Saturday, 23 April 2011

Pictures At An Exhibition - Emerson, Lake & Palmer

In a nutshell, the weather forecaster's message yesterday evening was "if you think conditions have been 'fine' thus far, you ain't seen nothing yet"! Even at 06-30 as I wandered through the cemetery the sun was shining brightly, the wind had dropped to nothing and the sky remained totally cloudless. In addition, Goldcrest, Blackcap and Coal Tit were in full voice and on a roadside verge this clump of

White Bluebells were well worth a second look. The first Common Tern in Weymouth's Inner Harbour this year were active as I boarded the bus, but from Ferrybridge there was absolutely nothing to report.

The conundrum concerning the Union Flag atop the Coast Guard Station at the Bill was that it was being flown upside down, which at sea is a signal for a vessel in distress or difficulty.

This morning as I crossed the brow of the hill, there was no flag flying at all, that is until the watch-stander appeared and hoisted a 'brand new' flag this time the correct way up!

I approached him on the subject, and felt his reaction was perfect as he showed concern that things were not correct, but then we lightened the situation with a few jokes. In fact I'd say it was a great pleasure to meet the Coast Guard! By now the day could only be described as 'HOT', and everywhere people were out enjoying the moment.

This lady horse rider was galloping up the 'Slopes' at such a pace that her dog was having trouble keeping up

while these Canoe-dlers were busy canoodling. Thus far all that was on the bird list were singles of Whimbrel and Yellow Wagtail, while the Wheatear count only ever reached 5 with the thin trickle of Swallows making up the bulk of sightings.

Below the cliffs both Razorbill and

Guillemot were on the sea in good numbers with a few more

Guillemots on the ledges. At the Bird Observatory things were also very quiet on the bird front, but my first Dragonfly of the year

a Broad-bodied Chaser perched long enough for a shot or two. That's when the call "Red Kite at Southwell" went up, with all but a couple racing for nearby cars. Duncan Walbridge obliged me with a lift and as we reached Bill Hill we saw the Warden pointing his camera in a northerly direction. An excellent sign that it was to be seen, and although it was at some distance a Red Kite (particularly on Portland) is a Red Kite!

Regular readers will remember this image of Brigadier General Othman Bin H. J. Jamal, Malaysian Defence Attache to the UK, presenting my friend Roy Henderson with his Malaya Medal.

On my way home today, I met other friends Ann and Dave Rashley who had seen the photograph above and told me that Dave had been at the same ceremony to receive the same award. Congratulations again to both you and Roy, and as always good to see you again today.

At the bus stop in Southwell this probable recent arrival Swallow posed for a shot, but after

such a long journey I can understand the need for an extended preen.

Goldfinch on the same wire.

Back in Weymouth it was always worth a look at the beach, where swarms of holiday makers were enjoying the gorgeous weather and equally gorgeous town.

Just a passer-by, but this dude looked the bizz in full Goth regalia,

I'd like to get the address of his tailor!

and finally, I received this E-mail and attachments from Karen Toleman daughter of my old Chief Engineer and great friend Clarance (Gunner) Toleman and thought them worth sharing with you.

Hello Paul,

Hope you are well and recovered from your Scottish adventures. Sorry I have not emailed before but have had some serious computer problems - hate it when this thing doesn't work! It was lovely to meet you and Lesley at the Bill the other day - Mum and I are really enjoying your blog and Mum was really pleased to see the kestrel on their hut in such detail.

Have attached a few of my pictures - the 'Morning sun' one is in acrylic and the Bird obs one is in oil. The back-lit screen makes the green look much brighter than in real life but you get the idea. I am trying to do 'Morning sun' again but in oil this time as it blends better than acrylic - it's very slow progress though because the weather is so good I can't stay indoors at the moment. The little owl is in pen and ink - they are one of my favourite birds - they seem to have such attitude! I was lucky enough to see a barn owl fly slowly over my garden the other night, the first one I have seen on Portland and close up, it was stunning.

Have forwarded your link to my friend in Wales; she used to live on Portland and is enjoying keeping up with the news and seeing the photos. There have been quite a few changes since she left.

The pictures of the Little Terns today were incredible - keep blogging!

All the best


Thank you so much Karen for the kind words and these real gems - the Little Owl is my favourite as it is 'alive'! Please pass on love and best wishes to your Mum & Dad (Madge & Gunner), Micheal and of course yourself - I will also contact Leslie!

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