Song Thrush…Torquay, Devon. Wonderful, uplifting song

Song Thrush….Torquay, Devon.

The Song Thrush is a medium size bird. The wings and upper parts are brown….the underparts are white with small spots. It has black eyes, dark brown and yellow beak and pale pink legs and feet.
It is a more striking and attractive bird then its description would suggest.

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The young thrushes have fluffy white feathers in their plumage. Song thrushes breed early in the year..these youngsters I recorded in late April.

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Song thrushes are omnivorous eating snails, worms, slugs and soft fruits..berries. They use stones as anvils to break open the shells of snails.

The thrush has a loud, clear, repetitive song to which is added a bit of mimicry plus vibrating trills.
It is a delightful, musical song that makes me smile.

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The poet Robert Browning wrote…

That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you think he never could recapture,
The first fine careless rapture !

The Song Thrush is showing a decline in numbers perhaps due to farming practices and loss of habitat. To me it would be a very sad thing to lose that wonderful, uplifting song.

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*The song thrush is the emblem of West Bromwich Albion Football Club, a club in the Premier League, because a public house which the team used to change in, kept a pet thrush in a cage. It gave West Brom footballers their nickname, The Throstles.

Manaus…place to avoid??

Manaus…place to avoid??

England’s Football Manager Roy Hodgson is in Manaus, Brazil, trying to build bridges after saying that Manaus, for whatever reason, was a place to avoid.

I’ve read in lurid headlines that you can get rabies, malaria, hepatitis….all sorts of diseases. No different then to most of the rest of the world. Taking precautions ie medication, inoculations is pretty much the norm these days for most holidays outside of Europe.

Manaus is a modern city. Yes, it has poor areas but so do most other cities. Manaus has a beautiful centre with an Opera House, French style square, shopping centres, modern luxury hotels and more then these it is surrounded by the amazing Amazon Rainforest.

I have spent many an evening in the square with friends and alone, without ever feeling afraid. I have walked alone back to my hotel in the evening and never been bothered. The comments I’ve read about it being drug ridden I don’t recognise as the city I know and love.

Our footballers are spending just a few days in Manaus. Yes the heat and humidity will hit them when they first arrive, but they are the fittest young men in the country, they can acclimatise and if they can’t cope with a couple of hours of football in the heat, God help us.

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Rabies, hepatitis and drug wars !!! Newspaper headlines…World Cup

Rabies, hepatitis and drug wars!!,

One of several over the top warnings about going to Manaus I read this morning.

Oh please…..

I doubt that our footballers will get anywhere near an animal when they are in Manaus..they will be encamped in five star, air-conditioned hotels. But if they did dare to venture out they would find the streets are not full of raving, rabied dogs anyway.
Manaus is a modern city, a bit run down certainly, but not a backwater in the jungle. It has all that any traveller, or footballer, could wish for plus the amazing Amazon Rainforest on its doorstep.

Inoculations can be had for rabies, if staying for months and living in jungle, that is.
As for Hepatitis, its generally caught through sexual contact, so the message is obvious to these young men. Inoculations can be had for it too, if they feel incapable of controlling their urges.

Sure it’s hot and humid, but if the team gets there early, acclimatises, drink loads of water, I’m sure that a couple of hours of football is not going to kill them. They are meant to be the fittest young men in the country aren’t they.

And drug wars?… This is Manaus….not Mexico.

Kingskerswell and Chelston against Upton Athletic. Local Torquay-Devon Football Club.

Kingskerswell and Chelston against Upton Athletic. This weekends local football match.

Stood in a park in Torquay this afternoon watching a local football match between Kerswell and Upton. It was freezing cold, my hands had lost all feeling and my feet…..well they are still recovering and yet, despite the discomfort, I was transfixed.

The young team of Kerswell weren’t expected to win against the older and more experienced players of Upton, so when they got the first goal it was a surprise. Upton quickly pulled back Kerswells lead and went ahead and by half time the game seemed to be won.
But then, to everyone’s astonishment, Kerswell scored another four goals.
The determination, hard work and strength of character of the young Kerswell players was a pleasure to behold.
As we left the field a great roar of joy, laughter and song came from the hut Kerswell used to change in. The result of a well deserved win.

I feel these young players put some Premier clubs to shame. I have watched many a Premier game and fallen asleep with boredom and as for England, well lets not go there. Perhaps it’s the weight of all that money the professionals earn that dulls their senses and desire to win, I don’t know…..for sheer guts and determination give me a local football match any day.
Kerswell-Blue shirts….Upton-Red shirts.

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