Mardi 14 août 2007
Dernières images du site "Rencontres Sauvages" : 78
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Nouveauté sur mon site :

Je viens de mettre en ligne un "livret virtuel"
sur le thème des
Grèbes huppés
(l'image ci-dessous en est extraite !)

Parade nuptiale d'un couple de Grèbe huppé.
Dimanche 13 mai 2007 à Champ Pittet (Suisse)

Pour feuilleter ce livret :

cliquez sur l'animation ci-dessous

ou [ici]

(on peut le feuilleter en écoutant de la musique : "Peer Gynt" d'Edvard Crieg...)

Bonne lecture !

Après-midi au
Lac de Saint Point (Haut-Doubs)
Dimanche 30 juin 07

Papillon sur une fleur de Cirse.



Toilette d'une Oie cendrée sur le bord du Lac.
Cet oiseau migrateur (tout comme l'Albatros de notre texte ci-dessous !) semble apprécié le Haut-Doubs :
je l'observe régulièrement depuis le mois d'octobre 2006.


Un petit texte (en version originale !) :


In Patagonia I suggested that the Albatross which hung from the neck of the Ancient Mariner was not the Great Wandering Albatross but a smaller black species : either the Sooty Albatross or the black-browed. The Sooty is the likelier of the two. Il is a streamlined bird that keeps to the open sea. I think I saw one off the south-east coast of Tierra del Fuego. The black-browed is everywhere, in the Magellan Strait and the Beagle Channel, and ressembles a large Greater Black-backed Gull.

On the south side of the Beagle Channel is the Chilean island of Navarino, with its naval base at Puerto Williams. I hoped to walk around the coast and get a glimpse of Hermit Island, which is the breeding colony of the Black-browed Albatross. The wind and the rain drove me back.

East of the naval base there is a row of shacks in which live the last of the Fuegian Indians – the Indians Darwin mistook for the ‘missing link’. He compared their language to the ‘grunt of animals’, being unaware that a young Fuegian spoke as many words as Shakespeare ever wrote.

Most of the Fuegians on Navarino are half-bloods. But I met one old man, Grandpa Felipe, who was said to be almost pure. He was a frail old man, mending his crab-gear. He had never been strong. He had watched his wife die. And all his children die.
‘It was the epidemics’, he said – and whenever he said the word epidemias, it sounded as a mournful refrain.
The Fuegians were as skilful canoers as the Eskimoes.

A year and a half later, when In Patagonia was in press, I went to the island of Steepholm in the Bristol Channel. My companion was a naturalist in his eighties. The purpose of our visit was to see in flower the peony that is supposed to have been brought there as a medicinal herb by monks from the Mediterranean.
I told my friend the story of how, in the nineteenth century, a Black-browed albatross had followed a ship north of the Equator. Its direction-finding mechanisms had been thrown out of line. It had ended up on a rock in the Faroe Islands where it lived for thirty-odd years and was known as ‘The King of the Gannets’. The Hon. Walter Rothschild made a pilgrimage to see it. Finally, it was shot, stuffed and put in the Copenhagen Museum.
‘But there’s a new albatross,’ the old man said. ‘A female bird. She was on Bass Rock last year, and I think she’s gone to Hermaness.’
Hermaness, at the tip of Unst in Shetland, is the ultimate headland of the British Isles.
From my flat in London, I called Bobby Tullock, the Shetland ornithologist.
‘Sure, she’s on Hermaness. She’s made a nest among the Gannets and she’s sitting proud. Why don’t you come and see her? You’ll find her on the West Cliff. You can’t miss her.’

I looked at my watch. Il was nine o’clock. I had time to get to King’s Cross Station before the night train left for Aberdeen. I put on my boots and packed a bag.
There was a hold-up on the tube. I almost missed the train. I ran down the platform at the last minute. The sleeping-car attendant was a craggy white-haired Scot in a maroon uniform with a gold braid. Beside him stood a small dark young man, waiting.

I was out of breath.
‘Have you got a berth?’ I asked.
‘Aye,’ said the sleeping-car attendant. ‘If you don’t mind sharing with that!’
He jerked his thumb at the little man.
‘Of course not,’ I said.

The man jumped into the upper bunk. I tried to talk. I tried English, French, Italian, Greek. Useless. I tried Spanish and it worked. I should have guessed. He was a South American Indian.

‘Where are you from?’ I asked.
‘I have been in Chile. Whereabouts?’
‘Punta Arenas.’
Punta Arenas on the Straits of Magellan is the southernmost city in the world.
‘I was there,’ I said.
‘I come from Punta Arenas. But that is not my home. My home is Navarino Island.’
‘You must know Grandpa Felipe.’
‘Es mi tio.’ ‘He is my uncle.’

Having exceptional powers of balance, the young man and his brother found work in Punta Arenas as refuellers of the light-buoys at the entrance to the Magellan Strait. In any sea they would jump onto the buoy and insert the fuel nozzle. After the fall of Allende, the brother got a job with an American oil company, using his talent on off-shore rigs. The company had sent him to the North Sea oil field. He had asked for his brother to join him. They would each earn 600 pounds a week.
I told him I was travelling north to see a bird that had flown from his country. The story mystified him.
Two days later I lay on the West Cliff off Hermaness and watched the Albatross through binoculars : a black exception in a snow field of Gannets. She sat, head high and tail high, on her nest of mud, on her clutch of intertile eggs.
I too am mystified by this story."

1988 – Bruce Chatwin – ‘What Am I Doing Here’.

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