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Brampton: Evening falls

July 24, 2018

At the end of a hot July day,  we sit outside with glasses in hand. To sit and watch the night fall is a simple pleasure, but one of which we never tire. 

A Barn Owl which skims the roof and garden trees, is intent on hunting – its call breaks the falling silence. Bats appear. Pipistrelles and, we assume, Long-Eared Bats. Each following a circuit of widening spirals. An ultrasound bat-detector helps us follow their course – their call speeding up as they home-in on an insect.

The moon, not yet full but waxing and large in the southern sky, sails in solitary splendour over the ash trees which edge the old rail line. Minute by minute stars start to appear. We check their names and constellations. Vega seems to be the first, balanced at the head of Lyra. Then all of sudden, many more follow. Just before ten o’clock a bright spot arcing past the Moon turns out to be the International Space Station on it’s first visible pass of the night.  

Our attention turns to the satellites, a man-made intrusion in to the natural view, but wonderful for all of that. Their names create their own poetry – SEASAT, ERBS, Integral, Genesis II.

On a more earthly theme, toads shuffle around the flower pots.

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The Harvest Moon sailed through clear skies over the village following last weeks autumn equinox. During the same evening four straggling House Martins circled over the cottages. They had stopped off on their trip south. The majority of Martins appear to have left over the last ten days or so. The Swallows went earlier, they made their way south soon after the afternoon of15th September – when I watched a family group hawking for insects low over the wheat stubble.

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Star walk – 7th November

November 9, 2010

The falling temperature and clear night sky highlight the benefit of having a railway footpath through the Parish. An early evening walk was transformed by the superb clarity of the night sky on Sunday evening. The absence of any light from the Moon (the November full moon does not occur for another two weeks) serves to enhance the visual impact of the stars. The old railway line is the best spot to sky-watch from, as it is raised on an embankment for much of its length and this provides an unrivalled view of the heavens.
The brightest light in the sky at present is the planet Jupiter. The most recognisable constellation is the Great Bear. From this handy reference point we stumbled our way from constellation to constellation around the sky. We soon got the hang of the tour; aided by a star map we jumped from Cassiopeia to Perseus, Taurus and the Pleiades and on to the magnificent square of Pegasus, before the cold started to count as the Whippets shivered and we wandered towards home.
A late pair of late firework displays at Marsham and Buxton provided extra entertainment on the way home.