Monday, 1 April 2013

Footy and birds

The Bank Holiday weekend has been mostly footy and birds. Naturally, birds came first with a stunning male Bluethroat on Portland yesterday morning, the second in as many weeks. I think Portland now leads the rest of the country 4-3 on appearances of this species in the last fortnight.

Male White-spotted Bluethroat, Suckthumb Quarry, Portland

Portland v Rest of England on Bluethroats has certainly been a more closely fought battle than the lesson in passing football served up by a purring Wareham Rangers under-10s team to local rivals Lytchett yesterday afternoon. This bottom of the table six-pointer was held at a bitterly cold Turlin Moor, scene of a drive-by shooting in January. Son George had a good game, as did they all, in a 4-0 away win. For many of us long-suffering parents, as well as George himself, it was the first time we had been on the winning side.

Chiffchaff, Suckthumb Quarry, Portland

'What did it feel like to win'? I asked. 'Amazing', he said. In perhaps not the best parental sporting pep talk ever, I said 'so now you know what it feels like to nail a shot of a White-spotted Bluethroat'. It was certainly a more exciting scoreline, and a better game, than the dross on offer at Dean Court today in the Bournemouth (1) v Scunthorpe (0) fixture. The Bluethroat was pretty shy, and it could have found worse places to hide than the Bournemouth goal line which didn't see much action all afternoon.

Male Black Redstart, Suckthumb Quarry, Portland

As the home side were fighting for promotion, and the visitors trying to avoid relegation, a bit more passion might have been in order. George and I attended to keep Uncle Andy (a Scunny boy) and cousin Jack company. After a brief debate about which stand to go in, we settled on the away end partly out of family loyalty, but mainly because it provided better shelter from the relentless easterly winds. These have been getting a bit tiresome, but in their defence they have played their part in turning up more than the usual number of Bluethroats.

Male Ring Ouzel, Avalanche Road, Portland

Even Uncle Andy had to agree that the Rangers game was far better value for money - an average cost per goal of 50p compared to £31 at Bournemouth. At £2.20 for a cup of hot chocolate which half-breached the Trades Descriptions Act (hot, but precious little chocolate), the catering also compared very unfavourably to 50p for the perfect cuppa from Mr and Mrs Mitchell's Touchline Bistro at Wareham home games.

Female Ring Ouzel, Avalanche Road, Portland

Eddie Howe's self-proclaimed 'Barmy Army' (enthusiastic if unoriginal) sang 'Bournemouth 'til I die'. Given the average age in the seaside town, that can't be far off for some. Speaking of death, a tideline Red-legged Partridge corpse at Arne RSPB was the most noteworthy bird in a bracing walk this morning. Not wishing to remind the Scunthrope or Lytchett boys of their league prospects, I resisted the temptation to post photos of the rapidly decomposing corpse, and have included a selection of live subjects from yesterday on Portland instead.

Drake Red-breasted Merganser, Portland Harbour

1 comment:

  1. I realise as a bird watcher the concept of a ball passing team passes you bye but that Bournemouth team you were watching is one....I expect them to be promoted (and even if they don't the whole of Dorset and Somerset can stop and watch them play Yeovil in the paly-offs)....and of course if they do go up they can play Leeds on a Bank Holiday weekend....