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Wot I saw on my holidays: long list with links to picaturesCollapse )
This included 66 bird species on the day we went to Minsmere, which is a personal best by a long way.
Back at work? Big pile of mail? Filling come out on a bacon sandwich? Then you are me and I claim my GBP5.

So cheer your self up with a baaaby red squiggle

Also Peacock butterflies are totally goth underneath

Proper bird post to follow...


Out there are some angry bugs

Your insect of the day - If anyone can identify this even a bit I'd like to know...


Bug porn!

A present for lovelybug and anyone else that likes that sort of thing under a cut for those that don't like our six legged palsCollapse )


7th Jul, 2009

Saturday was apparently invasive species day. In one short stretch of the Water of Leith by Stockbridge I saw Himalayan Balsam (lots), Rhodedendron, Fuschia, some kind of pampas grass (maybe not actually invasive, but certainly self seeded) and A family of six or seven mink kits with their mum. They were being very cute and squeaky and trying to persuade me that they wren't deadly invasive things at all...

Wuff! But Oh Noes! But Wuff!


Today's bee is unidentified so far. It seems to have to much black to be a common carder. Perhaps it is a field cuckoo bumble bee - cos you get cuckoo bumble bees, which is also a cool fact...


Here is your bee of the day - not quite as brilliant as Monday's bee, but A DIFFERENT KIND OF BEE. Apparently ordinary human beings can tell the idfference between kinds of bee - who'd have thought it?

This is a common carder bumble bee, wot is different from the buff tailed bumble bee of yesterday.

Through the rainstorm came sanctuary

I have found out something about Beltane people that would have made me incandescently angry a month ago, and you know what? I was really really angry for about half an hour and now I just can't be arsed. I think this is an improvement.

Meanwhile, if you have sometyhing you need distracting from - here is your Monday morning bee - Beeee!

Did I mention recently that I love my macro?

Soft downy feathers and nice little wings

I went puffin hunting yesterday evening and found many puffings even though it was too choppy to get to Inchkeith. This meant it was also too choppy to get many good pictures, or indeed focus the binoculars easily, but I did get a reasonable good shot of a fulmar. I also saw a distant but verifiable Manx Shearwater, which in Latin is puffinus puffinus, so that's kinda like extra puffins :-) Plus it brings my (mid)life list to 120. And photographically I now have a set of 85 bird species on flickr, which isn't bad for my camera...

I am fighting the urge to turn my bird list into a database. There may be no hope for me.
But puffins!

Hey Mac geeks!

I am going to buy a new 20" iMac - is there anything I should definitely get as extra? Why?

Is there any software I should definitely get (either free or obtainable)?

What's a good optical three button wheeled mouse that's not a mighty mouse?

Does anyone want a mighty mouse?

We been to the zoo zoo zoo

Zoo pictures are now up on Flickr including some very small penguins and a pile of lemurs...

I see things, I see them with my eyes

I managed to go out with camera but no binoculars today and managed to see:
Swifts (yay swifts are back!) and at least one house martin
Blackbirds, Song thrush
Blue tit
Chaffinch, goldfinch
House sparrow
Jackdaw, carrion crow and magpie
Feral pigeons, wood pigeons, and my first ever collared dove seen in Edinburgh
Mute swan
Black-headed gull, lesser black backed gull

Which must mean that I'm better at seeing things with my eyes


Awesome Beltane Pictures

I am loving Stuart's Beltane pictures, including the excellent set of the Bower, which starts here, in which I think we look rather splendid...


Happy Beltane!

That was my best ever Beltane as a performer. And the finance officer in me is over the moon about the numbers. Just for once I'd like to clearly state that everything is absolutely perfect. Therefore I declare that anything that is not perfect can fuck right off until at least tomorrow :-)
I have been out finding spring...

I love my macro.

Why yes, I am at work, why do you ask?

Here is a totally awesome timetraveller cheatsheet - available as a shirt or a poster.

What would you put on yours?
I know it's unlikely, but... do any of you in striking distance of Edinburgh have a black or dark coloured cloak that you would be prepared to lend to one of my Bower Keepers. Or do you have 2-3m of heavy-ish fabric that could be turned into one? (Including old woollen blankets, curtains etc...)

They'd be very grateful and considerably warmer if we can sort something out...

Get hung up, feed the ducks with a bun

Today I decided I had to get out looking for brids and prepared for a bread-and-butter day after the excitement of last weekend. Idid a reasonable walk round Colinton Dell and saw:

Blue tit, great tit, long tailed tit
Robin, blackbird
Carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie
Wood pigeon, feral pigeon
Black headed gull, herring gull
Mallard, gooseander (both of whom helped me dispose of half a loaf of homemade bread)

My first dipper of the year
And squrrels and a bunny and - roe deer! - which I have never seen in Edinburgh before. So yay!



The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me.

My choice. For you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

* I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!

* What I create will be with you in mind.

* It'll be done sometime this year (2009)

* You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be something written, some physical thing made, could be anything at all, but I will make it myself. It's entirely my choice what it is. No quibbles, no refunds.

* I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch?

Oh, the catch is that you put this in your journal as well. If you don't.. You don't get anything.

P.S. Being me the thing is likely to be either knitting, jewellery or pickle, but you never know...

P.P.S. You are allowed to ask for stuff if you've already posted the meme, or if you've asked for stuff from other people - in fact I'd like that cos I like making stuff...
So, going for long walks, getting up early, eating nice food in good company and seeing many birds and places I haven't been before helps decrease depression - who knew :-) I bet it didn't do any harm that I drank less than usual and watched less TV, too (though Being Human was OK.)

Some pictures are on Flickr - I particularly like the reflected black-headed gulls and the cooperative goldeneye. Though I also seem to be breaking into industrial art with Longannet power station and Grangemouth...

Wild Goose Chase Day 1

Today we visited Vane Farm and Ravenscraig park in Kirkcaldy - selected cos it was marked by a giant blue bird on the map. We didn't see a giant blue bird but we did see loads of ducks from the shore, including long-tailed ducks which are a first for me.

we also sawCollapse )Which makes it my highest scoring day at 43, I think
And a seal and some squiggles.

Which was fun


In an attempt to make a coherent plan

One of the things I'm thinking of organising is a Costumery Bring and Buy in aid of BFS (which is now a charity - so yay!) The idea would be for Beltane to sell off some supplies but also for other people to donate stuff that we could sell to Beltane Performers, Goffs, Reenacters and other reprobates that we may know. We'd mostly be selling fabric, trimmings, masks and other oddities, but it would depend on who brings what.

So. Does this sound like a good idea? Would you be interested, or do you know anyone who might be? When would be a good time to hold it? (I'm thinking March-ish so Beltane groups have formed and have some ideas what they want) And where?

OK, I'll go back to sleep now...
When I was, ooh, about 11 (so in 1977/8 - eek) we had a reading and comprehension book in school. It consisted of a lot of magazine style articles, probably from the Reader's Digest or similar, and the more I think about them the more I realise that 99% of them were utter utter bollocks. AFAICR the book contained:

The lady who was channelling composers and writing new symphonies by Beethoven and the like
Jacques Cousteau saying we could all live under the sea and eat seaweed to save the planet
The Kontiki expedition
Greening the Sahara by planting trees round the edges
The Robot houses we were all going to live in
And various other stories which can probably be attributed to Lyall Watson or Erich von Däniken

What other great lies of the 70s can anyone remember?
I have four sets of open pine shelves and a pine bench to give away. Three shelves are Ikea Ivar units and one is a fixed shelf B&Q equivalent and the bench is Ikea. They need to go this week without fail, so 1st come 1st served.

Ivar shelves
1 with five shelves 49(w) x 179(h) x 30(d)
1 with five shelves 49(w) x 179(h) x 50(d)
1 with three shelves 49(w) x 73(h) x 30(d)

Fixed shelves
five shelves 83(w) x 175(h) x 30(d)

Ikea Bench
100(w) x 44(h) x 33(d) (goes quite nicely in a bay window to hold plants or similar

There is also an old but functional Wharfdale DVD player, a big 17" CRT monitor, giant desk (150 x 73 x 75) and a good old fashioned photographic enlarger - but speak before Wednesday if you want them cos they're going to landfill otherwise


In the jungle, the mighty jungle...

My lions are now called:

Simba (in Swahili, not Disney)
Tau (in Setswana or Northern Sotho)
Shumba (in Shona)
Nkosi (in Kituba)
Inkalamo (in ChiBemba)
Imbube (in isiZulu)
Leeu (in Afrikaans)
Hamzah (in Arabic)
Kenya (only in Kenya!)

Because the names all mean the same thing I do not have to tell them apart except for Kenya who is the leader and has a ribbon [1]

[1] In fact he has a seal from a bottle of 1488 Whiskey Ale. So there. No, I have no idea why.

LJ - cycle

We have been starting to clear Sandy's room and so far have

A basic functioning desk lamp - black
Another desk lamp with a wee halogen bulb
A DVD player that works but the door is a bit squint and it won't play DVD-R
A bag of mosaic suppplies
An Aiwa tape deck
A functioning VHS player
A really big desk with lovely drawers that could be really useful but will be a pain to move 9it does come apart a bit, measurements on request
A photographic enlarger for doing, like, real film
A fairly enormous CRT monitor

to give away. Any takers please shout. There will almost certainly be more...

Friday is Take Your Lions to Work Day

Cos work has Photo Booth


I am feeling quite vulnerable at the moment, even though sensible measures have helped ensure I don't have full on BiCon comedown. Of course now is the time other people are getting Bicon comedown and hence sharing the less good things about their weekend. I cannot begrudge them the opportunity to do that, but the conjunction of the two facts is...unfortunate.

Also in amoungst this are things which it is worth saying so that future organisers do even better, and things that I would like to reply to because I'm not sure if they are fair criticisms. I am trying to ensure that I don't respond to anything yet because I need time to reflect and recover, but that doesn't mean I'm not prepared to listen.

Meanwhile I welcome validation and nice things. Next week is soon enough for difficult things.

31st Aug, 2008

Back, alive, pockets fill of lions. Chilling and attempting to explain circus animal cricket to Jon.

Proper update Later

26th Jun, 2008

Yesterday I went on a boat and I saw puffins and baaaby peregrines and kittiwakes and razorbills and shags and guillimots and gannets and cormorants and a island that looks like a ship on purpose and a grey seal and some common seals and fulmers and stuff.

Work sucks big time

Today's bunny seems very apposite.

But puffins.

Also on the weekend I saw a totally unexpected red-legged partridge in someone's back garden next to the canal at Craiglockart, which was odd, but cool, but odd.

Food origins Diary: Part One

Rather than do the Fife diet, or even the UK diet, I have decided to start by looking at what I actually eat. So for a week I will be writing down what I eat and where it comes from, in as far as it's possible to tell. the fact that it's *not* always possible to tell, and that the amount of detail you get depends on what you pay, is the topic of another post, possibly at the end of the week. So here goes:

So far today I have had:

Fairtrade coffee from multiple countries with Scottish Milk
An apple of unkown origin 'cos I got it free from a fruit basket at work
Wholemeal bread made by me out of Allinson's flour which they say is 'sourced mainly from the UK", packet yeast and a dash of italian olive oil
Carrot dal soup made of Fife carrots, Cambridgeshire onion, lentils from 'more than one country' and Italian tinned tomatoes, plus a variety of dried spices from Very Far Away. Oh, and i think there's some Scottish yoghurt in there somewhere

For tea I have Norwegian farmed salmon (which was so reduced and about-to-be-thrown-out if no-one bought it I couldn't resist), Lothian spuds, non-specifically UK red cabbage and more Fife carrots.
The most unethical thing Torchwood ever did? Worse than Retcon? Read more...Collapse )
It has been like dying and going to hell here this week, with pneumatic drills right outside my office window and everyone angry and lost and buses redirected and general shenanigans. This is projected to go on for some time, so it might not be a good time for the new Holland and Barret to open opposite when there's approximately sod all passing trade. they were determined, though, and as if the tramworks weren't there had employed a piper with all the trimmings including a particularly ridiculous hairy hat. People complained, some quite loudly. the area manager was called. the piper stopped. for a bit. And started, and we complained some more.

So now everyone has had a bag of yoghurt apricots courtesy of the shop which doesn't want to lose the only bit of business it was going to get until the trams are in.

What's the difference between a duck?

Any day which contains me saying "thank-you" out loud to wildlife has to be a good day. Today it was provoked by my first skylark of the year - out by the ash lagoons at Musselburgh.

Also two new ducks - Wigeon and a definite Velvet scoter. Sadly my pictures were shit today, cos it was so windy I could barely hold myself steady never mind the camera, but there is a recognisable shelduck and black-backed gull to add to the species collection.

full listCollapse )


meme in lieu of thought

A) Four jobs I have had in my life (other than current job):
Tea lady, Car counter, Tarot reader, Sender back of misfilled forms to farmers at the Min of Ag and Fish

B.) Four movies I would watch over and over:
I can't actually think of any I'd want to see more than twice

C.) Four places I have lived
Sutton, Norwich, Edinburgh, Er that's it

D.) Four TV shows that I watch
CSI, Torchwood, Primeval, Heist (and Reaper, Criminal Minds, Doctor Who, Heroes, Life in Cold Blood, NCIS, Numbers and House)

E.) Four places I have been:
Amsterdam, Berlin, Venice, Britany.

F.) People who e-mail me (regularly):
Pete, Jon, my Boss and my assistant

G.) Four of my favourite foods:
Olives, Bacon rolls, Steak, Salt and pepper crisps

H. ) Four places I would rather be right now:
(assuming suitable clothing and teleportation) Minsmere, Amsterdam, Kynance Cove, Barnes

J.) Four things I am looking forward to this year:
BiCon, Beltane, Camping in the summer, Samhuinn

K.) Four favourite authors:
Terry Pratchett, Dorothy Sayers, Ursula le Guin, Peter Dickinson.
Meadows Yard Local Nature Reserve is a small site off Fillyside Road near Seafield. The Number 12 bus goes there, so I went up today. It is quite tiny but very cute with a wee pond and some bird boxes which tits were prospecting but not using yet I think. It was full of singing gold- and green- and chaffinches today, plus blackbirds, bluetits, dunnock. PLUS a few bunnies right out in the open and a FOX. Which I turned a corner and almost walked into. Twice. He seemed right at home there and very red in the sunlight.

Then I went across to the shore and walked right along the sea front to Portobello - seeing Oystercatchers, Redshank, bar-tailed godwit, Eider duck and four flavours of gull, plus a lot of starlings. I know starlings aren't doing so well some places, but Portobello has plenty in case anyone else runs out.

Plus there was an easily identified stone. Just the one. Which was cool in a very odd way.
I caught the train to Linlothgow yesterday and walked round the loch. It was loverly sun and a hell of a lot of birds including two new ducks - scaup and pochard plus a few great crested grebes, not doing a lot yet, and goldeneye displaying.

Full list

blue tit, great tit
chaffinch, green finch
robins (numerous - singing their lungs out), blackbird
crow, jackdaw, rook and magpie
feral pigeon and wood pigeon
kestrel (seen hovering from the train) and buzzards circling
pied wagtail
many noisy house sparrows
common, herring, black-headed and lesser-black-backed gull (just one of that last)
mute swan
greylag and white geese
mallard, including some crosses
tufted duck, pochard, goldeneye, scaup
coot, moorhen
great crested grebe
cormorants, many, on Cormorant island and on the other crannog island that is not called cormorant island
probably a distant heron

I also saw bunnies at the loch and a fox from the train, which was a bonus.
I have created a feed for chillies other blog 18saughtonmains - mostly about allotments...

Everyone suddenly burst out singing

It's spring out there - apparently. Or at least ducks are fighting, tits are singing, swans look like they're sizing up nesting sites and snowdrops and crocuses are out. Today I wander down the canal to Craiglockart pond and saw: Read more...Collapse )
Which seems a lot, but they're all out and about and the trees are still bare which makes it easier.

Here is my official picture of Spring personified, but sadly the batteries ran out before the goosanders.

Also I heard *one* chaffinch sing - which may be a thing that only happens on one day before they all start...

Also squirrels and snowdrops and croci and stuff.



new hair
Purple Rabbits

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