Thursday, 12 November 2009

It's Yesterday Once More (and Panama)

Yes, I hear you when you say "what the hell did yesterday's post have to do with Panama"? Well, in true Bagsy fashion I had the post prepared, and at the prompt 'Publish' I met with an error. Being almost a 22 carat computer illiterate I pressed the wrong button and lost half of the post. I will return to that a little later in this edition (all assuming I don't cock that up as well). Also from yesterday, I should have mentioned bumping into Jay McGee, vocalist with veteran popsters The Rocking Berries (He's Back in Town, Poor Man's Son et al). Unfortunately, the early part of the party was drawing to a close and I had to get my Swine Flu Jab so was only able to enjoy a passing hello, but next time Jay!

Wood Pigeon - with the 10's (or maybe 100's) of thousands that have passed through Dorset in the last few weeks, even I could capture an image!

Today was a 'get out and beat the rain' day, which is exactly what I did. With high water now after noon, it was worth a look at Ferry Bridge even if only for the throng of 452 Brent Geese. There was no sign of any Pale-bellies or Black Brant for that matter, but there was a Little Egret, 36 Mediterranean Gulls a passing Merlin and 3 none too usual Mallard. Moving on to the top of the Island, Barleycrates and the West Cliff and down to the Bill produced just 3 Song Thrush, 8 Common Gulls, a Stonechat, a few each of Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Greenfinch & Linnet plus a tardy Painted Lady. It was good to be able to help 2 Andorran girls at the lighthouse, by taking photographs of them, and mused that in a very few days now I will be in a similar position. At the Obs, for my usual coffee and bun, I was in time to wish Prof. Peter Morgan bon voyage as wife Rosie was due to pick him up for a return to Wales after an exhaustive Autumn 'ringing' period in the Obs area. Over 1,000 birds were ringed in the garden while several hundreds were similarly process in the newly sewn fields opposite, but I'm sure more accurate details will follow in the PBO Annual Report. On the walk back to Southwell I noted 2 Common Buzzards and what I believe to have been a Stoat, and arriving at 'Slight' 13-30 the rain started in earnest at 13-45.

Charlie Anderson & Slim Good Looking Billy

Since the posting of 28 October, I have been asked by a couple of more dedicated readers to enlighten them as to why the Anderson family photos were included. More as a reminder to Billy, who recently became a 'follower', the story goes that while on our way to the Canal, we encountered a young 'birder' by the name of Ben. He was obviously good at what he was doing so we recruited him to guide us on our visit to the celebrated Pipeline Road and Summit Pond (part of Soberania Parque Nationale) the next day.

It was arduous as I remember but memorable for Crested Oropendola, White-bellied & Dusky Antbird, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Blue-chested Jay, Green Shrike-Vireo and the remarkably striking Blue Dacnis and Golden-collared Manakin. By 16-00 we had covered most of the ground and as we hit the highway Ben announced it would be a full 3 hours before the next bus, if indeed one was due at all. Reverting to my RN days and unveiling the trusty Union Flag attached to my nap-sack, it was back to 'thumb power'. The first car did kindly stop, but was so full of people, including a pregnant lady, not even the diminutive Ben would have fitted in. The next was a much better prospect, a huge, shinny 4 x 4 which also drew to a halt, with the Rasta driver asking how he could help. He directed Billy & Ben to the back door, then suggested "the old fella can sit up front with me". Whoever did he mean? As we started off he introduced his wife Judith and their 2 sons (who's names escape me now) and turned up the volume on the sounds system. Not surprisingly it was reggae, and while not exactly my cup of ganja was good for all that. Asking who was performing, our host said "that's me man, Charlie Anderson bassist for the Coventry based Two Tone outfit The Selecter". Happy to have landed among friends, and impressed by the notoriety, I could remember they had a string of 'hits' in the early 80's most notable being 'On My Radio' which go to No 8 in the charts.

Asked by Judith what we were doing, we told her of our exploits during the day and said the intent now was to get back to the city and 'chill' over a pint or two of local brew. "If it's chill and beer your after we can recommend the best place in town" she countered, "our veranda". This, to say the least, sounded even more promising and we were soon in the grounds of what used to be the home of the General Chief of Staff, US Army before they were unceremoniously thrown out of the country. The Anderson's had bought the property and as well as a home, was also a recording studio where the list of musical luminaries was far too long to note here. Ben decided to split when we arrived, but Billy and I were soon on the balcony enjoying the promised beer, followed by a hearty Caribbean meal and a shot or two of white rum from Charlies place of birth, Jamaica.

By now the 2 boys were well aware of our love of birds and asked if we would like to visit their neighbor who looked after the sick and injured avifauna. What they didn't tell us was that he was very selective in what he took in, which was restricted to Harpy Eagles. He only had a single juvenile at the time of our visit, but to see one of these monsters at such close quarters, one was quite enough. We had already seen Harpy on a previous trip though Bolivia, but this was something special, particularly to hear about their fate. When close to repatriation to the wild. he would 'donate' the bird to a particular country, hoping to advance reintroduction, and this individual was bound for Costa Rica. As darkness fell, the Anderson's once again loaded us into the vehicle and drove us back to the city, where on the corner before the Hotel California, where we were staying, stood an ice cream stand where we were able to show our appreciation.

The Anderson family & Billy

Marco On The Bass: Interview with Charley "Red Dread" Anderson Bassist of The Selecter

This link is thought well worth a look, especially the video close to the bottom of the page. I still speak to Charlie occasionally, and maybe one day I'll take up his kind offer to visit him in his precious Jamaica. If you're looking in Chas 'One Blood'.

and a couple more Albatross

Salvin's (Shy) Albatross - off South Island, New Zealand

Light-mantled Sooty Albatross - Antarctic Ocean

and a final word as I am still determined to get you all to spend some money on Sweet Rock 'n' Roll. I have just taken possession of my copy of Robin Trower's latest offering 'What Lies Beneath' and after just a single airing can report, it is full of promise. Not surprisingly, much of it is Hendrixesque, especially both parts of As You Watch Each City Fall which are a return to Castles Made of Sand colliding with Little Wing, but excellent for that novel Wah Wah pedal to the floor Trower style. Get your hand in your pocket!