Thursday, 16 August 2012

High Tide, Green Grass - The Rolling Stones

Having made an early decision to stay at home yesterday, all I saw of Weymouth Carnival was part of what I believe to be
the AEROSTARS aerobatic display team.

Meanwhile, it was an early start towards Ferry Bridge to watch the tide recede. At the crossing POLICE with SNIFFER DOGS were still on alert for the ParaOlympics
checking every sealed manhole cover and drain.
It was a fine enough site across the sand foreshore, but not a sign of the Little Stint or the half dozen Curlew Sandpiper that featured there yesterday. Quickly on then to Portland and
GROVE POINT particularly to check out reports of a Hoopoe that had been seen there earlier.
Patrolling this part of the East Weares, passing by one of the landmark chimneys, saw no joy at all
but the scenery is spectacular and there is always 'something' to be seen.
Not quiet so scenic is the Young Offenders Institution
and the adjoining facilities for the Prison Officers such as the BOWLING GREEN.
What were formally the Rifle Shooting Butts of the now long defunct HMS Osprey can be seen from here,
as can the 2 NAPOLEONIC BATHS which were both constructed and used by French Prisoners of War.
The Goats were released here some years ago during which time I have never clapped eyes on them,
which was put right today as there
were a total of 8 just lounging around.
The now derelict DURDLE PIER was once the shipping point for probably millions of tons of Portland Stone for the building of London and many other cities
while this precious natural commodity is still being extracted from 'open cast' quarries here.
A fantastic vantage point to view the Island trailing of to the south where among others Portland Bill Lighthouse and the Bird Observatory may just be seen.
In addition, 2 of Portland's 3 castles may be viewed from here RUFUS (Bow and Arrow) CASTLE (left) named after William II also known as Rufus during the 1100's Rufus Castle Link  and PENNSYLVANIA CASTLE (right) built in the early 1800's by John Penn, grandson of the founder of the State of Pennsylvania, USA Penn Castle Link.
The course of the redundant Portland Steam Railway follows the Weares almost to the castles
before forming a loop which eventually had the train running to Easton in the centre of the Island.
This is now a Public Footpath and part of the Jurassic Coastal Path.
TUDOR COTTAGE on the thoroughfare known a Wakeham is typical of a Portland Stone built home, and on closer inspection even the old red brick baking oven can be seen jutting from the stonework bottom right.
A short diversion at BUMPERS LAND gives a flavour of Easter Island while a reflection on the wildlife seen en-route on this magical walk includes
what I would describe as a RAIN BEETLE
c2 PIED FLYCATCHERS, singles of Common Sandpiper and Great Spotted Woodpecker plus dozens of Chalkhill Blue, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Gatekeeper and Red Admiral Butterflies, 'hands up' all those wanting a guided tour!
and finally, an amazing shot from fellow bird watcher Peter Saunders who has been monitoring the activities of EMPEROR DRAGONFLIES in his garden at Southwell, Portland. Here, one is seen with a BEE which it has killed and is now carrying off to who knows where. Further to this, Peter told me this morning that he has seen them catching Oak Eggar Moths, which must have a similar body weight, de-wing them on one side then abandoning them. Strange goings on in deepest Portland!!

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