There was some hype on the end of the world today, as foretold in the Maya Calendar. I did a little research on the subject and found the following and being an eternal optimist, I would embrace the concept of peace, love and happiness as a new beginning.
"The Mayan calendar completes its current “Great Cycle” of the Long Count on the 13th baktun, on 188.8.131.52.0. Using the most common conversion to our modern calendar (the Gregorian Calendar) the end of the “Great Cycle” corresponds to 11:11 Universal Time (UTC), December 21, 2012, hence the myriad of doomsday prophecies surrounding this date. There's a couple of very interesting (and disturbing) facts about the Maya calendar's end. Most intriguing, 21-12-2012 is not a day like any other; up in the sky, an extraordinary and incredibly rare event will take place. The Sun will move to a unique spot in the sky - and hold still for a while, since it is solstice day. The Sun will sit precisely on the heavenly crossroads between the Milky Way and the galactic equinox, forming a perfect alignment with the centre of the galaxy. The interpretation you hear most: 2012 will mark the coming of a new, glorious age of wisdom and peace. It will be Age Of Aquarius at last, with a world full of peace, love and understanding. The reasoning behind this is actually not that stupid. The Maya's didn't really believe in endings: their conception of time was circular, with every end being the beginning of something new. So, 2012 shouldn't be an exception. So, New Age philosophers say, December 21st 2012 will be the day on which this inner cosmos is reconnected to the divine outer cosmos. The Sun will mount its unique position to form a `gateway' between the Universe and the souls of every living creature on Earth. Our linear conception of time will crumble, and with it, fear and hatred will vanish. It will be purification at it's very best, when everyone is soaked in cosmic understanding and divine love"
But, driving out west, the sky suddenly turned dark and it was as if day became night as a dark storm came barreling out of the NW with wind, rain and dust and pummeled my car for the next 15-minutes as I drove slowly down the freeway - it was a little ominous, I must say. Once it had passed, all was normal and it was great to see the desert covered in pools of water.
Once at the oasis farm, it was pretty quite which is always a disappointment after an hour and 20-minute drive due to the weather. However, this all changed when I found 2 Eurasian Siskin's which are rare winter visitors. It took some time and patience to get usable images, as they were continually harassed by the resident Sparrows.
|Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus)|
I found a flock of Corn Buntings that were also very skittish and didn't allow close approach at all.
|Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra)|
A male Common Kestrel was seen 'drying' out after the rain
|Male Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)|
Common Chiffchaff's were seen and heard around the farm..
|Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)|
I heard a call I wasn't familiar with and found it coming from a Chiffchaff which I photographed. This was the first time I had seen a Chiffchaff in full song which was responded to from another individual a little further away. I noted that the bird had cold grey/brown upperparts with no hint of green on head or mantle. I'm by no means an expert on these Phylloscopus Warblers, but these features could suggest Siberian Chiffchaff. Only later I realised that I could have recorded the call on my i-pod that may have assisted with confirming the id - lesson learned!
|Possible Siberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus c. tristus)|
Driving back home, the wind had picked up turning the freeway into a 'sea of dust' and I thought the desert was still wet
|Sea of dust on Salmi Highway|
As we still don't have access to Pivot Fields, I did a drive around the outside of the fence and saw a single White Stork perched on one of the pivots. A distant Eastern Imperial Eagle was a welcome sighting and my first for this Autumn/Winter
|Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)|