Archive for Sep 6th, 2012


Do we care about anything but ourselves?

Getting back from Canada was anything but straightforward. From mechanical failure of the aircraft to inappropriate behaviour of staff the airline did not do much to relieve customers from the 13 hour delay. Mental note to self ‘Do not fly Air Canada again’.

It’s quite strange how people centre in on themselves when faced with a little adversity. Jumping queues, arguing points and centring the world on their own little bubble, basically just getting damn right ‘arsy’. What I saw and heard led me to ask, ‘Do we care about anything but ourselves?’

On the end of the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec is the small pretty town of Perce. Behind it lies the high ground of Mont St Anne; tall, forested and imposing. This is the habitat of such birds as Fox Sparrows, Boreal Chickadee, Bicknell’s Thrush and other delights. I was also hoping for a few American Warblers. They had been sparse, few and far between, so far on the trip and I was looking forward to seeing a good selection. Look through any American bird book and you’ll see why. They are the pinnacle of avian evolution; the colours are breath taking. We had been talking to a park ranger the day before and he had mentioned numbers were down this year and there had been progressively fewer each year of the last twenty he had held the post. He, like others, put this down to deforestation on their wintering grounds, pesticides affecting their food source and changing weather patterns. Not encouraging.

We set off on the trail to the summit of Mont St Anne. It was steep but manageable. After around 30 minutes of climbing we had seen several species. A couple of Bicknell’s Thrushes had shown really well and the trees were full of Chickadees. Just as the warblers began to show it started to rain. It fell quite gently at first and then gradually increased to a point where even the rain gear we had on was just not enough. The trail turned into a torrent of gullies and waterfalls drenching our feet. This was the spin off from Storm Isaac that wrecked the coast further south and it was still angry. We retired gracefully from the mountain in a thunderstorm of biblical intensity.

I guess while we all make use of air travel and use cars that contribute to global warming we will continue to encounter these extreme weather events. The demise of the warbler population is not unconnected.

We would need to take action, at best to prevent it from getting any worse. A whole change of lifestyle for us all would need to take place. We would need to be completely unselfish. We would need to care about things like the Cape May Warbler I photographed below. Can you see that happening?

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Sep 2012


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