Friday, 7 October 2011

I'd Rather Go Blind - Etta James

With a steady trickle of Swallows accompanied by a few Meadow Pipits and the odd Pied Wagtail flying over my house soon after dawn, at least there was some movement despite little improvement in the weather. Still dark, dank and cloudy the wind had wind still on the cusp of 'gale force' had 'backed' a point or two resting square in the north west.

Again, guided by the tide, it was directly to Ferry Bridge where, even before alighting the bus, these 3 Brent Geese were spotted flying high over Portland Harbour. Given the amount of food just lying there waiting for a Goose or 3 to drop in, they simply overflew

and disappeared into West Bay. Apart from 2 Little Egret, 3 Mediterranean Gulls and a bunch of Great Black-backs there were only the following allowing a few photos.

Starting with 4 Dunlin and a single Sanderling that landed right along side where I stood.

OK, we've had our share of photos of both but find it had to resist snapping away.



Before crossing the Beach Road back to the Portland Harbour side there was this Dog Whelk Shell which, although both the Harbour and Weymouth Bay are full of these delicious (my Dad and I used to eat dozens of the things) Gastropod Mollusc's, are these days a rare sight on this foreshore. When vacated by the natural inhabitants they often become an ideal home for the Hermit Crab.

Located on the west shore of Portland Harbour, which all too soon will become a venue for the 2012 Olympic Game, is the GB National Sailing Academy. I have received a couple of invitations to visit this fine sporting complex, so hope to bring you a report on this real soon.

Also in the Harbour, the cargo vessel UBC Saiki which is likely undertaking some running repair or maintenance like many other vessels these days.

Along the shore there were 27 Turnstone along with about double that number of Ringed Plover, but it was now time to catch the bus to The Bill.

While a number of shots of Northern Wheatear have also featured in recent days, this was just too close to leave out of today's post, before arriving at

The Obelisk where I met a couple from Suffolk and was soon joined by Bird Tour Leader Bob Ford and some of his clients.

Thus far the Sea itself had been the most interesting thing, followed by a few common sea birds such as good numbers of Gannet seen in this picture (click image to magnify),

Shag and
Great Black-backed Gull. Bob had hardly uttered the words "what have you got of interest for us today" than I spotted a

male Common Eider, in eclipse plumage, some way off-shore.

It never did venture close in, and as I phoned the Bird Observatory to report its presence

it took to the wing

disappearing down the West Cliff.

This is how he may look next spring (the brown bird is a female).

Soon after, the gentleman from Suffolk 'called' a Shearwater flying east and close to the West Shambles Buoy some way out to sea.

Both Bob and I agreed it to be a Sooty Shearwater, with these images being from the archive (for illustration) unfortunately not taken today.

My final bit of luck came when I relocated the Little Owl in the Obs Quarry,

but today, far more conveniently, perched on the stone rather than a bush and not obscured.

This afternoon I have been listening to the new offering by Joe Bonamassa, in company with Beth Hart (whoever she is). Have to say, not impressed by the first listen, and it's a brave lady who takes on 'I'd Rather Go Blind' it may be that Etta James is turning in her grave. Outside of her original recording of one of the greatest 'Blues' ever written (by Ellington Jordan and co-credited to Billy Foster??) I have only ever heard one other memorable rendition of this 'classic'. The set by Chicken Shack at the 1969 Bath Blues Festival was 'ground breaking' to say the least, but when Christine Perfect launched into IRGB there wasn't a dry eye on that Rugby Field.

Long Live Stan (The Man) Webb

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