Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree - The Andrews Sisters

The 'highlight' of yesterday didn't appear on that Post, as it hadn't happen by the time we went to press, which was the arrival of my dear friend Lyn from Hampshire. Here on a 10 days stay, like myself she spent all of her professional career at sea so what better common denominator? Priding myself on knowing just how to treat a Lady it was straight into the 'Charm Offensive' opening with one of my, guaranteed to impress lines, "ay-up mi Duck, we're off to look for Woodcock and Nightjar this evening". Unable to resist my Boyish Charms we arrived at Merritown Heath 
 just as the Sun dipped below the horizon
 and took up station for the vigil. 
Lovely to be in such company but now 
we would have to focus more on listening for the distinctive 'voices'
of both these nocturnal birds. However, it was the 'call' of a distant
TAWNY OWL
that was heard first but just as we caught sight of Venus the
sleek silhouette of Lyn's first ever 
 NIGHTJAR
passed very close overhead. We had c6 close quarters views of at 
least c2 individuals but as it was now getting quite dark we decided
to give our mission just 10 more minutes. That was just enough time
for Lyn to point and ask "what's that"? The lone and silent
WOODCOCK
flew one complete circle close overhead before, along with the Nightjars,
disappearing into the gloom. GREAT excuse for a hug and a nightcap back at
Slight II 
Neither of these enigmatic creatures have ever been recorded by myself during
a Dorset September, so were excitedly added to that particular list.
(Illustrations are 'on loan' from Wikipedia)
Today, along with the first day of Autumn, has been free from any precipitation although at time the cloud formations did look rather threatening, but again it was the low overnight temperature (5°C) that let the Mothing side down. Nothing to generate any great excitement but here are a few of the more common species that were found in the traps this morning.
 GREEN CARPET
 MAGPIE
 c27 HORNET to contend with.
 PEBBLE HOOK-TIP
 ANGLE SHADES
 BRIMSTONE MOTH
GOLD SPOT
NOTHING!
was the net result of our search of the northern half of PCF, including both Ponds,
but with the memory still fresh of the 'flush' of Egrets over the
Bank Holiday Weekend
and with both
Cattle Egret and Great White Egret
awaiting addition to not only the
Dorset/September List but also our own Recording Area List
where better to start a search then than among
neighbouring Farmer Greg's Herd of
 CHAROLAIS CATTLE
grazing the Water Meadows along the banks of the Moors River.
ANOTHER BLANK
so onward to
Merritown Heath
where first up were even more Cows this time the 4
 BELTED GALLOWAYS
 gorging themselves on the 'fallers' but........
Don't Sit Under the 'Apple Tree'
With Anyone Else But Me.
Otherwise the day concluded with this
diminutive example of one of the Species of
HYGROCYBE FUNGI
a
WHITE-LIPPED SNAIL
a close-up of
HEATHER
and an example of one of the
SPEEDWELL FAMILY
which it is hoped will bloom in days to come, we'll be waiting.
AS EVER WE THANK 'JOHN GIFFORD' FOR SOME OF THE I.D's.
Finally, a degree of annoyance is generated by Helicopters particularly
flying across the Heath, when surely there must be alternative
Air Space??

No doubt interesting to watch this
PILOT TRAINING AIRCRAFT
video
but also very worrying as it was thought they might be
coming to take me back to the
video
OIL RIG!
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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

LEISURE - William Henry Davies

If anyone had suggested at the beginning of 2013 that my wandering days were over they would have been branded 'Crackers', but here we are 20 months further down the line and it certainly seems that way. So much so that it is difficult even to pull myself away from the beauty and diversity of the Recording Area, so Dave Foot's text on Saturday fell on deaf ears. An unbelievable c23 Cattle Egret were, at that moment, strutting their stuff on Coward's Marsh and while my UK total doesn't reach that number the 'blinkered' was not for moving. Why then yesterday, when it was chucking it down with rain in the eye of a stiff breeze, was it decided to steel myself against that mammoth drive of just over 2 mile to see if they were still there?? Within 10 minutes of leaving the car everything was soaking wet and as yet there was no sign of any Egrets let alone the target. That's when, at great distance, a single
CATTLE EGRET
did fly across the object lens of the telescope only to land as quickly
as it had taken off. A second then followed in quick succession, but
this was not ideal bird watching so turning to leave a third took to the wing
but proved to be far bigger that the preceding others, a most unexpected
GREAT WHITE EGRET
While neither added to any particular list, the scarcity of both in Dorset
was enough to consider it had been a Good Hours Birding.
Perhaps needless to say but the images (for illustration) are from the archive.
Part of the decision to go was that there was a 'pick-up to be made from
the airport and having safely transported the passengers back to their car,
parked at Harbins, but seemed to be having difficulty leaving by the chosen exit.
A lady ran back to say there was a 'bird' blocking their way 
and didn't want to scare it, which turned out to be this
SPARROWHAWK
Today also turned out to be a very quiet affair but a great start was to see the
OLD CURRANT BUN
shining through the trees.
This took me back to the Meteorology Instructor at the Greenhithe Merchant Navy College in Kent, who always insisted that there was only one thing 'guaranteed' as far as the weather was concerned. " Once that first bell sounds to beckon school children back from the summer break, it will be wall to wall sunshine from then on"! It must have been doing a practise run for next week when that event happens.
It wasn't alone in the Heavens either the
MOON was also transiting.
Decent weather then to rummage through the Moth Traps but yet again
not a lot to report, the best of the bunch being
this single
GEM
a couple of contrasting
VESTAL
and the same number of
OLD LADY
There was also a rather large and striking male
HOVERFLY
VOLUCELLA ZONARIA
video
which did a little wander for the 'movie makers'.
There was next to nothing to report from Merritown Heath
save this juvenile
 STONECHAT
 along with the biggest
GRASS SNAKE
(all of 4 feet long)
the largest we have ever encountered there.
From then on it was simple a case of wandering but taking time to
STAND and STARE
WHAT A PLACE!
LEISURE - LINK
video
In the far distance just the tops of the Solar Panels,
then Bristle Bent Grass, the Heather and a couple of the
Belted Galloway Cows.
video
Running along the Fern Line and round to the Main Track with
Bournemouth International Airport 
in the far distance.
video
Seeking the elevation of one of the
Air Quality Monitoring Stations
we were able to pan across the Heath with Merritown Wood 
in the background.
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Monday, 31 August 2015

Hero - LĪVE

YESTERDAY'S SUNSET
Since hearing their second album 'Throwing Copper' (which sold 8-million copies in the US alone) in 1994, I became something of an ardent admirer of the alternative, post-grunge, hard rock band LĪVE from York, Pennsylvania, USA. Since then I never did catch up with the first album 'Mental Jewelry' but was equally taken with their third offering Secret Samadhi, from which HERO is taken, both of which are often played endlessly!   
The correct title, slightly altered to fit the cause, is
Over the weekend there has been more movement of Military Aircraft, both new and old, than there was at the recent Bournemouth Air Festival. Unfortunately, due to my recent elevation to the Peerage it has been impossible to just stand there and 'click' away but we did secure a few interesting images.  
 It wasn't until downloading, editing and expanding this particular shot
 did we realise that the 'colours' of this
 TYPHOON FIGHTER JET
 contains the name of one of our World War II HERO'S
Flt Lt NICOLSON (Victoria Cross) just below the cockpit.
The best from the meagre pickings at the Moth Traps amounted to
 LESSER SWALLOW PROMINENT
and this female
 BLACK ARCHES
However, it would seem that with so many Traps being run across
the County, someone was going to 'dip in'.
 DEATH'S-HEAD HAWK-MOTH
from West Bexington.
Don't know who 'owns' the © but the image is published without
permission but with good intent!
 and from one of our ardent readers this splendid
GREEN-VEINED WHITE BUTTERFLY
More aircraft started buzzing around as the day progressed
 but not really knowing what this is my guess would have to be
HURRICANE
 This also looked like a TYPHOON??
and Roy's been helping out again!
This image from yesterday is in fact a

Super Puma of the "Armee de l'air", French Air Force
and not a Royal Navy Helicopter as we suggested.
The local and pale
COMMON BUZZARD
now appears to have ousted the once regular bird from this perch.
Very few other Birds but a nice selection of Wayside Plants including
 BLACK HOREHOUND
 LESSER BURDOCK
 WATER CHICKWEED
along with the Flower and
 the Fruit of
WHITE BRYONY
PALAEOLUS Species
This FUNGI ids usually associated with animal droppings.
Turn My Head can be found at Minute 39:40.
This track must have been listened to 'hundreds of time, but
never once without raising a TEAR!
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