Blog Profile / Sciencebase

Filed Under:Academics / General Science
Posts on Regator:1051
Posts / Week:2.2
Archived Since:February 24, 2008

Blog Post Archive

The baby woodpecker’s divided red crown

Okay, here’s a question for evolutionary ornithologists…or basically anyone who knows the answer: Why do the chicks of great spotted woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major) have a bifurcated red crown? The mother’s head is completely black her...Show More Summary

Close to the sedge (warbler)

We often take a walk through RSPB North Warren, the bird and nature reserve immediately north of the Suffolk town of Aldeburgh. There is a fresh water marsh there with quite an array of little egrets, duck, geese and on a recent visit a pair of spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia). Heading from the hide nearest Maggi … Continue reading "Close to the sedge (warbler)"

Do hares always poke their tongue out while urinating?

There is no punchline to that question, but I would like to know the answer… This evening, Mrs Sciencebase spotted a couple of European hares (Lepus europaeus) cavorting among the local farmer’s crops that abutt the Les King Wood between...Show More Summary

Knock on wood – woodpecker update

We didn’t see the great spotted woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major) on a last visit to Rampton Pocket Park. Assumed they were still around, the chicks are too young to have fledged and even once they do, the pair will continue to feed them (male with one batch, female the other) for about 10 days. The pair … Continue reading "Knock on wood – woodpecker update"

Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) are everywhere, lots of nesting birds at RSPB Minsmere. In fact, some observers suggest that the presence of so many this year at the reserve might be the underyling reason why the diversity of wetland/wading birds there is so low this year. Show More Summary

Postcard from Sizewell

Visit Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast and you cannot fail to spot the most enormous and incongruous view from the beach. No, I don’t mean Maggi Hambling’s “Scallop” at the north end (which is wonderful and fascinating) nor the Martello Tower at the Slaughden end (which is also wonderful and fascinating). No, I’m referring to … Continue reading "Postcard from Sizewell"

Chick sht

If you feed your chicks, then you will have to deal with chick sht, there’s no two ways about it, unless you want guano to accumulate in your nest. Here’s an adult emerging from its nest with a mouthful of faecal sac. A faecal sac is a mucous membrane that surrounds the faeces of the … Continue reading "Chick sht"

Use an old CD player to make a macro lens for your phone

This month’s Practical Photography magazine has a “how to” on harvesting the CD/DVD read lens from an old CD player to convert your mobile phone’s camera into a pretty impressive macro camera. I just happen to have a broken laptop that I’ve not yet recycled so I pulled the CD/DVD player out. Show More Summary

Spooning in Aldeburgh

A recent visit to Aldeburgh gave us a small haul of photographic avian trophies, distant Eurasian spoonbills not least, although friends Brian Stone and Peter Green tell me that what I hoped was a nuthatch was actually a wheatear. There was a sweet tweeter out there too, which I think may have been a sedge … Continue reading "Spooning in Aldeburgh"

Defining the sound of summer

Squealing swifts, the double vocalisations of the song thrush, the romantic ruminations of the robin, the chiff-chaff of the chiffchaff, the yaffling of the green woodpecker, the startled stutterings of the starlings, the warblings of the warblers, the cuckolding cuckoo. Show More Summary

Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

The common chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) is a widespread leaf warbler. It is very similar in appearance to the willow warbler (P. trochilus) mentioned previously on Sciencebase. The chiffchaff’s legs are dark rather than pale, it is a slightly more compact bird than the willow warbler and has a more rounded head and shorter wings. Show More Summary


I’m a science journalist by day, a photographer on my days off, and a musician by night. Always been in love with music, since my first rattle and toy guitar as a tot, been fretting guitar strings in earnest since I was about 12 years old and jamming with friends, but it’s only in the last decade or so that … Continue reading "Music"

Printing a 3D ovary to treat infertility

Scientists have used a 3D printer to make a scaffold of a soft plastic type material known as a hydrogel. The researchers then loaded this scaffold with the egg sacs known as ovarian follicles from a female mouse and implanted it. The...Show More Summary

How can I protect myself from ransomware

As a follow-up to my earlier post about ransomware and making sure you have an unattached backup of your data files, that your PC is up-to-date (OS and programs), and running up-to-date antivirus and the firewall is enabled, there are a few more things you might consider doing to avoid becoming a victim of the … Continue reading "How can I protect myself from ransomware"

Ransomware makes you wanna cry

Before you get stung by ransomware, backup your data files. DO IT NOW! Put them on an external drive of some kind and then disconnect that drive. You might even make copies to CD-ROMs or DVDs. Do not save them on a mapped network drive. You don’t need to backup programs or your operating system, … Continue reading "Ransomware makes you wanna cry"

LBJ, little brown job, house sparrow

The common or garden house sparrow (Passer domesticus) or in the parlance of my home town – the spuggy. Here pictured a female with a mouthful of insects plucked from our patio and readying herself to head back to the nest in a nearby shrubbery. The word sparrow derives from the Greek, spergoulos, which means … Continue reading "LBJ, little brown job, house sparrow"

Once bittern, twice shy

The Eurasian bittern or great bittern (Botaurus stellaris) is a heron-type wading bird. Unlike the little egret and the grey heron, it’s a more camouflaged mix of speckled browns. Rarely seen, but often recognised across a reed bed or watery habitat by its low booming call (sounds a bit like somebody blowing across the neck … Continue reading "Once bittern, twice shy"

Who is fooling who?

Who is fooling who? Who is fooling who? by Dave Bradley Who is really fooling who, when the chips are down and you head for town? Don’t recognise the games you play are just wasting time and they’re pulling me down? So, who is really fooling you, when your dreams are broken and your pockets … Continue reading "Who is fooling who?"

Common tern – Sterna hirundo

The common tern, Sterna hirundo, fast moving and almost totally white (apart from the black skull cap). Very difficult to photograph on a dull day. According to RSPB web site, migratory species, breeds on the coast where there are shingle beaches and rocky islands or on rivers with shingle bars, also on inland gravel pits … Continue reading "Common tern – Sterna hirundo"

Boxing hares hoping for warm leveret

Hare today…out on the farmland of the Fen Edge Patch (12th May), about 500 metres north of the lode bank on which I was walking. There were three, this male and female were sparring as part of their well-known “courtship” boxing match, the other male was hanging around voyeuristically, presumably hoping to get a shot … Continue reading "Boxing hares hoping for warm leveret"

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