporary place while litigation against builder, from Scotland, converting their new home, is under way! Started on butterflies in Tbilisi 27/8 and added Anastasia Rosseter (c1563-) to WikiTree, who married John Wadding of Ballycogley House, producing Luke Wadding, another Bishop of Ferns, Wexford. On WikiTree I'm 27 clicks from Taylor Swift, who goes back 6 clicks to 1749 on the paternal Swift side to Nathaniel Swift (1749-1825), doubtless of puritan background. Added a post to the ANPA web site but cannot make their Friday Zoom meeting as will be at the Sage for a rehearsal and concert. 2moro it's W delivery at 10, M at Tans at 12 and much later A at G at 22.

Did look on WikiTree at Richard Wagner's profile. The DNA section says: "No known carriers of Richard's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests. No close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test." Well what a surprise: some of these tests would show whether Wagner had Jewish ancestry on his paternal side as quite a few suspect from his mother's second husband, the painter, actor and playwright Ludwig Geyer profile.

February 13th: maximum 7C, minimum 3C, moderate SW, some sunshine, bright, few light showers. Definite signs of spring today with 5 Song Thrush singing in walk late afternoon around home at Ordley, plus 2 pairs of Mistle Thrush, a Lapwing in territory, and major late winter movement of Common Gull (960 S) to roost at Derwent Reservoir. It's a day before the Saint's day when everyone is supposed to mate but great to see. More to follow ... Completed Tbilisi 26/8, now onto 27/8 in Tbilisi Botanical Gardens. Added to WikiTree Catherine Rosseter (c1561-) as eldest daughter of Thomas R; she married John French whose son Nicholas French became Bishop of Ferns in County Wexford. Made Cnt4g4s with M for good chat. Definitely feeling more upbeat as signs of spring emerge in the natural world. Funds +3k wtd after being +9k yesterday; worries about sticky inflation resurfaced today. Have sold another 3k RSE wtd.

February 12th: maximum 5C, minimum 3C, moderate W, mainly sunny today, but still cool. Best laid plans go astray: menu changed at R by the hotel with an hour to go, all prior selections invalid, so S took orders as members came in! All good humoured! Did quite a lot of work on family tree, taking ancestors back to Thomas Rosseter born c1540, married to Anastasia Synnott. Also changed surname to Rosseter from Rossiter for all Irish ancestors down to Thomas Rosseter (c1689-1741, born Wexford, Ireland, died Tiverton, England) as that was the common form there. For Georgia, finished indexing all of Cathedral piccies on 26/4 and now onto walk by river early evening same day; just need to index these. Picked up from a piccie another Hobby in Tbilisi by a statue so hopes rise that will pick up a Honey-buzzard in my many Kenya shots. Finally made G4g4s with R/A 4 good chat.

February 11th: maximum 6C, minimum 2C, light W, dull and dreary. We could do with some sunshine, some promised tomorrow! Cleaner S came in afternoon so out for walk at Tyne Green, Hexham, where had a pair of Goosander in territory. Had a 1w Sparrowhawk male in neighbour's garden at lunchtime. But really everything is still in defensive late winter mode: no signs of the joys of spring! Two Barn Owl on fences at Ordley at 23:45 was a good sight! Did make Costa4c4t to keep warm in a break. Restarted family history on WikiTree taking back my Irish ancestry another generation to 1588 (John R married cousin Margaret R; keep it in the family!); encouraged by interest in my earlier work on the Somerset families. Made G4g4s with R/A for good chat; we're a little worried on how P will get back. Busy lunchtime as usual with R 2moro and need to start President's Night sign-up very soon.

February 10th: maximum 7C, minimum 5C, light SE, dull and dreary. Day was brightened up considerably with concert in evening at QH in HEX, with no less than Thomas Zehetmair (violin 1) joining up with wife Ruth Killius (viola), Jakub Jakowicz (violin 2) and Christian Elliott (cello), as Zehetmair Quartet, to play Brahms (SQ1), Webern (six bagatelles for SQ) and Sibelius (SQ D minor). Had a very good audience size-wise. The Brahms was quite intricate, very measured. The Webern was in his modern style, short and abrasive! The Sibelius was marvellous, bringing up a wide range of emotions, with echoes of some of his marvellous passages in his symphonies and violin concerto. Met L/M there and we went to Heart4st4s and good crack. Did a lot of work on 26/8 Tbilisi, compiling all of Jvari Monastery piccies and the Kura River below (see 26/8 below). Still the cathedral to finish for 26/8 and the Caspian Gull on the river: it was a very busy day!

February 9th: maximum 5C, minimum 1C, moderate E, rain until alter afternoon, all grass areas saturated, no snow settling, another gloomy day. Made QHC4s4l where good to meet S and QHL4work, b4 DoW4g4s with D/D 4 good chat. So busy day! No more work on Tbilisi but hope to make progress on that 2moro. Funds are +1k. Commodity stocks had a bad week but rescued by tender offer for LON:RSE after sale of oil interests, my second largest holding with 26k shares at start of week, now down to 20.3k shares, worth almost 190k; will continue selling down as plenty of good investment opportunities elsewhere and rump of LON:RSE will be rather fragile decarbonisation ventures. Dropped cheque for Public Guardian into NP for £164 as part of LPA; so all set-up now.

February 8th: maximum 1C, minimum 0C, moderate E, sleet from midday to evening, some settling, very gloomy. Snow settled for a bit but no significant fall and road clear. Finished indexing 25/8 Tbilisi so complete now (below). Next up is monastery/cathedral day near Tbilisi 26/8 where labelling started. Made T4m4l with M for good chat! Later made G4g4s with R 4 social time! Looking forward to concert at Hexham of TZ SQ on Saturday; out to DoW tomorrow with D/D.

February 7th: maximum 3C, minimum -2C, light W, what a change with almost no wind, felt a little spring-like in sunshine mid-morning. Today's errand was visiting NP solicitors to sign a power of attorney in case I go nuts! Attorneys are son and daughter. That cost £780 (paid on my credit card) + £164 for a cheque to a government department. In Hexham to add to yesterday had a Mistle Thrush singing, a Collared Dove visiting a probable nest site and 3 Bullfinch. 30 Redwing were at Houtley on way back. Made HEX Hospital to see P with R/B/A; gave him big card with loads of best wishes collected from R and G; he was well pleased with that; he's out of hospital next Tuesday, maybe the G 5-6 days later. Completed labelling, resizing and cropping of Tbilisi piccies from 25/8; need to index them 2moro; found a Black Kite migrant among the Caspian Gull series. 2moro seeing M at 12 and R/A in evening, latter snow permitting!

Confirmation: updated Honey-buzzard page with migration data, for SW Northumberland in 2023 (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland).

February 6th: maximum 6C, minimum 1C, moderate W, calmer, wind dropping steadily during day. Had hair-cut at JG with the chatty Jd: all looking neat, £25.50 including £5.50 tip. Just about completed Honey-buzzard migration as below, need to tie up a couple of loose ends 2moro. Found problem with formatting of weather reports in new version of LibreOffice: after some fiddling around, found it was prioritising page styles over formatting toggles, fair enough but a little confusing; anyway sorted now for all past years as well as the last one. Made Cnt4g4s with M 4 good chat, new development, anyway while he's getting over the sad loss of his partner. Had walk around park after haircut, getting 11 bird-types including an Oystercatcher, plus a Grey Squirrel; a Chaffinch was singing, first of year and a little earlier than usual. A Brown Hare was at Loughbrow at 21:30 and a pair of Tawny Owl at Ordley at 23:30. Funds are -3k wtd after bad Monday with some recovery today.

Table 49 shows the migration picture for Honey-buzzard in 2023. Coverage was generally poor this year except for late spring. The bottom row in the table gives commentary on each facet of the migration noted. (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland).


Date

Time

Locality

Age/Sex

Count

Direction

Movement

'Oct 1

13:31-13:33


Ordley (NY95 P)

Juvenile

1

1 rest


maximum 16C, minimum 10C, light W, mainly sunny. A juvenile Honey-buzzard up over the nest site from 13:31-13:33 climbing fairly high (13310), probably a Scottish bird.

Summary/

Comments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

October: 1




resting: 1

Devil's Water: 1




Juvenile: 1

1


 

OUT: 1 resting

Coverage was not widespread in most of May but was good in late spring. Coverage was non-existent in the late summer and early autumn period through absences. It was difficult picking up momentum after the Georgia trip for the late flow of juveniles.



No adults were observed in spring. The main emigration period for males is the second half of August when absent. The main emigration period for females is the first half of September when also absent.

The total this year was unusually low.


Numbers of migrants on BirdGuides were lower than in the exception year of 2022 but were still higher than any year since 2017 at 279 suggesting that my absolutely low totals are through observer absences rather than actual low numbers. On BirdGuides the annual total was 279 with spring total of 88 and autumn total of 191. In May, the busiest spring month, 56 were seen. In August-September 84-85 were noted each month.

Table 49: Visible Migration Movements noted for Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland in 2023


February 5th: maximum 9C, minimum 6C, fresh SW, gusting to 45 mph, dull. A very busy day with R, supervising lunch with speaker turning up late and expecting to get his laptop working in 2 min; not possible so he had to give it without digital aids! But Admin Team meeting went well on President's Night, for 16/3, sorting out many problems; this is the highlight of the R year. Had bought a large 'get-well soon' card for P, who's had the stroke, and many people at R and the G signed it so it looks good: mustn't lose it now b4 next visit to HEX Hospital on Wed early evening. So no work on Honey-buzzard migration today, should finish it 2moro, when have haircut with Jd at JG at 10, delivery from W at 12 and Cnt4g4s with M. Had a Barn Owl in the front yard at dusk, might be looking for a nest site! Also a Kestrel 1w was at Letah Wood at noon with an Early Moth here at 23:55 on way back from pub.

February 4th: maximum 10C, minimum 7C, fresh W, gusting to 50 mph, dull, a little light rain at times. Been a very busy weekend, finished compiling Honey-buzzard breeding season records and out of area Honey-buzzard records for 2023. All results are copied below. Out of area includes the 2 major expeditions, promised for the year and delivered upon. Note they've not been analysed yet but that's next steps after completing Honey-buzzard migration data for Northumberland tomorrow. Think will complete Nairobi first, followed by Tbilisi, and then carry on nibbling! When it gets a bit warmer will also complete Honey-buzzard habitat survey for upper South Tyne, looking out for Red Kite. So plenty to do! Went out to G4g4s with R/A 4 good chat! Lovely to hear and see 2 Oystercatcher displaying over HEX near QH, where they nest: further sign of late winter!

Added to home page, results for Out of Area 2023:


Dumfries (18/7-21/7): none.


Munich, Germany, via Amsterdam (25/7-31/7): none.

Liverpool (7/8-11/8): none.

Georgia (23/8-13/9): Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, many thousands, detailed report to follow.

Devon (18/9-23/9): 22/9 Challaborough, a Honey-buzzard juvenile flying W at 11:09 using a large stoop followed by rearing up to progress.

North Yorkshire (28/9): Shipton by Beningbrough, a juvenile flying S at low altitude in flap-flap-glide motion.

Kenya (10/12-28/12): Nairobi, Masai Mara, Mombasa, provisionally none but extensive footage awaits analysis.


Updated Honey-buzzard page with breeding data, for SW Northumberland in 2023: core area maintained numbers-wise with productivity unknown due to observer absence (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland).

The overall results for the 2023 Honey-buzzard breeding season are given in Table 47.


The study area continued to be restricted mainly to the core area of Devil’s Water and Tyne Valley this year with occasional forays to other areas. There were extensive absences this year with resumption of international conferences and family meetings after the interruptions from 2020-2021 with Covid. The main absences were: 18/7-21/7 Dumfries; 25/7-31/7 Munich via Amsterdam; 7/8-11/8 Liverpool; 23/8-13/9 Georgia; 18/9-23/9 Devon; 10/12-28/12 Kenya. An operation on NR on 9/5 led into a recuperation period of about a month, including driving not permitted until 23/5. This might have affected the display period results but a significant catch up in late May and early June enabled coverage to be completed at a good number of sites. The rising local Black Kite population also increased pressure on survey time, but did take me to more sites outside the core study area as the Kite's occupied area increased. The overall totals found as a whole of 29 sites occupied by 43 adult birds was an improvement on 2022 owing to a bit more widespread coverage in the display period. The numbers in the core area were steady in 2023 with 15 sites occupied by 22 birds, compared to 14 sites, 21 birds in 2022 and 15 sites, 27 birds in 2021. The breeding season did appear to run slightly late and this together with my absence in the main fledging season in Georgia, meant that the results here are fragmentary, certainly not a guide to the actual breeding success. Only two juveniles were seen but a further 3 occupied nests were found mid-August when young were likely to be on the tree branches. Wasp numbers were moderate. In the mild late autumn, wasp numbers held up well, still being seen on flowering ivy at Ordley in mid-November (last 17/11). Overall the core area was maintained numbers-wise but productivity was unknown.


Weather report for England 2023 (from the Met Office https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/maps-and-data/summaries/index ):



April was a predominantly unsettled month, with little in the way of consistent warmth, though it was more settled for a time around mid-month, when it became warmer especially over Scotland. This was followed by a return to rather chilly and unsettled conditions until just before month-end. Temperatures fluctuated somewhat, but averaged out to around normal, with Northern Ireland warmest relative to average, and with maximum temperatures a little below normal over most of England. The provisional UK mean temperature for the month was 7.8 °C, which is 0.1 °C below average. Rainfall was close to average overall, but with regional variations, most parts of Scotland being drier than average, but southern and eastern parts of England being rather wet, most notably in Kent, and for the UK overall rainfall was 97% of average. Sunshine was also close to normal overall, but with northern areas generally brighter relative to average than the south and west, giving 102% of average for the UK overall.

May The very start of May was quite settled and fine, but the weather soon turned much more unsettled from the south-west, with widespread falls of rain between the 4th and the 11th. Heavy thunderstorms and locally torrential rain caused flooding in many southern and eastern areas of England on the 9th. Towards mid-month things settled down, with high pressure building, and from the 12th onwards any falls of rain were mostly localised and light. This period was also a rather sunny period for many areas, in contrast to much of the rest of this spring, with the fine and settled weather lasting for the rest of the month, though at times a lot of cloud covered eastern coastal areas. Temperatures were above average for the majority of the time, though nowhere reached 24 °C until May 27th. The provisional UK mean temperature for the month was 11.6 °C, which is 1.0 °C above average. Rainfall was above average in a band from Devon to Norfolk, whereas much of Wales, Scotland and north-west England had well below half the average, and for the UK overall rainfall was 55% of average. Sunshine was slightly below average for some northern and eastern areas, but above average for Wales and western/central parts of England, giving 108% of average for the UK overall.

June began fine and settled, with temperatures around average, but from the 9th it became warm and humid, and rather less settled, with thunderstorms breaking out in many areas. It remained very warm or hot for most of the rest of the month, but cooled down again in the final few days. It also became rather unsettled generally towards the end of the month. Temperatures were above average in all areas, with daytime temperatures well above normal, most especially in western areas, parts of western Scotland having mean maximum temperatures as much as 4 °C above average. The provisional UK mean temperature for June was 15.8 °C, which is 2.5 °C above average, making it the warmest June in a series from 1884. Rainfall was slightly above average in parts of the English Midlands and some north-western areas, but below normal in most other areas, with East Anglia and south Wales particularly dry, and for the UK overall rainfall was 68% of average. Sunshine was above normal everywhere, especially in northern and western areas, with 144% of average overall, making it provisionally the fourth sunniest June in a series since 1910, and the sunniest since 1957.

July was an unsettled month - often cool, dull, windy and with a lot of rainfall, in stark contrast to June. The jet stream was generally shifted much further south than in June, with the weather often rather autumnal in character. Any hints of drier and warmer weather proved short-lived. Through the month, a succession of frontal systems made regular west to-east progress across the UK. Although there was a brief very warm spell around the 7th9th, the hottest places just touching 30°C, this soon broke down with thunderstorms. Temperatures were generally below average, particularly daily maximum temperatures, frequently failing to reach above 20°C. Rainfall was above average throughout the UK, with more than 200% of average across the west of Northern Ireland, Lancashire, Merseyside and the Manchester area and parts of Devon, Dorset and Wiltshire. The UK overall rainfall total was 170% of average overall, making this provisionally the wettest July since 2009 and sixth wettest July in the series. Northern Ireland provisionally recorded its wettest July on record with 207%, just ahead of July 1936. Sunshine was below normal, particularly across southern and western areas with the UK recording 81%.

August The often unseasonably unsettled weather brought various impacts through the month. Storm Antoni brought strong winds and heavy rain on 5th August, with the Met Office issuing an amber wind warning for parts of Wales and south-west England – and many people on holiday at this time of year. A number of events were cancelled including the Cardigan County Show and Big Welsh Bite food and drink festival at Pontypridd. In the south-west, train services between Exeter and Penzance were disrupted and around 1500 properties experienced power cuts in Cornwall. Trains were cancelled in the Brighton area and an event was also cancelled on the Isle of Wight. Some flooding occurred in parts of north-east Scotland and in northeast England around Whitby, Scarborough, Redcar and Cleveland. After a thundery breakdown, storm Betty on 18th to 19th brought strong winds and heavy rain although with no significant weather impacts reported. Another low-pressure system brought some heavy rain on the 25th to 27th August affecting parts of northwest, northeast and southeast England and southeast Scotland. Parts of Merseyside and north Cheshire were affected by surface water flooding and there were two fatalities when a car was submerged at a rail underpass in Liverpool. The M57 was closed and the M53 was also affected by flooding.

September High pressure influenced the UK's weather for the first half of September, bringing fine, sunny, dry conditions and the most significant spell of warmth since June. From 4th to 10th, the UK experienced a significant heatwave with temperatures exceeding 30°C somewhere in the UK for seven consecutive days: a September record. Temperatures in England reached 32°C on 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th, and 33.5°C at Faversham (Kent) on 10th, making this the hottest day of the year. This has only occurred in September on four previous occasions in 2016, 1954, 1949 and 1919. On 8th, 28.0°C at Castlederg (County Tyrone) set a new Northern Ireland September record. However, the heat brought several outbreaks of thunderstorms and intense downpours with rainfall rates of 20 to 30mm per hour, with impacts from flash-flooding. The second half of the month saw an abrupt change to much more unsettled and autumnal weather with westerly weather bringing Atlantic low pressure systems and significant rain. There were some very wet and windy days, notably storm Agnes from 27th to 28th, although fortunately the storm was weakening by the time it reached the UK. Maximum and minimum temperatures for the month overall were well above average, particularly across the southern half of the UK, with maximum temperature anomalies in some parts of the south-east 3.5 to 4°C above average. The UK monthly mean temperature was 15.2°C, 2.2°C above the 1991-2020 average making this the UK’s equal-warmest September in the series from 1884 (shared with 2006). For England and Wales this was the warmest September on record. The rainfall pattern was variable but rather wet overall with 131% for the UK. Some locations experiencing torrential downpours were particularly wet, for example parts of south and east Devon. Sunshine totals were slightly above average for the UK with 112%.

October The first half of October mostly comprised a north-south contrast in weather across the UK. England and Wales were generally nearer the influence of high pressure over the near-continent, with a particularly warm and sunny spell of weather from 6th to 10th. Temperatures reached the low 20s °C widely across England and Wales with 25°C in the south-east on 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th, more than 8°C above average for the time of year. This was the most significant spell of October warmth since 2011. However, Scotland missed out on most of the warmth but instead borne the brunt of Atlantic frontal systems and associated rainfall. This included some exceptionally wet weather on 6th and 7th from an 'atmospheric river' event. Scotland overall received 64.1mm in these two days, making this its wettest 2day period on record. Fronts sweeping across the UK from 12th to 13th brought widespread wet and cooler weather to the UK more generally, and a final end to any lingering late summer warmth. The second half of the month was unsettled and very wet at times. Widespread, prolonged and heavy rainfall from storm Babet from 18th to 21st caused brought serious flooding problems to many areas, with eastern Scotland worst affected. This, together with some very strong winds, brought atrocious weather conditions with 150 to 200mm of rain falling in the wettest areas. The Met Office issued two red warnings for rain in this area, and the county of Angus recorded its wettest day on record in a series from 1891. More widely, England and Wales also provisionally recorded its third-wettest 3-day period on record. Temperatures for October overall were near average in Scotland but above normal elsewhere, particularly across southern England with anomalies of 1.5 to 2°C. This was provisionally the equal-sixth wettest October on record for the UK in a series from 1836, while eastern Scotland had its wettest October on record. In Scotland, Angus, Dundee, Fife and Kincardineshire recorded their wettest October, in England Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire and the Isle of Wight, and in Northern Ireland counties Armagh and Down, with well over twice the October average rainfall. It was a rather dull month, with 92% of average sunshine hours. Northern England was particularly dull with 78%.

November The first half of November was unsettled and stormy at times with the ongoing influence of Atlantic low pressure systems and strong winds and heavy rain of most note. Storm Ciaran on 1st to 2nd was an exceptionally severe storm for the Channel Islands and northern France but fortunately a 'near miss' for southern England. Further south, winds were comparable to the 'Great Storm' of 16 October 1987. Storm Debi also brought some very strong winds on 13th, particularly affecting Northern Ireland, North Wales and north-west England. These storms contributed to mounting rainfall accumulations through a very wet autumn in some areas. 30 to 50mm of rain fell across southern England from storm Ciaran and a further 30 to 50mm across Northern Ireland and parts of north-west England from storm Debi - with over 100mm across upland areas. There were some incursions of colder air at times with -7.1°C recorded at Altnaharra, Sutherland on 16th, and frosts as far south as Kent with -0.8°C at East Malling, Kent on 12th, though nothing extreme for the time of year. In contrast, the second half of November saw rather quieter autumnal weather with a continued mild Atlantic influence until the last week. However, from 24th, a northerly airflow introduced drier but much colder weather, with some hard frosts (for example -4.8°C at Hurn, Dorset on 8th), and some wintry precipitation, particularly in the north and east. Temperatures for November were near average overall (anomaly -0.1°C); slightly below across northern Scotland. Despite the wet first half of the month, rainfall totals were near average across much of England, Wales and eastern Scotland, although it was wetter than average for some southern counties. Western Scotland and Northern Ireland were drier than average. Overall the UK received slightly above-average sunshine hours (112%), but with a variable pattern: west parts of Wales and south-west England (for example) were notably dull whereas for the bulk of the rest of England this was a fairly sunny month.



The season was marked with fine weather in May and June for the display period, unsettled and often cool weather in July and August for the rearing period and fine weather in most of September for the outward migration period (when NR was in Georgia). October was unsettled and mild. So conditions were good for observing birds displaying in spring but the birds could have been put under pressure in rearing young by some quite cool unsettled spells in July and August. This seemed to delay the Honey-buzzard breeding season a little with no young observed in the air at Ordley on 19/8, normally one of the first sites to fledge. Indeed it was not until 20/8 and 22/8 that the first juveniles were seen in the air, at Towsbank and Bywell respectively.




Area

No. sites

No. adults

No. nests

found

Observed Occupied (no. sites)

Breeding Category (no. sites)

Number young fledged

Display

Sit/

Rear

Fledge


Conf

Prob

Poss

Devil’s Water

7

13

0

7

1

1


1

6

0

1 (1x>0)

Allen

3

4

0

3

0

1


1

1

1

1 (1x>0)

Upper South Tyne

2

3

0

1

0

1


1

1

0

1 (1x1+)

Lower South Tyne

2

2

0

2

0

0


0

0

2

0

Tipalt

1

1

0

1

0

0


0

1

0

0

Tyne W

8

9

0

8

2

1


1

6

1

1 (1x1+)

Tyne E

3

6

0

3

0

0


1

2

0

1 (1x>0)

Derwent

3

5

0

3

0

0


0

3

0

0

Total

29

43

0

28

3

4


5

20

4

5 (2x1+, 3x>0)

Table 47: Results for the Honey-buzzard Breeding Season in SW Northumberland by area in 2023


Table 48 gives a breakdown of the numbers of males, females and juveniles in each part of the season. The male:female ratio normally declines as the season progresses with males most obvious in the display phase and the females more obvious in training flights with juveniles in the fledging phase. The male:female ratio varied from 24:14 (1.71) in display to 5:2 (2.50) in the rearing period and 2:2 (1.00) in fledging. So as expected males were more conspicuous than females in the display phase and were still,more visible in the rearing phase as they perform much of the foraging at distance. However in the fledging phase, the numbers of male and female were equal. The sample is small though as NR was absent in Georgia for much of the fledging period.


Area

No. sites in season

No. adults in season

Display 30/4-16/6

Rearing 17/6-19/8

Fledging 20/8-15/9

Gangs of juveniles post-breeding





Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Male

Female

Juvenile

Male

Female

Juvenile


Devil’s Water

7

7

6

13

7

5

1

1

0

0

0

9

0

Allen

3

3

1

4

3

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Upper South Tyne

2

2

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

0

Lower South Tyne

2

2

0

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tipalt

1

1

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne W

8

6

3

9

6

3

2

0

0

1

1

1

0

Tyne E

3

3

3

6

2

3

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

Derwent

3

3

2

5

3

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

29

27

16

43

24

14

5

2

0

2

2

2

0

Table 48: Number of Male, Female and Juvenile Honey-buzzard found in each phase of breeding season in 2023




February 3rd: maximum 8C, minimum 6C, moderate W, sunny. Compiled Honey-buzzard overall results for 2023 breeding season plus weather patterns during the season; just need to summarise the weather and will then publish tomorrow. Did make DoW4g+bb4s to meet D/D again; great to catch up after their trip to New Zealand and mine to Kenya! Had a Barn Owl on way back at Ordley. Have booked a hotel in J the BW New Kent for the Bruckner weekend 1/3-4/3 as have booked for the whole programme of music; only £188 including breakfast for the 3 nights over the weekend, central NCL is c100 more.


February 2nd: maximum 10C, minimum 6C, fresh W, quite gusty up to 50 mph with turbulence on E side of Pennines; rather dull, mild; Wuthering Heights it is! Sofa duly arrived; I'd cleared a channel through the flower bed outside the French windows looking over the yard and they took that as an easy delivery route; they were only here for 10 min, really efficient. Cleaner S came later and went into QHL 4 some work in CT. Hoping to compile Honey-buzzard data for 2023 tomorrow. Funds were -9k on week after 2.5k withdrawal. On ytd am -4k gross but -30k net as this is the season for goodwill!! Did well this week on U3O8 but other commodities continued to edge downwards. Quiet evening. Seeing D/D 2moro at DoW, think they'll be full of NZ!


February 1st: maximum 8C, minimum 4C, fresh W, bright morning then duller with fresh winds establishing themselves. Made QHC4s4l where gr8 to meet S! Then did some work in QHL b4 going home 4 t. Did make G4g4s with R/A with L on!! P's got another week in HEX Hospital, not happy about it. Stopped off on way home 2 c someone!! Had a Tawny Owl at Letah Wood, a rabbit at Swallowship late-on. Earlier in day had a Song Thrush at Ordley by side of road, big sign of late winter, and a Common Buzzard adult gave an alarm call from the edge of my wild field -- marvellous. In Hexham had 10 bird-types including Rooks back at their nests in Sele. 2moro new 4-seater sofa arrives!


January 31st: maximum 9C, minimum 3C, fresh W, bright morning and lunchtime then sudden onset for a few hours of heavy rain and fresh winds. A 1w Kestrel was at Houtley on a post at midday. Met M again at T4m4l for further good chat. Later at 17:00 visited P in HEX Hospital with R; he was very pleased to see us; in batter shape than I expected and his voice was slightly better than before the second stroke -- surprising! We stayed an hour and a quarter. Have almost finished food that my son cooked, but have put some in the freezer for future use. Appreciation of help for Festival is very welcome!!


January 30th: maximum 6C, minimum 4C, moderate W, sunny all day, dry. An Early Moth was at Loughbrow at 23:30 and an Agonopterix ciliella at Ordley at 21:30, signs of late winter. Had 30 Redwing from house at 13:00. First day 'off' for a while; had R Council meeting at 17:30, which was pretty uninspiring. Met M at G4g4s after his recent loss; we had good chat with A on! Very pleased to receive thanks from someone: it's been a great Festival; son wrote saying what a gr8 weekend it had been! R and I are going to see P 2moro in HEX Hospital; he's supposed to be recovering a bit from his second stroke. Seeing M again at T4m4l!


January 29th: maximum 4C, minimum 3C, moderate NE, heavy rain all day going into night, very raw, back to depths of winter! Had breakfast in hotel with son; he was going down to Stevenage midday and I was off to CAR, for the funeral of Barbara S, long-term partner of M, held at Carlisle Cemetery, which I made at 12:15 after getting train over and taxi out for final stretch. On way there had a Grey Heron at Wylam E, 12 Greylag Goose at Merryshields, a pair of Goosander at Morralee, 15 Wigeon at Bardon Mill E, 3 Redwing at Low Fell, all loaded while on train into BirdTrack. Service was at Carlisle Cemetery, a well-wooded area S of Carlisle; the service had a number of tributes, by far the best was M's, clearly from the heart! A burial followed in the woodland at the Cemetery. We then went to Dalston Village Hall for refreshments, where after a quiet start had very good chat with an Anglo-Iranian family, with which had a lot in common. The young children were 1/4 Iranian, looking much less eastern than my granddaughters. I got a lift back with them to HEX, marvellous! Much later made G4g4s with R/A, P being in HEX Hospital now. We had great chat with M on!


January 28th: maximum 12C, minimum 3C, moderate SW, cloudy, dry. Made Festival for last night, pleased so well supported. The concert was dedicated to the memory of Josima Feldschuh, an amazing child prodigy on the piano, both as pianist and composer. This concert featured 4 of her piano compositions: Bal Ptaszkow, Mazurka no.6, Nocturne in G minor, Shabbattiada, all showing her amazing maturity. The concert concluded with a piece by the Ukrainian composer Volodymyr Runchak: Arts Festival Special Commission 2024 “Fragments of a Diary” dedicated to Josima, so the Festival achieved a remarkable feat of promoting the memory of Josima and her works. Another highlight of the concert was the two sets of songs for tenor, both quite melancholy and moving, comprising Chopin: Polish songs, and Szymanowski: Trois Chansons op.32. A piano quintet by Bacewicz, was a substantial item, quite powerful and stirring and very well performed. We also heard R. Panufnik: Votive - string quartet. So it was a grand conclusion. Some of us went to a Motel for a final drink. Son and I were staying overnight in a regular hotel in NCL, great to not be trekking back to Hexham. Withdrawal on 30/1 from brokers for payment on 31/1 as Festival closure!!


January 27th: maximum 8C, minimum 4C, moderate SW, cloudy, dry. Took son into HEX 4 shopping and look around for him; I went to Tyne Green seeing a female Goshawk displaying over the Abbey and 2 Common Buzzard displaying over area to N; total was 15 bird-types, including an adult Cormorant, a Nuthatch, 12 House Sparrow; a few Black-headed Gulls had dark brown heads; signs of late winter are definitely there. Had a dead Brown Hare at Loughbrow and a live one at Ordley, where also had an Early Moth. Burns Night went off superbly. At 15:00 had 2 double blows: Abbey coordinator went down with Covid and orator for Immortal Memory went down with bad throat; orator for address to haggis volunteered to take over the second address; loss of Abbey coordinator was not so serious, later soon struck up a rapport with the Abbey lead waiter and we sorted out everything much more pragmatically than usual! So all went well, piper turned up on time and played the haggis in and played himself out, gave him £70 from my own funds; musicians always deserve support. Food was good, orators performed well; audience was lively and enjoyed themselves. Great to see an arts-leaning event proving a success but I have put a lot of effort into organising it. The chief orator and I shared a large chunk of haggis, to take home. 2moro will be at close of Festival with son: looking forward to the event!


January 26th: maximum 5C, minimum 4C, moderate NW, sunny spells, dry. We made GH 4 reception and rehearsal of Hallé. In the former we had a talk from Alice, marketing manager, who said bookings for GH are up this year. Think that's true for popular concerts such as film music or New Year's Day but not so convinced for more challenging concerts. The rehearsal was just an hour and very focused on short passages, which the conductor Alondra de la Parra wanted to sharpen. We had extracts from all 3 pieces: Debussy - Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, with starring flautist AY launching it in style!; Khatchaturian - Violin Concerto, a wild and tuneful piece with soloist Nemanja Radulović; Stravinsky - Firebird, star piece for the night in the publicity. The last-named was causing some trouble in perfecting the finale of the piece, which is so dramatic. So enjoyed that, then stayed for meal with fellow PP, before getting Uber to G(NCL) 4 continuation of Festival. This was a superb gig with excellent commentary and context on the playing of jazz in the Warsaw ghetto. The soloists all played well and the evening was very entertaining. We then made VicCmt for a drink b4 getting last train home. So excellent day of culture and discovery!! Funds were +17k on week, recovering all and a bit more of the previous week's fall.


January 25th: maximum 10C, minimum 3C, moderate SW, sunny all day, mild. W order arrived at 09:15 £90, with extra items for son. Met M at T4m4l for good chat; he's got the funeral of his partner next Monday in CAR; we're thinking of adding G4g4s each Tuesday, starting next week. Then drove to CAL, got M, complete breakdown of whole system at Bank Foot, so hired Uber and shot into NCL for £17. Met son at Centurion at 16:30 where we had drink b4 MP at 17:00 where had spicy Pizza Piccante and cheesecake. Then up to Regent Centre on now working again M and onto GCT where good bar facilities. To my mind this is the highlight of the Festival: A Child in Striped Pyjamas, an opera, by Noah Max. This was a very moving and polished performance by all concerned, bringing out the poignancy of the situation very well. Noam Pnini was absolutely brilliant as the German Child, fully in the part, displaying natural naivety for a nine-year old and singing in a beautiful soprano voice: the perfect opera combination. Eleanor Oldfield as the long suffering Jewish Child also came over well, a perfect foil to her opposite number. The German military were appropriately nasty and the Conductor Robert Max kept the pace up for over 90 min without any dragging, which was an obvious risk. The musicians all performed well; it must have required tremendous concentration to complete the performance without any faltering. So full marks, fantastic innovation!! We got M back to CAL and then drive home where we settled in. 2moro it's Hallé rehearsal in afternoon and G4jazz later but not G in HEX!


January 24th: maximum 8C, minimum 3C, fresh SW after gale force SW overnight, wind-chill 2C, sunny all day after cloudy dawn. Got out for good local walk in bracing conditions from 15:20-16:50; sunset is now out to 16:28 with sunrise moving out more slowly at 08:14. The snowdrops are coming out 1, such a tonic! Load of twigs and small branches on the road, mainly from old ash dieback, with the trees apparently stabilising now. A gathering of 40 Rook at a rookery at Motag shows how some birds are beginning to look towards the spring. Through to early January the wildlife is very defensive but we are now seeing a turn as the natural world anticipates spring! My natural rhythm goes very much with nature, based on day-length as well as temperature! Bird-types totalled 19, including 1 Woodcock flying up valley at dusk, 1 Sparrowhawk a male in a bush, flew out as disturbed, 1 Kestrel 1w hovering in sheltered spot, 1,110 Jackdaw and 560 Rook, both roosting, 1 Treecreeper, 1 Greenfinch, 30 Fieldfare. Good total for the conditions, added 3 species to ytd, up to 44 now. Did much reading in evening of accumulated magazine, journal issues: relaxed day before tempo steps up 2moro!!


January 23rd: maximum 11C, minimum 6C, fresh SW, torrential rain much of day, milder officially but feeling cold, wind chill 4C. Seemed to spend much of day clearing up various loose ends on R matters but by evening had got Honey-buzzard UK records into a spreadsheet and set-up the Honey-buzzard in Northumberland page for editing with Table 47 up first. Not out much today, just surveyed the estate for damage: none but the wind is angry again tonight, peaking at 02:00-04:00 early in the morning. No gales forecast for Saturday fortunately, do not want to cancel another event with a power cut! Son is coming up Thursday afternoon, we'll go to MP and then onto GCT; I'll park at CAL, convenient for Regent Centre. Have big W delivery at 09:00 in morning. Will be good to see him again. Funds are +1k wtd with slight improvement in sentiment after fall of 6k yesterday.


January 22nd: maximum 7C, minimum 3C, fresh SW, mainly dry, feeling cold, wind chill -2C. Had good breakfast in hotel, then went for 09:46 to CAR, cancelled as tree down, but 09:56 to HEX was on, so caught this, slightly delayed at 10:02. Tyne was very high, almost lapping bank tops in places. Had 2 Mute Swan ad and a Cormorant ad at Scotswood and 3 Mute Swan at Merryshields Pond from train. Went home to find house and trees all in good condition at Wuthering Heights but bin blown over and winds still close to sub-gale; also we had had a power cut but power was now back on. At 11:40 alerted by solicitor member of R that they had no power; at 11:45 alerted by County Hotel they'd been without power since breakfast time; at 11:52 I cancelled lunchtime meeting with 36 due to attend; had no alternative as hotel had no hot food or coffee, no heating, no data projector and no card machines; last named is quite critical, how do people who carry no cash pay! Finalised numbers for Burns Night at Great Hall, Hexham Abbey, at 45 at £30 a head, which is not bad at all, set for this Saturday evening, starting at 17:45 for 18:30 for dining, 19:00 for piping in the haggis, 4 orators in evening, all organised by me, but:


"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.” [The man himself!]


Found out more about P's stroke: rhs, last one was lhs; he's back in Hexham Hospital from RVI in a week so we can see him again. Met R at G4g4s for good chat with E on. As well as P, A was away with a respiratory bug.


January 21st: maximum 9C, minimum 5C, fresh SW, driving rain, gales forecast for later with Storm Isha. Booked into regular hotel in NCL as don't fancy transport back as storm reaches its peak overnight. Have completed the Red Kite report for 2023 so just Honey-buzzard to do. More later ...


More details of the Red Kite breeding season for 2023 are available in Table 17 giving a perplexing feel: (Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland).



Area

No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category

No. Juveniles fledged

Post-breeding sites

Conf

Prob

Poss

Devil’s Water

8

10

2

3

3

5

0

Allen

3

3

0

0

3

0

0

Upper South Tyne

6

7

3

0

3

5

0

Tipalt

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Lower South Tyne

2

2

0

1

1

0

0

Tyne W

7

8

2

2

3

4

0

Tyne E

4

5

0

3

1

0

0

Derwent

13

21

4

6

3

4

0

Total

43


56

11

15

17


18 (1x3, 5x2, 5x1+)

0

Table 17: Breeding Data for Red Kite in SW Northumberland by area in 2023


Coverage was patchy this year. The Devil’s Water and Tyne Valley W area received normal fairly intensive coverage, driven partly by concentrated study of the rapidly growing Black Kite population. 15 sites were occupied in these two areas compared to 19 in both 2022 and 2021; only 9 juveniles were known to have fledged but coverage from late August to mid-September was affected by my trip to Georgia, which is a good time for seeing family parties in the air. In Tyne Valley W specifically, numbers dropped from 11 sites occupied to 7 with birds much less conspicuous in the areas where Black Kite are now nesting. Black Kite are more robust than Red Kite and it does appear that the Red Kite are forced to the edge of the Black Kite territories where they co-occur. Since Black Kite are spreading into other areas, their fresh colonisation may limit the Red Kite population in the future. In the west of the county, breeding was confirmed at two sites in the Towsbank area and at Coanwood Pond. It is likely that systematic coverage of the upper South Tyne would reveal more breeding Red Kite pairs (as well as more Hobby). The Derwent area continues to be the stronghold in the county as a whole as well as in the study area. Some 13 sites were occupied here but breeding success was apparently poor with signs of post-breeding concentrations only noted at 4 sites. I did not visit Derwent at all, relying on N&TBC coverage, where few visits to Blanchland and the Beldon Burn means their coverage is substantially incomplete. The total number of sites found to be occupied rose from 40 to 43 but the total number of adults found declined from 60 in 2022 to 56. It did not appear to be a successful breeding season with the species inconspicuous in late summer when family parties should be on the wing. So the continued poor number of juveniles raised at 18 compared to 16 in 2022, may reflect a poor breeding season. The reason for the decline in productivity is unclear at the present time.


Movements were not noted this year. No mixed pairs with Black Kite were noted in 2023 (see Black Kite in Northumberland).


As in 2022 records were included from the bulletins of the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club from February to October 2022. These added 3 sites to upper South Tyne, 2 to Allen, 1 to Devil’s Water. The main effect was on Derwent and Tyne Valley E where all 13 sites and all 3 sites respectively came from the Bulletin . So 22 sites in all were added from the bulletins to the 21 sites that I found from my own observations.


In 2023 FoRK reported "Whilst the majority of pairs nested in Gateshead MBC and Co. Durham there is more encouraging news from Northumberland with evidence that at least 8 chicks have fledged from 5 nests in the west of the county. A further 3 territories have been confirmed there but no evidence of breeding found. The west of Northumberland is such a vast area to survey and the confirmed kite territories range from just south of Haltwhistle down to the border with Durham." FoRK Breeding Summary


A more systematic survey is needed to establish the true status of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland.


A busy day music-wise with Hexham Music Society in afternoon, where Ensemble 360 (as piano quartet) played Mahler's Piano Quartet (one movement, written when he was 16), an amazingly mature piece, sounding like the real thing; Fauré's PQ2, not like the slushy early Fauré but much more robust and strident, almost like Shostakovitch; Dvořák's PQ2, lovely melodies and rhythms. Recognised the cellist, the vivacious Gemma Rosefield, who played at Brundibár Arts Festival in 2019 and 2021. This was exhilarating stuff. Then into NCL by train to book into regular hotel, then up for another musical treat, the BAF second night. This had 2 pieces by Tansman, La Dance de la Sorciere for 2 pianists, from a ballet, very dance-like, plus Deux Mouvements for 4 cellos, an amazingly strong sound with all the instruments playing in sequence or together. We had another piece from Rathaus, SQ4 a well constructed quartet with am expressive mv2, and to finish h1 a short piece by Fitelberg, portraying a sombre clarinet and cello and a show-piece glockenspiel. The concert finished with its best piece, Weinberg PT, which exhibited many of the features of war: strident passages, sombre interludes and reflective passages; played very expressively this came over very well!! So good social chat followed, then back to hotel, good night's sleep, wondering what storm Isha was doing to the 'Shire at Wuthering Heights!


January 20th: maximum 7C, minimum 4C, fresh SW, bright morning, cloudy later, almost dry until midnight, milder but strong wind made it feel raw; jet stream has moved well N of England, which is good for temperature outlook. Completed compilation of Red Kite records for 2023 in SW Northumberland, showing 43 sites occupied, a small increase, but again mixed breeding success; numbers in the key Black Kite area of Tyne Valley W are down significantly. Highlight of day was start of Festival at KH, NCL. Brilliant all round with such talented stars, many from eastern Europe, and well-judged variety to the programme. Being an old softy, I particularly liked Laks SQ 2 which had some stirring melodies with darker harmonies lurking in the background. Also was fascinated by Kassern Flute Sonatina, which had very interesting interplay between the two instruments; the flautist rather distractingly had quite a resemblance to my late wife, whose father was born in south Poland (Breslau, now Wroclaw). The last piece Rathaus Trio Seranade was probably the most experimental, having great variety in tempo and harmony, really well appreciated by the audience, a good closing piece. We also had 2 pieces by Tansman: the expansive Sonatina da Camera, involving 5 musicians including flute and harp, plus am exquisite harp solo from Pour Les Enfants. The concert started well with a piano solo The Life of Machines by Szpilman, almost minimalist at times! So good start!! Travel was as usual more complicated than expected; drove to CAL but no Metro running as track repairs on, caught 901 bus to South Gosforth and then Metro to Haymarket. Repeated process coming back. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 19th: maximum 3C, minimum -2C, moderate W, cloudy mostly, less cold but wind made it feel raw still. Day started with 1-hour chat with N; he was quizzing me hard on how to share and preserve his group's data from National Trust site with which he helps; suggested he brings everything together in pdfs on OneDrive as a start. Then T4m4l with N for good chat and QHC4s4l followed by Abbec4t with N/R to discuss talk in February at Abbey, which looks very difficult to mount effectively; we got it postponed which is brilliant as otherwise I would be organising 3 events at once. Skipped ANPA meeting; think I'm being pressured to accept presentational solutions which cost a lot of money for ANPA (paid to their mates!), are not technically very appealing and could involve me in repeating much of the considerable installation effort already expended. Am still researching slowly but deliberately to plot the best way forward. Funds were -15k on week, including 3.1k withdrawal. It's been a disappointing start to the year for commodity stocks, particularly as the underlying goods are steady in price. Having said that most of the loss in funds this year is due to seasonal withdrawals, so not unexpected! So looking forward to 2moro: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 18th: maximum -1C, minimum -8C, moderate W, wind chill -14C at worst, sunny all day, bitterly cold. Reached -1C at end of day (23:45) as milder weather started to move in. Not out today until G, heating full on and caught up with some indoor tasks. Did make G4g4s with R; very sad news that P has had a second stroke, he texted me from the RVI with the news; A also away with bad flu like bug, butt L was on!! Tied up with R business and fund dealings, latter to reflect some IMHO bargain basements! No progress on Red Kite today, probably not tomorrow daytime either with meetings at 10 (N), noon (M), 2 (S), 3 (R/N crunch meeting on Abbey event), 5 (ANPA) but maybe later in evening. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 17th: maximum -2C, minimum -4C, moderate W, wind chill -9C, sunny all day, bitterly cold. Not out today, heating full on and caught up with some indoor tasks. Tomorrow is also very cold but then a milder spell comes in, with transition day Friday, just in time for a concert! Shuffled bulletin Red Kite records into order, merging them with my records or adding them at the end by river area; tomorrow will produce a draft table. Have booked a week in a cottage in Lyme Regis, Dorset, for early April for get together with sisters and one partner; cost £1600 for the 4 of us with Airbnb of which £980 paid today; think we're sharing the cost but I'm taking the lead. Amazed at id verification with Airbnb, even taking a photo of myself to match with my passport, certainly secure but their IT system was well-organised. Paid off credit cards completely today with this week's withdrawal from funds (£3.1k) so Kenya's magnificent trip all paid for now. Incidentally Airbnb is much more flexible with dates, renting by the day, than these staid cottage companies, which insist on typically Saturday-Saturday bookings. I wanted to go Monday-Monday to fit in with other commitments and Airbnb permitted this. Worst day for 7 months on LSE today as inflation proved a little stubborn; bit of a ridiculous overreaction IMHO; FTSE 100 down 1.6%. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 16th: maximum 2C, minimum -7C, moderate W, dull and raw, very light snow showers, did not settle, very cold. Did go for brisk walk outside at Ordley from 15:30-16:30 to get some exercise (4.7k steps) in spite of the raw conditions. Only saw 11 bird-types, including 6 Redwing and 3 Great Tit. New electric fire is proving useful in topping up the multi-fuel burner in these perishing conditions: keeping warm, whatever the cost! Made progress on Red Kite account: found some FoRKer statements, accepting Northumberland population is growing, even if they are based on just a fraction of the real level; these have been added with web url to my Red Kite account; finished going through the N&TBC bulletins for 2023, showing a large number of records to add to mine, which is next stage. Have perfected the Google Form for County bookings for our weekly meetings; removed that one facility calling for a Google sign-on, and now it's very quick and simple. Will use the form for all events now, including our forthcoming talk by Professor Dark on 12/2. Didn't buy any Ag: watched a bit but 30% auctioneer commission and high packing charges are a deterrent for Auctionet; lower estimates were reserve prices in some cases, not much chance of a bargain! Funds are +9k wtd but another significant withdrawal of 3.1k looms for partial cost of Kenya trip! Funds helped by 20% rise in uranium stocks, of which hold GCL, but otherwise slow drift downwards persists. Great to see potential of uranium over renewables at last being realised. Next step is recovery in oil/gas stocks as people realise that their replacement by renewables is totally unrealistic on reliability and density. Worried about accident-prone musicians!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 15th: maximum -1C, minimum -4C, light W, sunny all day, very cold. R lunch was busy with 3 events on the go (Burns Night, regular weekly lunches, Prof Dark talk). Had meeting for Burns Night with 4 orators after lunch and we agreed on solemnity until final 2 addresses to lasses and laddies; contacted piper and he's very enthusiastic about event, so looks all set artistically! Made enquiry about house in Bridport (suggested by big sis) to rent for a week in April, getting closer to making a booking! New electric fire arrived, using it already as supplement to solid fuel stove in freezing weather, like now; cost was £90. Did some work on Red Kite in bulletins of N&TBC, hard going as quite a lot of records. Made G4g4s with P/R, with L on!! 2moro is freer and with snow expected, likely to stay at home. Attending an auction online from 10-11 in Crewkerne, Somerset! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Good morning!

Totally agree with comment in Daily Telegraph on last Palestinian March: 'Responding to images of the march, Tom Tugendhat, the security minister, said: “It’s extraordinary to watch young men and women – who I’m sure would tell you they believe in freedom and equality – supporting groups like the Houthis, who have reintroduced slavery and systematically violate the rights of women and girls.'

January 14th: maximum 2C, minimum -3C, light W, sunny intervals, dry, cold. Went for walk around Peth Foot from 13:55-15:05, good to get some exercise 5.5k steps. Most interesting birds were a flock of 10 Lesser Redpoll on alder mast, but also 4 Tree Sparrow, 2 Bullfinch, 4 Long-tailed Tit, in total of 20 bird-types. Started Red Kite account, downloaded my data from BirdTrack and compiling N&TBC bulletins for this species, which are very useful, particularly for their coverage of the core area around Derwent Reservoir. I'm researching cottages on the East Devon/Dorset border to stay in early April with my sisters, as conclusion of birthday celebrations; found 3 candidates and put them out to them. Did make G4g4s with R/P, A not well. We had good chat with L on!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 13th: maximum 6C, minimum 0C, light W, sunny intervals, quite misty at times with light drizzle. Worked really hard on finishing Black Kite report for 2023 today, which duly did as below. Next up is Red Kite and then finish with Honey-buzzard. Had appointment with Dr S as Sele to discuss statin doses: increased to 40mg a day as a precaution; thought would also have blood tested and the rest of the works but no, not even a Covid vaccination, which I'm resisting on safety grounds! So that was short and sweet! Glue and rope arrived for running repairs on stove (had got misdelivered, nice lady brought it round!); cemented glass crack and fastened top of glass with rope and cement; the stove is running hotter, which is good for it and for me! Obviously still progressing with proper repair and servicing but this is a useful stopgap in the cold weather. Bought sofa today from DFS for almost £900, a Zinc 4-seater, including delivery in 6 weeks time. Was put off the IKEA competitor Parup by the pretty awful reviews on ease of assembly and poor quality. Just a week to go to the big opening day! Funds were -4k gross last week on continued lack of confidence in markets, -8k net, with daughter's birthday present as the withdrawal. Coming down for 6 days to London in early March; son has got big sis and I tickets for Wagner's Flying Dutchman on 9/3 at ROH; will stay with both son and big sis for a few days each. It follows on from Bruckner's big weekend at the GH at start of March, for which I'm fully subscribed. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Completed Black Kite account for 2023 with their fantastic conquest continuing (Population of the Black Kite in Northumberland)

More details of the Black Kite breeding season for 2023 are available in Table 2.4:



Area

No. sites

No. adult Black Kite

No. adult associating Red Kite

No. pure Black Kite juvenile

No. hybrid Black Kite x Red Kite juvenile

Breeding Category

No. Juveniles fledged

Post-breeding sites

Conf

Prob

Poss

Devil’s Water

2

4

0

2

0

2

0

0

2

0

Allen

1

1

0

1

0

1

0

0

1

0

Upper South Tyne

2

1

0

3

0

1

0

1

3

0

Lower South Tyne

1

1

0

2

0

1

0

0

2

0

Tipalt

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Tyne Valley W

4

8

0

6

0

4

0

0

6

0

Tyne Valley E

1

1

0

2

0

1

0

0

2

0

Derwent

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

12

17

0

16

0

10

0

2

16+ (1x3, 4x2, 5x1+)

0


Table 2.4: Breeding Data for Black Kite in SW Northumberland by area in 2023


An amazing year with sites occupied up over previous year from 7 to 12, adults from 12 to 17 and juveniles fledged from 11+ to 16+. My personal activities fitted in well with the timing of the Black Kite season, being largely present from May to August, though an operation at Nuffield restricted my movements in May. No mixed pairs with Red Kite were found so there seems to be no shortage of new Black Kite for recruitment. The weather was quite cool at times in July, with maximum down to 13-15C for a few days, but this did not apparently affect the birds' breeding success. The main area remains Tyne Valley W where 4 sites were occupied, fledging 7+ young in 4 broods. The species does seem adaptable to upland areas with breeding at Studdon Park at 260m asl (apparently moved from Sinderhope) and at Towsbank at 180m asl, the fantastic raptor site on the upper South Tyne; at Towsbank 3 juveniles were together on 20/8; no adults were seen but the juveniles were clearly a tight family group, flying together. The first arrival was on 20/4 at Prudhoe. The Ordley site (my home) was indeed occupied this year with a breeding pair following on from the late occupation in the previous year; at least one juvenile was fledged here with 11 sightings made during the season, showing the high visibility of the species, compared say with Honey-buzzard or even Red Kite. The most spectacular sight during the year was on 4/8 at Bywell where 7 birds were in kettle formation, 2 ad + 2 juv from Bywell and 2 ad + 1 juv from the adjacent site of Styford. Most fledged birds were seen from 3/8 to 22/8 but there was a remarkably early sighting of a family party of 4 birds (2 ad + 2 juv) at Thornbrough on 3/7; this is a new site and it can be speculated that this was a new pair following a timetable more suited to southern Europe. Juveniles may well have stayed beyond 22/8 but I left for Georgia on 23/8 so no more fieldwork in the study area. Have a suspicion that Red Kite numbers do seem to be adversely affected by the dominant Black Kite, retreating from their old sites to the edges of the Black Kite territories. No Black Kite were recorded on BirdGuides for Northumberland or in the Bulletins of the N&TBC.

January 12th: maximum 3C, minimum 0C, light W, sunny, dry. Really wet period seems to be over with it turning a lot colder. Had chat with N/D on Skype in morning, then into QHC4s4l where good to meet runner S again!! Finally onto QHL4work. Received some more presents and cards. Have a heating engineer arriving next week to service and repair the stove (first checking it over and getting parts). Meanwhile running it low with care. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 11th: maximum 4C, minimum 0C, light NE, mostly cloudy but some welcome sunshine, few light drizzle periods. Celebrated on birthday eve with aperitif of g in G, meal at Stalida with 12 meze, carafe ww, glass rw, then back to G for couple of g; all with 3 mates from G R/P/A; good to have L in form! Earlier made T4scone4l with M/R, M understandably feeling the pain from the loss of his partner B from lung failure, ultimately pneumonia; her funeral is at Carlisle on 29/1 which I shall be attending.

January 10th: maximum 5C, minimum 3C, light NE, dull with drizzle from time to time. Went down to Hexham to get cash for cleaner S; decided to make a walk of it by visiting Tyne Green and Tesco for the cash! Had 17 bird-types, including 6 Herring Gull (2 ad, 4 1w), a Common Gull ad, 71 Black-headed Gull (70 ad, 1 1w), 28 Mallard, 4 Fieldfare, plus a Grey Squirrel and a few mole; total for ytd is 34 bird-types now. Finished analysing Black Kite spreadsheet for SW Northumberland: results are stupendous with 12 sites occupied (10 confirmed), 17 adults seen and 15+ juveniles raised at 10 sites; no mixed pairs; the Black Kite is surely here to stay! Will start writing the account tomorrow. Stove needs a service: glass cracked, bolt loose, one or two new firebricks. Will run it on low heat and contact service guy 2moro. It's 9 years old, should be able to do another 5-10 years if parts refitted! R members using the form slumped today (only 1) so there's a significant rump who don't want to use the form. I'll send them an email tomorrow to get their choices and find out what's stopping them. So 2moro is fun dinner with mates from G! Card did get delivered in Dubai to daughter: impressed! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 9th: maximum 3C, minimum 1C, light NE, bright at midday, nice sunset, no frost. Working hard indoors on various projects; desperate for exercise so out from 15:30-16:30 for quick local walk. Had a flock of 80 Redwing, 3 LTT, 301 Common Gull (300 S to Derwent Reservoir to roost, 1 ad on its own on field), 2 Pied Wagtail, in total of 12 bird-types. Up to 28 bird-types for year, derisory total for some on the coast in January, but inland in cold weather it's quiet. Daughter's birthday today, sent her 4k and have a card being physically delivered tomorrow courtesy of Dubai's answer to Moonpig! The card has a piccie of the shadow of the balloon on our Safari adventure. Completed work on Festival website. Google Forms looks to have been an outstanding success with 24 members having completed the form this afternoon and submitted results to the spreadsheet, 20 of whom are coming to lunch. That's out of 45 members but 10 are fairly dormant! Am handling the Burns Night by email but putting results onto Google Forms; have 13 members and spouses coming so far. Will recommend Google Forms but best to keep the use simple, don't do anything which Google has to check carefully such as collecting emails, preventing more than one response or uploading a file. Funds are -6k with resource stocks still drifting down: optimism for 2024 during Xmas has evaporated; that's before the withdrawal. Looking forward to seeing someone: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 8th: maximum 2C, minimum 0C, light E, dull all day but no frost. Busy day at R, publicised Burns Night and sent out flyer, chaired Admin Team meeting which lasted 20 min! Need menu for trial of Google Forms tomorrow. Happy to do web admin for Festival!! Made G4g4s with A/R/P 4 good chat with L/L on! Thursday is big night at Stalida. 2moro will start on Black Kite report for 2023, an exciting prospect. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 7th: maximum 2C, minimum 1C, light NW, bright morning, then dull with rain showers. A typical cool spell for mid-January. Finished the Osprey compilation as reported below: very exciting development this last year. Also added historical information from earliest records to Red Kite account. Next up is Black Kite, another exciting recent colonist. So busy but satisfying day! Made G4g4s for gr8 chat with the lads and new bar lass E on. Busy day at R 2moro with start of weekly meetings, introduction of Google Forms, Admin Team meeting, then publishing of Burns Night function and on Tuesday first sending out of Google Forms in anger. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

More details of the Osprey breeding season for 2023 are available in Table 2.4: (Population of the Osprey in SW Northumberland).

Area

No. sites

No. adult

Breeding Category

No. Juveniles fledged

Post-breeding sites

Conf

Prob

Poss

Devil’s Water

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Allen

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Upper South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Lower South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne Valley W

1

2

1

0

0

1

0

Tyne Valley E

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Derwent

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

1

2

1

0

0

1

0

Table 2.4: Breeding Data for Osprey in SW Northumberland by area in 2023


In 2023 there was a high number of sightings of Osprey around Hexham, which sits on the Tyne just below the join of the North Tyne and the South Tyne. The North Tyne runs up to Kielder and the South Tyne to Haltwhistle and Alston. Hexham is about 15km from Derwent Reservoir.


The spring records on BirdGuides for the Tyne this year, are given below:

15:15 09/06 Osprey Northumberland Riding Mill one moving slowly west along River Tyne mid-afternoon

16:48 08/06 Osprey Northumberland Hexham 16:45 one flew east over Tesco

17:56 27/05 Osprey Northumberland Riding Mill 17:51 one flew west

16:36 23/05 Osprey Northumberland Hexham 14:30 one flew north

10:33 23/05 Osprey Northumberland Hexham one flew north

17:20 16/05 Osprey Northumberland Stocksfield 17:20

13:39 30/04 Osprey Northumberland Stocksfield 13:33 one flew north over east side



So it was no surprise when on 23/6 when a likely Osprey site was found on the Tyne at Hexham NE. The single Osprey made 2 fishing trips at 14:55 and 15:55 and got up for a third time at 16:01 to interact with a Black Kite. On 3/7 a distant Osprey to W at 17:57 was seen from Thornbrough, Corbridge. On 24/7 two adults were in territory over the site. On 7/8 two Osprey were seen at 14:30-14:35: an adult persistently high-up and a weak-flying juvenile in the tree tops below but up in the air low-down three times. Earlier in the season on 7/5 the site was visited for raptor study but no Osprey were seen: they may have been sitting tight. This is considered to be the first breeding record in modern times for Osprey on a river system in Northumberland.



Sightings continued on BirdGuides but at a lower rate:



14:54 29/06 Osprey Northumberland Stocksfield one circled over then flew south mid-afternoon

15:19 13/07 Osprey Northumberland Riding Mill one flew east along River Tyne

09:27 21/09 Osprey Northumberland Stocksfield one flew south-west over Mickley Grange

07:39 29/09 Osprey Northumberland Mickley Square 07:38 one flew south-east over Mickley Grange



There were no additions to these records from the Bulletins of the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club, searched from March to October. Indeed surprisingly only the 27/5 record at Riding Mill was duplicated. The bulletins did contain many records from Derwent Reservoir all through the summer.

Note: breeding records from 2016-2018 of Osprey at Beldon Burn, Derwent, are also considered in the full report at Population of the Osprey in SW Northumberland.

January 6th: maximum 4C, minimum 0C, light W, sunny, dry. Spent a lot of time on the Osprey account which is now ready for publishing tomorrow. Also updated the Red Kite account with a historical section from my work on Wallis (1769) in 1999. After Osprey it will be the turn of the Black Kite. Need to add my records so far in 2023 to kick-off the year. Prepared flyer for Burns Night. So a productive day if a bit quiet. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 5th: maximum 5C, minimum 1C, light NW, sunny, almost dry. Busy morning with good chat to N/D followed by QH where visited cafe and library; gr8 to meet S again at QHC and did some work on Munich paper in library, trying to make it more accessible (more explanations!). Have started move to Google Forms in R, with trial launched next week, using conditional logic and sections. Funds were unchanged this week gross, so -16k net, after the most dismal start to a year in 2 decades! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 4th: maximum 7C, minimum 2C, light SW, dull, almost dry. Had long chat with R at Abbey on our Burns Night function, looks very promising for an entertaining night. Then met M at T4m4l, his partner B is sadly in palliative care at RVI, tried to cheer him up. Cleaner S came in afternoon so went out for walk at Dipton Wood S from 15:00-16:45, getting 2 Common Buzzard and a 1w Kestrel; also had 4 Greylag Goose,1 Cormorant S, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 6 Fieldfare, 6 Blackbird, in total of 16 species. Booked us in at Stalida4m4s for 11/1 celebration of my birthday with 3 G mates. Designed a Google form for registering R members for lunch and other events; will simplify admin greatly if can get members to adopt it, responses can go directly into a spreadsheet. 2moro chatting to N/D over Skype and then going to QHC4s4l and QHL4study. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 3rd: maximum 7C, minimum 5C, light W, heavy rain in morning, dull later, no sun. Had a Tawny Owl calling outside at 07:00 as it was going to bed! Still working on Osprey 2016-2018 where breeding strongly suspected in Beldon Burn; have updated piccies, NB and BirdTrack but this new species for the breeding list in the study area is going to take a little more time. Did some work on the ANPA web site, converting it from http to https and making new post on our next conference in Oxford in August; NameCheap has made it a lot easier to make sites secure by providing PositiveSSL as an add-on. Will use the experience on the Festival site in February. Main effort of day was getting our Burns Night on 27/1 into its final stages; this is no simple matter: we have 4 orators, a bagpipe player, the Abbey caterers, the R council, R members, all of which have to be co-ordinated; meeting lead guy from Abbey RD to produce a master plan 2moro morning in the Abbey cafe. The Admin Team of which I'm leader have to ratify final setup next Monday at another meeting. Also meeting M at T4m4l 2moro before S comes to clean. Markets have fallen sharply at the start of the New Year, anticipated this to some extent as built up some cash over last few weeks. Own funds are +6k gross but 16k of withdrawals for Xmas dividends to family mean -10k net! A busy day: good to hear from someone special: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 2nd: maximum 8C, minimum 5C, light SE, heavy rain most of day, ground absolutely saturated. Working on Osprey. Realised that did have undeclared breeding records in 2016-2017 in Derwent area so working on recording properly these old records before starting on 2023 data. Started off new season for R but no menu yet from the County for next Monday and the Burns Night is going to be a bit of a rush. Made G4g4s for good chat with A/R/P and A on. We've fixed up 11/1 for birthday meal at the Greek. On front porch as arrived back at 23:45, there was an Early Moth, first moth of the new season. Had delivery from W, £101! A quiet day: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

January 1st: maximum 6C, minimum 2C, light E, some sunshine midday, wet evening with moderate SE. Another species done, Goshawk, this one quite depressing with poor results probably through persecution. Next up is Osprey, a brand new species for the study area, although breeding has been suspected in the Derwent area before. Highlight of day was New Year's Day Concert at the GH; it was a complete sell-out, even level 3 was full. I just let it wash over me and completely enjoyed it; had lunch with L/IB/MG; drove into Forth Banks to park as no trains, no metro, no buses (no public transport at all!). Did a count of birds at Quayside, reminded me of days in the lockdown!! Walked another 8k steps so keeping fit! More to follow ... Very pleased with NY greeting from someone; to her and all others:

HAPPY NEW YEAR and BEST WISHES for 2024!!

2moro it's first delivery from W for a while, much later back to the G with the gang and restart on admin of R. Good afternoon! Welcome to the stimulating New Year!

Details of the Goshawk breeding season for 2023 are available in Table 17 (Population of the Goshawk in SW Northumberland).


Area

No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category

Juveniles

Conf

Prob

Poss


Local-fledge

Also seen

Devil’s Water

2

2

0

2

0

0

0

Allen

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Upper South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Lower South Tyne

1

1

0

0

1

0

0

Tyne W

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

Tyne E

1

1

0

0

1

0

0

Derwent

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

5

5

0

3

2

0

0

Table 17: Breeding Data for Goshawk in SW Northumberland by area in 2023


The short-term trend is clearer after 2 seasons of zero productivity. The species is occupying some sites in spring but is not able to complete breeding, probably because of persecution. Although NR was away from mid-August for 3 weeks in Georgia, this species breeds early and fledged juveniles should have been visible in the intense fieldwork in mid-August. It is just possible that one pair bred at Whitley Chapel as following sightings here in April and June, a 1w female was present in December at Ordley and Dotland but it is too late in the season to make a definite attribution. Other sites where the species was noted in spring from NR's records were Bywell, Dipton Wood S and Wylam. Two records were added from the Bulletins of the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club, searched from January-October 2023: "a male was at Plenmeller Common on 7th March (PRM); on 4th April, one was noted displaying with two Buzzards Buteo buteo SW of Whitley Chapel (AJH)". The first record was added in the possible category; the second reinforced the breeding at this site. The abundance of Woodpigeon in the study area makes it unlikely that productivity would suffer from food shortages.


December 31st: maximum 5C, minimum 3C, light E, some sunshine midday, wet later. Went for good walk in 'Shire in morning from 10:45-12:45 to Dotland, taking advantage of interlude in wet weather. Spirits up a bit season-wise: we're turning daylight-wise with sunset a little later and the birds instantly spot this change and become a little less defensive. Had a good 28 bird-types including 2 Common Buzzard (at Peth Foot and Dotland), 1 Goshawk (1w female flying in menacing mode towards West Dipton Burn), a Kestrel 1w, 2 Nuthatch, a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Bullfinch. 4 Redwing, 21 Fieldfare, 17 Blackbird, plus 5 mole. Walked almost 9k steps, including some gardening where cut off a fractured branch on a plum tree at the back and cut back a cotoneaster simonsii at the front. Not out tonite: next out 2/1 with mates at G; in evening watched whole of new DVD, Xmas present from son, of Wagner's Tannhäuser with Daniel Barenboim as maestro; quite a racy production with plenty of steam and semi-nudity in the Venusberg (orgy!) scene; musical highlights were superb, very uplifting!! Going to New Year's concert tomorrow afternoon at the GH, Viennese style! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 30th: maximum 7C, minimum 0C, moderate SE, light rain afternoon, turning heavier briefly in evening. Catching up with many webpages and records after tour away. Have done Hobby report for 2023 as below. Next up is Goshawk and Osprey. Also compiled records for 13/12 Nairobi W and started labelling piccies from Nairobi National Park on same day. Funds finished week +11k, making gain on year +260k gross (+9.7%), +217k net, after 43k withdrawals. This compares with +153% Bitcoin, +43% NASDAQ tech, +14% Dow, +4% both FTSE 100 and FTSE 250. The £ appreciated against the $ by 6% in 2023 so in $ terms my funds would be +16%, a little bit better than the Dow. Bitcoin and NASDAQ both crashed in 2022 so over the two years they have not been that good. Been reading some background reviews of Child in Pyjamas: very ambitious project!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Details of the Hobby breeding season for 2023 are available in Table 18 (Population of the Hobby in SW Northumberland).

.

Area

No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category

Juveniles

Conf

Prob

Poss


Local-fledge

Also seen

Devil’s Water

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Allen

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

Tipalt

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Upper South Tyne

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

Lower South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne W

2

3

0

2

0

0

0

Tyne E

1

1

0

0

1

0

0

Derwent

1

0

1

0

0

1

0

Total

6

6

1

4

1

1

0

Table 18: Breeding Data for Hobby in SW Northumberland by area in 2023


While the core area for Honey-buzzard, Devil’s Water and Tyne Valley W, remained priority for coverage, some forays further afield were made in 2023 to cover the growing Black Kite population. Three sites were occupied through the season: Bywell and Hexham NE, both Tyne Valley W, and Studdon Park (Allen). Indeed these sites were occupied until mid-August. NR then had a lengthy stay in Georgia, preventing confirmation through seeing fledged juveniles. At a fourth site, the regular Towsbank (upper South Tyne) a male was seen in aggressive mode in mid-August but no juvenile appeared. So it is probable that breeding was successful at all 4 sites. A search made in the Bulletin of the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club (April-September 2023) added 2 sites with in June “An adult crossed the A69 at Wylam on 10th (TW)" and in September “A juvenile was at Derwent Reservoir on 28th (IFo)”. The first site has been regular and the second is in an established area for the species. The first has been added as possible breeding and the second as confirmed breeding. The outcome suggests that the species is showing some resilience at lower population levels than previously. A search of BirdGuides provided no records for Northumberland.

December 29th: maximum 6C, minimum 0C, moderate W becoming light W in evening, heavy showers, ground is totally saturated. House is still a little cool but warming steadily. I'm feeling the cold, don't expect much sympathy! Finished processing all records from the 2023 breeding season in Northumberland with completion of Towsbank 20/8, an incredible visit with 26 birds of prey of 7 types, 6 of which confirmed breeding. So can now produce annual reports with qualification that was away, in Georgia, for critical part of fledging season. First up will be Hobby, then Goshawk. Today also processed Nairobi 12/12 and added family piccies to 19/12 from Safari taken by son, plus worked out a few places we visited on the BirdTrack map. Had to do some in person shopping at W as no deliveries until 2/1; did small shop in morning for £19. At last thinking of sofa purchase to replace ones dumped outside; IKEA is in the lead at the moment but will need to reduce balance currently -4.1k on MC from holiday before commit. Funds have had a good week, +10k as it stands; about to close the year's sheet. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 28th: maximum 8C, minimum 4C, near gale moderate W, heavy rain early afternoon, strong winds later. Major temperature gradient in my life, and it's getting colder still!! Said goodbye to son in Welwyn. Journey back was smooth; good move to come up today in better weather. Took Uber to Stevenage (£19, including £3 tip), caught LNER train to Peterborough at 11:27, seeing 2 separate Red Kite; then LNER to NCL, getting in at 14:50, just 10 min late; then innovation, walked to Tokyo and hired Uber to take me home, just £32 plus 8 tip; driver was obviously not used to such rural settings as the 'Shire but he stayed the course so home at 15:45! Had left heating on low so not desperately cold in house but still a major effort at restoring warmth, Saved all files from Kenya to my desktop: 1331 piccies taking up 9.71GB. Charging up camera, laptop, toothbrush. Out to G4g4s to meet R/P with L on: a great reunion. Ordered W groceries for delivery on 2/1; need to shop in person tomorrow to plug the gap. So settling back in. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 27th: maximum 11C, minimum 9C, moderate SW, wet all day. Through T4 in 45 min and got Uber to son's house in Welwyn for £71 plus 10 bonus. This is cheapest and quickest way for 2 people. We went straight to bed for a few hours: long flights particularly overnight are a strain! Travel to NE again disrupted today by Storm Gerrit so pleased planned journey for tomorrow. We made Greek restaurant Rodi in Welwyn for evening meal: I had Shish Kebab – very tasty and a glass of rw. So return is imminent. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 26th: maximum 31C, minimum 26C, light NE, sunny and dry all day. Pottered around hotel, chilling out in sunshine, seeing a new stork, an Osprey, and sunbird. A flock of 50 White Stork was soaring to SW at 14:15. Four Amethyst Sunbird were on flowering shrubs. An Osprey was coasting S at 13:00 1. Also had 3 African Palm Swift, 16 Little Swift 1  2  3  4, 4 Drongo, 20 Indian House Crow 1  2  3 with occupied nest, 1 Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, 11 Common Swift to S 1  2  3, 2 Mosque Swallow, 6 Feral Pigeon, 4 House Sparrow 1, 2 Hadada Ibis, 1 Common Bulbul. Got taxi Uber at 16:00 to Moi airport, said fond farewell to always cheerful and helpful staff including Ruth our pool waitress. At Mombasa Airport (Moi) at 17:00 had 8 Little Swift, 1 Feral Pigeon, 15 Indian House Crow. First flight was internal Mombasa to Nairobi, a lot of turbulence as left the steamy coast. Had 2 similar security checks at each - not sure that's effective: best to have 2 different genre as in extra check on physical phone in online shopping. Anyway had to wait 4 hours as scheduled at NBO, which is very modern in design. We had 2 more security checks here and son had a bonus one at the gate. We had a snack here US$31, then noted gate was open for our flight but gate number was a mystery! Info desk solved problem and took off at 00:30 on time for 9-hour flight to LHR. Different route avoiding Red Sea, going far to W over Sudan and Chad, ending up crossing Med at Algeria rather than Egypt. Obvious why! Kenya Airways did well on both flights.

December 25th: maximum 31C, minimum 27C, light NE, sunny and dry all day. Christmas dinner in the tropics was a bit incongruous but it was celebrated well in our hotel with Indian-style food and hospitality. So at 18:00 we had chicken soup (clear), curried turkey and profiteroles, with in my case a large glass of dry red wine, son having freshly-squeezed lemon juice. All very tasty. Hotel has been very busy over the holiday period with the large local Indian population celebrating the holiday. Planned digital link up with daughter did not work: Wi-Fi speed poor as overloaded and took ages to get new app Botim set up! Did do a bit of birdwatching. 4 Black Stork migrants 1  2  3  4  5  6 coming S steered around the upcoming Mombasa by turning SW at 10:00. A Yellow-billed Kite was up twice over Haller Park 1. A Green Vervet Monkey was by the hotel pool in a tree! Also over the sea had a large gull, a Pallas’s adult 1  2, 25 Lesser Crested Tern 1, 7 Greater Crested Tern 1, plus on the reef 18 Crab-plover 1  2. Four Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird were in the trees nearby, latter shown here 1  2. Indian House Crow are very bold, often coming close 1. Also recorded was an African Pied Wagtail. Getting return journey organised, booked SVG-NCL for 28/12 around 11:00, I assume plane won’t be more than one day late! We’re checked in now, arrive around 06:30 27/12 in LHR, staying one night in Welwyn.

Happy Christmas to all followers, and the special one: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 24th: maximum 31C, minimum 26C, light NE, sunny and dry all day (for second day). Adventure again, moving N with Uber to Jumba Ruins 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25, an old Swahili settlement from c1400, abandoned a few centuries later, probably due to water sources being invaded by salt water and diseases such as malaria. We hired a guide and he gave us lots of information on the role of Zanzibar in running the place as a trading centre. Some of the baobab trees were enormous 26 and the site ran out onto the beach 27  28  29  30 of the Indian Ocean; on the sea had a Lesser Crested Tern, a Greater Crested Tern, a Masked Booby. The Uber driver waited for us and took us on to Coba Cabana beach, where we had a leisurely lunch in a cafe on the beach 1  2  3. This was a marvellous area, like Watamu where stayed in 2021 with mangrove creeks 4  5, coral reefs and beautiful soft silvery sand. We tried to find another ruin but decided that it had been absorbed into a private development. We took a TukTuk back to our hotel, 15km away; sounds a bit rough but actually traffic was so slow it was almost as quick as taking an Uber; cost was 1500 KSh (£7.50). Then bit more time by the hotel pool, where we also had dinner. Had a Yellow-billed Kite N of Mombasa at Shimo la Tewa, along with 7 Little Swift, 16 Indian House Crow, 1 House Sparrow. At the creek we had a massive Goliath Heron, a Grey Heron perched in the mangroves 1  2  3  4, 7 Crab-plover, 1 Little Egret, plus another Masked Booby and a Bee-eater on edge of sea flying N 1. Back at the hotel the already impressive swift list was augmented by an Alpine Swift flying E. Have caught up on diary! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 23rd: maximum 31C, minimum 26C, light NE, sunny and dry all day. Day at the ranch! Did some birdwatching (intermittently 10:40-17:40) from the first floor patio outside of our hotel; picked up 23 bird-types in a few hours, including a Red-necked Falcon briefly appearing overhead before dashing off to E and a Little Sparrowhawk climbing in the sky and moving off to NE. Saw a number of swift: 14 African Palm Swift, 4 Little Swift feeding 1  2  3  4, 6 Common Swift feeding 1  2 (last piccie with Mosque Swallow), 12 Pallid Swift S together. 2 Mosque Swallow were feeding 1  2 towards hotels near the sea and a Barn Swallow flew S. A Willow Warbler was calling from nearby flowering shrubs 1. Local birds included 5 Feral Pigeon, 5 House Sparrow 1  2  3  4, 2 singing Common Bulbul 1  2, 4 Drongo 1  2, a singing Spotted Palm Thrush, 18 Indian House Crow 1  2  3 including a pair nesting 4. Birds on the sea and coast (with reef 1) included 25 Lesser Crested Tern 1  2  3  4  5, 2 Greater Crested Tern, 2 Masked Booby 1, 2 Pallas’s (Great Black-headed) Gull (ad, 1w) 1  2  3, 1 Common Tern, 1 Sooty Tern, 19 Crab-plover 1  2, 1 Sooty Gull. There’s much more to follow for each day on the wildlife; need to study the piccies, notes and reference book Birds of East Africa by Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe, before finalising lists. That will be done at home. Have over 9GB of piccies, held in camera, on laptop and on smart drive, so plenty of back-up.

December 22nd: maximum 30C, minimum 26C, moderate NE, mainly dry except for a few light showers, some more wispy cloud, sunshine a bit more diffuse. Out S of Mombasa (2 Black-headed Heron over Old Town area at 09:30). to near the Tanzania border at Diani Beach 1  2  3  4  5  6. Left by Uber at 10:00, complicated journey as while only c25km you need a car ferry crossing over the S strait of Mombasa, taking only 5 min but much hassle in boarding, including queues. Uber driver offered us return journey for cash if he could take us back, which we accepted! We had lunch at a restaurant on the beech, along with a local entrepreneur who arranged our boat trip and managed to sneak his Guinness onto our bill! We were entertained by a juggler and a gymnastic troupe (500 KSh each!). and son went for a swim 1  2  3. Many tern and some Sooty Gull were gathered on 4 boats. Took lots of piccies 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40. Close analysis of these photos suggests following numbers: 51 Greater Crested Tern, 21 Lesser Crested Tern, 20 Roseate Tern, 19 Sooty Gull, 7 Common Tern, 4 Sandwich Tern. A few of these Sooty Gull landed on the beach 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 and a Sooty Gull and a Greater Crested Tern were photographed against the coral reef 8. Some more terns were on boats to north but no close-up piccies so ignoring these; does mean these are minimal counts. Boat trip was to a sandbank 1  2  3 on the coral reef in a glass-bottomed boat, giving great views of the tropical fish. Son went snorkelling 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 with the skipper! Trip took 2 hours and we then met up with driver at 16:50 for chaotic traffic conditions around the ferry and in Mombasa generally as people made their getaway before holiday weekend. At Diani Beach had 10 types of bird, including the 5 terns, 1 gull, and Pied Crow (1). Common Swift (3), Indian House Crow (20) and House Sparrow (2). At Maweni at 17:15 had 2 Common Swift, 1 Feral Pigeon, 8 Indian House Crow, 1 Black-headed Heron. We paid driver total of 14.6 KSh for return journey (£70). We ate in the Continental section of the restaurant for a change from the Indian section, which is very good. Funds finished week +31k (+43k over holiday to date) with annual performance (2023) of +249k gross (+9.2%), +206k net, after 43k withdrawals; put withdrawals for Xmas presents (16k) into New Year and some of current trip is on Mastercard; the £ (amazingly) appreciated against the $ over the year by 6% so rise in US$ terms would have matched the Dow, but much less than tech stocks or bitcoin both of which crashed in 2022. It’s been a tough year for both commodities (inflation quashing) and smaller companies (everyone loves the big 7 tech) so think performance is satisfactory. 2moro it’s rest day! Delighted to hear from someone special: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 21st: maximum 32C, minimum 27C, moderate NE, dry except for one brief heavy shower, sunny. In morning we went to Bamburi Haller Park, a nature reserve 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8 close to our hotel, made from abandoned limestone quarries, in a project partly funded by LaFarge, the cement maker. It’s a large area so able to accommodate 6 Giraffe 1  2  3  4  5, 2 Hippopotamus, 4 Nile Crocodile 1  2, 4 Green Vervet Monkey 1  2, 1 Giant Tortoise 1  2. Last 3 are new to trip but the tortoise is not wild in this area. Also visited a butterfly farm 1  2  3 in the Park and found some interesting birds: 30 Village Weaver 1  2 breeding in their hanging nests over the Crocodile enclosure (very safe!), 1 Pied Kingfisher, 4 Egyptian Goose, 2 Common Bulbul, 4 Indian House Crow. We travelled in TukTuk in both directions: cheap and quick in heavy traffic. At lunchtime spotted from hotel a Palm-nut Vulture drifting along the coast at 13:30 and an Hadada Ibis. In afternoon we went by Uber to Mombasa Jesus Fort 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8 and old town 1  2  3; we hired a guide and he told us about the Fort’s troubled history with the Portuguese, Oman and England all having control at some point. The Fort is in a very strategic position on the middle part of Mombasa overlooking the two estuaries to N 1 and S. Here had 6 Little Swift, 2 Black-headed Heron, 100 House Crow, 8 Feral Pigeon, 2 Common Bulbul, 1 African Palm Swift. Old town was very interesting, parts of it 400 years old. Traffic is a nightmare in Mombasa: mixture of bikes, TukTuk, cars, lorries, all fighting over every junction. Mombasa has a large Muslim population, like all settlements on the East African coast. 2moro it’s down the south coast towards Tanzania at Diani Beach. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 20th: maximum 32C, minimum 27C, moderate NE, dry, sunny. A recovery day. Noticeably warmer and more humid. Caught up on quite a lot of charging of digital equipment: P1000 camera, Android phone, Runmifit watch, Lenovo laptop. Went for walk to Mall, for ATM, and to beach in late afternoon. Some regulars of coastal areas seen: 25 Indian House Crow, 1 House Sparrow, 2 Common Bulbul, 3 African Palm Swift, 2 African Pied Wagtail 1. Also had quick stroll to local beach 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 with lovely sand beside the Indian Ocean. Funds +19k wtd on solid rally. 2moro it’s Mombasa Jesus Fort and old town. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 19th: maximum 25C, minimum 16C, light NE, dry, sunny. Another big travel day. Saw daughter's family off at 10:00 in their car to the Mara North Airstrip, sad to see them go but its been a marvellous family reunion! We had leisurely morning in the camp, packing and looking around, spotted a Western Marsh Harrier adult male to W of camp 1 hunting at moderate altitude. Also had up to 8 Hippopotamus 1  2  3  4  5  6 in the Mara River 1  2  3 at the hotel, plus 2 Green Sandpiper, a Swallow, an African Pied Wagtail 1, 4 Helmeted Guineafowl, a singing Tawny-flanked Prinia, a calling Eurasian Golden Oriole. Photographed 6 butterflies on flowers at the Fairmont 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10, none identified! We left at 13:30 for the airstrip, having paid £3,150 for our tent for 2 to the Fairmont, including about £950 for conservation fees, which very happy to pay. We saw a party of 10 Banded Mongoose and a Bushbuck as left. Gave tip of 12k KSh (£60) to our driver for the 6 days Samson; he deserves every 1p: we’ve seen all the big five and all the big cats: Leopard, Cheetah, Lion, and he’s been a most entertaining host. Near Naserian Camp on way had a Black-headed Heron, an Hadada Ibis, an Emerald-Spotted Wood Dove. While waiting for plane had 2 Bateleur and 2 White-headed Vulture 1  2  3  4  5  6 in the distance. A Meyer’s Parrot was perched in a tree 1  2  3  4 and also had a Drongo and 2 Helmeted Guineafowl here. Habitat was scrub and plain 1  2  3 with mountain in the distance 1. An Air Kenya small plane with 2 propellers 1  2  3 arrived first. Small single-propeller plane of Safari Link 1  2  3  4 arrived on time at 15:15 on our earth-made strip at Mara North, we waved goodbye to Samson and arrived in Nairobi Wilson at 16:05 after a smooth flight in our 12-seater. Then taxi across to Nairobi International (£20) for internal flight to Mombasa, scheduled 19:00 but delayed to 19:23. Security checks were very thorough! Flight took 45 min, then got pre-booked taxi to Bliss Hotel, where staying for a while. Nice hotel: we had dinner in their Indian restaurant; I had chicken biryani, quite spicy. Then set for good night’s sleep. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Son Alex took some piccies on safari: outside plane 1; inside plane 2; vehicle 3; family as labelled 4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11.

December 18th: maximum 25C, minimum 16C, light NE, dry, sunny. The longest day!! Up at 04:30 to have cup of tea at 04:50 and departure of safari car at 05:10. Saw quite a lot on the drive to the balloon base, including a Spotted Hyena, 4 African Spring Hare; a giant Hippopotamus crashed across the road in front of us when just out of camp, on the trail they use between the River Mara for resting in the day and their grazing grounds at night. Time to board the safari balloon at 06:15; must admit this was a bit scary at the start as the basket was on its side and we had to lie down on one side, clinging on to rope handholds. The balloon was then inflated slowly, eventually raising the basket upright and we could all stand up. We had a 45-min ride, with brilliant views over the Mara plains with of course many animals in close-up view, including Eland 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 with 6 Egyptian Goose 8  9, Impala 10  11, Thomson’s Gazelle 11a, Wildebeest 12  13, Hippopotamus 14  15  16, African Buffalo with 3 Red-billed Oxpecker 17  18  19, Zebra 20 with Flappet Lark 21, with Wildebeest 22, Spotted Hyena 23, 7 Cattle Egret 24, a Secretarybird, a Southern Fiscal 24a  24b with Dik-dik. We kept fairly low but twice made 400m above the plain 25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  41  42  43  44  45  46  47  48  49  50  51  52  53  54  55  56, with some human buildings, a Masai camp 56a and rangers’ huts 56b. Here’s our shadow across the plain 57  58  59  60  61  62. Coming into land we again had to lie down and the basket made 5 bumps before coming to a standstill. Our vehicles can be seen here closing in on our landing place 63 with balloon on the ground 64 and its passengers 65  66; here’s my certificate for the flight 67. At a waterhole, first seen from the balloon 1  2  3, we had a large gathering of Hippopotamus 4  5  6  7  8  9, with Spur-winged Plover 10, an Impala 11, 14 Egyptian Goose (including a brood of 7 chicks 12  13  14), 2 Black-winged Stilt 15  16  16a  17, 2 Spur-winged Plover 18  19, a Common Sandpiper 20  21, distant views at 7:44 of a male Honey-buzzard 22  23 (13600) and a Yellow-billed Kite 24  25; at 7:45 a Montagu’s Harrier ringtail (plain face) and a Bee-eater closer to the waterhole 26  27; here’s a view of the Mara from the waterhole 28 and its dense aquatic vegetation 29. Meanwhile the breakfast equipment was being unpacked 68. We then drove to a lone Acacia tree, where we had a Champagne breakfast with omelette, in a most incongruous setting, complete with white table cloths 69, a mini market and a bush loo! In the balloon trip had 13 species of bird. We were then driven back to base at 08:40, seeing an African Wattled Plover, a Bateleur (in flight), 3 Southern Ground-Hornbill 1  2  3  4  5, 1 Green Sandpiper, 6 Spur-winged Plover, 4 Crowned Crane 6  7; so 6 bird-types casually on this section. Mammals included 8 Spotted Hyena 8  9  10  11, 4 Banded Mongoose 12  13  14  15  16  17, a Warthog family 18  19  20. We arrived back at 11:30. What a marvellous trip, lovely birthday present from daughter. My Runmifit watch tells me pulse rate went to 95 when being loaded into basket, dropping to 60 just 3 minutes later and for rest of trip, except for landing when briefly rose to 75. You have to do things outside your comfort zone! Lazed around hotel complex in afternoon, seeing a Black-headed Heron, 2 Blue-naped Mousebird, an African Hoopoe, a White-fronted Bee-eater 1 and a Hadada Ibis 2, plus a colourful butterfly 3  4. Most interesting was hearing a series of alarm calls from the trees by the Mara River sounding just like Honey-buzzard, but cannot be the latter as they don’t make calls outside their breeding season; so think it was an African Cuckoo-Hawk, a close relative of the Honey-buzzard. So had 6 casual records for the home ranch. We had early dinner where given honour of Swahili song welcoming us to Kenya; think this is done for all people staying a significant time; tipped waitress KSh 4k for her attention (£20). Then out again on night drive from 20:00-21:30 with a spotter with a strong lamp; amazing to see the colossal Hippopotamus grazing in the fields, the almost asleep gazelles, the frogs croaking in their thousands, likewise the crickets, all under a clear starry sky with no light pollution. We also saw some African Rabbit, 2 Spotted Hyena, 2 African Spring Hare and a Bushbuck, last new for our trip. To bed at 22:30. Off tomorrow to the coast! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 17th: maximum 25C, minimum 13C, light E, sunny, felt hot in sunshine. Went for walking safari from 10:00-11:30. Gives you much insight into the tracks and signs in the wilds. Escorted by a Ranger with a gun! Hippos gathered in strength by camp with 14 on river bend and up to 3 in view from dining tables. Had 2 Tropical Boubou, 2 types of Bee-eater on walk plus close views of zebra, giraffe and impala. Took some piccies of striking butterflies on the flowers of the hotel. Another gamedrive at 16:00. This was incredible as we saw a Leopard, resting and then going out hunting at dusk. He was a big male, beautifully coloured and while known to be present, not often seen. He eyed up a Warthog (Mara pig) but they have sharp tusks and was obviously not thought the risk. He sloped off looking for easier prey, probably a gazelle. We also saw 3 Jackal out hunting, looking for a young deer. The herds were very anxious but did not see any success. We were taken to the Rhinoceros protected area where the last 2 White Rhinoceros on Mara are guarded 24/7, so sad that poachers are still a major threat. There are some in Nairobi National Park and a transfer scheme is being hatched. White Rhinoceros are misnamed from confusion with Afrikaans; should be called Wide (mouthed) Rhinoceros. So got all of big 5 now.

December 16th : maximum 24C, minimum 16C, light NE, dry and sunny. No early gamedrive as we made visit to Masai village in morning from 09:00-12:00, including short drive. We were given a dancing display (see video), a talk on their customs by their chief, shown around, seeing stockades 1  2, huts 3  4, Spotted Hyena droppings from a visit 5, introduced to students and the school 6  7  8  9  10, encouraged to buy some ornaments and sundries. All very pleasant and between us we purchased quite a lot, donated 100US$ to school and paid 150US$ entrance, for grand contribution of £500 to their funds. Birds in this morning trip included an Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, 4 Ring-necked Dove 1, 4 Dark-capped Bulbul, 4 Baglafecht Weaver 1, 2 Brown-throated Martin, 8 House Sparrow, 4 Rufous-naped Lark 1. A Jackal was seen on the road. In afternoon we had a game drive from 16:00-19:00, going E for a change. Had some marvellous sightings of Elephants (including young) 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8 , Eland (with young) 9  10  11, Zebra (with young) 12, Wildebeest 13, a herd of Impala 14  15  16, a family group of Warthog 17, a Dik-Dik 18, plus 2 Bat-eared Fox. This elephant was in musth, a little horny 19  20  21  22  23  24; our driver gave the animal a wide berth, because they can be unpredictable and dangerous. The forest in our vicinity 1  2  3  4 looks good for raptors, such as Honey-buzzard. Birds on the late drive included 2 Grey Crowned Crane 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8, 1 Red-tailed (Turkestan) Shrike 9, 2 Hamerkop, 2 Egyptian Goose, 4 Bee-eater, 3 Dark-capped Bulbul, 2 Spur-winged Plover, 5 Lilac-breasted Roller, 1 White-throated Bee-eater, 4 Yellow-fronted Canary 10, plus one chat-type,unid and many other small birds. Termites and dung heaps were often visible. Our vehicle broke down with shaft problem but a replacement quickly arrived to take us back to base; gather vehicle was quickly fixed by a mechanic, experienced with these conditions. A Black-bellied Pangolin was new to the list. 2moro it’s a walking safari for myself, son and daughter.

December 15th : maximum 24C, minimum 16C, light NE, some more rain overnight, dry daytime. Early gamedrive was from 06:30-09:30. Roads were so wet but we managed to get around. Two Lion were seen and we also saw 8 Hippos in a flooded area, 2 male Elephant, 3 Giraffe. Late afternoon game drive was out of this world, watching 10 Lion, pride from yesterday, all playing at dusk at very close range. Magical!! Whole trip is going very well, daughter and I are going on balloon trip on Monday as birthday treat for me, cost US$1k for both of us. Funds +12k on week as economic data strengthens. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 14th: maximum 22C, minimum.15C, light NE. massive thunderstorm in afternoon, continuous thunder and frequent lightning strikes. Rain continuing overnight but thunder ceased. Everywhere was under water but we went out for a game drove from 16:00 to 19:00, having great views of a hunting male Cheetah, presumed to have caught an Impala from the squeal. Many Lion seen, including an adult pair and a pride of 10, comprising 2 lioness and 8 cubs of various ages.

Flight over from Nairobi in 12-seater Cessna was smooth, single prop, 2 pilots handling the plane. We took off from tarmac at Wilson Airport at 9:55 and landed on an earthy strip at Mara North at 10:35. We were met by our driver Samson who stopped many times to show us the animals.

December 13th: maximum 26C, minimum 17C, dry and sunny. Great excursion to Nairobi National Park from 06:30-11:30 (07:00-11:00 inside the Park). Had driver in safari vehicle. At the entrance, by the elephant ivory burning monument 1  2, saw 4 Kenya Rufous Sparrow 1  2, 8 Pied Crow 1, 6 Black Kite 1, 2 Yellow-billed Kite 1  2. By big lake had 3 Hippopotamus 1  2  3  4  5, 87 (overall) Impala 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15, a Yellow-billed Stork, a Grey Heron 1, a pair of Egyptian Goose 1  2, 4 Red-collared Widowbird 1  2  3  4, 7 Greenshank 1  2, 1 African Darter (1w) 1  2  3  4. Near another wetland area we found 2 Rhinoceros (adult, young) 1  2  3  4  5, 30 African Buffalo 1  2  3  4  5  6  7, complete with 20 Red-billed Oxpecker 1  2  3, 1 Yellow-billed Oxpecker 1 and a Cattle Egret 1. Also here were a Black-winged Stilt, a Blacksmith Lapwing 1, 20 Rufous-naped Lark 1 (with 2 Impala), 8 Helmeted Guineafowl 1  2  3  4  5  6. On a flattish plain had 2 Cheetah together 1  2  3  4  5, a Giraffe 1  2  3 with young 4, 10 Helmeted Guineafowl, 3 Common Ostrich 1  2, 3 Long-tailed Fiscal (a pair) 1  2 plus a single, 1 Superb Starling 1. In wooded area 1  2 around valley had an African Fish Eagle, 3 Waterbuck 1  2, 20 Olive Baboon 1  2  3, 2 Hadada Ibis on a tree 1, 2 Dik-dik 1  2, a Francolin Coqui, a Shikra hunting in the distance, a Long-tailed Fiscal 1, 20 Common Ostrich 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10, an African Striped Ground Squirrel, a Steppe Buzzard, 4 Yellow-billed Stork. The woodland here was more sparse 1  2 but with some scrub 1. Moving to a large plain we had 25 Zebra 1  2, 20 Eland 1, 20 Impala, a Black-headed Heron in flight, a White-backed Vulture adult in low-level flight 1  2 plus 2 birds on a tree 1  2  3, 20 Impala, 6 Giraffe 1  2  3  4  5  6  7, a Spotted Hyena 1  2  3  4, 4 Rhinoceros (2 pairs of adult 1  2  3  4  5  6  7), 15 Cattle Egret 1  2  3, 4 Red-billed Oxpecker, 1 White-backed Night Heron 1, 6 Superb Starling 1. On the large open plain towards the Chinese-built railway line we had 6 Thomson's Gazelle 1, a soaring White-backed Vulture 1  2  3, 8 Swallow, 4 Warthog 1, views of the plain 1  2  3, 3 Red-collared Widowbird, 2 Crested Francolin, 3 Common Swift, 3 Black-headed Heron 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9, 1 Greater Blue-eared Starling 1  2  3, 21 Impala, 1 Long-tailed Fiscal, 2 Bee-eater, 2 Giraffe 1  2  3  4, 7 Impala, 1 Martial Eagle soaring 1, 2 Yellow-crowned Canary 1. In the bushes by the entrance had some Blue Monkey (c15). It's amazing how close Nairobi City is to the game park 1  2  3  4  5  6  7.

Totals for animals were: 3 Hippopotamus, 87 Impala, 6 Rhinoceros, 30 African Buffalo, 2 Cheetah, 10 Giraffe, 2 Dik-dik, 25 Zebra. 20 Eland, 3 Waterbuck, 20 Olive Baboon, 1 African Striped Ground Squirrel, 1 Spotted Hyena, 6 Thomson's Gazelle, 4 Warthog, 15 Blue Monkey. Total 15 types.

Total for birds was 35 types, not recorded as a complete list as with experience could pick up some more types. Raptors were of 7 types: 6 Black Kite, 2 Yellow-billed Kite, a Steppe Buzzard, a Martial Eagle, an African Fish-eagle, a Shikra, 4 White-backed Vulture.

In the hotel area in SW Nairobi had some birds around the pool from 17:30-18:30 (and a few earlier at 06:30): 14 Black Kite (possibly including a few Yellow-billed Kite), 2 Yellow-billed Kite 1  2  3, 1 Marabou Stork non-breeding in flight 1  2, 3 Speckled Pigeon, 1 Blue-naped Mousebird, 1 African Pied Wagtail 1, 1 Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird 1, 2 Dark-capped Bulbul. Son enjoyed the hotel pool, which was quite busy.

December 12th: maximum 26C, minimum 17C, light NE, sunny, dry. Well we’re at 1600m asl but nice weather. Looked out at 11:15 local time and there were 2 Yellow-billed Kite perched on parts of the hotel 1  2  3  4  5, which is on the SW edge of Nairobi!! Also had a Great White Egret here and 1 Pied Crow. Earlier at 05:00 had the hoarse calls of Verreaux's Eagle Owl. We took a hotel car at 13:00 to the Kenyan National Museum 1  2  3  4, which was packed as today was a national holiday to celebrate 60 years of independence from the British and admission was free for locals but not for us, cost 3.2k KSh (£15). All well laid out, we were very interested in the Cradle of Humankind (4 above) which showed the early hominids and relatives, many of which were found in Africa. I also found the Joy Adamson section fascinating with early conservation efforts at Naivasha. We also visited the Botanical Gardens, the Park and a cafe for tea. Our driver was there to meet us at 17:00 and we went back to the hotel where we had dinner (5k KSh); two trips in the car cost 60 US$. Birds in museum area and on drive included 20 Little Egret, 16 Black Kite scavenging everywhere (may include a few Yellow-billed Kite), 1 Marabou Stork, 1 singing Chiffchaff, 15 Hadada Ibis, 3 Greater Blue-eared Starling juvenile, 6 Barn Swallow, 1 African Pied Wagtail, 8 Dark-capped Bulbul. Hotel Boma is very modern, attractive and friendly 1  2, run by the Red Cross to generate money for them. 2moro we’re going to Nairobi National Park for a 5-hour safari. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 11th: maximum 12C, minimum 8C, moderate NW, mainly dry. Kenyan Airways flight was delayed from 11:30 to 14:45, notified night before so delayed taxi to 10:30 to LHR, cost £100 but very smooth way to travel. Flight was fine – food OK, took 8 hours 20 min in flight time, with 11 hours superficially but Kenya is 3 hours ahead of UK. Arrived at Nairobi at 03:00 local time and took an hour getting through immigration. Then taxi for £50 to Boma Hotel where booked for 3 days. So relieved to get to bed!!

December 10th: maximum 8C, minimum 5C, moderate NW, rain on and off. What a day travelling: East coast cables between Grantham and Peterborough were down over whole weekend so train to Stevenage cancelled and no other way through. So went to Carlisle instead of Newcastle, getting taxi from home for £100, as Northern services also disrupted. Then caught 15:48 Carlisle to Euston, arriving 19:30, just in time to walk to Kings X and catch 20:02 to Cambridge via Welwyn Garden City, where got off at 20:31 and caught taxi to Welwyn where son lives. He cooked Lasagne for me with boiled potatoes and salad. Further news is that major flight tomorrow is delayed by 3 hours so taxi 2moro to Heathrow put back from 07:30 to 10:30: some relief! Had 2 Common Buzzard in taxi ride: one at Bardon Mill W, other at Gilsland S, both around 14:30. Did manage to write all c20 Xmas cards on the train from Euston, plenty of space, surprised more people not trying it. And catch up on emails. Great to meet son again and so nice to think we'll be travelling together for over 2 weeks.

December 9th: maximum 9C, minimum 5C, moderate W, wet morning, drier afternoon, very wet evening. Did get out in afternoon for brief local walk from 14:50-15:50, getting 16 bird-types including a Common Buzzard, a Kestrel, 8 Blackbird, 6 Redwing. Compiled many piccies for Towsbank 20/8 but not done yet! Sorted Festival!! Trying to get house organised! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 8th: maximum 8C, minimum 6C, light SE, damp but no heavy rain, everywhere is sodden. Busy day online with Skype session with N/D from 10:00-11:30 and ANPA Steering Group Zoom session from 17:00-18:00. Had good break in QHC4s4l and later made DoW4m4s with D/D. We had excellent time, consuming 3 courses of duck, turkey, Xmas pudding, washed down with that well-known aperitif 2 g. We were there from 19:30-23:00, cost £132 for 3 including 10% tip. Avoided another snake: LON:AAL, which held significantly until recently but sold out completely; dropped 19% today as capital expenditure demands look too heavy for the cash flow, something I'd worried about a month ago. Funds finished +6k on week after earlier decline; commodities still look a bit shaky but cutbacks at 2 South American mines in Chile and Panama will cut copper supply for several years; copper is a commodity much used in electrification for the unrealistic net zero scheme. 2moro is a free day! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 7th: maximum 4C, minimum 0C, moderate SE, heavy rain afternoon, light rain morning, drier evening but surface water everywhere. Had 6 Fieldfare at Ordley and 50 Redwing at Newbiggin in the torrential rain. Made T4m4l with M for good crack after an hour in QHL on laptop. Much later made G4g4s with A/R/P and M on, 4 further good crack. Main achievement of day was processing all of Towsbank piccies from 20/8, labelling them all; did confirm 7 types of raptor present -- marvellous. 2moro hope to process Snope Burn piccies completely from 20/8 and start on ones for Towsbank itself. Got all documentation for forthcoming trip organised and printed as a check; am taking a single small case to make travelling easier; will have a memory stick with everything on it; taking laptop as essential baggage: I'm a very digital person!! 2moro it's N/D on Skype at 10, QHC4s4l, QHL4work and DoW4m4s, first Xmas meal proper with D/D. Missing some important company: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Amazing movements in Lithium price recently:

Lithium carbonate prices fell below CNY 100,000 per tonne for the first time since August 2021, plunging 81% year-to-date as low demand deepened the current supply glut. Electric vehicle sales pessimism in China limited lithium demand for battery manufacturers in their typical restocking season. Instead, firms took advantage of high inventories following the supply glut caused by extensive subsidies from the Chinese government throughout 2021 and 2022. The developments drove key market players to forecast the next lithium deficit to return only in 2028, an aggressive twist from speculations of persistent shortfalls that took lithium prices to CNY 600,000 in November 2022. On the supply front, customs data showed that lithium deliveries to China from top producer Chile soared by 84.3% from the previous month in October, while production from salt lakes in the region continued to rise. Trading .

If electric vehicles were really taking off, then Lithium prices would not be doing this. Shows the peril of following fashionable trends: you'd have lost over 80% of your money over a year invested in Lithium. In many respects this epitomises the main problem in this year's markets: avoiding the snakes in the Snakes and Ladders, which I've managed so far, at least with the bigger investments.

December 6th: maximum 1C, minimum -1C, light SE, bright and sunny, persistent frost where sun didn't reach; snow shower at 23:30 settled; milder tomorrow with rain. Highlight of day was RNS concert at Hexham Abbey, bumped into L there and met c10 Rotarians -- good to see them supporting live music! James was on the door and had chat with him as well as SR/IB. Programme was Baroque for first half and Romantic for second, good balance. Highlights for me were Four Seasons (Winter) by Vivaldi (vivid memories!), Bach's Concerto for oboe, violin and string orchestra in C minor; Grieg's Holberg Suite. Good audience c700 so full and Maria led ensemble with great spirit and skill. Completed Bywell 22/8 in all respects. Started labelling Towsbank 20/8, with 22/67 completed, hope to complete all processing of this visit by time leave so can spend January doing annual reports. Have cleaner S coming at 11:00 2moro, lunch in HEX. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 5th: maximum 4C, minimum -2C, light NW, few light showers midday, bright morning, clear again by evening and frosty again. Completed cropping raptor images for 22/8 Bywell, uploaded them to server and indexed them; just check to do on url and uploading to BirdTrack, leaving just one visit 20/8 Towsbank to compile for Northumberland. Did have hair cut by the lively Jd at JG, generous bonus of 5 on top of charge of 20; next one in 2 months. Had R Council meeting at 18:00, lasted 90 min as quite a lot to discuss, followed by 15 min trustee meeting, which was pro forma! Have RNS concert at Hexham Abbey tomorrow; looking forward to it! It's taking final shape: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Pleased that nuclear energy is being given more prominence at COP28:

US leads call to triple nuclear power at COP28. Declaration signed by United States, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Ghana, Hungary, Japan, Republic of Korea, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom. Major nuclear powers Russia and China did not sign up [maybe think they can gain a competitive advantage by keeping others off it]. See Phys News.

Nuclear shares up quite a lot as more and more people see Uranium as a 24/7 source of low carbon energy. But other commodities are still depressed, so -8k wtd.

December 4th: maximum 4C, minimum -1C, moderate NE, moderate to heavy rain all day, raw. Roads awash with floodwater from snow melt and heavy rain but no serious floods. A female Goshawk was hunting in flap-flap-glide mode at 11:30 at Ordley. R at CNT did not go smoothly; they'd dismantled the projector cables to make way for finely-balanced Xmas decorations; took some effort to get it all working; it did all work in end, maintaining 100% record from early July. Talk on historical walks around Newcastle went well. We have a R Burns Night on 27/1 at the Abbey which I'm organising; now got all 4 orators and a piper (bagpipes!). Did some work on artists for Festival web pages! Cropped over half of piccies for 22/8 Bywell; will finish rest tomorrow. Out to G4g4s 4 gr8 chat with P/R/A. 2moro sees haircut and R Council, not too busy! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 3rd: maximum 0C, minimum -2C, light NE, very dull, dry, misty at times, quite raw, home heating maxed out with lack of sun; milder tomorrow. A quiet day, needed after yesterday, but did make G4g4s to meet R/A/P/D for good chat. Earlier completed labelling of Bywell 22/8 piccies and adding portions of George R's will to his relatives mentioned therein; the cyder press was obviously important in his life and it went to his son in law Bartholomew Branscombe in the residue! A Barn Owl was eating something by side of road at Ordley at 23:45. 2moro it's R up to mid afternoon. One week to lift off!! When get back, not long to the big event: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 2nd: maximum 0C, minimum -7C, light E, veiled sunshine morning and afternoon, clear later, bitterly cold. Trip away did come off: made Marchmont Hall, near Duns in the Borders, Scotland, for Samling Masterclass. Logistics were not good: freezing weather and rail services beset with strike problems. Left on 10:16 HEX to NCL, then snack at Costa b4 11:33 NCL to BWK which was packed, no seat, little late, but at least we got to BWK b4 12:40 when their taxi took 6 of us to Marchmont. At Blackadder (yes there is such a place!, better known for its name as a sitcom series in the 1980s starring Rowan Atkinson) had 5 Grey Partridge, a Fieldfare, a Yellowhammer, a female Sparrowhawk being mobbed by 4 Crow and a female Goshawk hunting in flap-flap-glide mode. Music was great The pieces were by Vaughan Williams, Duparc, Mozart, Wagner, Poulenc and Elgar. Was particularly interested in the Wagner, which was 'O du mein holder Abendstern', from Tannhäuser Act III (here sung by Placido Domingo at Loreley by the Rhine), a song for Wolfram performed by baritone Sam Hird with JongSun Woo on the piano. It has a gloomy start but perks up a bit as Wolfram hopes Elisabeth will be guided by the evening star to Heaven. It's a slow aria with long phrasing, Wagner's hallmark, and much of the masterclass concentrated on how to control your breathing. Sam came through with flying colours. The whole afternoon was good but particularly also enjoyed Duparc's Phidylé, sung by Madeline Boreham with Franceska Lauri on the piano. Tea was up to best Scottish standards with good drink of tea and plenty of cakes. Taxi took us back to BWK where caught another full train 17:49 to NCL. But guard after checking tickets directed us to first class, where not only seats but also complimentary coffee! Hoped to get 18:55 to HEX but that was cancelled so caught another packed train, the 19:23 to HEX, where got seats thanks to a pushy lady! Back to HEX at 20:15, no time to go home, so straight out to DoW4g4s where met D/D for good chat with A/S on!! A busy day but a very rewarding one!! Funds were +0.5k gross, -2k net, on week. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

December 1st: maximum 0C, minimum -5C, light E, sunny, bitterly cold. Started labelling Bywell 22/8 piccies, over half way through. A Common Buzzard was mewing at Ordley where a Tawny Owl was calling over my field. Gas up to 65% this evening of UK's electricity supplies; without fossil fuels we'd have frozen to death; who's going to stop the COP madness. If carbon dioxide is indeed the only driver of climate change (which I very much doubt), we should have invested billions in low-carbon nuclear power to provide a back up for the inherently unreliable renewables. Also looked at other countries today on new url electricity maps : Germany and Poland are burning masses of coal, the Netherlands relies on gas like us and France, Belgium, Slovakia and Finland score well on low carbon with their nuclear power; Norway and Sweden are green on hydropower. It's very nice that all this is happening during COP! Made QHC4s4l where pleased to have S on!! Then QHL where did some work on Whitehead paper. Cleaner S came in afternoon and left her Xmas presents! So 2moro it's up to Marchmont Hall in Scotland for a Samling masterclass! Going to be very cold again. A sensuous day: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 30th: maximum 1C, minimum -3C, light NW, sunny, bit cloudier in afternoon but threatened snow showers did not arrive. Freezing again in evening but road gritted. Ordered more ovoids (smokeless coal) yesterday (50kg), getting quite low, arrived this afternoon -- good service. I have 2 bunkers, 1 has domestic coal, reducing steadily, which use for lighting fire, cannot get more of this as banned! Will use both bunkers for ovoids in a few months when domestic coal exhausted. Completed processing 12/8 Dukeshagg and started on 22/8, doing Ordley butterflies; next up is Stocksfield Mount visit that day; then just Towsbank 20/8 to do to finish season. For those following COP28, gas supplied 63% of UK's electricity today, wind 15%, solar 1%, as in the freezing cold, wind dropped, and solar intensity is very weak always, this close to solstice. So without fossil fuels, you would have frozen to death if electric-only! Of course main heating for homes is gas and for cars is petrol so of total energy use today, fossil fuels around 85%. A massive expansion of nuclear power is the only way forward for the human race. Completed id check for will at NP and paid them £330 for the will. Threw out 2 sacks of paper today onto compost heap behind the sheds; doing a major tidy-up. Made G4g4s with R/A/P 4 good chat with L/L on!! Car registered -5C as drove home near to base! Did make a certain payment to my favourite cause today: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! lok2tgrf xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 29th: maximum 1C, minimum -2C, light NW, sunny but cloudier later and light snow settling in evening. Finished labelling piccies from Dukeshagg 12/8, cropped all of them, uploaded them to server and indexed them all on this page so just need to add records to BirdTrack, leaving only 2 data sheets to add. Finished transcribing George's will and uploaded result to his profile on WikiTree; the Cider Press (in capitals indeed!) went to his son in law in the residue! Made NP at 13:15 for signing will, which was duly completed; need to go in tomorrow to complete id criteria but it's done! 2moro it's NP at 11:30, T 12:00 and much later G! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 28th: maximum 3C, minimum -2C, light W, sunny but becoming cloudy late afternoon, frosty in evening. Cold spell is going to continue, Tried a bit of twitching today after Waxwing in Hexham and Smew at Tyne Green and did a massive amount of walking (14k steps today) but did not catch up with either. However from 12:00-15:05 did have 3 Goldeneye (2 drake, 1 redhead), a drake Goosander, 2 Little Grebe, a Dipper, a calling Chiffchaff ,at Tyne Green plus a male Sparrowhawk hunting over Sele at 15:00, and feel better after the exercise; will count up the total tomorrow. It was 27 bird-types! Made QHC4s4l to keep me going and pleased to have S on! In evening made QH4con with Hexham Music Society and L to hear James Newby baritone with Joseph Middleton piano. Beautiful sounds with songs by Schubert, Beethoven and John Casken (present!) to keep us warm on a freezing night. Do wonder what Schubert would have achieved if he'd lived to just 50. Going to Samling at Marchmont House on Saturday as next musical treat! Made transcript of p.2 of George R's will and he's still excepting the Cider Press, one page to go. Labelled most of Dukeshagg 12/8, just a few Black Kite to do. Funds -2k wtd with more falls than rises but inevitable profit taking after recent rises. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 27th: maximum 5C, minimum 1C, light NE, light showers becoming heavy and frequent in evening, very raw. Cold spell is going to continue. R was busy again at lunchtime with 32 attending; CNT were very obliging, catering for someone whose bus was late. Talk on Carbon assumed we were all on the same hymn sheet so not much to say; insulating people's houses is obviously good provided it is cost effective but climate change devotees are seriously out of touch with ordinary voters! Lost a document (a will from 250 years ago) so cleared mound of papers on desk, putting many into a black sack! Did find will and am now making a transcript of it on the desktop This previously unpublished will is by George R (1709-c1778) a miller of Tiverton and 8 generations back from me; he seems to be trying to take his cider press with him but haven't finished it all yet! Completed processing of Ordley and Dipton Wood N for 19/8, leaving just 3 sheets to do. Relaxing end to day at G4g4s with R/P with L/L on!! 2moro concert by Hexham Music Society in evening and out in morning and for lunch with a walk. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 26th: maximum 4C, minimum -2C, light W, dry, very dull, damp and raw. Went for energetic walk down to the Devi's Water in afternoon; from 15:05-16:10 did over 6k steps. Not many birds to report, 13 types, including 114 Common Gull, 2 Herring Gull, 1 Fieldfare, 6 Blackbird, but later had 2 Barn Owl N of Linnels actively hunting at 23:45 plus a Brown Hare out on the verge. Good catch-up on August records completing 6/8 Warden and also doing Juniper 21/8, leaving just 4 data sheets to do for the summer; then can compile the season's results. Had chat with son on FB messenger by video at ttime: he's looking forward so much to our Kenya trip (like me!). Made G4g4s with A/R/P and good chat! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 25th: maximum 3C, minimum -3C, light W, dry, sunny, wind dropped so not feeling so cold. At Ordley a Pied Wagtail was seen early-on and a Tawny Owl coming back from the pub. Did a lot of catching up with various office tasks. Feeling like a good day's rest and had one, just going out to meet D/D at DoW4g4s where very quiet; first cold weather of the winter had put some people off: anyway we had good chat and A was very attentive!!

We have talk at R on Carbon this coming Monday; might have to bite my tongue! While I do believe the planet is currently in a warming phase, I am not convinced that carbon dioxide is the only factor in play. The climate of the planet is so complex and we are only in the early stages of understanding it. With a crop of papers from physicists [true scientists], rather than from modellers [often fake scientists], it is clear that in the Holocene period from the end of the last ice age (last 12,000 years) to now, the climate has varied substantially and only for the last variation, the recovery from the Little Ice Age c1650 depths, does carbon dioxide offer any sort of explanation, possibly a partial one. Other major variations occurred independent of carbon dioxide levels, suggesting other factors are at play. Furthermore, temperatures were significantly higher than now at times in the Holocene with carbon dioxide levels much lower. Solar forcing is implicated, something the carbon dioxide devotees deny! Carbon dioxide levels were at very low levels after the last ice age, threatening continuation of life on the planet. For some of these physics papers, see:

George H. Denton, Wibjörn Karlén, Holocene climatic variations—Their pattern and possible cause, Quaternary Research Volume 3, Issue 2, August 1973, Pages 155-174. link

Home Second Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea Basin Chapter, Climate Change During the Holocene (Past 12,000 Years), Irena Borzenkova, Eduardo Zorita, Olga Borisova, Laimdota Kalniņa, Dalia Kisielienė, Tiiu Koff, Denis Kuznetsov, Geoffrey Lemdahl, Tatyana Sapelko, Migle Stančikaitė & Dimitry Subetto (2015). link

Holocene climate variability, Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 January 2017, Paul A. Mayewski, Eelco E. Rohling, J. Curt Stager, Wibjörn Karlén, Kirk A. Maasch, L. David Meeker, Eric A. Meyerson, Francoise Gasse, Shirley van Kreveld, and Karin Holmgren. link

Nature Unbound III: Holocene climate variability (Part A), Posted on April 30, 2017 by curryja [Judith Curry] | 335 Comments by Javie. link

There's plenty to play for! True science is never dull and certainly not settled: when the climate models can handle the whole of the Holocene, I'll start to believe in them!

November 24th: maximum 4C, minimum 0C, moderate N, dry, sunny, but really high wind-chill in morning. Had chat on Skype with N/D for an hour from 10; cleaner was due at 11:15 so then went out to Hexhamshire Common from 11:15-12:20 for a walk at Kings Law; it was 2.5C up there in very brisk N wind so serious wind-chill. Cold didn't worry the Red Grouse (9 flushed) or Common Gull (15 adult on edge of moor) or Crow (2 seen). Exciting find was 6 Common Crossbill chipping excitedly in a pine shelter belt. A Herring Gull was overhead calling. Mammals included 5 mole, a dead rabbit, a field vole. An adult male Kestrel was hunting near Viewley at 11:10. Then in Slaley R&C4m4l with A/A/M; we had good catch-up as colleagues in computing science from unn. On way back at 14:45 stopped by the pond at Steel where 300 Common Gull (5 1w), 10 BHG adult, 1 Lapwing, 10 Greylag Goose, a flock of 70 Linnet, much of which was disturbed by a hunting Red Kite adult. Back home for a bit then off to NCL on train to GH4con. Had a tuna sandwich for tea with M/S/L as had already had a big meal. Concert was good fare with Brahms PC2 in first half, quite a challenge with its 4 mv and 50 min playing time. But Sunwook Kim was up for it, with amazing stamina and varied style; evidently he won the Leeds piano competition when he was just 18; incredible technical skills. In the second half we had a Justé Januliyté piece Elongation of Nights which was beautifully tonal throughout slowly increasing in intensity then reducing again; one for those who think all modern music is repugnant! Final piece was Schumann 4, again showing how underrated this composer is; a vigorous romantic symphony. Audience was not that large but they did have level 2 open to encourage those who like sitting there to come. Had a drink afterwards with L in the downstairs bar. Then back on last train to find frost on car. Funds finished week on +10k, +7.4% on ytd. Signing will next Wednesday. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 23rd: maximum 11C, minimum 4C, moderate NW, dry, bright at times but cool wind dominated. Working on 6/8 Warden kites et al, labelling piccies and cropping some for web. Connected Rs in Tiverton to Thomas R (c1612-1691) of Rathmacknee, who led forcibly through the troubled times in Ireland in the 17th century. Made T4m4l with M 4 good chat and had walk around Sele afterwards. New black shoes arrived via Paver on web, fitted well and reasonable price (£40); want them for sturdy but smart wear in Kenya. Had 120 Feral Pigeon in Hexham and 25 Redwing at Newbiggin but wildlife getting less conspicuous as go into winter. Made G4g4s with A/P/R and M on!! Funds are at record +13k wtd; some oil shares at giveaway prices recovering. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 22nd: maximum 11C, minimum 7C, moderate W, almost dry, odd light shower, dull. A much quieter day, caught up on a number of tasks, including 4/8 Bywell birds all-finished; fetching 6/8 Warden birds from camera as not uploaded before; only 5 sheets to do after Warden done, all for August; adding John R Governor (c1635 - before 1685) of Rathmacknee, Wexford, Ireland, to WikiTree: he's back 10 generations from me; ordered Maloff an anti-malarial drug from Medicine MarketPlace for £40. Did buy 2 CD in L&P yesterday for £2, including Schubert's Death and the Maiden to remind me of the recent gr8 performance!! Did get out for a brisk walk 15:55-16:35 part of the way to Dotland, conditions were blustery but felt some exercise would be good; had 6 Yellowhammer, a calling Herring Gull adult and 2 Long-tailed Tit but few birds showing in the breeze (8 types) in the gathering gloom. 2moro seeing M at T4m4l and we're meeting again on Friday for lunch in Slaley with A/A at R&C4m4l b4 I go to see RNS in evening. Stimulated greatly by yesterday's events: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 21st: maximum 9C, minimum 5C, light NW, dry, dull. Was indeed a great day: parked car at Bank Foot as CAL full with some of park cordoned off for equipment. Made CT4c4c and after concert CT4s4ll: always feel welcome and at home there. Concert was brilliant with all 3 performers (S/Y/I) doing well. Particularly liked the Jerzy Fitelberg: 2 violins, which was full of different moods, including a dynamic folksy last mv. The Chopin Berceuse was played expressively. The pieces by Josima Feldscguh are a great discovery and the Laks piece was stimulating. A good choice of programme and a very good attendance. After CT made L&P, which is open into early evening now (20:00 today, normally 19:00). Outlined my thoughts on the phone's Notepad for the IWC paper. Then made LZ4m4s with 5 others; learnt a lot about A's philosophical feelings on tension between different people's perceived rights! Turkish meal was very good, been there before!! Company was superb: thought a lively discussion on Hm was in danger of getting a bit out of control but positive friendly atmosphere prevailed: liberal elites still don't seem to get it: Hm and its backers are inherently evil. T drove me back to BF, very nice of her, then drove back to HEX. Funds +5k wtd, climbing up a wall of fear, as they say. A was interested in Uranium shares, can give him a tip: LON:GCL (hold 124k) with caveat they've risen a lot already in the last few weeks. New Will sent to me today after a few corrections and is now ready to sign. Attraction is still there: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 20th: maximum 10C, minimum 5C, light NW, dry morning, then some drizzle. Busy with R lunch where all 38 turned up and we had lively speech from DG rector at the Abbey; we also got one new member today from an invited guest; we are a successful R club, when many are declining; friendly, welcoming culture was one reason why new member joined; I do try and act as a good Front of House, think I'm the only member who knows all of our 47 members by name and on sight. Did some more work on bird records, ANPA, Irish family history, b4 G4g4s where R/A/P out and L/L on! Next day is a big day: so looking forward to it!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 19th: maximum 11C, minimum 8C, light W, bright morning, then cloudy, few light showers. Hexham Abbey was not what I expected: it was a champagne celebration of the Hexham Abbey Music Festival to which R had given £200 as a donation. Hexham Music Society were there and suspect my support for regional music has permeated through; made to feel very welcome and did promise personal support donation-wise as well as more support from R with my influence there. Had walk around Sele afterwards, getting a warbling Blackcap and a calling Nuthatch, among 15 bird-types. A grey squirrel was at Loughbrow. Much later at Ordley a Barn Owl was perched on a fence at 23:40. Did some work on ANPA web site, labelled and cropped some Black Kite piccies from 4/8 Bywell, completed Kenya visa application and connected Thomas R of Tiverton (c1685-1741) to his postulated birth in Rathmacknee, Wexford, Ireland, a major step! Made G4g4s where 5 of us out for good chat!! Record attendance at R4l at Cnt 2moro of 38: let's hope it goes well! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 18th: maximum 11C, minimum 8C, light SW, cloudy, dry by day, heavy showers late-on. Had 2 Tawny Owl calling from SW and E at dusk, along with 10 noisy Blackbird going to roost. A Roe Deer was in a field near the road at Ordley on way back from pub. Finished completely processing 13/8 Studdon Park; now onto 4/8 Bywell where 2 family groups of Black Kite. Did 2 improvements to ANPA web site, adding our emblem from 2021 and transferring our constitution from a post to the bottom line of the home page. Spent some time on Samuel R and his family in Taunton; on the names he may be a spin-off of Edward R, son of Hugh, rather than Benaiah R. I may go back to my feelings in 2016 that the Tiverton Rs become wealthy so quickly that they are the successors of the Wexford Rs of Rathmacknee: Catholic gentry who lost their estates in the 1690s after 500 years of occupation dating from the Norman conquest of 1169 under Strongbow. It is rumoured that the Rs recovered significant value from their estates by an arrangement with the Kavanaghs. Made DoW4g4s with D/D 4 good chat! 2moro due in Hexham Abbey at 11:30 for an R youth do, not sure what it entails! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 17th: maximum 7C, minimum 3C, light SE, sunny morning, cool evening, cloudier, dry. Still 2 wasps around the flowering ivy with more flies generally around it in the sunshine. Had 2 Bullfinch around the garden still, feeding on berries, particularly hips. Had chat on Skype with N/D for an hour; D was in A&E in RVI last Friday with pneumonia, pretty serious; wonder whether people should mix more to improve immune system. Still we had good chat, brought back my memories of brief visit to RVI in January. Triage took 10 min in my case: obvious problem, quick fix by nurse and almost certainly will survive. D's took 90 min. Then a busy hour getting place ready for cleaner S, followed by QHC4s4l where gr8 to meet S again and 3 hours in QHL where getting to grips with my Whitehead paper for the IWC. No concert in evening. Did Ordley bird records for 13/8 and started on Studdon Park for same day. In family history taking a different approach to my difficult link around 1700, linking Benaiah Rossiter and Dorcas Soper, who had moved from Somerset to Cork, Ireland, with the Rossiter/Pinkstone allies of Tiverton. Benaiah slots into the main Combe St Nicholas Rossiter tree in one generation further back. Funds had a very good week at +32k to new record today. New buy LSE:ENOG (now hold 10k shares) with massive gas fields in the eastern Med reported yesterday that existing operations were unaffected by the war and rose about 5% today after results released with maintained dividend. The Israeli navy is super effective in protecting Israeli assets; at the start of the war on 7/10, Hamas tried a large amphibious assault on the Israeli coast N of Gaza but most of their craft were intercepted and destroyed, in spite of the surprise element. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 16th: maximum 7C, minimum 4C, light S, rather dull but dry. Went to Hackwood 4 lunch with M/B; M cooked me omelette, we had good chat! Main event of day was ANPA steering group meeting on Zoom from 17:00-18:00. We have our next meeting in Oxford in August 2024. Used screen share to go through the new web site at ANPA; they were very happy with the work to date; they also agreed that ANPA Chat should be disbanded as an expensive and heavy add-on to old site; we should use Google Chat as we have everyone's email addresses. My policy of moving away from posts and towards pages was accepted and I'm going to be sent updates to publications and some introductory blurb on what we do. So positive progress and tone of whole meeting was good! Much later made G4g4s with R/A/P 4 good chat with M on!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 15th: maximum 8C, minimum 5C, moderate W, heavy showers before dawn, then sunny morning followed by light rain in afternoon. Led trip to Vindolanda for R with 14 attending (-3 last minute cancel, +2 attending without notification, given up worrying about exact numbers). I paid them £168.75 for our trip and we had lead-man of the Vindolanda Trust Andrew B as host for the first hour; this went down really well with the troops! It was good to know that they have further excavations planned to 2029 fully-funded and good to see the outstanding quality of the exhibits in the Museum, particularly the footwear, the writing tablets and the way that excavations are done. Members also enjoyed the coffee and the lunch, not included in the admission price (£11.25), as one member thought! Animal bones were interesting, including Red Deer, Wolf, Crane, not found today in the area, from 200-500 AD. So very good trip, enjoyed by all apparently. Did take the opportunity to visit Grindon Lough before and after visit and found some interesting birds. Made Stalida4meze4s with G4g4t and G4g4s with A on at each end with P/A/R; very good time. 2moro sees important ANPA Zoom session at ttime, including discussion of new website. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Grindon Lough (full list, 19 bird-types): 405 Canada Goose, 5 Greylag Goose, 180 Wigeon, 13 Mallard, 115 Teal, 20 Tufted Duck, 5 Goldeneye (4 redhead, 1 drake), 160 Lapwing, 500 Golden Plover, 8 Black-headed Gull, 26 Common Gull, 3 Great Black-backed Gull (3 ad), 4 Herring Gull (2 ad, 2 2w), 3 Caspian Gull (ad, 2w, juv), 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull (2 ad), 1 Cormorant, 10 Jackdaw, 23 Rook, 7 Carrion Crow. Note the 6 species of gull. At Vindolanda from 10:00-11:30 had a Common Buzzard, 90 Fieldfare and 5 Redwing, among 8 bird-types. At Ordley had 30 Fieldfare at 15:00.

November 14th: maximum 8C, minimum 7C, moderate SW, heavy showers, no sun. Queen wasp spoiled my beauty sleep, buzzing by hall light outside my bedroom; decided could not leave it there so caught it in box and ejected to garden at 05:30. Tested 3/7 Thornborough piccie indexing, added records to BirdTrack, summarised July 2023 records from Scotland with daughter and family and summarised under 21/7, including family piccies. Next up is Munich piccies from late July. Have 8 visits in August in Northumberland to document, not yet clear how much is involved here, obviously crucial for Black Kite results, will start on these as well. Analysis of Georgia trip, for which all records compiled, is an exciting prospect, bit down the road though. All visits in Northumberland from September-November have been documented fully. Car sailed through MOT at BSM, no problems, just £45 to pay. Went to QHL for think about Munich paper while car was in garage and made QHC4s4l. Funds +23k wtd at new record with looming peak of interest rates giving some rises in commodities. 2moro it's Vindolanda visit led by yours truly for R in morning and meal in evening with the G gang at Greek restaurant Stalida, starting in G! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 13th: maximum 10C, minimum 6C, light W increasing to fresh W late afternoon and early evening, very wet in daytime, continuous rain early-on turning showery, Devil's Water raging. 1 wasp on ivy today. R lunchtime was quite busy with major business meeting but most things went fine; problems with an R video being too slow over the available Wi-Fi and one or two members forgetting their choice of meals! Completed testing Thornbrough 3/7 but still to add to BirdTrack -- 2moro surely! Funds +14k today at new record on some big rises in oil shares, which are at ridiculously low values; increasing disaster area of wind-farms investment-wise, particularly offshore, may be beginning to be noted! Made G4g4ds with R/A/P 4 gr8 chat. MOT on the car tomorrow -- its first at 3-years old. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 12th: maximum 6C, minimum 4C, light SE, sunny morning, cloudier later, rain by ttime, becoming heavier in evening. No wasps on ivy today. Processed Thornbrough 3/7 piccies today for web presentation, cropping or resizing; uploaded them to server; indexed them as below, but still to check and add to BirdTrack -- good progress though and then July is complete, though may want to add some Dumfries piccies, particularly of family, and produce a proper summary of the wildlife. Compiled serious agendas for ANPA and WikiTree on website (keep it simple!) and establishing Winifred R as significant emigrant to Massachusetts respectively. Made G4g4s with 6 of us out, including D/B/R/P/A with L on! Only 9 days to go: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 11th: maximum 6C, minimum 2C, light N, sunny morning, hazier later, dry, hard ground frost morning 12/11. Around 23:00 had 2 Roe Deer at Swallowship, 2 Badger at Lamb Shield; at 20:15 a Tawny Owl was over the A69 at Hexham NE. 5 wasps were on flowering ivy at Ordley with a young Kestrel watching my field. Did some hard work on websites today; putting in CD for sale on one and for ANPA finally sorting out the mess caused by making announcements with posts and failing to make the persistent data available subsequently as pages; so much of the key data is in an announcement rather than in conventional html web pages. WordPress tempts users to do this but it does have the structures to do it in a more formal way. Have ANPA Steering Group Zoom meeting on Thursday when we'll discuss among other things the web site; have put many hours into this and continued simplification in interface but expansion of content has to be the way forward if I'm going to keep the task of webmaster. Did make DoW4g4s with D/D for good break! Love the video: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 10th: maximum 8C, minimum 2C, light SW, sunny spells, dry, few showers, ground frost this morning, likely again by dawn 11/11. Had 2 Bullfinch at 11:00 and a Badger at Ordley much later. Quite a busy day! Did label Thornbrough 3/7 piccies. Made QHC4s4el to get fortified; then to T to collect for poppy day for R in collaboration with British Legion from 13:00-14:30; I was on with NW President and was amazed at such support for the cause; we have a card reader as well as cash boxes and reckon donations totalled 1.5-2k in our short period alone; quite an upsurge in patriotic zeal amidst all these wars. Then straight onto train from HEX to NCL for rehearsal. Got in after break for Beethoven 5 -- TZ is affable but has very definite ideas of how it should all sound! Then long t with pp b4 actual concert. Didn't realise TZ was so expert at composition: we heard Schubert 8 scherzo finished some more by TZ and Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola, cello and orchestra, also completed by TZ. The Schubert sounded good; the Mozart was exquisite with TZ on viola, my partner MG on viola and EP on cello. We also heard in the first half Concerto funèbre by Hartmann, a modern piece which had a very slow start followed by a very wild middle section. Main piece of day was Beethoven 5, which was played at speed with great vigour, particularly m4, though m2 was taken slowly and expressively to provide good contrast; was totally absorbed and inspired throughout! Back on last train, delayed a little by chaos to main line trains following a land slip N of NCL. Funds were up 9k on week, not a bad performance in view of market's continued decline; am trading more now, see a small profit, take it, don't hang around! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 9th: maximum 8C, minimum 2C, light W, sunny spells, few showers; winter gets closer with ground frost likely by dawn 10/11. Had a Nuthatch and a Mistle Thrush in quick walk in the Sele at 14:00. Made T4m4l with N 4 very good chat and chuckle; gone off their quiche as rather lukewarm, so switched to fresh cheese and onion omelette -- very tasty. Quite a busy day on revived desktop, putting through most of Festival updates and getting onto FindMyPast during a free period over remembrance weekend; found the much-cited marriage between John Gilbert and Winifred Coombe at Whitestaunton, Somerset, on 29 April year-unknown; looked at Somerset Heritage's notes on the Bishop's Transcripts and found 1627?, meaning no year at top of folio but looks to be this year from educated guesswork on the content; so that's it -- pleased with that discovery! Also did a fair bit of Rotary admin. Finished with G4g4s with A/R 4 good crack with L on! 2moro is busy with indexing of Thornbrough 3/7, QHC4s4l, collecting at Tesco 4 poppy day 4 90 min, then straight into GHD for RNS rehearsal and concert, back on last train. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 8th: maximum 9C, minimum 4C, light W, sunny spells, rain in evening. Did go to Hello Dolly! at QH, written by Michael Stewart in 1964 with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. Was opening night but was about 3/4 full, many Hexham people regard the opening night as the final dress rehearsal! Ellen Armstrong was very good in the role of Dolly, an exhausting part as you're on stage most of the time for the 2 hours 30 min performance. Everyone was very motivated, including the band directed with vigour by CA and including DG on clarinet. Met D/D there and we went to G later, for a change, where M/L were on! Earlier started on 3/7 Thornborough. Had a scare on main desktop computer with a crash, which took a few goes to reboot from. Did a complete backup of main files onto an external drive; do an incremental backup each day but if get a disaster, it's easier to recover from a complete backup. So pleased our minds have met on the current war: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 7th: maximum 9C, minimum 3C, light W, sunny spells, clear into evening, dry. Only engagement toady was R Council from 17:30-18:30 at President's house in HEX; all went smoothly, my Admin Team are putting in a competent show I feel with a lot of hard work. Completed 6/7 Dipton Wood N with distant Black Kite and Woodlark carrying food the highlights. Just one more trip to do for July -- 3/7 at Thornbrough, which will start tomorrow. There are quite a lot of sheets to do for August but not sure yet how much material needs to be processed. All other months are done. Once completed can do annual reports, which will be incomplete for late breeders (Honey-buzzard, Hobby) but not so bad for earlier ones, such as Black Kite. Had chat with son tonight on FB messenger video: we've completed our bookings for Kenya in December for flights, hotels and camps. He's coming up to the Festival for last weekend from Thursday, which is good news. Completed processing Winifred R and her daughter Joane C on WikiTree for now; not going to insert a third wife for John Gilbert, making Winifred his fourth wife, without a lot more discussion, which is supposed to be a strength of WikiTree through the open comments section: we shall see! Going to Hello Dolly! at QH by HASS 2moro evening with D/D: should make a good change! Funds +3k wtd, one good rise in LSE:RSE, quite a lot of small falls: win some: lose some! Have put 41k into LSE:ENOG and building; think crisis is abating whatever so-called liberals in the west think. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 6th: maximum 9C, minimum 7C, light W, sunny spells, clear into evening, dry. Had a good attendance of 33 at R, Cnt very pleased with our custom I feel; speaker was on Hong Kong police force, a little bent! Made G4g4s with A/R/P 4 good chat with L on!! Completed 24/7 Hexham NE in all respects; next up is 6/7 Dipton Wood N. Went for walk at dusk from 16:3-17:30 out of house up to past Close House; good for the constitution. Had 13 Greylag Goose to W, 95 Common Gull, 6 Blackbird, 1 Mistle Thrush, 2 Wren, 4 Pheasant, 4 Canada Goose, 1 Tawny Owl, 1 Woodcock. Earlier in day at 12:00 had a Jay at Loughbrow and 7 Fieldfare at Letah Wood. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 5th: maximum 8C, minimum 5C, light W, sunny all day and clear into evening, dry. A very productive day: processed all Osprey piccies for 24/7 and uploaded the cropped images to server; indexing them is next before adding to BirdTrack. Restarted family history on WikiTree bringing Winifred R (1592-1663, puritan, emigrated to Massachusetts in 1635) to the fore and updating Anna R (1629-1685, baptist, married to sergeant in Cromwell's model army, a way with money and babies unlike her siblings); as said before the women have been very neglected by the older generation of genealogists, some of which verge on misogyny. Had 6 Lesser Redpoll and 10 LTT in garden, plus a flock of 5 Pied Wagtail yesterday; no wasps or butterflies on ivy blossom in spite of the sunshine. Have done gardening work for now and the new generation of rabbits are good at keeping the grass down! Rabbits have increased since I got rid of the rats by putting no food out for birds and using a sonic blaster in the kitchen. Ready for more Festival updates: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 4th: maximum 8C, minimum 6C, light SE, gloomy, dry by daytime. Highlight of day was going to TR to see Purcell's Behind the Masque by Opera North. Very absorbing production and fascinated by all the different characters, performed brilliantly with ON's typical thoroughness. More to follow ... This piece is the highlight of ON's green season. They bring in Purcell's worries about climate change but not sure they get it right. In Purcells' time in the late 17th century, we were at the low point of the Little Ice Age, the coldest period since the last ice age proper 12,000 years ago, and there must have been worries we were going into another full ice age. Indeed up to the 1970s an ice age was thought to be more of a threat than warming. Shouldn't have got me started! Will look at the text carefully! Made VctCmt4g4s to finish the day. Northern excelled themselves putting on 4 coaches on last train: bus strike, NCL football game early evening vs Arsenal (won 1-0!), Arena do, gave lots of travellers. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 3rd: maximum 9C, minimum 4C, moderate W, some bright spells, dry, welcome interlude from rain. At Ordley had 9 Brambling W at 11:00 and at Hexham S had 2 Redwing W at 14:45. Did have chat with N/D on Skype from 10-11, did say 1 hour was about right, hope message got through, good to chat again! My old acer laptop has been rejuvenated; it's been plagued by shortage of disk space; finally found an unbelievable 17GB held under ProgramData by Adobe, which promptly deleted. Made QH4s4l a little late after being delayed by a cock-up; but in time for real food by 10 min! Good to have S on. Worked on Munich presentation, which will update on the web tomorrow with more informative headings and sharper treatment of eternal objects. Got home and had t, then out to DoW4g4s with D/D for gr8 conversation. Funds +10k on week, just 16k short of recent record on hopes that interest rates in US have peaked. A stimulating day: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 2nd: maximum 9C, minimum 6C, moderate NW, heavy rain in morning on a fresh storm, eased off during day but everywhere drenched. Back on 10:46 NCL to HEX, all very efficient for £2.30 single. Had quick T4c4l with M as he had some workmen in his house. Then back home where caught up on some websites but only partially; did compile records for yesterday at Whitley Bay and 24/7 the Black Kite records for Dukeshouse. Working on Osprey piccies for 24/7. Was a lovely break in NCL, opera does stimulate the senses in such a satisfying way; got another one on Saturday but just in for evening. Made G4g4s with A/P/R for usual good chat with M/E calling in! Resuming Skype chat with N/D tomorrow morning but I'm restricting the session to one hour as so much to do including getting place ready for cleaner and making QH to get some work done on Whitehead; have been invited formally to submit a paper for the February's Process Ontology publication which is good news! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! lok2tgrf xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

November 1st: maximum 12C, minimum 8C, moderate SW, very brief bright intervals, bit milder, dry after heavy rain in night. Had usual good breakfast in hotel, then did some active dealing, making way for purchase of shares in LSE:ENOG, an Israeli company with massive gas interests in eastern Med off Israel, Lebanon and Egypt with forthcoming developments off Italy; they’re down 35% on the war but doubt Lebanon for instance will jeopardise their large royalties due. Caught Metro to Whitley Bay and went for walk from 12:30-15:00 along seafront, very stimulating in mild weather. Commonest birds were Starling (140) and Feral Pigeon (111). Most interesting birds were a 1w/female Long-tailed Duck just offshore and a 1w/female Brambling at bird feeding station on road between Metro station and seafront. Seabirds included a Cormorant adult, 2 Shag adults, 4 Gannet S (2 ad, 2 juv). Waders included 2 Oystercatcher and a Redshank on rocks. Gulls were of 4 types, including 3 Common Gull ad S. Total for bird-types was 21.Made Panis4m4s with L, very good chat and good meal, b4 making TR4op with La Rondine, Opera North’s production of Puccini’s romantic opera. Quite romping in places with moving arias, great dancing scenes but the main message was: don’t make your affair too serious as it may turn sour: Magda (Galina Averina) is Rambaldo’s mistress and ‘elopes’ with Ruggero (Sébastien Gueze), all good fun until he promises marriage, babies and mother’s approval; she promptly leaves him for unknown destination. Lisette, Magda‘s maid, is played brilliantly by Claire Lees. It’s had good reviews and can see why: incidentally La Rondine is a bird, a swallow, suggesting in the plot a longing to fly away to the south, enjoy the sunshine and live happily ever after; swallows are in the family of hirundines, so an obvious connection. Had drink with L in interval. After concert made VctCmt4g4s, seeing NCL demolish Man U 3-0 in cup match, then back to base where rw4s. A gr8 day!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 31st: maximum 8C, minimum 6C, light NE, cloudy, cool. Had a Goldcrest in garden this morning. On train into NCL at dusk had 2 Mute Swan adult and 20 Wigeon at Merryshields GP. Checked into hotel for 2 nites which has a lot of memories!!! Made Falstaff from ON at 18:00 from 18:15 reception in Michael Harrison room (full of panto pictures). Falstaff has been sharpened up since saw it on opening night in Leeds. It was a very witty performance with undoubted stars: Henry Waddington in title role and Helen Évora as Meg Page. Had a Mac afterwards to give a bit of balance and called into Br4g4s for refreshing liquor! Took L to ON reception and delighted she's now become a bronze patron. Funds -3k on wtd: poor figures out of China and POO falling back a bit on perceived calming situation in the Middle East. 2moro birdwatching on the coast. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 30th: maximum 8C, minimum 6C, light NE, bright intervals, cool. Processing 24/7 records -- very interesting day, particularly for Osprey on the Tyne and 2 Black Kite sites. Hope to finish the Ordley birds on the morning of 24/7 and the Black Kite at Dukeswood in the afternoon of 24/7 very soon. Had good walk from 16:00-17:00 out of home with plenty of birds around, indeed 21 bird-types, including 2 Goldcrest, 19 Fieldfare, 9 Redwing, 28 LTT, 1 Jay. On way back from pub at 23:45 had an urban Fox at Hackwood and a Barn Owl and Hare at Ordley. R was very demanding, pushing club visits to Vindolanda and Scarborough, collecting the money on PoS machine and helping the speaker team to get a PowerPoint presentation going, including pressing the magic F4 function to share screen with the data projector; a cheer went up when portrait artist Andrew Festing finally got underway! Much later made G4g4s with A/P/R 4 good chat with L on!! P's off to Amsterdam and back on the ferry from Tuesday-Thursday, promises to be really rough coming back but he's a good sailor; I shall be relaxing at the opera with ON! So next 2 days will be dedicated to culture! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 29th: maximum 9C, minimum 6C, light NE, heavy rain all day and well into evening, gloomy, roads covered in run-off, Tyne at high levels almost topping Tyne Green. Sunrise 07:06, sunset 16:38, after clocks went back. Started processing 24/7 records. including Black Kite at Dukeswood, Hexham. An adult male Blackcap was found freshly dead outside front door, presumed to have hit glass. A Barn Owl was hunting at Ordley at 17:15 and a Tawny Owl was seen on going to pub at 21:50. Cleaner S came at 15:00 so went out to SB4c4t in HEX N where could work on laptop. At 16:10 went to Tyne Bridge to look at Tyne in full spate, very impressive. Not many birds seen in the gloom but did have roosts of Jackdaw 770 and Feral Pigeon 30. Also seen 1 Crow, 3 Rook, 6 Mallard. Day finished with R/P at G4g4s 4 lively chat! Driving today was like being in a boat -- how much wetter can it get? xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 28th: maximum 9C, minimum 8C, light E, cloudy all day, drizzle much of time, gloomy. A quiet day, time to recover! Up to date on recent records including from moorland walk and completed 29/6 records in all respects, now on 24/7 Hexham NE, one of 4 still to do July record-sheets (all before Munich trip). Had 270 Fieldfare at Ordley at 12:00 with 30 Redwing. Made DoW4g4s with D/D (again!) for good chat with A on! Made rapid change to a certain website!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 27th: maximum 11C, minimum 8C, light SE, cloudy all day, drizzle much of time, gloomy. Big day for car, in for 3-year service at local HEX garage BSM. Had to have replaced front discs and pads, front tyres and cleaning of emission control, costing extra £389 to service for which already paid by monthly instalments (£220). But cannot argue with importance of having those vital parts in good order; MOT is in about 4 weeks; should get through that. So took car in at 9, went QHL, told about extra work on car at 11, so stayed at QHL until 16:30, including a very welcome lunch-break at QHC4s4l where pleased to meet S again! Picked up car at 16:45, had quick t, then out to QH again with D/D to hear a concert by Fairport Convention -- not a tribute band but the originals, now in their 70s: a good sound -- easy on the ear and plenty of wit and humour -- enjoyed it. Had a rw in the interval but went SH, resisting a few invitations to the G! 2moro with D/D going to DoW. Having been rebuffed by Air Baltic on claim for refund on cancelled flight from Batumi to Riga on spurious weather grounds, have put matter in hands of Flightright, a German company who specialise in reclaiming compensation (for a fee of about 30%). Funds are roughly unchanged on the week, final figure tomorrow; commodities have been resilient while many other areas, such as banks, have been under selling pressure. Interested in US sending another aircraft carrier (Eisenhower) to the Gulf; looks as if they may be interested, with the Israeli Air Force, in clipping the wings of Iran, surely the source of much evil in the area. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 26th: maximum 9C, minimum 7C, light SE, cloudy all day, drizzle generally with spells of heavy rain, gloomy. Did go on R walk from 10:00-13:00 doing 15k steps (c12km), over the moors at the Chimneys near Allendale, moving down to Mount Pleasant and across to Hawkwell. very wet underfoot and with heavy rain in two spells quite wet on top as well! Had 34 Red Grouse, 10 Golden Plover and one Black Grouse on the high moors, with a Raven and 12 Grey Partridge at Hawksteel, 200 Fieldfare at Yarridge and a Kestrel at Nubbock. Total was 14 bird-types, including 22 Redwing. PT struggled a bit near the end and found myself as backmarker helping him along; didn't expect that, stragglers should be looked after, he was very grateful for my support. Had lunch at Emma's Café in Allendale. where had tuna melt -- very tasty. Got home with everything so wet, some put in washing machine, others left on pegs above storage heater. Much later made G4g4s with P/R for good chat. Publicised R weekend away in April 2024 in Scarborough and looks like a popular response. 2moro it's car service at 09:00 in BSM, keeping up maintenance drive of everything. Did index Black Kite piccies from 29/6, just need to check them now. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 25th: maximum 9C, minimum 7C, light NE, cloudy all day, occasional light rain, gloomy. Compiled 22/10 bird, butterfly and mammal records -- what a marvellous late autumn day that was in the sunshine, with 26 bird-types, 2 butterfly-types and 3 mammal-types. Finished cropping the 28 images of Black Kite from 29/6 at Bywell and uploaded them to server; just indexing to do and adding records to BirdTrack. Today's 'fun' was at the dentist in Corbridge where had hygiene treatment, followed by dentist inspection, taking an hour. All's well but my crown on bottom-right has a little gap on outside of it, causing food to collect. Advice was to leave it, keep it clean as far as possible and look at it again in 6 months. I'm on a private-dental plan so no charge for today. 2moro out on the moors in morning for walk with R, finishing with lunch in Allendale. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 24th: maximum 10C, minimum 7C, light NW, cloudy all day, heavy rain showers particularly lunchtime. Started work on 29/6 Bywell in catch-up on raptor reports and records; had some superb Black Kite records this day which labelled; hope to add them to web site and BirdTrack tomorrow. Spent more time sorting out our R 'weekend away' as team members squabbled about exact procedure with club members; think I've sorted it now with email plus attachment going out Thursday. Updated will at NP in Hexham through solicitor MF this afternoon: not long to take effect, needs modifying existing one and signing. Updated Bequests to Charities to reflect my interests: British Trust for Ornithology £30,000; Marie Curie Hospice £20,000; Glasshouse (was Sage), North Music Trust £30,000; Royal Society for Protection Birds £20,000; St Helen's Church of Whitley Chapel £10,000; Woodland Trust £30,000; Brundibár Arts Festival £30,000; Opera North £30,000; Northumberland Wildlife Trust £30,000; Salvation Army £10,000; Total £240,000. Also giving £20k to each granddaughter (total 40k), residue to son and daughter equally. This is a busy week: dentist tomorrow at 12:00: have to go after cancelling two appointments in August/September with Georgia trip starting earlier and finishing later than expected. No known problems! Have R walk on the moors on Thursday and car service on Friday b4 intruder alarm check next Monday. Then it's the Opera North season! Funds +1k wtd. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 23rd: maximum 10C, minimum 8C, light E, cloudy all day, some mist, dry. As usual Monday is dominated by R, organising lunch attendance and meal choices, chairing Admin Team meeting where we finalised plans for 'weekend away' in mid-April, actually weekdays as cheaper. Quite a posh hotel Wrea Head near Scarborough, costing about £400 for double room, 2 days bed, breakfast, dinner, not a bad negotiation! Went for brisk walk at ttime, up to Dotland, at dusk, getting a Tawny Owl and Common Buzzard, final prep for R walk on Thursday on the moors; am concentrating on walking faster with longer strides for longer periods! Auction lots arrived, dumped on doorstep by FedEx as out for lunch; still I've got them! Exciting uplifting events do indeed happen: xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Made G4g4s with R/A for good chat with L on!

October 22nd: maximum 10C, minimum 2C, light SW, sunny all day. Went for good walk around Peth Foot from 11:15-12:50, seeing amazing numbers of Red Admiral butterflies (13) with a single Comma, nearly all on ivy blossom, where many flies and wasps. Bird-types numbered 26, including 42 Redwing (21 W), 3 Brambling W, 1 Fieldfare, 11 Blackbird, 10 Tree Sparrow, 7 Robin, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 mewing Common Buzzard. Mammals numbered 3 types: 4 Rabbit, 4 Mole, 1 Bank Vole. Got my walking boots back on to check they're still comfortable and covered them with silicone wax for next outing to soften and waterproof them. Got lift in with L to GH4con4aft where Samling were doing an afternoon concert; very glamorous and singing was superb; went to reception afterwards and then L drove me back to HEX. Much later made G4g4s where 5 of us out: D/B/R/P/me, with A missing for some reason. Highlight of day was compiling last day's results from Georgia with yet another amazing raptor passage at Batumi along the coast. So:

Provisional list for Georgia 24/8-12/9: 90 of 90 species from 246 records, 22 complete lists, 27 places, with 17 species of raptor and 6 of gull.

2moro sees Cnt4m4l with R, including meeting afterwards to finalise our weekend away in Yorkshire in April. Feel quite aroused: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 21st: maximum 10C, minimum 8C, light N, sunny intervals, very little further rain. Did some gardening, cutting back cotoneaster near front door, which was collapsing to some extent in the strong winds. Later at 23:00 had a Fox and 2 Rabbit on the road near home. Met D/D at Dow4g4s for good chat. Started catching up on bird records from the summer, compiling those for Ljind (NW Amsterdam) where put up by KLM end-July at the Plaza, getting as many as 17 bird-types, as it had water channels around it. Main achievement was working through the piccies from Batumi for 12/9 and getting raptor totals for the day; impressive numbers were seen of Black Kite and Honey-buzzard coasting to S plus some eagles, harriers and a hawk. All will be documented tomorrow under 12/9; the Ljind records are already highlighted under 30/7 and 31/7. Funds were -15k on week after the worst week for equities in 3 months, on ever higher bond yields, with even oil stocks suffering. Chatted with son for an hour on messenger, mainly on his work and on our Kenya adventure coming up. An uplifting day: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 20th: maximum 9C, minimum 6C, fresh E, cloudy, mist, heavy driving rain all day, particularly in afternoon. Storm Babet was indeed very rough. Made QH4s4l where very pleased with the service! Then spent some time in QHL doing some research. At 16:30 train service was collapsing in the rain and decided to get Stagecoach 685 at 16:44 into NCL; this bus was almost on time and got into Eldon Square in about an hour; then Metro Monument to GHD which was running smoothly though some areas near coast were closed due to flooding and high seas. Once inside GH found all train services cancelled and Go North East were on strike; Stagecoach service finishes at 19:55 so no late bus back. L offered me a lift to HEX which was a great help; once inside could also have got a lift from BH/LH, R members. So tucked into pasta and chicken with large rw (latter £9.50!) and enjoyed the concert. The first half was Chorus of RNS only, singing pieces by Joanna Ward, Roderick Williams, Oliver Tarney, Kerensa Briggs and Jonathan Dove, Was creative throughout though thought I could detect a bit of Steve Reich's Different Trains in the piece by the last named. Main piece was Mozart's Requiem which was immaculately sung and moving in places. Nice to be driven home through the easing flood water; L taking me in again on Sunday to see Samling.

October 19th: maximum 14C, minimum 9C, light E, cloudy, mist, occasional rain. Had a Song Thrush near Letah Wood at 14:00 and a Barn Owl at Ordley at 18:30. Highlight of day was talk by Conrad Dickinson at Forum Cinema, Hexham, in evening, an event set-up by R for disaster recovery funds; it was a packed event with 150 there plus plenty of wine, raffle tickets and prints sold. So should have raised a lot! Show was stunning pictures of birds and other wildlife with many RSPB members, easily outnumbering R members. Earlier made T4m4l with M/B; must say food (quiche) here could be fresher, might go for omelette next time. After Forum talk, went to G4g4s where met A for good chat, finishing on ginger beer after earlier rw. Will catch-up 2moro morning on exciting weather and concert for 20/10. lok2tgrf xxx XXXXX!!!!!!

October 18th: maximum 12C, minimum 9C, moderate E, bright morning becoming cloudy with wind increasing later as red-listed storm Babet approaches. Cleaned up and oiled grass mower for storage in shed in winter. Did some trimming with shears in back, tidying up a few areas. Ordered 5 bags of smokeless ovoids for solid-fuel fire. Booked in car Friday week for annual service. Agreed to go on moorland walk with Rotary next Thursday. Made appointment with MF for update of will at HEX solicitors NP next Tuesday. Of the 3 settees put out to rot, the newer 2 are already beginning to look pretty tatty; the oldest one, I think predating the revised fire regulations is still looking immaculate as probably much more synthetic. A group is clearing the old Teignmouth cemetery including the graves; they've found graves of Ebenezer Rossiter (gt-grandfather1888) and William Joseph Norton (husband of gt-aunt Rose Rossiter 1928). What's more they've added images of WJN and family's grave and added comments to the two WikiTree pages, managed by me, and promised image of ER's grave; all great collaboration, which is the object of WikiTree. My gt-grandmother Ebenezer's wife Sarah married again in 1895 to Samuel Poole who's celebrated as a pioneer Victorian photographer Samuel Poole and Victorian Photography WordPress. Watched late nite film on Film 4: Midsommar, which I've seen b4 at TC; it's a 'lovely' pagan film; Florence Pugh is brilliant as she becomes the sole survivor of the 5 visitors, watching her partner burning to death after she earlier had watched him making love to one of the coven. Her tears turn to smiles at the end: she's joined the dark side! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 17th: maximum 10C, minimum 0C, light E, bright morning after early ground frost, becoming cloudier through afternoon. Went for good walk to Dotland from 16:00-18:00, doing 7k steps fairly briskly. In total of 22 bird-types, had a Common Buzzard, 26 Redwing (5 E, 15 SW, 6 rest), 20 Long-tailed Tit, 18 Blue Tit, 2 Goldcrest, 11 Blackbird, 1 Stock Dove, 262 Common Gull (nearly all adult); mammals were of 3 types: single Rabbit, Mole and Bank Vole; no butterflies. Did attend the Ag auction at Lawrence in Somerset on Auctionet this morning with full-on web bidding. Bought 2 items from James I era: 2 bodkins and a latten spoon; and one from William & Mary: trefid spoon; total cost 0.7k; quite exciting; the latten spoon was probably dug up, maybe from a latrine! Did send off revised abstract to Human Affairs, part of IWC 2023, need to submit full paper by February 2024, which will be a revised ANPA paper, steered towards social aspects. Good to have a more human side!! Funds are +1k wtd. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 16th: maximum 11C, minimum 1C, light SW, sunny all day but feeling cool, ground frost on car at 21:45. Such a backlog of tasks: booking intruder alarm maintenance, ordering various things such as W order. R meeting was as demanding as usual but data projector set-up, under my responsibility, worked well as usual; meal review put off to April with members' consent, don't want piecemeal changes; need to find a President-Elect to follow me. Did resume light gardening: sweeping up beech and leylandii cuttings. 2moro morning it's elder sis' birthday and Lawrence Ag sale in Somerset, with web bidding! Plan to get revised Munich abstract off tomorrow for consideration for Process Ontology publication. Had good relaxation at G4g4s with A/R and the dynamic E on! A Tawny Owl was calling at 23:50 on return from pub. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 15th: maximum 9C, minimum 4C, moderate W, sunny all day but feeling cool. Brought recent records up to 5/10 for birds and other animals, including Challaborough in Devon on 22/9. but still a backlog from earlier for Georgia and end of Black Kite season. Feeling a bit stiff today but not all bad!! Made G4g4s with B/D/R/A for great Sunday nite chat with E/L on! Did a bit of R business in preparation for dining at lunchtime tomorrow. An amazing passage of 260 Pink-footed Goose W at 18:38 in 2 skeins as went to fetch coal in at dusk. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 14th: maximum 9C, minimum -1C, moderate W becoming light W, sunny all day but max below 10C and min below 0C indicating that winter is approaching. Great triumph today was taking crown off Leylandii hedge at 4m high with extendible hedge trimmer. The trimmer is heavy but gives a nice finish and needed a number of breaks, including lunch, over 3 hours to take little walks and flex back and shoulders. So basic gardening done now! Made QH4con4s, where opening night of Hexham Music Society's season with Pocket Sinfonia. First half had Fanny Mendelssohn's Overture in C major, followed by Felix Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream -- overture, nocturne, scherzo. All neatly done, flautist Rosie Bowker was superb. Later made DoW4g4s to meet D/D for great chat with A on!! Frost on way as came home. Funds were +22k on week, mainly on rise in oil stocks of which hold quite a few. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 13th: maximum 10C, minimum 5C, light W, becoming moderate in afternoon, cloudy morning with some light rain, brighter later. Had another rest day from gardening, quite indulgent really but deserved I feel. Made QHC4s4l where good to meet S again, then into NCL by train for reception at 15:30 with NH pouring the tea and RNS rehearsal at 16:15, led competently by MW. Then GH4m+rw4t followed by concert. Thought this might be a low-key affair but it was ecstatic. Highlight was the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for Viola, Viola & Orchestra, with Maria on violin and Timothy Ridout on viola, natural fodder for the RNS but it was performed as such a team effort with all players feeding oof each other's enthusiasm; the soloists were superb; great applause and they played an encore from Bach's Inventions. The opening piece was Sogno di Stabat Mater by Lera Auerbach, which featured 3 soloists: M and TR as above plus Delia Stephens on vibraphone. This was written in 2005 and first performed in 2009; it had some nice atmospheric passages. Second half saw Schubert's masterpiece Death and the Maiden, transcribed by Mahler, for sinfonia. I prefer the quartet, its original scoring, as performed at Kirkharle last week, with its sharper sound. But it was great to see MG excelling on the viola with his experience of the piece. IB played violin 2 to match her role at Kirkharle and GW was enthusiastically on cello as usual. Just missing someone!! Made Br4g4s to complete the day's hedonistic tendencies b4 getting last train to HEX. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 12th: maximum 11C, minimum 8C, light W, sunny all day. Had a rest day from gardening. Made T4m4l to meet M for good catch-up; we had long chat on web site technology; WordPress is an example of a Content Management System, massive overkill for many applications, where a bit of simple html would suffice. But to use WordPress effectively you need to know some php, html and sql, far beyond the capability of your average amateur; so you have to pay a consultant to get it working. Quite a lot of interesting birds in last 3 days: 9/10 at Ordley -- 1 Chiffchaff, 6 Brambling, plus 6 Red Admiral; yesterday at Ordley - 2 Goldcrest, 10 Blue Tit, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 House Sparrow, 1 singing Mistle Thrush, 7 Goldfinch, 7 Redwing dropping out of sky, plus a Red Admiral butterfly; today at Ordley - 20 Redwing W low-down plus 13 dropping out of sky, 12 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Woodcock out of field W at dusk at 18:20, plus a Red Admiral and Small White; today at Elvaston -- 2 Goldcrest, 2 Common Buzzard adult mewing, plus butterflies on ivy flowers: 1 Comma, 2 Red Admiral. Note 3 types of butterfly today -- pretty amazing for mid-October. Have labelled piccies taken at Challaborough, Devon, on 22/9 so close to wrapping up that visit. Made G4g4s with A/R for good chat with A/L on! The far left's support for HAMAS is incomprehensible: excused as anti-Zionism rather than anti-Semitism but totally unacceptable. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 11th: maximum 10C, minimum 5C, light W, cloudy all day bit brighter early evening. Maximum temperature sliding towards the dreaded sub 10C, which to me marks the onset of early winter; they're expected to do this over the weekend. Continued very active hedge trimming on beech and leylandii, now just the crown of the leylandii to do at 4m high; have a long-reach trimmer which means I can cut that from bottom rungs of steps but it's heavy so may leave it until Saturday when have more spare time to take it steadily. Booked the flights from Nairobi Wilson to Mara North return for myself and son; cost $US784 but it's so exciting arriving on the small plane like in the films of Kenya! So family has now got all flights and safari accommodation arranged: going to be a very exciting trip! Son and I have almost a week after safari to explore, probably on the coast. Did some web updates for the Festival and much admin for R. Have booked another ticket. Think have now conquered garden after such a difficult year, so relieved that fitness has returned; now going to look for raptors again, for a change! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 10th: maximum 18C, minimum 9C, moderate SW, dull morning, brighter later, very mild for time of year. Fine autumn spell continues. Did masses of hedge-trimming on front garden from 10:30-16:00, even extending to lower slopes of leylandii; reduced one Cotoneaster simonsii to a few small branches to clear the walls of the house. It's looking a lot more kempt, in particular the area around the house. Had 2 Red Admiral and a Chiffchaff in garden plus a Common Buzzard mewing over Peth Foot.. Last night had a Barn Owl at Ordley on way back from pub. Funds are +10k wtd, so recovering a little of last week's losses. Have booked my ticket for no.1!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 9th: maximum 17C, minimum 13C, moderate SW, dull morning, brighter later, very mild for time of year. Completed hedge trimming around back gate, clearing the ivy completely from the house walls, which I certainly don't want it to climb and clearing scrub from the verge with daffodils below. Made R at Cnt4m4l: all went smoothly after initial problems with content on memory stick; our typical attendance is 30, which is healthy for a membership of 45. Completed login/logout/register buttons for ANPA; just one problem now, shielding copyright material other than to members for which Anton, immediate past webmaster, has kindly sent me a fix. Had 6 Red Admiral around garden, mainly on rose hips, and there's been a hatch in last few days of Common Marbled Carpet moths. Had 6 Brambling on the far hedge and a Chiffchaff near pony shelters. Reviewed son's application for promotion and made a few suggestions. Made G4g4s where just A out for good chat. Complete solidarity with Israel: find murder of 260 young people at the music festival near the Gaza border totally barbaric. Biden has been very lax in allowing Iran to expand its oil exports: sanctions need to be reimposed. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 8th: maximum 17C, minimum 14C, light W, dull morning, brighter later, very mild for time of year. Did some very energetic gardening, taking the clippers and the hedge trimmer to the shrub overgrowth by the windows of daughter's room (mainly ivy, berberis), clearing much of it to make house wall free of the ivy and room for air to circulate; will complete job on roadside tomorrow. More work on ANPA web site, all content available now, working on login system tomorrow. Site is up to 50MB compressed in backup. Had 30 Redwing W, coming down nearby, first of season, plus 3 Nuthatch, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Bullfinch and a Chiffchaff. Watched with horror on Sky News Hamas' despicable attack on Israel. Made G4g4s with A/R for great chat, with E on. Going to make a codicil to will this week to reflect increased funds over last few years since 2016 when will was made. Notwithstanding last week was not good: -31k but in context over last 5 weeks not so bad! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 7th: maximum 18C, minimum 10C, moderate N, periods of rain, feeling damp throughout. Recovery day after yesterday's exertions. New watch strap finally arrived for Runmifit so got watch back on; it had been delivered in error to a place in Juniper and nice lady drove up with parcel to deliver it personally (so grateful). Had big delivery from W, £95; filling up the shelves and freezer again. Finished basic build for ANPA website at ANPA; not quite complete and sure there will be plenty of suggestions for material to add but quite a relief to get it sorted: tested my SQL and HTML skills! Made DoW4g4s with D/D; good evening out! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 6th: maximum 17C, minimum 14C, moderate W, dry morning, light rain afternoon becoming heavy in evening. Completed grass cutting with 8 bales taken off area by pony shelters; more than expected with some patches of grass quite tough. Had 3 Red Admiral (on rose hips) and 2 Chiffchaff in garden. At 22:00 in heavy rain saw a frog hopping across road and a dead Grey Squirrel at Loughbrow. Will start on hedge trimming soon, maybe tomorrow. First job is to clean the Bosch grass mower and spray with WD40 to keep it fresh for next spring: no more mowing this season, if it grows that's more for the rabbits! Felt a bit flat today but did rouse myself, getting place ready for cleaner S (after gardening) and making QHC4s4l with tuna sandwich, followed by QHL4study where annotated Munich Powerpoint presentation and updated one paragraph in abstract to reflect useful comments on eternal objects at the conference. Then into NCL by train where had meal at GH with partners L/M/S. Concert was by CBSO: looked for details on GH web site after concert but already deleted! But did find identical concert on bachtrack. Conductor was the effervescent Kazuki Yamada. The programme included in the first half Prokofiev's compelling Classical Symphony, Saint-Saëns,PC2 with well known mv2 and dramatic mv3, played fantastically well by Hisako Kawamura, and in second half Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, taking full advantage of the large orchestra c80 strong. Scheherazade has some moving passages and some of the solo violin playing by the leader was superb but actually preferred the first half. Made Br4g4s (walked HLB both ways) in pouring rain b4 catching last train home at 22:53. Subscribed to Hexham Music Society's 2023-2024 season with 6 concerts arranged, mainly SQ, cost £90. Funds are down this week after massive panic early-on over soaring bond yields. After 5 weeks of gains of over 80k in total, expecting some retrace, maybe 1/3 of the gains; still to work out exact figure. Was a great few days: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 5th: maximum 14C, minimum 14C, fresh SW, cloudy, few showers. Completed grass cutting in orchard, path in main field and strip to front of crab apple trees, another 6 bales. Just the strip by the pony shelters to do, really good progress, then start on hedge trimming. A Golden-ringed Dragonfly (large yellow) was over my remnant pond at Ordley at 12:00. Heavily involved in migration of ANPA website, up to 03:00 this morning, cracked it this morning after breakfast importing the whole database, then installed some WordPress plug-ins, few residual database errors and formatting issues but looking promising. Concert to raise money for Festival was brilliant: amazing piece by Josima Feldscguh for piano, written when she was just 9; followed by Volodymyr Runchak: Let’s Fantasise together, very emotionally charged; Alexander Tansman: Melodie and Caprice, sweet section, then a rhythmic one; Bacewicz, Polish Caprice, very challenging piece, played with great verve; Noah Max: Fearful Symmetry, good taster for the Child in Striped Pyjamas. After the Interval: Laks: trois pieces de concert, Romance, Mouvement perpetual, more mixture of sweet harmonies and wild rhythms; Frederic Chopin: Nocturne, not a Holocaust piece but obviously Polish credentials and elegantly played; Karol Rathaus: Trio for clarinet, violin & piano, a dark piece, quite deep with mv 1 being quite scratchy, later mv high emotions. All the performers did brilliantly!! Overwhelming memory is of the great variety in each piece with sweet harmonies contrasting with wild passages. Got back to HEX just in time for quickie G4g+0.0h4s. A great day!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 4th: maximum 14C, minimum 11C, moderate W, weak sunshine, dry by day, rain in evening. Train strike so in to NCL by car to CAL and then 2 Metro. Such a great lunch with vivacious company and spicy food; taken aback at one revelation!! Plenty of support promised: it's a great cause! Decided to try and crack the transfer of the ANPA database today: spent 4 hours trying to get the import done of the 36MB of SQL data; WordPress uses MySQL for data management, including the texts posted. Understand how it works now (SQL was one of my specialities at NCL/UNN) but stuck with a problem showing a conflict in Namecheap's documentation so I've sent therm a chat: they've just replied asking for more credentials. What we call in the trade: all possible help short of actual assistance! Think in constructing my query I've more or less answered the problem: delete their tables, rely on creation of tables in the export file. This is all one-off work for importing the current website. Have one important engagement 2moro: concert at Fenham in evening!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 3rd: maximum 13C, minimum 10C, moderate W, mainly sunny but cool, particularly when odd cloud came over. Cut another 7 bales of grass in overgrown patch mid morning, clearing the lot, flushing a Bank Vole: great progress! Main business of day was making Kirkharle Courtyard and Church for fantastic concert by SQ, including 2 Weinberg opus and Schubert's Death and the Maiden SQ 14. The Weinberg aria (second one played) was very moving. The Schubert piece is one of his best works and as said in the introduction what would Schubert have achieved if he'd lived even to 50, instead of 31. It was played in such an inspired manner and came over really well: some of the best music I've witnessed all year; the last movement was played with stylish verve. Church was packed and had great chat afterwards with the quartet and organisers! If only every day was like this!! Had a Red Admiral at Kirkharle at 13:00. Back to HEX for R council meeting from 17:30-18:30 where presented Admin Team report in constructive discussions. 2moro it's Turk-style!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!! The gorgeous one is so much on my mind: lok2tgrf: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 2nd: maximum 13C, minimum 10C, light W, cloudy, damp and cool. Cut another 6 bales of grass in overgrown patch midday; maybe 2 cuts to go to clear this wild area. Gardening is improving my fitness and grass cuttings are used to speed up the rotting of old furniture. R was very demanding today; we had talk from Macmillan cancer care, complete with video over WiFi, which all worked well. then Admin Team meeting from 2-3 of which I'm chair; a full discussion on many issues including planning future events; altogether tied up from 12:00-15:00. Much later made G4g4s with P/A for good chat. Looking forward very much to next 3 days, even if there is R council at 17:30 tomorrow!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

October 1st: maximum 16C, minimum 10C, light W, mainly sunny. Cut another 6 bales of grass in overgrown patch midday; maybe 3 cuts to go to clear this wild area; may well let it grow long again next spring. Made G4g4s with the full gang plus D/B so good turnout; we had a very good nite! In the sunshine had a family party of 4 Common Buzzard up over Peth Foot from 13:20-13:40 plus a juvenile Honey-buzzard up over the nest site from 13:31-13:33 climbing fairly high (13310), probably a Scottish bird, a juvenile Red Kite up briefly at 13:23, a Swallow S, 8 Lesser Redpoll, 4 Siskin, 10 Blue Tit, 1 White Wagtail, in total of 22 bird-types, plus 3 types of butterfly: 4 Red Admiral, 2 Speckled Wood, 2 Small White.

September 30th: maximum 14C, minimum 11C, light S, cloudy morning, then light rain, drier by mid-evening and clear night, much better than forecast. Cut 6 bales of grass mid-morning to get in before it started to rain; cut a patch adjacent to neighbour's for customer relations! Wildlife was keeping a low profile with rain in the offing. Booked up flights to Kenya for 2 weeks in December, LHR-NBO and MBA-LHR, all for £583 with £20 voucher, looks a good price to me; son going for same period. Booked Samling's two autumn concerts at GH in late October and at Marchmont, Borders, Scotland, in early December, latter with a minibus return from Berwick to Marchmont. Made DoW4g4s with D/D for good chat. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 29th: maximum 15C, minimum 8C, moderate SW, sunny intervals. Got back on time from Leeds after leisurely breakfast at Ibis; in HEX made QHC4m4l having my favourite tuna salad. Then did some work on the Munich paper in response to some suggestions for handling eternal objects more cleanly, so can resubmit the abstract by 20/10. Back into NCL by train to make GH4c with RNS playing; good to meet partners again; main piece was B4, which was beautifully played. This is one of my favourite Beethoven symphonies, particularly the evocative m2, which I feel must have influenced the young Wagner, along with B3 Eroica. Leader M was very exuberant and all players seemed switched-on. We also had a new piece Con Brio by Jörg Widmann, which had some interesting sounds and Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, which was in effect a cello concerto with Bruno Philiippe the star. He was so pleased with his reception that he gave 2 encores, the second because he loved playing to us! The conductor was the effervescent Jaume Santonja. The GH has relabelled its doors on L1 from numbers to letters but the tickets still give a door number! Stopped off at Br4g4s (walked HLB both ways, masses of walking today in Leeds and Hexham as well) b4 getting last train back to HEX. Funds were +12k on week, reaching new peak on Thursday, after 1.5k withdrawals this week and a very difficult quarter for most investments, as higher interest rates look likely to stay longer than expected. Having cut my investment teeth in the inflationary 1970s, feel that being invested in commodities and their associated equities is the best policy. Inflation always persists much more than people expect once it becomes engrained as now. Had a redhead Goosander at Wylam E and 2 Canada Goose at Bywell on the way in at 17:30. Cleaner S was at house in afternoon so return home was at 23:45. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 28th: maximum 17C minimum 12C, light S, cloudy. Made T4m4l with M/B 4 gr8 chat. Then off to LDS. Falstaff by Verdi is a strange opera: a witty comedy rather than an opera with great arias or building tension. But ON got it to work, with a team making the most of the comedy score. Falstaff is an old fool but they brought out a slightly gentler side, even though ridicule was his ultimate fate. The libretto was interesting being in English after a round trip from Shakespeare's c1600 text of The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV to Verdi's c1890 Italian and back to English via Amanda Holden. That's an interesting structure in category theory with the unit and counit of adjunction measuring the difference between Shakespeare's and Amanda's texts. Very good evening with receptions at 18:15, 20:15 and 21:30, Talked to a lot of people including the conductor, lighting director, movement director, and the staff who manage the donations. Thinking of becoming a gold patron, £300 a month, to help promote opera in the north of England. Don’t get the same buzz for the Sage (GH) as for ON or indeed other grand causes. Funds reached a new record today, +12k on previous peak, as oil prices continued to firm; this in the context of very weak world markets overall, partly because of higher oil prices prolonging high inflation. Of course oil ranks alongside crack cocaine, heroin and tobacco in ESG rankings; should hang my head in shame!! Had 4 types of raptor: Durham – York: single Common Buzzard, Red Kite, Kestrel, Honey-buzzard juvenile S; not bad! Back 2moro, indeed with concert at S in evening. Looking forward to next week. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 27th: maximum 15C, minimum 12C, cloudy, heavy rain in afternoon on fresh S breeze, drier by evening. Did manage some grass cutting mid-morning with another 6 bales cut at the back; always satisfying to beat the rain! Still catching up on masses of diverse work. Have got WordPress site on NC set-up, ready for importing the XML export from the current ANPA site. It's T4m4l 2moro followed by train HEX-LDS and Falstaff in a very hedonistic evening with ON in LDS, staying at Ibis Styles, close to the Grand Theatre. Chatted to son at ttime: he's looking very well, got his weight down to simply overweight; we had good chat about Georgia and Kenya, latter with extension to beach at Mombasa after safari. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 26th: maximum 17C, minimum 10C, moderate SW, mainly sunny with occasional cloudy spells. A good showing of 8 Red Admiral, on rose hips, some freshly emerged, plus 2 Speckled Wood. 2 Chiffchaff were seen and heard and 2 Common Buzzard adult were calling. Did a lot more grass cutting, producing 6 bales before calling it a day; grass looks long but as usual in autumn is not as substantive as spring growth. Booked ticket for KH next week, will need to cancel insight event at ON but couldn't make that anyway as have R council meeting at 17:30; have missed last 2 councils, cannot miss another! Anyway having big day at ON this Thursday. Had a big shop delivered from W (£75). Ordered ticket for Hello Dolly! in November by HASS (Hexham Amateur Stage Society) and donated £60 (plus £19 for ticket). Lots of other catch-ups done including setting up of new Domain on NC and reading about transfer mechanisms; the driver is to be WordPress. Will write 2moro! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 25th: maximum 17C, minimum 10C, moderate SW, sunny, pleasant autumn day. Had some butterflies in front yard in morning: 2 Red Admiral, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Comma, 1 Small White, plus a Rabbit and 6 Silver Y moths. Got quickly down to garden recovery, cutting grass in front. Afterwards from 17:00-19:00 chilled out in the back, looking for birds. Had 17 types, including 2 Treecreeper, 8 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Tawny Owl calling. Funds made a new record last Wednesday but slipped back a little since then. Talk at R on Uganda township by BH/JH went well; whole lunchtime went well. Met P/A at G4g4s for good chat, R still ill. Busy with concerts on Thursday (Opera North opening night, staying over in LDS), Friday (B4 at Glasshouse), and 2 important ones next week! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 24th: maximum 16C, minimum 12C, cloudy, heavy rain at times, moderate SW increasing fresh SW in evening with may small branches blown off ash, from past disease ash die-back. Getting place organised again, both physically and on the desktop. Transferred over various files, uploaded piccies from camera from Devon, checked financial records. Not happy with North Music Trust: set up a DD with them to pay 2.5k a year in quarterly payments of 625 for my pp; late last week almost went over o/d limit as they took an unexpected 625, having treated such payments inexplicably as monthly; cancelled DD and complained; cannot understand at all how they've set-up such a sloppy DD; I like finance to be properly organised! Did make G4g4s with P/A; R has gone down with Covid, did wonder if that was my bug last week as had strange cough; last Covid jab was April 2022 and I'm not having any more. Updated Festival website. Looked at starting another website on NameCheap for ANPA. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 23rd: maximum 18C, minimum 14C, light S, mainly sunny day with a few showers, much calmer. Caught train at TOT at 11:53, CC to NCL, arriving on time at 18:33; expected train NCL-HEX was cancelled but next one ran at 19:20 (giving time for shopping at S in NCL), getting in at 20:06 and driving straight to DoW4g4s with D/D for good catch-up. Nice to be back! Some Little Egret were on Teign Estuary (5) with a lone Shelduck and 12 Mute Swan adult. On the lower Exe Estuary there were 4 Little Egret, 80 Wigeon, 2 Common Tern and a Reed Bunting. On the upper Exe Estuary there were 15 d-b Brent Goose. A Common Buzzard was at Curload after Taunton and a Red Admiral near Bristol Temple Meads. Might do some work tomorrow on various desirable projects! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 22nd: maximum 16C, minimum 10C, moderate NW, mainly sunny day with few heavy showers, cool breeze. Out for a short walk in morning from 10:00-11:30 to Challaborough Bay Beach, a little to the W of Bigbury. Had a purple patch looking at higher ground to N with a male 2w Hen Harrier hunting from 10:45-11:09, a Honey-buzzard juvenile flying W at 11:09 using a large stoop followed by rearing up to progress (13300), an adult male Kestrel hunting at 11:10 and 4 Common Buzzard up after two birds (ad, juv) had soared very high earlier. Swallow passage W was prominent (36) with also a few House Martin (7). Also saw a large Linnet flock (170), 2 Cirl Bunting, 2 Stonechat, 4 Gannet juvenile W, 2 Goldfinch W, 1 Raven. Bird-types totalled 22. Then nephew S arrived with wife J (now married after 22 years as partners) and son W, so very sociable time at lunch and into afternoon with walk to Burgh Island and another quickie at the Pilchard! They left early evening: lovely to see them again. 2Moro it’s back to base with no further immediate trips planned. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 21st: maximum 16C, minimum 10C, moderate SW, mainly sunny day with heavy shower in evening, cool breeze. Nephew R and partner C arrived for lunch, which we laid on; very sociable. Followed by ANPA Executive Group Zoom meeting from 17:00-17:50; good positive chat and have been appointed web manager to develop our profile more actively and to hold preliminary publications. Received invite to submit an abstract for Process Ontology, following presentation in Munich in July; they’ve short-listed selected papers, so good news. Limited bird observations today: flock of 10 Linnet fairly close, the male juv Peregrine up at 12:00, a male ad Kestrel up at 11:30 and 14:00 plus many butterflies 20 Small White, 1 Large White. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 20th: maximum 18C, minimum 14C, fresh SW, torrential driving rain in morning, sea rough, dry interlude after lunch, then rain again before dry with a little brightness in early evening. Amazing day, weather-wise, so wild! We made Journey’s End at Ringmore for lunch where had f&c and ic with a couple of g; all very appetising and chatty. Went for walk along cliff top to E early evening, seeing 10 Shag (9 perched on rock to E at dusk towards Thurlestone), 4 d-b Brent Goose (2 W, 2 around Burgh Island at dusk), a Rock Pipit on the Island, a House Martin W, and much else, including 85 Starling, was good exercise and great views! Had 17 bird-types and one butterfly, a Speckled Wood. Quiet evening enjoying each other’s company. Next 2 days we have visits here from 2 nephews R and S in turn! I’ve got a Zoom session at 17:00 as part of ANPA executive group, with one item on agenda NR taking over our web site! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 19th: maximum 18C, minimum 17C, fresh SW, heavy rain in morning, dry afternoon, dull, wet again by evening. Younger sis and I went for walk in afternoon from our house in Bigbury on Sea to Burgh Island summit (48m high!). Had great views from the top out to the Channel to S and along the coast towards Plymouth to W and Start Point to E. Weather was wild, quite atmospheric. We had a pint of local ale in the pub the Pilchard Inn on the Island, a very popular place with Agatha Christie Burgh Island. Star birds of the day were an immature male Peregrine up over N end of channel hanging in breeze at 12:06 and 13:33, a female/immature Kestrel out hovering over cliff edge at 15:19, a Raven at S side of Burgh Island, 5 species of gull: 6 LBBG juv, 100 HG, 4 GBBG (1 ad, 3 juv), 14 BHG (1 juv W, 13 ad), 6 Kittiwake ad W, plus an Oystercatcher, 4 Gannet ad (2 W, 2 E, new species for year), 25 Starling, 1 House Martin W, in total of 19 bird-types. Had good supper of chicken curry and rw, all cooked by sisters. I put the rubbish out in the pouring rain! Funds are -5k wtd, expecting some profit taking this week. Thrilled to hear from someone. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 18th: maximum 18C, minimum 14C, moderate SW, sunny spells, mainly dry. Another long sleep and throat still sore, but got final stages for R lunch organised and turned up from 12-2 to oversee matters. All went well, a very successful lunch. We've got two special events organised next year, a Burns Night in January and a green-themed event in May. Caught train 14:25 HEX-,NCL and 15:39 NCL-TOT, on time as write at DRB at 18:37. It's a good opportunity for a rest! Finally, after passing through ancestry places of Taunton, Tiverton, Dawlish and Teignmouth, in at 23:17 (3 minutes late!). Sisters fetched me in car to take me to rented house at Bigbury on Sea, which we made at 00:10, great to see them again and in glorious Devon, no less. Think appetite is restored. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 17th: maximum 16C, minimum 9C, light NE, dull, some light showers. After another long sleep, felt better and got on with some essential tasks. But felt grotty again by evening with sore throat. Had 2-hours lie-down before out to G4g4s where had good time with R/A/P. Voice a bit croaky so again to bed early. Still not analysed last day's piccies at Batumi.

September 16th: maximum 11C, minimum 9C, moderate NE, very dull, dry. Have got a cold, feeling weak, no appetite, snuffles, cough; stayed in bed until 13:00. Did make the Glasshouse (Sage) for a meal in the Brasserie with L, couldn't have been worse timed, as didn't eat much but felt cancellation would have been terrible. We had good catch-up, continuing to a reception in NR for supporters: very well attended. Star was Elisabeth Leonskaja, 'the Russian pianist born in Tbilisi' [programme], so she was Georgian! In Georgia, she was named Priestess of Art in 2016, this country’s highest artistic honour. She played Beethoven 5 PC, one of my favourite concertos, in grand style, bold in the strident passages and tender in the romantic adagio, excellent start to the new season. In the second half we had Cassandra Miller's Swim (World Premiere), which had some lovely tones but didn't conjure up the notion of swimming; the composer was there. The final piece was Schumann 3 ‘Rhenish’ which was quite a forceful piece, not really what I expected from the composer who is normally associated with a lyrical style, but it was impressive and earned massive applause from the audience, who seem to be taking to the RNS conductor Dinis Sousa, who's taken on greater national significance, deputising for John Gardiner in recent concerts, after JG, aged 80, got involved in a punch-up!. Dinis is also closely involved with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra, so growing in stature, which is good to see. Funds were +45k gross on week, +41k net after birthday present; a good week for commodities on looming China recovery, but is this such good news for the western economies as it threatens to push inflation up again. Result was an all-time high on Friday, ytd +141k gross, before 35.6k withdrawals. Have claimed compensation of €400 from Air Baltic, not including any accommodation or meals; really just claiming the EU-compensation for extra costs in getting home, including an Air Baltic flight Riga - LGW. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Piccies taken in Georgia, now uploaded to desktop are:

1,065 Files, 21 Folders, 5.89 GB on Nikon (still to add some from 'phone, which found useful in very poor light, such as cave, and in personal settings)

September 15th: maximum 12C, minimum 10C, light NE, continuous moderate rain. Feeling so cold, going down with something, I'm sure! Continued sorting out stuff from the long trip. Did make DoW4g4s with D/D after long gap: very good catch-up!

September 14th: maximum 17C, minimum 11C, light W, sunny spells, dry. No fieldwork today, really have to abandon any hope of a complete Honey-buzzard juvenile survey this year but have done a complete job on Black Kite and have to vary the routine. Made T4m4l with M/B for good chat; B has now moved to HEX near where P lives. Did a little shopping at T and picked up regular prescription at B. Unpacking and sorting out clothes and records is going to take some time. Am organising next R lunch meeting on Monday but then may be away again for a few days. Then aiming for being home-based until December when have a week (at least) in the Masai Mara, Kenya, on safari with daughter and family and son. Isabella is 7 today, sent her an ecard and 4k. Made G4g4s where had good chat with R/A; L was on! Funds are at record high tonight! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 13th: maximum 18C, minimum 11C, light N, sunny spells, dry. Riga. A busy day, up at 02:15 after getting to bed at 21:00 (12/9). Got taxi at 02:40 to Batumi Airport BUS (driver was very chatty) where had some breakfast. Flight with Air Baltic was on time, leaving at 05:30 for RIX and arriving at 08:45 (Riga time, BUS-1) so flight was 4 hour 15 min; it was inspiring flying W along the Black Sea at dawn on the Turkish coast before turning N over Romania, western Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. The distance is 2,975 km, compared to the direct 2,116 km flying over Crimea and the east of Ukraine (not recommended!). Riga has long-standing connections with Batumi: many Russians were moved forcibly into Latvia and many of the indigenous population were transferred elsewhere; Riga's population is about half Russian ethnically. The Russians like Crimea and Georgia for beach holidays. Many menus in Batumi are in Georgian, Russian and English. I didn't get the impression the Russians were disliked in Georgia; they are important economically (holidays, trade, property investors) but there's anxiety about what the Russians will do to Georgia if the Ukraine conflict is resolved in Russia's favour. So I had about 6 hours in Riga until my flight at 15:45 to Gatwick; did some work on laptop but not that wide awake. Noted 2 Hooded Crow and 2 Steppe Buzzard. Have seen the whole of Wagner's Ring cycle in Riga in 2013, with son, very inspired performance in an intimate theatre. This flight also left on time but the trip started going downhill as we approached the dysfunctional UK. Coming into Gatwick, the plane was just 50 feet off the ground and on time, when suddenly, the engines were put into full thrust, the cone was raised and we went roaring back into the sky at full power. We had to come round again, took 15 min and then landed OK. The pilot explained he had been given the alert 'Traffic, Traffic' meaning danger of collision with another plane and then told to abort landing, suggesting there was a plane on our runway ahead! Well they are having problems with ATC at Gatwick! This flight took about 2 hours 45 min so it was now 16:30 BST (18:30, Riga time). Everything else at Gatwick was smooth: passport, baggage, and the railway station is nicely integrated. But the trains were in chaos. Eventually caught a train running 30 min late to St Pancras on Thameslink; it went so slowly and was packed. Got to KGX at 18:40, nicely in time for the 19:00 to NCL and I bought an advance single. Well there had been a knife attack at Hadley, which had brought all rail traffic to a stop, including many cancellations. Eventually we boarded at 19:10, left at 19:20 and got later and later, getting into NCL at 23:30, 1 hour 40 min late. Had to join a taxi queue as lots of people missed their last services; eventually got going and back home at 00:30, cost £80 including tip. Taxi driver revived my spirits a lot; he was a Serb (living in UK for 20 years), fascinated with my trip to SE Europe, and reminded me of my late father in law Hans Makosch; laughing a little at the English but enjoying his life here. So time for travel was from 02:40 BUS (BST+3) to HEX at 00:30, that's 24 hours 50 min! Had had a lot of naps on the way so not that sleepy, indeed got up at 08:30 the next morning. Trip has been marvellous: such an interesting country and culture, and of course it has the fantastic Batumi raptor bottleneck. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Provisional list for Georgia 24/8-12/9: 90 of 90 species from 246 records, 22 complete lists, 27 places with 17 species of raptor and 6 of gull.

Revised by 23/05/24 to: 94 of 94 species from 262 records, 22 complete lists, 27 places with 19 species of raptor and 6 of gull.

September 12th: maximum 22C, minimum 17C, light SW, sunny intervals in morning, becoming cloudier in afternoon with very heavy shower at ttime from 15:33, low cloud over mountains throughout and poor visibility there. Another great day for raptor migration along the coast (1,200+) as seen from the apartment balcony with a number of kettles and long glides; added two more raptor-types during the day. It appears they’re checking in at Riga on outward bound leg so cautiously optimistic; have taxi for 02:50 (23:50 BST) to take me to the Airport (BUS), take-off 05:30 and hope to get a taxi from NCL railway station to HEX at 22:00, arriving 22:45 BST, that’s 23 hours travel with time zone differences. Funds +12k wtd on strong oil prices and recovering mega-miners. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Watch from apartment in Batumi City Centre was from 12:10-17:10. The first burst of migrants was noted from 12:40-12:55 with c460 noted passing to E, moving S 1  2  3, comprising 280 Black Kite, 180 Honey-buzzard, 1 Lesser Spotted Eagle, with 4 White-fronted Goose S 1, a male Sparrowhawk flying low in hunting model at 12:50 and a Hawfinch and a Song Thrush flying into local bushes; the raptors were kettling S over edge of overcast mountains using thermals generated on the coast. From 13:05-14:11 had 10 Sand Martin S, 1 Swallow S, 1 LBBG fuscus juvenile S. Around 14:40 with heavy clouds over mountains but clearer on coast 1  2 had 22 Black Kite, 11 Honey-buzzard, 5 Steppe Buzzard and 2 Montagu's Harrier ringtails moving S 1  2. From 14:50-15:03 had 131 Black Kite and 60 Honey-buzzard gliding S, possibly using orographic lift but more likely at the end of their soar-glide mode of operation 1  2  3  4, plus 6 Sand Martin and a Swallow S. Passage picked up as the weather deteriorated. From 15:06-15:24 370 Black Kite and 110 Honey-buzzard were kettling to S, with 5 Booted Eagle, 2 Lesser Spotted Eagle, 1 Montagu's Harrier ringtail 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12 plus 5 Bee-eater. Raptor passage then came to a halt with just one Booted Eagle seen diving out of the sky at 15:30 as rain started in earnest at 15:33. Crude raptor passage totals were 803 Black Kite (rounded 810), 361 Honey-buzzard (rounded 370), 6 Booted Eagle, 5 Steppe Buzzard, 3 Lesser Spotted Eagle, 3 Montagu's Harrier ringtails. Passage of non-raptors S after 15:24 comprised 29 Sand Martin, 7 Swallow, 2 Bee-eater. Other birds noted during day were 150 Caspian Gull S, 2 Hooded Crow, 3 Feral Pigeon, 4 House Sparrow, in total of 17 types. Another great day!

Below are the reports from the two Batumi count centres for 12/9/2023:

Batumi - Sakhalvasho
Tuesday 12 September 2023 Migration Count Data — Batumi Raptor Count






Counting period: 06:40 - 18:00
Count type: Storks and raptors
Weather: mix of clouds and sun, some rainshowers in the afternoon
Observers: Pia Fetting, Marc Heetkamp, Fernando Gross, Antje Drangusch, Helmut Brücher, Daan Knoops, Simon Hugheston-Roberts, Samuel Prettyman, Frank Halbert

S

N

Turtle Dove

  

97

  

5

  

  

Oriental Turtle-Dove

  

1

  

1

  

  

Black Stork

  

4

  

-

  

  

Osprey

  

6

  

-

  

  

Honey Buzzard

  

360

  

-

  

  

Short-toed Eagle

  

4

  

-

  

  

Lesser Spotted Eagle

  

39

  

-

  

  

Booted Eagle

  

197

  

-

  

  

Steppe Eagle

  

2

  

-

  

  

large eagle sp

  

6

  

-

  

  

Marsh Harrier

  

237

  

-

  

  

Pallid Harrier

  

3

  

-

  

  

Montagu's Harrier

  

28

  

-

  

  

Hen/Montagu's/Pallid Harrier

  

37

  

-

  

  

Black Kite

  

16049

  

-

  

  

Steppe Buzzard

  

78

  

-

  

  

MediumRaptor

  

19

  

-

  

  

European Roller

  

28

  

-

  

  




Totals: 17201 individuals, 18 species, 11:20 hours

Bold = Notable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)

Comments: As usual on station one during this period of the year we experienced a good variety of species and streams of mainly Black Kites and quite some Booted Eagles. The harriers showed off nicely and so did the eagles, offering time to practice identifying the different plumages. An adult male dark morph Marsh Harrier, two Steppe Eagles and Oriental Turtle-dove, all well visible, caused the most enthusiastic moments of the day. It was very enjoyable!



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Batumi - Shuamta
Tuesday 12 September 2023



Counting period: 06:40 - 18:12
Count type: Storks and raptors
Weather: Cloudy day, some heavy showers in the afternoon
Observers: Jos Koopman, Thomas Los, Eirik Kersten, Thomas Veryser, Ada Coudenys, Kasper Wieck, Eka Tevdorashvili

S

N

Turtle Dove

  

5

  

5

  

  

Black Stork

  

6

  

-

  

  

Osprey

  

1

  

-

  

  

Egyptian Vulture

  

1

  

-

  

  

Honey Buzzard

  

370

  

-

  

  

Short-toed Eagle

  

2

  

-

  

  

Lesser Spotted Eagle

  

3

  

-

  

  

Booted Eagle

  

48

  

-

  

  

Steppe Eagle

  

1

  

-

  

  

large eagle sp

  

34

  

-

  

  

Marsh Harrier

  

391

  

-

  

  

Pallid Harrier

  

5

  

-

  

  

Montagu's Harrier

  

13

  

-

  

  

Hen/Montagu's/Pallid Harrier

  

60

  

-

  

  

Black Kite

  

8314

  

-

  

  

Steppe Buzzard

  

2985

  

-

  

  

MediumRaptor

  

27

  

-

  

  




Totals: 12271 individuals, 17 species, 11:32 hours

Bold = Notable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)

Comments: Today it was very clear that the Honey Buzzard peak is over, and this seems to be the starting sign for Steppe Buzzards! We quickly realized how much we would miss the pure Honey Buzzard streams, because Steppe Buzzards are a lot more messy in their flight strategy... We could enjoy nice Marsh Harrier migration during the whole day, and it was a delight to see more and more large eagles in the streams. The afternoon brought some heavy rain showers, but in the last hour we could enjoy some nicely lit raptors in the east. A juvenile Steppe Eagle and an Egyptian Vulture made our day complete.





September 11th: maximum 23C, minimum 18C, light SW, sunny morning, more cloud later, dry. Another walk along the prom from 16:00-19:30. This time added 2 species to the list: a Water Pipit flying along the pebble beach and a Common Rosefinch female/juvenile 1 perched on a structure near the shore. Also had 6 Feral Pigeon, 5 Hooded Crow, 8 House Sparrow and 29 Caspian Gull. The Georgians are a very attractive lot, with obvious influence from Iran, Russia and Turkey. Did a lot of work on the Festival website, partly to do something constructive against the worries of the travel situation and a need to beautify the world!

BirdTrack running total up to today: 85 of 85 species from 229 records, 21 complete lists, 27 places. 4 dove, 1 wader, 6 gull, 2 tern, 5 heron, 15 raptor, 2 woodpecker, 3 lark, 3 pipit, 2 shrike, 4 crow, 4 hirundine, 4 warbler, 2 nuthatch, 3 finch.

September 10th: maximum 23C, minimum 17C, light SW, cool and misty start but afternoon and evening sunny and warm, dry throughout. Have presented full account of yesterday’s major movement on the Black Sea coast. Spent much of today sorting out various issues with late return, such as dentist appointment, Rotary admin, automatic prescriptions, booking alternative flight from Riga, to London, also with Air Baltic, so covered if they fail to deliver from Batumi, looking at train travel from Gatwick to Newcastle, etc. Long shot if flight again cancelled on Wednesday is cancelling whole return trip with Air Baltic, securing refunds and going back via Istanbul or Dubai. Had stroll on the Prom from 16:10-18:30 seeing a few birds: 1 Osprey, floating S fairly high-up over sea 1, 8 Hooded Crow, 19 Feral Pigeon, 15 House Sparrow, 1 Bee-eater, 27 Caspian Gull. Took some piccies of Batumi towers 1, pier 2  3, looking out to sea to N 4  5. Of more relevance to the raptors took shots of the area to the NE with Botanical Gardens and Sakhalvasho 6  7, and of hills to E 8 and SE 9 (latter with Osprey high up) which pass near in poor weather. From the flat at 08:00 had 10 Swallow S and 5 Bee-eater around as legacy from yesterday’s marvellous action. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 9th: maximum 24C, minimum 19C, moderate SW, continued from dawn with incredibly heavy rain in bursts (1 clip, example at 13:27) from swirling clouds of all hues (view to SE 15:04 2) easing from 16:00, becoming dry but still with swirling cloud cover, moving a little higher. A most amazing day raptor-wise: report below. Monsoon continues and it’s a fantastic day for coastal passage, right over my balcony, confirming one of my long-held Honey-buzzard migration hypotheses. Flight back cancelled by airline Air Baltic – rearranged 3 days later. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Raptor passage over the coast to E was first noted at 13:43 with an Osprey S in isolation at 13:22 1 and a lone dark-phase Honey-buzzard juvenile flying over my apartment onto the seafront at 13:37 (13525, 1); quite likely this bird is locally bred starting out its journey with limited sense of direction. Main movement began at 15:04 with 20 Honey-buzzard (unageable) kettling to E 2; 120 raptors kettling to E at 15:19 3, going into a glide 4  5  6; this passage comprising 109 Honey-buzzard (mainly juvenile, 80% with a few adults on top of kettle, juveniles below), 6 Osprey (low-down in the large kettle), 2 Black Kite, 2 Montagu’s Harrier, 1 Hobby. From 15:19-15:21 had a glide 7  8  9  10, followed by a kettle forming 11  12 with birds gliding into the bottom of the kettle 13  14; this passage comprising 243 Honey-buzzard (80% juv, adults on top), 40 Black Kite, 5 Osprey (low-down), 1 Lesser Spotted Eagle. From 15:21-15:25 had continued glide totalling 132 Honey-buzzard (80% juv, adults on top), 42 Montagu’s Harrier, 13 Black Kite. 1 Booted Eagle, 1 Osprey, 1 Marsh Harrier 15  16  17  18. From 15:25-15:26 had continued glide totalling 66 Honey-buzzard (80% juv, adults on top), 7 Montagu’s Harrier, 4 Osprey (low-down), 2 Hen Harrier (adult male), 1 Lesser Spotted Eagle 19. Another kettle formed at 15:26 totalling 570 Black Kite, 380 Honey-buzzard (80% juv), 18 Montagu’s Harrier 18, Osprey 2 20  21  22  23  24  25. This was followed by a glide at 15:27 with Black Kite very much predominating now: 443 Black Kite, 78 Honey-buzzard (90% juv), 25 Montagu’s Harrier, 3 Osprey, 1 Hen Harrier adult male 26  27  28  29  30. A large kettle of mainly Black Kite then rapidly built from 15:28-15:30 comprising 1,209 Black Kite, 112 Honey-buzzard (90% juvenile), 25 Steppe Buzzard, 22 Montagu’s Harrier, and single Lesser Spotted Eagle, Hen Harrier ringtail and Steppe Eagle 31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40. A single juvenile Honey-buzzard flew SW close to hotel at 15:31 41  42  43  44 (13526) with 3 other juvenile Honey-buzzard in distance. From 15:31-15:33 72 nearly-all juvenile Honey-buzzard glided S with 10 Black Kite and 2 Steppe Buzzard 45  46. From 15:4-15:35 9 Honey-buzzard (8 juvenile 47  48  49  50   51 (13527, 13529-13532), 1 adult male 52 (13528)) and 4 Black Kite 53  54  55, all moved SW close to my apartment. From 15:36-15:39, 14 Honey-buzzard juvenile (13533-13536, 55  56  57  58  59) and 5 Black Kite 60  61  62 flew SW close to apartment. moving to the seafront of Batumi. There was then a break until 2 Osprey S with a Steppe Buzzard at 16:19 63. A lone Pallid Harrier adult male was seen at 18:22 64.

Grand total of raptors during day was: Black Kite 2,296 (a big rush from 15:26-15:30), Honey-buzzard 1,236 (mainly from 15:19-15:39, 80% juvenile), Montagu’s Harrier 116 (doubtless including some Pallid Harrier and other harriers), Steppe Buzzard 28 (main passing at 15:30), Osprey 24 (steady passage, low-down), Hen Harrier 4, Lesser Spotted Eagle 3, and single Booted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Hobby. Grand total 3,712 raptors of 12 types.

The kettling was not in thermals but in response to orographic lift from the moderate onshore wind. Lengthy glides interspersed the kettles. The birds were passing along the coast to the E of Batumi city centre and then continued coasting to the S. A few raptors moved SW crossing onto Batumi seafront. So in foul weather with onshore winds, a significant part of the movement had moved to the coast: they hadn’t crossed the Black Sea, they were coasting to avoid poor visibility inland. The movement may have been underestimated. I kept a watch from 12:50-18:50 but there could have been earlier movements and the poor visibility made it difficult to be sure birds had not passed undetected.

Many other migrants were seen to S: total of about 400 Caspian Gull (continuous, mainly juveniles, estimated total), 4 LBBG fuscus (2 ad 1  2, 2 juv, singles), 54 Grey Heron (one flock 14:02 1  2  3  4  5  6), 6 Night Heron (1 group, rested around apartment blocks for a little while, 16:30, 1  2  3  4  5  6  7), 1 Woodlark (13:43), 1 Meadow Pipit (16:07). The most conspicuous birds though were the Hirundines: 3,300 Sand Martin (continuous 1  2  3), 300 Swallow (mainly later in afternoon), 70 House Martin (one late burst at 17:26), 1 Pallid Swift at 14:55 1, 3 Alpine Swift, plus Bee-eater, throughout, total 170 with some landing on trees and wires in the city 1  2  3  4  5  6  7. The regulars, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow and Feral Pigeon, remained visible. So an amazing day. Total of 27 bird-types.

Below are the reports from the two Batumi count centres for 9/9/2023:

Batumi - Sakhalvasho
Saturday 9 September 2023 Migration Count Data — Batumi Raptor Count

Counting period: 06:45 - 17:47
Count type: Storks and raptors
Weather: Windy and rainy
Observers: 

S

N

Turtle Dove

  

87

  

-

  

  

Black Stork

  

4

  

-

  

  

White Stork

  

49

  

-

  

  

Osprey

  

7

  

-

  

  

Honey Buzzard

  

2386

  

-

  

  

Booted Eagle

  

2

  

-

  

  

Marsh Harrier

  

70

  

-

  

  

Pallid Harrier

  

12

  

-

  

  

Montagu's Harrier

  

94

  

-

  

  

Hen/Montagu's/Pallid Harrier

  

63

  

-

  

  

harrier sp.

  

2

  

-

  

  

Black Kite

  

12145

  

-

  

  

Steppe Buzzard

  

1

  

-

  

  

Medium Raptor

  

22

  

-

  

  

European Roller

  

112

  

-

  

  




Totals: 15056 individuals, 15 species, 11:02 hours

Bold = Notable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)

Comments: The mosaic of strong wind, rain showers and sunshine brought one the days most people will remember for a long time. Today birds really flew in hard conditions and we gave our best to count and ID them! We had the most colourful morning imaginable with Bee-eaters and Rollers flying just over our heads, a rainbow developing over the Black Sea and a lot of Harriers fighting against a strong wind. In the afternoon we had rain with more or less strong intensity. The birds were using every small gap in the weather to fly south. With the rising hope that, together with Station 2, we will break the Osprey day record, we stood in the rain and managed to find enough to set the NEW RECORD!!! Then the Black Kites came, soaked with rain, making a wall of birds and dramatically raising today's numbers. But the most memorable sighting of today was a completely white (leucistic) Black Kite! What a day!!!

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Batumi - Shuamta
Saturday 9 September 2023



Counting period: 06:40 - 17:53
Count type: Storks and raptors
Weather: Strong wind and overcast whole day. From midday on increasing precipitation with pouring rain showers flooding the station
Observers: 

S

N

Turtle Dove

  

89

  

-

  

  

Black Stork

  

1

  

-

  

  

Osprey

  

23

  

-

  

  

Honey Buzzard

  

8164

  

-

  

  

Crested Honey Buzzard

  

3

  

-

  

  

Marsh Harrier

  

63

  

-

  

  

Pallid Harrier

  

6

  

-

  

  

Montagu's Harrier

  

60

  

-

  

  

Hen/Montagu's/Pallid Harrier

  

30

  

-

  

  

Black Kite

  

2110

  

-

  

  

Steppe Buzzard

  

3

  

-

  

  

Medium Raptor

  

398

  

-

  

  

Peregrine

  

2

  

-

  

  




Totals: 10952 individuals, 13 species, 11:13 hours

Bold = Notable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)

Comments: Although today was very rainy and cold, the raptors still decided today they had to move south. Even in pouring rain and strong headwind they just kept on going. The circumstances made them fly very low in the valleys, which gave the opportunities of great views on many harriers and a close male Crested Honey Buzzard, that visited our station. The real surprise of the day was the high number of Ospreys resulting in an all time day record for one station alone and both stations combined. Sometimes even groups of three Ospreys together were seen. The evening provided a big push of Black Kites, which made us excited for the coming days.





BirdTrack running total up to today: 83 of 83 species from 215 records, 19 complete lists, 27 places. 4 dove, 1 wader, 6 gull, 2 tern, 5 heron, 15 raptor, 2 woodpecker, 3 lark, 2 pipit, 2 shrike, 4 crow, 4 hirundine, 4 warbler, 2 nuthatch. Note the fantastic 15 types of raptor!

September 8th: maximum 26C, minimum 22C, light S, glimpses of sun in morning but monsoon continued with very heavy conditions, multiple layers of swirling cloud and mist in almost calm conditions, light rain early afternoon becoming torrential by tea time, drier evening. Had 4 Sand Martin feeding at a river and an adult Cormorant on the sea at 13:20 at Batumi NE. Made Sakhalvasho from 13:30-17:00. Very little raptor migration today, though did have one kettle of 70 Honey-buzzard, 5 Black Kite, plus 2 Booted Eagle 1, setting off from a mountain to the N in a brighter interlude at 14:25 but not sure where glide took them as lost to sight. Some Montagu’s Harrier ringtails were fairly regular (total 5: 1 14:15, 2 15:00, 1 15:44, 1 15:50) plus a male at 15:00, neatly climbing just over the ridge and disappearing to S 1  2  3  4  5  6  7. A Montagu’s Harrier male was flying along the ridge at 15:57. Also had good numbers of Bee-eater (137) 1  2  3  4  5, some Roller (20), many Swallow (4 local, 14 S) and Sand Martin (49 S), and some Turtle Dove. (4 S at 14:20). Had further interesting records of Honey-buzzard: a male out on own over hillside to N at 14:37 and 14:47 in territorial flight and at 14:51 entering into display mode with diving and rearing and looking below as if young present 1  2  3  4  5  6 with habitat 7  8 (13520); at 16:12 2 dark Honey-buzzard (presumed female) were flushed off the road I was walking back down on in an area of dense vegetation; they flew off silently sidewise together keeping a very low profile. In quieter raptor passage, picked out more in the way of other birds, seeing 3 Chiffchaff, a Mountain Chiffchaff (singing), a Collared Flycatcher fem/juv perched in tree 1, 1 Blue Tit, 5 Great Tit 1, 5 Chaffinch, 1 White Wagtail, 7 Hooded Crow, 1 Jay. Total for trip was 18 bird-species with a dragonfly photographed 1. Here’s piccies of raptor migration station 1  2, an alternative station 3, a nearby wood 4  5, swirling cloud 6, hill-top 7, view to Botanical Gardens 8, to N and coast 9, to NE 10. Funds finished week at +8k.

BirdTrack running total up to today: 78 of 78 species from 198 records, 18 complete lists, 27 places. 4 dove, 1 wader, 6 gull, 2 tern, 4 heron, 13 raptor, 2 woodpecker, 2 shrike, 4 crow, 4 hirundine, 4 warbler, 2 nuthatch.

September 7th: maximum 26C, minimum 22C, light SW, sunny morning, dull afternoon, turning into heavy rain (cloudburst) by early evening. Took it easy today as weather deteriorated. Finally took the plunge to walk to the seafront 1  2  3  4, light rain started shortly afterwards and then there was a cloudburst while at furthest point, so soaked! Did have a White Wagtail on the beach before the heavens opened. Had dinner at a Trattoria, very tasty, just 90 GEL for 2 courses and some drinks. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

BirdTrack running total up to today: 74 of 74 species from 178 records, 17 complete lists, 27 places. 4 dove, 1 wader, 6 gull, 2 tern, 4 heron, 13 raptor, 2 woodpecker, 2 shrike, 4 crow, 4 hirundine, 1 warbler, 2 nuthatch.

September 6th: maximum 27C, minimum 23C, light W, sunny all day with some cloud on mountains. Made Sakhalvasho from 14:45-17:20 in another fantastic day in the Batumi Raptor count area with almost 100k Honey-buzzard noted across the wider area. When arrived they were everywhere, coming in low-down at the end of the glide phase and then immediately forming a kettle to keep their movement going; I counted 3,200. Black Kite numbers increased to 140 and also saw Booted Eagle (4), Pallid Harrier male (1), Montagu’s Harrier ringtail (3), Bee-eater (55), Black Stork (1), Peregrine adult female (1), Turtle Dove. (1). Had a few beers and supper in evening in a bar popular with the Russian contingent, spent 50 GEL! Will add totals later. Taking a rest tomorrow after 4 solid afternoons out in the field, back out there on Friday, going to have a rest on the seafront. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

My BirdTrack entries at Sakhalvasho today (all moving S):

1 Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur): 1 S at 16:20

1 Black Stork (Ciconia nigra): mixed up with a flock of Honey-buzzard at 15:34

3200 Honey-buzzard (Pernis apivorus): A few juvenile were picked up in the piccies, looking less streamlined than the adults, but keeping up with them. Counts were 1380 14:45-15:15, 1125 15:15-15:45, 450 15:45-16:15, 235 1615-16:45, 20 16:45-end. On arrival the birds were low-down over the Counting Station at the bottom of their glide; they immediately set upon finding a thermal (to form a kettle), no time wasted. There was no hesitancy in direction at any point. Towards the end though a few birds were flying low with less impetus, clearly looking for a resting place for the night.

4 Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus): 2 as singles on edge of main flocks; 2 took off from wood to N and then joined raptor stream

1 Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus): in the main Honey-buzzard stream at 15:27

1 Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus): 1 adult male S with Honey-buzzard at 15:27

3 Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus): 3 ringtail small harrier S at 16:10 in middle of Honey-buzzard/Black Kite flock

140 Black Kite (Milvus migrans): mainly seen later in the afternoon; again a number were flying lower than the main Honey-buzzard stream.

60 Bee-eater (Merops apiaster): one flock of 30 landed all around me, catching insects, before resuming journey.

1 Peregrine (Falco peregrinus): at 15:27, adult female appeared for a moment under the raptor stream






Batumi - Sakhalvasho
Wednesday 6 September 2023


Counting period: 06:41 - 17:52
Count type: Storks and raptors
Weather: Cloudy and warm
Observers: 

S

N

Black Stork

  

12

  

-

  

  

White Stork

  

55

  

-

  

  

Osprey

  

1

  

-

  

  

Egyptian Vulture

  

3

  

-

  

  

Honey Buzzard

  

77700

  

-

  

  

Crested Honey Buzzard

  

2

  

-

  

  

Short-toed Eagle

  

4

  

-

  

  

Lesser Spotted Eagle

  

6

  

-

  

  

Booted Eagle

  

130

  

-

  

  

large eagle sp

  

1

  

-

  

  

Marsh Harrier

  

131

  

-

  

  

Pallid Harrier

  

12

  

-

  

  

Montagu's Harrier

  

66

  

-

  

  

Hen/Montagu's/Pallid Harrier

  

203

  

-

  

  

Black Kite

  

9886

  

-

  

  

Steppe Buzzard

  

8

  

-

  

  

MediumRaptor

  

30

  

-

  

  

European Roller

  

6

  

-

  

  

Peregrine

  

1

  

-

  

  




Totals: 88257 individuals, 19 species, 11:11 hours

Bold = Notable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)

Comments: BOOOOM! THIS IS BATUMI! We have no words to describe a perfect day like today, but we will give it a go... The morning started promising, with quite a lot of harriers and low clouds that brought the birds close. Everybody started to hope that this would be a BIG DAY. We were ready! Finally the streams came, and they were HUGE and everywhere! The clickers were heating up with all the clicking, as we were elegantly reorganizing as streams shifted all the time...but we did not only enjoy the sheer amounts of Honey Buzzards and Black Kites, but also some extra sweet "cherries": Egyptian Vultures, Pallid Harriers, Booted Eagles and other Harriers brightened up this day even more. Seeing a flock of White Storks ketteling infront of the station, shimmering in sunshine, while we were in the clouds and surrounded by multiple streams of raptors, made some counters emotional (who we wont mention by name). Still catching our breath from this day...come to Batumi and experience this in a lifetime!















Shuamta

Station 2





Batumi - Shuamta
Wednesday 6 September 2023


Counting period: 06:41 - 18:16
Count type: Storks and raptors
Weather:
Observers: 

S

N

Turtle Dove

  

2

  

-

  

  

Black Stork

  

2

  

-

  

  

Osprey

  

1

  

-

  

  

Honey Buzzard

  

19082

  

-

  

  

Crested Honey Buzzard

  

6

  

-

  

  

Short-toed Eagle

  

5

  

-

  

  

Lesser Spotted Eagle

  

3

  

-

  

  

Booted Eagle

  

10

  

-

  

  

large eagle sp

  

1

  

-

  

  

Marsh Harrier

  

154

  

-

  

  

Pallid Harrier

  

9

  

-

  

  

Montagu's Harrier

  

356

  

-

  

  

Hen/Montagu's/Pallid Harrier

  

316

  

-

  

  

Black Kite

  

1112

  

-

  

  

Steppe Buzzard

  

62

  

-

  

  

MediumRaptor

  

1071

  

-

  

  




Totals: 22192 individuals, 16 species, 11:35 hours

Bold = Notable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)

Comments: BOOOOM! Batumi rocks again! We got up on station 2 and the madness had started already. In more then two hours 300 monpals had passed by over station. Our streamlined Harrier Team identified them one after the other, while our East Team tackled the Honey Buzzards, Marshes and Black Kites in the East. Then it seemed to calm down a bit, but that was just the calm before the storm. In the afternoon it went completely loose. Thousands of Honey Buzzards came overhead, in between stations and streamed at high speed towards station 1. In our overhead we managed to pick out 6 Crested Honey Buzzards!! Almost 1 per counter ;) We had Large Eagles, White Storks, male Pallids, two single Turtle Doves and a DARK MORPH MARSH! High diversity, it was amazing.



September 5th: maximum 28C, minimum 24C, light SW, sunny all day with some cloud on mountains. Had Khachapuri for breakfast at local cafe, that’s a classical Georgian dish with bread made in various shapes with cheese lining and optional poached egg in middle, which I had. So set up with that made Batumi Raptor Count at Sakhalvasho seeing an incredible 4,800 Honey-buzzard pass S in 2 hours – official total for whole day here was an amazing 41055 (see https://www.batumiraptorcount.org/data), the pride of Russia, moving to Africa for the winter. Got many photos of the flocks and singles. Also saw personally 70 Black Kite, 4 Booted Eagle, 1 Marsh Harrier, plus a Krüper’s Nuthatch, a Blackcap. Fantastic day! Funds +15k wtd on oil price rise. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

My BirdTrack entries at Sakhalvasho today (the W extreme of the migrant stream, all moving S):

4,800 Honey-buzzard (Pernis apivorus): all adult as far as could see; typical kettle and glide strategy, the kettle used for soaring on a thermal and the glide to make economical use of the height gained; c1500 from 14:30-15:00; c700 from 15:00-15:30; c1300 from 15:30-16:00; c1300 from 16:00-16:29 when stream seemed to slow markedly. In more detail, birds were streaming in towards the hillside from 14:23-14:30 1  2  3  4  5, forming a kettle at 14:31 6 with full kettle here at 14:31 7  8, with temporary gap at 14:38-14:39 9  10. Another kettle formed from 14:40-14:44 12  13  14  15  16  17. Another stream came in from 15:02-15:04 18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25, forming a kettle from 15:08-15:16 26  27  28  29

4 Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus): flying singly, slightly below in altitude the main Honey-buzzard stream 1  2  3

1 Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

70 Black Kite (Milvus migrans): mixture of adult and juvenile; tended to fly lower altitude below the Honey-buzzard flocks; 6 projecting primary tips on juveniles

6 Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)







Batumi - Sakhalvasho
Tuesday 5 September 2023


Counting period: 06:40 - 17:47
Count type: Storks and raptors
Weather: Clear sky with slowly some clouds coming in
Observers: 

S

N

Turtle Dove

  

14

  

-

  

  

Black Stork

  

9

  

-

  

  

White Stork

  

7

  

-

  

  

Osprey

  

5

  

-

  

  

Honey Buzzard

  

41055

  

-

  

  

Crested Honey Buzzard

  

2

  

-

  

  

Short-toed Eagle

  

1

  

-

  

  

Lesser Spotted Eagle

  

3

  

-

  

  

Booted Eagle

  

34

  

-

  

  

large eagle sp

  

1

  

-

  

  

Marsh Harrier

  

29

  

-

  

  

Pallid Harrier

  

7

  

-

  

  

Montagu's Harrier

  

44

  

-

  

  

Hen/Montagu's/Pallid Harrier

  

74

  

-

  

  

Black Kite

  

589

  

-

  

  

Steppe Buzzard

  

17

  

-

  

  

MediumRaptor

  

30

  

-

  

  

European Roller

  

7

  

-

  

  




Totals: 41928 individuals, 18 species, 11:07 hours

Bold = Notable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)

Comments: Bird blizzard. They finally came close to station 1! Even our West had streams, with some very fine observations of Booted Eagles and Ospreys. It was a real Batumi day. Starting calmly in the morning with suddenly all the Honey Buzzards booming overhead, accompanied by the o-so-wanted Crested Honey Buzzards and male Pallid Harriers.





Shuamta

Station 2





Batumi - Shuamta
Tuesday 5 September 2023


Counting period: 06:41 - 17:47
Count type: Storks and raptors
Weather: Fresh and windy begginning, then sunny and warm, cloudy durnig the afternoon
Observers: 

S

N

Black Stork

  

6

  

-

  

  

Osprey

  

1

  

-

  

  

Honey Buzzard

  

4828

  

-

  

  

Crested Honey Buzzard

  

2

  

-

  

  

Short-toed Eagle

  

2

  

-

  

  

Lesser Spotted Eagle

  

2

  

-

  

  

Booted Eagle

  

8

  

-

  

  

Marsh Harrier

  

40

  

-

  

  

Pallid Harrier

  

3

  

-

  

  

Montagu's Harrier

  

68

  

-

  

  

Hen/Montagu's/Pallid Harrier

  

20

  

-

  

  

Black Kite

  

263

  

-

  

  

Steppe Buzzard

  

3

  

-

  

  

buzzard sp.

  

1

  

-

  

  

MediumRaptor

  

119

  

-

  

  




Totals: 5366 individuals, 15 species, 11:06 hours

Bold = Notable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)

Comments: The day started with one MonPalHen Harrier overhead, we were expecting agreat day because of the weather, and it was indeed! The only thing is that most of the streams of Honey Buzzard were closer to Station 1, but still we were able to enjoy seeing them and counting some closer especies, especially harriers and one Lesses Spotted Eagle in between stations.





Summary to today: 67 of 67 species from 156 records, 15 complete lists, 26 places. 3 dove, 1 wader, 6 gull, 1 tern, 4 heron, 11 raptor, 2 woodpecker, 2 shrike, 4 crow, 3 hirundine, 1 warbler, 2 nuthatch

September 4th: maximum 28C, minimum 23C, light SW, cloudy but dry morning, sunny afternoon and evening. Again made Batumi Botanical Gardens 1  2 with its plan 3, from 13:20-18:00: it’s a beautiful setting, giving great views over the sea and the surrounding hills, with plenty of flowers and some enormous trees. Had very close-up views of a Honey-buzzard adult female at 15:52, coming down into the trees for the night 1; roosting area is shown here 2  3 (13515). At 14:50 had a Hobby adult female flying S over the hill low-down. Main find of day was 6 Krüper's Nuthatch in an old tall tree: a new species for me; this one is only found in Turkey and the Caucasus. Also had a few more Bee-eater in the trees and added Sand Martin, Greenfinch, Goldcrest and Common Redstart to the list. Other migrants included 17 Swallow S, 2 House Martin S. Went out for good meal in the evening. Butterflies comprised a Large White, a Southern Small White 1  2, a Long-tailed Blue 1, a Short-tailed Blue 1. Settled in well to the lively city of Batumi! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

BirdTrack up to 2/9 now complete: 52 of 52 species from 113 records, 12 complete lists, 24 places. 3 dove, 1 wader, 6 gull, 1 tern, 4 heron, 6 raptor, 2 woodpecker, 2 shrike, 4 crow, 3 hirundine, 1 warbler, 2 nuthatch

September 3rd: maximum 29C, minimum 24C, light W, a wet day, heavy rain in morning and evening, afternoon was dry and muggy, hardly any sun. Did make the Batumi Botanical Gardens 1  2  3  4  5  6 with its plan 7 from 14:00-17:30 just as the rain finished and a pause set in. Had good views to the coast to the N 1  2  3, of large boats waiting to go N 1  2, of land far to N 1  2, of mountain to NE 1, of a Caspian Gull adult on the shore 1, and of the towers to S 1. The Honey-buzzard were very impatient and some had obviously been force-landed into the ample large trees in the Gardens, driving the Hooded Crow mad. Had 9 Honey-buzzard appearing over the top of the Gardens (1 14:38, 1 14:47, 6 14:58, 1 15:09), the singles in the lower levels of the mist gliding S 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 (13505), the 4 (out of 6) going higher from local trees, quite full of energy, even a few dives at each other 8  9  10  11 (13503). Cannot discount that these 4 are breeding birds, as 2 birds below altitude-wise look like sibling juveniles so treating them this way. Also had a ringtail Hen Harrier moving S low-down over the trees at 14:42 and an adult male Peregrine briefly circling over top of Gardens at 15:34. Then all went quiet raptor-wise. Other migrants were Bee-eater (few calling), Swallow (11 S) and Tree Pipit (group 5 S). Residents added to list were 1 Wren, 1 Robin, plus a Jay heard and 2 Chaffinch seen. Butterflies comprised 2 Small White, 1 Southern Small White 1 and a Tree Grayling. A European Hornet 1  2 was around an ivy bush. The Gardens are good exercise, moderately steep ascents. Had a Ring-necked Parakeet in Batumi near my apartment. Used Bolt for taxis to do the 8km to the Gardens – cost c14 GEL each way plus 20 GEL admission, giving cost for trip of £15. In evening made Tavioli for tuna salad, cheesecake, 2 glasses rw, coffee, all for 88 GEL (£23). xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Quick check on trip total up to 2/9: 46 of 46 species from 97 records, 11 complete lists, 23 places. Still excludes Tbilisi Botanical Gardens, but about to do that so fuller update tomorrow.

September 2nd: maximum 30C, minimum 25C, light E, hot, dry. with sunshine all day, some murk over mountains. Visited the beach area early afternoon getting some interesting sightings: a Honey-buzzard adult at 15:13 floating very high-up over Batumi moving S; in the park 1  2 a Mute Swan adult and 2 Ruddy Shelduck 1, a Swallow, another Shag ad, and 2 Yelkouan Shearwater, far out to sea. We had early meal at a Pizza place Brioche – massive modern place. Son leaves at 02:50 tomorrow morning flying with Air Baltic to Riga from Batumi and then onto Gatwick in afternoon – I’ll be around to help with any last minute problems in getting away from the flat. It’s been a great holiday together! I’m planning to make the Botanical Gardens tomorrow, near the raptor flyway. Got a spare bed now: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

September 1st: maximum 30C, minimum 24C, light W, hot, dry. with sunshine all day, some high cloud over coast, some murk over mountains. Decided to walk the prom today, making the immediate beach 700m away 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 past the casino 8 and then going N to the tip of the prom 9 with its wire models 10. The towers 11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20 are rather like Dubai! All very exhilarating! Two large ships offshore 21 (container, bulk carrier) may have been waiting for clearance to go further N in the Black Sea towards the war zone. The pier is a good lookout site for coasting seabirds 22. Met son half-way through: he’s been for a dip in the Black Sea and hired a bike. In the evening we went for last dinner together at the Old Boulevard, a marvellous Georgian restaurant with live music (violin, guitar, piano). We had 3 courses there, I had lovely local red wine and coffee. Cost was 203 GEL (£61); in London would have cost over £200. Earlier I used the numerous beach cafes to keep hydrated and fed, on ice cream and fizz, like a kid! Had 1st Shag (ad 1  2  3 ) and 4 Cormorant (3 ad 1  2  3  4, 1 juv) plus numerous gulls, nearly all Caspian 1 but certainly one Med YLG juvenile 2  3  4 and maybe others to look for in many piccies taken of trawler with numerous gulls around it: yes indeed, added LBBG juv (race not known) and 3 Mediterranean Gull adult 5  6 plus another Med YLG juvenile. Had a Ruddy Shelduck in a park 1 don’t think it’s wild! A dead Caspian Gull adult there 7 may well have been a recent victim of avian flu. Funds finished week +20k, best for a while with commodities on rise, particularly oil. Think there’s structural inflation here with growing shortages because of recent underinvestment and Net Zero demands. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Running total for Georgia trip: 40 of 40 species from 85 records, 9 complete lists, 21 places. From BirdTrack. Still to add: 27/8 Botanical Gardens, Tbilisi; 30/8 some records from canyon trip from Kutaisi. Total of 40 types so far includes: 3 doves, 1 wader, 6 gulls, 1 tern, 3 herons, 4 raptors, 2 shrikes, 3 hirundines.

August 31st: maximum 32C, minimum 24C, light W, hot, dry. with sunshine all day. Up early and took some more piccies of the local gulls: on stones on the River Rioni, soon after dawn, 29 Caspian Gull 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19 (22 ad, 4 2s, 3 juv). Now in the hedonistic second city of Georgia, Batumi, set on the Black Sea and with a long tradition of being a favourite for Russian visitors. Train journey was smooth (1 hour 40 min), catching train via taxi (50GEL) from Kutaisi Airport Railway Station. Had a Bimaculated Lark (new species) and 15 Hooded Crow near the Station with 3 Starling near Japana. Took taxi from Railway Station to our premium apartment, where greeted by L, who showed us how to get in and out and took our money 3250 GEL (c£1k), including 100 deposit for breakages. I looked at the local birds in the afternoon from our balcony: 3 Hooded Crow, 1 Swallow, 1 Chaffinch, 13 House Sparrow, 4 Feral Pigeon, plus masses of Caspian Gull 121 (65 ad, 14 2s, 42 juvenile). We had dinner at a Trattoria nearby, with menu in Georgian, English and Russian. Then went for stroll along the harbour front and the new dramatic tall buildings, making it look a bit like a mini-Dubai! All very impressive: going to enjoy the city while son is here, before exploring the raptor route for my further stay. Have updated the Festival web site for contact details, improving the maintainability by having a single file which is accessed by all the pages. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 30th: maximum 33C, minimum 24C, light E, much hotter today, dry. with sunshine all day. Feeling a lot brighter and we went on long private day trip, first to Gelati Museum 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12, where son went yesterday. This was founded in 1106 by King David IV of Georgia as a monastic and educational centre so very venerable! The hill around looked good habitat for raptors 1  2  3  4 with 4 showing a Griffon Vulture floating by. Next onto a series of scenic points before making Martvili canyon, where we were transferred to a jeep for final move to the canyon, where we had lunch and a stroll. Highlight of day was the Caves of Prometheus 1  2  3  4 where we walked over a km through a cave system, before getting a boat though an underwater inlet to the outside again: very spectacular. The canyon was spectacular with a rickety bridge over a river visited first 1  2  3  4  5 and then the canyon itself 6  7  8  9  10  12  13  14  15  16  17. We finished with the Wine Monastery 1  2  3 at Martvili Municipality and had the glimpse of a Kutaisi parliament building 1. A good day out: 10 hours in all, cost 230 GEL to driver, 150 GEL for jeep and 80 GEL for lunch, plus a few extras for admission, so total cost £130. Birds included a spectacular Black Vulture foraging from high-up to low-down at Dzedzileti n the canyon 1  2  3, Long-legged Buzzard (2 birds, an adult and juvenile in display, at Martvili 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10), a Steppe Buzzard (agitated at another site), a Raven, 2 lots of migrating Bee-eater 1  2  3 totalling 18 birds, a Black Redstart, a Short-toed Lark, 2 Chaffinch, a Grey Wagtail, 2 Black Kite, one moving S over the canyon at Dzedzileti with another in territory 1  2. At breakfast at Kutaisi hotel on River Rioni 1  2 had 38 Caspian Gull on stones on river 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 (34 ad, 2 2s, 2 juv) and at 09:20 a Short-toed Eagle ad moving S at moderate altitude. 2moro it’s Batumi by the seaside! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 29th: maximum 28C, minimum 20C, light E, violent thunderstorm at breakfast time, heavy rain, short power cut, then cloudy, but becoming brighter as day wore on. Not a lot done today; son went off on private trip to Gelati Monastery, dating from 11th century. I stayed local, seeing a sign to the local University 1, feeling a little fragile. Feeling brighter by evening and caught up with most of bird records in Georgia to date. Had an Ortolan Bunting on wires over the river 1. Funds are +17k wtd, maybe the gain will hold this time but there’s a lot of conflicting views at the moment on direction of markets.

August 28th: maximum 30C, minimum 20C, light NE, sunny all day, dry. Took 3 hours 40 mins train journey departing 08:40 from Tbilisi to Kutaisi, where booked into the Sanapiro Hotel by the River Rioni, a distance of 180km. We then got a local bus into the bus station at Kutaisi and then a taxi to our hotel. My room is overlooking the river so that’s quite a bonus: it’s the longest river in Georgia, draining the whole western Transcaucasus into the Black Sea. Train tickets are cheap even for business class, which we enjoyed. We had late lunch at the Museum Bar, which I’d recommend.: quite arty, big menu, plenty of fresh food, not expensive. The train route was very scenic in the middle, crossing well-wooded hills and quite steep inclines. Not feeling so good in the evening, but fortunately had stocked up with Imodium at DUS. First stop was Gori, birthplace of Joseph Stalin, with several statues intended, not sure of current status. Birds from train included a Kestrel (juvenile) and a Lesser Grey Shrike at Tbilisi N at 08:50; a Red-backed Shrike at Kvakhvreli at 09:35; 6 Cattle Egret at Shida Kartli at 09:45; a Grey Wagtail at Shorapani at 11:38; 10 Mistle Thrush at Zestafoni at 11:44; all recorded directly on mobile phone using GPS tracking from BirdTrack. By the river at Kutaisi, from our hotel, around 14:00-16:00 had 18 Caspian Gull 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 (16 ad, 2 juv), 4 Hooded Crow 1, a Common Sandpiper and 3 Feral Pigeon. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 27th: maximum 26C, minimum 20C, light NE, hazy sunshine all day, shower in evening. Made Tbilisi Botanical Gardens 1  2  3  4 today from 11:50-17:00 – such gardens used to be common in England but not any more. This one is very special with enormous range of plants 5  6  7, a cliff 8 and a waterfall 9  10. The city was visible from the gardens 1, the Kartlis Deda 2 was nearby as was the craggy Narikala 3  4  5  6  7. The enormous range and numbers of insects suggests that they don’t overuse pesticides and herbicides: butterflies were everywhere on their flower beds. Species were perhaps typical for southern England with 10 in all: 12 Silver-washed Fritillary 1  2  3  4  5  6  7, 10 Small White 1  2  3  4, 8 Common Blue 1  2  3  4  5, 5 Large White 1  2, 5 Meadow Brown 1  2  3, 2 Clouded Yellow, 2 Painted Lady 1  2 plus continental types: 1 Olive Skipper 1  2, 1 Tree Grayling, 1 Eastern Bath White 1, and moths 6 Humming-bird Hawk-moth 1  2  3, 1 Burnet Companion 1. Also saw the menacing looking Oriental Hornets 1  2  3  4  5  6, 3 Carpenter Bee 1  2, a bumble bee 1 and some blotches on horse chestnut of Cameraria ohridella 1. The lily pond 1  2 had a large frog 1  2. Had 2 raptors in the air together: a female adult Honey-buzzard 1  2  3  4  5 (13500) above a juvenile Steppe Buzzard at 14:20 6  7  8  9. A few Steppe Buzzard, maybe 3 birds in a family group, were in the trees on the edge of the Gardens, calling from time to time, 4 birds recorded in total. Three small parties of Bee-eater (5,15, 5, total 25) moved S. Also had 19 Woodpigeon, a male Middle Spotted Woodpecker (seen close-up on tree 1  2), 2 Green Woodpecker (both yaffling), 3 Jay (seen and heard), 5 Hooded Crow, 1 Raven (heard), 4 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, 3 Crag Martin, 4 Blackbird (including 2 ad, 2 juv) 1  2, 1 Dunnock, 2 Chaffinch, 20 Feral Pigeon, in total of 16 species. A Caucasian Squirrel was the only mammal seen. On the river at 18:00 moving W, a Little Bittern. A small demo was outside the Parliament 1  2. We had dinner in the hotel (130 GEL). Train is at 08:40 tomorrow for Kutaisi. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 26th: maximum 30C, minimum 20C, moderate NW, sunny all day, no clouds, dry. Exciting trip today to oldest surviving buildings of Orthodox Georgian culture. We organised a driver for $80US to takes us on a half-day excursion. First we made the Jvari Monastery 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 in Mtskheta S, dating from the 6th century, then the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15, dating from the 11th century also in Mtskheta S c9km NW of Tbilisi. They're close together and here's Jvari from Svetitskhoveli 16. We have plenty of piccies and our guide took some of us at each place 1  2. Both buildings were presented very well, looking amazing in view of their age. Our guide was very informative about their history and looked after us well. We gave him a 10% bonus on return. Not what I anticipated but waterbirds were the stars today, particularly where the Kura River splits, giving a few sandbanks 1  2  3  4  5  6. Here from 11:00-12:15 had 3 types of gull – Caspian (much the commonest 1  2, total 47, 41 ad, 6 juv), Armenian (two adults, a new gull species for me, something to celebrate), a Pallas’s juvenile (seen before in Egypt) with piccies here of all 3 types 3  4  5  6, plus 8 Little Egret 1, 1 Cormorant 1, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Grey Heron 1. Had one butterfly, an Eastern Bath White 1, at the Monastery. Driving out of Tbilisi to NW at 10:30 along the river, we had 4 White-winged Black Tern, and many Caspian Gull (29 total, 27 ad, 2 juv), plus a Hooded crow, a Feral Pigeon and a Swallow. Raptors comprised just three birds but very interesting ones: a female Hobby hunting low over the mudflats at Kura River at 11:47 and 2 Honey-buzzard adult coming out of some trees to N of the Cathedral at 12:23 in agitated fashion - looked like a pair in breeding territory; here's some piccies of the wooded hills in the area 1  2  3  4  5  6  7. Also here from 12:15-13:45 had 6 Feral Pigeon, 8 Barn Swallow 1  2, 4 House Martin and 20 House Sparrow. Had siesta on return, getting out again at 16:00 for walk to river where viewed Kartlis Deda 1  2 (with a male juv Hobby passing at 18:00 1), the Cathedral 1 and took many piccies of 12 Caspian Gull (10 ad fly 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15 and float 16  17  18  19  20  21 , 1 2w with 1 juv 21, 2 ad with 1 juv 22) around 16:30; also here had 9 Hooded Crow, 2 Barn Swallow, 1 Laughing Dove 1, 4 Feral Pigeon 1, 6 House Sparrow. Had a couple of beers in a bar and then met son at Cafe Leila, a Georgian vegetarian restaurant in the old town: very tasty food and lovely setting. Russians are everywhere: over 100k young men came here to escape conscription and they are anyway welcomed for their Trans Caucasus trade. In Batumi they are buying up quite a lot of property, as in Dubai, and make up a good proportion of the visitors. Must say they look attractive, the women that is!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 25th: maximum 28C, minimum 20C, light N, cloudy, light rain in afternoon. Lazy morning, breakfast at 11:00. We then visited the Georgian National Museum, where a very good biodiversity section showing the extensive wildlife left, including Brown Bear and Spotted Hyena. There was also detailed coverage of Dmanisi, an area of Georgia with archaeological remains from occupation c1.7m years ago, when the lower Caucasus became more humid and warmer and more Africa-like encouraging many animals, including early man, to cross from Africa into the Caucasus. We also spent some time on the floor showing the horrors of the invasions of the Bolsheviks and later Soviets; Georgia lost 5% of its population of 4m to shootings and removals. Here are piccies of Liberty Square 1  2  3  4, King David the Builder 5, Castle 6, Parliament 7, Cathedral 8, Mosque 9  10, Garden of First Republic 11, Thermal Spa 12, stream by Mosque 13, and unascribed 14  15  16  17  18. Did find some birds from 12:00-17:00 in parks or along the main river. Highlight was a Western Rock Nuthatch in a ravine where a stream goes through the town, and a Black Kite high overhead at 16:27, from high-up coming down for the night 1  2  3  4, maybe a migrant.. Also had 12 Caspian Gull (10 ad 1  2  3  4  5  6  7, 2 juv) on the river and 2 Barn Swallow and 16 breeding House Martin in the river area. 4 Laughing Dove were scattered around bits of waste ground 1  2. House Sparrow (30) and Feral Pigeon (16) were the most widespread. So total of 8 types in the city. Walked 10k steps today, son must have done 15k. Had good dinner in Hotel again. There’s a marvellous atmosphere about Georgia as East meets West. Tomorrow we’ve got a drive to a rural monastery in a private taxi and the sun is going to shine. Funds finished week +7k. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 24th: maximum 33C, minimum 22C, light N, sunny, dry. Well I had gentle stroll 2km from Ibis to DUS, complete with suitcase, getting some exercise and avoiding extortionate taxi fares. Added Carrion Crow and 4 Feral Pigeon to list. Caught SkyTrain for final bit into the terminal. Son had a more frantic morning with his EW flight from LHR taking off an hour late. Fortunately there were c20 passengers going to TBS so they held our EW flight for 30 min. The cost of putting up that many disgruntled passengers overnight must have encouraged them to delay our flight. Son fortuitously sitting one seat behind me! He’s brought 2 different guide books so could study one on the plane. There’s masses to do. Flight was 3 hours 40 min, landing just 10 min late. Got taxi into centre (GEL170, £50) and checked into Shota Hotel, very comfortable. Had dinner there (GEL109). We went for a walk around the block. In the Airport area at dusk had a Raven and a Laughing Dove. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 23rd: maximum 19C, minimum 16C, light SW, sunny, dry. Now in DUS, got taxi from home to NCL; had a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying over the A69 near Horsley; EW had problems checking us in, clearly problems in downloading passenger list so took off 40 min late. Got taxi to Ibis Airport Hotel €25, then dined and watered at Novotel nearby. Hoping to meet son here 2moro before travelling on to TBS. May be a little ambitious! Hope his flight’s not late like mine. Went for walk at dusk, finding 2 Robin and a Blackbird. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 22nd: maximum 18C, minimum 13C, moderate SW, sunny spells, dry. Another breezy day. At Ordley had 6 types of butterfly: 5 Peacock, 3 Red Admiral, 3 Small White, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Wall, 1 Large White. Made Stocksfield Mount from 12:20-14:30. Started slowly in the breeze but in the end kept very busy almost like Towsbank. It's very subtle when you get the suppression of activity in a moderate breeze rather than spectacular activity; suspect it's the strength of the sun that matters: if the sun is strong in the bright intervals that encourages birds to get up and if the sun is weak, the birds are discouraged. Sounds too obvious!! Today had in provisional figures at Cottagebank: 3 Honey-buzzard (13080, male up frequently 13:06-14:10 1  2  3  4  5, last 2 with Common Buzzard, keen to get off, female at 13:05-13:51 6, one juvenile 13:13-14:06 7  8  9  10 (could be more)), 2 Black Kite (both juv 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11, 2 juv together 12, most frequently seen raptor, up from 13:09-14:03), 2 Red Kite (ad, juv 1  2 from 13:11-13:22), 2 Common Buzzard juv 14:07-14:11 1  2  3, so 4 types of raptor here. At Ovingham: 3 Red Kite at 13:18 (ad, 2 juv). At the Mount: 2 Common Buzzard ad at 13:12. So 14 raptors of 4 types overall -- not up to Towsbank standards where have much material to go through and indeed suspect total there will be almost 30 raptors. Total bird-types at the Mount was 13, including 4 LBBG adult W, 1 Common Gull adult W, 1 GBBG adult, 8 House Martin W, 2 Chiffchaff and a Yellowhammer. Busy getting ready! Sorting out some affairs. Booked up autumn season with Opera North at TR in NCL (3 operas) and booked with ON Patrons' Initiative their opening night of Falstaff in Leeds at the end of September, an insight event in early October and their reception at TR in NCL at the end of October. Sent ANPA printed proceedings to Noel H, Mike's brother. Funds better wtd at +12k; pessimism was very strong last week. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 21st: maximum 19C, minimum 15C, moderate SW, sunny spells, dry. Late out for my walk from 16:30-18:30 up the 'Shire towards Dotland. Plenty of interests but after yesterday's feast no raptors: perhaps just a bit too breezy and too late in the afternoon. Had 21 bird-types, including 27 Common Gull (to S 13 adult 1 1s, feeding 13 ad 1  2  3), 13 Blue Tit, 9 Swallow, 6 LTT, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 47 Linnet (with flock 35), 20 Yellowhammer (flock of 12), plus a Holly Blue and a dead Brown Hare. Tied up with R in morning and over lunch time. We had a very successful meeting at the County with 34 attending and a good talk by TP on use of e-bikes and support teams for encouraging older people to take more exercise. Made G4g4s with A/R, P fell asleep at home! We had good crack with L on. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 20th: maximum 19C, minimum 14C, moderate SW, sunny, dry, ideal conditions for raptors. At Ordley had a Treecreeper, a family party of 5 Swallow plus butterflies: 10 Peacock, 2 Wall. What an afternoon at Towsbank from 14:50-17:40: good practice for Batumi with 7 raptor types noted, including Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Red Kite, Honey-buzzard, Black Kite, Sparrowhawk, Hobby. Honey-buzzard comprised 3 birds: 1) a conspicuous male from 15:26-16:38 1  2  3  4, along with a Black Kite juvenile 5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13, along with Common Buzzard juvenile 14  15, along with female juvenile Sparrowhawk 16, 2) a female Honey-buzzard at 16:31 17  18 and 3) a juvenile Honey-buzzard at 16:32 with juvenile Black Kite 19  20 (13078). Red Kite at Towsbank comprised 2 birds, an adult and a juvenile from 15:39-16:17 1  2  3. Black Kite at Towsbank comprised 1-3 juveniles up frequently from 15:03-16:37, frequently mingling with other raptors 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9; here are 2 pictures of site 10  11. A male Hobby went out to feed from N side of Towsbank, flying rapidly to S at 15:18 1. A family party of 4 Kestrel, comprising 2 ad and 2 juv, was up from 16:17 to 16:30 1  2  3  4. A juvenile female and a juvenile male Sparrowhawk were up with the Kestrel at 16:23 1. Two Common Buzzard (adult, juv) were at the Towsbank site throughout. So confirmed breeding for the first six in the list above. Other birds in total of 20 types included 2 Curlew, 22 Swallow (fledged), 15 House Sparrow (fledged), 1 Nuthatch. Butterflies comprised 5 Small White, 2 Green-veined White. Mammals comprised 3 rabbit, 3 mole. At Snope Burn, to E of main Towsbank site, had 3 Common Buzzard (ad 1, 2 juv 2  3) from 16:59-17:12, a juvenile Sparrowhawk male at 17:16 1 and 4 Red Kite 1  2  3  4 (2 ad, 2 juv) together from 17:17-17:18. A Swallow was on wires at Eals at 17:10 1. On the road had a Common Buzzard juvenile at West Wood, Hexham, on way back at 18:10. Made G4g4s with R/P/A for usual great chat. A Hedgehog was alive on the road outside my front gate at 21:45. Have updated web site for Festival: feeling weary as go to bed: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Raptor totals for day were: Honey-buzzard 3 (1 ad male, 1 ad female, 1 juv); Black Kite 3 (3 juv); Red Kite 6 (3 ad, 3 juv); Common Buzzard 6 (2 ad, 4 juv); Hobby 1 (1 ad male); Kestrel 4 (2 ad, 2 juv); Sparrowhawk 3 (2 juv male, 1 juv female). Grand total 26 for the 7 types.

August 19th: maximum 19C, minimum 14C, fresh SW, sunny most of day, dry after heavy, overnight rain, very breezy with Ash shedding rotten twigs from earlier dieback, now recovering. A strange day but ultimately very successful after run of poor days with stagnant weather. At Ordley had 10 types of butterfly, a record I think: 13 Peacock, 8 Speckled Wood, 5 Large White, 5 Small White, 2 Red Admiral, 2 Comma, 2 Holly Blue, single Wall, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell. That's 40 individuals! Lovely to see them all, mainly on buddleia in sheltered front yard but also in sheltered spots in back, where trees are becoming mature. Cut some more grass, 6 collection boxes full from coarse long grass abutting neighbour's posh garden! At 13:54 had a Black Kite juvenile floating off nest site to SE and landing in a tree in distance; at 16:00 this bird was up again to SE; think it's safe to conclude just one juvenile fledged here in view of number of sightings and no 2nd bird up. Also at 16:00 had 4 Red Kite up in usual area to SE, diving and close-quartering in pairs, each of an adult and juvenile; so one adult takes one juvenile and the other adult takes the other juvenile for hunting and flying practice, A juvenile Kestrel was flying W low-down up valley at 13:20; not thought to be locally fledged. Other birds were 5 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 House Martin. Had to wait in for delivery of new suitcase, at 77cm, a bit bigger than current one for next trip; arrived at 16:00, cost £75 from Argos. Then went out to Dipton Wood N from 16:20-17:25 in keen search for a Black Kite at Dukeshouse; at 16:54 had a juvenile flying W, do a rearing-up over nest site before diving down 1  2: marvellous, think this is just a 1 as well; it's been a hell of a summer but great to see them battling through with some reward. Ants were a nuisance here; everywhere I stood ants were crawling up my ankles and legs and was wearing shorts: they didn't bite or sting so just part of nature! Back at Ordley at 17:35 had a male Honey-buzzard arriving from the SE through the tree tops, approaching the nest site area, he also reared up to some height and then dived towards the nest. Still no sign of young, very late; the Crows have not created a fuss yet so young still not fledged but at least the site is still going. Also in garden had a Bank Vole and a Grey Squirrel was at Letah Wood yesterday. No butterflies were at Dipton Wood, showing what a sheltered garden can do; my mixed-shrub hedge on W side of field, planted by me 25 years ago and never cut, is now 6 metres high, giving great protection over whole site. Had dinner out at DoW with D/D; very nice occasion, plenty of good chat; cost £41 including tip. Delighted to hear from someone; will help: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 18th: maximum 16C, minimum 15C, moderate E, no sun, just drizzle, mist and dull, up to 23:00 when rain started. No fieldwork today! Had hair trim with Jd at JG: she was amazed how much hair had grown, others have said I was getting scruffy (again!). Anyway all done for £26 including bonus. She identified hairdresser T as TC, used to work with her: it's a small world! Chatted with N on Skype from 10:30-12: good to catch up. Then QHC4s4l for usual good food, then into QHL where did some work on ANPA paper to follow on from this year's conference proceedings. Expanded Husserl's work: it's relevant as he's really an early proponent of anticipatory systems, so support for Rosen's approach. Funds had a bad week as expected at -26k net with a further -2k on withdrawal for recent conferences, so a bit more than 1% down. Worries are continued interest rate rises, slowdown in China and poor outlook for UK economy. Did do some trading this afternoon, moving some funds from zero-yield securities to high-yielding ones. Did a little more mowing at the back near dusk: 3 collection-boxes full. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 17th: maximum 18C, minimum 12C, light to moderate SE, cloudy, dry. Did a lot more gardening early evening on back grass, clearing another 6 collection-boxes of grass. At 18:00 heard a Common Buzzard adult calling so went on roadside to see if I could spot it. No was the answer but did have 205 Common Gull (nearly all adult) moving towards roost at Derwent Reservoir. 2 Chiffchaff and best of all a juvenile Black Kite slipping away at 18:00 from nesting area to NE to forage. A Common Toad was in the long grass. Earlier a Comma was very lethargic in the dull weather and a Spotted Flycatcher was on a wire near Lea Fields. A Barn Owl was on a fence at 21:50. Made T4m4l with M/B/R for great catch-up and G4g4s with P/A/R for usual good company. Going to catch-up with someone special tomorrow: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 16th: maximum 19C, minimum 14C, light E, cloudy, few bright intervals, dry. Mystery time! Made Haltwhistle, edge of North Wood, from 15:00-17:15; no raptors seen at all there, or on way, or at home. It was dull and winds were light. So no further forward on the scene there: may fit it in, in a run to Towsbank, for a further check over the next few days. total at Haltwhistle was 17 bird-types, including 2 Oystercatcher, a Common Gull adult flying SW, 4 LBBG ad W, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker (one calling, one in flight), 11 Swallow including fledged young and 1 SW, 2 Stock Dove, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Chiffchaff. Butterflies were just 2 types:2 Small White, 2 Peacock, but there were 14 Rabbit out feeding in one field. At Houtley at 14:30 had 20 Swallow, 12 House Sparrow, both groups with fledged young. At Ordley at 13:00 despite the sun being only partially out, had 9 butterfly types: 3 Large White, 6 Small White, 1 Green-veined White, 2 Holly Blue, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 8 Peacock, 2 Comma, 2 Speckled Wood. The Holly Blue are notable. Think the effect of my wild field (for breeding) and buddleia bushes in sheltered front yard (for adults feeding) is working well; many people forget you need both. Did the front garden last Sunday and this evening did some determined mowing at the back on the longest grass. Throwing the grass cuttings on the old furniture to hasten its demise. Chatted with son at 18:00 on FB Video to confirm arrangements for forthcoming trip to Georgia. He's very busy with the Proms at the moment, enjoying Ligeti's moments there on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Son is excited about Africa trip, wondering what we can add to it. Not out tonite: will be 2moro! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 15th: maximum 19C, minimum 13C, light SW, cloudy, few bright intervals, dry. Lit coal fire in evening. Attended Bill W's funeral at Beltingham. Church: sad day to lose a friend over many years, indeed last of the triumvirate who ran Hexham Middle School around 2005 (Bill, David B, late wife). He was almost 4 years younger than me. The tributes and eulogies did emphasise his love of music and his skills as a pianist and organist. The wake was at Bowes Inn in Bardon Mill. Four of us (S/J/J/me) hired a taxi (mate of S) to take us to the church from Hexham and onto the pub (cost £50 split 4 ways). We had a couple at the Bowes, then went back to the Anchor in Haydon Bridge for another, driven there by T, Bill's hairdresser! We then got another lift back to HEX with SC; at this point exited from the drinking, walking to the station where my car was parked and did 3 hours birdwatching from 14:45-17:50 over Hexham NE before driving home. Did not see any Osprey. But did have 2 weak-flying juvenile Black Kite up at 17:19, a male Hobby in spectacular dive over the Tyne at 17:14 and a Red Kite floating around to the N at 17:31. A Hobby was also seen at Hexham NE in the spring, so breeding there is probable. Bird-types totalled 22, including locally-fledged LBBG (1) and Herring Gull (4), a Common Gull adult W, 4 House Martin W, a single Bullfinch and Chiffchaff, 50 Mallard, a Grey Heron. Butterflies were of 5 types, including 10 Small White, 5 Peacock, one Large White, a Comma and a Holly Blue (becoming more regular in Tyne Valley). Some salmon were running in the high water. Markets remain very depressed, -8k wtd; weak recovery in China is proving a drag; the long lockdown there seems to have ossified the economy. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 14th: maximum 16C, minimum 13C, light E, heavy rain all day and evening. Very wet day! No fieldwork. Made R at Cnt4m4l; busy time for me, collecting money, giving Admin Team report to club and leading Admin Team meeting after the meal. Latter was good: plenty of ideas! Then back home where processed 3/8 and 5/8 records, and produced minutes of Admin Team meeting earlier; not sent the minutes yet. will review them 2moro. It's Bill Wilson's funeral tomorrow; meeting a few other mourners at County at 09:45 where we're going to get a taxi to the church and onto the wake in Bardon Mill. Tonight made G4g4s where A/R/P out for good chat, with L on. Had a Brown Hare at Ordley on way back, plus 2 Common Frog road-hopping. Chatting to son about our trip E later this week on FB video. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 13th: maximum 18C, minimum 12C, moderate SW, heavy rain early morning, sunny intervals with few light showers, breezy. Did some serious gardening today, cutting the front grass and paths, trimming some shrubs; kept a watchful eye on the nearby Black Kite site where had a juvenile low-down over the site 1  2  3, then moving higher to E to forage, from 13:31-13:35. An adult Common Buzzard was calling to E. Had 8 types of butterfly, mainly on the buddleia, including a Wall 1 on the verge, second of year. After receiving delivery of groceries from W and having lunch, went out to Allendale late afternoon, where had a Common Buzzard juvenile hanging over W end of wood on long straight into town at 15:35. At Studdon Park from 15:35-17:05 located Black Kite at 15:56 (adult and juvenile low-down over large wood to NW of Studdon Park 1) and 16:20 (juvenile up on own 2  3) . Here's piccies of the site 4  5. At 15:56 a male Hobby glided to W right over Studdon Park at moderate height 1  2 . Amazingly as returned to car in the pull-in at 17:05 a Honey-buzzard (presumed male) gave several alarm calls, confirming successful breeding here. So another great day in the field but not all questions answered! Had 20 bird-types in Allendale area, including 2 Curlew, 4 Stock Dove, 1 Tree Pipit, a Common Gull adult W, 3 LBBG adult, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Raven. Only one butterfly here: a Green-veined White. However, on Black Kite have 9/11 sites verified and hoping to make Haltwhistle after R tomorrow afternoon to check on remaining 2. Funds were down 16k last week: markets remaining depressed with profit takers selling a few recent gainers. Made G4g4s for good chat with 5 of us out: R/A/P/D/B; winding down after recent conferences. Had a Badger cross the road at Letah Wood at 23:50. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 12th: maximum 19C, minimum 13C, moderate SW, showers am, drier afternoon more sun but breezy. Main visit of day was Prudhoe S at Dukeshagg from 14:10-15:35 where had some good show of raptors in the breeze, including adult Red Kite (1), Honey-buzzard (2), a juvenile Common Buzzard and 3 Black Kite (ad, 2 juv). The Red Kite adult was hanging over the hill to the E at 14:55 1  2  3  4  5  6  7; the Black Kite sightings involved an adult returning from the east at 14:19 and a little later 2 juvenile were up over their nest site from 14:26-15:12 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 with some interaction with the Red Kite at 14:56 8 and the Honey-buzzard later; the Honey-buzzard were an adult pair soaring high at 15:04 1  2 with the male seen later returning low-down from the NE towards the nest site at 15:08 3  4 and the female earlier also coming in from NE at 14:54 5 (13075); the Common Buzzard was a juvenile up low-down to NE at 15:12 1. 16 bird-types included 11 Herring Gull SW, 2 LBBG (ad, juv), a Chiffchaff, an agitated Bullfinch. Six types of butterfly included a Wall, first of year. On way back stopped at Swallowship from 15:55-16:20 and had another Black Kite adult up briefly and strongly over its nest site at 16:00. Made DoW4g4s with D/D, good catch-up. Black Kite sites are now up to 11 and fledged juveniles stands at 11 at 8 sites; need to urgently check the 2 sites not visited recently for continued occupancy and the site discovered recently W of Haltwhistle: 1 in Allen, 2 in Haltwhistle area. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 11th: maximum 20C, minimum 14C, light SW, dry, sunny. Stayed at conference until just before very last talk at 15:30 when set-off for station as had heard night before that Trans-Pennine had cancelled my 16:12 from Liverpool to Glasgow. So caught 16:15 re-timed to 16:25 to Wigan and then picked up Avanti service to CAR; missed the intended connection at CAR so 90 mins late into HEX at 21:00 but could have been worse! Really enjoyed the ANPA conference, have increased my interest and commitment; look forward to next year's, which almost certainly will not be in Liverpool. Had some gr8 company on train to Wigan: local lasses are very vivacious!! Tried to catch-up on routine matters at home, including grocery order from W, clothes washing, R meal list for Monday, piccies taken on Monday, file upload from laptop to desktop with a Tawny Owl also calling here. But still a few things to do. Hope to be out looking for kites in next few days. Had a Kestrel and Common Buzzard near Gilsland at 20:35 and a juvenile Barn Owl at Ordley (to add to adult seen here last Sunday) at 21:20; also 2 Tawny Owl calling. Will be winding back research to the 1/2 day a week in QHL; amazing how well that has worked out! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 10th: maximum 27C, minimum 18C, light SE, dry, sunny throughout, very warm! Day 3/4 at ANPA conference with some good talks in the morning. Did not have to give individual eulogy: GC gave a generic eulogy for all 5 deceased. We had AGM today and volunteered to take over our ANPA website from AV who’s taken a bit of a minimalist approach. I’ve also been placed on our Steering Group so going up in the world. We had conference dinner tonight at the Pen Factory in Hope Street: very tasty food, a few beers and good company. Back to HEX tomorrow evening! Reckon conferences in Munich and Liverpool have cost c2.5k but money well spent to continue academic interest. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 9th: maximum 21C, minimum 18C, light NW, dry, sunny throughout, what a change! Busy day at conference. Was chair of session from 10:00-14:30, with no significant break. Sorted out a few technical problems (not sure that’s my job!) on Zoom, uploading of files, displaying files, but may know more than most attendees in these respects. Anyway all went well with good presentations, plenty of q&a and good humour. I carried on as leader, suggesting we all went for late lunch to Caffe Nero on campus, which has a large table, accommodating some of us and plenty of restorative food and drink! Not out tonite, having a g and dinner in the hotel, and chilling out a bit. There’s a substantial quote of our earlier work in the latest ANPA proceedings 43 in the Editorial, which is cited below:

Heather, Michael, & Rossiter, Nick, Really Really Real Numbers, ANPA 2021, 12-14 August (2021). abstract pdf, presentation by Zoom pdf, paper pdf, panel of possible types of universe, quoted in Editorial, Barbara Gabrys and Divyamann Sahoo, p. v11 ANPA 43 Universum (2023).

Tomorrow is a full day with 5 eulogies in one hour in afternoon, including one for Mike H, given by me. Scientists are popularly portrayed as cold but we do have a high feeling of empathy for each other, particularly those we respect or with:whom we work: will be a poignant session. This pace of research will not last: other interests will come to the fore again!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 8th: maximum 18C, minimum 15C, light NW, dry, mainly cloudy, sunny spells. Gave talk at ANPA, all went well, can see the current publication as well as the next! Moro I’m chair for morning session so no rest! Plus eulogy on Thursday afternoon. Update on publication with presentation is:

Rossiter, Nick, A Formal Basis for Metabiology, ANPA 44, Liverpool University, 7 August-11 August 2023 abstract pdf presentation pdf (2023).

Conference was very interesting on day 1. Had a relaxing few drinks with my drinking partner GC at The Vines in the centre of Liverpool, getting taxi (£9) back to the hotel at midnight! Funds are -8k wtd but not unduly worried: we’re bumping along the bottom. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 7th: maximum 18C, minimum 10C, moderate W, almost dry, mainly cloudy,,sunny spells, little warmer. Organised R lunch: usual ‘success’ with a few no shows counterbalanced by people showing up without warning! Had 30 mins birdwatching from Hexham station where picked up at least 3 Black Kite low-down over nest site at Hexham NE at 14:40 (two adult and a juvenile), plus two Osprey at 14:30-14:35: an adult persistently high-up and a weak-flying juvenile in the tree tops below but up in the air low-down three times 1  2  3  4  5. Also here had 10 Swift W and 2 House Martin W, and an adult Cormorant. On train had another Black Kite W of Haltwhistle at 15:30 on Blenkinsopp side, probably a new site. Connections were tight in the end – 3 min at Carlisle (earlier train cancelled) and 5 min at Wigan but made whole journey in a little over 3 hours. Checked into Novotel near Liverpool University – 4*, upgraded by them to studio, cost is £386 for 4 nights with breakfast. Completed paper during train journey (I hope!). Booked 5-night safari in Masai Mara, Kenya, with family, staying at a lodge in tents by the river Mara in December, might stay longer, before they arrive at Nairobi National Park. Talking tomorrow morning., wish me luck! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 6th: maximum 16C, minimum 11C, light W, dry, mainly cloudy, a few sunny spells. Made R garden party at lunchtime, courtesy of BH, immediate past president, in Hexham at Allendale Road. Quite refined, good attendance, plenty of good chat and it remained dry. Afterwards went straight to Warden from 15:45-17:20, a new Black Kite site this year and was treated to one juvenile flitting around above the treetops at 15:59 1  2  3  4, another juvenile making a little flight over the nest site in a practice run at 16:54 5  6  7  8  9  with site at 10 and an adult soaring high to the N of the nest site at 16:43 11  12. So in August now 5 sites occupied, minimum 6 juveniles raised at 4 sites. Also had a family group of Common Buzzard (1 adult, 2 juvenile at 16:00 1  2) and single Sparrowhawk, male and female 1  2  3  4  5  6, hunting. Some more piccies were taken of ash trees recovering from dieback 1  2. Bird-types totalled 21, including 11 Mallard, 1 Moorhen, 2 calling Curlew, 1 Grey Heron, 5 LBBG ad (1 W), 9 Common Gull (8 ad W, 1 1s W), 17 Sand Martin, 14 Swallow. Just 2 butterflies seen at Warden: 1 Peacock, 1 Small White, plus a Rabbit. Had 7 types of butterfly at Ordley, including 4 Small Tortoiseshell. Made G4g4s with A/R/P; very pleased to meet CC again, who is now directing HASS' new production of Hello Dolly! for November staging!! Getting close to a booking for Masai Mara, Kenya, in December for 5 nights; daughter has identified a tent place by the River Mara! Finished talk in sense that could give current slides with a bit of ad libbing; hope to polish on train 2moro evening. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 5th: maximum 13C, minimum 9C, light NW, rain all day, mainly in pulses, some heavy, really cool day, lit fire yesterday and will do so again tonight. Terrible weather: no fieldwork today, except for 20 min looking at the Thornborough Black Kite site from the A69 lay-by near it at 20:00 where nothing seen. A Badger crossed the road at Newbiggin at 23:00. Had great chat with D/D at DoW; also chatted with N/D over Skype for 90 min yesterday after a few weeks absence. Completed Rosen part of talk for Tuesday; need to angle Whitehead towards biology. New printer arrived from Argos. Spent about an hour installing it. It's a Canon MG3600 series, much the same as previous one, except it has WiFi connection, meaning can connect to it directly from laptops and Android phone. Funds finished a difficult week (on US debt downgrade) -9k after 0.5k withdrawal and a 14k hit on partially realising an unquoted investment. PoO is looking good! After this next busy week, can relax a bit as research is rested for a while. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 4th: maximum 17C, minimum 12C, light S, dry, gloomy morning, bright and sunny intervals in afternoon, dark clouds did not produce any rain. Went to Bywell in mid-afternoon from 15:30-17:00 as weather brightened up and cleaner S approached! What a sight: 7 Black Kite in a kettle over the nesting site (3-4 birds captured at once 1  2  3  4; 2 birds 5; 1 adult 6  7; 1 juvenile 8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15; site 16). First two adults got up (pair Bywell). joined by one juvenile, then another (making 4 high-up in air), then joined by 3 more birds, assumed to be the pair and juvenile from Styford. They all displayed vigorously with a few dives at each other for 20 min, before they started returning to the woods, one by one. Shows they can breed up here even in the rough weather of the last few weeks. Have plenty of piccies from yesterday and today. The merging of family parties is what happened at Marciac in France last July, c3 weeks earlier than up here. So in August have minimum of 4 juveniles fledged at 3 sites with another site occupied still, 5 sites still to find evidence. Also at Bywell had 2 Common Buzzard calling and seen to NE at 15:43 (adult, juvenile 1  2) and from time-to-time Red Kite juvenile hunger calls to N from 16:23-16:47 plus a female adult Hobby briefly up at 16:01 1 and an adult male Kestrel perched in a tree at 16:48 1  2. Total for bird-types was 22, including the 5 types of raptor, 4 types of gull, 30 Swallow, some fledged with 4 S, a Chiffchaff, 6 Linnet, plus 3 Rabbit and 3 types of butterfly: 5 Large White, 4 Small White, 1 Red Admiral. Stopped at Swallowship on way back from 17:20-17:45, no kite seen but did have 3 very noisy Common Buzzard (2 adult, 1 juvenile), a family group of 4 Woodlark over a stubble field and a Chiffchaff. A Comma and a Speckled Wood were also seen here. A Tawny Owl was calling at Ordley in the evening. Did masses of work on Liverpool paper, completing (almost) the Rosen section. Booked tickets for Liverpool via Carlisle from Hexham return, cost £47, not risking Trans Pennine via NCL. Son did indeed book up a few days between Tbilisi and Batumi in a hotel by a river: looks good. Printer has got a P7 error: it's about 12 years old so ditching it; new one arrives tomorrow; don't print much these days. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 3rd: maximum 18C, minimum 12C, light W, dry until evening when some rain, not much sun but a bright day. Day started with appointment with GP to review CV situation: bp is now a normal 138-82 so no additional treatment needed beyond current medication; next health check will be in January 2024 by a nurse as part of routine annual review; good news indeed! Had major success with the Black Kite: single juvenile up briefly at 10:03 over nest-site at Corbridge Thornbrough and another juvenile flapping to a prominent perch at Ordley at 17:45 where it remained until at least 18:15, thus sitting for 30 min; an adult was high over this site twice around 17:43. At Thornbrough also had a Common Buzzard adult + juvenile up at 09:56 and a Red Kite adult gliding slowly past to S of A69 at 10:49. total was 16 bird-types in the Corbridge area, including 14 Swallow, 3 Tree Sparrow, a Common Gull adult W, 3 Yellowhammer. Butterflies were of 5 types, including 2 Red Admiral. At Ordley had a female Honey-buzzard mobbed by a male Sparrowhawk as it flew W at 17:18 and seen on its own at 17:40 and 2 Common Buzzard juveniles up high over trees to E at 17:35. Total for bird-types for Ordley was 15, including 4 Swallow and a Chiffchaff; butterflies were of 4 types including a Peacock. So total for day was 10 birds of 5 species of raptor: 4 Common Buzzard, 3 Black Kite, 1 Red Kite, 1 Honey-buzzard female, 1 Sparrowhawk male. Had a Humming-bird Hawk-moth hovering in front garden over buddleia. Made T4m4l with M/B; M was amazingly aggressive against use of category theory by people who are not pure mathematicians; I pointed out that much of science, including climate science, relies on models that are not provable. And that Einstein was a creative scientist rather than a slave to proofs. Much later made G4g4s with the lads: A/R/P -- for good chat. Had video chat with son on messenger early evening; he's going to book the middle part of trip in a town between Tbilisi and Batumi: all looking good for major expedition to Georgia!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 2nd: maximum 14C, minimum 11C, light E, rain all day, heavy at times. Very cool; lit coal fire for second evening in a row with all doors open to air house. Made QHC4s4l, back on tuna again, staff pleased to see me again after my absences. It was very busy, visitors escaping the rain. Then spent 3 hours in QHL on ANPA talk next week -- good progress on Rosen but can see it going right up to the wire: typical academic! No fieldwork today but plan to start 2moro again with slightly better weather. Have check-up with GP at 08:50 on my bp and meeting M4l at 12:00 and G4g4s at 22:00, but plenty of time in between. Gave £50 plus gift-aid to Woodland Trust for wildlife appeal and same to Northumberland Wildlife Trust (NWT) for Whittle Dene wood extension, a Honey-buzzard site, must be good! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

August 1st: maximum 17C, minimum 12C, light W, cloudy, no rain until evening, a few brighter spells but very little sunshine. Made Beaufront S in last look for Osprey but no signs; read this as fledged and moved out, maybe towards Derwent Reservoir. At 15:17 had a juvenile Kestrel looking to hunt; at 15:49 a juvenile Common Buzzard flying across a field; at 16:05 a Black Kite adult soaring quickly to W at Hexham NE, going into low cloud base. A Curlew was heard. Butterflies were good today in spite of it being gloomy with 6 types at Ordley, including a Comma and a Peacock, and 2 more (out of 5 total), a Small Skipper and a Ringlet, at Beaufront, giving 8 types in all. Had a planned phone call at 11:30 from my urology consultant TP at Nuffield; just a chat to see everything was OK, which it is; he's very friendly; think call is closure on past treatment and invitation to return to him if problems in future. Had phone chat with two presenters at ANPA next week, they were seeking advice on some category theory principles. ANPA proceedings for 2022 are published with contents; our paper (38pp) is first in line! There are 5 obituaries: Thursday afternoon will be a poignant occasion as we honour them. Have ordered 2 copies: one for Mike's family. Hope to have good session on Liverpool presentation 2moro in QHL. Heavy rain will aid concentration! Funds are +2k wtd: underlying rise is c16k but have redeemed some BML (Irish property) at a loss on book value but at a good gain on my original purchase: giving me almost 13k€. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 31st: maximum 15C, minimum 13C, light SW, cloudy, steady rain most of day (heavy rain in Amsterdam in morning). At Ljind (NW Amsterdam) additionally had a Grey Heron, 4 Mallard, an Oystercatcher and 2 Ring-necked Parakeet (making 17 bird-types in all). Well not the best of trips by KLM -- arrived 18 hours late at 11:00 in NCL. Today got up at 05:45, for 06:15 airport shuttle from hotel; had a tasty bacon and egg butty for breakfast, courtesy of KLM's €15 voucher for use at Schipol. Plane was a little delayed when arrived at Schipol but, after waiting ages for a refuel, eventually took off at 10:45 CEST (2 hours 10 min late). At NCL got out quickly and car park ticket, valid until 11:31 BST today, was used without incident at 11:28. KLM used to keep a few seats spare for travellers who missed their connections through late arriving planes. They now seem to book up fully, making their city hopper business model hazardous for travellers. The 2 next flights around 22:00 and 06:00 (AMS-NCL) were both fully booked. I'm going to claim compensation as I feel I've been a sacrificial victim of their new model. They've presumably calculated that the occasional very-late traveller costs them less money than selling all seats! Arrived at R at 12:05 JIT but had already emailed table of attendees to V who did an excellent job collecting the money. Talk was by an Army colonel who gave a detailed assessment of the risk from Russia. Made G4g4s with R/P/A for gr8 chat. On way in had a Brown Hare at Loughbrow; on way back had a Long-eared Owl, a Tawny Owl and a Badger at Ordley. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 30th: maximum 20C, minimum 17C, moderate W, cloudy, cool (Amsterdam). Flight MUN-AMS was late, missed connection, next flight AMS-NCL was full so spending night at Park Plaza Hotel in AMS, near Schipol, with full board, courtesy of KLM. Booked on 08:35 tomorrow so should be back in time for R. In a comfortable hotel by the side of a waterway, with good buffet meal and Groschel beer, so no hardship but a little frustrating!! Have added quite a few species to my Amsterdam list. At Ljind (NW Amsterdam) had 4 species of gull, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 9 Coot, 8 Greylag Goose, in total of 13 species with quite a few channels around the hotel. At Munich Airport had a Common Buzzard and a Common Kestrel juvenile at the end of the runway. After meal did some work on ‘meta’ definitions for the ANPA talk. Early to bed as have to be up at 05:45 to be in time for shuttle!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 29th: maximum 26C, minimum 16C, light W, sunny spells in morning, persistent light rain in afternoon. Became a tourist today, visiting Marienplatz, the central place in the city., and the Munich Residenz, the home of earlier rulers. Weather was not so good but savoured the atmosphere and the many grand buildings in the Bavarian capital. The architecture, style and expression, are all on a grand scale; much must have been rebuilt since WW2 as damage from bombing was extensive. Munich is Germany’s third largest city, after Berlin and Hamburg. Back home tomorrow, have a very tight connection at AMS but whatever should be on late flight at worst. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Decided to consolidate, in a list, recent publications, with a view to updating my Process web page, when I return to base. The first two are this summer’s work; the third is obituary for Mike and the last two are recent publications in progress (both accepted) of joint work; the ANPA 43 paper is a substantial contribution at 40pp. Pressing work is writing the presentation for ANPA 44, where talking on Tuesday 8/8; also on Thursday 10/8 giving the eulogy for Mike. ANPA is the Alternative Natural Philosophy Association. Another conference in spring 2024 should be realised. Here’s the list:

Rossiter, Nick, A Formal Basis for Metabiology, ANPA 44, Liverpool University, 7 August-11 August 2023 abstract pdf (2023).

Rossiter, Nick, Whitehead’s Category of the Ultimate as Lawvere’s Topos in Category Theory, 13th International Whitehead Conference (IWC), Hochschule für Philosophie, University of Munich, 24 July-29 July 2023 abstract pdf presentation pdf (2023).

Mike Heather 1940-2022, Obituary by Nick Rossiter, ANPA 43, Universum, xxxi-xxxiv, pdf (2023).

Heather, Michael, & Rossiter, Nick, Whitehead’s ‘Big Science’ of Process, Critical Edition of Whitehead Conference: Whitehead’s Harvard Lectures, 1925–1927, Virtual conference: 16–17 September 2022, Joseph Petek (ed), 11pp (2022).paper pdf.

Rossiter, Nick, & Heather, Michael, Logic and Emotion: Whitehead’s Category of the Ultimate, ANPA 43, Universum, Barbara Gabrys and Divyamann Sahoo (edd.), Liverpool University 8-12 August 2022, 1-38, abstract pdf  presentation pdf  paper  pdf .

July 28th: maximum 25C, minimum 16C, light W, mainly cloudy, muggy, some showers with heavy raindrops. A more aesthetic day today! Attended Whitehead and Aesthetics session at the conference today, where learnt about the difference between implicit and explicit aesthetics in some animated discussions. In evening attended Konzert du Johann Sebastian Bach 273. Todestag, at Prinzregententheater, with the Munich Bach-Choir and Munich Bach-Orchestra with director Hans Jörg Albrecht, performing Bach’s Magnificat plus two Kantate (BWV 11, BWV 34) with Sibelius’ Concerto in D, Pater Noster and Ave Maria. Had a seat in row 2, which cost me €69. Atmosphere and performance were ecstatic: whole event very moving. More to follow …. Walked 15k steps today. Had a look at the River Isar in late afternoon, where found a brood of Goosander (female + 4 fully grown juvenile), 2 Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gull (ad, 3s), a Black-headed Gull adult, a Cormorant adult, plus 10 Swift, 21 House Martin and 4 Swallow. A Green Woodpecker was calling earlier in the park near the University. Wasps seem quite plentiful, one Large White was seen, and a Mouse was on a pavement. Booked a taxi to take me back to the Airport (€71). Funds shaded a bit near the end of the week, finishing +5k on week as a whole, with new peak on Tuesday. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 27th: maximum 21C, minimum 14C, light SW, bright but little clear sun, muggy, one shower at ttime. Busy still at conference; maths/physics session continued until 17:00, but then end of line; will have to join other themes tomorrow.; have asked a lot of questions, at least one per talk; quite a number of interesting presentations today with category theory continuing to advance in application interest: good to see! Less walking today but still 9.2k steps so keeping fit. Had a walk in the park at lunchtime – typical city centre pondlife, with 10 Greylag Goose (fledged), 40 Mallard (1 brood 2 chicks), 3 Coot (1 juvenile), 2 Mute Swan adult, plus 12 Carrion Crow (fledged), 1 calling Chiffchaff and (not wild) 13 Bar-headed Goose and a Barnacle Goose. Had some more King Ludwig Dunkel in evening – the Bavarian answer to g. It’s the Bach concert 273 tomorrow evening; could do with some artistic culture! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 26th: maximum 18C, minimum 8C, light W, sunny intervals with heavy showers. Bit of a busy day! Arrived at conference at 08:50 to register, finding that I was speaking at 11:15 instead of 12 tomorrow. So back to hotel to fetch laptop to deliver presentation. Was planning to trim talk as too many slides at 60+ for 45 min so couldn’t do that and had an ad hoc trimming! All went OK, good attendance, plenty of interest and just about finished on time! Then back to hotel with laptop as didn’t want to carry it to conference dinner. Having very interesting chats with colleagues on metabiology, my talk topic at ANPA in Liverpool on Tuesday week. Conferences are invaluable for chatting about speculative ideas, giving an amazing increase in creativity. Munich is very orderly and green but service at the conference dinner at Max Emanuel Brauerei, a classic Bavarian pub, was not so good; the food though was very wholesome and enjoyable. Walked 17k steps today, bringing daily average over last 30 days to 5125. xxxxx XXX!!!!!! Below are results of today’s work:

Rossiter, Nick, Whitehead’s Category of the Ultimate as Lawvere’s Topos in Category Theory, 13th International Whitehead Conference, Munich 24 July-29 July 2023 abstract pdf presentation pdf (2023).

July 25th: maximum 20C, minimum 11C, light W, cloudy with heavy showers (Munich). Right in the deep S of Germany, weather more like England! Made MUN via AMS from NCL: all went well: left NCL at 13:55, making AMS at 16:00 (CEST) and then MUN at 20:15. Bit of a test as first continental trip this year but no problems: KLM looked after me very well and had free taxi to Adria Hotel through booking.com as spent over €800 on the hotel. (but gave hospitable driver €10 bonus). So all ready for conference tomorrow with dinner in evening and my talk next day. Had 4 Swift, a Herring Gull and a Carrion Crow at Schipol. Earlier had a Comma at Ordley. Funds are +9k wtd on strong rise in mining heavyweights, so at new high! Thought of someone gorgeous during the journey: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 24th: maximum 15C, minimum 10C, light W, cloudy with brightish spells, dry. Did not light fire. Decided on a busy day of fieldwork with sessions at Ordley 10:20-11:20 and Hexham NE 14:25-16:25. Common Buzzard had fledged young, hunger calling, at both sites, with 1 at Ordley at 10:27 and 2 juveniles at Hexham NE at 15:27. Black Kite were still secretive, at Ordley and Dukeshouse, but good to see they've survived the cool patch of weather. At Ordley a Black Kite adult flew out from its nest site at 11:12 to SE flying just over the tree tops. At Dukeshouse a single Black Kite was seen at 14:36 and 14:57 low over the trees and flying high 1  2  3. The Osprey site on the Tyne was active with 2 birds seen, the second showing clearly 4 projecting primary tips. The first bird was seen coming in high from the S slowly descending over woodland to E at 15:30 1  2  3  4. The second bird, missing a tail feather, came out from the site at 16:01, keeping low down over the Tyne until 16:02 5  6  7  8  9. It then climbed higher, keeping over the site, until 16:04 10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25 when it disappeared into the thin haze. An adult male Kestrel was at Hexham NE at 14:32 and a male Hobby was mobbing an Osprey 11 at 16:02. A Black Kite was high up over Dilston E at 16:01, probably from same site as seen earlier. So 5 types of raptor -- marvellous. Total of 24 bird-types included 14 adult Common Gull, 15 Swallow (fledged), 1 Willow Warbler, 13 Goldfinch (fledged). Butterflies totalled 5 types: 2 Small White, 1 Meadow Brown, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Small tortoiseshell, 1 Comma. Many ash trees are fighting back against dieback: here's an example from Hexham NE 1.Earlier at Ordley 14 species were noted including 10 Swallow, 1 Swift occupying a nest, a Yellowhammer. Common Gull passage was striking with 62 W (26 ad, 13 1s, 23 unaged). No butterflies were seen here. R went well with 34 in for lunch and a good speaker CB on Trees Please! Also made G4g4s with all the gang, which was very chatty. Main business in evening was getting ready for trip to Munich via Amsterdam with KLM. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 23rd: maximum 13C, minimum 9C, rained all day, heavy at times, moderate NE breeze. Lit coal fire again. They had a fraught start to their journey to London with 09:40 HEX-NCL running 40 min late; haven't heard end result but think they've got there! Did quite a lot of clearing up at home and in car; garden work and fieldwork limited severely by weather but on way back at 00:10 had a Tawny Owl and Long-eared Owl lurking near road at Ordley. G4g4s was good with 5 of us out: A/R/P/D and me, for friendly meeting. Have prepared piccies for Scotland, added them to server but not indexed them yet. Quite a few are of family. Hope to publish tomorrow. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

We are in the second Dark Ages. Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr. John Clauser — who recently declared climate science a ‘pseudoscience’ — has his IMF talk abruptly cancelled.

Nobel Laureate (Physics 2022) Dr. John Clauser was to present a seminar on climate models to the IMF on Thursday and now his talk has been summarily cancelled. According to an email he received last evening, the Director of the Independent Evaluation Office of the International Monetary Fund, Pablo Moreno, had read the flyer for John’s July 25 zoom talk and summarily and immediately cancelled the talk. Technically, it was “postponed.” Dr. Clauser had previously criticized the awarding of the 2021 Nobel Prize for work in the development of computer models predicting global warming and told President Biden that he disagreed with his climate policies. Dr. Clauser has developed a climate model that adds a new significant dominant process to existing models. The process involves the visible light reflected by cumulus clouds that cover, on average, half of the Earth. Existing models greatly underestimate this cloud feedback, which provides a very powerful, dominant thermostatic control of the Earth’s temperature. More recently, he addressed the Korea Quantum Conference where he stated, “I don’t believe there is a climate crisis” and expressed his belief that “key processes are exaggerated and misunderstood by approximately 200 times.” Dr. Clauser, who is recognized as a climate change sceptic, also became a member of the board of directors of the CO2 Coalition last month, an organization that argues that carbon dioxide emissions are beneficial to life on Earth. https://co2coalition.org/news/nobel-laureate-silenced/

July 22nd: maximum 15C, minimum 13C, wet morning turning to drizzle, wet setting back again in evening, moderate NE breeze. Dreadful spell of weather in the Borders, continuing tomorrow without a break. Lit coal fire tonight for first time in July for a while: global cooling! Spent day socialising with family, while they get ready for journey S tomorrow to London. Had a training session with granddaughters on use of Publisher/Impress; their IT skills are way ahead of the average Rotary member! We had final good meal at Vercelli, having 3 courses, cost overall £92, including £8 tip, all paid by yours truly. Many people are going abroad for sunshine: good for them: alarmist weather forecasts from European Space Agency are disgraceful: they are grossly misleading as refer to surface rather than the normal air temperatures c1.5m off the ground. Anyone who's walked on sun-scorched areas bare-footed knows how hot the ground is, compared to the air around your head. In Dubai you cannot walk a dog in the sunniest part of the day. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 21st: maximum 16C, minimum 11C, damp with frequent heavy showers, mainly cloudy, light E breeze. But was sunny as we left Dumfries. Daughter drove us home in good style, leaving at 09:45 and making good time to HEX, where we had a snack in T while getting a few more supplies. Weather got worse in drive, the closer we got to the Tyne Valley. The girls romped around in the spacious living room, in the absence of solid furniture, at home. I went out in evening to meet D/D 4 gr8 chat at DoW. Had a Common Buzzard in Dumfries from the car near Sweetheart Abbey. At Colvend had a Green Woodpecker, a Bullfinch, a Willow Warbler and a Nuthatch, in the sunshine. Break in Scotland turned out well. Funds were +23k this week after 1k withdrawal, just 4k off all-time high. We're at Vercelli again tomorrow evening for farewell meal. Weather forecast for weekend is dire. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Have completed processing Scottish records with final position:

First here's piccies of family in Sandhills with beach and chalet: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 (1 Isabella, 2,6 Sophia, 7 me). BirdTrack totals were 48 of 48 species from 94 records, 2 complete lists, 14 places; raptor totals were for 4 types: Red Kite 4 birds at 3 localities, Sparrowhawk 1 bird at 1 site, Common Buzzard 6 birds at 6 sites, Tawny Owl 1 bird at 1 site; butterflies were of 10 types and dragonflies 2 types.

July 20th: maximum 16C, minimum 12C, sunny intervals, mainly cloudy, light W breeze. Today made Creetown to the Gem Museum there; very interesting, lots of ores and gems from all over the world; good cafe and of course a shop where bought an onyx pot and a couple of stones of Unakite, very beautiful IMHO. We then returned to the beach at Sandhills, just missing high tide and sea was already far out! Had dinner at Luigi’s in Dalbeattie, £82, pretty typical Italian, tasty and good for the girls! Had 3 Common Buzzard and a Red Kite on the road, plus 2 Swift at Creetown. On the beach at Sandhills 1  2 had 3 Sandwich Tern, a pair of Gadwall 1 and 2 Reed Bunting, plus 10 Oystercatcher, a Red Kite soaring to W 1, and a Raven flying inland. Scottish adventure ends soon: it’s been very successful. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 19th: maximum 19C, minimum 11C, murky start, then hot, bright sunshine with low cloud amounts, moderate W breeze. Added 23/6 records from Hexham NE to BirdTrack; still to add summary to this page. Today we went down to beach at Sandhills but the sea was nowhere to be seen, 2km in the distance at low tide! The girls made some castles and we had a relaxing morning before we went off to the Chocolate Factory near Kirkcudbright – sounded sinister to me but was all above board. I went off to Kirkcudbright itself (pronounced KirCuBree) to get some petrol, found one station empty another with just one pump working so filled up quickly! Then off to the estuary for a bit of bird watching before meeting them at the Cafe of the Factory for a scone and a tea. They had had a fantastic time, particularly on the slide. Then back home, doing some shopping in Dalbeattie, with daughter cooking. We’ll be out again to a hotel tomorrow. Wildlife highlights today were 3 Red Kite, including 1 at 17:45 on way back from trip to W, flying low, hunting at Colvend NE, a Common Buzzard seen from the Chocolate Factory and a Sparrowhawk male in the estuary. We had a Badger at 22:30 by chalet. Butterflies at Colvend were great in the sunshine – 9 types: 1 Large White, 1 Small White, 3 Green-veined White, 1 Common Blue, 4 Red Admiral, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Comma 1, 1 Speckled Wood, 3 Meadow Brown. Had a Painted Lady at Kirkcudbright, making 10 types for the day. Totals for butterflies for Kirkcudbright Bay were 11 Small White, 2 Meadow Brown, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Green-veined White, 1 Large White. Birds here included 2 Little Egret, 2 Ringed Plover, 4 Curlew, 1 Oystercatcher. A Common Hawker dragonfly was at Twynholm E and a Broad-bodied Chaser 1 at Colvend. Funds +19k wtd, on greater optimism that inflation has peaked, just 8k off all-time high. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 18th: maximum 16C, minimum 10C, rain all day with some heavy pulses; clearer in evening. Drive was a bit of a struggle in the weather with tractors slowing down the pace, making some long-distance journeys on every route! Near the destination a tree was coming down over electric cables: the final challenge! We had a good lunch in Dumfries at Deliziose (£31); a few young gulls (LBBG, Herring) were walking the pavements. We found the chalet after a bit of research into Sandyhills layout; it’s very nice, 3 bedrooms, well appointed, in a scrubby forest setting with the beach 500m away. We went for dinner in Kippford at the Anchor; very efficient service, good food and not too expensive (£60). Kippford was a favourite haunt of my late wife’s parents; obvious to see why, it’s like Shaldon in Devon where they lived! Had 11 Little Egret and a Greenshank there. Had 2 Tawny Owl calling at the chalet at 23:45. Strangest records of day were 3 single Common Buzzard around Hexham in a slight interlude to weather: desperate parents trying to find food for just about fledged young. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 17th: maximum 18C, minimum 12C, moderate W, sunny spells, dry. Finished processing piccies for Hexham 23/6 and uploaded them to server. R was main activity today, organising lunch for 3rd time at CNT: all went well and getting good rapport with staff there. Met A in the car park!! Otherwise a good day with family, plenty of company with the granddaughters, getting ready for Scottish adventure! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 16th: maximum 16C, minimum 11C, moderate to fresh W, sunny intervals, squally showers, not much resemblance to summer! Started processing piccies for Hexham 23/6. We managed to eject 2 large sofas into the field to clear space for new furniture and give some breeding space for animals! Great sight of 2 Roe Deer fawns (medium dog size) creeping out of the field into the orchard so can add Roe Deer to Brown Hare on the mammal breeding list this year. Son left mid-morning back to Welwyn -- great of him to come. Rest of family are still here for another week: they're more on UK time now! We've had to change our Scottish booking venue to one in Sandhills as the first one was cancelled. Made G4g4s with D/R/P/A for good chat. Added the flutist! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 15th: maximum 18C, minimum 13C, light SE becoming moderate SW, dull but dry morning, heavy persistent rain later. Completed processing 7/6 Haltwhistle. Weather was too bad for coast so we stayed local with trip to Roman Wall, making Twice Brewed for excellent lunch, costing £129 for the 5 of us, treated by me. Then onto Carvoran, the remains of a large Roman fort Magnis, where we went to the museum with an exhibition I've not seen before. It was very good with a cinema, plenty of displays and a holographic schoolmaster, so up to date presentation -- appreciated by all. Then out for walk to edge of the Wall, past the flooded quarry. Had 9 types of bird here, including Moorhen (1 adult, 4 chick), 1 Mallard, 4 Swallow (nesting), 1 Swift, 2 Oystercatcher. On way back had a Common Buzzard crossing the road at Melkridge W and on way there had 12 Swallow (fledged) at Houtley and 2 Bullfinch at Twice Brewed. There were 8 Common Spotted Orchid at Carvoran (and there's been 1 in my field at Ordley as well). So good day out. Quiet evening: everyone going to sleep! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 14th: maximum 18C, minimum 13C, light SE, dull but dry morning, heavy persistent rain later. Not a good day if you're on holiday. Family went shopping in T in HEX for a couple of hours and made good progress on Haltwhistle 7/6, processing large number of piccies, but still need to index them on this page and add the records to BirdTrack; this will then complete the Honey-buzzard display phase up to 16/6 this year; have 2 visits to process for second half of June and one for July, so almost up to date! Have identified Anne R (1629-1685), daughter of Nicholas R, as wife (marrying 1645, Wells) of Sergeant Anthony Smith, presumably an officer in Cromwell's army in the Civil War. She left a PCC will in 1685 (downloaded): she passed away in Frome, Somerset, some 22 years after her husband's death in Wells. Anne went to Massachusetts in 1630, aged 1, returning in 1635 and married in 1645, when just 16. The 5 daughters of Nicholas R have been completely neglected but the 4 studied to date (by me), by their marriages, have all been keenly involved in the Puritan struggles. Son arrived on time at 21:06 at HEX; lovely to see him again; so full family sleeping here over next 2 nights!! We're going to the seaside tomorrow for a day out. Funds are +20k on week with commodity prices rising as US inflation drops to 3%. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 13th: maximum 18C, minimum 12C, light to moderate SW, mainly sunny, fresh in morning, dry. More exercise: mowed the path into the field so now restored all accesses on the property: satisfying as need to get round it to see what's going on. Daughter and granddaughters went horse riding again at Sinderhope: bracing they said but enjoyed by all. I stayed home and sorted out some junk for recycling, which later took down to Waste Transfer Station; bought a new charger and cable at T for my Samsung phone. While out daughter and family removed one sofa from her bedroom to the back of the stables -- amazing action! We had supper at Vercelli in Priestpopple, Hexham, all very good: £74+£5 tip. They then went to sleep and I made G4g4s to meet R/P for good catch-up! Son arrives tomorrow evening. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 12th: maximum 16C, minimum 11C, moderate SW, cool day with frequent showers and bright interludes, heavier rain in evening. One Long-eared Owl at 21:30 was flushed from conifer trees on NW of my field, flying behind row of trees on N side to new perch: marvellous record, wonder where they are breeding nearby. Also had 2 Common Gull 1s overhead. Not much birdwatching today though! Did mow a wide path into the orchard which involved a lot of work but there are some apples there! Also refilling nearest pond to house now have access to it again. Think old sofas are on the way out: daughter has condemned them! We're going to carry them both out on Saturday with son to back of stables where they can be dismantled at leisure. New lighter ones will be ordered. We've booked a chalet in Dumfries, Scotland, for a few days next week as a break -- just £330 for all of us. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 11th: maximum 18C, minimum 12C, moderate SW, bright day with fast-moving clouds and light showers, frequent at lunchtime. Girls went horse-riding at Sinderhope so I drove them there and had watches from Sinderhope and Studdon Park from 14:50-16:35 looking for raptors. Saw none in blustery conditions but did have a Common Buzzard hovering near Catton (on S side) on way back at 16:45. Total of 14 bird-types at Sinderhope included a Grey Partridge, 6 Curlew, 4 Oystercatcher, 6 Swallow, a Meadow Pipit, plus a migrant Chiffchaff. No butterflies were seen but 2 Rabbit were noted (1 dead on road). At Studdon Park had 17 bird-types including 3 Curlew, 6 Black-headed Gull juvenile, 8 Goldfinch (fledged), 7 Swallow (fledged), 3 Mistle Thrush (fledged), 1 agitated Great Spotted Woodpecker, plus a dead Rabbit and a live Brown Hare. Granddaughters had a good ride evidently, probably going again next week. A Common Gull adult flew SW at Ordley at 11:00, an ominous sign of autumn approaching! In morning did masses of grass cutting near stables to reclaim most of this area from the long grass. they were out at Whitley Chapel playground. In evening we went out to Stalida Greek Taverna in Hexham for big meal out. We had Meze and the girls had a lamb chop each and chips. Very good meal and atmosphere: cost £77+£7 tip. Funds are -1k wtd: some signs of life in PoO! Always happy to help out quickly: xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 10th: maximum 19C, minimum 13C, light SE, bright morning, cloudy afternoon, heavy rain in evening, humid throughout. Processed 5/6 March Burn, leaving just one trip to do -- Haltwhistle 7/6 -- to complete Honey-buzzard display phase for 2023. Another critical lunch for R at the CNT, our second, most things worked out well, including the talk with a data projector, but the coffee was slow to arrive, delaying us for 5 minutes and knocking time off the talk. Family were up at 06:00 (still on Dubai time) and went for walk down to Peth Foot, seeing a Frog (rare now). Later they went to Metrocentre by train for big shop as things cheaper here than in the Dubai malls. We again ate in in evening as most restaurants closed on Monday but have Greek and Italian lined up for the next 2 evenings. Enjoying their company!! xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

Black Kite records since 18/6 on BirdGuides, good numbers for main breeding season (113 reports for ytd now):

13:55 08/07 Black Kite Buckinghamshire Bletchley 11:40 possible in flight briefly

22:34 06/07 Black Kite Norfolk Snettisham (village) 20:45 probable inadvertently flushed from roost in mature trees along River Ingol and lost to view

10:32 04/07 Black Kite Kent Conyer one drifted south towards Teynham late morning

19:51 02/07 Black Kite Oxfordshire Bampton one reportedly flew over St Mary's Church

16:34 02/07 Black Kite Devon Woodbury Salterton one flew over

14:21 02/07 Black Kite Devon Halberton 14:05 one reported west over Halberton Court Farm Shop

13:19 29/06 Black Kite Kent Gillingham 13:00 still drifting north-west over Lower Rainham

12:52 29/06 Black Kite Kent Gillingham 12:48 possible flew NNE over Rainham

18:47 24/06 Black Kite Norfolk Garvestone 18:05 unconfirmed report of one over field north of B1135 at c 52.6167, 1.0103 (reported from moving car)

09:55 24/06 Black Kite Kent St Margaret's at Cliffe still over field at Station Road/Nelson Park Road

09:03 24/06 Black Kite Kent St Margaret's at Cliffe 09:03 again over the monument at Bockhill Farm moving towards St Margaret's

08:34 24/06 Black Kite Kent St Margaret's at Cliffe 08:31 one flew north over Bockhill Farm towards Deal

13:59 22/06 Black Kite Somerset & Bristol Ham Wall RSPB one reported in flight late morning

08:40 22/06 Black Kite North Yorkshire Elvington 08:35 still over Cheescake Farm (53.9043, -0.9467); as viewed distantly from Bank Island

07:23 22/06 Black Kite North Yorkshire Elvington 05:55 still in third field east of Wheldrake Lane viewed looking south from footpath running from Wheldrake Lane to Elvington. Park carefully elsewhere and walk to view, do not block access gates

21:07 21/06 Black Kite North Yorkshire Elvington 21:05 still perched in willow tree east of Wheldrake Lane at c 53.9170, -0.9469; view looking south from footpath running from Wheldrake Lane to Elvington. Park carefully elsewhere and walk to view, do not block access gates

19:07 21/06 Black Kite North Yorkshire Elvington 18:55 still in third field east of Wheldrake Lane viewed looking south from footpath running from Wheldrake Lane to Elvington. Park carefully elsewhere and walk to view, do not block access gates

18:43 21/06 Black Kite North Yorkshire Elvington 18:42 still in cut hay field east of Wheldrake Lane at c 53.9215, -0.9520

18:10 21/06 Black Kite North Yorkshire Elvington 18:10 one over cut hay field east of Wheldrake Lane at c 53.9215, -0.9520

One more Osprey record from Tyne 10/6-10/7 on BirdGuides:

14:54 29/06 Osprey Northumberland Stocksfield one circled over then flew south mid-afternoon


July 9th: maximum 21C, minimum 12C, light SW, some sunny periods up to ttime, then heavy rain showers, humid. Processed 3/6 Warden. Today at Ordley had a Jay, a family group of 4 Magpie, a Grey Heron, a Curlew, plus butterflies: 1 Small White, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Ringlet, 2 Meadow Brown. Main event of day was meeting Dubai flight to NCL EKO35 at 12:10 to fetch daughter and granddaughters; it was 12 min early, they had masses of luggage, which just managed to fit in car! Great to see them all again: we had afternoon in garden: they made lots of 'drinks' with the mint and rose petals, which they really got stuck into: never would have forecast that! They all went to sleep by 20:00 so did make G4g4s with D/B/A/R 4 lively chat! When got back at 23:25, visitors all still asleep. xxxxx XXX!!!!!!

July 8th: maximum 24C, minimum 15C, light SE, some sunny intervals in morning, heavy showers later and longer spel