sandy coasts

February 11, 2017 - Least Tern (Sternula antillarum)

The smallest species of tern in North America, these birds breed on sandy beaches along the coasts of much of the United States and inland near several river systems, wintering throughout the Caribbean and on the coasts of Central America and northern South America. They eat small fish and some invertebrates, hunting by diving into the water from flight. Breeding in small colonies, they nest on the ground, building shallow scrapes in sandy or gravelly areas, such as beaches, riverbanks, or sometimes flat building rooftops. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks. The population found in the interior of the United States is threatened by habitat loss and nest disturbance.

Sableye variations!

Pearl: A shy Pokemon that lives in sandy caves along sea coasts. They go diving for gems, which they pry from the shells of Clamperl and Shellder. If provoked, they will bite down and not let go. Possible ancestors: Medicham, Mr Mime

Lightfoot: These fluffy Pokemon are decided kleptomaniacs, sneaking into homes to steal jewelry; they wear the parts of their treasure that they can’t eat. Their fur muffles the sound of their movements. Possible ancestors: Lopunny, Spinda

Sunglow: The gems on these Sableye glow faintly and make them easy to spot at night. This is good for explorers, as it makes them visible in the dark ruins they call home. They tend to be overly territorial. Possible ancestors: Beheeyem, Volbeat


The Baia dos Tigres: Angola’s “Ghost’ Island

The Baia dos Tigres (Tigers Bay) is a small isolated and unpopulated island in the southwestern region of Angola with a land mass of 98 square kms. As the largest and only sandy island off the coast of the 2000 km-long Namib Desert, it remains the least known coastal wetland along desert coast rich in shorebirds.

The Island was once a thriving commercial fishing community in the Portuguese colonial era, connected to the mainland by a small sand causeway. The inhabitants abandoned the Island in 1974 to escape the strong wind, lack of drinking water and the transportation difficulties to the mainland. Filled with hundreds of abandoned Portuguese-style buildings and properties, the structures are now being enveloped by the continual blowing sand.

The Island is only visited now by adventure-seeking tourist groups.

Apologizing for Porne: All Dornishmen are Snakes

Racism, Orientalism, and D&D’s Dorne

So, there’s one thing that’s been quite clear to me and many others since at least the third season of Game of Thrones, the show runners, D&D, are fans of the Lannisters. They loved Tywin and thought he was great, and the adore Tyrion and Cersei (hereafter called Saint Tyrion and Carol in the context of the show). They don’t quite know what to do with Jaime (Larry) most of the time, but I digress.

Anyway, considering that fact that the Lannister are the heros of the story now (what.) maybe it shouldn’t surprise me that the show would choose to see certain things from their perspective, that the narrative would want us to be sympathetic to their motivations.

But there’s one thing we seem to be seeing from the “Lannister” or perhaps by extension in this case, “general Westerosi” perspective that I can’t understand or excuse. Because, as I’ve said elsewhere, this is not what Dorne is like, this is what someone’s racist grandmother in Lannisport thinks Dorne is like.

Image: Tomasz Jedruszek. © Fantasy Flight Games.

In Westerosi culture, the Dornishmen’s separate history, cultural distinctiveness, strong sense of unified identity, and their determination to be politically autonomous quite naturally leads to them being rather “othered” in the eyes of  Westerosi. Put another way, they are the targets of prejudice, and what I can only describe as “racism”.

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There were three sorts of Dornishmen, the first King Daeron had observed. There were the salty Dornishmen who lived along the coasts, the sandy Dornishmen of the deserts and long river valleys, and the stony Dornishmen who made their fastnesses in the passes and heights of the Red Mountains. The salty Domishmen had the most Rhoynish blood, the stony Dornishmen the least. … The salty Dornishmen were lithe and dark, with smooth olive skin and long black hair. The sandy Dornishmen were even darker, their faces burned brown by the hot Dornish sun. They wound long bright scarfs around their helms to ward off sunstroke. The stony Dornishmen were biggest and fairest, sons of the Andals and the First Men, brownhaired or blond, with faces that freckled or burned in the sun instead of browning.

long overdue update of this post

Very Rare Silver Tetradrachm of Bagadates I, King of Persis

This silver tetradrachm is from the Kingdom of Persis, minted during the reign of Bagadates I in the late 3rd or early 2nd century BC. Bagadates is shown on the obverse wearing a large earring and a satrapal cap (kyrbasia) with its flaps tied up. The reverse shows an image of a fire temple of Ahura-Mazda with Bagadates on the left and a standard to the right; an Aramaic legend is around. This one of the finest known examples of this coin.

Persis was located in what is now southwestern Iran. ‘Persian’ peoples settled the area as early as the 8th century BC, in an area that flourished earlier under the powerful Kings of Elam.

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Sea buckthorn - Hippophae rhamnoides

I smelt the exotic scent of these tasty berries before seeing the silvery foliaged bushes as I walked along the Welsh Coastal Path on the Gower peninsula recently. It grows on sandy coasts and is often planted to help stabilise dunes and it was doing a great job of that here.

The tart fruit is delicious but very difficult to pick because they burst very easily and the bush is covered in huge thorns. It has a variety of culinary uses - I’ve eaten mini doughnuts filled with buckthorn syrup and it apparently makes a fantastic jam, so long as you sieve the pips out. It’s very sharp and sour, but also aromatic, reminding me of passionfruit.