Sapphire on Black

November 2, 2010

hbird290.jpgOver the years I have tried all sorts of ways of beating jet lag and figure in the end that simply sleeping when tired is best. That of course means I slept yesterday afternoon, sat up late and got some writing done (about 3000 words), slept and was up again at 0600. I wandered down for breakfast (al fresco) at 0800 and was served a cup of coffee by a chap who had no idea what I wanted. I figured that even though it was a working day that I was up too early for these people. It is now 0900 and I see (by leaning out the window and peeking under the bougainvillea) the breakfast bar being set up so my initial assumption was not far off the mark. Read more

Make Like a “Tawny” Stick

October 9, 2009

tawny290.jpgThere was always some wag who would whisper “make like a stick” when we were playing with guns in the bush (and earning the Queen’s shilling) – an oblique way of saying “stay still and hope your camouflage efforts are up to scratch”. The Tawny Frogmouth does a great job looking like a stick. In fact they freeze on a branch hoping you will only think you are looking at a broken stump. They lift their chin and stretch their necks out and peer at you through a narrowly slit eye – quite a different look to when they are active at night when you might see one hanging around the back porch light waiting for an insect or two. Their large orange eyes and round, fat look is more akin that of an owl. Which, by the way, they are not.   A frogmouth is a frogmouth. Not an owl. His “make like a stick” is formidable discipline (this guy allowed me to within a metre or so without a blink), far beyond any of that displayed by my military colleagues. And of course, much he’s more cute than any of them ever were!

A Birds Eye View of Hong Kong

February 4, 2009

grey-parrot-290.jpgWe walked down Boundary Street today after alighting from the train at Price Edward Station. It was a clear day and the high hills and steep slopes of the New Territories, which in theory stretch out from the other side of the road and extend to the China border, were clear and sharp. My eye was distracted by the aerials and domes which anoint each peak, taking me back to more belligerent times. We walked and walked and there was nothing as we approached the stadium on our right to suggest the bird market was imminent. Years of poking around these sorts of places have taught me to hang in there – your surprise is always just around the corner. As indeed it was. Read more


December 17, 2008

kea290.jpgAnother amateur photographer friend took this brilliant shot in NZ. It is the mountain parrot, best known for plucking the radio aerial off your car, ripping open your pack to get into your cereal and fruit and otherwise being a likable rogue. For the most part. Farmers take a different view when they select lamb or mutton off the menu. He is known as a Kea. Great shot Peter. (Photo: Peter)