PHILATELY WILL GET YOU… NICE BAHAMAS WILDLIFE STAMPS


Parrot

WILDLIFE STAMPS OF THE BAHAMAS

with guest expert PHIL LATTERLY

The Bahamas ‘does’ extremely nice stamps, in particular ones featuring the rich and varied wildlife of the islands. The islands spread from the subtropical climates of the north, on a level with Florida, to the near-tropical islands of the south. This ensures plenty of scope for designing pretty sticky bits of paper to stick onto other bits of paper. One of the small pleasures in life, near-lost to the tyranny of the email…

The sets of wildlife stamps are issued by the Bahamas Post Office. I’ll add to this collection piecemeal (including some from my own modest collection). The very latest commemorative issue heads the display.

1. SEA CREATURES

BREEF 20th Anniversary Issue – November 2013IMG_2918

REEF FISHESBahamas Reef Fish StampsBahamas Bonefish Stamp (old-style)Bahamas Marine Life Stamps 2012

2. BIRDS

February 2012: WWF Flamingo Issue

Best seen on Inagua, the island where they breed. Less often found elsewhere, and sadly now only as occasional ‘vagrants’ on Abaco. Flamingo post with wonderful pictures of adults, babies and nests HEREBahamas Wildlife Stamps Flamingos

PARROT POST

Found mainly on Abaco (the resident underground nesting variety) and Inagua (conventional nesters), where they breed. Small groups are now found elsewhere, e.g. Nassau, where there is a local monitoring programme, but I’m not sure that there is evidence of breeding there. Any info welcome… One (of several) lavishly illustrated parrot posts HERE

 Impressive commemorative issues for the BAHAMAS NATIONAL TRUST

OTHER BIRD SPECIES

Bahamas Wildlife Stamp Osprey

The KIRTLAND’S WARBLER is one of the rarest birds of the Bahamas, a winter resident that breeds only in a small area of Michigan. The entire population is numbers only a few thousand birds. The number of sightings annually on Abaco is very small – fewer than a dozen, and in some years none at all. Increasing knowledge about their favourite haunts is now improving the recording rate. I know of two seen this year, on the same day… a birder’s lifetime achievement.

Bahamas Stamps Kirtland's Warbler (eBay)

This swallow is endemic to the Bahamas

Found on Abaco only as an occasional visitor.

stock-photo-a-bahamas-stamp-featuring-a-burrowing-owl-on-the-face-10479643 copy

WATERFOWL                Credit as shown

3. ANIMALS

Bahamas Wildlife Stamp Set

Bahamas Wildlife Stamps Sept 1984Bahamas Wildlife Stamp Set - Bat, Hutia, Raccoon, DolphinBahamas Potcake Stamps (First Day Cover)

4 BUTTERFLIES & INSECTSBahamas Butterfly Stamps

Credits: A compendious credit to sundry online sources including Bahamas PO, Bahamas Weekly, eBay and other sales / promotional sources, ads and the like, and unknown sources. I rarely find myself having to use this broad sweep approach: if your pic is here and you are upset, apologies, contact me to express your displeasure &co and I’ll take it down of course. But these are only non-rare small bits of paper; and this is a humble non-profit making info site of limited appeal in a Big Wide World. OK with that?

ABACO KAYAK CHALLENGE 2013 ON NOVEMBER 9: BE IN IT TO WIN IT!


ABACO KAYAK CHALLENGE 2013

kayak logo 2013

FRIENDS OF THE ENVIRONMENT, ABACO

Friends of the Environment (Abaco) logo

Join Friends in support of the Abaco Cancer Society and Friends of the Environment for Abaco’s third annual Kayak Challenge on November 9th at Pete’s Pub in Little Harbour.

Pete's Pub

“Any craft you can paddle will be welcome, from kayaks, paddle boards and canoes – just no engines!  There will be 3 courses to choose from: 5 miles, 8 miles, or 13 miles that will take paddlers into and through the scenic Bight of Old Robinson, part of the proposed East Abaco Creeks National Park. Paddlers will be welcomed back with a Beach party at Pete’s Pub.” 

Pete’s Pub: “Thirst come, thirst served…”Pete's Pub, Little Harbour, Abaco Bahamas

THE THREE COURSES

5 Mile Course

5 mile paddle2013

8 Mile Course

8 mile2013

13 Mile Course

13 mile paddle2013

SUPPORT FRIENDS & BMMRO INTERN OSCAR WARD AS HE NEGOTIATES THE PERILS OF THE “BIG ONE”; AND FOLLOW HIS INTERN’S BLOG HERE 

“Support boats will be available to assist, but paddlers should plan to bring adequate water and snacks for the trip. Remember, the sun in The Bahamas is hot, so pack your sunscreen, sunglasses, hat and if you burn easily, clothing to cover yourself up with along the way. Kayaking is a water activity, so be aware that anything that goes in the kayak with you will get wet whether it be from a splash from passing boat wake, drops from paddles, or a quick rain storm. Kayaking is a physical activity, remember the further you venture, the further the paddle to return.”

There will be a beach barbeque & party for spectators to cheer the paddlers on as they come in from their journey.

For more information call the FRIENDS office at 367-2721 or email info@friendsoftheenvironment.org

Bring your own Tee…Pete's Pub, Little Harbour, Abaco Bahamas

 Registration form, sponsorship form and waiver 

 Sponsorship donations can be made on-line

 Kayak Challenge event page on Facebook

Kayak Challenge Sponsors Cherokee AirHope Town Harbour LodgeThe Paint PlaceLightbourne MarinePete’s Pub and GalleryShirley Enterprises, Bon Secours Medical Group, Sands Marine Surveying & Consulting, Marsh Exporters and Importers, Ltd, Abaco Petroleum Company Ltd, Abaco Family Medicine, Abaco Tourist Office

Non-participatory support from a respectful distance (4250 miles) from

Delphi Bonefish LogoHighly competitive and vigorous kayak practice off the Delphi Club beach, Rolling HarbourKayak, Delphi Club, Abaco Bahamas

MOUNT ABACO: THE ISLAND’S MAJESTIC SUMMIT (134 feet)


Matterhorn from Domhütte - 2.jpg

MOUNT ABACO: THE ISLAND’S MAJESTIC SUMMIT (134 feet)

The header photograph is not in fact anything to do with Abaco. Apologies for any confusion. It’s the Matterhorn, towering over the border of Switzerland and Italy, complete with high altitude, year-round snow and sub-zero temperatures. Abaco has its own excellent skiing, of course, but solely of the watery sort. However, recently the question arose as to exactly where the highest point on Abaco is situated. All sources agree that the altitude is a dizzying 134 feet, with some equating that with 40 meters and others with 41. It would be nit-picking to use the straight conversion of 40.8432 meters.

I once did a post comparing the altitude of Abaco with Mount Everest – if you have the patience, you’ll find it HERE. A check on G@@gle throws up a fascinating site called PEAKBAGGER. Click on the link and it takes you to the Abaco entry; but elsewhere on the site there is a mass of remarkable worldwide altitude information that you could easily spend an hour or 2 investigating. The essential info for Abaco is this:

  • Elevation: 41 meters, 134 feet
  • Name: “Unnamed High Point”
  • Latitude/Longitude: 26° 34′ 6” N; 77° 8′ 14” W 26.568399, -77.137319
  • 3rd highest point in the Bahamas
  • 54th highest point in the Caribbean
  • 1014th highest island point in the world (which seems very unlikely, somehow)
  • Nearest high point is on Eleuthera
  • No ‘ascents’ by registered ‘Peakbaggers’ (this is now on my bucket-list for easy personal achievements)

Peakbagger’s map places the high point close to the Highway north of Marsh Harbour. This puzzled me, partly because I remember Ricky Johnson showing us a significant rocky outcrop deep in the pine forest of south Abaco. Also, the land relief shown on the Peakbagger map suggests a higher ridge to the north-west of the red circle.Abaco High Point Map 1

So I did what any Abaco researcher would do – I contacted Sandy Estabrook, éminence grise behind the wonderful ABACO ESCAPE website. Within a very short time he got back to me with a clipping from a nautical map, confirming the high point’s location as the one given by Peakbagger. Abaco Nautical Chart

Far more importantly, it turned out that Sandy actually ascended the summit in 2009 with a friend and without oxygen. His expedition journal states simply “Heading South along Queens Hwy, Frank pointed out a hill on the Sea of Abaco side of the road. It had quite some elevation of over a hundred feet or more it seemed. (I have not seen a higher place in all of Abaco). And atop the hill was a tower that I was told was built by real estate interests some years ago for prospective clients to view the surroundings. We climbed the tower and I took a couple picts”

The tower will be familiar to travellers passing by on the Highway. I had read that this was a good place to look out for birds, and had assumed it was some sort of fire-watching tower. The use of a tower to scope out land for development is an ingenious one, but the landscape is mercifully still undeveloped. Here are some photos from the vantage point.

View roughly south-east from the tower to Hope Town. The lighthouse is just visible to the right.Frank View from Tower 84 copy

Looking north-east, with Great Guana Cay just visible on the horizonFrank View from Tower 82 copy

The view north(ish) along the ridge, with the Highway snaking up to Treasure CayFrank View from Tower 83 copy

AERIAL VIEWSMount Abaco 5 copyMount Abaco 3 copy

Normally, high points acquire a name at some time. Even quite low ones. Perhaps Abaco’s high point deserves one. In which case, Parrot Peak? (But the parrots, while symbolic of the island, don’t frequent the area). Hummingbird Hill? (Tiny and perfectly formed). A134? (Uninspiring). All suggestions welcome…

STOP PRESS Within 24 hours, John Bethel has kindly to say “I have always known this hill to be called Pidgeon Hill”. So, it has a name already. I’ll try to find out some more about this – for example whether the name is historic or recent. Can anyone add anything to this?

Thanks to Sandy Estabrook and to Peakbagger

 Abaco Escape logoPeakbagger Logo

‘HEY JUDE! DON’T MAKE IT BAD…’ A HURRICANE HITS THE UK


Storm Jude Newhaven Lighthouse

‘HEY JUDE! DON’T MAKE IT BAD…’ A HURRICANE HITS THE UK

Today is the Feast of St Jude. Patron Saint of lost causes and (more modernly) depression… and, some suggest, IBISES.

It is also the day of the most violent storm to hit the UK since 1987, with hurricane force winds recorded on the south coast (Force 12 on the BEAUFORT SCALE) and plenty of Force 11 ‘violent storm’ readings. There has been widespread damage to trees, cars and property, with 2 deaths so far reported, and one person missing at sea. Public transport is returning to normal, after the wholesale cancelation of flights, trains and other public transport services. 300,000 homes have had power outages. I fully realise that Abaconians have far more frequent and far worse hurricanes visited on them, the latest being Sandy last year and Irene the previous year. This is in no way a competition, but I thought some images from the UK over the last 24 hours or so might be of interest and dispel the notion that Britain is a country of benign 365/24/7 soft drizzle and gentle rain…

Brighton Pier, Sussexbrighton_2715167k

In 1987 a popular BBC weatherman had the misfortune to say on air “Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way… well, if you’re watching, don’t worry, there isn’t!”. That evening, the worst storm to hit South East England for three centuries caused record damage and killed 19 people. In contrast, the weather agencies were ahead of the game on this occasion, so Britain was well-prepared for the onslaught…

131025jet              131025winds2

The storm looms over the Dorset and Sussex coasts…Storm Jude massing off Dorset coastStorm Jude

The whole length of the south coast takes a hit, from Cornwall to KentImage 1Britain Stormstorm-weather-mari_2715597kstorm-boat-weather_2715542kNew England Makes Preparations For Hurricane Sandy ImpactStorm Jude Newhaven Lighthouse 2readers-storm-port_2715656k

And the coast of WalesStorm Jude Wales

Inland, there is damage to building and property. This crane fell onto a Government building in LondonStorm Jude collapsed crane, London_70749840_786671a0-9df9-45da-9066-6f73bb46e830 readers-storm-11_2715776k

A large number of trees have fallen, many onto cars in residential areasstorm-weather-tree_2715589k ad_119148649 readers-storm-tree_2715620k

Schools have not been closed, but some pupils needed to take an unorthodox route_70748775_81e1d53b-f22c-4738-9929-6389dac477e7 readers-storm-10_2715781k

More minor incidents involved some garden trashing – dammit, that’s our garden…Image 2

These 2 photos were taken on the Chesil Beach in Dorset, where Mrs Harbour and I were a couple of weeks ago, and which I posted about on my companion non-Abaco blog HERE. Below them is a photo of the same location I took then, for comparison.

Storm Jude Chesil BeachStorm Jude Chesil Beach 2chesil-bank-6

The highest wind velocity, around 100 MPH, was recorded at the Needles, a well-known geographical landmark on  the west side of the Isle of Wight in the English Channel. Here is a photo I took there a year ago, when things were calmer. The Needles, Isle of Wight

NEW PHOTOGRAPHS FROM CORNWALL CAN BE FOUND AT STORMY MONDAY (to continue the musical theme)

Saint Jude, St Peter’s Rome

CREDITS Many & various: news agencies; BBC; folk who have uploaded their pics onto news sites, both national & local, for wider viewing; anyone not covered by the aforementioned...

ABACO’S RAREST VISITOR: MEET ALBERT ROSS… THE ALBATROSS


ABACO’S RAREST VISITOR: MEET ALBERT ROSS… THE ALBATROSS

I can find no record for the sighting of an albatross in the waters around Abaco. Nor for anywhere else in the Bahamas for that matter. It must have come as some surprise to the BMMRO team out at sea on their research vessel off Sandy Point to see a large and unusual seabird bobbing tranquilly on the water. A black-browed albatross Thalassarche melanophrys. Diane Claridge managed to get a great shot of it and I’m really pleased to be able to use it here.

Black-browed Albatross, Abaco © DC BMMROBlack-browed albatross off Sandy Point, Abaco, Bahamas. Photographed by Diane Claridge.

© Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation 2013

This bird was way out of the normal range for the species. They are birds of the southern oceans, breeding in colonies on such islands as the Falklands, South Georgia and Macquarie Island. As far as I can make out, they have no business to be north of the equator at all.

Black-browed Albatross Range Map BirdLife Int

SIGHTING A BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS: A REPORT

During a three-hour survey for whales off Sandy Point, Abaco on Sunday, July 21st scientists from the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation had an exceptional sighting. Dr Diane Claridge, the group’s Executive Director recalls details of the sighting:

“We were drifting waiting for a beaked whale to resurface when our intern Tristan Albury pointed towards a white object floating in the distance and asked what it was. We decided that it was a piece of trash, unfortunately a common sighting, and continued to focus our search for the whale. A half hour later, we still had not re-sighted the whale and believed that it may have gone down on one of its one-hour long feeding dives. So with time to kill and the “trash” still in sight, we had another look with binoculars. We realised immediately that it was a very large bird and slowly motored towards it for a closer look. I began taking photographs of it because we already knew it was unusual and we wanted to be sure to identify the species. As we got closer, Roxy Corbett, a visiting scientist and avid birder exclaimed that it was an albatross! I couldn’t believe it. We were able to approach within 100 feet at which point it swam towards us providing an opportunity for us to document its body condition; it appeared healthy with no obvious signs of distress.

Later when back ashore, we compared our photographs with those available online and learned that it was a juvenile Black-browed albatross, an endangered bird with a 7-foot wing span known from subtropical to polar regions of the southern hemisphere! As far as I know this species has never been recorded previously in the tropical North Atlantic. I have seen albatross during whale surveys in Alaska but never dreamed that I’d ever see one in The Bahamas. Although we are thrilled by the rarity of this sighting, the outcome for a bird so far out of its normal range is not usually good. However, there are two Black-browed albatross that strayed into the North Atlantic previously that have taken up long-term residence in Scotland and the Faroe Islands so who knows where this one may end up. Sunday afternoon was indeed exceptional: in addition to this remarkable sighting, we also saw 4 different species of whales and dolphins, all within 5 miles of Sandy Point.”

These are huge strong birds, with a massive wingspan. I wondered what they might sound like – it’s like this… (Credit: Xeno-Canto & recordist Sofia Wasylyk)

For more information on the normal range and status of the Black-browed albatross, the BMMRO recommended links are:

Link to Birdlife International’s site:
http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=3959

Link to IUCN’s species red list:
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106003959/0

TROPICAL STORM CHANTAL HEADS FOR BAHAMAS & ABACO: REGULAR UPDATES


TS Chantal small

TROPICAL STORM CHANTAL HEADS FOR BAHAMAS & ABACO…

EX-CHANTAL ACTIVE AFTER-EFFECTS FOR BAHAMAS JULY 12

WUNIDS_map

… AND DISSIPATES AS AT 17.00 EDT July 10

TD Chantal dissipated NOAA

UPDATE NOAA 11.00 EDT July 10

The storm path seems to be drifting gradually westwards. Abaco is now clear of the currently predicted path, rather than slap bang in the middle…

Chantal NOAA 10.7 11.00

UPDATE NOAA 6.00 EDT July 10

084552W5_NL_sm

084552

UPDATE INTELLICAST 17.00 July 9  Intellicast 9.07.13 17.00

ORIGINAL POST

The 9th July, the season of storms starts to loom, and Chantal is first off the meteorological starting blocks. The reason I am posting this now is because the present 5-day predictions (see NOAA charts below) has Chantal heading directly for the Bahamas in general, and Abaco in particular. So this may be one to keep a weather eye on over the next few days…

NOAA GraphicNOAA imageTS Chantal 9.7 1 NOAA Image

NOT THAT JAMES BOND. THE OTHER JAMES BOND. AND THE OTHER TYPE OF BIRD…


NOT THAT JAMES BOND. THE OTHER JAMES BOND. AND THE OTHER TYPE OF BIRD…

I usually try to avoid regurgitating previous posts, but today I feel it is justified. I posted the article below nearly a year ago. As it happens, tomorrow is the 60th Anniversary of the publication by Jonathan Cape of Ian Fleming’s first book in the extensive Bond franchise, ‘Casino Royale’. So it makes some sense to revisit the background to the naming of literature’s iconic special agent. I promise not to repeat this annually for ‘Live and Let Die’, ‘Moonraker’, ‘Diamonds are Forever’ and all the rest of them.

First, a quick plot reminder: James Bond is sent to play against and bankrupt Le Chiffre, the paymaster for a SMERSH-controlled trade union, in a high-stakes baccarat game in France. With help from CIA agent Felix Leiter, Bond wins the game, but is betrayed by Vesper Lynd, a double agent (Ursula Andress in the 1967 caper; Eva Green in the 2006 remake). Lynd falls in love with Bond and, instead of betraying him, commits suicide.”  (Source: I can’t reveal it, obviously. You can’t catch me out that way…)

First, mix a cool Vesper Cocktail (“shaken, not stirred”) HERE. Now read on…

220px-Vesper_Cocktail

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“THE NAME’S BOND. JAMES BOND. LICENSED TO WATCH BIRDS…”

JAMES BOND – THE ORNITHOLOGIST WHO LENT HIS NAME TO A FICTION LEGEND

Jamaica, 1952. The night was hot, too hot. Fleming cursed as he made his way up the steps to his neighbour’s verandah. He heard the clink of ice from within the house, and guessed that the rum punch was being mixed just the way he liked it. Stirred, not shaken. As he passed a low table on the verandah his eyes were drawn to a small book lying on it. Fleming paused, taking in the information, his senses suddenly alive. Bond. James Bond. A bird book about the avian species of the West Indies. Suddenly, it all made sense. Fleming knew now the direction he had to take, and with a thin smile he flicked back the insolent comma of dark hair that had fallen across his face and strode into the house towards the sound of the ice…

James Bond, ornithologist (1900 – 1989) was an expert on the birdlife of the Caribbean and wrote the seminal Birds of the West Indies, first published in 1936 and republished in varying formats ever since.

Ian Fleming lived in Jamaica and was a keen birdwatcher. The story goes that one evening, visiting friends, he saw ornithologist James Bond’s Birds of the West Indies on a table, and borrowed that short, punchy name for his fictional hero 007 for Casino Royale, published in 1953. He later said he wanted a name that sounded ‘as ordinary as possible’. In an interview, Fleming said “I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find, and ‘James Bond’ was much better than something more interesting, like ‘Peregrine Carruthers.’ Exotic things would happen to and around him, but he would be a neutral figure — an anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a government department.” Fleming wrote to the real James Bond’s wife “It struck me that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born.” He also contacted the real James Bond about using his name in the books and Bond replied that he was “fine with it.” At some point during one of Fleming’s visits to Jamaica he met the real Bond and his wife. The meeting was recorded for a documentary.

FACT, FICTION & IN-JOKES

IDr No Fleming referenced Bond’s work by basing a large Ornithological Sanctuary on Dr No’s island in the Bahamas. In 1964, Fleming gave Bond a first edition copy of You Only Live Twice signed “To the real James Bond, from the thief of his identity”. In the 2002 Bond film Die Another Day the fictional Bond can be seen examining Birds of the West Indies in an early scene that takes place in Havana. However the author’s name (James Bond) on the front cover is obscured. In the same film, when Bond first meets Jinx, he introduces himself as an ornithologist.

Ian Fleming Lived Here in Jamaica **

I had been planning to research the history of the various editions of Birds of the West Indies, the locus classicus for Caribbean species. Then I started to look into it and found that someone – Jack Holloway – had already done it so thoroughly that I would be wasting my time. So I contacted Jack for use permission, and I am very grateful to him for granting it by return. This next part is all thanks to him. I recommend a visit to his very good online bird resource website at AVIAN3

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THE HISTORY OF BIRDS OF THE WEST INDIES BY JAMES BOND
1936 (The Original)
This is the alpha of the “Birds of the West Indies” books by James Bond. Its longer subtitle is “An Account with full descriptions of all the birds known to occur or to have occurred on the West Indian Islands“. Published just shy of two years after Peterson’s A Field Guide to the Birds of the West Indies, this book was the first field guide to cover all the birds of the West Indies (outside of Cory’s annotated book of 1889).
 
Somewhat in contrast to what is stated in the later 1961 version as the “First American Edition”, this 1936 book was published by The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (at which Bond worked) and was printed by Waverly Press, Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland.This book is certainly quite scarce and typically commands a price ranging from $500 – $1,500 depending on its condition and the presence of a dustjacket.
 
Ultimately, one may ask, “What’s the difference between this first book and the subsequent versions?” Here is the answer in the form of a table (see below)
  

1947 (The Next Version)
This 1947 version is often advertised or assumed to be the first edition. This may be due in part to the rarity of the original 1936 edition and/or to the presence of “First Printing” printed on the backside of the Title Page in the 1947 book (see image below). This “first printing” refers only to the second book. For the true, original book, you must go back another 11 years to 1936.
 
Despite the notation of “First American Edition” in the 1961 version, this 1947 book was published by the MacMillan Company of New York and was printed in the United States. The 1936 edition was also US published and printed.
 
As an obscure note, the title of the book printed on the dustjacket does not match the title printed on the book itself. The cover reads, “Field Guide of Birds…” while the book reads, “Field Guide to Birds…”. Also, it is likely this is the version owned by Ian Fleming which inspired the naming of his charismatic spy (see below)
 
Depending on the condition of this book and the presence of a dustjacket, this 1947 version ranges in price between $30 and $100.
 
  
STOP PRESS  As a guideline, I bought a copy of this edition on eBay for $80, in very good condition with good dust jacket. Elsewhere, on a first edition, I beat the seller down from $2250 to $1600, but it was in poor condition and I left it at that…
                             James Bond Birds 1947 ed f:c                        James Bond Birds F:P 1947 ed

1961 (“1st American Edition”)
Just as a note of interest — or irony — this 1961 version is labeled as the “First America Edition”. Keep in mind the 1936 and 1947 books were both published and printed in the US. Additionally, just beneath the statement of “First American Edition”, you will see “Printed in Great Britain”. Completing the picture, this book was published by the Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston; thus, the American connection (I guess).
 
  

1970s
 
1971 1971 1974
  

1980s
 
1980 1980 1985 1986 (?)

1990s (the adoption by the Peterson series)
 
1993 1995 1999
  

2000s
 
2002 (?)

OTHER COVERS
 
1960s?

ADDENDUM
 
1966

Needless to say, the name James Bond has a familiarity beyond just the birding world. Several myths and slight distortions have grown related to how this name has been transmogrified from ornithologist to international spy.

In 1966, Mrs James (Mary Wickham) Bond wrote a 62-page book How 007 Got His Name that outlined the circumstances which led to the use of Mr Bond’s name in the series of books written by Ian Fleming.

As noted on pp. 16-17, Dr. Bond first became aware of his new recognition in 1961. This was after seven spy thrillers had already been published and were just becoming popular in the US.

Mrs Bond wrote a light-hearted letter to Mr Fleming on February 01, 1961 to make note that he had “…brazenly taken the name of a real human being for your rascal!” (p.18). A return letter by Mr Fleming was most gracious and apologetic.

In this reply, (contained in full in Mrs Bond’s book), Mr Fleming wrote, “I will confess at once that your husband has every reason to sue me in every possible position and for practically every kind of libel in the book, for I will now confess the damnable truth.” (p.21).

He then provided an explanation of how he selected his character’s name for the first book in 1953: “…I was determined that my secret agent should be as anonymous a personality as possible…At this time one of my bibles was, and still is, Birds of the West Indies by James Bond, and it struck me that this name, brief, unromantic and yet very masculine, was just what I needed and so James Bond II was born…”

Mimicking Mrs Bond’s light-hearted approach, Mr Fleming continued his reply with this unique offer: “In return I can only offer your James Bond unlimited use of the name Ian Fleming for any purpose he may think fit. Perhaps one day he will discover some particularly horrible species of bird which he would like to christen in an insulting fashion.” (p.22).

Mr Fleming also offered the Bonds an open invitation to visit his residence in Jamaica and to visit the birthplace of the second James Bond.

Iam Fleming and the real James Bond met only once, which was February 5th, 1964. This was in Jamaica, six months before the death of Mr. Fleming.

This short book by Mrs Bond is a nice, quick read. I appreciate it for the first-hand accounts of the historical beginnings of Bond vs Bond as opposed to the hearsay and myths created over time. The book also offers entertaining stories of how James Bond dealt with his new popularity and the avid “fans” upon their discovery of his name. (RH note: copies occasionally appear on eBay, Am@z@n, & ABE)


Comparison Table of the Books’ Contents over the Years
** “THE FLEMING VILLA” (SHOWN ABOVE) – THE FACTS
  • Once rented by Noel Coward
  • Sting wrote “Every Breath you Take” here
  • Princess Margaret, while a guest, broke a toe on one of the beds (rum punch alert!)
  • Ian Fleming himself designed the house, and wrote all the Bond books here
  • It has 5 bedrooms, and was built by a former donkey track bought by Fleming in 1946
  • You can rent it (and its full-time staff) for £3500 (including breakfast). Per night…
  • It is part of the ‘Goldeneye’ Estate (and no, there isn’t a ‘Thunderball’ Estate)
  • Other guests: Errol Flynn, Katharine Hepburn, Lucian Freud, Truman Capote & Evelyn Waugh

(Source credits: The Quarterly, Wiki & kin; Feeble Intro Pastiche:  RH)