Tuesday, 30 December 2008


No, not the beer. The bird.

I saw a kingfisher for the first time in England! I didn't even realise that they are resident here, so on Sunday, when I saw one on the river in Piddinghoe late in the afternoon when it was already quite dark, I thought surely I was mistaken? But no, when I followed it to look more carefully, I was indeed convinced that it was a kingfisher. And cursed that I didn't have my long lens with me, especially because I would have been able to get lovely shots of the grey heron to boot! Crumbs.

This morning we went to Piddinghoe again, with the long lens.

And after some frolicking along the river, ...

...I saw it again - the kingfisher! I couldn't get close enough to take a proper photo, but here is the evidence anyway.

Well, that's how far I was from it. The above is the full frame taken with 400mm (x camera censor crop factor 1.6). Here is a very small crop from it, just to prove that it IS a kingfisher.

...and a few more shockingly poor snaps for further evidence.

Zebedee met the two working cockers along the river.

By the car next to Piddinghoe Church, a rather irate-looking sparrow.

And a cute, little robin.

In the afternoon we went back to Piddinghoe and walked to the little lake and saw grasses basking in the golden afternoon sun.

And saw guess who?

Slightly closer this time: on the opposite riverbank, so about 100 m away. Hope I can catch him/her on my side of the river next time!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Christmas in Wales

We spent Christmas week in a cottage in Wales. I think it was the best Christmas for a looong time. Here are some photos - didn't take many, actually. It was too cold.

Monday, 8 December 2008

New York Day 6

Day 5 is missing because I didn't take any photos (shock horror!). We went to Brooklyn to see Miles's other cousin, Emma, and in the evening we met up with Rita. It was good to see Rita after all those years of knowing her only via the internet. We had a great time with her, and to top it all, Rita dropped us off in Little Korea and we had a delicious dinner in a restaurant that was full of Korean people (which is always a good sign).

Monday started - after another fine brunch in a diner near by - with a trek on foot...

...and subway...

...only slightly warping the dimensions on the way...

...to The American Museum of Natural History.

First we went to see a special butterfly exhibition.

This is the actual size of the above butterfly:

The Atlas moth.

...up close.

Then we are back in the lobby.

...enter the main museum itself and face a fantastic display of elephants...

...and other beautiful African animals in the displays around the room.

Upstairs to see the dinosaurs!

Finally we ventured into the Rose Center, just to see the fantastic building.

I'd read in the guidebook about the biggest cathedral in the world (or was it in the US), so I had to go and check it out. I have to say I was a little disappointed when we got there. Yes, it was big, but... I suppose I was expecting it to be more impressive somehow. Not that it wasn't impressive! It's just that the huge, football field size middle bit was a bit too much like a football field: empty.

Plenty of detail in the periphery of the building, though.

We went to see the Chrimbo lights in the Rockerfeller Centre.

...and ended the day by spending a fine evening at the fantastic Bourgeois Pig.

Many a wine bottle and a cheese fondue was gorged with panache, as would be expected in a place named thus.