Thursday, 20 January 2011

Whisky In The Jar - Thin Lizzy

Except for a slight increase in wind speed, today's weather picture was a carbon copy of yesterday sunny, cloudless and springlike. The most interesting aspect of a visit to the cemetery was 15 minutes stood looking into a fruit tree, in an adjoining garden, which has become a bit of a favourite for birds in recent days. My watch produced at least c27 Redwing, c3 Fieldfare, c9 Blackbird, c2 Song Thrush, c5 Blue plus c6 Great Tit, probably double figures of Chaffinch and a Coal Tit, a good start to the day.

Song Thrush

At Radipole things were also much the same with little in the way of bird, just a single Common Snipe was noteworthy. The walk along the promenade was a delight, but once again devoid, except for a dozen Turnstone and c3 Great Crested Grebe, of our feathered friends. At Lodmoor much time was taken to add Bearded Tit to the 2011 List but that was not to be but there were plenty of common stuff to view including,

an adult Moorhen accompanied by

one of last years young and

close relative a Coot. Lapwing, more Common Snipe, a few Dunlin and a good sprinkling of Wildfowl maintained the interest and leaving via the Weymouth Bay Avenue exit there were

2 Collared Dove (what Pink Floyd might describe as 'A Fine Pair'),

a rear view shows the extent of the 'collar'. A bus back to Weymouth and onward to Ferrybridge where a number of Brent Geese could be seen on the foreshore, which proved to include at least c2 Pale-bellied Brent (a sub-species),

plus 3 of a total of c5 Little Grebe.

c7 Little Egret were also feeding the margins of the rapidly falling spring tide, and this individual obligingly flew past me

and land quite close by - thank you!

Closing the distance on the Brent Geese a photograph was possible, but seeing this

Grey heron the other side of the bridge it was worth retracing my steps.

It wasn't long before it spotted me and moved

just a few yards up the Fleet. It's worth noting that today's tide was one of the lowest I have ever seen, exposing sand banks not often seen. I don't know if it was this that tempted this

Slavonian Grebe closer in but it was

a good deal nearer than the 2 off Preston Beach yesterday. There were a potential 5 species at the Bill that would increase the annual total, but unfortunately none of them put in an appearance, however once again I was happy to see more common species such as

this Kestrel,

a couple of Great Black-backed Gulls and

just one of several Jackdaw.

I note with interest that they have found the 'Shackleton Stash', 3 bottles of whisky hidden away during Sir Ernest's voyages of discovery in and around Antarctica. I had a shrewed suspicion there was some booze stashed away when I visited the area in 2007, 'cus I could smell it. The full story thus far, if you don't already know it, can be found by cutting and pasting this link into Google.

Meanwhile, here are just a few Shackleton related photos from that trip.

The picturesque approaches to Grytviken (Swedish for 'The Pot Cove'), South Georgia.

The redundant Whaling Station at Grytviken one of Shackleton's bases.

The grave of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton CVO, OBE 1874 - 1922

A commemorative plaque to the great man in the Grytviken Museum, and a couple of the locals:-

Gentoo Penguin

King Penguin

and finally, it has just come to my attention, via our local TV new station, that Portland landmark Pennsylvania Castle has been sold for £4 million to an Australian buyer. The building has had a chequered existence, maybe I can publish a few stories at a later date, but for now, when used as a hotel the restaurant was one of the best - I remember those visits with great affection.

Pennsylvania castle, Church Ope, Portland