Apr. 13th, 2010 10:40 am
ewein2412: (osprey nest)
The osprey has laid an egg!

The wildlife center has a gripping blog here (I know, not everybody is as obsessed as I am):

and I think this is the direct link to the webcam:

END of public service announcement No. 1.

PSA No. 2:

Sara has done a few more Sims characters including Sofya, Esato, Priamos and Abreha. Now if I can just get her to stick in some links to my books, because more people have downloaded Goewin than read this blog!
ewein2412: (Default)
bird talk

those of you who have been paying attention (which means you probably live in Scotland, as there has been quite a bit of media coverage on these ospreys) will know by now that the second chick died on Tuesday--they reckon because it was raining so much over the weekend that the male osprey couldn't see to catch enough fish to feed everybody. The good news is that the third egg hatched on Wednesday morning. I don't know what the fish situation is at the moment but the weather has been better and both chicks look ok.

here they are again

I, you may know, have been watching so obsessively that I *knew* the chick was dying before it actually died, and got a glimpse of the newly hatched one when it was only three hours old. I think I might have to go and volunteer at the osprey center next year. They keep a twenty-four hour watch while the eggs are incubating (because people try to steal them) and they said they had about 70 volunteers.

book talk

Some of you may recall that about a million years ago here I promised a copy of Firebirds Soaring or the paperback edition of The Mark of Solomon (assuming it is issued according to plan) to the person who came up with a new title for it. Nobody really did, and anyway the ultimate decision STILL hasn't been made, but it generated a lot of discussion, continued here, and I have been feeling guilty about not awarding any handouts! So I'm going to arbitrarily name [ profile] estara and [ profile] firiel44 as the book winners (which is not to say there won't be another at end of play), because they both contributed a ton of useful suggestions. E-mail me at ewein2412 [AT] yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk to arrange delivery of the goods.

So, The Sword Dance. Too long. Having chopped out all the non-essential scenes I am now making a second pass and chopping out all the non-essential fluff (in the immortal advice of Strunk and White, "Omit Needless Words!"). Oh Mr. Pound.

Here's the latest crop of typos:

"The blook seeped black"

"I give you the kingdom at low coast"

"The fainly murmuring crowd"

And my two personal favourites:

"…wrapped in one of her shapeless British shawls of chequered wood"

and the very mysterious

"…field of smouldering peal furrowshad."

And speaking of peals…

bell talk

(oh, what a segué!) I am ringing a peal tomorrow at the Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling (no lie, that's what it's called). For the uninitiated, a peal is a three-hour non-stop bell ringers' performance. The last peal I rang was nearly eleven years ago, on mini-bells; the last tower bell peal I rang was over eleven years ago. This one is seven methods, so seven patterns to learn, one of which I'm pretty sure I've never even struck blows in. I am SO OUT OF PRACTICE learning bell ringers' methods. They are SO going to regret inviting me.

But tonight we are going to Edinburgh to see part 1 of His Dark Materials. Part 2 is on Sunday. The reviews are a bit mixed. I hope Mark and Tim don't expire.
ewein2412: (Default)
At the moment it says on the Loch of Lowes diary that one egg has hatched, but in fact there are TWO chicks. They hatched within 12 hours of each other and are about three days old now. As I write this you will not have a chance of seeing them because it is pouring and the mother osprey is not going to get up off them to let them catch cold, but it's supposed to clear up this afternoon, and the dad brings them fish regularly which the mum feeds them. Maybe you have to watch as obsessively as I do to actually catch them in action, but you might get lucky.

The chicks were hatched in an absolutely HOWLING gale. The wind was about 25 mph for about two days, gusting to 40 mph, and it was pouring. The mother just would not budge. I kept expecting the tree to blow over, or the nest to blow apart, but it doesn't (and they built it with their BEAKS.) This bird is really giving me a strange new perspective on motherhood. She is absolutely devoted to these babies; she would die to protect them; and yet if she lost one, she would forget about it and get on with her life. I wish I was as single-minded and as... I want to say unquestioning, but actually I wish I had as much faith. It is like faith. This is what you do; you never doubt that you're doing the right thing; no guilt; no grudges.

Of course, she has raised 40-some children over 20-some years or something like that, so she ought to know what she's doing by now.


Ospreys are almost exclusively fish-eaters. AND... I learned this yesterday at the visitor's centre... they don't navigate by magnetic bearings. They have some kind of hard wiring in their brain whereby they fly to a preset heading. So, Scottish ospreys currently have a higher mortality rate than Scandinavian ospreys because they reintroduced themselves to Scotland (they had been extinct in Scotland for about 50 years, I think) from Scandinavia in the 1950s, but unfortunately their chicks are pre-programmed to fly to North Africa from Norway, not from Scotland; so the young ospreys migrate to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and die there.

Although clearly they are starting to get the hang of it, as last year one of this osprey's chicks came back and had a one-night stand with her before her regular mate returned. The Times has a rather preachy article mentioning it here.

If you're really keen, there is another osprey cam not far from us at Boat of Garten (the definition isn't as good, though). This one's eggs are due to hatch in another week or so, I think.
ewein2412: (Default)
The swifts are here!!

I was outside digging and actually thinking about them when I heard them screaming overhead. Apparently their numbers have drastically depleted in Britain in the past ten years. A local concern is doing a survey. But they are right on time.

The ospreys' first egg is due to hatch on Thursday 14 May. The momma is so off-the-charts old and has laid so off-the-charts many eggs that they might not hatch at all. But I've got my fingers crossed.

And there are goldfinches in our garden this year.
ewein2412: (Default)
The osprey's mate arrived this morning. They have been at it all day. We stopped at the osprey hides again on our way back from ringing and everyone there was beside themselves with excitement. He doesn't stay in the nest the way she does, and I got a great view of him swooping over the loch.

that nest again

She is 23 or 24 years old. Ospreys are thought to have a lifespan of about 20 years, so when she turns up, year after year, having found her way back again god-knows-how from North Africa, and lays more eggs and raises another chick, it's just... Oh. It makes me cry.
ewein2412: (pint o' mordred/Dr Who)
she's back! The osprey arrived 20 March--ten days earlier than she's ever arrived before. Her mate's not here yet. The man at the visitors' centre said that they don't travel together. They just meet up at their summer place in Scotland. Apparently there is sometimes a bit of scrapping for the prime property.


So, I had to go and get the DVD of Battlefield, the 1989 Dr. Who with a less-than-memorable Mordred in it. We've watched 3 of 4 episodes and I have to say I'm finding it highly entertaining. Jean Marsh (ie ROSE from Upstairs, Downstairs) is Morgaine, rather too obsessed with Good Form to be properly evil (like Capt. Jas. Hook). Everyone recognizes The Doctor as Merlin, and he never argues, which is a rather endearing touch. His female sidekick, Ace, is obsessed with explosives to the point of being boring, and he drives a car that looks just like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (number plate WHO 7). There is no plot that I can make out. But I am all over the hilarious love-interest between Brigadier Winifred Bambera (who I recognized immediately as the female version of Dave Lister) and the good guy Ancelyn ap Gwalchmei.

Mordred worries us when he laughs. Sara and I were both afraid he was going to literally laugh himself to death at one point.


ewein2412: (Default)

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