Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wasted day - well maybe not...

...that is not if I go fishing tonight. I had been planning on going to the outdoor range at The Long Island Shooting Center of Brookhaven today but let too much of the day slip by to make the trip worthwhile. They charge about $23 per day for shooting pistol and rifle, and $5 per trap session; the drive is about 60 miles each way to reach the place. Well by the time I got done puttering around the house it was about 1:30 and they end shooting at 4:15. Since it would take me over an hour to get there that would not be worth it at all. So I decided to go to the nearby indoor Nassau County Rifle and Pistol Range. They are closed on Saturdays and Sundays and I would swear it is September already, and well within their business hours, but they just did not - maybe would not - answer the telephone. Not like it was when Republicans ran the county - oh well. maybe they are still closed since this is Labor Day weekend. You would think they would be open though since the Nassau County website only says they are closed on weekends during July and August.

So, tough noogies for me I suppose. I had wanted to try out the latest acquisition - the Mosin Nagant 91/30, and to shoot the Yugo M44 too. I was also going to sight in the Marlin 336 since I removed the scope and scope mount to clean the rifle (much to my dismay finding some pretty bad rust under the scope mount but nothing terrible). Now that I had the scope on and off and on again, it needs zeroing for sure. I also had half a mind to shoot the Yugo SKS and to find out if the stripper clips I bought actually are made for the SKS and function properly in it. Well, I suppose there is always tomorrow for the outdoor range. I think I will leave right after breakfast.

As for the remainder to today, there is not much to do. I may go out fishing tonight if the party boats are not too crowded. yeah, I know, good luck this weekend. Then again I may get lucky. They are fishing at night for Striped Bass and Bluefish; I always bring a bottom rig too to see whatever down there might be biting if the blues and strippers are not. I have gone home with a bagful of Ling in past years when others had nothing. The boats leave at 7, I like to be there by 6, so I have plenty of time to do whatever else I can think of before heading out at about 5. I suppose I ought to spend at least an hour or two making sure my rod, reel and tackle box are in order. If I do go out it will probably be on the old and very slow captain Al. A slow boat but usually excellent mates and good fishing. There area lot of other boats to choose from, but in recent years I have chosen them for the few trips on which I have gone fishing. See:

I also suppose I am taking a chance that I will throw out my back or shoulder. They are still both aching but not as bad as they have been over the past week, especially the past couple of days. The Arthrotec pills I was given by the doc are working somewhat, but not all that much to tell the truth. Still though I am feeling a bit better. Maybe that bit better is good enough to handle a bite from a nice bluefish or a cow striper. Mmm, broiled Striped Bass and grilled bluefish sound really good for tomorrow after the range.

All the best,
Glenn B

Heosemys depressa - Supposedly Spotted For The First Time... the wild, or so says this article. Now while this gives me sort of a thrill, because I am into reptiles and amphibians and am a turtle/tortoise keeper, I am not necessarily writing about it here just because of the sighting. Rather, I am writing about it because of the ridiculous claim in the article about the sighting. You see, the article states:

"Known only by museum specimens and a few captive individuals, one of the world’s rarest turtle species — the Arakan forest turtle — has been observed for the first time in the wild."

Hmm, do you see anything wrong with that sentence. No not grammatically, rather with what it is claiming. It is trying to say that this species of turtle has never before been encountered in the wild by mankind until an intrepid team of naturalists found it recently. That is absolute bullshit (sorry I just hate it when reporters make ridiculous claims). You see in order for this turtle to have been discovered in the first place, well someone had to find it in the wild. In order for there to have been captive specimens, someone had to observe it in the wild and then catch at least one of them.

The article then goes onto say that a few specimens turned up in Chinese food markets in 1994. I wonder where does the author or the article think they were found. Does he think they came from an Arakan Forest Turtle farm? Is it possible that maybe they came from the wild and that it stands to reason whoever caught them observed them in the wild? Then the article says that before that they had last been seen in 1908 when one was collected by a British army officer. I wonder, did he collect it on sale at the turtle farm, or did he 'collect' it in the wild?

Besides the sort of silly sounding statement that none have ever before been observed in the wild, it seems they may have the wrong picture to go with the article. When I checked on the Internet the pictures I found looked more like this one (click on the pic once at that link for a slide show) than the ones pictured in the article. Now then, they could be youngsters that look different than adults, or they could be a subspecies that has a darker color.

I don't know about you but poor reporting like that kind of bugs me. That is especially true when talking about more important things in my life than the Arakan Forest Turtle. No it is not that I consider these turtles unimportant, just that reporters screw up often on things that are of more importance - you know like so called Global Warming (now amazingly referred to as climate change). Of course, the AP had an even more ridiculous claim in an article about these very same turtles and all you have to do is read the headline to see what I mean: Discovery of Extinct Species: Arakan Forest Turtle. I mean it would be pretty hard to discover a living example of an extinct species - would it not? I give them credit though as they immediately explain in the first sentence of the article that the species was "...believed extinct...".

As for the turtles themselves, well I am always interested in such things. Turtles have always fascinated me, maybe because my first pet was a Red Eared Slider. My uncle took me to a pet shop on Broadway in Brooklyn, NY to buy that little guy many years ago. Sadly his future probably was not as rosy as that of the Arakan Forest Turtles in question, he did not live all that long - just a couple of years. Then again, having that little turtle created a lifelong interest for me as to collecting, keeping and breeding reptiles and amphibians. They get only top notch care from me, maybe even better care than is given to some of the handful of Arakan Forest Turtles in captivity. When it comes to hard to breed animals, especially reptiles and amphibians, many breakthroughs are made by private keepers as opposed to zoos and wildlife sanctuaries. My bet is that if the zookeepers would be humble enough to seek the advice of some advanced/expert (not me mind you) private turtle breeders they might improve their success rate with this species markedly. To date very few have been propagated in captivity.

All the best,
Glenn B