Well, I've been offline for about a week on a business trip to the UK. After I finally got the hang of using my camera, Marc decided to adjust the settings for me. I didn't get a whole lot of pictures on my trip and most of them were bad! ;-)
The major sitings on my trip (most of which I don't have pictures of)were:
In Gatwick: Crows, Magpies, sparrows (English house sparrows, no doubt!), starlings (also a common import that we have here), regular pigeons and a pigeon with white on the sides of it's neck (I looked it up, but now I can't remember what it was).
In Aberdeen I saw lots and lots of Gulls (well it's on the coast). Most were Herring Gulls. I also saw crows, ravens, magpies, pigeons, a few unidentified hawks (they call Buteo-type hawks "Buzzards"), a lot of LBBs (little brown birds), a deer and lots of rabbits.
My most exciting find was when one of my friends from work took me to lunch at a nice little pub out in the countryside. I saw a really unusual looking bird, and my friend identified it as a pied wagtail. Obviously somewhat common, but very unusual for me!
I did get to go into Aberdeen one evening for dinner, and since it stays light until late, I was able to take a few pictures of the city.
This castle-like building is the Salvation Army. In the far right of the picture, you can see some round stained-glass windows. There were several of these and I tried to get a picture but they all came out blurry. It had started to drizzle a bit, my coworker was fielding a phone call and I was taking refuge in a convenient gazebo in the square in front of this magnificent building (represented by the dark triangle in the upper right corner).
There are a lot of churches in Aberdeen, I am told. Sadly, many of them are being used for other purposes. This one is the Soul Club. Why is it that many converted churches are bars? Some are also resturants -- I know we have at least one in Houston.
We had travelled down Union Street, the main "drag" in Aberdeen. We turned left down a side street, and about a block down from the Salvation Army building is the University of Aberdeen. This is one of many buildings on the University's campus. The opening on the left opens into a quadrangle-type area, though we didn't go in. Interestingly, though there were several buildings, they were located on the streets just like they might have been office buildings. I suggested that maybe I needed to move to Aberdeen and go back to school. ;-) The reality is that I was there on a couple of really nice summer days. I'm not sure how well I would take to the cold winters that far north. Though it would be nice to see the northern lights someday!
So we turned left from the university onto another street. Here's a nice view down the street. One thing I noticed in Aberdeen was that the majority of the buildings were gray -- obviously a stone local to the area. I should also mention that these pictures were taken around 9:00pm. Being that far north, the sun doesn't set until around 11pm and rises again around 3 in the morning!
So that's the last of the Aberdeen pics. However, I did take one final shot from the airplane on the trip home:
This view fascinated me! The bright white spots in this picture are ice floes on the ocean! I checked the monitors and we were just past Greenland on our flight, so I shouldn't be surprised. I suppose this is the left-over bits of the pack ice as it is breaking up for the summer.
Anyway, it was quite a whirlwind trip for one week and I'll admit I am really glad to be home -- and really tired too!