Sunday, 9 October 2011

Walk Like An Egyptian - The Bangles

A note for any readers visiting this site via the links on the
Portland Bird Observatory website.

As 'birders' you may find interest in the posts of Tuesday 4th October and 14th July 2011 ref
'dark phase' Long-tailed Skua!

Arriving onto the Isle of Portland proper, the first place you encounter is Victoria Square which bounds the north end of Chiswell (pronounced Chisel) Village before starting the long and steep climb through Fortuneswell and onward to Top Hill. As I ascended this morning all that had been seen were 2 Grey Wagtails, and given that the wind had 'backed' to the west with the sky still looking grey and the wind a little more than a breeze it seemed likely that this would be all the bird-life likely to be encountered this morning. But there's much, much more to Portland than birds!

Almost at the top of New Road stands 'The Spirit of Portland' a tribute to the 2 traditional industries on the Island. Facing north, a Fisherman hauls his crab pot

while looking in the opposite direction the Stone Mason wields his hammer.

Only a few short steps further on at Priory Corner you realise the climb was hardly worth it - yeah alright. Still my favourite view in the world despite having looked across the Iguassu Falls, Taj Mahal, Nazca Lines et al, show me anywhere to top this!

Apart from the expanse of West Bay and Chesil Beach on the left, Wyke Regis nestles in the background, with Portland Harbour middle distance and Fortuneswell & Chiswell underfoot.

Ride the Scree - Genesis is what the quarry spoil here reminds me of as it tumbles down the cliff-side.

However, the target of my desire today was Tout Quarry and more particular the southern end.

On the way you have to pass by Lano Bridge said to have been built by the Quarry Man during his meal breaks. There is a plan afoot to refurbish this simple but magnificent feat of hand built stone craft.

The whole area of this now redundant quarry, owned by The Portland Stone Company, has been kindly given over to the public at large and has been utilised by budding masons, sculptors and visitors alike.

The Stone Circle is used for religious ceremonies by Dolmen, Druids and the Elfin to name but a few

making quiet and peaceful homage at this Arthurian style site.

You don't have to walk far to find some of the sculptures, with children well entertained looking for the likes of The Bear,

Elephant and

Bison. It would be impossible for me to visit the Island without calling into the Portland Bird Observatory, and while on the way all I saw were a pair of Blackcap today was more about Moths. Long before reaching the gates, the 'jungle drums' had rattled out a message of a RARE find in the Moth Traps overnight.

Rare indeed, this Egyptian Bollworm should be no closer to Portland than the Mediterranean and is only the second specimen of this insect to visit the Island, and I think only the 6th for Great Britain. Other, more common, Moths caught overnight included:-

Shuttle-shaped Dart

Beaded Chestnut

The Delicate

Common Marbled Carpet (all by kind permission of the PBO Warden)

while The Vestal was caught by Richard Lambert in his Weymouth garden.

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