Sunday, 31 July 2016

Going to My Hometown - Rory Gallagher (Part II)

In Part II of our introduction to New Readers, and a recap for all others, we can tell you that contained within the bounds of our Recording Area we have 5 main water-courses. The greatest of these is the River Stour, which forms the southern boundary of Parley Court Farm, while also in the southern section is Parley Pond and its nearby smaller subsidiary Pool. To the north are 2 further Ponds, created by gravel extraction which, like the others already mentioned, are visited on a daily basis cum rain or shine. Additionally, there are a series of small Fishing Lakes, given over to the Ringwood and District Angling Club, which historically have held little by way of Wildlife so are only visited on an occasional basis. The last of these is a small tributary, which runs into the Moors River, and forms a southern boundary between Merritown heath (to which we have access) and Bournemouth International Airport. As a part of this there is a Balancing Pond constructed just last year to hold Airport flood water and as a back-up for fire fighting. 
Between the beginning of March and the end of November
our days always start with a visit to our 5 Moth Traps laid
fairly close to Slight Return II where yesterday the best on show were a
First for the Year
TREE-LICHEN BEAUTY
which was considered a very good catch in as much that
prior to 1991 there had only been 3 records from the whole of
Great Britain.
Since those days there has been something of a surge in records
and is now a regular immigrant to the southern part of the country.
JULY HIGHFLIER
was photographed as a pristine specimen as was
COMMON WAVE
Returning to the subject of water-course the first is known as the
IRRIGATION POND
in that during the days of Turf Production here that was the sole reason for the excavation.
Our daily visits here usually turn up something, even if only a
bathing Gull or a Pied Wagtail hunting Flies, but yesterday was
coincidentally rather more interesting than that.
Since the beginning of April this pair of
COOT
have made 3 attempts at breeding but thus far without success.
The first nest, at another site on the pond, was abandoned before any eggs were laid and the second also on this buoyant water filter platform initially contained 7 eggs with just 2 hatching but the next day the remaining eggs and chicks alike were gone, thought to have been predated by Lesser Black-backed Gulls. The same nest was refurbished and a further 5 eggs were laid but strangely, one or the other bird has been 'sitting' for a full 5 weeks now with no signs of young. There was however some notable action including a manoeuvre we had not witnessed before, the
 parent birds changing over incubation duties.
Changing of the Guard
Egg Rolling
they must think they are still in with a chance?
Known to be torrid defenders of not only the nest and eggs but the
territory all around, there were some infiltrators a family of young
MALLARD
which originated from a nest near by.
The off-watch Coot was fighting them off with a venom which due
to incompetence was not captured on video, but what was became a little hard to believe.
video
Did you see that? Was it a little red head?
It was at this point both adults entered the frey chassing of the Ducks,
but even more so allowing an opportunity to get closer to the nest
to observe what was going on.
Not a sign of the Chick but there are at least 4 eggs so we beat
a retreat but will continue observing on a daily basis.
video
Now, with our mind elsewhere we very nearly missed the
Bird of the Month
and only a movement in the corner of the eye saved the day.
With the water here both evaporating and being carted off to the
Eco Recycling Works
to quell the dust the 'scrape' is back in view and we have been longing for a Wader
video
and there one was.
at the far side of the Pond unfortunately
video
 but we can be patient,
video
 and after laying on the bank for a good while, the
 COMMON SANDPIPER
video
closed to a decent distance.
To end Part II before moving on there is another
Small Cutting
at the edge of the Irrigation Pond which was excavated
2 years ago to provide gravel for the Solar Panel Compounds.
Already here Coot and Mallard have bred while
Reed Warbler were also noted prospecting the site last year .
Common Reed, Greater Reedmace, Broad-leaved Pond Weed
and a tiny tiny stand of Bulrush have also established themselves
with 5 species of Dragon/Damselfly also noted.
Shame, it was destined to be back-filled but a word with Hugh,
pointing out the benifits, has well proved its worth.
WE HOPE TO BE MOVING ONWARD TOMORROW!
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Saturday, 30 July 2016

Going to My Hometown - Rory Gallagher (Part I)

More like April in Paris than the Summertime Blues
the murcury has hardly risen at all, it's raining
(in my heart) and there's been a Wind Crying Mary for a few days now!
But fear not, we are here to brighten up your day
with a journey around
'OUR PATCH'
No sooner had we plucked a
DELECATE
 from the Harbins Moth Trap, a First For the Year, we then recorded
GREEN SANDPIPER
on the River Stour, a location from which this species has never been noted before.
Mothwise, all else of note was a rather fine example of
DARK SPECTACLE
 but the game wasn't over yet!
 c2 quite seperate individual
BROWN HAWKER
 were taken, and what a priveledge it was to have such and Insect
'In the Hand'.
This was also the moment we were attracted by the distinctive song of a
 
CETTI'S WARBLER
at the 5th Golf Tee which is also on the river bank.
 Still not done there was also
 yet another example of the highly variable
HARLEQUIN LADYBIRD
With so many New Readers having joined our ranks in recent days
it was though worthwhile to introduce you to some of our
Habitats and things we refer to on a regular basis, such as my
 HUMBLE ABODE
 known colloqually as
'Slight Return II'
a refrence to the recording of the classic
Jimi Hendrix
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
but having enjoyed the 'experience' (no pun intended as this was the previous band of his band) so much he wanted the band to RETURN to the studio and do it all over again. Both versions were released to general sale but the title had changed 'slightly' to Voodoo Chile the black man's way of pronouncing the word CHILD. 
 THE ORIGINAL
"s'cus me while I kiss the sky" 
 remains on the Hendrix theme as part of the lyric from Purple Haze,
Purple Haze is all around
don't know if I'm going up or down.
Acting funny but I don't know why
S'cus me while I kiss the sky!
ASTERN
the theme changes to
Freebird - Lynyrd Skynard
which not only refers to the magnificent
Steller's Sea Eagle
(which it was an honour to see and photograph in Wakkanai, Northern Japan)
but also to my way of life!
I don't want your cold iron shackles around my leg
I don't want your cold iron shackles around my leg
Who killed John Henry, In the battle of sinners and saints
Who killed John Henry, In the battle of sinners and saints

Joe Bonamassa
(Please do not by-pass the Link above, 12 minutes of Rock 'n' Roll perfection!
Recorded at the Oakland Coliseum Stadium in 1977
it epitomises what this band were all about)
IF YOU DON'T GET YOU'RE ROCKS OFF TO THIS
 THEN YOU AIN'T GOT NO 'ROCKS'!!
in a nutshell this verse from the
Led Zeppelin Classic
KASHMIR
sums my life up perfectly, take a listen.
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded
"I look out of my window and what do I see"?
video
Not a Band of Angels following me but a juvenile
video
GREEN WOODPECKER
Feel sure that's sufficient bordom for one day,
we will continue manana!
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Friday, 29 July 2016

Stranger in Paradise (Kismet) - Tony Bennet

Having 'very much' enjoyed the company of
Annie, Lorraine, Tess, Paul, Dave and Paul (my Winger)
in the last couple of weeks, an unexpected E-mail
heralds the arrival of another Mate who is not known
that well to me but, after reading the following it will be
realised that should he need a suite at the
**** Royal Bath Hotel he would most certainly get one!
As regular and long-standing readers may remember on the 04/12/2013 we set-sail from Portsmouth in England on a 5 month long journey to fulfil a number of outstanding dreams. Despite a 48 years career on The Briny two things had eluded me, (1) crossing the Atlantic Ocean by ship, from coast to coast, and (2) transiting the Panama Canal. If there was a £ levy for every time I had crossed that seaway by air there would be enough to get a round of drinks in, while in the past, in company with Large Rotund William, we had together spent many hours discovering Ferdinand Marie Vicomte de Lesseps 'masterpiece of engineering'! 
 BILLY (Rhubarb and Custard Crumble) BURKE
PANAMA CANAL
Having already travelled extensively in the Americas there was
also a 'third' ambition that might be fulfilled but would necessitate
a whole catalogue of logistics, strength and resolve.
To set foot on every bona fide Country of the America's that had not yet been visited. The mighty SS Voyager would take me to a good number of these but there were still 15 to be undertaken solo including:-
Puerto Rico, both UK and US Virgin Islands, Haiti and Dominican Republic to name but a few, but also included would have to be the 3 small countries tucked in the north-eastern corner of South America.
As far as Bird-life is concerned on such journeys, there has never been a desire to draw up a Wants List, although thumbing through the various Field Guides night after night (on watch) there are certainly those which stick in the minds-eye. On this trip there could have been 'hundreds', but there were but 3 Mystical/Magical call them what you will:-
 BLOOD-COLORED WOODPECKER
similar to our own Lesser Spotted Woodpecker it is hardly any bigger
than a House Sparrow and just as difficult to find and photograph.
However, this was found in the Parque Botanical in the
capital Georgetown during a 5 day stay in Guyana.
  CAPUCHINBIRD
(locally known as Cowbird because they Moo)
was to be a whole different ballgame and without a 'guide' virtually impossible.
Enter Otte Ottmar who was hired for a week and took me to, among many
other places in Suriname, the remote Tonka Island. There it was a delight to locate my own
COWBIRD!
Having thus far nearly been killed by either Starsky or Hutch as driving recklessly from Paramaribo, the capital, to the ferry terminal at the border when hitting a full size Sow in the middle of the road and killing her dead. Having decided, under firm assurances from the locals, to ignore the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise to get a visa before attempting to board the ferry bound for French Guiana - WRONG! and then on the return ride, definitely Starsky this time, being arrested at gun-point as the driver was not only speeding but also had, illegally tinted windows. At the Police Station the Constable lowered his rifle for the first time and subject to a search the Plain Clothed Detective thought he had broken a Drugs Cartel when finding my 5 months supply of prescribed medication. It only took 90 minutes for me to convince him otherwise which in turn saw me miss a second ferry, while the driver was ordered to strip the darkening veneer from his car windows. Finally making it safely to Cayenne the capital of French Guiana, on day one there was difficulty accessing the sea-shore due to dense Mangrove Forest. Having been shown the Secret Path bright and early next morning stood at the root of the tiny stone pier which formed the equally tiny harbour. The first good birds to show were a flock of
SCARLET IBIS
 undoubtedly making their way to the marshy feeding grounds.
From the pier half a dozen
ROSEATE SPOONBILL
could be seen distantly perched in the mangroves. Taking a good long
look before raising the camera, as I did so a gentle female voice enquired
"are you a photographer"?
Without even turning to see who it was, politely said just a few minutes should
be enough to secure the photos then we could talk.
I turned to find a young and beautiful Thai Lady
ROONG
stood next to me and very quickly we were in deep conversation about
birds, travel, photography and all else.
After a few minutes she asked if I would like to meet her husband, and soon introduced me to
Jean-Fracois Ozoux
Telling them of the 3 target birds mentioned above it was also mentioned that the idea of the latter had now been abandoned even though the location was known, as getting there would be neigh impossible. Casual as asking if I'd like a sweet they simply said, "we can take you if you would like" - LIKE! cor blimey!!
Half way there they stopped on the dirt road so we could visit the
 and to show me the 2 specialities there
 GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN
 and
WHITE-BEARDED MANAKIN
COMMON TODY FLYCATCHER
for good measure.
A little further along the road we made another stop but this
time for quite a different reason.
 Opening the boot,
 out came the picnic with a huge assortment of food and drink
which included both beer and wine.
There were also a few 'exotics' while
John Francois
 introduced me to his
 FIELD SKETCH BOOKS
mightily impressive!
Other short stops along the way brought us
 RED-SHOULDERED MACAW
 GOLDEN-HANDED TAMERINE
 SNAIL KITE
 WATTLED JACANA
and
YELLOW ORIOLE
among many, many others.
Eventually, we came to a lay-by on the track and a sign which simply said
KAW
there was not a building to be seen, or for that matter any traffic so it was
though unlikely this place would have been found if alone, even if transport were available!
It was a long walk through dense jungle with nothing underfoot other than an
extremely steep, wet, boulder strewn path (with that term being used lightly).
Some time later, gnat bitten and infested by Leeches there was a wooden pole
barring out progress with a sign reading
NO ONE BEYOND THIS POINT!
We had arrived at the home of the
 GUIANAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK
The following day Roong and Jean Francois took me on another full day
Birding Expedition and would accept nothing by way of recompense,
"BUT WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND"
JEAN FRANCOIS IS PAYING ME A VISIT IN EARLY AUGUST!
Yes, that could just have been said in the first place
and saved posting another Blog, but not as interesting?
OUR 'HEADER PHOTOGRAPH' IS DEDICATED TO
JEAN FRANCOIS AND ROONG 
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