Woodwalton Fen National Nature Reserve
Having spent a morning photographing Marbled White butterflies and Six-spot Burnet, Brassy Longhorn, and Burnet Companion moths on Trumpington Meadows near Cambridge I was inspired to travel slightly further afield to see if I could find any more interesting species of Lepidoptera. RSPB Hope Farm in Knapwell I remember had been productive on their pre-lockdown open days a few years ago and I remembered they had a wild patch of setaside. Purple Hairstreak Brassy Longhorn The farm and reserve are not strictly open to the public at any time other than their open days, but it’s criss-crossed by public footpaths, so ...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - July 21, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Sciencebase Source Type: blogs

Buff Arches – a well-disguised moth
Some moths use pareidolia to scare away predators by flashing scary “eyes”, others disguise themselves as twigs, bark, lichen, moss. Some opt to look like leaves, yet others have more than a passing resemblance to flowers. Others spend a lowly life looking like bird droppings. This one, however, the Buff Arches, has evolved to resemble a chunk of flint lying on a woodland floor. More moths on my Imaging Storm website  just follow the “Mothematics” menu (Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science)
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - July 11, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Lepidoptera Source Type: blogs

Old West River – The Musical
A hopefully soothing instrumental inspired by a peaceful trip on a narrowboat along the Old West River on a midsummer’s dawn, “composed” by David Bradley. Synth strings, French horns, oboe, clarinet, and glockenspiel played on AKAI keyboard, Taylor six-string for the pseudoclassical guitar, mixing and production by David Bradley. I don’t hear anyone else’s melodies or snippets of melodies (and usually with my music I can hear all the influences outloud), so I think I’ve avoided copying the tropes of the wonderful new world, big country, deep south stuff from the likes of Copland, Dvorak,...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - July 6, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Music Source Type: blogs

Freedom of movement for European Roller
About a week ago, the birding wires were buzzing with news of a rare visitor to the British Isles – a European Roller (Coracias garrulus). It’s the only Roller to breed in Europe and you usually find them around southern Spain, the Mediterranean coasts and into the Middle East, Central Asia, and Morocco, rather than the British Isles. But, here was one perching on overhead powerlines that cross a farm alongside a busy stretch of Suffolk road. European Roller Now, Mrs Sciencebase and myself love a bit of nature as you probably guessed by now, but we don’t tend to “twitch”, we rarely go out of o...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - July 1, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Birds Source Type: blogs

Messing about on the river
Early morning boat trip Misty narrowboat Sunrise Moorhen and chicks Moored sunrise River signs Great Crested Grebe and Roach West River footbridge Common Tern Grey Heron sleeping in a tree Shelduck ducklings (Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science)
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - June 24, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Photography Source Type: blogs

Twitching wildflowers
The rather derogatory term “twitching” (see definition in my tongue-in-beak bird glossary) is usually preserved for someone going out of their way to see a rare bird…but those with an interest in seeking out natural wonders may well twitch anything. Yesterday, I took my daily walk partly along the Cambridge to Stives guided busway to “twitch” the bee orchids that are thriving sporadically along the wild margins of the route. While I was walking back to my turning-home point, I bumped into a group of people who were well aware of the bee orchids, pointed out that there were also some pyramida...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - June 16, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Photography Source Type: blogs

Luring clearwing moths
There is a beautiful group of moths known as clearwings that at first glance look rather waspish. Rather than having wings covered in scales like all of the other Lepidoptera (which roughly translates as scaly wings, or perhaps more strictly tiled wings), they’re wings a transparent, but for the supportive struts. Red-belted Clearwing These are generally day-flying moths and look like tiny shimmering jewels if you catch sight of one. The males are attracted to sex pheromones exuded by the female. As such, it is possible to draw them to a lure impregnated with the appropriate sex pheromone for each species. The moths ...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - June 14, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Lepidoptera Source Type: blogs

Cleaning up a Peregrine
Just giving Topaz Sharpen AI and Denoise a try-before-you-buy. I had some hastily grabbed photos of the Ely Peregrines, but the best of the bunch had quite a lot of motion blur and was rather noisy because of high-ish ISO and exposure compensation to get the underside markings of the bird against a bright blue sky as it flew overhead. So, here’s the basic photo converted from camera RAW and close-cropped to a square to ultimately upload to the Sciencebase Instagram. It looks very grainy/noisy and the motion blur and shoddy focusing look irretrievable, to be honest… I applied told Topaz the photo has motion bl...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - June 11, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Birds Photography Source Type: blogs

Saving life on the Lode
I have mentioned the biodiversity issues on one of our local fenland drains, known as the Cottenham Lode. Over the last couple of years several of us have seen Brassy Longhorn moths feeding on the Field Scabious that grows on the lode bank at the dogleg near the footbridge into the woodland at Rampton. There has been a problem with the time of the mowing of the Lode bank, which is done each year by the Environment Agency for flood risk reduction an important maintenance job, obviously. Brassy Longhorn feeding on Field Scabious on the Cottenham Lode The mowing is usually done in two stages a strip towards the top of the ban...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - June 9, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Invertebrates Lepidoptera Source Type: blogs

Red-belted Clearwing – Synanthedon myopaeformis
Earlier in the year, I bought myself a summer of moths – a pack of pheromone lures with which to entice clearwing moths into the garden, with a view to grabbing a quick photo opportunity and letting them on their way to find a mate etc. Regular readers will recall I have mentioned pheromone lures before in the context of the Emperor moth. The clearwings are a very different group and I’ve not had time to find out much detail about the chemistry of their pheromone attactants. Regardless, I have been putting out a lure, known as “myo” for the Red-belted Clearwing (,em>Synanthedon myopaeformis). U...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - June 7, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Lepidoptera Source Type: blogs

Aethes tesserana – Downland Conch
This tiny little micro moth known as Aethes tesserana is a mere 5 millimetres long. It was drawn to a 40W actinic lamp in our garden on Sunday evening (2021-06-06). It was a still and balmy evening, I seem to remember. Incidentally, not all the micro moths are tiny, some of them are bigger than the macro moths, some of them are huge. The distinction between micro and macro is now understood to be about evolutionary history rather than size. All the butterflies sit in the micro moth grouping, being just a specific group within the moth family. A. tesserana does have a trivial, vernacular name, it’s sometimes called t...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - June 7, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Lepidoptera Source Type: blogs

Much ado about mothing – Book review
For a lot of people, moths are tiny, fluttery creatures that turn to dust if you try to catch them and whose caterpillars can chew through their vegetable patch, their prize perennials, and even their carpets and clothes. Now, there are pest species, admittedly, and these can to some extent be controlled in appropriate conditions. However, for those who have been initiated into the wonders of the Lepidoptera, the 180,000 different species around the world are a natural wonder to behold. Some of the Sciencebase mothing kit For those of us who do get hooked on moths – we call ourselves “moth-ers” by the way...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - June 5, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Lepidoptera Source Type: blogs

Empty Rooms – A song
Gradually building my After the Lockdown EP into an album. 10 tracks at the moment, 8 originals, plus a horny remix of one of those and an instrumental version of an older song. The latest song was inspired by a throwaway line from my musical and spiritual guru – Clive-upon-Sea whose album Fragments I recorded and produced and played on (electric guitar, bass, percs, and BVs). Oh, the line: He makes friends in an empty room I pulled together some random thoughts on that line, made the he a she and then built the song from a basic acoustic chord progression, rearranged it from a folky singer-songwriter version, and th...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - May 24, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Music Source Type: blogs

Midwives should not mix cleaning fluids
About a year ago, just as everyone was thinking about making their own sanitisation handwash and scrubbing groceries with bleach and soapy water at the start of the pandemic, I wrote a feature article for Chemistry World to warn people not to mix bleach and other cleaning fluids. There are serious risks of generating toxic fumes, chlorine gas, and such. The article was fairly well received, I believe. Interesting that an episode of the BBC’s Call the Midwife (S10E05), which is set in the 1960s,  has a sub-plot where a character foolishly mixes some cleaning products…and Doctor Turner, played by the dashin...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - May 17, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Chemistry Source Type: blogs

Swift action in Cottenham
Swift boxes designed and built by Dick Newell have now been installed by firefighters from Cottenham Fire Station on the new Village Hall and the sports pavilion with plans to install additional units. Swift in flight, Apus apus Dick Newell with one of the multistorey Swift boxes now installed in Cottenham’s sports pavilion The wooden boxes blend in well with the buildings offering executive homes for our summer visitors and augmenting the swift bricks that already form part of the fabric of the new Village Hall. The boxes have a smooth slot through which these slick and speedy birds can fly to build their nests. Ret...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - May 16, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Birds Source Type: blogs

Last Dance – a song
My “After the Lockdown” EP/LP was meant to hum a positive note as we seemed to be emerging from the covid pandemic, not that that will really be a thing, this disease is with us forever now, it will become endemic with its endless variants (there are more than 10000 of those by now) like influenza… …so, my latest song didn’t end up quite as positive as the allusions of ones written and recorded earlier in the year. Once again featuring Taylor acoustic six-string guitar, Fender Telecaster electric guitar (always on the neck pickup), Yamaha electric bass guitar, percussion and synths played on...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - May 15, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Music Source Type: blogs

Birding on the Wild Fen Edge
When it comes to local places to spot new and interesting birds, the first place you might try in this neck of the woods (as it were) are the various nature reserves we have within a few clicks. There are the RSPB reserves – Ouse Fen, Berry Fen, Fen Drayton, Fowlmere, Ouse Washes most of which I’ve mentioned on this site at least once in the last few years. Then there are the National Trust places like Anglesey Abbey and Wimpole Hall as well the likes of Wicken, Tubney, and Burwell Fen. Further afield there’s the Wetland Trust site at Welney and other fairly nearby RSPB reserves such as Lakenheath. Turtle...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - May 7, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Birds Source Type: blogs

Grasshopper Warbler, Locustella naevia
I’m fairly sure I’d heard this rare bird at RSPB Fowlmere several years ago but as a very, very amateur “birder“, I’d not seen one and certainly not seen one calling until this week. We took a trip to RSPB Titchwell on 2nd May 2021 and could hear one in the reed bed adjacent to the main footpath from the visitor centre, but didn’t catch a glimpse of the bird. A second visit in the week (5th May) and we could definitely hear the insect-like call of the bird and finally pinned it down to a patch of gorse and hawthorn not far from Patsy’s reedbed. The Common Grasshopper Warbler is on...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - May 5, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Birds Photography Source Type: blogs

RSPB Berry Fen
I’ve driven past Berry Fen, which lies betwixt the fenland villages of Earith and Bluntisham, dozens of times in my 30+ years in Cambridgeshire. Often when visiting friends out in the sticks but in more recent years, it’s usually been on a trip to the Needingworth side of RSPB Ouse Fen. Well, yesterday a fellow twitter user posted photos of an intriguing wader species that has turned up in the fens – Ruff, Tringa pugnax – so I thought I’d pay the site a visit, he kindly gave me the What3Words for the exact spot he’d observed the birds. Female Ruff, lacking the male’s “ruff&rd...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - April 26, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Sciencebase Source Type: blogs

Wild Fen Edge
As many regular visitors to the site will know periodically I poster “hyper local” information about wildlife on our patch, it’s mainly birds. This is often connected to the nature column I write for our village newsletter. There has been, for many years, a mailing list associated with that column, which I took over from local birder Jasper Kay a few years back. The ad hoc mailing list has now morphed into the Wild Fen Edge Google Group. It’s a private group, you’re on our patch and wish to join, please drop me a line and I’ll add you. One member of the group, Ian, has created a map of 2...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - April 26, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Birds Source Type: blogs

How to go viral on instagram
If you were hoping to read an article with the top five ways to go viral on Instagram, then I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t have any tips. I’ve been using Insta since not long after it launched, but have fewer than 600 followers (as of the time of writing) and have posted only about 2000 photos, most recently of birds, moths, and occasional mammals and moonshots. A Yaffle, or Green Woodpecker, at Cambridge Research Park A lot of the people who follow me are people I knew in the real world or via other earlier social media encounters. The follower number has crept up but ever so slowly over the ye...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - April 12, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Photography Source Type: blogs

Birding on the Fen Edge
Over the last few weeks, the flooded fields around our village of Cottenham have brought in quite a few interesting birds we’d not commonly see here, although some are more frequent visitors than others. We’ve had hundreds of Whooper Swans and a couple of Bewick’s Swans (for the first time in recent years), Red Shank, Oystercatcher*, Little Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover*, Green Plover* (Lapwing/Peewit), Shoveller Duck, Shelduck, Wigeon, Green Sandpiper*, Kumlein’s Gull, Avocet, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe, Grey Wagtail*, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Pied Wagtail*, and various ot...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - April 10, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Birds Source Type: blogs

Tideline – A song
Struggling with the positive vibes, to be honest, but if 2020 gave me my Lockdown LP, a bunch of songs written and recorded from February onwards about how awful stuff has been, then my After the Lockdown LP is to be the flipside of the angst and anxiety, hence this latest song added to the roster – Tideline (current version available for free on Bandcamp, one of six songs so far on this LP). Think: ebb and flow of time and tides, circle of life, the full moon, the new moon, dusk and dawn. Events and happenstance, the mark left on the shore by the high tide swept away by a bigger storm surge, then relaid as the tide...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - April 7, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Music Source Type: blogs

Latin mottos translated
A puerile joke I’ve been making since schooldays when our motto was carpe diem is that it actually means “seize the fish”. Of course, it actually means “fish of the day” (see Garden, G. ISAHUC) and in a similar educational vein, a few more: In loco parentis – Mum and Dad are coming by train after lockdown Audio hostem – It’s my house, I get to choose what records to put on Quid pro quo – The Italian branch of Poundland, just behind the Colloseum Bingo hall Caveat emptor – we’ve run out of Spanish bubbly again Status Quo – the same thing over and over a...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - March 25, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Sciencebase Source Type: blogs

The Absence of Normal – A song
Soldiers on guard are trained to watch out for the absence of normal. If the normal is the bustling of the market, children playing, old folks chewing the fat on street corner benches…then when these things are missing, there may be trouble ahead… This new song of mine was inspired by this phrase and is the latest track on my After the Lockdown EP. You can stream it via Soundcloud or stream and download from Bandcamp. THE ABSENCE OF NORMAL The lines are cut, not a single word can get through The dust builds up, covering the world with its desert hue If flags, as rags, are burned, don’t blame the formal ...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - March 22, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Music Source Type: blogs

Lead-coloured Drab – Moth
This is a Spring moth known as a Lead-coloured Drab, Orthosia populeti, fairly certain of the ID, I couldn’t check the degree of featheriness on the antennae to be certain, it may be a different type of Drab. Its markings are not particularly remarkable, but its hairy compound eyes can be something of a talking point. The macro shot of the moth’s left eye was taken with my camera mounted on a tripod very close to the moth. I used manual focusing in “live view” mode (i.e. focusing with the camera’s rear screen. I set the shutter to “silent” mode on put it on a 10-second timer to mi...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - March 21, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Lepidoptera Photography Source Type: blogs

Lead-coloured Drab
This is a Spring moth known as a Lead-coloured Drab, Orthosia populeti, fairly certain of the ID, I couldn’t check the degree of featheriness on the antennae to be certain, it may be a different type of Drab. Its markings are not particularly remarkable, but its hairy compound eyes can be something of a talking point. The macro shot of the moth’s left eye was taken with my camera mounted on a tripod very close to the moth. I used manual focusing in “live view” mode (i.e. focusing with the camera’s rear screen. I set the shutter to “silent” mode on put it on a 10-second timer to mi...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - March 21, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Lepidoptera Photography Source Type: blogs

Vernon ’ s Equinox – A short story
Vernon’s Equinox by David Bradley Nominitive determinism had failed Vernon Carpenter. He was an office clerk. No one could say precisely what it was this 63-year old office clerk did day to day, so it was odd that the memo arrived offering redundancy with immediate effect. If nominative determinism had passed him by so had the boom of the baby boom generation of which he was purportedly a member. But, such is life, hyperbole is rarely tangential with the mundane and everyday. If he’d been a poetry reader, Vernon would have known only too well of the life of J Alfred Prufrock. He would in his seventh decade have...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - March 20, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Sciencebase Source Type: blogs

Songs about stuff
I seem to have written quite a few songs during the last decade or so…many of them emerged from Arts Night discussions others written on a whim, some of them put together for my band C5, and others for a variety of other reasons. I’ve summarised the essence of the lyrics of a clutch of them in a single word. The musical style may well not be that suggested by the word…who knows? Have a listen and do report back with any thoughts. Violence – Helium Heart Homelessness – Bridges Crossed and Burned Drugs – White Line Warrior Hope – A New Memory of Music Compromise – Meet Me Hal...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - March 17, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Music Source Type: blogs

Calories in, calories out
I’m halfway through Tim Spector’s excellent book Spoon Fed, which is a bit like a food and nutrition version of my 2012 book Deceived Wisdom in which he debunks pretty much all of the myths we’ve been told over the years about cholesterol, fat, caffeine, gluten, reduced-fat foods, diet drinks etc. Spector points out that we are all different, our genes play a major part in our response to food and that most of the claims about this or that food or drink are mainly driven by the marketing departments of the food and drink manufacturers who spend millions on advertising and lobbying policymakers to put mess...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - March 15, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Health and Medicine Source Type: blogs

Be the Man
In January 2020, just as there were concerns being raised about an emerging viral pandemic that would ultimately shred so many lives, we, The Tyrannochorus choir, were rehearsing hard for a couple of big concerts we had been planning for months. They were the “Love Concerts”. Songs about love and faith in humanity. Ultimately, we raised several thousand pounds for a couple of major charities with the pair of events. Anyway, I was in my usual bass/baritone sometimes tenor slot for most of the songs we would sing but was accompanying on guitar on one tune and singing the lead solo on The Young ‘uns song Be ...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - March 14, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Music Source Type: blogs

Musical Rushalikes
Twelve of my original songs stretching back through the last decade and all taking more than a little pinch of inspiration from my favourite band, Rush, the band that inspired me to take up guitar in my early teens back in the late 70s. There’s a more detailed description of each song on the Soundcloud page as well as full credits. Some of them are flagrantly Rush pastiches, others simply inspired by the band as well as others, such as Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Simple Minds, U2, The Police etc. More importantly, there’s a link to the BandCamp page for each track so you can download them to keep an...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - March 12, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Music Source Type: blogs

Give my love to the waves
Almost a decade ago, a small group of us established a local Arts Night where we’d share songs, poetry, and philosophize on the proverbial life, the universe, and everything..and eat too many biscuits and drink too much late-night caffeine. There were a lot of laughs and some serious sing-writing. We put on a few public performances in various places, members of the club came and went, but the Arts Night was also the birth place of my group C5 the band. Without those Arts Night, there would be no Clive-upon-Sea in the shape and form we know him today either. I think the first Arts Night was April 2012 with a Simon, t...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - March 10, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Sciencebase Source Type: blogs

Pondlife update – We are with spawn
As long-time Sciencebase readers will know, I resurrected our garden pond in May 2019 (you can read about Operation Sciencebase Pond here). It was too late for the amphibian mating season that year, but, frogs did appear later that summer. in fact, we usually had at least one frog in the garden even when we didn’t have the pond. In 2020, one summer’s evening I counted nine frogs on the rocky border, which was gratifying and a big part of the whole point of redigging our old pond. Early this year, Mrs Sciencebase spotted a Grey Heron in the garden, twice, preying on frogs from the pond. But, thankfully, there a...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - March 5, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: PondLife Source Type: blogs

Sonnet 1 by Bradley Davespeare
We’ve been tasked this week by our maestro Tim Lihoreau to come up with a sonnet for the Tyrannochorus weekly ZoomChoir. I don’t think I’ve written this type of poem since English lessons at school. It felt like too much of a challenge but I read a couple from The Bard and I think I’ve got their measure (yeah, right!). So my first public sonnet laments the lack of live music any of us can rehearse or perform right now and also, perhaps, the notion of problems one might experience with one’s sense of hearing having been involved with relatively loud live music for years and years… Anyway...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - March 2, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Sciencebase Source Type: blogs

Follow Sciencebase on Instagram
Don’t forget, you can keep up with some of my nature-oriented photographic output on the Sciencebase Instagram. Photos are mostly taken on a Canon 7D mark ii with either a Sigma 150-600mm for the bird shots and a Tamron 90mm 1:1 for the macro shots of moths. Older photos would have been taken on a Canon 6D with those and other lenses. Fast-approaching 600 followers. (Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science)
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - February 25, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Photography Source Type: blogs

Learning a new photographic lesson
Sometimes you have to step back from how you normally do something to find a way to do that thing better. For a year or more, I’ve tended to set my camera shutterspeed to about 1/1000th of a second for bird photography. It’s a lower limit on capturing the rapid wing movements of small birds flitting from tree to tree and on and off the feeders. It works quite well, but the lens aperture then has to be as large as possible to compensate for the short length of time the sensor is exposed to light. Even then, if it’s not a bright day or I’m in woodland, the photo will not expose well and I have to bump...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - February 22, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Sciencebase Source Type: blogs

Covid answers
Which is the best vaccine against Covid? What does “95 percent effective” mean? Can you still get Covid if you have had the vaccine? Does the vaccine stop you being infectious if you catch Covid? Do you need to be vaccinated if you have had the disease? Do the vaccines developed in 2020 work against the new variants that have emerged? Answers from the experts this week in Scientific American here. (Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science)
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - February 19, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: COVID-19 Source Type: blogs

The frozen circle of Whooper life
The frozen circle of a Whooper’s life A film by Grant Norman Words, narration, and incidental music by David Bradley Each winter, they arrive in their thousands. White, winter visitors flying in from the frozen north. Most will have come from their breeding grounds in Iceland. They navigation the east coast and sight land in North Norfolk. They will keep flying to their usual splashing grounds at Welney. The Whooper Swan. The vast squadrons roost overnight on the waters, safe from foxes and other landlocked predators. When dawn breaks, they head for the fields. Where they will hoover up the green-top residues of bee...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - February 2, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Birds Source Type: blogs

The frozen circle of a Whooper Swan ’ s life
The frozen circle of a Whooper’s life A film by Grant Norman Words, narration, and incidental music by David Bradley Each winter, they arrive in their thousands. White, winter visitors flying in from the frozen north. Most will have come from their breeding grounds in Iceland. They navigation the east coast and sight land in North Norfolk. They will keep flying to their usual splashing grounds at Welney. The Whooper Swan. The vast squadrons roost overnight on the waters, safe from foxes and other landlocked predators. When dawn breaks, they head for the fields. Where they will hoover up the green-top residues of bee...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - February 2, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Birds Source Type: blogs

A little less nervous about Covid
The rare and potentially lethal neurological disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome, is not triggered by Covid nor by vaccination against Covid, recent research suggests. There was concern during the early months of the Covid pandemic based on anecdotal evidence that there had been an increase in the incidence of a potentially lethal neurological disorder known as Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). In this disease, the body’s own immune system attacks peripheral nerves causing numbness, pain, and paralysis. It can be fatal if not treated promptly. Pain and numbness often spread upwards from the soles of the feet...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - January 21, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: COVID-19 Source Type: blogs

Whooper Swans around Cambridge
Back in November, I noticed quite a lot of swans, Whooper Swans to be precise, pecking and calling on the farmland between the River Great Ouse and the fenland north of our village, Cottenham. Those numbers have gone up substantially in the last week or so. Whooper Swan, Cygnus cygnus One birding friend Ian counted 500+ on a trek along one of the droves to observe them, and he reported back again today that he estimates there are perhaps 800 spread across two or three sites north of our village. Moreover, reports from elsewhere around Cambridge hint at four-figure numbers of the birds on our patch, he says. Another friend,...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - January 19, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Birds Source Type: blogs

Mundane Movies Meme
I posted  a fairly simple challenge on Facebook at the weekend: Make a movie mundane by subtly altering one word in the title. I'll start..."Radiators of the Lost Ark" I expected a few friends to join in with the fun and for it to fizzle out quite quickly…I watched the first few entries dribble in and then went off and did something completely different. When I came back to Facebook a few hours later there were more than 500 comments, it quickly got to 600 and I added a few more of my own. It’s still going on, at the time of writing 745 comments, which is almost viral for one of my posts. I&rsqu...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - January 18, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Sciencebase Source Type: blogs

Remediators of the Anthropocene
I fell asleep thinking about a future where we might start withdrawing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a sufficient rate that it actually has a serious effect and underdoes some of the problems of decades and decades of burning fossil fuels. I didn’t sleep well, but in between kept dreaming up bits and pieces of a story about this notion. When I couldn’t get back to sleep, I got up, put the kettle on, and scribbled the story on to a few sides of A4. I’ve just finished typing it up and editing it down. The story is called Remediators of the Anthropocene. It follows on from the putative prologue &ndas...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - January 16, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Sciencebase Source Type: blogs

Finding Shanti in Sea Shanties
If you’ve not been on social media recently* you may have missed the hooray rise of the sea shantie. These seafaring songs are being discussed as the antidote to land-locked, lockdown cabin fever. People coming together with a shared cause to sing simple tunes together, in harmony, with the option to dance. The greatest hit has to be one known colloquially as “Wellerman” and we’re waiting with baited breath to hear whether Paul joins in. Check out The Longest Johns. The biggest compilation I’ve seen so far of the Wellerman sea shanty. It’s chefs kiss! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/NwEwHsR6SK &md...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - January 14, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Music Source Type: blogs

A Glossy Ibis in Cambridge
I think I’ve now seen six of the eight or so Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) that are in our locale at the moment. Two at RSPB Ouse Fen, three in Earith, and this one near The Cam in Chesterton. There are two more at RSPB Fen Drayton but my daily exercise has not coincided with theirs at that site. There are others further afield. It is most likely that they are individuals that have flown in from a breeding ground in Southern Spain again to overwinter in East Anglia. Apparently, there was a pair in 2014 that built a nest in Lincolnshire, but didn’t breed. This kind of bird activity is occurring more common...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - January 8, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Birds Source Type: blogs

Wave Markers – A Fenland Gothic
This is a work in progress and so far it is a hybridisation and expansion of a clutch of short stories I wrote at the end of 2020. The idea of melding them together was suggested by an enthusiastic friend who imagined my short tales morphing into something akin to Cloud Atlas (I wish). And, like a map of the clouds, wave markers could be as ephemeral and imagined…and perhaps as pointless. It’s a kind of Fenland Gothic in the “eco lit” genre, either way. Wave Markers by David Bradley This short story expands on the journey of Madelief, a Dutch woman, perhaps from a religious order, walking through t...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - January 5, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Sciencebase Source Type: blogs

A Fenland Gothic – Wave Markers
This is a work in progress and so far it is a hybridisation and expansion of a clutch of short stories I wrote at the end of 2020. The idea of melding them together was suggested by an enthusiastic friend who imagined my short tales morphing into something akin to Cloud Atlas (I wish). And, like a map of the clouds, wave markers could be as ephemeral and imagined…and perhaps as pointless. It’s a kind of Fenland Gothic either way. Wave Markers by David Bradley This short story expands on the journey of Madelief, a Dutch woman, perhaps from a religious order, walking through the natural world of the New Fenlands...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - January 5, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Sciencebase Source Type: blogs

Wave Markers
This is a work in progress and so far it is a hybridisation and expansion of a clutch of short stories I wrote before Christmas 2020. The idea of melding them together was suggested by an enthusiastic friend who imagined my short tales morphing into something akin to Cloud Atlas (I wish). And, like a map of the clouds, wave markers could be as ephemeral and imagined…and perhaps as pointless. Wave Markers by David Bradley The story now expands on the journey of Madelief, a Dutch woman, perhaps from a religious order, walking through the natural world of the New Fenlands with a mission in mind, a refuge named on a scr...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - January 5, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Sciencebase Source Type: blogs

Little Owls on farmland woodpiles
Having bumped into friends while owl spotting in the fens, we pointed out a male Little Owl on a woodpile at Priory Farm near Burwell. After our friends had moved on, however, Mrs Sciencebase spotted a second owl (a female). The female is in the darker photo, on the higher perch (a bigger bird than the male as is usual with owls and raptors). Male Little Owl Female Little Owl We didn’t see any Short-eared Owls on NT Burwell Fen nor Tubney Fen today, unfortunately, although one or two have been seen this winter there hunting in the early afternoon as opposed to the more likely hour or two before sunset. There are it s...
Source: David Bradley Sciencebase - Songs, Snaps, Science - January 2, 2021 Category: Science Authors: David Bradley Tags: Sciencebase Source Type: blogs