Thursday, 4 March 2010

Seeming a Little Colder

It felt as though the wind had backed towards the north a couple of 'points' or three (a 'point' on a mariners compass being eleven and a quarter degrees) this morning, and with no change in strength plus very little cloud it also felt colder. A good start to the day at Longcroft where at least 6 Goldcrest were in full song and added to the list, while Radipole Nature Reserve produced nothing new among the small numbers of everything especially Ducks. The walk along the sea front to Lodmoor was a blustery one, and as a result all the waterfowl there seemed to have left. During the week there have been as many as 40 Great Crested Grebes, but these like the pair shown are surely heading for breeding grounds now.

At Lodmoor 3 species joined the Year List in quick succession, Little Egret, Curlew (surely a migrant) plus Raven, and as I completed the full circular walk a fly-over Common Buzzard joined them. Before departing a Chiffchaff was calling from the bushes adjacent to the sea, so this too could easily have just arrived from the near continent?

That's when I had to get on with the really interesting part of the day - shopping! Apart from having to replace some household items, there was the small matter of my Mammut walking boots which started to disintegrate just 3 weeks into my last trip. I tell you this as, returning them to Great Western Camping in Dorchester and received some of the best service I've had (in this country) for many a day. Not having the exact replacement, I was offered a far more expensive pair, at no extra cost, and when these didn't suit the cheaper pair I opted for was accompanied by a credit note for the difference. Couple this with the polite and attentive service of the staff, here's one kid who'll be heading back when the need arises.

A few further 'common' bird images for our overseas friends.

The Robin is not only common but has the most incredible song, and as the National bird is recognised by all.

2 of the Great Crested Grebes that may well have overwintered in Weymouth Bay are now displaying (trying to attract a mate) on Radipole Lake. This includes bill fencing, the same as sword fencing only with bills,

Crest raising and

head nodding.

Followed by a few local scenes.

This is West Cliff, Portland with the village of Wyke Regis in the background and West Bay to the left. There are some strange names associated with Portland, such a Blacknor Point (shown), Clay Ope plus Tar & Pulpit Rocks.

As you walk from Blacknor towards the camera you come across The Old Higher Light. Portland may be unique in having 3 lighthouses all within a mile or so of each other, this was the first, built in the 18th century. The owners since 1981 have lovingly restored the property from dereliction, part of which now serves as holiday accommodation, but built originally as a lighthouse it was sold off into private ownership in 1906 when it was superseded by a new one. It has had several owners the one of most note was Dr Marie Stopes who was the pioneer of birth control, but many famous names have visited here. G.B.Shaw, Thomas Hardy, H.G.Wells, Margot Fontayn. Last but not least King George lll who came to see “This new lighthouse I have heard so much about”. In addition it was also once a fine restaurant.

while adjacent to the Old Light stands Her Majesties Coast Guard Lookout, keeping a vigilant eye across the English Channel and West Bay.