Friday, 1 June 2012

Anyone For Tennis - Cream

Firstly today I can bring what is regarded as 'sensational; news from the Buchan Alpha Floating Oil Production Platform stationed 120 miles north east of Aberdeen, Scotland in the North Sea. The dates, during May, are unclear but reports from my ex-colleague and birding friend Dave Penney tell of day one when he paid his morning visit to the upper-deck to find what would be likely contender for 'Bird of the Decade'
this ICTERINE WARBLER. Not only an addition to the Buchan List but also new to the North Sea Bird Club List. Dave told me of his adulation and that his find may well of expired his luck for the rest of the year?
Not quite, as next morning he woke to find this
 RED-BACKED SHRIKE flitting around the pipework.
I did find one myself back in August '96 which was my only record - another rare bird out there. What happened on the third day was revealed by Jim the Medic via e-mail. He too had caught the bug (birding) and on his way to the deli-deck he called in to see Dave to find out what was about. Not a lot Dave replied and on leaving Jim quipped "OK, I'll go and find a Golden Oriole"!
By a billion to one chance he did just that finding this GOLDEN ORIOLE perched on a box-girder. In my view if your going to score a 'hat trick' this is the way to do it, and I send my hearty congratulations to both of them.
For me, the day started with something far less exotic but arguably equally rewarding as I visited the Chicken Coup to release the birds to the pen.
 After that it was a bit of 'bird nesting', and 10 minutes later these 2 beauties were sizzling in a pan.
Equestrian pursuits play a huge part in the day to day business at Parley Court, but for the Lady of the House, Janet (right) and riding companion Jen, they were already saddled up and ready to hit the trail for their own pleasure.
For me, after the E's for B, it was another stroll along the picturesque STOUR where the riverside meadows were alive with

BANDED DEMOISELLES, this one a male.
By no means an authority on the subject, I'll stick my neck out and describe this as a female of the above. The Field Guide points to greenish wings plus the tiny white patch at the end of the fore wing (pseudo pterostigma) as defining marks?
Recently emerged BANDED DEMOISELLE. Plenty of Reed and Sedge Warblers along this stretch again this morning, but thus far none surrendering to the lens. Time for a stop at Tudor Cottage and a cup of coffee with Mrs Dampney Snr, to exchange tails of the world at large, before heading for the
PARLEY LAKES looking splendid in the early morning sunshine.
Angling here is permitted to the Ringwood Club only with the only fisherman on site today having caught 3 x Crusian Carp plus a Common Carp, not a bad haul for the first hour. Unfortunately (for me), all had been returned to the lake immediately not allowing me a first sight of the former, or a photograph of either.
A little CLAUDE MONET and a lone
male MALLARD to end the visit as I wandered off towards the heath at the north end of the property.
No Dartford Warblers unfortunately, but there was this single YELLOW SHELL MOTH
along with about half a dozen COMMON HEATH MOTHs
and an array of FOXGLOVEs, so all was not in vain. As usual there were plenty of common birds on the way back, including
a coy ROBIN, one of only 2 seen today,
HOUSE MARTINs continuing to capitalise on the muddy conditions around the wash down area in the stables yard,
Mummy BLACKBIRD feeding young
along with a SWALLOW first posing then building
and a fat, juicy FLY that may supplement one of their diets later in the day?
 My arrival back at Harbins, at precisely 'PIMMS o' CLOCK', coincided with a GREEN WOODPECKER feeding from the garden path and the men of the house,
father Hugh (left) and son and heir Daryl all square at 1 set each.
This blistering 'ace' from Daz was probably the shot of the game but no match for
Hugh who walked away Victor Ludorum 6-2, 4-6, 6-love! Over to you Mister (Barbecue) Starter.

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