Friday, 21 January 2011

Zoom - The Fat Larry Band

Yet more good weather, and though it was a good deal colder today the frost was far less severe than of late. There were plans today to head further afield this morning but before that it was worth yet another look around Radipole for a Bearded Tit. Had I not met up with my mate Mark Hill the bird concerned would still be absent from my Year List, but deciding to enjoy his company further I turned and retraced my steps and parted company at the Concrete Bridge. Lingering for a while as Mark departed, I heard those familiar 'pinging' calls from the reed bed which could only be the beautiful bird I was seeking. Phoning Mark, he did return but after a 15 minute wait there was no further sign so we both continued on our way.

a male, top and female Bearded Tit and for illustration another male

'in the hand'.

Returning home, only briefly, it was then time to make my way to Maiden Newton and the river Hook in an attempt to see another potential addition. Reaching the crest of the Ridgeway Hill the bright sunlight of Weymouth was replaced by light mist, and the further I travelled the worse conditions got. Close to my destination visibility was being greatly effected by freezing fog and it was several degrees colder, I guess this is the price to pay for living in the NORTH!

It was considered this signpost maybe of interest, especially to our overseas readers, pointing the way to number of quaint Dorset villages with equally quaint names. The post was of little help in my search, as the best direction was along the course of the river, but shortly I heard the prolonged calling of a

Dipper. Not at all common in Dorset, and seemingly less so in recent years, a single bird flew, as they do, low along the watercourse. Following it back towards the Tollerford Bridge, there was a brief chance to see it again but a photograph was impossible.

These images, for illustration only, were taken in Scotland some years ago.

GB Year List Total = 166

Turning for home by way of Maiden Castle, I stopped in the lovely village of

Frampton and its proportionately huge church.

Again, much for the overseas readership, here are a few images of a Dorset village

which I hope gives the reader some idea

of the idyllic county we live in.

and for the 'local contingent' an opportunity to attend an event at the Weymouth Library, where my long time muso friend Chris Lonergan will be fronting a talk on the 'Blues'. If you think you know all there is to know about this musical genre then you particularly need to be there. Chris has over the years played alongside many of the greats not to mention every musician worth their salt in this and all surrounding counties. He has an uncanny knowledge of the subject, and while knowing I could hold my own with most, it will be a massive miss if for any reason I cannot get there!

and finally

I'm not what you might call a TV person, but there are exceptions to every rule so consider myself a 'selective' viewer. Last nights 'selection' was the second in the fantastic series Human Planet which, after last weeks amazing aquatics, focused on the Deserts of the World. Having visited a number of them, a thousand memories came flooding back none more so than a trip into the Nevada Desert.

In the spring of 2007, accompanied by former lady-friend Sue Hallam, we set off on a mega adventure to travel from Los Angeles, southern California to Barrow in northern Alaska, taking in the full length of the Alaska Highway. Having been to Las Vegas twice before I thought Sue would enjoy such a spectacle, even though neither of us are into that type of thing, I thought the diversion worthwhile.

The Golden Goose Casino

The Golden Nugget Casino

and the Venice Casino, which I think are enough to last anyone a lifetime!

There was of course an ulterior motive, as this would also give opportunity to visit Corn Creek a small oasis in the heart of the

On this small tract of fertile land grow many unusual plants which attract a whole host of unusual insects, but more important to us has also seen every bird species ever recorded in the State of Nevada. Knowing the conditions we would face during a planned 12 hour stay out there, we had prepared well and had everything we should need including lots of water. It was pot luck as to who was going to drive us the 50 odd miles into the desert, but of all the taxis in all of the world we had to choose Fat Larry's! 26 stone if he was an ounce, Larry could hardly fit across both front seats of his Oldsmobile but he was jolly, good fun, helpful and very much pro Brit as so many Americans are. A native of the State, he lived just 15 miles from the 'city limit' in the Red Mountains also along our intended route, but had never heard of Corn Creek. Having all the directions, his first reaction was "I can't take you out there", his second was driving into the last Gas Station and with his own money buying us extra water that he insisted we would need.

Mini dust-storms are just part of the scenery, this being a small ranch (the last) as we peeled off into the wilderness.

Desert Rose, dreamed I saw a Desert Rose, dress torn in ribbons and in bows, like a siren she calls to me, Sleep comes like a drug, in God's Country, sad eyes crooked crosses in God's Country. - U2.

It's the lad himself Sheik Ya Moneymaker - Elmore James. Requesting he pick us up at 20-00 (in 12 hours time) he gave us his mobile number then left reluctantly. There was an out-post here but locked, so if push came to shove we wouldn't be up a creek without a paddle. Here are some of the other delights we found out there.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Ashy-throated Flycatcher

Grey Flycatcher

Great-tailed Grackle

White-crowned Sparrow


Red-tailed Hawk

Wilson's Warbler

Yellow-rumped (or Myrtle) Warbler, my personal preference is the latter.

Birds are not the only things flying around out there, this is also 'Blackhawk Helicopter' training territory.

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