Thursday, 24 March 2011

Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady - Helen Reddy

Some excellent news to kick off today's Blog post - Chris Cook has reported that he's fine and well after the Japanese earthquake. Many of our readers will remember Chris, a former resident of Puncknowle (pronounced Punnel) in West Dorset, and long time member of the Portland Bird Observatory. He has lived in Japan for many a year, but on the 16 April 2007 I paid him an unexpected visit. Knowing he is the fashion Editor for the Tokyo Times and having a few hours to kill while awaiting my flight back to London, I searched out a copy of the newspaper for the office address and took the Underground there. We have seen Chris back in UK once since then, and should he read this (currently 35 readers in Japan) I am very much not alone in hearing your great news and wish you the Very Best for the future.

Portland Bird Observatory - latest news

This link will direct you to Chris's full e-mail by looking at yesterday's (23 March) post and a further link to 'noticeboard page'.

Next, there is a spot of 'bad news' but only for Lesley Godfrey my companion of the last 2 days. I'm sorry to say that I have had to take a 'Prohibition Order' out on her, banning her from the Borough! You'll understand why when I explain that everywhere I went today the conversation was centered on her, which just won't do. Everything from "why didn't she take my photograph", to reports of builders surveying a friends wall, leaving the property agog. A HUGE HIT indeed, but I'm not standing for having my limelight stolen.

This is the link to Lesley's Web-Site which I feel sure many will visit time and time again!

and so to today, with continued fine weather throughout, the wind slightly backed into the east and moderated in speed, but little to show in the way of bird life. The cemetery was all but silent, while at Radipole if it hadn't been for a small trickle of Sand Martins that too would have been un-noteworthy. There again, the wealth of more 'common' birds always makes up for that so here are a few of them:-

a female Blackbird struck a pose,

while a recently flowering Daffodil look lovely in the bright sunshine. (I don't think this is a bird).

An excellent Lesser Black-backed Gull also performed well, as

these Coots started

battling to gain a partner.

With the other bird completely submerged the

whole scene became a mass of twisted bodies and sodden feathers, which certainly Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady!

This male Pochard was caught napping,

but soon woke up for a spell of

serious stretching of what looked like a spinnaker. After taking these shots, yet another attractive lady approached, Helen Lulu (hope I have that correct Helen), who said I looked like the man to ask a bird question. Coming clean on my recent prowess in that direction, it was a simple one about Canada Geese, before we got onto the subject of travel. A journey-woman in that direction as she (and husband) had also traveller the Alaska Highway (a re-visit for me this summer) and a considerable part of South America. Now late for work she had to hurry off, but there may be another encounter - who knows?

Continuing the 'people theme' on Portland, local builder Pat Reader suddenly pulled up in his van, someone not seen for a couple of decades so it was great to catch up with him. However, things were similar here bird-wise with just the odd Swallow flying in, plus

a Wheatear or two and a lot of Meadow Pipits overhead and on the ground. Returning to Weymouth on the 'top deck' of the bus, I was able to get a shot of this unusual looking vessel at anchor in Portland Harbour.

At first I thought the structure fw'd of the bridge might have been a helicopter deck but that would have been all to extravagant for a 'bulk carrier'. Via Google it was discovered that the fleet of Gearbulk are designed and equipped to carry specialised bulk cargo's such as forestry products and non-ferrous metals. I can only guess the 'goal post' like structures are some kind of lifting / loading equipment?

and finally, for those interested in such things, I am still trying to upload a link to the full Madagascar Trip Report of last year. Don't hold your breath!