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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming..... (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Following moderate South-Westerlies over last weekend a mate and i thought we would spend a few hours down at Sharpness from 11-2 last Monday to see if anything had been blown up the estuary. The only pelagic bird of note i had heard was a Leach’s at Severn Beach the day before so it didn’t bode well but you have to be in it to win it as they say. We parked in the Docks allowing a 15 minute walk to the SARA station. A Common Sandpiper en-route and a view of what appears to be a Peregrine nesting box on the tall tower - with this seasons activity splattered as a homage to Jason Pollack..... A walk thru some excellent scrub with views onto the Severn mud - a truly excellent area for a lucky local patcher. It was indeed all quiet on the Western front :-/ Some Wigeon and Curlew were noted and several Common Gulls. Pickings were noticeably sparce.

We cut our losses at 1 pm and decided to head back to Splatt Bridge and check the flood meadows adjacent to the canal for poss SEO. As we got to the point of turning back i clocked a lone Goose grazing about 200 yards away. As soon as it saw us standing still it stopped feeding and turned head on to look at us and remained like that until we started to walk back to the car - wary or what..... I took about a dozen record shots to check later as we needed to leave by 2:30 on a secondary mission. Our thoughts at the time were firmly suspicious of a lone, wary, individual when there were other Wildfowl including a handful of other wintering Geese a couple of miles away down at Slimbridge. The bird was a Whitefront ‘type’ but the proportions looked different. The White around the bill was small, there was a discernible dark line adjacent and the beak veering towards Pinkish. The barring, on what the Yanks call ‘Specklebellies’, was not strong and on the lower belly. I thought it better to check images on a bigger screen as we were hot to trot.....

We headed across country via Stroud to RAF Fairford just in time to meet up with a couple of old friends although it’s been over 5 years :-( The ‘friends’ in question were two mighty B1 strategic bombers on exercise over here courtesy of the USAF. There are 4 on deployment from Dyess, Texas (Dy tailcode). These 2 had lifted off at 0530 turning and burning over Cheltenham, giving the place an early-morning wakeup call, before heading to play with the Norwegians inside the Arctic Circle. I knew about the early start and calculated that they wouldn’t be back in Blightystan before 3.
Mission accomplished if you are a plane buff :)

I sent some details to a well-known Gloster Birder on Wednesday and noted that a Ruslan WF had been reported in Glos via Birdguides on Tuesday the day after our sighting. A further 2 reports on Thursday and today the site reports 5 Russki’s and 3 Greenlanders at Slimmers.

Ironically the planes had travelled less to get to their destination than the Goose/Geese have to get to theirs.

Attached: the 2 best shots and something i can identify with confidence.....a B1.

Good Birding -

Laurie -


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Hi Laurie.

B1B maybe.

I used to follow B47s, B36s.
Also higher flying Vulcans, Victors. for over 200 miles with a 3 inch Broadhurst Clarkson refractor at 80x and filar micrometer.

I wrote to Handley Page asking why a Victor was flying at 63,000ft, when the ceiling was 50,000ft or 55,000ft.
I am still waiting an answer.

Geese I would follow in a 25-40x 55mm Broadhurst Clarkson drawtube scope, hand held.

Only just clocked your reply - B36 Peacemakers were based at FFD in the 50’s i read somewhere x18. In addition to 11 that flew from Carswell to Brize plus a number of odds and sods from elsewhere.

I will have to make do with the ones overflying Jimmy Stewart in ‘SAC’ - to think that those engines had to be throttled by hand, sounds not only great but a full-time job.....

Good birding -

Laurie -
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