Monday, 18 July 2011

The 'Terning' Point - John Mayall's Bluesbreakers

Not very many left now, but still they keep coming. Today we welcome the African Republic of Senegal to the readership as country / region number 147 and hope readers there will pass the link on to their friends etc. I was once very close to visiting Senegal, when with Jim the Medic we nearly took a day trip during a stay in Gambia, the fascination has remained that the country completely surrounds Gambia except to seaward.

I did embark on a 'birding' sortie yesterday but didn't even make it to the cemetery before being washed out, and with the weather looking equally threatening this morning there was doubt I'd get far today. Having read reports of the success of the Common Tern colony at Lodmoor I hoped to make that at the very least so simply used Radipole as a transit and made best haste to the east.

With many Common Swifts gathering overhead once again, it soon became apparent that young birds would prove prominent on today's walk starting with this

juvenile Herring Gull on the beach at Greenhill, and maybe of interest to a few of you (it certainly is to me)

I note there is an ELO tribute band at the Weymouth Pavilion on Friday 2nd September - see you there!

HMS Daring is once again gracing our coastal waters, and for all the time she has spent here lately she may well become known at 'the Grey Ghost of the Dorset Coast'.

Onward to Lodmoor and the first interesting bird, this summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit followed by

a view over the Common Tern colony.

There are a good number of juveniles varying in days of maturity, so it is possible to see the cycle of growth.

It's no good returning without any victuals Mum,

there are several of us waiting!

Ah, that's better, here's Dad with a fat, juicy Sand-eel.

Keep 'em coming,

and don't let the neighbours steal them from you.

In the distance, it could be seen that Hardy's Monument is once again shrouded in scaffolding, it only seem a short time ago since they completely dismantled and then rebuilt it. Will have to find out what's going on - are you there John?

PS - this monument was built to commemorate Thomas Masterman Hardy (Lord Nelson's Sea Captain) and not our other Son of Dorset with the same christian name, Thomas the Bard.

Also on the moor was this single Common Sandpiper, at least 2 Lapwing, a young Sandwich Tern, 2 Little Egret and a Redshank could be heard but not seen.

On leaving this male House Sparrow seemed to be searching for his next Spider, and I the next bus to Portland.

It was a grey looking scene that greeted me as I arrived at the Portland Bird Observatory, but there was a warm welcome as ever from Martin Cade the Warden, especially after my travels. As for birds, it too was a bit dismal but c37 (part of over a thousand seen by others) Manx Sheerwater, many Gannet, a few Auks and a lone Great Skua sat on the sea kept the interest level up.

A young Stonechat complete with 'leg ring' which is highly likely to be a PBO addition?

Lots of Soldier Beetles with what looks every bit like eggs.

a young Pied Wagtail.

I'd got a bit of a soaking on the way down to the Bill, and it looked very much like there was another on the way, when The Secret Lemonade Drinker (Gary White) showed up and offered me a lift home. Always good to catch up with Gary, and thank you for the ride today!

OK, I lied yesterday about the last photos of the NA trip, but just felt there was space for a couple of short, forgotten stories.

Even as a boy, Richard (surname unknown) was a 'slight' lad and it wasn't long before he was 'christened' Skinny by his mates. In later life he was dissatisfied with his business as a printer so sold up and craving a quieter life bought an Inn situated equidistant between the Alaskan cities of Fairbanks and Anchorage on the Richardson Highway. Because of its geographical location it was known as The Halfway Inn, but when Richard took over he decided to add his name to the title making it Skinny Dick's Halfway Inn. This wasn't to the liking of the local fundamentalist religious factions who took out an injunction suggesting the new name had sexual connotations (can't see that myself) and should be changed. The judge found in Dick's favour, stating that any such suggestion would only be generated in an individuals mind. If only there were more time to spend there, as they say anyone from the Hell's Angels to the local Priest could be found there on occasion - my kind of place.

Approaching an extremely small hamlet, some miles north of Toad River on the Alaska Highway, the gentleman sat in front of me rose to leave the Greyhound. He turned to me and said, "welcome to Coal River, population 4, I'm number 2".

and when I want to torment the people hereabouts, what better way than to bring up the subject of language. My usual opening gambit, all in good fun, is "we sent the Pilgrim Father's off with a perfectly good language, and over the years you lot have totally bastardised it". They rarely agree and claim to speak English, so what is:-

A Faucet = a Tap (as on a bath).
Wildlife Sealing = registering the Wildlife you have just shot at a Government Recording Station.
Bus your own table = clearing your own table when in a cafe etc.

Joe Bonamassa & Beth Hart collaboration

Haven't heard anything from this album yet, but know someone who has listened to one track and reports it as excellent.

Happy Birthday (for the third time) SHI'ELA

and Great to bump into Johnny Read this morning in Weymouth

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