July 7th, 2007

classic beard

European Vacation

I'm back and just about over the jetlag... and since I'm now a year behind on Iceland stories, I figure I should at least get some of the Spain stories down now...

Instead of going to EuroPython this year (it's next week, in Vilnius) I arranged my habitual two weeks in Sweden to overlap with Jesse and Kaia's "elopement". That's a fascinating story told elsewhere and a few hundred pictures over on flickr. Barcelona seems to be a nice and well-behaved city; even the less pleasant parts merely reminded me of Brooklyn :-)

Since I don't actually like cities to start with, Laura found a British couple who do casual bird-watching tours of the Ebro Delta. I've only posted about a dozen of the nearly seven hundred pictures I took that day (mmm, eyestrain... and when I was back in the hotel with a cold facerag over my eyes, I *still* saw flapping wings in various configurations :-) The delta has a fascinating collision of ecosystems - on the one hand, you have the Mediterranean and the brackish mixture of that with the mouth of Ebro river; on the other hand, you have vast rice paddies irrigated with fresh water drawn by canal from far upstream on the Ebro. In between, lagoons and marshes, and a range of nature preserves easily reachable over the course of the day. Sightings included night heron, coot, flamingo, swallow (nesting *in* one of the bird-viewing blinds :-) tern nests, bittern, purple heron, avocet (and chicks), various ducks and ducklings, egret, mundane and exotic gulls, and some fish. Plenty of long-lens work, as well as occasional closeups (the night heron seemed pretty fearless, as well as entirely uncamouflaged.)

Also of minor note, I didn't bring a laptop to Spain, just a somewhat-obsolete Archos PMA430 "image tank" with wifi. This served pretty well, running OpenPMA but that wasn't much of a challenge - all that actually needed was USB Host support and rsync, I didn't do any captioning until I was back in Sweden (and much of it I deferred until the flight back to the US.)