Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Birder & the Bard

There was no need to rewrite the script for today's sortie. as the plan was that of yesterday. The Black Redstart was again high on the agenda, the only difference being some change in the weather. With a cloudless sky overnight there was little protection from a hard frost which had hit with a vengeance, but the wind (in Weymouth at least) had dropped to a mere zephyr.

I hear the sighs of "oh no, not again", but I simply cannot pass this beautiful bird by without firing off a few shots. There is even a thought that this male Hooded Merganser may reach the status of 'heading photograph' when Allen's Gallinule is replaced.

Bye-passing everything in favour of an early return to Chesil Cove, the Pied Wagtail and Robin were both still present and today joined by a

Wren, plus

only the second

Stonechat I've seen this year. The bonus from here was bumping into a fellow 'birder' from Somerset doubling the chances of finding the target bird. We searched all along the waterfront and around the built up area, then at quite a distance it was seen

perched on a chimney in Brandy Row.

With a little patience this smart

Black Redstart flew down to the sea-wall

allowing for decent views and these photos.

It was time to head for the Bill, and on the bus met Paul a resident of Fortuneswell, and despite the length of out little chat we exchanged a wealth of information about both birds and Thomas Hardy. He introduced me to this poem, melding both birds and bard, which I had not heard before.
The Baby and the Wagtail

A baby watched a ford, whereto
A wagtail came for drinking;
A blaring bull went wading through,
The wagtail showed no shrinking.

A stallion splashed his way across,
The birdie nearly sinking;
He gave his plumes a twitch and toss,
And held his own unblinking.

Next saw the baby round the spot
A mongrel slowly slinking;
The wagtail gazed, but faltered not
In dip and sip and prinking.

A perfect gentleman then neared;
The wagtail, in a winking,
With terror rose and disappeared;
The baby fell a-thinking.

Moving on, and alighting the bus I happened on these lovely people from Rugby. Ian works across the south of England, while Rachel was enjoying a first visit to the Magic Island. It was a great pleasure to meet 2 such up beatJimi Hendrix fans, hurry back!

By now the wind was freshening, but walking to the Bill along the East Cliff it was behind me so no problem. Once again today no sign at the traditional sites of Little Owl and I'm not sure if anyone has seen one out here this year? However, there were

c3 Purple Sandpipers showing on the rocks below the Trinity House Obelisk

and although in the direct sunlight these shots were possible.

and finally, it was too much of a temptation not to take a photograph of this A/C Cobra sat on the car park. Just take a look at that registration plate!

Oh yes, and I should just wish Phil Collins of Genesis a Happy 60th Birthday, still one of the most amassing drummers I have had the pleasure to see live.

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