16 May 2007

The long weekend...

Okay, it’s all just a small piece of history now but here’s a run down of last weekend…

We arrived at The Flowerpot in plenty of time for the Bluehorses gig on Friday, almost 2 hours early in fact! Well, it gave us chance to catch up with the band and a few of the regular faces, that and a little time for a beer! Whilst chatting with Nic and Liz we tried to work out just how long Lynda and I have been following the band - we reckon it must be approaching 11 or 12 years now! Doesn’t time fly!!!

When the Bluehorses took to the stage the first thing that the crowd noticed was the new stage gear - all the band were wearing kilts, black kilts! What more would you expect from a band that are probably the only Celtic-rock-folk-heavy-metal-goth band around? The other change came in the form of Rhayn Jooste, the band's new bass player. Rhayn, as we later found out, is a very nice chap and a damn good bass player too! He owns a rather cool pair of New Rock boots as well!

The set list comprised of 16 tracks in all; the highlights (for me) being “Witch In Wedlock”, “Billy Boy”, “Gravel Walk” and “Sitting Pretty” a song that always gets the crowd bouncing! Yep, I bounce, even at my age! “Skyclad” is a track that really tests a bass player and I was waiting to see just how Rhayn would cope with this one in front of a live audience - he played a blinder! Anyone seeing the band for the first time would have thought he had been playing “Skyclad” for years. All in all, a great night's music.

Liz - Bluehorses

Jay - Bluehorses

Liz - Bluehorses

Nic - Bluehorses

Jay & Liz - Bluehorses

Rhayn - Bluehorses

Liz - Bluehorses

Rhayn - Bluehorses

Liz - Bluehorses

After getting to bed at just after 12:30AM on Saturday, we were up again at 5:00AM to head off to Kent for a long weekend of bird watching. On the Saturday, we visited two reserves, Lee Valley Country Park and Rainham Marshes, both of which were new sites for me. Lee Valley provided what was possibly the best birding of the weekend - after only walking a very short distance onto the reserve we came across a group of six Hobby hunting over a lake and reed bed. To see one of these attractive falcons is always a treat, to have six flying around together, often just overhead, was amazing. The second noteworthy bird found at Lee Valley was Nightingale. I was fortunate enough to get a reasonable view of this very secretive bird, many of the group weren’t so lucky.

Rainham Marshes gave us the first taste of what the rest of the weekend’s weather would be like, it rained! Luckily I had my new birding coat with me (well, it was purchased with this weekend in mind) so the rain showers were only a minor irritation and didn’t stop us adding Little Egret, Cuckoo and Greenshank to our growing list of species seen. It was at Rainham that we also heard our first Marsh Frogs of the weekend, by the end of the weekend we were getting just a little tired of their non-stop croaking!

Hiding from yet another downpour!

Sunday morning saw us at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, a rather wet Rye Harbour! The rain here was heavier than the day before and the dry spells shorter. In between the downpours we did find some rather good birds though - Wheatear, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Sanderling, Avocet and Turnstone helped make the morning a success. The sight of around 20 Mediterranean Gull topped off a good morning's birding.

Possibly the only thing happy with the weather!

The beach at Rye Harbour.

Oystercatchers at Rye Harbour.

Sunday afternoon was spent at Dungeness RSPB Reserve. Once again, the weather tried its best to spoil things but, after a very wet start, the sun did finally come through and allowed us to enjoy this great reserve without being wrapped up in waterproofs. Of the birds seen here, the species added to the weekend list included Cetti’s Warbler, Marsh Harrier, White-fronted Goose, Red-crested Pochard and Whimbrel. It’s just a pity that, at times, you have to look at the nuclear power station in the distance!

The nice view at Dungeness.

The not so nice view at Dungeness.

Monday was our final day's birding and it was spent at Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve. It was also by far the wettest day of the weekend and, in fact, the wettest day's birding I’ve ever known! Thinking about it, it was the wettest day I’ve ever spent outside doing anything! The rain was almost non-stop and very heavy; my new coat kept the water out and my leggings just about managed to do the same. My boots are still drying out even now (the water didn’t quite get through those) and the shoulder strap on my telescope will be drying for days! Needless to say, we didn’t see too much here. Stock Dove was the only new species seen and the only real notable find of the day was the coach waiting for us at the end of a very wet afternoon!

Little Egret.

Just before the rain came down again.

Yet another downpour!

1 comment:

  1. Whata ya mean "even at you're age"? I happen to be the same age as you and that's plenty young and plenty of bounce left in me ;-)

    All that rain...what a man won't go through to spot a few new birds. Sounds like you had a good time despite the weather. Glad you two could finally get a long weekend together. Love the pictures.

    Me again XX