I have just returned from an eleven day birding trip in Ghana with Ashanti African Tours (www.ashantiafricantours.com).¬† The eleven days were fully packed with birding and travelling the significant distances between the main birding sites.¬† On arrival on Saturday night at Kotoka International Airport in Accra I was met by my two guides for the 11 days and transferred to our hotel at around 11pm.¬† After checking in, the guides informed me that breakfast the next day was at 4.30am, leaving the hotel at 5am; this was the case for the remainder…
Its not that often you can see the land so clearly flying into Scatsta, however flying in on the 15th Nov I had the right seat and the right weather. What you are seeing is the west coast of the island from dropping through the cloud just south of Brae to land at Scatsta. These are not remarkable photographs but what I wanted to bring your attention to was the isolation of farmhouses and the tracks that can lead to good birding spots. But is this isolation part or wholly the reason for the community spirit that…
I will post about the Shetlands project separately, I want to give you a flavour of the island from a brief respite of time off. On a Sunday I dropped the guys off and took the pool car for a drive in the reduced daylight we get up here. First I was obliged to watch a boring GP from India, kinda glad its going to Sky sports next year as I don't subscribe, therefore the link of "must watch" will be broken. Going from Sella Ness (home) I stopped at a community woodland walk by an old…
After my first work cycle to the Shetlands, I arrived at¬† Guild street bus station in Aberdeen and picked up my car that was in the good safe hands of my Daughter. It was 15.00 hrs, as I set off , my tom tom being set by my Daughter as my phone rang when I was attempting it, it was probably set to the shortest route as I got out of the city but found myself on the A944 not the A96, anyway such is life, the A96 my have been faster the A944 was much more…
First tour of 18 days on and 9 days off which includes two travel days. No time off in 18 days, except to watch some morning rugby, where we played well but lost to the old enemy. Surprisingly I got used to the work cycle, working weekends well what else was I to do? well could have taken some more pictures, these sunsets were from the same place on different nights, luckily I had transport so could chase the sun to the west when it looked promising. I have to say I have about 20 really good…
I am retyping this from the original which is a paper I helped compile for a years worth of birdwatching on Dubai's creek. I was not alone and the observations are from a small but determined party of enthusiasts who got up early on a Friday (holy day) and often took to the mud to cover the whole creek. The period was 1981 to 1982 and I believe shortly after I left the area it was declared a national park, good vision from the Maktoums. I am doing this in response to a search of my site for Dubai birds,…
The normal summer hols were again spent in Lochaline, (nearest ferry to Mull), in a house overlooking the sound of Mull and Ardornish castle if a tree wasn't there! Mike and Jan, the owners, weren't there which was a pity. With more people incumbent there is more intention to explore/ have day trips. My brother Derek and his wife Moira were there from the first Saturday to the Thursday, we arrived on the Monday, so had a few days overlap. Five people went to three, my wife and her cousin Helen, we kinda stayed local. We did…
For a bloke who gets sea sick standing on a pier the thought of a ferry trip to Shetland where the seats in the bar have a wire harness to the floor, was worrying. However the weather was high pressure and i needed to take my car to move the bulky PPE and other items I need. So with confidence having used the ferry port to turn around on after leaving Petrofacs office i set off, and duly turned into the right place to turn but the wrong quay, dope!! Found the right quay, after instructions, boarded…
740 miles from home to Kidderminster and back, to pick up the FWD from Dynatest¬† where it's poor near broken back had to be welded. Unlike my friend Len, who would snort with derision that a round trip of such length is to be approached with plentiful good sleep and a crate of red bull on the passenger seat, I set off with a crate of red bull in the passenger seat. So with a bit of pre-planning I had both the very expensive apple earphones and the said ipod too, this in anticipation of turning off the Freelanders radio…
The friendly Isle, my third business visit, this time with our buyer. He was impressed with the island, the people and the food. We stayed at the Glenorchy hotel which for a Lerwick base is just the best value. Best restaurant found so far is Montys, in Montgomery street and a short walk from the Glenorchy. The Glenorchy has¬† a Thai slant to food and also has a good restaurant, it is in a quiet place just off the town centre and parking is easy. Norman, our buyer was impressed with the neatness and tidiness of the supplier's premises and…
¬† Having only glimpsed the spoonbills on the Saturday trip and with my booked trip for the Sunday shorter and more restricted, I decided to pay a visit to the Hong Kong Wetland Park in the morning before returning to Mai Po as the park is part of the same wetland.¬† Arriving in the park I was met with a horde of people (again noisy!) and despaired at seeing any birdlife.¬† The horde was short lived and seemed to be a number of organised tours which were on their way back to the park…
A second business trip to Hong Kong has afforded me the opportunity for further birding within the Special Administrative Region of China. On my previous trip I had wanted to have a trip to the Mai Po Marshes however I was unable to take this trip as the access to the area requires a special permit from the Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department. Further research prior to my second trip suggested that I would need to join a guided tour to allow access to the marshes. I initially tried to book a tour with the Hong Kong…

Jan 12th by neilgd under Travels, my Friends travels

Tags: Nae tags again!

PART 1 In 2010, to avoid the whole festive hype, we decided to spend Christmas in the sun in the west African country of The Gambia doing some birding and relaxing.¬† The Gambia is Africa‚Äôs smallest mainland nation with a population of approximately 1.5million and a land area about the same as Yorkshire.¬† The Gambia has a remarkable diversity of habitats making it an ideal birdwatching destination, with over 560 species having been recorded within its borders.¬† Being the first green area south of the Sahara on the west coast of Africa it is also an important…
What is it? Transport Scotland, more like Transport halted Scotland. The whole of the central belt ground to a halt yesterday through the major routes, one of which, the A80, is at least 10 years delayed in it's bringing to construction. The usual professional tongue flappers started to blame, surprise weather, jack knifed trucks etc etc. Anyway the media allowed a voice to all those with an opinion and are the now non travelling public furious? you better believe it ! and furious at the excuses and comments like "first rate effort". What did that fiasco cost yesterday to businesses…
In September this year my wife and I spent 3 fantastic weeks in Sydney, Australia.¬† The primary reason for the trip was to visit our youngest daughter Sarah who has been in Oz for two years now and my niece Lindsey and her family who also live there.¬† A little sightseeing was also on the agenda of course. A few travel facts first.¬† We flew with BA via Heathrow and Bangkok.¬† Travel time was 27 hours.¬† On the way out it didn't feel too bad but on the way back it felt like it was taking forever!¬†…
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