Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Mud In Your Eye

Today was not only the last of August, but also the final day of the Meteorological Summer only it was gloomy, overcast and darn right chilly early on with the sun only breaking through mid-afternoon. For me, after a spate of travelling and a fantastic dollop of Rock 'n' Roll, it was back to the familiar circuit starting as ever in the cemetery where there was hardly a cheep of bird song! There was a fleeting glimpse of a Goldcrest, but most numerous was Magpie totalling 7, so it was quickly on to Radipole.

There, the water level was lower than I ever remember before with the 'cut' through this reed-bed looking high and dry.

It would be right out of character for the RSPB to say "OK we have had it wrong" but to see the area looking more like a Refuge for ALL birds (particularly Waders) rather than solely a prospective breeding ground for Bittern was encouraging to say the least.

Add to that the almost absence of 'industrial style strimming' along ALL pathways gave the whole place a feel of a truly Wild Place. Please keep up this good work!

So low is the water, that along the western watercourse these Mallard were standing where previously they have only ever paddled.

Far more importantly, on the exposed mud outside of the Visitor's Centre the first Wader to be seen (thanks to Ian Stanley) was this Little Ringed Plover. In addition there were a few Dunlin, c2 Black-tailed Godwit while yesterday there was a RUFF! Ask yourself when was the last time you saw Ruff at Radipole?

This Grey Heron seemed also to be capitalising, having caught this good sized Eel which it occasionally dropped to the ground and speared with its stiletto like bill.

Black-headed Gulls would be here regardless of the water level, but it was interesting to see this 'first winter' bird

but even better as far as I was concerned this adult Lesser Black-backed Gull

with a hungry juvenile, a stage of plumage not previously photographed. Also seen here were a few House Martin, Chiffchaff, Blackcap plus Willow and several very vocal Cetti's Warblers.

So, onwards to Lodmoor where today I decided to walk the upper level along the Greenhill gardens, allowing a more elevated view of Weymouth Bay looking east to The Purbeck Peninsular and then

west towards the Isle of Portland, distant left, and Weymouth Town and Seafront.

Passing the tennis courts this shoal of fish caught my eye, making for a lovely splash of colour on an otherwise uninteresting fence.

On closer inspection each were seen to be unique in shape, style and decoration, with fishing hooks on this one replacing scales. Not only eye-catching but also a cleaver idea which I thought, had it been created by Chris Ofili, perched on 2 Elephant turds and hung in the Royal Academy would be worth £1000,000 and awarded the Turner Prise?

On arrival at the Moor, there was news of a Curlew Sandpiper which was seen but too distant for a photo, but there was also this Sandwich Tern,

a single Black-tailed Godwit,

3 or 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 Redshank, a Green Woodpecker and a Common Buzzard.

An impromptu shot from the bus heading for Portland shows preparation for a fairly large sailing event, also seen later in the day close to the Middle Arm Breakwater.

Janet Reed had e-mailed me yesterday evening to tell me of the impending arrival of the Paddle Steamer Waverley to local waters. Thank You Janet.

Built in 1946, on the River Clyde, Scotland she is the last sea-going, passenger carrying Paddle Steamer in the world. It is also worrying to think that funds to keep her sea worthy are very much depleted. If you are able to help, please visit the web-site.

At the Observatory, Martin had held onto this Feathered Gothic Moth, a scarce visitor to the Island,

and also allowed me to photograph this bizarre looking Caterpillar of the Bedstraw Hawk-moth.

Next I spotted the 14 volumes, each one a tome, of the

which have been
I could easily have spent the rest of my life, let alone the rest of the afternoon, flicking through these pages, but found the paragraph above 'disheartening', to say the least. That was when John Lucas arrived back to report the now long-staying

Wryneck was showing well in the Obs Quarry. That was true enough, but still at some distance but today's image is an improvement on Sunday's, albeit slight.

At Culverwell, the 'tongued' blooms of Lords & Ladies have now been replaced by ripe berries and the birding about to be replaced by music.

Calling in to see my long time friend and shipmate Gary (the Secret Lemonade Drinker) White, is a guarantee of some stimulating muso talk and today was no exception. From Barclay James Harvest to Ten Years After, we were talking for a full 2 hours until this little beauty arrived in the garden.

One of 3 recorded today, this Common Redstart

took a thorough 'wash & brush-up before continuing its journey south.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Midnight Hour - Wilson Pickett

David (Honeyboy) Edwards 1915 - 2011

While I rarely mourn the long-lived and talented, it did touch a nerve this morning to hear of the death of Blues Legend David (Honeyboy) Edwards. Taken from us at the tender age of 96, Honeyboy played with the likes of Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy, Lightning Hopkins and the daddy of them all Robert Johnson. As one Blues writer put it "Mississippi is poorer for the loss of David, but Heaven that little bit richer".

Sporting my favourite tee shirt it was another heavy day of Rock 'n' Roll at the second day of the Weymouth Quayside Festival. As ever a HUGE success down to all the artists, backstage girls & boys, organisers and Creator Keith Treggiden of the Rendezvous (restaurant, bars and nite-club), Town Bridge, Weymouth.

This was the crowd mid-afternoon, by the evening it had multiplies 3 fold.

The lad on the right is Gabriel Burton with guitar tutor Frazer Clubb to the left. This 9 year olds rendition of the 'Purple' classic Smoke on the Water was something to behold, in fact I would say Rock 'n' Roll is in safe hands for the next generation.

Gabriel with his Grandfather and Father Jason.

Looking across the crowd, there was my old shipmate and fellow musos Mick Barge and wife Christine.

This (Danny Adams) is the Brains behind the event,

While this is Tilly the Beer behind the event.

Howlin' at the Moon journeymen Weymouth Rockers in the Dylanesque style.

If there was one man I singularly wanted to see anywhere, let alone at the Festival, it was Jaymz Perry of the extremely popular Leeds band Ted Moll. Having recently recovered from cancer, Jaymz is undoubtedly the most accomplished drummer I know personally. My fondest memory is when he was naught but a boy playing his first 'live gig' in Finns pub Weymouth. Blistering wouldn't come near to describing his performance and I was eager to get a memento of the set.

Among my modest collection of Rock Memorabilia stands the drumsticks used by Jaymz on that occasion, and I have continued to tease him that one day, when he becomes the new Bonzo, I'll make a 'million' out of them. Please hurry man!

Animal Urges XL'ent 50's style Rock.

Jon (too many bands to mention) Storey, Peter (Beaver) Smith & Chris (Bad Reputation) Whiteside. It would be safe to say all would fit neatly under the banner of Mötley Crüe!

Yeovil Combo Design

Sherbourne's own delectable and highly talented Helen Harvey after a 'fine set'.

Danny, Dave, Stage Manager Steve and M/C Alex skylarking backstage.

The ever popular and always welcome in Weymouth, Four Wheel Drive unleash their own brand of Heavy Rock - be back soon lads!

Also in the audience fellow birder, wildlife enthusiast, Rocker, drinker et al Bob Ford and Wife.

The highlight and finale of the gig was the 'Very Last' appearance on stage of The Traveling Blueberries (from l to r Paul Sunt lead guitar, Peter Smith rhythm guitar, Danny Adams bass guitar & vocals, drummer Barney Stevens, an unknown lead guitar and Frazer Clubb lead guitar.

Thinking back to when Danny Adams was just a youth, he sang a rendition of the Zeppelin favourite The Immigrant Song. All who were in the Park Hotel on that Sunday afternoon were not only stunned but agreed it could only have been done better by Plant himself. There was more of the same when he, and the band, launched into Trampled Underfoot.

Frazer lends a few licks.

while the '2 Little Dickie Birds', Paul & Peter appear to be starting something of a mutual appreciation society.

It's been a while since I've been out after the Witching Hour but great to share a late drink with Bowie, Sheila and Howard over from Australia on an equally short trip as my own out there.

Having been so personally well looked after over the 2 days, I thought it best to remain at home this morning editing photographs and committing them to disc for all those involved in the great success of the festival. Another huge Thank You goes out to you all and (Rock 'n') Roll on Next Year

Mid-day I was taken out for lunch by my dear mates John Gifford and his sister Maggie. A fine bit of snap and a couple of pints just set me up for the rest of the day. Thank You Both!

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Meanwhile, it will be noticed that Japan have now reached the 3 figures mark, as UK contiues apace towards 13.000 readers.

Finally, while we have never been tempted by the monetary gain from advertising on this Blog there are occasions when we feel the readership should be directed to something 'special'. The meticulous talent of Sally K Servian are not simply mosaics but works of art in their own right. Sally exhibits at the Portland Bird Observatory from time to time and I can assure readers a visit there or to her Website will be well rewarded.