Friday, 2 March 2012

Au Fond du Temple Saint - Biset

When asked a couple of days ago if I'd like to go 'birding' with a difference it was intreguing, but today I found out why. Our destination was again to the north between the snow covered mountains that surround

an equally frozen Tokyo Reservour.

The day started with a mini lecture on the do's and dont's of the day, particularly use of a camera where not to point it and when not to get it out at all!

The local wildlife were already having difficulty with the rock solid Res,

in this case another Korean Water Deer, but there were more interesting things on hand as this was the home of more than 50

CINNERIOUS VULTURE locally called Black Vulture which does slightly confuse the issue as a bird of the same name exists in the Americas. Not only that, but it may have been noticed from this shot, that WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE live here too.

The Eagle is a big enough bird in itself, but look to your right pal and you'll see BIG! Really don't know what the Magpies in-shot make of it all but spend a lot of time simply harassing the Raptors.

Carrion Crows are summoned to come and eat up their Moo Cow - talking of thick, thick Bisto Gravy, just a drop of that on mine please.

and so once again we'll leave the photographs to tell the story!
Cor! that's better get some weight ON my feet.

It was never considered that 'dinner' could be such a novelty on this trip, but arriving at the

Buddhist Temple a whole new experience was about to unfold.

Au Fond du Temple Saint
(In the Depths of the Holy Temple)

I am neither religeous nor an Opera Buff but when the two combine under such fantastic circumstances I some times get to feeling I should be both. The link will take you to what is singularly my favourite piece from the genre, so much so that I once 'twitched' it at the Royal National Opera, London. Sung by 'dueling baritones', it is one of only two such occasions in the whole of Opera where this occurs. Give it a listern and await the 'refrain', then weep!

7 years old Saeyeon didn't think my operatic voice was up to much.

First duties inside the Temple was to meet the Senior Monk who made me feel very welcome and at home.

Then down to the Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding & thick, thick Bisto Gravy, well not quiet but some of it was OK.

The food is provided 'free' by the church which appeared to have the desired effect, the place was packed with many of the congrigation wanting to say hello. Saeyeon with Mum (left) & Friend.

More admirers, that little girl is too popular!

No good lounging around there lads, get the Marigolds on there's washing-up to be done.

Temple Drums & Bells

Come on Saeyeon better get that Ol' Dinner Bell ringing again!

After dinner, I was to be introduced to 'The Difference'

with this sign, one of many hundreds and miles of barbed wire fencing, being something of a clue. Yes, we were going birding in a mine field? Well not quiet but as we were now so near to the border with North Korea and the last conflict between the two nations not a million miles away, muck unexploded ordanace lies hidded in much of this area.

Thus far we had been as safe as it is possible to be, but with much 'sabre rattling' going on only a few miles away we were now entering the Civilian Controlled Zone and despite the name most of the people hereabouts didn't look like civvies to me. Each in a camaflage uniform and carrying an AK47 or similar, this was the reason for keep the camara 'stowed' most of the time.

South Korean Checkpoint, Panmunjon, DMZ. Perhaps needless to say, this photograph was not taken by me nor did we get anywhere near this place.

The CCZ is accessable to the local population along with those being escorted by the same, but this is only a 'Buffer Zone' while the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) is strictly 'off-limits'. Within we found:-

Plenty of Eastern Buzzards,

and similarly Vinous-throated Parrotbills.

White-fronted Geese seemed to be everywhere in supposed many hundreds, while later in the day

other birds begin to gather for the roost including Oriental Turtle Dove

and Magpies, so many of these here it's doubtful many young nestlings survive?


  1. Hi Bagsy

    Thoroughly enjoying those adventures. What a trip and I am a jealous man indeed.

    Safe passage


  2. So far, so good Jack with much else to do! At least I can understand what they are saying out here unlike the Hearts of Lothian hee, hee.
    Talk soon Mate