Friday, March 30, 2012

Goodbye my Angel, goodbye.

Goodbye my Angel, goodbye, goodbye.
There's only so much you could do to try
to make
the whole world right.
I saw how hard you tried.

I tried to tell you the gulf's too wide.
But you swam against their tide
of pride.
They made the water rise.
I pulled you to the side.

They always want to play it their way.
They want your help that's what
they say,
but it's just how they play.
I saw them turn away.

I saw you spread your gossamer wings.
I knew the song that you could bring
and help
how this whole world sings.
I shared the pain it brings.

They had to turn it into a fight,
when all you wanted was to take flight
and change
what they all thought was right.
I saw them react with spite.

Straighten out your iridescent wings.
Spread them out, and you will fly-
you'll sing:
you're not the sort to cry.
I'll share the song you bring.

There's a new world where you'll fly again.
Angels like you will always survive
and thrive,
but you need to leave me behind...

I have never learned to fly.

Goodbye my Angel, goodbye.

Don't ask me about this.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Marine Iguana: Evolution of species.

Ever since I read Charles Darwin's "Origin Of Species" as a 10 year old, I have been fascinated with Galapagos Islands. They were our first choice for my wife and I to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary this past January. Finally a dream comes true!

Barren volcanic archipelago,
Formed by violent conflict down below
Where Nazca, Pacifica and Cusco
Constantly struggle to and fro.

This titanic clash of tectonic foes
Caused scorching molten lava flows
To erupt from ash draped volcanoes
To create the Islas Galapagos.

In these isolated and virgin lands,
Nature painted a different plan
Far from the interfering hands
Of that worst of predators- Man!

The harshest evolutionary course
Awaited the toughest participants
Unlucky to wash upon these shores:
Death for the losing contestants.

On jungle mainland, the blustery
Storm destroys an ancient tree,
And washes it down the river valley
Where currents carry it far to sea.

Though waves attack her plant life-station,
She clings on to the vegetation
Deep in suspended animation:
A refugee in enforced migration.

She washes ashore one stormy day.
Land she grasps with desperate claws,
And struggles through chill surf to lay
A tenuous hold on these barren shores.

Would fate have her survive and stay?
Or starve to death and then decay,
Just like each other poor castaway
Who had fertilized this barren bay?

Her slender, lithe and sinuous form-
Now unsuited for this harsh terrain-
While in jungle homeland trees the norm:
Here evolution would be set in train.

In the weeks she fights to stay alive,
The birthing of her young to arrive.
And from the few who will survive
New species Nature will contrive.

And from her brood one stumpy male
With shortened snout and paddle-tail,
To swim and forage he will prevail,
While all his siblings eventually fail.

When washed ashore one stormy morn,
Another spies this lonesome male.
And from their union more are born 
With shortened snout and paddle-tail.

In harsh and trying circumstance,
Sustaining traits Nature will enhance.
Those that adapt have better chance:
Natural selection, not happen-stance.

Marine iguanas scientists say,
Are merely Nature's adaptive way
Of how tree iguana have held sway
When mainland floods cast them away.

In reality, establishment of a new species on these islands would take many millions of years of castaways arriving and perishing there, but eventually a pregnant female would eke out a precarious existence and establish a line of descendants that would become our modern Land and Marine Iguana. 

Tree iguana, Iguana Park, central Guayaquil.

From the mainland Tree Iguana, Galapagos Islands Marine and Land Iguana are thought to have evolved. Rafts of vegetation are washed down mainland Ecuadorian rivers and out to sea carrying any animals clinging to it, most to perish in the waves. Being cold blooded, reptiles are able to survive long periods without food or water clinging to floating debris where cold temperatures will send them into inactivity or stupor. 

Marine Iguana, Rabida Island, Galapagos. 
Shorter, flattened tails for swimming, salt excretion glands, and shorter snouts with wider mouths enable these to be the only marine iguana specie.
Land Iguana probably evolved from similar castaway Tree Iguana stock.

Probability is that during the millions of years since early Tree Iguana were first washed ashore on Galapagos to adapt and survive there, the Tree Iguana on the mainland has also evolved further specialized adaptive features from the common ancestor of both.

Marine Iguana, Floreana Island, Galapagos.

Shortened snouts and widened mouths for cropping the algae and seaweed which it feeds on. Tails are flattened vertically to allow it to be an excellent and agile swimmer. Marine Iguana vary in size and coloration from island to island and the those of Floreana Island are the most colorful of all. 

Land Iguana, South Plaza Island.

 Note the different snout characteristics. Heavier and generally larger than the marine specie, its diet is mainly vegetation of which Opuntia would be around 80% from which it derives water. It will also eat insects or carrion. We observed one climbing a low bush to get to a frigate bird's nest, presumably after the eggs, but the weak branches would not support its weight and it fell a metre to the ground.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Galapagos Islands Animal Antics.

A few pics from our Galapagos Islands cruise in January this year.
Dull, overcast days did not make for good clear pictures but still love these pics!

Sea lion pup awaits his mum who has taken the day off and gone fishing.
"My mom's going to come back soon."

Marine iguana, Rabida Island. And yes, the rocks and sand are that bright red when the sun appears.!

 "Yep, love you too!"

Frigate bird with attitude, hitching a ride on our boat.

Sally Lightfoot crabs are this brilliant...even before you cook them....which you're not allowed to do.

Another marine Iguana soaking up the warmth of the sun.

Great Blue Heron, but in the very low evening sun it takes on a golden colour. My favourite photo of the cruise.

Flamingo shot taken late afternoon, and at extreme range of my Canon SX40HS, 35 times optical.

Watch out for that lava lizard!  
"Alright, alright! Can't you read the sign!"

"My mum's asleep. She's had a hard day fishing!"

"Hiya big boy"

Our 10 day cruise was with G Adventures, our 40th wedding anniversary splurge.
So here is a cute wee guy that the chef found running around the boat's galley. He looked so delicious but didn't have the heart to eat him. Besides in the Galapagos Islands you are not allowed to eat the wildlife, so we eventually set him free.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

I've Been Running....

I've been running on fast with the utter desperation
of trying to escape that image of tragedy.
I'm haunted right now by the sight of mutilation
of the mother who once loved and nurtured me.

I've been running on looking for some deep shading cover,
need to get some shelter over me.
Helicopter's close and soon they're gonna discover
just another wee frightened refugee.

They've got high powered guns.
They've got thermal imaging technology.
They've got tranquilizer drugs
and sharpened machetes.
So there's nowhere to run!
Nowhere a safe retreat!
Panicked and stunned:
just another...
 desperate refugee.

I've been running on low and feeling that deep exhaustion,
panicking with the loss of energy.
But driven on now by the thought of extermination
of the mother that once loved and protected me.

I've been running on long from the stink of the decimation.
Horns are going to be the death of me.
Anyone hear, can you enforce the regulations
on the killers of the mother that once cared for me?

Let's get more APU teams moving.
Let's find the funds -
for high powered guns!
And get those prosecutions moving!
No bail for these -
just throw away the keys.
Don't allow no smooth talking lawyers
in a world that treats poachers so leniently.

Or there's...
nowhere to run.
Nowhere a safe retreat.
Hunted and gunned:
just another...
disappeared specie.

Rhino poaching total for 2007 in South Africa was 13.

2011 saw 488 kills.

At the time of writing this post, already the total for 2012 is now 94!  Total now 109!  119!
Edited 23/3/12. Now 139!
over 300!
The overall world total will be higher.

For more information on why rhino poaching is escalating read -
Graphic Images from The Rhino Wars

Pictures of rhino calf are by 
Pam Krzyza of Outraged South African Citizens Against Poaching.

Join OSCAP here-


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Music from our travels.....some.

Embroidered Russian peasant prettiness,
Irkutsk -solitary, ignored.
Others ignored your part.
Eyes shine
while your deft fingers
Plucked strings in my heart,
As upon a delicate balalaika
Your music became mine.
I repaid you with a crowd.

  You Swazi street-clogging soul supremo!
 Was it God's music,
 Or the heartbeat of a nation
 With the wasting disease?
 I traded cents for a silver disc,
 You gave priceless acceptance and memories.
 My gift - YouTube has you now.
 We're evens.

Todd Various.
Detroit's corporate cubicle escape artist.
I obeyed your commands
Formed the square,
Drilled in Edinburgh's Royal Mile.
Another straitjacket escape,
Like a butterfly from cocoon did
You can fly anywhere.
What is it now? 18 countries with your skills?
I took photos;
Your brash optimism cost me 5 Quid.

Cool kids congregating clandestinely?  
Don't get caught in a dark African night!
Fear bound me to the shadows.
Then a songbird sang the light,
Brought forth the chorus,
Banished the fright.
Mascato, you never saw me
But I fell in love with you.

Lajos Sarkozi.
Karpatia quartet accompaniment.  
Budapest's Hungarian rhapsody.
An der Schonen blauen Donau,
Dining in Gypsy entrancement,
Aw what the heck!
The Danube was just out the window!
I had to buy your
Fluid strings, flying bow!

 Been a long journey since Boulder to Birmingham
 They'll all have to join hands together
 As your angel voice soars true.
 I'm gonna pump up the volume when time comes
 To pay the ferryman his due.
 I have your library:
 There's none overdue.