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  


  1. Glad you are back safely Paul. Well they had to let you in the country without a problem and speedily, I mean "Your face is your passport".
    You have returned to the good weather, which only just preceded you. At last we will be able to see some more of Dorset through your blog.

  2. Morning Roy.
    In East Dorset for a couple more days then back home. Looking forward to doing the rounds again and seeing some familiar faces. All the Best to you Sir and talk soon.
    Yours aye