Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Reeling In The Years - Steely Dan

Rock Trivia - from where did Donald Fagen and Walter Becker lift the name Steely Dan?

The rendezvous with my 'birding' mate Jo Lawrence was same time 07:00, same place the Radipole car park, but there was much action before that. On another morning of hazy sunshine, partial cloud and a gentle breeze the situation was 'grave' in the cemetery as I encountered firstly this pair of

Grey Squirrels 'bonking' away like Boris on a gravestone and a little further on the now seemingly resident

Roe Deer. From previous pictures, my friend John Gifford has deduced that these 2 are possibly mother and fawn, the female being likely pregnant again, but John is surprised that there is no male in attendance. I am surprised that they are here at all given the 'postage stamp' size of this site and the almost continuous flow of human traffic. He also suggests that the Caterpillar of a couple of days ago is that of the Lackey Moth.

The next occurrence was indeed music to my ears, as Paul Harris and Dick Morris both alerted me to the presence of a Savi's Warbler at Lodmoor. Thus far it had not been seen, but the song of some of the Locustella Warblers (referred to as 'Reeling') is most distinctive but one reel can be confused with another. No time then for anything else to to phone Jo and get her to get the 'sprinting blocks' nailed in. In double quick time she was there to pick me up, and arriving at Lodmoor there was no need to leave the car as the 'reeling' could be heard loud and clear.

Savi's Warbler photographs both 'borrowed' from the Internet.

Perhaps not described as 'skulkers', this species is by and large confined to reed-beds and thick, attendant bushes so are usually very difficult to see, but easily heard and occasionally given to perching prominently, but there were to be 2 bonuses with this bird. First of all, a Grasshopper Warbler was also 'reeling' in the same area allowing excellent comparisons between songs, and it did show a couple of times to the lucky few. Described by Green (The Birds of Dorset) as a 'rare' passage migrant and summer visitor, which had bred in the county, this was only my third sighting in almost 40 years. My first was at Radipole in 1982, followed by the second only a few metres away from where today's bird was found.

Taking a short intermission from this most welcome Warbler, I wandered off to see the first of 2 male Garganey (in company with Canada Goose and Oystercatcher)

which obligingly climbed out of the water as the other flew off into the middle of the Moor.

This male Wigeon also flew off with its mate.

Next, I needed to take a look at the recently returned Arctic Tern which has arrived at the Common Tern colony for yet another year. In 2009 it did mate with a Common with a chick hatching but didn't live long enough to fledge. This year once again it seems it is having to content itself with 'fish carrying', but no recipient, displaying to anything close by in the hope of another chance.

Arctic Tern

Common Tern

There are also, like most other places, lots of Common Whitethroat.

Returning to the Savi's a small group were still gathered, with among them Martin Cade (left) Warden of the Portland Bird Observatory and Kevin Lane (third from right) the Dorset County Bird Recorder. In addition to the above, there were also 4 Dunlin , a Ringed Plover, a male Marsh Harrier and a good number of Swifts, and although the news was bleak from Portland we decided to try our hand there.

Valerian, a plant synonymous with Portland to me, is now blooming along every road side, dry stone wall and derelict building and the

huge Sow in the Reap Lane small holding has now given birth. There were 14 'piglets' in all, with one dying in labour and another since

but the remaining dozen appear to be doing very well in deed. We did walk the full length of Barleycrate, making a circuit of it along the West Cliff and Reap Lane but there was literally nothing to report. As tomorrow is Jo's last full day we may try somewhere a little further afield but we'll have to look at the bird websites and weather before committing.

Steel Dan is a mechanical 'sex toy' in the William S Burroughs novel Naked Lunch - next!

Ticking Away the Moments That Make Up a Dull Day

You fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town,
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way. Cont.

Country number 137 joined our ranks late yesterday as we warmly welcome the Palestinian Territory. While this Blog is not intended to be a world political forum, personally a huge dream that before tripping this mortal coil I can visit an internationally recognised 'COUNTRY' called Palestine! Peace in this region is decades overdue, so I look forward to crossing the Palestine/ Israel border unhampered.

Welcome to our new readers in the hope there will be many more join our community, and pass the link on to others!

So, on to today and the weather matched the 'birding' perfectly under the banner of 'dull'. An early bus ride to Portland was met by a slowly clearing overcast sky, a stiff breeze remaining in the west and a threat of rain which didn't materialise. Barleycrates produced a zero, but walking the West Cliff a bunch of screeching

Herring Gulls alerted me to a large raptor flying high in off the sea. Such an occurrence would raise the expectations of any 'birder' as this could easily have been anything from a Montagu's Harrier to a Honey Buzzard.

Unfortunately, it was no more that a Common Buzzard but the buzz word here was the buzz, what it might have been!

As in recent days 3 Spotted Flycatchers were seen in the Top Fields, but there was little else. Even at the Observatory things were quite, and with a another agenda I didn't stay long. Lunch with my old 'ship mate' was priority today so I wended my way back to Weymouth

stopping to admire this Wild Carrot on the way.

A wander around Lodmoor would tie in neatly with the bus to Wareham, where it was a bevy of common birds but none the less welcome.

Greenfinch was first,

followed by a Grey heron beating its way across the moor pursued by a Black-backed Gull.

The Grey Heron soon put to ground, as did

the Black-headed Gull knackered after a long attack.

There were a total of 31 Dunlin on the moor, this just a few of those, and once again I was interested to view the

Common Tern Colony on the man-made islands close by,

while this single Common Tern seemed more interested in watching

a Coot building a nest.

Onward to Sandford and the Gurkha restaurant where John 'Ginger' Prince, wife Val and I enjoyed a most convivial lunch.

'Ginge' was my mentor in the mid-60 as a young Seaman he taught me many of the 'tricks of the trade'. I'm a lucky man to still have these people by my side.

Finally, an update on the Statistics that underpin this Blog, and a timely opportunity for me to thank each and every reader for taking the time to read these offerings. Pass the message to your friends please!

Tired of lying in the sunshine, stay at home and watch the rain.
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you
No-one told you when to run,
Pink Floyd

Num Perc. Country Name

drill down813877.50%United KingdomUnited Kingdom
drill down5525.26%United StatesUnited States
drill down1901.81%EstoniaEstonia
drill down1891.80%NetherlandsNetherlands
drill down1261.20%GermanyGermany
drill down1091.04%CanadaCanada
drill down910.87%FranceFrance
drill down900.86%SwedenSweden
drill down850.81%New ZealandNew Zealand
drill down640.61%JapanJapan
drill down470.45%ItalyItaly
drill down470.45%IndiaIndia
drill down470.45%AustraliaAustralia
drill down430.41%SpainSpain
drill down290.28%SerbiaSerbia
drill down270.26%BrazilBrazil
drill down250.24%FinlandFinland
drill down240.23%MexicoMexico
drill down240.23%Russian FederationRussian Federation
drill down220.21%EcuadorEcuador
drill down220.21%PolandPoland
drill down210.20%DenmarkDenmark
drill down200.19%TurkeyTurkey
drill down190.18%BelgiumBelgium
drill down180.17%SwitzerlandSwitzerland
drill down180.17%BulgariaBulgaria
drill down180.17%Hong KongHong Kong
drill down170.16%PortugalPortugal
drill down160.15%IsraelIsrael
drill down160.15%GreeceGreece
drill down160.15%EuropeEurope
drill down150.14%HungaryHungary
drill down140.13%Korea, Republic OfKorea, Republic Of
drill down130.12%ThailandThailand
drill down120.11%NorwayNorway
drill down110.10%UkraineUkraine
drill down110.10%Isle Of ManIsle Of Man
drill down110.10%IrelandIreland
drill down110.10%MaltaMalta
drill down100.10%ColombiaColombia
drill down100.10%RomaniaRomania
drill down100.10%SingaporeSingapore
drill down100.10%Sri LankaSri Lanka
drill down90.09%IndonesiaIndonesia
drill down90.09%VenezuelaVenezuela
drill down80.08%ArgentinaArgentina
drill down80.08%PeruPeru
drill down70.07%AustriaAustria
drill down70.07%South AfricaSouth Africa
drill down70.07%CroatiaCroatia
drill down70.07%MalaysiaMalaysia
drill down60.06%Czech RepublicCzech Republic
drill down60.06%Dominican RepublicDominican Republic
drill down60.06%PhilippinesPhilippines
drill down50.05%PakistanPakistan
drill down50.05%Trinidad And TobagoTrinidad And Tobago
drill down50.05%LatviaLatvia
drill down50.05%EgyptEgypt
drill down50.05%ChileChile
drill down50.05%VietnamVietnam
drill down40.04%JordanJordan
drill down40.04%GeorgiaGeorgia
drill down40.04%LithuaniaLithuania
drill down40.04%KuwaitKuwait
drill down40.04%JerseyJersey
drill down40.04%TunisiaTunisia
drill down40.04%Costa RicaCosta Rica
drill down40.04%MauritiusMauritius
drill down30.03%Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia
drill down30.03%EritreaEritrea
drill down30.03%ZimbabweZimbabwe
drill down30.03%Moldova, Republic OfMoldova, Republic Of
drill down30.03%LuxembourgLuxembourg
drill down20.02%KazakhstanKazakhstan
drill down20.02%United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates
drill down20.02%AlgeriaAlgeria
drill down20.02%IcelandIceland
drill down20.02%GuernseyGuernsey
drill down20.02%AlbaniaAlbania
drill down20.02%MadagascarMadagascar
drill down20.02%MacedoniaMacedonia
drill down20.02%MongoliaMongolia
drill down20.02%QatarQatar
drill down20.02%Palestinian TerritoryPalestinian Territory
drill down20.02%OmanOman
drill down20.02%ArubaAruba
drill down10.01%MozambiqueMozambique
drill down10.01%Falkland Islands (malvinas)Falkland Islands (malvinas)
drill down10.01%

drill down10.01%TaiwanTaiwan
drill down10.01%Virgin Island, U.s.Virgin Island, U.s.
drill down10.01%ChinaChina
drill down10.01%SloveniaSlovenia
drill down10.01%Bosnia And HerzegovinaBosnia And Herzegovina
drill down10.01%BangladeshBangladesh