EEC at Alviso, 2001

Hot on the heels of two additions to my Santa Clara county list, two more by May 16th: “After the excitement of the glossy ibis (number 197) yesterday, it was back to business as usual at the Environmental Education Center this lunchtime. Well, not quite as usual. The ibis may have been species #109 for me in the Alviso area but pied-billed grebe checked in today at #110. How could I have missed that in all my visits?

“One of the white-faced ibises (which were county #198) foraged alongside the road leading into the Center, so I got great looks at that from the car. Of note also were a single pintail (unusual for this time of the year?) and a burrowing owl out in the grassland to the south of the boardwalk.

“The Bonaparte’s gulls don’t seem to be rushing into breeding plumage. Might I be seeing first-summer birds that don’t bother to migrate?

“Finally on a much more artificial note does anyone know what species of parakeet has a little colony by Sunnyvale-Saratoga and Mathilda? Are they even parakeets? I frequently see, and hear, them from the car on my way home.”

A little research determines that they were probably mitred conures, as aviculture knows them; that is, parakeet to you and me. Obviously I wasn’t counting them.

Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion

Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion
Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion

Steampunk has rather slipped under my radar but in the light of this week’s Archdruid Report I’m inspired to post my review of this science fiction collection, edited by Roz Clarke and Joanne Hall. As usual with anthologies it’s down to picking favourites and there are some crackers here. Just the second story, Brassworth by Christine Morgan, is a brilliant mimic of Continue reading

Ravens, Clifton Down

The Gully, Clifton Down, Bristol
The Gully, Clifton Down, Bristol

Right next to the Avon Gorge, my standard walk round the Downs should have produced ravens by now. Apparently not. I caught a cronk on my way in from Bridge Valley Road but could only see a buzzard, which wasn’t bad. An impressionist buzzard would have been amazing but I eventually located a shape in a treetop.

Another cronk confirmed that it was my raven before it flapped off. I had much better views while skirting the Gorge and found it, and Continue reading

December 14, 1972

Train to Anywhere
Hop on the Train… to Anywhere

What’s so special about this date? I’ll leave you with that question until a future post as I spin my related thesis that civilisation has been on the way downhill ever since.

One obvious symptom of this collapse around the 70s was the oil crisis. Suddenly society’s very lifeblood wasn’t so cheap and has never been since. Money also lost its meaning as currencies divorced themselves from gold and became credit pure and simple. Of course this fuelled Continue reading

Chew Valley Birding

Away from the pressure of year listing, Sunday provided a nice relaxing session round the lake and even some warmth out of the wind and in the sun. Of course my inner twitcher didn’t desert me entirely and my first stop was for the great northern diver off Woodford Lodge. I also gave myself time to admire a nearby goldeneye and chat to Ian Stapp – another face finally put to a name.

Then it was off to Herriotts for Continue reading