The same and different

You never imagine your holidays in the rain do you? But when I woke up at 4am local time it was raining hard.  Still a Northern Mockingbird sang outside – I didn’t feel mocked at all.

As well as the birds being different – or some of them anyway – we’ll come back to that – so is the human language.   I’ve had to repeat myself several times for others and ask them to repeat things for me – I don’t know what it is but there’s a slight communications glitch between us.

And the birds aren’t all different – starlings and house sparrows are, by far, the commonest birds I have seen.

I’ve bought a cell phone and a netbook so this blog is, fingers crossed, up and running.  Many thanks to a guy called Mario and the Geek Squad in Best Buy Columbia Heights who got me sorted out – much appreciated.

As I passed time while they did their stuff I was coming up the remarkably slow elevator out of the metro onto the sidewalk when I heard an unfamiliar bird song.  At present, almost all the bird songs are unfamiliar, of course, but this one sounded like it should be a warbler.

In the small group of trees by the Navy Memorial it sang its trill.  There were lots of sparrows in the tree, getting in the way, and then I saw a warbler with two white wing bars and a yellow throat and breast with an orange blob on it – a Northern Parula.  If you are a US birder then nothing to write home about, but since I am not, I am.

And meanwhile, back home, the Guardian has published a comment piece by me on the state of nature conservation.  James Meikle writes a piece about it and the NFU President Peter Kendall gets hot under the collar about it – but doesn’t actually address the points made.

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3 Replies to “The same and different”

  1. Good grauniad piece Mark. Now can you write something similar for the Mail?

    Also interesting to see Spelman sign a letter published in the Times of Malta yesterday

    http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20110502/opinion/An-ambitious-challenge-for-conserving-biodiversity.363180

    which explicitly accepts that intensive farming has been the main driver of biodiversity loss - this was reported in Farmers Weekly with more spittle-flecked indignation from Peter Kendall;

    http://www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/2011/05/04/126595/Spelman-in-biodiversity-loss-controversy.htm

    How can the NFU continue to be so self-deluded? This could be an opportunity to drive a wedge between the farming lobby and their friends in Parliament.

    Miles

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  2. Sounds as if you are really enjoying your trip Mark,we certainly do not want a wedge as suggested by Miles all that will do is drive individual farmers away from conservation and waste the efforts of those doing good.
    Conservationists completely wrong about lax cattle movements and poor bio-security it makes my blood boil they should read all the rules and regulations before saying such rubbish and there are as I see it no way of avoiding these rules.Not pro or anti cull personally just need to sort it out and whatever animals involved in spreading B T B they need to be addressed in some way.The latest case seems to be a 100 cows slaughtered from herd of 500 completely self contained nothing moved so obviusly brought onto farm by other animals not farm animals.
    Never understand why conservationists cannot get this fact and say how it can happen.All this rubbish about a cull not working well lots of us who know the heartache of losing part of your herd year after year could certainly make it work we would promise.
    Nice to hear you being appreciated and getting a free breakfast and the generous person you are leaving a good tip,carry on enjoying your trip.

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