Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Don't Look Back In Anger - Oasis



Fact is, I am now in Norfolk getting ready for the New Year Birds. A few hours 'scouting around' in appalling weather conditions and consulting various Rare Bird Sites (via my mate John Gifford) are proving there is not the normal quantity or quality on the ground here this year! Good news is that the wind direction remains from the south and while it is a little chillier than Dorset, we don't have that piercing, blast directly from the Ice Cap
Slip inside the eye of your mind 
Don't you know you might find
A better place to play
You said that you'd never been
but all the things that you've seen
Will slowly fade away
Where do the years go? Another one gone as quickly as that, so time to reflect on what has been another GREAT ONE for me!
One of the function of a Ship's Bell is to indicate time and is stuck in sequence during each 'watch' as per the table below.
Number of bells
Middle
watch
  Morning
watch
  Forenoon
watch
  Afternoon
watch
 1st dog
watch
   Last dog
watch
       First
     watch
One bell
0:30 4:30 8:30 12:30     16:30 18:30† 20:30
Two bells
1:00 5:00 9:00 13:00 17:00 19:00† 21:00
Three bells
1:30 5:30 9:30 13:30 17:30 19:30† 21:30
Four bells
2:00 6:00 10:00 14:00 18:00
22:00
Five bells
2:30 6:30 10:30 14:30
18:30 22:30
Six bells
3:00 7:00 11:00 15:00
19:00 23:00
Seven bells
3:30 7:30 11:30 15:30
19:30 23:30
Eight bells
4:00 8:00 12:00‡ 16:00
20:00 0:00
At midnight on New Year's Eve sixteen bells would be struck – eight bells for the old year and eight bells for the new. At the sounding of 16 Bells at the turn of this year we were in an approximate position of  17° 50' 00" North and 69° 30' 00" West close to the south west coast of the Dominican Republic onboard the small Cruise Ship M/V Voyager. New Years Day at sea made life just that little bit easier for all concerned as passengers could not get ashore containing all celebrations within the vessel. Our first port of call the following day was Santo Domingo, capital of DR from where we progressed onward to Jamaica, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia and finally in that first month to Panama. There were 3 main thrusts to this journey for me, one to cross the Atlantic Ocean and transit the Panama Canal (2 things that eluded me during nearly 50 years at sea) and to visit the final few countries of the Americas I had not yet seen. The first of these had already been fulfilled during the 'old year' so probably not surprisingly the favoured images for January were of the
 GUTAN LOCKS leading into the

PANAMA CANAL
and the bird of that period the 'endemic' 
HISPANIOLAN WOODPECKER
By the beginning of FEBRUARY I had left the Voyager and started my solo journey in Georgetown the capital of Guyana. Highlights there were getting rid of the
SANTA CLAUS Face Hair,
enjoying the city, especially the Botanical Gardens where the
Bird of the Month was seen the 'near' endemic
BLOOD-COLORED WOODPECKER
From there it was overland, and river, into Suriname with some delays getting out of the country as I had not acquired the correct documentation for that country. Resolved, I met my Guide
 OTTE OTTEMA
 who found for me the bizarre looking
CAPUCHINBIRD
and GREAT POTOO
By MARCH the travels had taken me to the diverse French Guyana where such interesting sites as the International Space Station and Devil's Island (the backdrop for Papillion) were visited. However, more than this it was 2 very special people who were the highlight here.
 Frenchman Jean Francois
 and his beautiful Thai wife Roong
befriended me on the quayside then drove me the 80Km to see
GUYANAN COCK-of-the-ROCK 
SCARLET IBIS
It was then on to Haiti and to meet
 ERNSO JEAN-LOUIS
Proprietor of the Eucalyptus Guest House in Port-au-Prince
his wife Gina, family, staff and friends.
 BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER
BROAD-BILLED TODY
After that I visited the few Caribbean Islands that were outstanding for and by the time I re-joined Voyager for the passage back to England every country of the 'Americas' had been seen! By the time I got back my house was close to Sales Completion, I also sold most of my possessions and all of the furniture to begin a new life as far away from Society as I can get. By that I don't mean family and friends, but away from corrupt politicians (another 'banged-up' this very month), THIEVING bankers and the like. In addition the
BRAIDS
had to go having turned into a matted heap!
My total number of countries visited this year amount to 21 if you count England, and who wouldn't, 297 new species of bird were added to my world list and the stroke of luck that was the BR√úNNICH'S GUILLEMOT added to both GB and Dorset Lists. BEST 'TIL LAST and that has to be Hugh and Janet Dampney who have been friends indeed since my return. In addition ALL of their family and friends have also made me so welcome. 
A HUGH THANK YOU TO THEM ALL!
So I'll start the revolution from my bed
Cos you said the brains I had went to my head
Step outside 'coz summertime's in bloom
Stand up beside the fireplace
Take that look from off your face
You ain't ever gonna burn my heart out
Don't Look Back In Anger I Heard You Say! 
Entry            Pageviews
United States
                 1877
United Kingdom
                   867
Russia
                   101
Germany
                     70
Poland
                     56
Estonia
                     52
China
                     18
Spain
                     18
France
                     15
Canada
                     14

Monday, 30 December 2013

A Fine Pair - Pink Floyd

By necessity the Post is having to be a short one today, still problems with the Internet. Since my 2 daughters reached adulthood I have gone as far away from Christmas as I can. Not a single card was sent and, mainly because of being 'of no fixed abode', only one was received. It's not an Ebenezer thing, far from it as I don't have Scrooge tendencies, but don't believe in the mumbo jumbo and commercialisation that goes with it. To prove the point these photographs have reached me of
 FREDERICK and ALEXANDER
 seen here with Daddy BERNARD
in their very first School Uniforms.
 You may say Bah Humbug but I prefer giving the practical gift
 and don't they just look A Fine Pair?
Otherwise, all else was the Sheik of Wherever was back, or more correctly his daughter who, if my sources are correct, has been given Daddies old Jumbo Jet. No apologies for such a short Post, fact is very little has happened today and still I prepare for my next trip which will take me back to familiar territory to the North and East of here.
Entry          Pageviews
United States
              1881
United Kingdom
                848
Russia
                106
Poland
                  92
Germany
                  72
Estonia
                  59
China
                  20
Canada
                  13
Costa Rica
                  11
France
                  11

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Video Killed the Radio Star - Buggles

PLEASE STAND ADVISED, WE ARE EXPERIENCING SOME SERIOUS INTERNET PROBLEMS AT THE MOMENT WHICH MAY PRECLUDE FUTURE POSTS.
IT IS BEING WORKED ON SO PLEASE TUNE IN 
So, that's Christmas over for another year, rather nice that we got another one in! A heavy morning frost turned into a bright sunny day, but still we have been confined to barracks so another case of 'All Our Yesterdays' again. If there was one regret during my 20 years 'birding' in the North Sea from the safety of an Oil Rig, it has to be not honing the skills of video recording and taking much more footage, To name just one opportunity missed, when from behind the cover of a winch I observed a Long-eared Owl catch a Purple Sandpiper 'on the wing'  and land just a matter of feet away. Firstly, it decapitated the hapless Wader before deftly removing both legs and wings before swallowing the remainder whole. These mainly short clips, taken 120 miles north east of Aberdeen, may be of interest to Mariner and Land Lubber alike!
BARNACLE GOOSE
GLAUCOUS GULL
GREAT SKUA
LONG-EARED OWL
BLACK-HEADED GULL with BRAMBLING
MERLIN with REDWING
MIGRATION
PINK-FOOTED GEESE
LONG-TAILED DUCK
SHORT-EARED OWL
STOCK DOVE
WIGEON
WATER RAIL
Entry            Pageviews
United States
                 1912
United Kingdom
                   874
Poland
                   127
Russia
                   103
Germany
                     66
Estonia
                     59
China
                     21
Canada
                     16
France
                     11
Indonesia
                       8

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Ant Music - Adam Ant

The day started to the tune of Robin and Blackbird, a fleet of about 2 dozen Fieldfare and with both wind and rain gone it was pleasantly sunny until noon. That's when the heavy showers started and have continued throughout the afternoon, with much more looming to the west.  Apart from anything else most of the day has been given over to preparing for the next adventure, so thankfully we have the last of the 'three part' series on Colombia to lean on.
 LOS NEVADOS
 and more lovely Colombian people
along with diverse vegetation, home of several species of Antpitta.
RUSTY-BREASTED ANTPITTA
BROWN-BANDED ANTPITTA
RUFOUS ANTPITTA
CHESTNUT-CROWNED ANTPITTA
WHITE-CAPPED TANAGER
GREY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN
COMMON POTOO
TANAGER FINCH
BLOSSOMCROWN
FLAME-FACED TANAGER
BLUE-NAPPED CHLOROPHONIA
SANTA MARTA PARAKEET
BLACK-BILLED MOUNTAIN TOUCAN
TORRENT DUCK
BUFFY HUMMINGBIRD
 and finally, just to emphasise the RARITY of the Portland Harbour  BR√úNNICH'S GUILLEMOT we received these statistics from one of our 'dedicated readers':-
First Record: Lothian, 1908 (Palmer. P 2000. First for Britain & Ireland, Arlequin Press.
Total Number of Records (1950-2007): 36
Most Likely to Occur in: October to April
Most Recent County Records:
   Scotland: Argyll (1969), Highland (1996), Lothian (1994), Northeast (2007), Outer Hebrides
(1992), Orkney (2001), Shetland (2007),
   North-east England: Northumberland (1977),
   North-west England: Lancashire (1960),
Entry            Pageviews
United States
               1936
United Kingdom
                 844
Poland
                 151
Russia
                   89
Germany
                   58
Estonia
                   46
China
                   23
Canada
                   16
France
                   12
Indonesia
                     7