Monday 3 February 2014

Grebes and goals galore

This weekend's Wareham Rangers under-11's Big Match was away to Wyke, so I went down early with the Mitchells, whose son is our midfield maestro, for a look around Portland Harbour beforehand. Grebes-a-plenty at the moment - Black-necked appeared in small flotillas, Slavs popped up here and there and Great Crested were everywhere. A Red-necked was also present but we failed to find it in our time-limited search.
The Grebes in Portland Harbour were too distant for photographs: not so this Little Egret off Portland Castle.
I also made it down to Swineham this weekend where waders were in good numbers - this Curlew one of many
At the match, goals were almost as plentiful as Grebes had been: by half-time our boys were 10-0 up, flattered only slightly by playing down the 30 degree slope. They listened intently to the coach's pre-match talk, and did whatever he told them. We weren't the only parents on the touchline wondering what his secret was.

The sign promises Pewits... never let it be said Swineham doesn't deliver.
As the score reached double figures, squeamish mothers from the visiting team thought our boys should take their foot off the gas. But, their sons concluded, this was no time for mercy. They received the unspoken support of their fathers who have been on the receiving end of too many ritual humiliations in far flung corners of Dorset to not want them to fill their boots.
Marsh Harrier is expected at Swineham these days...

...Hen Harrier is more of a treat.
But for an inspired half-time change of keeper by the brave home team, which restricted Rangers to just three more wind-assisted goals after the interval, it could have been even more one-sided. Both Moore Jnr and Mitchell Jnr made the score-sheet with well-taken strikes, so we all went home happy with our haul of grebes and/or goals for the day.
Similarly, Redshank is to be expected...
...but Spotted Redshank is more of a bonus - this part of a flock of eight.
Wyke play on Portland, and the ivy-clad, Portland stone walls which circled the pitch looked ideal for a Dusky Warbler. And we were all impressed by the pitchside facilities: plastic chairs to give an all-seater stadium feel, home and away changing rooms and, best of all, an extremely cheap tea bar: at 30p a cup some 40% cheaper, I note, than the Mitchell's Touchline Bistro prices back in Wareham. Surely an inquiry by the FA, if not the Competition Commission, is called for.
This Redhead Smew, which inexplicably favoured Lytchett Bay over Swineham for several weeks in January, has finally seen sense and come 'home' - I missed its arrival so this was an excellent patch tick (thanks Trevor for the scope views).
Slightly closer was this Mute Swan.
Unlike Wareham Rangers I haven't been pulling up any trees lately birding wise, but a couple of strolls around Swineham at a pace which, in keeping with the theme of this post, can only be described as Berbatov-esque, have been quite rewarding. See pictures for the highlights.

Saturday was a day of sunshine, showers, hail, rainbows and dramatic cloudscapes at Swineham.

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