Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Back to the Grindstone

What Ille describes as "Bagsy's Hard Working" I was back to the 'birding' today, and not a bad morning at that. To start, there was a singing Coal Tit in the Longcroft cemetery which have been almost totally silent during the breeding season, and it was soon apparent there had been an influx of Blackbirds to the area. Only wishing to transit Radipole, and hopefully see the Ruddy Shelduck, I first clapped eyes on the Hooded Merganser which I haven't seen for over 2 months. At my last sighting, it looked in a sorry state, but as the photograph below shows it's now back in really smart plumage. At Portland there was a sprinkling of Wheatear at Barleycrates in company with 2 each of Tree Pipit and Stonechat, a few Swallows & Chiffchaff plus 4 Siskin. At the Hump 2 Lesser Whitethroat were having a tussle in a Dog Rose bush, while close by a female Blackcap and a single Raven were in evidence. There was little to report between there and the Obs, except to say it was good to hear the song of Skylark again. What was prevalent throughout were good numbers of butterflies, mostly Painted Lady and Red Admiral almost exclusively favouring flowering Ivy.

Hooded Merganser - Radipole Lake

While at the Obs, a message flashed on the 'pager' saying the Sandhill Crane, of the last few days, had left Orkney and had been seen at a couple of sites along the east coast of Scotland, including Wick. This brought back unfortunate memories of Sod's Law, at it's very worst, involving what was probably the last such Crane to land up there. At the time I was on the Drilling Rig, Stena Hunter working some miles off the north east side of the Shetland Islands. We had been contracted to drill 11 holes for Joe Shell in the Osprey Field and were crew changing out of Aberdeen by 'fixed wing' to Sumburgh and onward by 'chopper to the rig. For some reason (probably ineptitude) the job was brought to a sudden halt and we 'stacked' the rig in Cromarty. What would have been my very next crew change, via Shetland, coincided with the arrival of Sandhill Crane not 10 minutes walk from the airport, what a MISS. However, since then the situation has been slightly redressed as I have now seen this magnificent species elsewhere - see accompanying photos!

Sandhill Cranes - Creamer's Farm, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA


So, as it has been such a tough day I'll now get back to my Estonian cherry chocolate bar, courtesy of you know who, and coffee, and hopefully talk again tomorrow when there might be some EARTH SHATTERING NEWS - wait and see!

Over the next few days there will be more photographs from the All Our Yesterdays Series, this set being from the Sinai Peninsular, Egypt early 2009.

The hotel at Sharm El Sheikh, about 10 minutes after meeting Ille

A Little Later
and Later Still with Shisha Hookah Pipe & Bedouin Tea

While out in the garden

Laughing Dove

Sardinian Warbler