ROLLING HARBOUR 2020
It’s been 10 years since my active involvement in the Bahamas began, specifically on the island of Abaco with the establishment of the Delphi Club fishing lodge, now still thriving in new hands. A great deal has happened in the meantime. ‘Birds of Abaco’, showcasing the avian wildlife of the northern Bahamas, was published in 2014. ‘Abaco Piping Plover Watch’ took off in 2015 and became a 5-year ‘citizen science’ conservation project researching the winter migration of a tiny and rare bird. I also became involved with marine mammal research, which continues.
‘Rolling Harbour the Blog’ has rolled on throughout, and still does. The material from the early years – me on a learning curve with photos taken on a tiny camera – is largely dispensable, I do realise. Below is the original ‘ABOUT‘, and at some stage I plan to rewrite it…
THE BIRDS AND OTHER WILDLIFE AROUND THE DELPHI CLUB AND ELSEWHERE ON ABACO
(also featuring an eclectic assortment of random Abaco-centric material, from recipes to shipwrecks via hurricanes and shark attacks – and occasional utter irrelevancies just because I can…)
This blog is designed to be read in conjunction with the main Delphi website DELPHI CLUB BAHAMAS Also, see initial explanatory post at foot of the page for further info and an Abaco parrot…
RECOMMENDED LINKS These weblinks in the sidebar under are, frankly, at least as informative as the Posts – and probably much more useful to you. They are certainly far more professional, mostly. Don’t ignore them! But bear with me!
MAPS I have added some MAPS OF ABACO, including a couple of quasi-historic ones. The main interest of them is that very few maps actually mark Rolling Harbour itself (FACTOID: the bay was actually named after this blog in 1753). Click on the maps & most will enlarge a bit, click a second time and you get much larger (yet still legible) sizes. This wasn’t deliberate skill on my part, it just seems to happen.
NEW STUFF This imaginatively-named menu at the right-hand end of the top bar will reveal much of the activity as the blog expands, not just the significant posts (but not reshufflings / spelling corrections, obviously). So you will see all the added bits and pieces including assorted Abaco-related info and trivia, with click-throughs direct to the relevant page / post.
© IMAGE STATUS The blog images (and indeed the artfully adapted Delphi Bonefish logos) are mine, unless otherwise stated. Please assume they are all © RH and let me know if you wish to use one, because I will be using some myself elsewhere and… the legal part of my brain is already kicking in at the prospects. Old habits die hard, etc
IMAGES & CAPTIONS Clicking on an image will enlarge it (considerably in some cases), double-clicking may enlarge it further. Usually, but not always. It’s a bit hit-and-miss, frankly, and I’ve no idea why… Some thumbnails don’t always work – I sort them out as I come across them. Leaving the cursor on the image may reveal the caption (except where I forget to do this) [later note – quite often, I notice]. Some images are posted, and get a caption later: this is because I am buying time to identify the bird, butterfly, fish, whatever – and in some cases hoping some kind person will assist. Occasional caption IDs are pure inventions for the hell of it until something more realistic comes along – Lucifer’s Gonadfish, for example (you’ll get the makings of a ‘googlewhack’ for that one!).
IMAGE QUALITY: the images posted – mine, I mean – are a very mixed bag of quite reasonable ones, OK-ish ones and unarguably hopeless ones. Why include the latter? Most nature / wildlife blogs, as you will have noticed, contain wonderful photos in which every feather gleams and each pistil shines with vivid clarity. They are quite intimidating, aren’t they? Those of us with pocket cameras don’t always take professional-quality pictures. Things move quickly – often the subject itself. Or ones shaky hands. So these are the sort of snaps anyone might take on holiday, a few “wow!” and plenty of “woe!” But the poor ones give a sort of context to the rest of a post or page. Or have a quirk. Anyway, bad luck, kind reader, and please be tolerant.
USE OF ENGLISH Mostly you will find ‘english english’ is used – Harbour not Harbor etc. I don’t change ‘American English’ (‘Wax’ namecheck – where are you now, Andrew Gold?!) where I quote, nor when I make an exception to my rule by mistake – I see I’ve written meter for metre in a few places…
PHOTOSHOP© I don’t have this. Mrs RH does and it’s a step too far for me. But I have the Mac-iThing. Mostly I try not to use is at all except to straighten and / or crop. Sometimes I use the exposure / contrast gizmos to enhance a darkish photo; or I use the definition / sharpness twiglet to add focus. The de-noise thing is a complete mystery – is it just me, or doesn’t it always make a bad image look worse? Anyway, over the months I have started to be able to tell on other blogs where a lot of ‘work’ has been done – I just prefer to keep it to a minimum.
EQUIPMENT [added June 13 in response to a query] “I keep it VERY simple… Originally (post-Abaco, pre-blog days), a tiny shirt-pocket Canon Ixus; added a pocket Panasonic Lumix TZ3 [advantage: Leica lens]; post-blog’s faltering 1st steps, 18 months ago upgraded to Lumix FZ-45; this year added to it a basic 2x tele-extension. Recently replaced Lumix TZ3 after it took a dive in the sand at Casuarina in March, with a pocket Canon Powershot SX240. Almost invariably use auto-settings, as manual settings beyond my skills / comprehension. And the bird’s flown by then. Shoot at highest settings for image size and res on all occasions – use 8mb, 16mb or even 32mb cards to compensate for the image sizes. Remember, you can’t really retro-improve a photo taken on low settings. Take plenty of shots. Delete 90%. That’s it”.
WIKI-USE I use various sources – books and online – for factual information. If it’s a wholesale lift, I credit it. If it’s simply general snippets of info commonly available I don’t always. And Wiki? Much has been said and written about its supposed unreliability, but I think that used with caution it is a terrific resource. Clearly you might raise an eyebrow over an entry about HM the Q saying “…in 1977 Her majesty enjoyed brief success playing maracas with Punk Band ‘The Sex Pistols’ until artistic differences and a brutal fist fight with Sir Sidney Vicious cause her to leave; she later played vibraphone on U2’s seminal ‘Achtung Baby’ “. Sometimes I credit Wiki for more obscure research; for basic information I have generally stopped doing so. So thanks Wiki, in particular for info about birds and animals, and for cross-references to other sources.
DISCLAIMER (added many months later) Although the general idea is to keep things relatively light and non-controversial, I find I may from time to time have pontificated on the occasional issue. I find this because someone has brought a specific instance of pomposity to my attention… So can I make it clear that within the generally accepted boundaries of decency and courtesy I am a free agent, and any views expressed are mine alone and are not necessarily (or indeed at all) those of the Delphi Club management, staff, fellow members nor any of the wildlife in the vicinity.
POP-UP ADS: I realise that anyone who visits this blog or stumbles on it by complete mischance may be getting some ads, mostly Google-related – and also if you view a video. Sorry about that. I expect there’s an upgrade that avoids them, but the parsimonious Nordic Scot in me forbids the outlay. [There is. It seems to be $60. So no dice.]
THE DELPHI CLUB: BIRDS AND OTHER WILDLIFE (EXCLUDING GUESTS)
Peter Mantle has unwisely encouraged me to start a blog about the birds and other wildlife to be found around the Club and more generally on Abaco. I expect it’s the sort of misjudgement that results from many years of friendship. I do so as a complete amateur, open to correction on all aspects. The posts will mainly be about the abundant birdlife, but I will include some other creatures that guests might come across during their stay – butterflies, lizards, fireflies and so on. There will also be coverage of various trips (e.g. birding, reef snorkelling) that can be organised through the Club or you can sort out for yourselves, together with some pointers towards useful books and websites. All of the above should be taken very lightly and I am hoping not to attract learned dissertations on the Linnaean taxonomy of the black-faced grassquit, but rather to help with the question “what the hell is that small yellow bird chirping in the bushes”.