Monday, March 31, 2008

Sayonara Nippon

This will probably be the last post I make from Japan as I lose my internet connection at midnight tonight. Today was my final day at work and it was a roller coaster of emotions. I felt happy and sad to leave. Happy because I know I will see my family soon yet sad knowing that I leave behind many friends and colleagues who have made the last 3 years a wonderful experience for me. I will miss the times I had at work, no matter how bad they may have been at times, it was an amazing experience that few will have in the same field back home. I owe a great deal of gratitude to those people...the kind words and generous plaudits given to me today were overwhelming at times and the gifts and tokens from my Japanese colleagues were unexpected and touching to say the least. I will treasure them.

Of course my partner in crime PJ and the gang members of the Daito Dogs (SW, GA) will be sorely, sorely missed.

I spent Saturday morning with Kazu and his friend Kuwa-san. Kazu has been there throughout my 3 years here and was a great and kind friend. We spent many a long hour walking the river banks and parks of Osaka and beyond enjoying the birding and photography and the chats. I was also touched by the many emails his friends sent to wish me luck in the future. Some amazing people. I will miss birding with Kazu...I hope I can repay the debt and go birding with him in Ireland. Kazu, thank you.

Tonight/tomorrow I go on a final trip with Neil. For the last 3 years he has been the saving grace on those Sundays when I needed to get away from it all and the birding trips to Hegura-jima, Kyushu, Nagoya-Tomakomai on the ferry (twice), and basically all over Kansai and beyond...thank you. Also, to Rob for the mindblowing trip to Hokkaido in Feb 06 and Sean for the amazing trip to MIshima-jima in Spring 2006, as well as Hiroshima for the Saunder's Gull, and many more trips besides...thank you.

My next post will be from the fair isle of saints and scholars...until then, sayonara Nippon

Carmo's Diet: this week, I have mostly been eating breakfast bars

Carmo's Birds: Swallow, KP, LRP, Grey Plover, Common Gull

Carmo's Birds for Byrdy: No. 6 (again)

Saturday, March 15, 2008


My sister had a baby girl at 2.55am on March 14, 2008 (Italy Time).


I AM AN UNCLE!!!!!!! Unbelievable.

An incredible moment. I too shall be godfather/ honor and privilege that is...

Uncle CarmoPolice....sounds damn good to me.

Carmo's Diet: this week I've mostly been eating the don

Carmo's Birds: Rough-legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Baikal Teal, Pacific Diver, Black-throated diver, Ancient Murrelet, Red-necked Grebe

Carmo's Birds for Byrdy: sorry fella, but my thoughts are now all with my new niece Elia...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Eagle and the Bro

(Jigokudani, Nagano, Japan) well, it's been quite a while since I last posted here. A lot has happened in the interim as well. I felt that it was about time I got it together and put something up as I don't know how long more I will be doing least from Japan anyway. What with my brother giving me grief and SCE mentioning I had been quiet of late, I felt it time to blog.

February was an interesting month for me. Apart from the 70 hour week at work, turning 21 (again), I also got offered a job back in Dublin, Ireland. The emotions regarding the latter were phenomenal as I had planned to stay on in Japan a bit longer. What with 400 species in my sites and the fact that I really like the country, the job (to an degree) and that it's my home and has been for the last 3 years. It was a hard decision to make but as a famous Irish soccer player would say, "at the end of the day" family comes first. There is just too much going on with my family that the only option really was to go home. And so, with a meagre 4 weeks left in Japan before I leave, I have a heavy, yet excited feeling running through my veins...
(photo courtesy of Yumster - me at Yudanaka)
other happenings in February were not really much to write home about. I did some birding with Neil but neither of us saw anything new, well, at least when Neil was birding with me! The usual winter species and some added extras in Pacific Diver on Lake Biwa last weekend (a lake tick for both of us), 4 woodpecker species in one spot (green, pygmy, white-backed and great spotted), 3 merlin, american wigeon, steller's sea eagle, white's thrush (x3), and in one day trip a total of 85 species which is my record day total for Japan. Neil also had Thayer's, Kittiwake, and our odd "small yellow-legged gull) one afternoon in Osaka, the former two being mega birds for the area.

I also went to Yudanaka in Nagano with PJ, VG and Yumster to see the infamous Snow Monkeys made globally famous by Sir David Attenborough (whom JW talked to last week by all accounts) in his Planet Earth serious about 20 years ago. It was a wonderful and amazing experience for me because as long as I can remember, it has been a dream of mine to see these guys. I was not all. Incredible. The snow was immense, and driving home on the Sunday was a chore for PJ as the conditiions just kept getting worse and worse. All in all, a fantastic weekend in Nagano, the home of the 1998 Winter Olympics.
(photo courtesy of PJ - VG and the Monkey) I also had the great pleasure of seeing The Police live in Osaka Dome. Amazing to see them play live but I thought that some of it was not great. Still...I got to see one of the best bands in the world play live...noice noice

(grooming at Yudanaka, Nagano, Japan) And so, having left work at 8.30pm this evening, the earliest I have left in 2008, I am going to go to bed. I have to meet Kazu at 7.30pm. We are going to go to a Sumo training camp before I got to work. The Grand Tournament starts this weekend in Osaka and we are going to see a very famous training dojo...should be cool.

Carmo's Diet: this month, I have mostly been eating on the go

Carmo's Birds: Steller's Eagle; Merlin; Pacific Diver; Red-flanked Bluetail; White's Thrush

Carmo's Birds for Byrdy: No. 6