Saturday, 8 October 2011

Big In Japan - Alphaville

Neon on my naked skin, passing silhouettes
of strange illuminated mannequins.

Shall I stay here at the zoo, shall I go and change my point of view for other ugly scenes.
You did what you did to me now it's history I see
Things will happen while they can, I will wait here for my man tonight
It's easy when you're Big in Japan

Of the many hundreds of Siskin that must have flown overhead here in the past few days, there has barely been one visible, only betraying their presence by a distinctive call. Today was to change all that as within a few paces of home 2 flew overhead at such an altitude that some colour was discernible, as did wave after wave of Meadow Pipits. What had brought them down from the heavens is not known as weather conditions remained similar to previous days, except there had been a noticeable reduction in wind speed.

Having been alerted to the week-end arrival at Portland of one of the Royal Navy's latest warships, by my friend Janet Read, I noted, stepping off the bus at Ferry Bridge, that she is secured alongside the Outer Coaling Pier. The first of what are known as 'stealth destroyers' HMS Daring is on a 3 day visit to the port and during this time will be open to the public (well we did pay for her!).

A quote from her Master Captain Robertson tells us that just one small part of the capabilities of this technologically innovative vessel, equipped with an air defence system, would be to track and destroy a target the size of a cricket ball travelling three times the speed of sound.

Not quite as fast as that, but seeming like history was repeating itself, 3 Brent Geese flew across Portland Harbour, as three did yesterday, but instead of disappearing over the Chesil Beach

they landed briefly on the foreshore allowing this shot. Also, there seemed to be double the number of Ringed Plover and Dunlin while for quality a (the) Bar-tailed Godwit plus a very vocal Whimbrel and 5 Mediterranean Gulls were also recorded.

Walking the Top Fields while heading for the Observatory, the sky was alive with birds but only more of the same, except for a single male Brambling (among a small flock of Siskin), a few Swallows, a Raven and 4 Stock Doves.

All else on this wander was the amount of Woody Nightshade in the hedgerows and what might be described as a Grasshopper.

Being only the second specimen of this fine insect ever to be found on Portland, it was thought well worth exposing to a wider audience. My own pathetic attempt to secure a decent image came to naught, so Southern Oak Bush-cricket comes to you © Martin Cade, Warden of the Portland Bird Observatory.

A short visit to see my mate Gary White, enabled me to fulfill what as been a small but niggling musical ambition, long overdue. Having drawn up a list of my favourite 20 'Hit Singles' ever, Gary transposed my discs to CD format so I might play them in continuous and preferred order, especially on the i-Pod.

Never content simply to do the recording and hand it over, the innovative 'Secret Lemonade Drinker' decorated the discs with what he knows to be my favorite motif. The 4 North American Indians ('tooled up' and ready to go) are surrounded by the words "Homeland Security, Fighting Terrorism since 1497". The records concerned are:-

1 Hey Joe - Jimi Hendrix
2 Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
3 Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks
4 Badge - Cream
5 Oliver's Army - Elvis Costello
6 Will You - Hazel O'Connor
7 Lady Willpower - Gary Puckett & Union Gap
8 Night of Fear - The Move
9 In Dreams - Roy Orbison
10 Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow - Shirelles

11 Up the Junction - Squeeze
12 Big In Japan - Alphaville
13 Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty
14 Every Day Hurts - Sad Cafe
15 Mandy - Barry Manilow
16 Wonderful Life - Black
17 96 Tears - ? and the Mysterians
18 Night Owl - Gerry Rafferty
19 Is She Really Going Out With Him - Joe Jackson
20 God Gave Rock 'n' Roll To You - Argent

and in a similar vein, from Forrest Rowland my Mate in Montana
Many countries in the New World and elsewhere celebrate the anniversary of the arrival in the Americas of Christopher Columbus, which occurred on October 12, 1492, as an official holiday.
but not ALL!

With a shortage of photos today, we end with another visit to Hato Pinero, Venezuela

Sharp-tailed Ibis


Sunbittern. A thousand apologies for the quality of this shot (no one would be more pleased than me had it been focused) but thought worth publishing for the 'feather pattern' alone of this stunning bird!

Whistling Heron

I have the name of this strange looking Turtle-like creature written down somewhere

but for the life of me can neither find or remember it at present.

A quick update here - Willie suggests it's a Pig-nosed Turtle, but once reminded by John Gifford I agree with him that it is a Mata Mata! THANK YOU both for responding.


  1. Off the top of my head.........I think you'll find it's a Pig-Nosed Turtle.....!

  2. Would you agree with Mata Mata Willie? John Gifford put me right on this which I now remember my notes would confirm (if I could put my hands on them).

    Yours and any other opinions are alway most welcome - Thanks Very Much

  3. Yes...That's it...Long time ago now, since Zoology and Botany at college....!
    And, l do have a fetish with reptiles...!

    Oh! and love the Blog...Great photos, and lovely to read....! Well done....!