Saturday, August 1, 2009


In 2004 I went on a birding trip to Sumter, SC. There I met a then well known and distinguised member of South Carolina Audubon Society. He was Robin Carter and had written a very extensive, simple and practical Guide to the best birding sites in South Carolina. (Sadly Robin Carter died just last year). Besides taking me on one of his Birding Before Breakfast walks on the river in Columbia, SC, Robin told me about Evelyn Dabbs who lived on the Black River Swamp on the road from Sumter to Florence SC. Since then Evelyn and Tommie have become my friends. On at least three occasions, mostly in early May I have spent entire days roaming their meadows, forests and swamp birding. With Evelyn and Tommie I experienced true Southern Hospitality as have many groups of children, adults and university groups since the year 1976 when Evelyn began doing a study of the migration and population of birds in the Black River Swamp area. I have shared many of my photos of Evelyn and Tommie's wonderful home. Because of a most wise environmental lean on their property its beauty and the vibrant plant, bird and other wildlife will be preserved. Below is a YouTube video I just made on Evelyn and Tommie.

Monday, July 27, 2009


While my two brothers and I were in Ireland last June, we took a very enjoyable day bus trip around the "Ring of Kerry". One of the most interesting stops was up on a mountain where a professional shepherd showed us the many varieties of sheep that exist in Ireland. And he showed us how he communicates with his two feisty Border Collies. He uses, as far as we could gather, whistle signals which include a special whistle signal for each Collie and signals that tell each one exactly what to do: "Move Right!", "Move Left!" "Crouch and menace!" "Sit down" "Run up!" "Run sideways". I am pretty sure that the shepherd also uses voice signals. And I suspect that sometimes the simple movement or position of his shepherd's staff tells the collies where to go or what to do. One interesting detail was the "Crouch and Menace" signal. The sheep see what is the movement of a possible predator when the collies bend down and creep meanacingly toward them. So they move! Here I include a YouTube clip which I wish had been longer.