Wednesday 14th – Friday 16th December – Middlebere and Poole Hospital   Leave a comment

Wednesday 14th.

Every year Poole Hospital provides a very good Christmas lunches at a very reasonable price for the staff. The catering staff must be complimented for producing the regular meals for those not booked in for Christmas meal, all the patients meals and the Christmas lunches all at the same time.

The lab had a couple of ‘no shows’ due to sickness and they phoned me to ask if I’d like to come, to which I readily agreed. Again I enjoyed catching up with my old colleagues, especially those who weren’t at last Friday’s evening out.  Before the meal the lab had the traditional Secret Santa event which involves my former boss Andy (with all the presents) being pushed along on a lab trolley by a number of ‘little helpers’.

Andy plays the role of Santa .....

... but soon disappears under a pile of presents

.. and soon we were down the canteen for the Christmas lunch.

Thursday 15th.

Amber has had the last few days off with a cold but really wanted to  go to school before term ended. Rather than have her wait at a cold bus stop I volunteered to drop her off at school in Wareham. Afterwards I continued on to Middlebere for a few hours of excellent birding.

For once  got the tide and the light just right. The sun was behind the hide and the tide was rising, driving flocks of Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings ever closer. There was nothing unusual but seeing over 800 Avocets and 1000 Lapwing performing aerial maneuvers was exhilarating. Along the access lane flocks of Redwing, Fieldfare and Blackbirds fed on berries and there were good numbers of Bullfinches in the area too.

Middlebere on the SW side of Poole Harbour, has wet fields, reedbeds, woods and an estuarine inlet.

Fieldfare (above) and Redwing were common along the lane.

About 1000 Lapwings were on the nearby fields or the intertidal area.

The Avocet flock flew closer as the tide rose.

Poole Harbour has the largest wintering flock of Avocets in the UK. Up to 1800 have been recorded on Brownsea Island.

By mid morning the weather had turned so I retired to Arne RSPB car park to watch birds coming to the feeders. Although Coal Tits and Nuthatches were present there was no sign of the regular Marsh Tits and the warden told me none had been seen for weeks. I find this disturbing as this was always a reliable site for this diminishing species. During my time in Dorset I have seen first Willow Tit and now it appears, Marsh Tit disappear.

Coal Tits are regular at the Arne feeders....

... as are Nuthatches, but where have the Marsh Tits gone.

Before returning home I called in at the private estate of Holton Lee and joined ‘Friends of Holton Lee’ allowing me access to this great site which lies along the southern boundary of Lytchett Bay for 2012.

In the evening Margaret and I went to the cinema to see the latest offering in the Twilight series. whilst acknowledging that the books and films are more targeted those of Amber and Kara’s age group than ours, I have quite enjoyed the saga (although I prefer the suspiciously similar, but more adult, ‘True Blood’ TV series), however the final book, Breaking Dawn’ has been turned into two films, and there just isn’t enough material to justify that approach.

The rather twee but quite entertaining Twilight series.

 

Friday 16th
Another month another retirement! I don’t know if its rats leaving a sinking ship or that the lab just employed too many people of the same age but today marked the fourth retirement from the microbiology department this year (plus two who have left for other jobs). My Italian friend and longstanding colleague, Giovanni Pietrangelo retired today after 37  years of service.
Gio was given a good send off, with kind words from consultant Microbiologist Dr Paul Flanagan. many old colleagues attended to wish him well, including Dr Bill Hooper, who was the lab director in the 70s when Gio and I both started.

 

 

Paul Flanagan (L) presents Gio with his leaving gifts.

 

 

Former colleagues: L-R me, Mike Brebner (retired 1995), Gio and Geoff Westwood (retired 2003)

Posted December 16, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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