Saturday, 19 February 2011

Nantucket Sleighride - Mountain

To describe things as 'quiet' in both the cemetery and at Radipole would be an understatement, with the only thing of interest was the start of the aggressive courtship ritual of the local Mute Swans. Regardless of that, it was much more mild than of late, the sun was trying to peek through a grey sky and by the time I reached Ferrybridge it was shaping up to be a fine day.

This week sees the highest tides of the year which didn't seem to deter the divers at the 'diving school' Fathom & Blues based at the Ferrybrige Inn.

Today the predicted height of tide was given as 2.6 metres, adequately illustrated by the water pushed right up against the sea wall, a course that I would normally walk.

At the top of the tide water was also flooding into the car park and given the prediction for Monday is 2.8m we should be seeing some more of this! There are rarely many birds during this period, but it's a good time to arrive as the water drops back reveling a fresh food supply for many.

There were however about 50 Dark-bellied Brent Geese in the malls beyond the Visitor's Centre with among them c2 Black Brant (3rd from left).

Wikipedia says, the Black Brant or Pacific Brent Goose, Branta bernicla nigricans, is a sub-species of the Brent Goose that breeds in Alaska and winters in Baja California.

There are an estimated 115,000 Black Brant in the world and about 14,000 are taken each year by hunters. Fox predation of eggs is thought to be significant and, in 2006, the U.S. began a 5-year fox removal program.

The population has been as high as 200,000; in 1981, and as low as 100,000; in 1987.


There was also a bit of yacht movement in the direction of the National Sailing Academy at Portland with, I believe this larger class racing this week pre-Olympics.

I made a point of calling into the Fleet Visitor's Centre to find if there was any more news

on the proposed extension to the existing building.

There are now 'artists impressions' posted there and apart from looking pretty impressive,

the construction has to be complete before the start of the 2012 Olympic Games.

As the tide dropped back, well over 100 Mediterranean Gulls dropped in plus

a single Little Egret

which didn't stay for long.

The plumage of this 'second winter' Herring Gull was a joy to capture by the lens,

and further up the beach there was a cluster of Common Whelk egg cases.

video
Woe Be-Tide

We have some of the highest tides of the year over the next few days, and I don't know what 'rate' these 'spring tides' reach, but I wouldn't want to be swimming against it!

video

and during my Cecil B DeMille period, my dear mate Tracey Baker happened along continuing her training for the Iron Man Challenge later in the year. Best of luck Ady & Tracey!

On the way to the bus a few Starlings were feeding on the grass verge and seemed worthy of a shot.

Yesterday's selection of mammal photographs seemed to have 'hit the spot' with a few who sent e-Mails, so might as well push my luck again with a few more from my various travels.

American Marmot (Woodchuck), Yukon, Canada

Birchell's Zebra, Swaziland

Cape Striped Mouse, South Africa

Agile Wallaby, Australia

After a nice bottle of wine last night, I resurrected this fantastic album from the back of the CD cupboard and felt it should be shared with you. Mountain, a US west coast blues unit did progress there music to another genre and were credited with being the first Heavy Metal Band. Featuring Leslie West on lead guitar and vocals, Laurance 'Corky' Laing on drums, Steve Knight keyboards and Felix Pappaladi on bass, The 'Best of Album' features several tracks from their best and most famous offering

Nantucket Sleighride (NS), is named from the short journey 'hand harpoonists' would take in their small boats when first spearing a whale, including the title track and the signature 'Theme From An Imaginary Western'. The latter was penned by Jack Bruce (Cream) and Pete Brown (Piblokto), while NS was co-written by G Collins and Pappaladi.

Goodbye, little Robin-Marie
Don't try following me
Don't cry, little Robin-Marie
'Cause you know I'm coming home soon

My ships' leaving on a three-year tour
The next tide will take us from shore
Windlaced, gather in sail and spray
On a search for the mighty sperm whale

Fly your willow branches
Wrap your body round my soul
Lay down your reeds and drums on my soft sheets
There are years behind us reaching
To the place where hearts are beating
And I know you're the last true love I'll ever meet

Starbuck's sharpening his harpoon
The black man's playing his tune
An old salt's sleeping his watch away
He'll be drunk again before noon

Three years sailing on bended knee
We found no whales in the sea
Don't cry, little Robin-Marie
'Cause we'll be in sight of land soon

Rock 'n' Roll trivia:-

Felix Pappalardi wrote many of the songs recorded by English legends Cream, but only until his wife shot him to death!

Piblokto is a condition suffered by Eskimos and those who spend much of their lives in darkness.

The 'instrumental break', especially the keyboard riff, on NS was used as the signature tune to the long running BBC TV Current Affairs programme Weekend World.