Sunday, 7 March 2010


This object has been showing nicely in the clear skies of the last week. It might not look like much here, but you have to bear in mind that it is 1,216 billion kilometeres away and a nightmare to photograph: Firstly, through a telescope it is a tiny object and even my attempts to video it (where low light levels are less of an issue) where met with blank refusal from the camera on the grounds that it is pitch black. Secondly, it moves a quite a rate at 120x magnification, so I only managed to get the image below by pressing my DSLR up against the scope on a manual exposure setting. I could claim it is a UFO, on the usual mistaken conspiracy theory grounds of "prove to me it isn't one", but it is of course, the planet Saturn. In a 'scope the rings and moons are one of the most beautiful sights in the night sky, but without professional equipment capturing such an image will be very difficult:
Back in daylight things look much brighter, and following a cold night of -6 degrees, a gorgeous morning develops with the lengthening days making every male bird want to throw his head back and let rip:
This Chaffinch was in full song as were at least 3 drumming Great-spotted Woodpeckers. The Farmhouse pond produces little, but the first Corn Bunting of the spring is present on the fence in North Field. Still plenty of these about though:
Four Roe Deer were in the fields by the river, the lead female bounding away spectacularly:

Old Barns Field was a mass of feeding birds with 100+ Black-headed Gulls swooping aroung, 2 Grey Herons and 63 Golden Plover, here zipping past my distant house. Does this get them on the "garden list"?

After a dry week the River Thame has returned to it's banks, so little flood water remains. 2 Cormorant and 2 Snipe were the only birds of note, although at least 30 Teal remain on the river, even though actually seeing them is a challenge. Most of the time I just hear their mewing calls and then there is an explosion of flying birds which stay close to cover, making estimating numbers tricky:

Overall, there was a good feel to today and plenty of interest. And it won't be long before spring migration kicks in, perhaps even bringing birds to birdless Cuddesdon...

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