Monday, 24 May 2010

Johnny the Fox (Thin Lizzy) meets Long Tall Sally

Well, I guess it had to happen at some stage, so this morning we woke to a 15 knot breeze from the south, light rain and a fall in temperature from 70F+ to around 55F. The intent was to do a 'day twitch', visiting all of the haunts I have discovered during this brilliant visit, but maybe the weather will be kinder tomorrow. Up until mid-day we have been confined to barracks, but according to the radio there is still chance of a little respite later in the day.

Most of today's 'post' related to late yesterday afternoon when the daily Blog had been published and we discovered we had run out of Vodka. One of the very few snags with living in the country is the proximity of the nearest 'water hole', and in our case this is a 12Km round trip. Ille had no idea what time the village store closed on a Sunday, but we decided to risk it anyway and took to the bicycles. A most pleasant afternoon we soon came upon this small group of birds,

Male Whinchat, male Common (whatever happened to the far more descriptive 'Scarlet') Rosefinch and a female Whinchat.

The Whinchats being an addition to the Estonian List.

I'm sure I'll be forgiven for posting 2 images of the

Scarlet Rosefinch, can you get too many photos of such a little stunner?

while lurking in the grass close by was this Roe Deer.

By now, having walked about 300 meters into the bush to get these shots, I'm being summoned as there is no knowing when the shop will shut, if it hadn't already. We entered the village of Kolga Jaani at 17-15 but closure had beaten us by just 15 minutes.

Not wishing to miss an opportunity we continued on to the old and quaint church where not only was Ille baptised and her parents and brother laid to rest, but where she once decorated the interior, in the days when she had her own flower shop.

The Naive doorway.

Luckily, we had noticed, in passing, that the local boozer was open, Ille explaining that being the only such establishment for many kilometers it was not just a focal point, but also a source of just about anything you needed to buy. The only customer at the time was an old chap I immediately misidentified as the local drunk. Greeting us with a loud, slurred voice it become obvious later he was suffering from something more than a drink or two. My reaction when he picked up my camera didn't exactly endear him to me, when all he wanted to do was make sure I didn't forget it when we sat down to enjoy our first pint. However, that overcome the local workforce started to arrive, all on meager wages each bought a 2 litre plastic bottle of beer, which also served as a glass. Fortuitously, 2 of these were former friends of Ille's brother and there followed a session of reminiscing and singing of Beatle's hits. One of those present was a neighbour, who after his drink and unbeknown to us drove his car home, drove back in his van and pick both Ille and I plus the bikes and took us home.

Time for a few High Jinx in the local boozer!

Identification Updates

Globe Flower Trollius europaeus as identified for me by Mark Forster - thank you Mark.

Paul Harris writes to tell me that this is the Brown Silver-lines Moth, a resident of Pine woods, a Bracken feeder and easily disturbed during the day.

He has also informed me that this Dragonfly is most likely a Downy Emerald - thanks Paul.

While there is absolutely no rush to leave this fantastic place, already the 'social calendar' for when we return to Weymouth is filling. Celebrations for no fewer than 4 birthdays await, albeit 3 of these are to be rolled out as one big party, while the fourth involves a toast, with the REAL amber nectar, to a 50th birthday. Then of course there's the Joe Bonamassa gig, at the Bournemouth International Centre, hopefully followed by a get together with my eldest daughter Julie, her partner Nigel and my grandson Lee. All of this should take place during Ille's all too short 7 days stay!

This photograph was sent to me as a 'fore taster' of the real thing, when this 1960 Strathisla Single Malt will be the highlight of the evening.

Finally, by 14-00 the weather hadn't altered one jot, but by then determined not to let it beat me I set off, bedecked in a Herkko jacket and Ille scarf, to re-investigate a White Stork nest we had viewed distantly yesterday. Once again the bike came in handy and on the way I jammed into this quite handsome looking Fox, only the second mammal recorded on this Estonia trip.

Red Fox (or Johnny the Fox - Thin Lizzy 1976)

White Stork looks out from aloft.

There was definitely an adult in attendance yesterday, but on my arrival it appeared it / they were away feeding.

However, as I turned to leave a bill appeared above the rim of the nest, with the occupant standing and allowing a few shots before resuming the 'below parapet' position.

Having arrived dry, wind behind me the whole way, it was a different story going back. A little damp when I returned to Ennu Farm, but well, well worth the effort.