Friday, 31 May 2013

Spitfire - Prodigy

What could be described as a sparkling summers day, but if the lack of birds remained the same then "It Might As Well Rain Until September". It certainly started that was as Barleycrates produced little more than the pair of breeding Swallows at the stables. However, reaching the edge of the West Cliff things started to improve as a slow trickle of Hirundines passed overhead with House Martin being most numerous, Swallow much less so and a surprise at the sight of a tardy Sand Martin.
unfortunately only an in-flight singleton which drew attention to itself
by a few high pitched 'peeps'.
 Next on show was an equally vocal
 along with c2 Tree Pipits and c3
close to the Old Higher Light, the latter being an addition
to the Year List.
What is thought to be
was in full bloom on the cliff edge while from there were also seen
 a host of GUILLEMOT along with a single
RAZORBILL (centre top)
 some early morning fast anglers and a few
 What looked every bit like a predated

seemed to of some interest to one of the local RAVEN
 as another RAZORBILL floated passed at a better distance.
 Good numbers of GREEN-VEINED WHITEs were on the wing
 along with this distinctive SOLDIER BEETLE
 as I reached
where I lingered for a while in the now hot sunshine.
 While there, fly-bys included
 SHAG then the strangest thing.
 A REED WARBLER (not this one)
'flycatching' among the rocks.

AMMONITE FOSSIL preceded a look at the

rejuvenation of plants in the roped off area at the Bill
which seems to be progressing very well.

From there it is no more than a hop, skip and jump to the Obs Quarry where the LITTLE OWL too quite some finding almost out of sight in a crevice well below its usual perch. Another Year Tick! Even less distance to the Bird Observatory itself for a very welcome coffee and chat to those present there this morning. Relaxed on a bench the silence was shattered by what was to be the most exciting aeriel sighting of the day a
 SEA FURY Fighter Aircraft
which was on view for less that a minute as it zoomed fairly low over the lighthouse and disappeared to the north east.
The roadside verges on the way back to Sweethill are now an absolute picture with an array of wild flowers,
 while on the way WALL BROWN BUTTERFLY also fell to the lens.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Windmills of Your Mind - Noel Harrison

It turned out to be a very good call to leave my bed and breakfast at 05:30, to retrace steps trodden dozens of times, as by 09:00 heavy rain had set in for the rest of the day. To give those who are unfamiliar with the Isle of Portland it should be noted that all the photographs that follow were taken well within 2 square miles, mostly in the central/easterly coastal area, and I was back for breakfast by 08:00. The opening vista is across the wide expanse of the English Channel where this morning, unusually, only a single vessel was in sight namely this
Apart from a 'prile' of Lighthouses (as shown yesterday) the Island also boasts a hat-trick of Castles, 2 of which we would visit this morning both the oldest and the newest. The latter is
 a Gothic Revival Mansion built at the turn of the 18th Century.
Click Link to read more.
Just across the road is the latest addition to Portland architecture built on the old Perryfields Quarry site. From there and just a few steps on you reach the top of the footpath leading down to Church Ope Cove.
 Portland isn't blessed with too many trees so this is an area that has been cherished over the years. History abounds here as we pass under the
 Gothic Arch leading to
Saint Andrew's Church but a more accurate description would be Church's (plural). While there is evidence of Iron Age occupation here a number of ecclesiastical buildings have dominated the site since the early 1100's. It may also be noticed that gravestones exist inside the walls of the church.
This is said to have occurred when the building was extended into the attached cemetery while leaving the stones in place. This stone, one of those within the walls, was also damaged by bombs in World Wat II, with the scars not showing too well on this image.
Other stones have been uprooted and placed where best seen.
These 2 Sarcophagus hold most interest and memories for me as along with my 2 daughters, in their formative years, we would visit them on occasion and i would point out the
Scull and Crossbones
on the higher of the 2 and relate stories of Piracy and Smugglers.
While these yarns were warmly welcomed, truth of the matter is
these graves were those of perfectly respectable Portland people.
Commanding prime position above all of these is
(more to follow)
While further down the cliff is the tranquil
This mornings damp atmosphere had brought out lots of
as I plodded up the
Stairway to Heaven
looking down occasionally at the changing aspect of
Church Op Cove
and upward at the towering rock face.
synonymous with Portland.
Reaching the top, best views are had of the 15th Century
(east face)
(west face)
Most pleasing MILE STONES strategically placed around the Island.
The Castleated entrance to Pennsylvania Castle and Cottages.
The course of the old Weymouth to Portland Railway
looking East and West.
Wandering back through what has now become Horse Stables
Portland's Windmills 
The two great remaining ancient buildings in the Royal Manor. These windmills were first recorded in the Land Revenue Accounts of 1608 but they were probably over a century old by then.
They were owned by the Pearce family from the 1600s to the 1899. According the historian Richard Crumbleholme relief was given to the millers in the early 1700s for earthquake damage.
By the 1960s no attempt had been made to preserve these shells and the main shaft of one was still in tact. This is now in Portland's museum.
and finally, the EIGHT KINGS
Public House at Southwell but a little early for me!
Windmills of Your Mind is the signature tune to the film The Thomas Crown Affair 
It is hoped all of today's LINKS will prove useful to further reading.