2005 – The Road to Morocco – Part 3
It’s Valentines Day and the weather has finally broken. It’s been an absolutely glorious day today considering that it’s only the middle of Feb. Temperatures up to 20’C which feels really hot out here, so its legs out and looking across to Africa in the hope of seeing a few raptors.
Poor Michael. I do feel for him. Not only does he find the going difficult, he hates the sun. I find that funny considering how many years he spent working in Africa. He has spent the past few days scurrying between shaded areas like a lizard. I do not know what he will do when it really warms up.
Birding has been slow as migration has not really started yet. We have had a few Black Kites, Peregrines, ten Swallows and a Black Stork come across but not much else. So there is nothing else to do but enjoy the weather and play with my new digital camera. It has been quite a delight photographing all the early flowers which as usual are quite spectacular. This camera even makes me look good.
The days have settled into a routine too for Michael and John. Michael will still only run the top nets which is a real effort for him. An invitation to walk anywhere else is flatly refused. John is a bit more mobile and enjoys wandering at a sedate pace around the Rock.
In the evenings these guys are putting away more whisky than I have seen in a lifetime. I am seriously thinking of buying shares in White & McKay’s. I think it must be medicinal and help numb the pain. I am beginning to wonder if it is working judging by the state of them at 0600 in the morning. Still, they seem to be enjoying it and it’s a really good crack. Plenty of stories, jokes and reminiscing to enjoy between refills.
I wandered down to the pass office today to enquire about my pass for Windmill Hill. To my absolute astonishment, not only was it open but my pass was actually ready for me to collect. Two years in the waiting and now I have it, I have nothing to gripe about. I spent the rest of the day celebrating, even cracked open a bottle of wine, but in my heart I know that the job is only half done. Tomorrow I will start to try and pin down the Staff Sergeant who I have to contact in order to gain access. I think that this may be more difficult than it would appear. I can’t wait for the list of excuses why I shouldn’t be there. I hope that I am wrong, but why does this little voice in my head keep telling me that the acquisition of a pass is only half the battle.
Managed to meet the Staff Sergeant today and that little voice was completely wrong. He could not have been more helpful. The whole area is so different to the rest of Gib, flat and open. It will attract a great many migrants later on in the year. The only problem is that it is so exposed. There was a raw wind whipping across the area today which made it really uncomfortable. I was chilled to the bone within half an hour. That’s all I stayed before I returned to the Obs which is always sheltered from the East wind which makes it feel ten degrees warmer. Still, I am there and I now have access to the whole of Gibraltar.