Thursday 27 November 2008

A Water Ousel

I was hoping to get a blog entry on nice and early for a change this evening, but that didn’t happen because I arrived home from work to find we had somehow mysteriously (not accusing anyone, obviously!) acquired an adware problem on the computer and have spent ages trying to solve it…

Anyway, I haven’t found much time for birding over the last couple of days unfortunately, but I have been trying to sort out my books again. I’ve eventually managed to move the small pile blocking the front door and now I still have a small pile, but just situated in a different place, the corner of a redundant room like so:

I really need to get them into the attic but it's going to be such an effort to carry them all up two flights of stairs, I just keep putting it off. At least I’ve managed to get some of them back on the internet for sale. It’s a good job I hardly ever have to answer the front door because there’s now a new obstruction:

Lazy git's bicycle!?

Well it was going rusty in the shed!!

Right, enough drivel, onto birding. This morning I took Rex along to Branscombe. A beautiful picturesque village with a lovely beach. We were there to look at the sewage works though! (I say we, but I don't think Rex was that interested really) On Tuesday (I think it was) Ian M had seen a Dipper on the stream here, so that’s what I was hoping to see. A Firecrest, or better in the trees around the sewage works would have been welcome too.

Here’s a picture of the wondrous sewage works, there were plenty of birds today including three or possibly four Chiffchaffs, and squillions of Goldcrests.

I had a stab at photographing a Goldcrest, which is no easy task, but got a couple of recognisable shots in the end, all good practice for when I next see the Jubilee Gardens Firecrests, or indeed any hyperactive, teeny-weeny and preferably stripy warblers which may or may not appear on patch soon.

It took about twenty attempts to even get this!!

There was no sign of the Dipper on the upper reaches of the stream but after walking down to the beach I was surprised to see it right by the carpark, on the footbridge alongside the ford. I managed to get this picture from a fair distance away before a couple of walkers flushed it. I had never managed to see one at Branscombe before, all my previous sightings on patch being on the River Coly.

My first Branscombe Dipper

I was going to leave it at that, especially as it started to rain quite heavily and I’d lost Rex again! After several minutes of calling him he eventually appeared, looking all confused as usual, he could hear my voice but couldn’t see where I was. I called again, and this time he ran eagerly towards what he must have been convinced was me….. You've guessed it. It was someone else right?.... Wrong!!........ It was this!!!

"Oh mum, thank goodness I've found you".... what a wally!

Honestly! I ask you, do I really look like a National Trust signpost, even slightly!?? I reckon he’s finally lost it!

I got him back into the car and was just about to leave when the weather suddenly improved. I couldn’t resist having another look for the Dipper, after all when Ian had seen it it was singing and I haven’t heard one singing for years, singing would be a real bonus. I wasn’t going to be disappointed either because I soon located it again, between the carpark and the sewage works and it was indeed singing it’s little heart out. Lovely 'messy' kind of warble, I'd call it. I hadn’t ever noticed before but the Dipper or alternatively Water Ousel (which I like) is a brilliant ventriloquist! It was singing all the time I was watching but the bill appeared to be closed! Here’s a couple more pictures I managed to get from a tad closer.

And finally how about a bit of culture? A lovely poem by George Douglas Campbell, Duke of Argyll 1823-1900

The Song of The Water Ousel

And we scatter little cataracts 
That tumble through our wings,
When we shake the drops from off us
In a shower of silver rings.

And when we see the movings
Of little wings that strive,
We never need to teach them
Or how to swim or dive.

For the music of the river
Has taught them ere we know,
As came their glossy feathers,
As came their breasts of snow.

For the pleasant river loved them
Before they left the nest ;
It laves them in its ripples,
It bears them on its breast.

And from its banks of blaeberry
The tall, white stalks of grass
Bend down their plumes to watch us
And cheer us as we pass.

That was an ordeal, I haven't got rid of the malicious software yet and all the while I've been trying to post my blog entry it's been using up 96% of the CPU trying to open up pop-ups galore! It's therefore taken me ages! So apologies now for any obvious typos, just no time left to check at mo.

EDIT: It was a 'Trojan horse' Removed the blighter now..... I think.... I hope.....

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