Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Friday, 25 September 2009
The images above show a Lufthansa Airbus A340 (left) and Delta Air Lines Boeing 767, both heading westbound towards the US or Canada.
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Certainly one of the most colourful visitors to the peanut feeders, more active during the Spring than now, but even so, they still show up from time to time. We have seen both male and female as well as fledglings (see photo below) this year.
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
I doubt many people realise how many aircraft are passing over or near their houses particularly when they are no where near an airport. Arguably few people probably want to know, but I'm going to give you an insight anyway! Typically where I live, which is close to several busy airways, if the weather is clear you could easily see 200-300 aircraft in a day. These are not noisy or obtrusive, on the contrary many people would not even notice them, but there again my interests are perhaps different to many! Most of these aircraft are flying between North America and Europe and between the UK, mainland Europe and Ireland. Amongst the usual transatlantic airliners are more interesting offerings, such as US military transports (5 to 10 per day is normal), civil operated aircraft on trooping flights (10-20 per day), private jets (anything from 20-40 per day), which on Sunday included this Bombardier Global Express, owned by a South African company. This is one of the largest private jets (the size of a smallish airliner), easily capable of flying from London to Tokyo non-stop.
There are also supposedly "clandestine" flights one of which is a certain Learjet (a mid size 6 seat executive jet), registered in the US as N54PA (see photo below), which has been allegedly used on rendition flights. This aircraft continues to operate with some regularity (I have seen it overflying twice this year) despite claims in the press of its association with such activities. A quick internet search on this aircraft will show it turning up all over the world, with sightings as diverse as Guantanamo Bay, Shannon, Peking, Ponta Delgada, Thule (Greenland) to name but a few.
Monday, 21 September 2009
Well this fellow needs no introduction. We have been supporting numerous families of these cheeky little birds for the last two years. I have counted 6 of them on the feeder on more than one occassion with more waiting their turn in the neighbouring shrubs. They are certainly the most frequent visitors to our peanut feeders, and together with Great Tits and the less common Coal Tit's collectively they can typically get through a feeders worth of peanuts in 4 or 5 days!
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Saturday, 19 September 2009
These are produced by high flying aircraft. Their shape and form (and whether they form at all) depends on the atmospheric conditions at the time. The basic science of it is that the hot exhaust gasses mix with freezing air typically around -40 to -50C. The moisture generated turns into ice crystals which cause the thin linear clouds that we know as contrails. How long the trail is and how long it lasts depends on the air temperature and humidity. Interestingly they are now generally recognised as a cloud type, albeit manmade.
This picture was taken looking north west from our house. One can only guess as to the reason for the somewhat artistic manouevre undertaken by the aircraft on the right!
Monday, 14 September 2009
A few facts about the ISS. Typically it takes 3-4 mins to cross the sky on an evening when its visible and it orbits the earth every 90 mins or so. Its altitude is around 200 miles.
If you want to find out when you can see the ISS, go to http://www.heavens-above.com/. Once you have entered your position, this website will give you details on passing satellite's (on a clear night you could see as many as 20-30 over the space of a couple of hours) as well as where to look for planets plus a general overview of the night sky. Well worth a look.
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Having mentioned the Spotted Flycatcher in my opening piece, here is one that was nesting in our garden in late July and early August. It was frequently seen catching flies with amazing regularity and returning to the nest with a beakfull to feed junior!
This is a US Air Force Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, flying over our house at 34,000 ft earlier this year. It's capable of carrying nearly 400 troops or 75 tonnes of cargo. As this one was heading westbound there's a fair chance it was taking US troops back home after deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan. In my book, a lovely sight, heading as it is towards the setting sun.
Monday, 7 September 2009
I thought I would kick off with a couple of photo's of recent visitors to our garden:
A mysterious visitor? I am not actually sure what bird this is.....it looks like a bit like a Chiffchaff but the tail is too short.
Now this is definitely a Chiffchaff
This one has been hanging around since mid August. The behaviour is not unlike a Spotted Flycatcher. It sits on a fence and suddenly takes to the air to catch a bug and then returns to the fence, but not necessarily the same spot (in fact it seems to work its way along the fence). Photographing it was not easy as it's constantly on the move! It took me many attempts to get the above shot.