Sunday, November 25, 2007

damn leopard

having upgraded to leopard this morning from tiger, it turns out that the software with my external hard drive is not compatible and so I can't access my external drive (mind you, I haven't been able to access my internal drive lately either). Now, after spending 3-4 frustrating hours this morning trying to remedy this situation, I gave up trying to fix what seems like the unfixable until Maxtor, now owned by Seagate, release a fix for this. They've known this for at least a month!!!! Why the fcuk can't these goddamn people coordinate everything. Why the frickin hell didn't they release the fix with the release of Leopard. Apple gave these companies the code to work with to enable those companies to provide their customers with the necessary fix to ensure that all systems would be operational once Leopard was installed...WHY THE FCUK CAN'T PEOPLE ORGANIZE THESE THINGS EFFICIENTLY!!!!

ah, that little word that makes my day harder and harder at work, is now creeping into the only time that I have where efficiency is always time. it's bad enough living in a country which lacks "efficiency" without the freakin companies who produce products to ensure that my sanity is kept in check also demonstrate a complete lack of that small, tiny attribute. Now, I can't access the photos I've taken over the last couple of days of photographing scenes, birds and people and it's really frustrated me. I opted not to go into Apple Store today as I probably would have leapt over the counter if they told me there was nothing they could do and that would not be good. Instead, I will go there after work tomorrow night and see what happens. By that time, I might have calmed down or else taken it out on people at work...I love my job. Right now, a punching bag, an external hard drive compatible with Leopard and an efficient world within which to live would be most welcome.

I really can't write anymore. today's post has now finished. I bid you all, farewell.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

...autumnal ramblings

Ravages of Autumn I guess it's about time I updated the blog. I'm sure my avid readers must be wondering what the hell I'm up to and whether I've disappeared off the place of the planet. Don't worry reader in Timbuktu, I'm back. Since I last wrote here I've been doing, well, not a lot really. Working and birding as usual but heading into the mountains in pursuit of eagles has been the highlight, but more on that later. It's autumn now in Japan, and the color change in the leaves is certainly breathtaking, even giving the leave changes in Conneticut I saw many years ago now, a good run for their money. Bus loads of Japanese folk head to the hills to ooh and aahh over the colors, and yes, taking many thousands of photographs too, ensuring that the stereotype of Japanese folk being mad photo-takers sticks. It's funny and makes one feel secure in the notion that somethings just don't change, maintaining that cosmic balance which makes the world go 'round...if you believe in that sort of thing, like.
Clear skies and fall trees
Here's a good one for you. Public holidays are there for a reason. To give the public a well-earned day off for working their bollix off. Everyone looks forward to the short working week, a long weekend. It recharges the batteries and allows one to plan a long-weekend away perhaps. Well, in certain lands and worlds where all reason and logical thought are obviously thrown out the window (I think Alice visited there sometime when she was looking in the mirror one morning), due to the fact that a full working week was not fulfilled as a result of said public holiday (which ironically is commemorating labor day), and in accordance with some imaginary law pulled out of the abyss, the missed day is made up for the following weekend by working the Saturday...and that's all I'll say on that.
(this is a common buzzard)
Common Buzzard
The last few weekends were spent birding in the parks around Osaka and also in the hills of Ibukiyama in Shiga prefecture, or is it Gifu prefecture...the borders here are unclear once in this particular moutnain range. I went on my first ever outing with H, aka divdude007, a fellow flikrite who lives between Nara and Osaka. A very nice guy with an interest in birding and taking photos of everything and anything. We spent the day looking for Chinese Yellow Bitterns and a Ruddy Crake but failed to see either. H did get a class photo of a goshawk being mobbed by two jungle crows. It was great meeting up with H, who is from Nepal, and we chatted throughout the day about birding, our countries, cultures and likes/dislikes of Japan.
(looking out across the mountains of Shiga Prefecture towads Biwa-ko, Japans biggest lake)
Go west!!
The following morning, Neil, Kazu, Sakamoto-san and I went to Ibukiyama in the hope of seeing some Golden Eagles. A train journey beginning at 6am changed to a car journey from 6.45am and setting foot on terra firma at 8.30am on Mt. Ibuki was quickly followed 5 mintues later with a sub-adult Golden Eagle gliding across the valley below us before I even had the camera set up. Magic. With the back-drop of the changing leaves, it made for a wonderful sight. We spent the next coulpe of hours or possibly more watching the bird sit there on a rocky outcrop preening, calling, sleeping and then it took off across the valley again and behind a mountain and out of view. The day, it turned out, was only just beginning.
(if you squint, you'll just make out the eagle...)
Golden Eagle
While watching the eagle, flocks of brambling, bullfinches, siskin and greenfinches were streaming through the gap we were standing in. One small flock came through and a bird gave a funny call. Neil and I both looked up and saw a large, well, massive finch fly past with a glorious undulating flight and a mad "pruit" call. A flash of two wing-bars and a bullish neck with a blunt face and long tail...Pine Grosbeak. Unbelievable. Within 10 minutes another flock of 12 dark and light finches came through. This time, undoubtedly Asian Rosy Finch, a lifer for Neil and Kazu and the next surprise of the day. Later on, when the eagle flew off, we went in search of Alpine Accentor which we were told that morning were in the area. After more great views of Asian Rosy Finch we had no luck with accy. An email from Kazu on my keitai (mobile phone) saying he had just seen Nutcracker and Alpine Accentor!! Mad dash, Accy a lifer for me and both birds JP ticks for Neil. I waited for the Accy to come out while Neil raced up the hill to a shrine atop the mountain for the Nutcracker. I saw the Accy but Neil missed both!!! Disaster for Neil, I scored. Thems the breaks.
(Ibuki-san covered shrouded in cloud)
Through the clouds
Not to be outdone, and I'll wrap this story up now as most people are asleep, a kestrel decided to make an appearance. Kazu noted it first. It was a new BOP for the day after seeing 14 Common Buzzards, 3 Goshawks, 2 Japanese Sparrowhawks, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk, as well as the Golden Eagles. The bird hovered...odd for Japanese kestrels (not many small mammals to prey on so they generally don't hover). It was very pale...too pale to be a common or garden kestrel. Panic. The bird disappeared over the hill-top. We raced out to the road to get more on it. Photographers waiting for the eagles trained their cameras now on the kes. Click click click. The bird landed...more panic "There's not markings on the mantle!! That's a short tail!". Shite. Desert form of Kes from China or Lesser or the other. I raced back to get better angle for photos. Bird hovers again and then heads away around the corner never to be seen again. Nice pointed tail, short wings, no markings, clean face...panic. After getting home and consulting the books, on-line reseach, looking at photos taken by Kazu and I...Lesser freakin Kestrel!!!!!!! Turned out to be the 3rd record for Japan, which was nice. Neil's 4th new falcon species in Japan in as many weeks. Not a bad day out really.
(this is a dodgy shot of the's a Lesser, honest!!)

The weekend just past was spent again on Ibuki-san (the mountain, not a chick..unfortunately). More amazing views of the Golden Eagles and Asian Rosy Finch but not much else apart from frostbitten toes and fingers. It was bloody cold. The colors of the leaves now peaking to full fall rainbows. It was so nice to be out of the city and up in the mountains. Peaceful. Quiet. Now, where did I leave those bird photos...

Carmo's Diet: This week, I have mostly been sitting at the table of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Carmo's Birds: PINE GROSBEAK; GOLDEN EAGLE; ALPINE ACCENTOR; Lesser Kestrel*; Common Buzzard; Japanese Sparrowhawk; Goshawk; Asian Rosy Finch (337 species in Japan)

Carmo's Birds for Byrdy: Olivia Wilde