So long and thanks for all the fish

So long and thanks for all the fish

Now that I have your attention, I can hopefully reassure you that I'm not planning on going anywhere. It's just that those memorable lines from Douglas Adams * came to mind when I chose the accompanying photo. #

I'd like to thank everyone for hanging in there since the site 'upgrade' and in particular for surviving my administration while Hairbear enjoyed a well deserved break.

It has been great to see our site come more alive recently as more of you have joined in. For those that are yet to introduce themselves, remember that like most things in life, you'll get more out of this site the more you put into it. I'd like to say if any one is having difficulty posting, then let us know, but that might be difficult to do :)

Neil

* I found this magnificent pelican having a rest (and probably hoping for a friendly feed from nearby fishermen) on a local jetty. Australian pelicans, like our black swans are differently coloured than elsewhere in the world. They certainly are inspiring to watch as they effortlessly glide along the coast. Well adapted to Australia's unreliable rainfalls, they are able to sense rare flood conditions 100's of kilometres away in Australia's outback and relocate to enjoy the fish that wash down with the flood waters into our temporary inland lakes.

For years while I worked in the Adelaide CBD, on my morning commute I'd enjoy watching flock of pelicans that had made the Torrens Lake home. Numbers swelled during our long drought as they took refuge where there was a reliable water and food supply. Seeing these huge birds come in to a gentle landing on the lake is truly a marvellous experience. Some mornings I'd have to carefully wend my way around them as they'd congregate on the cycle path. Occasionally it is possible to get within a metre of them before they decide that discretion is the better part of valour. They have the most beautiful large eyes with which they steadfastly regard you as you approach. Standing waist height, with a bill of up to 50cm long and wingspan of up to 2.5m, I'm glad they've got a much better temperament than our Aussie magpies that are now busy swooping anyone getting close to their nests. On several occasions, I've had a surprising tap on my bike helmet only to see a magpie fly out in front of me.

# Further on Douglas Adams, for those few that haven't read, listened to or watched his Hitchhiker's series or the equally quirky and entertaining Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency series, give them a try. Sadly the world is poorer for his early death in 2001 (can you believe it is that long ago?) - not just in losing a talented entertainer, but also because of his environmental activism work.

I see that the BBC have done a Dirk Gently TV series. Is it any good?

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  • I love the pelican! And thanks for giving us more info about them, from your personal experience.

    Will have to look out for Dirk Gently...

  • Hi Neil

    Thank you for persevering too. It is good to come back and see how active the community site is and how many are benefiting. I heard from HU yesterday and reading community activity I see it has not all been plain sailing for everyone. HU confirm they are pulling themselves back step by step with the upgrade after unexpected back-end problems with notifications have set everything back for weeks so tagging/search etc. are still waiting patiently at the front end of their queue to be re-implemented properly. They confirm these should be very early fixes in their road map.

    While on holiday in Cornwall I supplied myself with fresh mackerel daily from my haul off the Cornish rocks. The mackerel were in numbers not seen for many years following the good weather this summer.

    Unfortunately we don’t get to see a pelicans but I had to make a daily deal with a pair of seals. They religiously turned up at dawn or dusk as the tide was right and you had to race in your catch to beat them to your fish. I found that if I bagged mine and fed them on their arrival they bothered the others and let me have some to take home each day.

    So thank you for the fish and your hard work while I was away with them.

    I think Dirk Gently was enjoyed by many but not enough it fell victim to BBC cuts...

    Stephen Mangan 'bitterly upset' over axed Dirk Gently

    By Tim Masters entertainment and arts correspondent, BBC News

    bbc.co.uk/news/entertainmen...

    More than a million viewers watched the Dirk Gently pilot in December 2010.

    A three-part series followed in 2012, with just under 600,000 viewers tuning for its final episode in March.

    Nick

  • Good to see you share with the wildlife in your food foraging! We have the occasional seals here along with plenty of dolphins. Not being particularly keen on eating fish, let alone cleaning them, if I ever had the patience to fish, seals and dolphins would be more than welcome to my catch!

    Sorry to hear about the Dirk Gently series being cut as that pretty well kills the chances of me seeing it here.

    Many of us will remember this limerick about the pelican from their school days. I thought it was penned by Ogden Nash, but thanks to the Internet, I've found that the real author was Dixon Merritt.

    A wonderful bird is the pelican,

    His bill can hold more than his belly can,

    He can take in his beak,

    Enough food for a week,

    But I’m damned to see how the hell he can!

    There's a series of lakes not far from here where I occasionally see pelicans patrolling the waters and catching the occasional fish. They've got quite a reach with those beaks!

    Neil

  • It was good to get back to nature for a few weeks Neil.

    Fishing for me is most often just an excuse to put the brakes on and enjoy what's going on around me. I grew up cleaning my own catch but agree it's not the most pleasant, but being under doctors orders I think I benefited from the rock climbs and the fresh mackerel. another good source of vitamin D.

    Loved the pelican ditty. Shame we don't get to enjoy these alien looking characters. I remember growing up watching Skippy as child and wondered what it would be like to enjoy kangaroos. Was there a pelican involved in that show?

    On the nature front I did get to watch the gannets fishing with me as they followed the fish in with the tide. They signaled when it was time to go to the rock, They fish very similarly to the pelican rising high into the air, stalling then folding long wings back into a delta. They break the surface at quite an impact, I recall watching brown pelicans fish like this when I lived on the coast of California.

    Enjoy this:

    Gannets

    by Mary Oliver

    I am watching the white gannets

    blaze down into the water

    with the power of blunt spears

    and a stunning accuracy–

    even though the sea is riled and boiling

    and gray with fog

    and the fish

    are nowhere to be seen,

    they fall, they explode into the water

    like white gloves,

    then they vanish,

    then they climb out again,

    from the cliff of the wave,

    like white flowers–

    and still I think

    that nothing in this world moves

    but as a positive power–

    even the fish, finning down into the current

    or collapsing

    in the red purse of the beak,

    are only interrupted from their own pursuit

    of whatever it is

    that fills their bellies–

    and I say:

    life is real,

    and pain is real,

    but death is an imposter,

    and if I could be what once I was,

    like the wolf or the bear

    standing on the cold shore,

    I would still see it–

    how the fish simply escape, this time,

    or how they slide down into a black fire

    for a moment,

    then rise from the water inseparable

    from the gannets’ wings.

  • We'll have to establish a poet's corner!!

    Perhaps Australian Pelicans are either smarter or lazier than their northern hemisphere cousins, since I usually seen them swimming around and 'spear' fishing rather than diving. I've also seen a flock of them just downstream from a weir on the River Murray, all facing upstream and waiting for dinner to arrive over the weir.

    I don't recall a pelican in Skippy (also a favourite when I was growing up), but that was a long time ago! Our most famous pelican star is "Mr Percival" (actually 3 pelicans), from the film "Storm Boy", which was filmed on location about 100km from where I live.

  • looks pretty easy! He don't look that bright Maybe the fish are not as smart down under?

    Check out this awsome film of gannets feeding while a man and dolphin fish with them

    Brown Pelican - Plunge Dive Foraging Technique And Swallowing

  • Great Posts and music. Wonder if Herons are a distant relation ?

    Bub

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