Weekly Chat (Non-Osprey), 14 April 2019


I hope everyone has a joyful and peaceful week! 

  • DIANE: Thank YOU. I don't like the looks of the weather headed your way but it seems like the worst of it will be passing to your east.

    HEATHER: I gave up dealing with OH's many many books......

    One whale today during my shift - and that was the sole whale spotted today - and then only because it breached twice right in front of us, otherwise we wouldn't have seen it at all. The lull in activity is normal between the adult and cow/calf migrations. However, the folks up north and those logging the nursery lagoons in Mexico are a bit concerned: The folks up north found two malnourished adult females washed up in San Francisco Bay. Both had evidence of injuries so they were hesitant to cite a definite cause of death, but they've also noticed a drop in the southbound numbers over the last year or two.. Also, more whales than usual have been wandering into the Bay. Meanwhile, the folks down south report skinnier-than-normal arriving adults, which means they headed south already under-nourished. Plus they noted fewer calves born this year. . Apparently all this reminds longtime whale watchers of what happened prior to a major die-off back in 1998-2000 when (I think) the gray whale population reached its "carrying capacity," meaning there wasn't enough food for a the large population, which resulted in a 20% drop in their number. The other lurking worry, of course, is the warming of Arctic waters with a resulting loss of the local food supply making the whales travel farther to feed before they head south. Time will tell.

    Have a good Sunday all.
  • Good Morning. Thank you to Diane for starting us off once again.

    Annette, that's rather sad and worrying about the whales. Of course, every species will have its ups and downs in terms of population, but when it gets to such a worrying stage it makes you wish you could do something.

    Hoping for a pleasant day, as it's our Wedding Anniversary, so we're going out for lunch. However, my OH has a busy morning first, as he is going to help his cousin deconstruct a garden shed and take it from a friend's house a few miles to his own. Hopefully, they will construct it again another day!

  • Not heard from my OH for a couple of hours, so I expect he is busy with said shed.

    Time to put some more pics on here:  We went to see a windmill which has been restored and is open to the public.  We have been there before, and there is also a Cheese Making Exhibition, but as you have to pay to go in, we were hoping instead to just walk around the gardens and get a coffee or a snack. Sadly, the cafe was closed!  Maybe they can only afford to man these venues in the main summer season.  However, we had a walk around.

    Another view of it:

    In the grounds was an interesting sculpture, made from the local materials, not sure what it was, but it looked a bit like a dragon!

    Some of the interesting plants, around:

    Another windmill seen on the way back to our base:  taken through the open car window.

  • We went down some country lanes, which is always interesting. There are farms and some very old buildings, also occasionally a huge and glamorous country home built by a Spaniard as a country retreat. Suddenly, I shouted Stop The Car!

    I noticed some camels being held in a pen beside a farm building.

    There were several huge camels, chewing contentedly on whatever they had been fed, and mooching around the pen.  This one totally ignored me, as I came up to the fence to get a good view!


    Then I realised that I'd been there several minutes, but a white thing on the ground had just moved --- it was a youngster!

    It was laying down and only moved its head occasionally - it was midday, and hot by then. Fascinatingly white and fluffy...  In the next pen, a long neck was useful to see if the grass was greener on the other side of the fence...

    The youngster is hardly noticeable here, a white blob on the ground.

    There were also some donkeys there. I always think of dear Margo when I see a donkey.

    A view of the mountains as we wended our way back.

  • Lindybird: Any idea why camels? Camel milk? Camel cheese? Camel (gasp!) steaks? I know they're called 'the ship of the desert,' but.....

    Gray skies here - a touch of May Gray early. Sun will be out later.

    Had an interesting time watching the crows yesterday. We've had a family of them for some years: First two, then another three and now another two since last year for a total of seven. Yesterday, I took half an oldish muffin outside, broke it up and tossed it on the ground under the bird feeder. Before I'd finished, a very bold crow flew down close to me and started picking up as much as it could in its mouth, then went off behind three different plants and dumped the mouthfuls, covering the stashes with redwood chips. He/she then filled up twice more and flew off with mouthfuls of muffin. Several hours later, I saw two crows poking about under the feeder. One of them wandered off in the direction of one of the earlier buried stashes and the other one had a total fit! A huge ruckus ensued and eventually one of the crows pounced on the other one and held it on the ground, squawking loudly. I'm assuming one of them was the earlier bird who'd hidden the stash but couldn't figure out which one was which when it came to the fight. Have never seen that before. Will have to Google crow behavior for a hint....

  • Hi Annette. The islands are only a few miles off the African coast. There are a lot of influences from there and one of them is seeing the odd camel here and there. I think they were used as well as bullocks to work the water wells in the old days, when that was the only way to irrigate the crops. Nowadays they're used to amuse the tourists: you can in some places go on a camel ride along the beach, or on the lower slopes of the mountains. Maybe what I saw was a place where they breed them, but there was only one young one there.

    In Lanzarote and other islands it's not unusual to see a colourful woman in full flowing Arabic robes, striding along. They sometimes sit in the markets with hand made goods such as carved wooden hair slides or ornaments. Also, some beautiful hand made jewellery can be bought with an obvious African influence.

  • We had a good meal out in a local pub. I managed my piece of fish OK, but my OH was slow eating his favourite lamb. When we got home he said he felt a little nauseous. He's just taken the dog out and I'll suggest that he doesn't eat too much for the rest of today.

  • Thank you DIANE for starting the week -
    ANNETTE - there was a programme on BBC World Service quite recently, regarding the whales. I intended to mention it to you on here but forgot :-(
    LINDY - unusual as you say, for your OH - but Happy Anniversary !
    AQ - it is always interesting to read about your weather, living as we do in a temperate climate. I heard about shootings in Melbourne ....

    A very quiet day here, just spent reading and pottering about in the house. It was granddaughter Mia's 14 th birthday yesterday. She had birthday money to spend and was trying on trainers. Little sister Isla (9) is very careful with money, Mia is not. When Isla saw the price of the trainers she looked horrified and said to Mia ' Have I taught you nothing?'

  • LOL, Heather. An old head on young shoulders!

  • Thanks Diane for the start to the new week

    Annette - it does sound a sorry state re whale watch

    Lindybird - thanks for the pics - yes it is rather an arid landscape almost deserty for the camels??

    Heather B - youngest GD wise beyond her age!! Glad eldest enjoyed spending her birthday money though.

    Not a lot happening - days starting sunny although chilly , then clouding over. Supposed to be getting warmer towards the weekend.


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