6 July 2007
Quiet summer days
So I've been reduced to snapping pics of flowers now. It'll be bugs next probably. I have no idea what kind of flower this is or even if it's 'wild'. It was growing next to the local river anyway. Not much new in the way of birds about recently. It's been raining the last couple of days and my big toe on my right foot has been feeling a bit gouty again. We went back to Onuma again a couple of days ago as my wife wanted to see the baby Moorhens again.
And see them we did as well as young Coots, Narcissus Flycatcher with young, Osprey, some unidentified Cormorants roosting out in the middle of the lake (Great? Temincks?), Oriental Cuckoo and some of the commoner woodland resident species. Woodpeckers, Tits etc. I took my first Nuthatch pics for a while. Not the tame sunflower seed-eaters from winter but rather this one beating the f#*k out of some poor catapillar.
A bit hazy and over cast. Spring or autumn is better for pics of Komagadake.
Although all the decaying waterlilies (or is it lotus?) tend to turn half the lake into green slime in late autumn. Still at least they're still nice to look at now.
The Red Cheeked Starlings and Bullheaded Shrikes are as busy as ever on the river near my flat. I wish I'd worked out how to take a dcent shot of a bird outlined against a the sky. Even photoshop can't solve everything.
Around July 6 down the years:
1987 (July 4) A Little Egret at Freckleton. This was still a pretty scarce bird 20(!) years ago. Now apparently there's loads of them on the Ribble. I saw my first one in Penwortham in 1999 just before I came to Japan. in 2002 I visted a friend down in Devon and they were everywhere.
1987 (July 7-) A post A level 'lads' 2 week holiday to Mallorca. Great fun at the time but of course I cringe at the thought of visiting those kinds of resorts now. Lots of drinking and visting crappy Euro nightclubs, an embarrassing misunderstanding with a predatory elderly German homosexual (luckily I could still run quite fast in those days and used this ability once it finally dawned on me why he was buying me drinks) and a handful of new birds too. Audouins Gull was the best one (seen flying over our hotel), also Woodchat Shrike, Thekla Lark, Short toeed Lark and Sardinian Warbler. Here's a pic of me 20 years (and 20Kg) ago in Mallorca.
1996 (July 6-) Orkney. A 1 week camping trip to the Orkneys. The most northerly place I've ever been. I loved it. Even though it was barren and windy. No real darkness at night time in summer of course. Perfect for getting stoned outside the tent after returning from the pub in Stromness. One memorable day we walked miles and miles around all the neolithic sites and the most spectacular sea cliffs I've ever seen. Of course I moaned I was tired but I handled the Great Skua bombings better than my friend Jon. Finished up at Skarra Brae, the oldest 'village' in Europe. Some nice birds. The crossing was great (after a night's boozing in Thurso) with more seabirds than I've ever seen. I seem to be using the word 'ever' a lot today. Close views of Puffins and other alcids, Great and Arctic Skuas, colonies of Arctic Terns, Dolphins, Seals............and a night on the town in Edinburgh on our return to civilization.
2002 (July 10-) Yet another camping trip to Scotland, this time to Skye with my wife as part of our honeymoon (we did make it to Greece and Malaysia too). Very wet on the island and the midges were really bad too. We went to the same places as I had visited several years earlier. Birding highlights were the usual seabirds (lots and lots of Manx Shearwaters I remember), Grasshopper Warbler and Twite. The weather improved when we returned to the mainland at least.
2006 (July 5). Onuma. My first glimpse of Ruddy Kingfisher at Onuma.
Not too sure about the signing of Torres. Still he's got to be better than Bellamy for dressing room morale.
Food of the week has been fried tofu stuffed with shitake mushrooms, Japanese basil and cheese. And tinned pineapples and/or fresh strawberries for dessert.
Song of the week has been on my i-pod has been 'place to be' by Nick Drake.
TV shows of the week have been Shameless (season 3) and Blakes's 7 (season 3 sans Blake of course). Who's cooler? Kerr Avon or Frank Gallagher?