Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Flowers in the Rain - The Move

A series of heavy showers before dawn heralded a dark, dank and by and large wet start to the day, lucky then that we are still a day in arrears! Yesterday on the other hand had started with dark clouds and a sky full of Common Swifts but both had disappeared by the time I reached the Rodwell Trail. The 'cathedral' arc of broad leafed trees are now spectacular as are the hedgerows with everything in bloom, but there was one thing missing.
BUDDLEIA, nickname the Butterfly Bush, in particular is devoid of Insects of any sort which given the conditions and time of year should at least be swarming with Bees.
It was left to St JOHN'S WORT to host the only Butterfly of the one hour slow walk, a Red Admiral, but there were other blooms.
HEDGE/GREAT BINDWEED are prolific along this stretch
but the odd stalks of LORDS and LADIES have already gone over to seed. Most of today's Wild Life action took place at Ferry Bridge where new
looks rather resplendent but,
while not wishing to put a 'down' on it,
appears to be huge overkill for such a small area - is that MONEY I can smell? Low tide produced about the same birds as yesterday, but in fewer numbers, except there were no Sanderling. Mediterranean Gulls were reduced to c2, Dunlin to a small handful, the Redshank was still there
as were c35 RINGED PLOVER. The presence of an over flying Sparrowhawk had a disturbing effect as most took to the wing, but soon settled to reveal
c4 much more obliging TURNSTONE plus
Also flighty, this one was noted to be 'ringed'
with a closer approach photograph likely to be of use to the 'control team'. In turn these images will be passed on to the Portland Bird Observatory who will know exactly where the interest will lay.
c4 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLs were also present in company with a close relative GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL giving a good idea of size differential.
Simply couldn't resist this WOOD PIGEON which sat on this fence almost within touching distance,
and what about that 'eye'?
The Great Black-back followed me as I made to cross the main road, perching on the VC,
where on the grassy areas at the other side both MEADOW BROWN BUTTERFLY and
6-SPOT BURNET were found but only as singles.
Plenty of action in Portland Harbour (looking towards the North Ship Channel) as Olympic Sailors prepared for another days racing under the watchful eyes of Jet Ski Police Patrols.
Sails unfurl, Nations flags flap in the stiff breeze behind the Olympic Rings and
'armed' Police and Royal Marines attend the main gate to the National Sailing Academy.
Awaiting the Portland bus, I took a look up the stretch of water known as the  FLEET, towards the Oyster Beds,
to see the 'farmers' bringing in another crop of the bivalve mollusc's aboard their flat bottomed barge. Directly to the home of the Secret Lemonade Drinker to request his company on the walk to the Bill and Observatory, during which time we saw
this most confiding COMMON KESTREL. With its back to us, it seemed little interested as we closed to within just a few feet
obligingly turning its head at the right moment before flying just
50 feet to another perch. Few birds or Moths at the Obs but as even good company and conversation and coffee before leaving to search Culverwell and Helen's Fields.
The small pond at the latter must have been there for a couple of years now but thus far seems to have attracted little in the way of wildlife save a few Water Boatmen. Today there was a single COMMON DARTER hopefully laying eggs? and so' back to Weymouth and a reci of the promenade to see what was going on. The crowds had receded even further from Sunday's low numbers,
however the Fire Service was still proving popular with those who remain in the town
and as has become 'usual' the Land Train was nearly full of passengers.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Error of My Ways - Wishbone Ash

Having brought you much of the lead-up and preparations for the Portland and Weymouth Olympic Sailing Events, today it's back to whatever may be described as 'normal'. I doubt it would be possible for me to keep track of the results anyway, so will refer the reader to the LINK published on Saturday. There are some residue photographs from last week that didn't make the cut then, due to time and space, which are thought worthy of publication today.
Firstly from around our neighbourhood, some of the efforts of 'locals' who have brightened things up
for The Games and
for Summer.
With the season seemingly now firmly upon us (that'll bring rain tomorrow for sure) it was no surprise to find both GREYLING and
CHALKHILL BLUE Butterflies along Portland's West Cliff, but in nowhere like the numbers that would be considered the 'norm'!
Moth numbers however have increased during recent muggy, warm nights with this MARBLED GREEN captured at the Portland Bird Observatory, and a
COMMON LUTESTRING found in Ricky Lambert's garden trap. Of great interest to me as I have never seen a 'Lutestring' of any species.
A BUSHCRICKET type but have no idea of identity,
while MARBLED WHITE presents no such problem.
With Rosie Morgan at the helm for much of the week's 'bird ringing' activities,
she came up trumps with this (WINTER) WREN, an opportunity for my guests to see such a tiny bird 'in the hand'
while this male LINNET remained 'in the bush'.
This blurred image from my friend Andy Lindsay is significant in that it shows a visit by a historic Stream Engine to our town.
It is noteworthy for another reason, in that the photo was taken through the reed-bed at Radipole and shows the locomotive 4464 named, coincidentally, BITTERN. I guess this is the biggest Bittern anyone has ever seen from the reserve?
Here's what she looks like on a 'Good Day'.
 Mister Bean Olympic Opening 
and finally, a few amendments to yesterday's post which to be kind to myself was a Comedy of ERRORS
The Harris's youngest son is not Matthew (he's the elder) as reported, but Michael (blame it on the Burgundy) while
the Dragonfly was also cocked up, it is in fact an immature male SOUTHERN HAWKER and not Emperor. Thanks to Paul Harris for both corrections. Now for a subject I should have some knowledge of, but NO........
HMS OCEAN is nowhere near our shores but where she has been for the past 2 weeks, playing Guard Ship in the Pool of London.
The vessel concerned with the safety of the Olympics at Portland and Weymouth is in fact the Royal Navy's Flagship HMS BULWARK while
this Old Lady of the Sea is in fact the BALMORAL and not as suggested the Caledonia. Land Lubbers wouldn't know that if you look at the bow of almost any ship in the world you will find its name, seems nor do I. Thanks for the correction go in turn to The Secret Lemonade Drinker and Dave Rashley.