A List of Some Facts

Here are some facts. Today I am angry. I share this sentiment with many around the world. It is not a new anger. It has been festering for a long time.

Here is another fact. Today the United States has elected someone who believes climate change cannot exist because if it does it will negatively impact businesses.

Continue reading “A List of Some Facts”

Out of Frame, Out of Mind

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While I wasn’t planning on posting today, apparently it is World Photography Day, and what is a blog for if not to honor obscure days named in celebration of hobbies, often with even more obscure purpose.

This is a (somewhat accidentally) experimental photograph – it is a fight between a drongo and a black kite, albeit a rather one-sided one. (Hint: the drongo’s winning.) Whether it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ I am ambivalent; but photography is as much about the glorious duds as it is about the heart-dropping shots. At least, today I can say it is.

Like the Wings of Birds

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An as-yet-unidentified raptor (which I would very much appreciate identification of) hovers in the sky over the Pyrenees – one of the many we saw. This raptor in particular was spotted along with some four or five others, that, by the time we stopped the car and got out, had coasted on the thermals too high for any camera.

Eagle of the Estates

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Recently the Singapore birding community had a series of heart attacks when a migrant Crested Serpent Eagle arrived in the Japanese Gardens. I, at the time, was not present to see it – I was in the coffee estates of Coorg, a district in Karnataka. From afar, I thumbed my nose at them: here, these majestic eagles were the most common raptor in the area (other than, of course, the ubiquitious Black Kite), and a common sight from the balcony of the villa we were staying in.

My mother spotted this particular raptor during a drive through the estates. At first we were content just observing, but then it started screaming.

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That’s not an understatement. It literally started screaming. Who, or what, it was calling to, none of us had any idea. Perhaps a mate. Or more likely it was simply proclaiming its presence to the Western Ghats, and unwary tourists: yes, I am here, the mighty serpent eagle. Fear me.

Then, in a dramatic flash of wings worthy of any Marvel superhero, it flew away.

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Who says birds don’t have style? 😛

Quarried

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Singapore Quarry seemes to come out of nowhere: one moment you’re lost in the steamy rainforest of Dairy Farm Nautre Reserve, the next you’re confronted with a vast lake and sheer, scarred cliffs. It used to be the site of a granite quarry that devastated the wildlife of a once diverse area; now abandoned, the animals are slowly returning– we saw a Grey-headed Fish Eagle, an internationally endangered species.

Grey-headed fish eagle, Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus-- if you can see it.
Grey-headed fish eagle, Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus- if you can see it

While the environmental degradation in the rest of Singapore isn’t as visible, it is no less harmful. Singapore Quarry is only now recovering from its blatant abuse, after a good few decades. This fish-eagle is a sign of growth and good health, but it has taken so long to reach that stage. With the accelerating rate of development here, places starting to grow back can be destroyed in a matter of months, or places that have been left alone for as long as Singapore has had a history just as easily become the new sight of a highway (*cough cough* BUKIT BROWN *cough cough*). The stark beauty of Singapore Quarry shouldn’t serve as a proof of humanity’s ambition, but rather as a reminder of the cost of it.