Adventures with golden eagles

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Here are some things I learned about golden eagles yesterday. They range from west USA to far flung Asia. Scotland has around 450 pairs, the second largest breeding population in Europe – the largest is Sweden or Finland, one of the Scandinavian countries. (If you think of it, under 1000 birds living in Scotland: not that many, is it! And some game keepers still poison them! Gr…)

Their toes have uneven talon lengths, all the better to skewer their prey and kill it pretty much instantly; a particularly large prey such as deer, foxes or wolves may take a nit more killing. Yes, they can kill wolves! Golden eagles attack feet first, grabbing the prey with just one talon in case they miss or the prey attempts to fight back – the second is used for the coup de grace, if you like. And those taloned feet can grip with a pressure of … I’ve forgotten the value quoted, but it’s a lot, a lot more than the jaws of a powerful dog.

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International Women’s Day

Whilst taking a leisurely time over dinner the other day, Jan and discussed (surprise, surprise) horror and fantasy fiction, among many other things. And since International Women’s Day was fast approaching (it’s arrive – it’s today!) we started listing the (horror and fantasy) women writers we’d read over our long years. The list grew quickly and so, to celebrate IWD, here’s our compilation of these fine women writers, in alphabetical order:

Joan Aitken, Sarah Ash, Debbie Bennett, Anne Billson, Leigh Brackett, Octavia E Butler, Poppy Z Brite, Pat Cadigan, C J Cherryh, Nancy Collins, Storm Constantine, Louise Cooper, Raven Dane, Aliette de Bodard, Jan Edwards, Phyllis Eisenstein, Cate Gardner, Barbara Hambley, Elizabeth Hand, Joanne Harris, Diana Wynne Jones, Chico Kidd, Nancy Kilpatrick, Katherine Kurtz, Ellen Kushner, Samantha Lee, Tanith Lee, Ursula Le Guinn, Kelley Link, Alison Littlewood, Anne McCaffrey, Juliet McKenna, Patricia McKillip, C L Moore, Lou Morgan, Anne Nicholls (Anne Gay), Thana Niveau, Lisanne Norman, Andre Norton, Sarah Pinborough, Anne Rice, Justina Robson, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Mary Shelley, Kim Lakin Smith, Mary Stewart, Sam Stone, Melanie Tem, Lisa Tuttle, Freda Warrington, Barbie Wilde, Liz Williams, Connie Willis, Terri Windling, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Jane Yolen…

Not a bad list written from memory and on the back of a scrap of paper. There will be many more we’ve missed. I thought about Googling them today but that would be cheating; but I did look anyway: here is Wiki’s suggestions. If you wish, please add further names in the comments section.

On the road again…

Over the last couple of days Jan and I have travelled many miles along motorways and trunk roads. The thing that most stood out for me were the road works. They were everywhere, narrowing the carriageway, blocking off motorway lanes and, on one occasion, closing a major road entirely (the A50) necessitating a detour (a brief one, thankfully).  Inevitably, all of our journeys took longer; fortunately they didn’t cause us to be late to any of our appointments (I always insist in leaving in “good” time).

All these road works were surrounded by temporary barriers and especially, in their thousands, traffic cones.  I did wonder what would happen if there ever is a shortage of cones, if there’s insufficient to “protect” the workforce. Maybe the number of roads being dug up would be reduced, meaning fewer delays. Just a thought…