Thursday, 31 May 2012

Fire Brigade - The Move

Banksy and Bagsy 
Seems we beat the press to finding the latest Banksy offering which appeared in Lyme Regis, Dorset early February and through these pages as described in this e-mail.
Hi Bagsy,
Highlighted by yourself back on Sunday 12th February 2012 - it has now made the BBC news.
as sent to me by
Dave McCune (aka fishydave1)

After a terrific sleep, I woke at 04:30 and didn't even have to leave the comfort of one of my favourite beds to get the next Year Tick. There was a serious 'dawn chorus' already underway but intermittently and above all others a CUCKOO was hard at it trying to attract a partner.
When at Parley Court I do like a drive down to LONGHAM LAKES which these days feature regularly and often as part of the Dorset Birding Scene.
Details of the 'man-made' watercourse.
Looking from the main entrance more or less North
and more or less South.
Lots of PIED WAGTAIL were showing this morning, as were
REED BUNTING (male) mostly feeding young. However, one was not enjoying quite good fortune
as I caught some movement from within the netting covering these 'floating islands' secured to the jetty.
A female REED BUNTING had seemingly found a ready supply of food for her chicks
but had not considered the way OUT!
Obviously distressed, having dropped a beak full of groceries, it was time for the Emergency Services to step in. Dismissing the No Entry sign and having to resort to a little damage to the net the hapless bird was finally freed.
No more than 100 paces from there, this juvenile COMMON BLUE DAMSELFLY seemed to have opted for an early bath, and what might have been certain death, if once again the Rescue Services were not at hand.
Plucking a long Sedge from the bank, I was able to coax it to climb aboard and it was saved, left to dry off in the warming sun! A few common waterbirds were also seen including
a pair of frisky
and a proud parent CANADA GOOSE with Goslings (like 'em or not).
RYANAIR were keeping the staff at Bournemouth International Airport busy,
while all else on the ground were good numbers of Adult Common Blue Damselflies and
the shallows around the lake alive with young Fish.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Oh To Be In England Now That Spring Is Here

I know during my 100 days out of the UK there has been an awful lot of controversy reference the UK Border Agency, some entering the country having to queue for 2 to 4 hours to get a stamp in the passport or others to simply re-gain entry. 

Regular readers will remember the transit from Vientiane, Laos to Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia then onward to Perth on a series of 4 flight 2 of which were aboard Malaysian Airways. So impressed was I on those final 2 legs with the in-flight service that I promised to use that airline again wherever possible. The 5.5 hour flight Perth to KL was the same, without delay, a good drink, tasty food and 4 large packets of peanuts, a gift from cabin staff, to take with me. It's 13 hours 10 minutes from there to London Heathrow during which time there was exactly the same impressive service and again no delays. In fact 30 minutes before landing the Captain announce that due to a strong tail-wind we would land at Terminal 4 just under an hour early, touch down timed at 05:11 BST. One of the benefits of travelling light with 'hand baggage' only is there is no wait at the carousel and a lesson I learnt back in the 60's when the British Overseas Air Corporation (BOAC) were still in operation. Flying some of the earliest jet airliners, the company had erected a huge hording in the middle of Piccadilly Circus sporting a picture of a shinning BOAC Comet, cutting through a clear blue sky, with the words "Breakfast in London, Dinner in New York". Some wag had written in large letters below all of this "Baggage in Barbados", I have only consigned my kit to the hold twice since, both time under sufferance. The wheels touch the tarmac at precisely 05:11 and at exactly 05:25, having cleared Customs and Border Control plus purchasing a ticket from a machine (not a thing I usually do well), boarded the Underground Train for Central London which departed 2 minutes later right on schedule.

As Hugh and I drove back toward Dorset, there was chance to reflect that my GB Year List has remained at 202 since adding Glossy Ibis at Radipole on 15th February just before leaving home. During the journey south there was sure to be at least one addition, but that simply didn't happen. Hugh had briefed me en-route on the breeding activity on the farm, while on arrival Janet was quick to show me the nests of both Kestrel and Great Spotted Woodpecker, rest would have to come later, for now it was game on!
GREY HERON on the River Stour where I would walk the full 'beat' which flows along the eastern perimeter of the property.
6 LAPWING were seen occupying one of a number of broad strips of Maze Stubble left deliberately to attract 'ground nesting birds', with 2 'sitting' and another feigning injury (Plover tactic for distracting predators) so good signs that breeding is taking place????
 A PHEASANT egg looking every bit Crow-pecked?
COMMON KESTREL hunting and catching a small Mammal, feeding a brood at a second nest site.
SWALLOW nesting at the traditional site, the car garage.
collecting mud, sticks and some straw from around the Equestrian Centre
to continue building under the eves of the Manor House.
This area is benefiting a number of species, not least SONG THRUSH
which were c8 strong when I arrived.
I monitored this one, as the nearest, to see it collect a large number of mainly Earth Worms
which eventually it dropped to the ground, picked up one by one and swallowed before presumably transporting to the nest.
Lots and lots of GREENFICH, a good sign given the disease some have suffered.
GREY HERON as usual numerous, and at coffee time the Mountain came to Mohamed as
GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER paid one of frequent visits to the nut feeder. COMMON SWIFT was also added to the list.
Dinner and Wine followed simultaneously, and bed shortly after  

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty - Florrie Ford

Take me back to dear old Blighty!
Put me on the train for London town!
Take me over there, drop me ANYWHERE,
Liverpool, Leeds, or Weymouth Town, well, I don`t care!  
Each time I have passed this sign, showing what looks like a Lobster, I have meant to stop and read it, managing to remember today. In The Name Of Conservation. As for the rest of this final day, it was given over to simply wandering and picking up/photographing whatever was on show.
The first almost in focus was DUSKY GERYGONE (pronounced Jer-ig- on- he) an addition to the World List, so the very best of starts to the day and ends to the trip.
One of the Robin / Chat family, I have been unable to sort this one as yet but still working on it.
There's no doubt about the ambition of the little fella given the size of prey!
No shortage of CRESTED TERNs but they are so obliging, approachable and photogenic, they are irresistible.
Along with the Terns was this smart looking LITTLE PIED CORMORANT
while foraging the margins was the ever-present WILLY WAGTAIL.
Have been trying for a 'rump' shot of FAIRY MARTIN since they first appeared on the scene, this was accomplished today,
getting WELCOME SWALLOW 'by the stern' at the same time.
 Second sighting and first photograph of an all to distant AUSTRALIAN GANNET, but better than nothing,
but returning to the cabin for lunch the next subjects, fresh out of the fridge,
were somewhat closer and still.
2 good looking Hawk-moths.
Taking just a short drive early afternoon, the 2 tiny black and white birds on the overhead cables were initially though to be White-fronted Chat,
but stopping the car they were seen to be WHITE-BACKED SWALLOW.
Continuing on foot, one immediately took to the wing
while the other took to posing.
 Didn't notice 'The Shark' when taking this shot.
Yes, more adult PACIFIC GULL 'in flight' shots, the Gull archive is now brimming with them - thankfully!
and finally, what are thought to be VARIAGATED FAIRY-WREN, but I could stand being corrected on that. It should be note that they are 3 separate birds.
By the time you read this I should be winging my way back to England, but not as yet home. Another strange coincidence has delayed my return to Weymouth as described in an E-mail from my dear friend Hugh Dampney. He has been in Belgium over the past few days, competing in the Brussels Half Marathon and visiting his sister with his arrival back in London coinciding with mine. His proposal had been to drive me back to Parley Court where I could 'chill' for a couple of days, shaking off the 'jet lag' and doing a little birding as and when I feel like it. Knowing well the hospitality I receive there, not to mention the cuisine and cellar, how could I refuse?