Archive for November 2013

Saturday 9th November – Kara gets another gold medal.   Leave a comment

On Saturday Janis took Kara to London for another taekwondo competition. Unfortunately the  opponent in her weight category couldn’t attend so it all looked like a waste of time. Eventually the organisers agreed to let her compete against a heavier opponent and she still won gold!

Kara BCH_0505-web

Kara and her trainer. The screen on the left hand side of the picture shows the screen, 15 points to Kara, 6 to her opponent.


Kara displays her medal after the tournament

Kara is being sponsored by the company Wicked Coatings, this will enable her to attend national competitions and possibly even international ones.

A lot more can be seen on Kara’s blog at and a link to her most recent fight is at

Posted November 11, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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October 31st – November 1st – Halloween   Leave a comment

Halloween is a contraction of ‘All Hallow Eve’, that is the evening before All Hallows Day or All Saints Day, which itself is the day before All Souls Day when all the dead are remembered. In the Middle Ages this was a chance for the Church to pray for the souls of those who could not afford to or did not wish to pay for ‘indulgences’ whereby the clergy would shorten your time in Purgatory by praying on your behalf.

The festival may have had pagan roots before it became a Christian holiday for those preparing for All Hallows Day, but now represents a lighthearted celebration of all things ghoulish. Although long celebrated in Europe it seems to have largely died out here until recently being re-introduced from America in the form of ‘trick-or-treat’ where children dress up and collect small gifts from householders or threaten them with a bit of civil disobedience.


Trick-or-treat: Our next door neighbour Tabitha with daughters Sophie & Kacy


All the kids that came ‘trick-or-treating’ got a shock when Margaret came to door wearing this mask.


Later on the 31st we visited our friend Richard who is recovering from major surgery. He lives in the flats overlooking Holes Bay (see my comments about the Webs counts on 25th Oct) and this is the view from his window.

On the 1st the girls had a Halloween party. With the girls off school for half term, I spent a lot of the day ferrying Kara about getting supplies for the party whilst Amber stayed at home and decorated the house with fake cobwebs and cut out bats.


We called in to the party for about 45 minutes, mainly to give Janis moral support! Of course we had to get into character first …..


….. which is more than most of the teenagers did, they were more interested in playing ‘spin the bottle’ (again)


Amber dressed as a witch …..


…. whilst Kara kept to her scary doll persona.


The scariest thing about this Halloween was going to a teenage party!


‘You’ll always find her in the kitchen at parties’

Posted November 2, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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29th Oct – 2nd Nov – bit more ringing.   Leave a comment

During this week the windy weather interspersed with heavy showers has continued. Not very conducive to our autumn ringing program but I have managed to get out on three occasions.

On the 29th our trainee Carol and I visited Holton Lee, the private estate on the south side of Lytchett Bay. I was keen to see how many of the birds I had ringed last winter were still coming to the feeders. The answer seemed to be not many, as only one Blue Tit and one Nuthatch out of the 142 birds we ringed last winter were re-trapped. Of course more of last years bird might be in the vicinity, just not coming to the feeders that morning, but it does show what a rapid turn over occurs, even among sedentary birds like tits, woodpeckers and Dunnocks from year to year due to natural mortality.

We trapped three Great Spotted Woodpeckers, all young males, a new Nuthatch, several Goldcrests and two Marsh Tits. There also seemed to be a new influx of Robins, as seven were ringed. Being highly territorial in the winter, it seems unlikely that they had been around for long as you would expect a resident bird to chose and defend a territory against all comers. Although a local breeder there is definitely an influx of migrant Robins every autumn.


There has been a significant decline in Marsh Tit numbers in recent years. This has been variously attributed to competition with increasing numbers of Blue and Great Tits for food and nesting sites and to the destruction of their favoured understory by a burgeoning deer population.

On visit a Durlston on the 30th we saw a good number of finches, Redwings and even a  few Swallows on migration. We ringed 35 birds, predominately Goldfinches. It would seem that the large numbers of migrant warblers we experienced since we commenced autumn ringing at the start of August is now over.

On the 2nd, Mick was joined by his friend and former trainer Mick Netherwood who was visiting from London. I have known both of them for many years since we used to ring at Chapman’s Pool, the annual visit for a week or so by the ‘two Micks’ was a firm fixture in the ringing calender. As I haven’t seen Mick N for several years, I joined them, although I have to admit the conditions weren’t promising. Increasing wind and showers meant we had to pack up by 0930 but although we only trapped 21 birds, we had a couple of corkers.


This was the first Firecrest we have trapped at Durlston this autumn. Numbers of this, our smallest bird (along with Goldcrest), seem to be increasing with more breeding pairs being discovered. It is not yet known if the Firecrests that breed in the UK are represented among the migrants encountered on the coast but ringing recoveries have indicated that many of the migrant birds come from the near continent.


The real surprise was the capture of this Yellow-browed Warbler. No longer a rarity, this species is best considered a scarce migrant. From 1968-84, 0-5 were recorded annually in Dorset, from 1985-99 up to 29, but these days over 40 are seen, with Portland taking the lion’s share. Probably a couple of thousand pass through the whole of the UK each autumn. Whilst the vast majority of the population breed in Siberia and winter in SE Asia, it may be that the most westerly breeding population is establishing a separate wintering ground in western Europe.


Today was the first date since the start of August where we haven’t trapped either a Willow Warbler or a Chiffchaff at Durlston. However in world terms YBW is perhaps the most numerous of the genus Phylloscopus, breeding across vast swathes of the Siberian taiga. This species needs to be distinguished from the very similar, but considerably rarer, Hume’s Leaf Warbler (with which it was once considered conspecific) but Hume’s is greyer, has a reduced median covert bar, all dark bill, darker legs and paler centres to the tertials and coverts. They also differ considerably in vocalisations, but that would have been of no use in this circumstance. Photo by Simon Breeze.

Posted November 2, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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