Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Down Under - Men @ Work

The main contrast in the weather today from previous days was the sky, completely covered by dark and threatening looking clouds but otherwise the wind remained in the NE quarter still making for a chill. Deciding to 'lash out' on a bus fare and heading directly to Portland, there were two minor happenings of note as a Common Tern flew over the cemetery, 'calling' loudly, while on Westham Bridge (partly build up area) a Lesser Whitethroat was 'reeling' from within a small isolated bush.

The walk through both Barleycrates & Reap Lanes, along the West Cliff across the Slopes and onward to the Bill passed without result, the full list reading just 5 Common Whitethroat, 3 Stonechat, 5 Wheatear plus a single Swallow. It seemed as if the day was to be more about what was ON the sea rather than what was flying over it as the

Scallop Dredger 'Boy Michael' (port of registry Colchester CK) steamed past Pulpit Rock on her way into Lyme Bay.

There were also a fair number of largish yachts

obviously taking advantage of the brisk breeze.

The military were also represented by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Small Tanker 'Gold Rover' which I though had been decommissioned years ago. I say that because the last time I saw her was in Simons Town, South Africa about 8 years ago, and even then she looked a little worn out.

Also out there was HMS Ocean, described as a Landing Platform, Helicopter (LPH) the 'sixth' Royal Naval vessel to bare the name. Hoping not to be to disparaging, her ungainly proportions make her look more like a British Rail Platform!

As I walked across the Common towards the Observatory, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were settled right up until the moment I raised the camera when 2 of them took to the wing. At the Obs there were a number of trainee bird 'ringers' taking advantage of the trickle of migrants, and after processing allowed me to take the following shots.

Lesser Whitethroat

and although these two look quite different they are in fact the same species Willow Warbler from different regions. The 'greyer' individual would be from a more Northern European ancestry, while the more yellow one, which we are more used to, hails from the south.

This male Common Redstart was the one shown via these pages last week, here again for comparison to a

female which was caught today.

and to end today, a few shots from others. The first four, which when I saw them last night on the Portland Bird Observatory Website, were immediately considered worthy of a wider audience and are © Martin Cade, Warden PBO.

The Bird Observatory was alerted to the presence of this Red-rumped Swallow (top right hand corner) by a group of observers looking for passing sea-birds at the base of the lighthouse.

With what could only be described as 'lightning reaction,

these fantastic images were captured

which, with kind permission, I now have the pleasure of passing on to you.

and from A 'Land Down-Under:-

This is The Family 'York', my son in law Bernard holding holding the rapidly growing Frederick (the III) David, and my beautiful youngest daughter Lisa with new arrival Alexander (the I) James.

Mum & youngest Son

Mum & both Sons

Frederick (soon to be the find of a cure for the Common Cold and Australian or England Test Cricket Captain, or who knows just for novelty value BOTH!).

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