The Anonymous Widower

A Patient Sub Editor Uses His Word

I wonder how many years one of the sub editors in The Times has waited to use the word murmuration!

But today it was used under a picture as the correct term for a flock of starlings. There’s a lot more here.

January 21, 2014 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Stories About Wind Power

I don’t like large onshore wind turbines, as I believe they destroy wonderful views and the economics are not very sound.

On the other hand, when they are offshore, they are less intrusive and the economics might be better.  But even so the arrays have to be properly designed and sited.

The real place for wind turbines is to provide distributed power to difficult places, where a small amount of electricity is required and running a cable would be expensive.

I’ve not been happy on the effect of turbines on birds ever  since, I read several articles about how in the United States, wind farms kill eagles and other large birds. Yesterday The Times published a similar article about their effect on bats.

I’m always sceptical about the reasons for publishing these articles, as I’m pretty certain, that they are very much the sort of story that pleases Middle England, who feel the turbines will make their house drop in value.

The Times also published a story about a wind turbine on the Welsh Assembly, which is also reported on the BBC. This is the first paragraph.

A wind turbine that cost the Welsh government £48,000 to buy has been generating an average of just £5 worth of electricity per month.

It all goes to show that wind turbines may not be as economic, as their proponents say they will be.

One thing I’d like to see is an open database on the Internet of all turbines, with their detailed cost, subsidy and revenue, so anybody who wanted to, could check the efficiency and economics of any turbine.

Only if that information wee to be freely available, would we be able to know if they were money well spent.

November 10, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Where Have All The Plastic Budgies Gone?

A friend is trying to buy a plastic budgie, like you get in bird cages, for a joke.

But there seems to be a shortage and she can’t find one anywhere.

i’m in Lincoln and Sheffield at the weekend.  I’ll have a look.

October 4, 2013 Posted by | World | | 3 Comments

Otters Will Be Otters

This story from the Metro, shows how we should co-operate a bit more, where wildlife are concerned. Here’s the first few paragraphs.

When Brian Dodson set up a carp fishery from scratch he had no idea the business would be quickly ruined – by otters.

The 60-year-old discovered the carnivores had eaten his entire £250,000 stock after a river haven for the animals was built nearby.

He is now seeking £2.5million from the Environment Agency, which he claims failed to tell him about the scheme and prevented him building protective fencing.

Surely there should have been a middle way.

But then as the story says otters are carnivores and will get their food no matter what. There was a story a couple of years ago, where otters were taking koi carp out of a pond in a suburban garden in Birmingham.  No-one knew that there were otters in the nearby canal.

I’m reminded of the tale I heard when I shared the driver’s cab in a High Speed Diesel Train from Edinburgh to Inverness.

The owner of an hotel close to the line, built a lake, which he stocked with fish for his guests. But just down the road was Loch Garten, where ospreys have made a home. And as ospreys are wont to do, they found the hotel lake and decided it was a good place for dinner.

The hotel owner cut back on his fishing, but apparently, he now promotes the lake as a place to watch ospreys feed.

February 26, 2013 Posted by | Food, News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Do You Do With Old Listed Buildings?

The old penguin pool at London Zoo is still there.

It illustrates the conundrum about what you do with old historic buildings, which have outlived their purpose, so well.

In my view it should be taken down, moved somewhere else and used for another purpose.  It is totally unsuitable for its designed purpose and it takes up valuable space on a constricted site.

January 31, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Not Too Cold For The Penguins

I had gone to the London Zoo to see their penguins.

Surely, the Penguin Beach must be one of the best wild animal displays in the United Kingdom. The heron in one picture is a wild cheeky visitor according to this article in the Mail.

Although, I’m generally against a lot of wild animal displays, this one is rather different, in that a good proportion of the penguins were actually bred in the Zoo.

I’ve actually seen penguins in the wild twice; in the Galapagos Islands and South Africa. It has always surprised me that so many people go to Cape Town on holiday and never check out the penguins, that live all over that coast.

January 31, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | 1 Comment

Canning Town Has A Flying Rat Problem

I photographed this mess at Canning Town station.

Canning Town Has A Flying Rat Problem

Canning Town Has A Flying Rat Problem

They need to get the eagle out to deal with the flying rats. A wash and brush-up would be helpful too!

December 23, 2012 Posted by | Health, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

And Now We’ve Got Tit Pox!

This news story has been read many times on the BBC web site. Frankie Howerd would be using one of his catch phrases.

November 22, 2012 Posted by | Health, News | | 2 Comments

The Gun Lobby Says No

As always the gun lobby in the UK is resisting attempts to change their sport for the good of others.  In this case, it’s about the use of lead shot, which has been shown to kill birds like mallards which think it’s food and eat it. The story is here on the BBC.

The arguments put up by the shooting lobby are rather spurious in my opinion and would not be put forward by most of my friends who shoot. I used to know one old colonel, who for instance used to go shooting rabbits with a hi-tech air rifle, as he felt it was more skilful than using a shot-gun.  He also got something more appetising for the pot.

October 8, 2012 Posted by | Food, News | , | Leave a comment

Open House – SELCHP

SELCHP or the South East London Combined Heat and Power energy recovery facility, is a refuse incinerator, that generates up to 35 MW of electricity. I went for a look round during the Open House weekend.

It’s a long time since, I’ve been given free rein in an industrial plant. The last one that generated power was probably Cliff Quay or Sizewell A. Or it certainly was in the UK, although I have visited two others in the US; AEP Cook and Beaver Valley.

The site was impressive and I think they do a good job, getting rid of London’s rubbish. For those who object to incinerators on principle, it can’t be that bad, as they have now got resident peregrine falcons to keep down the number of pigeons. All I can find is this in a forum.

There’s also a bird of prey of some sort that nests at SELCHP, the incinerator opposite Millwall football ground. They provide it with special nesting boxes. Apparently, the high, bare walls look like the cliffs that are its natural habitat!

But the building probably looks no different to peregrines as does Tate Modern.

September 23, 2012 Posted by | World | , , , , | 3 Comments

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