Wednesday, 16 September 2009

From (the former) Russia with Love

(Bridled) Guillemot - West Cliff, Portland from earlier in the year

Cormorant (with Flounder) - Inner Harbour, Weymouth

Its an early posting today as I'll be picking the hire car up at noon and zooming (slowly) off to Stansted to meet Ille. She's over from Estonia for ten days, much of which will be spent touring Dorset, followed by 3 days in London to give her a flavour of the capital. It's also been a long time since I was in 'The Smoke' so great opportunity to visit my favorite gallery, The Courtauld. This amassing, yet bijou center representing, in the main, the Impressionists contains numbers 1 and 2 of what I consider to be the best canvases ever painted, Édouard Manet's A bar at the Folies Bergere (for its unfathomable perspective), and Vincent Van Gogh's Peach Blossom in the Crau (for the innocent simplicity).

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Glaucous Gull - Buchan Alpha, 120 miles NE of Aberdeen

'Birding' for me is as much about spreading the word as seeing the birds, knowing well how anyone embracing this magical hobby will become far more aware of all living things around them, while in pursuit of their quarry. One such convert was my colleague and work mate David Penney, the Buchan Alpha Operations Coordinator. On New Years day 2005, he approached me to ask what I do every morning on the upper deck after my shift. I suggested he joined me, as 1 he had a life time passion for breeding Parrots and 2 we might just get lucky and see something unusual. The port flare boom that morning was almost bending under the weight of various species of Gull, but luck was on our side. I asked him to look through the throng to see if he could pick out anything different, and had no trouble sorting out the Glaucous Gull from the others. We didn't realise at the time, but that was it, ever since he has been an avid 'birder' and a friendship that may have paled with my retirement has continued as he visits me regularly to enjoy the hobby in our brilliant county. This first footage is believed to be the Gull that started it all off for him.

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Water Rail - Ditto

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Long-tailed Duck - Ditto