The heavens blaze forth

A bit of a change of subject today.  After the dismal showing of comet Swan, “the comet of the year”, at the end of May (seen dismally through binoculars with imagination), comet Neowise is much more impressive. It was clear last night and a look out of the window at about 11 pm quickly found it, with the naked eye, in the north west.  I’m not much cop at astronomical photography and there has been a lot of inexpert photoshopping to allow for the movement of the comet during the long exposure, but it’s not a bad effort.  I can imagine that if you can get a clear night away from a town it would be very impressive.



Normally the only vultures we see on our trips to Yorkshire are my family, but on the way home yesterday we detoured to the Peak District, where a Lammergeier, or Bearded Vulture has taken up residence.

The weather was both help and hindrance: it was a miserable grey day with occasional rain, which meant that the bird sat tight in a crevice for most of the day.  At least we got to see it, as better weather would have had it ranging over a very wide area, but it wasn’t the view we wanted.  Eventually, just as we were about to start the 3.5 mile walk back to the car, and the journey down south, it emerged from the crevice and sat in the open, showing just what a magnificent beast it is.  Unfortunately, despite giving it another hour, it never flew, but it was a great view of a superb bird.

No room at the inn

We’re up in Yorkshire for the weekend, and today was our rather delayed visit to the East Coast.  Starting at Flamborough, we added Puffin, Manx Shearwater and Shag to the year list, although it was a bit slow.  Moving on to Bempton we were turned away: the car park was full and they had sensibly not opened the overflow car park.  Rather than miss out, we decided to go on to Speeton and then walk back towards the reserve along the cliff top.  This was a good decision as there were plenty of birds, particularly Puffins, at this end of the cliffs, and hardly any people.  In the absence of people in lockdown, the birds have been nesting higher up the cliffs, so we had very good view of Gannet – we even had to shoo one off the path in front of us.