Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Today was a particularly quiet shift on Concorde, enlivened by half an hour's chat with a loquacious Welshman named, if you can believe it, Taffy Jones, ex-Navy and the Fire Service, now resident in Lincolnshire.  Nice to meet you, Taffy.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

At Last, a Cetti's!

Ann and I decided to go to RSPB Fowlmere today, and installed ourselves in the Reedbed Hide.  The Cetti's Warbler was in the trees and bushes in front of us, and as usual making a loud noise but staying hidden while we photographed a Linnet.  Suddenly it appeared and sat for a while on a branch, singing, so we knew it was actually a Cetti's.  A Reed Bunting sat close by and a Woodmouse ate shoots at the top of a tree, level with us.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Blue Tit

Bubbles caught a young, almost-fledged blue tit today, and although we rescued it, Meredith learned how difficult it is to care for a small bird.  It reacted to the warmth of her hands but didn't take any food, even small worms or greenfly.  We managed to get some sugar solution into its beak but had to leave it out on a branch for the night.  Sadie had an Alice in Wonderland-themed party and it was a success.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Lyle Hide, Welney

The hide provided more good views of a variety of birds.  (See blog of 27th January 2017 for the previous visit.)  The avocets were sitting on eggs and disputing airspace and water territory with everything else, including the terns nesting nearby.  A pair of innocent shovelers got most of the attacks, but we weren't sure whether the one above was love or war.  The sedge and reed warblers nesting along the bank were hard to snap clear of the vegetation.  The out-of-focus shelduck is a pleasing pattern.  The female sparrowhawk came in like an Exocet missile and perched for about a minute on the previously unused post, just long enough for the four photographers in the hide to get some frames.  

Friday, 19 May 2017

Fen Drayton Field

I shared a hide with Paul for five hours and lived to tell the tale!  These are the birds we saw - the woodpecker is a female, who has a black moustache.  The weather was dull and drizzly.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Landing Gear (Train d'Aterrissage)

Concorde's landing gear is stalky because it has to attain a high angle of attack on take off and landing, due to having no high-lift devices on its wing.  It follows the Comet (Pic. 4) and Britannia in having a four-wheel bogie, with the addition of carbon fibre brakes (very new in 1969) and cooling fans.  The Vulcan (Pic 5) and the Victor had eight-wheel bogies with smaller diameter tyres, whereas the Valiant had two tandem wheels on each bogie to suit its slimmer wing.  Concorde touched down at 150 knots (170 mph) and used reverse thrust as well as its brakes.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Rain Outside

It seemed a good idea to be in a hangar, so I photographed the refurbishing of the Handley-Page Victor in No. 5, along with the clutter in the other half of the building.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Opportunity Knocks

Back in the West Mere hide again today, the weather was not the unbroken sunshine forecast, but crucially there was sun when this bittern flew low across the front of the hide.  I took 38 frames in just over four seconds.  I've never had such an opportunity with a bittern. 

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Hobbies Feeding

Despite the plentiful swifts over the West Mere at Wicken, the Hobbies still choose mayflies.  Marcia Harrier came over looking mean and hungry.