Monday, 21 September 2020

Bill - but no Ben

 Having an appointment in Weymouth anyway and being a perpetual 'weather watcher' things looked good so little need to check the tide! However, before we set off the there was the matter of the Moth Traps from where, in the first instance, there was to be a mighty surprise in the shape of our

 
second only

ANOMALOUS
also firsts for the year

MOTTLED UMBER

and

DEEP BROWN DART

The tide, which was crucial for any form of Wader Watching at Ferrybridge, where Weymouth ends and Portland starts, must have been at, or close to, Highest Astronomical which negated any such activity. 

Onwards to Top Hill and past

SAINT GEORGE'S CHURCH

(built in part on designs for St Paul's Cathedrel in London)

and close to where I once lived for 18 years.

                                                                             Soon the whole of

PORTLAND BILL
was opening up before me and most importantly

the car park at the LOWER LIGHT BIRD OBSERVATORY lay empty.

This is the second oldest of the 3 Lighthouse at Portland.

Met by the Warden 

Martin Cade

alone in his sanctuary, there was little, or more accurately, 'nothing' to report so decided to try my hand down at Portland Bill Point.

Met en-route by stalwart John Lucas it was a suprise to hear he is now half way through his

Octagenarianship and not looking a day older than our last meeting some years ago now!


That delayed my departure for a while during which time a Chiffchaff was caught in one of the mist nets giving the opportunity to watch the processing of this tiny Warbler.

The youngster of the trio is the still active and recently refurbish
PORTLAND BILL LIGHT
which warns mariners of the trecherous

Portland Tidal Race
just off-shore among other things.

The Race
not looking to threatening on the day.

There was no sign of a large black sphere at the mast of this
Cruise Liner
which would indicate her being at anchor, but given the distance, the mist
along with the fact she did not move at all probable shows that she was in fact 'swinging to the pick'.

THE OBALISK
A Trinity House triangulation point used by mariners as a fixed point ashore
to check their position, a little outdated now but a most novel sight to see.

PULPIT ROCK
is another crowd pleaser often being climbed all over and occassionally dived from.

THE LOWER LIGHT
from a distance.

Looks like young

Artisians and Stone Masons
had been hard at work, such a wonderful place for children as my own 2 would witness!

THE OLD ADMIRALTY COMPOUND
associated with the 
Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment
(out of view at the top of the hill)
and now a civilian Business Park.

FISHERMEN'S BUILDINGS
 and through the murk traces of
SAINT ALBAN'S HEAD
(to the east)

High on the Hill
THE COASTGUARD STATION
 along with the oldest of the 3 Lighthouses
THE HIGHER LIGHT
now a long time private dwelling.

So, with a last look across Portland Bill and the English Channel

and passing the PBO there was one final stop to take the
Finest View of them All

CHESIL BEACH
with Portland Harbour, National Sailing Accadamy, centre, and Wyke Regis Village distantly
The Natural Phenomena of this World Renouned 18 miles long Pebble Bank
is that the stones sort by size with the 'big boys' at the Portland end 
(foreground) with the village of Fortuneswell, and the 'pea like' at distant Abbottsbury!
A most pleasany afternoon was then spent with Sue reminiscing our travels together which included
visits to one of the most northerly townships in the world, Barrow in Alaska (the argument goes on) and for sure the most southerly Ushuaia, Argentina.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

A Selection of the Birds seen in Belize

In Association with Saturday's Effort 
we present just a few of the wonderous Birds of Belize but more particularly Crooked Tree!
 AZTEC PARRAKEET
(or Conure)
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE
 BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON
 OCELLATED TURKEY
BAT FALCON
BOAT-BILLED HERON
 MONTEZUMA OROPENDOLA
 Nest's of the Same
 JABIRU
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE
 LIMPKIN

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Belize by the Sea

A full and busy day 'off piste' yesterday (to be reported at a later date) 
was hampered by a change of format
by the Blog Providers, something I do not warm to at all!
Change in the name of progress is always welcome but just for the sake of it
Count Me Out!!!!
So with that and time running out, we will have to publish that which was intended for tomorrow
bearing in mind you don't live today for tomorrow as Genesis once sang!
There were only ever 2 Rules accociated with my extensive World travels, with
(1) - Travel alone, no mates no arguements, being negotiable on occassion and
(2) - Travel light, we don't want any of that waiting at carousells hampering us do we??
Best laid plans of mice and men etc........ we won't, as advertised yesterday, be publishing the 2 post series of the Rare Birds of Dorset photographs due to an unexpected addition to the readership early last evening. The country concerned was part of one of the most exciting, if not 'the' most exciting and interesting adventures I have ever embarked upon. While a further 7 other nations were part of that trip, with 5 already being on the reader list, it was the wrongly preconceived idea about this place in particular that jogged all the memories that are to follow over the next 2 days. Admittedly, this is also a bit of an indulgence to myself so it is hoped forgiveness will follow?
In company with Billy (Rhubarb and Custard Crumble) Burke our jaunt started with a sprint through the airport as we were about to miss our connecting flight to Mexico City. From there we 'back-packed' overland to Mérida, Yucatán but found it just a little too far from our first intended destination.
A short bus ride brought us to the small town of Piste where, having travelled for some hours, we decided to book into the Best Hotel - this is it! However, it was only for a couple of nights and not all bad as on closer inspection you can see displaying Great-tailed Grackle at the top of the ladder, and it was just 2Km from
Chichen Itza
seen here from the Bamboo Watchtower, giving great views of the whole complex 
poking out above the tree tops.
Temple of the Warriors.
Pyramid of Kukulkan
In time honoured fashion Jim the Medic could not make up his mind about this trip, and at the last moment decided to rendezvous with us at Chetamul (in the nearest beer bar) on the Belize border. Within 15 minutes of his arrival we found him on this balcony sipping a beer - that's our Jim!
 BELIZE
the most northerly of the 7 Central American countries is
 VIBRANT
to say the very least!
The 'Resort' (used in the widest sense of the word) of
CROOKED TREE
had been found on the internet as something of a hudden secret, but 
found it a little disconcerting when all the passenger on the bus started laughing
as we requested to be dropped at the newly formed, 5 miles long bund which now
joined it to the mainland.
We failed to thumb a lift vis the first 2 vehicles to pass us by, but then arrived the
School Bus - Oh had we taken more photographs.
A sea of beautiful black faces all dressed in the whitest of white school uniforms 
as we made the acquaintance of driver George Guest.
For the sake of brevity the coincidence was unbelievable as he, an 
ex-Grenadier Guardsman, had served with Kenny Taylor one of our
Production Engineer onboard the Buchan Alpha Oil Production Platform.
Our Home for the week.
More of the lovely 'Locals' whose names have faded with the
passage of time.
Gregory Crawford
senior son, Bird Guide and Boat Driver.
Just a flavour of the camp
before heading off to the
FISH and CASHEW NUT FESTIVAL

You would have to wait for my memoirs to get all of the stories, so for the sake of brevity suffice to say we stayed in insect infested wooden huts as guests of 80 years old Randy Crawford (seen here right with the then Belize Deputy Prime Minister John Briceo) and his lovely 82 years old wife Grace. They, along with a family consisting of a cast of thousands, ran everything around there and between them could lay their hands on anything you wanted. We, along with Mr Briceo had been nominated
GUEST's of HONOUR
some accolade!
Jim, Randy, Billy, George Guest his wife Shirley and Moi.Jim the Medic.Billy Crumble.
Yours Truely
 As special guests we were given the best on offer which included plenty of 'home brew' and not just any old BBQ'ed Green Iguana (Bamboo Chicken as it's known locally) but pregnant females complete with unlaid eggs. I can honestly report that every mouthful was a delight.
All too soon that week was over and on the bus to Belmopan the capital, where we hired a taxi to take us over the border to Tikal, Guatemala.
Some of the Birds of Belize to follow! 

The warming sun, the cooling rain
The snowflake drifting on the breath of the breeze
The lightning bolt that clears the sky for you
Yet only eagles seem to pass on through
The words of love, the cries of hate
And the man in the moon who seduced you, then finally loosed you

You climbed upon a burning rope to escape the mob below
But you had put the flaming out so that others could now follow
To be out of the bounds and the barks
Of those who do not wish you well

You must blaze a trail of your own, unknown, alone
But keep in mind
Don't live today for tomorrow like you were immortal
The only survivors on this world of ours are

The warming sun, the cooling rain