Blog Profile / Sciencebase

Filed Under:Academics / General Science
Posts on Regator:1226
Posts / Week:2.3
Archived Since:February 24, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Marsh Harrier harried by Rooks

I startled a male Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) that was resting on the banks of the Cottenham Lode at the dog-leg near Rampton Spinney. The bird took fright and flight and flew off into an adjacent field and began hunting for small mammals in the crop growing only to subsequently be hounded rooks. It had … Continue reading "Marsh Harrier harried by Rooks"

Close to the Equinox Festival

We had our second Close to the Equinox mini indoor music festival at the Cottenham Community Centre last week, I’d spent pretty much most of my time since the last one organising this one, recruiting musicians, building the roster and then delegating all the jobs on the day so that I ended up more stressed … Continue reading "Close to the Equinox Festival"

BS for breakfast

It’s 8:40 am, I’m late to my desk, and although I’ve had a cuppa, I’m dithering about whether to have porridge or cornflakes to give me a sugar boost. But here’s a thought: the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day was created by Big Cereal, it’s a myth, nothing more … Continue reading "BS for breakfast"

The halcyon days of the fisher king

The Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) (a.k.a. the Eurasian Kingfisher, and the River Kingfisher is one of seven resident subspecies that range across Eurasia and North Africa. Some do migrate when their rivers freeze although they are mostly resident. Show More Summary

Novichok, or newbie, chemical weapons

Apparently, novichok mean newbie in Russian. That said, the nerve agents going by that name and in the news because of the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter were purportedly developed in the 1970s. Although their...Show More Summary

To feed or not to feed – fat is the question

Recently, I posted about whether or not you should feed wild birds in your garden. The obvious answer if you like birds, is: of course! Research in the news today asks the same question in the context of emergent diseases that are afflicing avian populations. Show More Summary

Song Thrush versus Mistle Thrush

If you saw and heard a Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) sat next to a Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus), you’d probably be able to tell immediately that they were different, even if you’re not a birder, although they’re both very similar. Show More Summary

Bullying Greenfinches

Recently, I posted a video of argumentative Goldfinches. This species seems to be the more common sight on our garden bird feeders. There is a flock of about 12 that spend their time flitting about the environs, competing with the flock of House Sparrows that live here too. And, there are Tits (Great, Blue, and … Continue reading "Bullying Greenfinches"

The Wheatear has nothing to do with ears of wheat

The Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) is a small, old-world flycatcher. It’s scientific binomial is a tautonym, both words are the same meaning it is the archetype of its class. The word itself comes from the Greek for wine, oenos and anthos...Show More Summary

In your Wi-Fi, Hedy Lamarr!

Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler (1914-2000) was an Austrian-born American film actor often talked of as the most beautiful woman in the movies perhaps most famous for her role in the 1948 Cecil B. DeMille movie Samson and Delilah, playing Delilah to Victor Mature’s Samson AND an inventor. Show More Summary

What have the bees ever done for us?

First, I should state up front, I don’t like honey. It makes my throat tingle and itch if I eat it raw, it’s fine if it’s a small amount blended into a marinade or in Crunchy Nut Cornflakes (always two bowls). I suspect I’m allergic to it. I remember eating honey on toast as a … Continue reading "What have the bees ever done for us?"

RE: Cycling and the use of anti-inflammatory triamcinolone

A certain well-known cyclist has been accused of crossing an ethical line, not of breaking any rules, just of not being as moralistic as politicians would expect. In the words of Mick Jagger back in the 1960s: “We do have morals, they’re just not the same as yours”. Show More Summary

Going for a song (thrush)

It’s been a week of Turdidae, what with the Fieldfares (Turdus pilaris) arriving in our gardens and the Blackbirds (Turdus merula) chasing off Redwings (Turdus iliacus). Then, a quick stop at Wimpole Hall to check in on the Hawfinches (none seen, this time) led to my witnessing and recording a tussle between two Song Thrush … Continue reading "Going for a song (thrush)"

Why feed the birds?

A friend asked me why we should feed wild birds, especially given the harsh weather conditions, wouldn’t it just be natural to let them fend for themselves, he suggested. Well, isn’t it kinder to help? But, more to the point, it’s human...Show More Summary

How did the Moon form?

Conventional astronomical wisdom (as cribbed from Wikipedia) suggests that the Moon formed from the debris left behind when an object the size of Mars collided with the Earth about 4.5 billion years ago in the Hadean aeon, just a few dozen million years after the solar system itself first coalesced. This is the known as … Continue reading "How did the Moon form?"

Fieldfare on the firethorn

Having invited the Waxwings to feast on our firethorn (pyracantha) berries, it turns out that a solitary Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) has found the supply and a snow sanctuary in our front garden. Looking rather fed-up it has fluffed up its feathers against the cold and is rapidly working its way through the fruit of the … Continue reading "Fieldfare on the firethorn"

Funny-looking Thrushes

What are all these funny-looking thrushes that have turned up in our gardens looking fed-up and fluffed up. Well, regular readers will know they’re Fieldfares (Turdus pilaris). I’ve put together a very short and simple documentary based on some footage of the Fieldfare that is using our firethorn like Airbnb with benefits. Show More Summary

Look into my eyes Columba

I’ve taken a few fairly close snaps of Wood Pigeons (Columba palumbus) and noticed that the pupils of their eyes do not seem to be perfectly round. Same with a few other birds, I assumed it was just an aberration, however, I wanted to be sure. It didn’t take much web searching to discover that other … Continue reading "Look into my eyes Columba"

The Principality of Sealand

One cannot but be bemused by British eccentricity sometimes, with a nod to Passport to Pimlico, I mused on the existence of the claimed Principality, or micro-nation, of Sealand, which is nothing more than a wartime platform that lies off the Suffolk Coast. You can easily see it while eating your fish & chips on … Continue reading "The Principality of Sealand"

Photographing the Cambridge Peregrines

A couple of people have asked me about the Peregrine photos I blogged a few days ago, specifically, what camera, lens, and settings I used to get the shots. Well, first off I was standing at street level on the opposite side of the road to the church, it was a dull and overcast day. … Continue reading "Photographing the Cambridge Peregrines"

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