Wednesday, 26 May 2010

A Tribute to Ronnie James Dio 1942 - 2010

Unfortunately, the very best day I have ever spent in Estonia has to start with some sad news. Not wishing to be patronising, but I doubt RJD is familiar to many of you? I have noted through these pages in the past misrepresentation of words such as 'superstar' and 'legend', but Ronnie James was both. I last saw him at the Wembley Arena about 4 years ago (opening for another 'legend' Alice Cooper) at the age of 64 where he still made the Axel's, Bon Jovi's and the Sammy Hagar's of this world look 'static. This is what Wikipedia say about him:-

Ronnie James Dio (July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010)
was an American heavy metal vocalist and songwriter. He performed with, amongst others, Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, and his own band Dio. Other musical projects include the collective fundraiser Hear 'n Aid. He was widely hailed as one of the most powerful singers in heavy metal, renowned for his consistently powerful voice and for popularizing the "devil's horns" hand gesture in metal culture. Prior to his death, he was collaborating on a project with former Black Sabbath band-mates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Vinny Appice, under the moniker Heaven & Hell, whose first studio album, The Devil You Know, was released on April 28, 2009. Dio died of stomach cancer on May 16, 2010.

If indeed you fancy a sampler of Ronnie's work, under the guise of 'Dio', you could do worse than try 'Magica' a Lord of the Rings meets Ozzy Osbourne album, but easy listening by 'Metal' standards, but please don't tell Andy Lindsay!

And the games still go on
With a warning to the bishop from the pawn
No one sees an angel till it smashes to the ground
And then you run somewhere
And leave it lying there

Then on we sail
Never thinking that the wind could ever fail
No one gets to heaven till they've lived awhile in hell
And even then it's rare
That you'll be going there

The penultimate breakfast "I think there may have been just a 'splash' too much Vodka in those Cornflakes dear".

This has been our final full day at Ennu Farm, and I can tell you it will be a wrench to get back to what some refer to as 'civilisation'. Tomorrow we head for the small town of Viljandi for a one night stay, and if the weather is kind a visit to the lakes there.

With the wind down to zero, cloud cover between 4/8 to fully covered and the temperature back up in the high 60's, all was fair set for my 'days bicycle twitch'. So far while at Ennu, we have recorded 48 species, no record breaker for an 8 day period but some real quality by GB standards among the sightings. There was no real plan, and as I started out intending to head south, just a whim went me the opposite way with Northern Wheatear in mind.

The first bird of the day had been Cuckoo, heard as I tried for vocal Owls at 02-30 but failing. Whitethroat, Icterine Warbler, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Golden Oriole Skylark and Thrush Nightingale had all fallen to the log before I'd even put my leg over the cross-bar, and sure enough the Wheatear was where I had seen it the other day.

There followed a run of expected additions such as Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Starling, Fieldfare, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit, Willow Warbler, Raven, White Wagtail, Swallow, House Martin and Yellowhammer, wile a 'hit or miss' Scarlet Rosefinch was a considered bonus, I saw c8 before the day was through. Common Buzzard hasn't been at all as the name suggests so a single thermaling bird was welcome as where, by no means guaranteed Green & Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Chiffchaff, Common Swift and Hooded Crow.

I was now in unfamiliar territory, but it dawned on me, as I passed through the hamlet of Jartsaare, that a circular ride would be favourite so I peddled on. There is a small cross-road close to the main farm house here where I could hear that now familiar, but still not 100% confirmed, song of Thrush Nightingale, worth a stop. Having spent quite a time waiting, I was blessed with a 20 second look at what was undoubtedly a Sprosser, considering that this species is now beyond doubt. However, from close by in a small deciduous copse, complete with dense undergrowth, another song I didn't recognise was issuing forth, but this bird was more that obliging. On overall appearance I first considered Great Reed Warbler, but none I had seen before were in anything but reed-beds and anyway the song was wrong. It certainly wasn't a Reed Warbler as the singing was far too fluid, with just a few 'chacking' note at the end of the refrain, but armed with 100 photos I could now return to base and sort it out, or seek help. The help suggested Marsh or Blythe's Reed Warblers, but for now the jury is still out. On distribution alone the latter looks more likely, but I am working from a very old Field Guide. The photographs are published with a hope of some suggestions please!

In a different light.

About half way around the 28Km course, I came across the first of c5 White Stork nests and in quick succession a further c4 species were added to both the day and the area list, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Red-backed Shrike and Feral Pigeon (if you like that sort of thing). Magpie was another bonus, thin on the ground hereabouts, but not as welcome as my first Corn Crake for Estonia, unfortunately too elusive to photograph. Coal Tit and House Sparrow were long overdue for the day and both Wood Pigeon and Goldcrest for the area list, but finally brought the day total to 44, 7 being new to one list or another and considered a fantastic day in some of the best countryside I have experience for years. In addition I saw Small Tortoiseshell butterfly and passed through the other hamlets of Tursa, Vissuvere and Kooli - the BEST day yet!

By the time you reach the end of this 'post' you'll probably be sick to death of White Stork, but I rather liked the choice of nest site on this tall, redundant chimney!

Lapwing another addition to the Estonia List.

and another addition, this female/juvenile Red-backed Shrike.

Icterine Warbler a veritable forest full of them,

I couldn't resist the temptation of publishing a few more shots.

Pigs on the Wing - Pink Floyd

I have to admit when I first saw this bulky, black shape up ahead of me I thought (or hoped) it was a Bear.
No matter, I'd have settled on a single sow Wild Boar but what followed is a thing that dreams are made of.

Like a London bus, you could spend a lifetime waiting to see one, then 8 turn up.

Piglets 2,3 & 4.

make it safely across the road.

I thik this is number 4 again, trying to catch up.

No. 5 comes out of the undergrowth,

and follows the others.

then the real 'piglets' start to arrive with No. 6

No. 6

No. 6

and again.

Followed by 7 & 8 - what a show.

The Story of the Kamikaze Stork

Only a few paces on from the Hogs, I encountered this White Stork in a storm drain seemingly contented feeding by the road-side. Not quite so, as it seemed to pay scant attention to me but was preparing for take off to attack the next passing vehicle.

Vehicle approaching, vehicle approaching,

scramble, scramble!

Schnell, shnell, Liebfraumilch, donner & blitzen, dirty Englander!

Yeah, that showed him a thing or two!

Awaiting another victim, check ammo, bomb doors, prepare for take off.

Boggy angels 12, prepare to attack.

Prango, whizzo Sir Douglas
Another safe landing and a little self applause.

returning to the middle of the road to stork (sic) another innocent motorist.

Tired of attacking the local traffic it returned to feed in the drain, before

flying off, maybe to try the M25.

While away, what Ille describes as "Bagsy very hard working" she too had done a little birding and found this Goldfinch nest.

One of the attendant parent Goldfinch.