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Sunday 01st July 2012 11:57:13 AM
Birds of Cuba[ 0 messages] 
Reading

Orlando H. GarridoArturo Kirkconnell合著,2000年出版和2008年重印的Birds of Cuba (Helm Field Guides),內容應與Field Guide to the Birds of Cuba (Comstock books)類同。雖然它包含了所有可在古巴發現的鳥種,唯略厭部分插圖未夠詳盡,部分構圖及色彩與真實差異頗大,而且編排的插圖與解說文字內容,分開在書內的前及後半部,並非一般參考書的圖文並茂式編排,在實地使用時較為不便。所以選購前可先參考由Soleglad編寫對觀鳥用參考書(Avian Review)的評論,然後才決定購買。

 

...A negative note about the warblers is that only the adult breeding plumages are shown, so keep this in mind if you visit Cuba during the winter. For anyone not confident with their fall and winter warblers, an eastern US guide might be handy to bring. It would also be a nice gesture to leave it behind with the birding guide that escorts you around the island...

...The descriptions are fairly good, but don’t go into great detail. As an example, you’ll need to investigate other sources to properly distinguish Red-shouldered from Tawny-shouldered Blackbirds. If you hope to rely solely on the epaulet color, you might have some troubles with these birds...

...This book is not formatted in the familiar field guide format. The plates are bunched together in the center of the book, sandwiched between the species accounts. And, these plates contain to text other than the bird's name...More

此外,即使只到古巴拍鳥旅行及決定購買Birds of Cuba,仍可同時準備由Herbert Raffaele等合著的Birds of West Indies,此書除了插圖更為清晰以外而且更輕巧,二百多頁中已包含了在西印地區可觀看到的564種雀鳥,作為協助辨認尤其是在古巴出沒的西印地區特有鳥種,非常有幫助,接這裡可預覽此書。

Birds of West Indies

 

Thursday 23rd June 2011 12:25:00 AM
南美攀登記[ 0 messages] 
Reading

嚴格來說,這篇不屬於甚麼讀後感想甚或書評,因為一般情況下都是看書去認識作者,而這次是我認識作者,所以去看一本她寫的書,這也是促使我去看這本書的原因之一。今年二月我參加了其中一位作者-李美涼-在台灣辦的《雪季縱走O型聖稜》登山團。

從聯絡、籌辦到真正在山上走,我認識的美涼是一位不折不扣的登山愛好者,她不僅對攀山的興趣很濃烈,而且具有高尚的登山情操和態度。我相信不單是女生,在香港就算是男生也是鮮見的。而這本書是美涼與另一女生同好,在接近十年前合著的。我感興趣的倒是多年前的她,登山的興致是否跟現在一樣還是更加強烈。

作為一名業餘登山者,我從書中所看到登山的苦與樂,相信會較一般不登山的人,更有身同感受的體會。雖然現今社會的風氣,都是培育及助長那些急功又缺乏準備的人,而美涼的故事實實在在地證明她是少數的例外。在這十年間,美涼一直都保持著那份執著和堅持,並且真的當上登山領隊,帶領其他登山者去完夢。如果你也登山,也必定可從書中窺探到和認同我所欣賞她的高尚登山情操和態度。話雖如此,假如抱住登山的興趣看這本「南美攀登記」,我想多少有點失望,不僅是篇幅太少,而且著墨較側重登山時的過程。我想美涼可多寫一點她們的夢想是如何凝聚,和她們如何把夢想實現的過程。當她們在腦海裡,開始有欲望登這坐南美最高峰,及關於事前的準備及籌劃,到真正踏上旅途前的心路歷程,我想都可作為攀登記記的序幕而且應該會十分吸引。畢竟不登山的人,或許不會主動去細看這本書,而登山的又會感到意猶未盡。想多了解還好不過跟美涼去登山吧!

另一個原因促使我想去看這本「南美攀登記」,是今年十二月我也決定去南美登山,但目標不是這座聞名的南美最高峰-阿空加瓜峰。一來我自知自己的強烈高山反應,接近七千米的高山是我不敢踏足的禁地。而除了美洲最高峰的美譽外,我覺得阿空加瓜峰不甚吸引,因為大部分的登山路徑都位於「窮山惡水」的沙漠地帶。既然要向苦山行,以登大山的角來看,我寧可選擇有雪覆蓋的高山;倘若以自己的能力來考量,我較有把握的是不超過六千米的高山,而正好南美洲的厄瓜多爾就有這樣的高山。當然我不期望看過這本書後,會發現任何登山或旅遊上的資料可以作參考。在現今資訊發達的世界裡,大部分需要的旅遊資料,都可以直接或間接地從互聯網找到。任憑去一個旅遊相關的論壇看看,都可以找到不同形式的南美旅遊資料。然而我還去看這書,是我想在我仍抱有夢想之際,好想去感受一對曾經為夢想而闖的女生,怎樣去將夢想變成事實、化作自己的歷史及令今生無悔。就如她們曾經不只一次在書中表達過,在現今功利的社會中,仍單純去爲夢想而執著艱苦目標的人,是何等難能可貴。有時我會想,究竟還有多少人會繼續去尋求這般艱苦的目標,又或者是曾經堅持過的,之後因為種種原因給現實的生活不斷的磨平後,他們究竟還可以再堅持多久。所以即使以一本旅遊書去看這本書,我想除了抱著欣賞的角度外,相信仍會令人感到失望,尤其這本書所記錄的都經已是差不多十年前的往事。

二零一一年六月我又在為夢想而奔跑,我特意選擇在這次往挪威之行,才去撰寫對這本「南美攀登記」的感受。除了平常因工作和瑣事的纏擾,很難找到空閒的時間去寫,而這次旅行的主要目標,正好跟美涼一樣是在旅遊中去完成一個夢想,就是在亞洲以外的地方跑馬拉松。如果把我的夢說得詳細一點,就是我想在還可以跑的時間和機會下,在五大洲中都完成一個當地的馬拉松。這是我自北海道馬拉松後想的5Sub5目標。在旅途中我又特意再多看一遍這本書,因為這次在挪威跑的午夜太陽馬拉松,與美涼攀登的美洲最高峰有些類同,這是緯度最北而又同時受認可的馬拉松,多少帶點虛榮的名氣。我期望我在走完這次馬拉松後,可以與美涼的「南美攀登記」一樣,往後的都是夢想的延續和不斷的好高騖遠

內容簡介

林乙華與李美涼這兩位正值人生黃金階段的年輕女孩,從大學時代至今的七年當中,已經累積了六次海外攀登的經驗。如果不登山,這些旅費也許早可以讓她們在淡水河邊買間小套房,享受單身貴族的悠閒;不然也買得起一輛RV休旅車,台灣走透透了。但是她們卻連一瓶香水、一支口紅都沒買,整日跑步、登山、攀登,活脫像個摩登原始人。

南美攀登的計畫是她們1999年尼泊爾島峰攀登後的約定。南美最高峰阿空加瓜峰海拔6942公尺,是亞洲大陸以外的最高點。台灣山友自1988年首次組隊攀登成功之後,陸續有兩組登山隊伍繼續前往攀登,但都沒有成功。2001年的2月14日林乙華與李美涼首創我國女性山友登頂阿空加瓜峰的成功紀錄。而這本書,主要是乙華與美涼於南美洲四十多天來的山旅紀錄,包括阿空加瓜峰的攀登經過,以及巴塔哥尼亞安地斯山區的健行趣聞。嚴格說來雖然這是一本攀登記,卻也同時記錄了她們沿途中個人對人生、世界與生活種種課題的探索,在閱讀的同時,也同時體驗了一次豐厚的心靈之旅。除了精彩的文字紀錄,全書數十幀寫真,更真實呈現南美山區的壯麗景致,與山旅風光。

美洲經驗,一個單純的實踐,為登山而做的。成為台灣首登南美最高峰的女性,並非我們追尋的頭銜,但是我們珍惜這份紀錄。」也期望藉由本書的閱讀經驗,讓所有讀者一同感受到那份對夢想的堅持努力與真切熱情。

Friday 17th December 2010 10:15:24 PM
The Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand[ 0 messages] 
Reading

The Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand

Hugh Robertson and Barry Heather, Penguin Books; Revised edition (2005),  168 pages.

- Officially endorsed by the Ornithological Society of New Zealand

- Comprehensive and easy-to-use

- Introduces key bird-watching sites

- Ideal for use in the field

- Every bird species in New Zealand represented in 74 original, full-page, colour paintings, including rare & recently extinct birds.

A more portable version of The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, with the same excellent images, but a reduced text.  A quality print from Hong Kong! A-must for birding in New Zealand at all levels.  I have this book from Stewart Island when birding in New Zealand.

This book is sold at a very reasonable price  (NZ$38) and almost the same everywhere in New Zealand.  My copy is the revised edition published by Penguin Books in 2005 while the previous edition in 1999 is still available in the market.  It is also worthwhile noting that the copy sold from Amazon and NHBS is published by Oxford University Press in 2001 while the price is almost double.

Sunday 13th June 2010 12:00:00 AM
Where to Watch Birds in Scotland[ 0 messages] 
Reading

Where to Watch Birds in Scotland

Mike Madders, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd; 4th edition (29 Nov 2002),  304 pages.

Scotland is a vast and varied landscape, ranging from mountains and moorland in the highlands to lowland vales, rolling hills and many miles of coastline including rocky indentations, steep sided sea lochs and cliffs, wide estuaries and firths and many off- shore islands. These all give rise to a huge range of habitats for the many differing bird species and birdwatchers can expect to find some of the best and least crowded opportunities for observation in the UK, possibly being rewarded with rare sightings. Indeed, more than 450 species have been recorded and approximately 175 regularly breed... Amazon.co.uk Review

I had this guidebook in my last visit to Scotland in June 2010 and read it almost everyday during the trip. The idea of this book is great and it provides very useful birding information to the foreigner. It can be even better if the information about accessing the birding sites can be more explicit and up-today. The layout & presentation of this book are both out of the current fashion but still one of the useful guidebooks in the market.  I got this book ordered from Amazon with 44% discount (only £9.53)and delivered free-of-charge to the hostel I stayed on the first night in Scotland before my arrival.  Having said that, I'd suggest borrowing it from friends (including myself) for just a backup reference and you shouldn't expect too much from it.

Saturday 12th June 2010 09:33:43 AM
A Guide to the Birds of Wallacea[ 0 messages] 
Reading

A Guide to the Birds of Wallacea: Sulawesi, The Moluccas and Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia

Brian J Coates and K David Bishop, Dove Publications.

535 pages, 64 colour plates [697 species], colour photos, maps, illustrations.

A major guide to the birds of the region. The avifauna of this region is a fascinating mix of Asian and Australasian elements but, more importantly, it hosts an extraordinary high number of 249 endemic bird species. This book treats and illustrates all of the 697 species of birds reliably recorded in Wallacea up to July 1996. Intended to serve as both an identification guide and reference the book has two main sections: an identification section comprising the plates and a detailed plate caption text, and a family and species account section that provides detailed information on distribution, abundance, ecology, habits and voice. Key bird-watching sites are also listed.

It is one of my long waiting bird-watching guide books and I have finally got it today from NHBS at a discounted price despite after my trip to Sulawesi.  This is an essential guide for birding in the region of Wallacea, a biogeographical designation for a group of Indonesian islands considered to the transition zone of wildlife in between Asia and Australia.  Though Wallaca is a fascinating birding area, there are a few guidebooks available for birders in the market, at least as far as I know. Luckily and honorably, I had a chance of using this book during my trip to Sulawesi, which was borrowed from a bird guide from Birdtour Asia even though I haven't joined their tour. Like most of guidebooks for remote destinations, they are not available in the areas but may be only available from Amazon while this book may be an exception and a new copy is not even sold from Amazon (at the time of writing). This book was published in 1997 in Hong Kong (a historical year for Hong Kong and it is a little bit ridiculous for me to get it back from a book store in UK!)

It's worth noting about NHBS, Natural History Book Service, and its environment bookstore selling books and wildlife equipment specialized in science, conservation and wildlife though most of their offers tend to be not discounted while I guess probably it is still another good choice of an online book store.  A souvenir given with the book quoting what Mr. Edward O. Wilson, an American biologist and environmentalist, said before : 'When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all.' further enlightens me that 'There is no better high than discovery'. Wish for  visiting Wallacea soon with this book.

Thursday 04th March 2010 12:00:01 AM
忘記「我是誰」? - 李碧華[ 0 messages] 
Reading

忘記「我是誰」? - 李碧華 (摘自蘋果日報)

渣打香港國際馬拉松踏入第十四屆。今年潮濕翳熱還大霧,五萬多名選手跑了辛苦的一程。永不放棄的獨臂羽毛球隊代表、僅餘一成視力的奮鬥媽媽、失明的堅毅跑手、七十七歲老而彌堅長者…都達成心願。連在維園終點向女友求婚真人騷也馬到功成。

亦有逾千五人抽筋脫水受傷,三人危殆。我印象最深也關注的,是這位男選手:他體力不支兼頭部受傷,記者訪問發生什麼事時,竟一臉茫然:「死喇,我好似乜嘢都唔識嘅?」不久便四肢抽搐昏迷了…

聽這話有點震撼,因為也曾見過頭部受傷的朋友忽然失憶,混沌如嬰兒,三天後才回復正常。此類個案不少:英國一名產婦生下兒子後完全不記得,連餵奶換片等育嬰細節也要靠筆記提醒。美國一名警察受不了當差壓力,記憶力只能保存48小時。瑞典電視台一名白髮蒼蒼滿面鬍子的男子,向全球求助,希望各界幫他找回身份。還有最欷歔的,流落西雅圖公園的五十多歲男子,一片空白,被認出為通曉多國語言的教授,曾遊歷世界的才俊─失憶、痴呆者雖心焦如焚,但身邊的人更加痛苦。

希望他們早日記得「我是誰」。

向來都厭看近年傳媒採用誇張及負面手法報導的新聞,雖然不曾唸傳理學,也不自以為有崇高的道德標準。或許曾經參與其中,所以多看了關於今屆馬拉松的報導,也亂發點嚕囌。一脈相承,也沒有半點意外又是片面、嘩眾取寵的新聞頭條:

非洲跑手都話熱霧中馬拉松3危殆(蘋果新聞)

地獄賽道跑手搵命博(東方日報)

最濕熱渣馬3跑手危殆(明報)

「濕熱」馬拉松 三健兒中暑危(星島日報)

渣馬遇濕熱 千人傷3危殆(文匯報)

又或許現在多了些頭條新聞以外的花邊新聞,但總覺得離不開為求眼球聚焦的煽情小故事;以為我挑剔的人會指出這些好歹也算是勵志吧?我反問:

難道真的沒有其他更有代表整個賽事的頭條?六萬多健兒參加的項目,八千多是跑全馬,除了數十個較嚴重個案外,還有多少是奮力到底去完成整段四十多公里的賽程?

難道真的沒有更值得報導又非極端個別的花邊新聞?數個鐘頭的競步中,背後又蘊含著幾多小時的練習?有人順利成功完成就是僥倖?不幸受傷的都是天意或主辦單位的不足?若要報導花邊新聞,更有意思的有每年都令人佩服的鯊魚跑手,無私地宣揚正面訊息之餘,亦有絕不可小觑的成績。

不過歸根究底,可能都是我們讀者的錯;容許這般的報導繼續出現,買(或取)他們的報紙,用行動去接受它,甚或邊罵邊買(取)地去支持他們的手法。好一套商業模式,市場主導,你賣我買又何罪之有?

從來人言皆可畏,但寧可人罵我戲言只跑一次全程馬拉松,我選擇了小心翼翼的量力走到終點,縱使跑得氣來氣喘,還要邊行邊走,也免得變成傳媒口中的另一嚴重個案。若可忘記「我是誰」,與其追求比更好還有更好的成績,我倒想可以試試做個鯊魚跑手。

Thursday 04th March 2010 12:00:00 AM
福氣 - 李純恩[ 0 messages] 
Reading

福氣 - 李純恩 (摘自蘋果日報)

過年前打網球扭傷腳,去看骨醫,醫生把錯開的關節「啪」一下扭正回去,囑咐,最好不要用傷腳走路,養兩天才動。

但過年事多,忍不住,第二天就跛着走路,初三之後又去澳洲走了七天,回來又去千島湖、杭州走了三天,半個月過去,腳痛隱隱,傷腫未消,原來錯開的關節,又錯開了。於是又去看骨醫,醫生再扭一次,「啪!」又回位了。

醫生警告,要想好,兩天之內,不要下地走路。從診所出來,扶在我家大婆肩上,單腳跳過一個街口,差點沒把她壓死。上了的士,想想下車之後還要跳回家,便打個電話給菲傭,請她搬一把有輪子的椅子下樓,在大廈門口等着。車至門口,從車上挪到椅上,坐輪椅了。一路推進家門,小狗驚得亂叫。

傷腳兩天不着地,原來很難。本以為人在家中,定定當當,不需勞頓,卻不是這樣。這才發覺,人在家中,原來是很忙的。一會喝水,一會吃飯,取書取報,電話響了要聽,傳真來了要接。老坐在一個地方不動原來很累,想走動一下就得單腳跳,跳開了才知道平時在家堶鴩茼陶o麼多的走動。跳開了才知道要是照着平時在家堛漕城岍W率,一天跳下來,沒傷的那隻腳也廢了。於是就在家坐輪椅了,滑來滑去,小狗又亂叫。

人便是這樣,好端端時也不覺活得有多方便,稍有屁大點事,才明白身體真是一點都不能欠缺。像這樣傷一隻腳兩天不給着地已經很困惑,那人家身有殘障的,一輩子有多大的麻煩?想到此,明白自己福澤不淺,邊單腳亂跳邊感恩了。

身同感受,亦時刻感恩。

零九年十二月初到澳門跑半馬拉松,在賽事還未開始之時,感到左足踝開始有點痛楚;在還有個多小時就要開始比賽之際,唯一可以做的就只有擦些按摩膏及加強熱身;雖然比賽途中的熱鬧氣氛麻醉了傷痛,使得我仍可以應付得來,但賽後才是痛楚難當的開始。

起初我也以為只要稍作休息幾天便可以,因為以往都會是這樣,頂多擦些按摩膏就可以。不過這次就不一樣,整整過了一星期仍未恢復正常,而且痛楚還有加劇趨勢,莫說是不能繼續練跑備戰二月的渣打馬拉松,連日常走路也開始感到困難,實實在在的是舉步為艱;當然這跟我不肯接受經己受傷的現實,依然勉強撐下去有關。幸得朋友催促下及介紹了一位物理治療師給我診斷,也還幸傷不怎麽嚴重,原來要做七、八次的物理治療,做了兩次治療後,傷勢經已明顯有所改善;還記得在冬至當日做第三次治療後,醫師給我最大喜訊,叫我不要再來及好好保護一雙要跑的腿。

從受傷到復元不到一個月的時間,讓我深深感受到健康的無價,也體會到傷患令人精神上的低落。感恩老天爺給我這短短的經驗,叫我更珍惜我所擁有的一切,或許只是平凡中的平凡;也感謝衪准我再走下去,讓我體會人生的無常,叫我繼續尋找自我的目標。

Thursday 14th January 2010 07:12:00 PM
牧羊少年奇幻之旅[ 0 messages] 
Reading

驅使我去買這本《牧羊少年奇幻之旅》,不單是要買一份禮物送給一 位朋友,最主要是他跟我看過改編自這本書的一齣音樂劇。2009年的書展,偶爾發現這本書,毫不猶疑就買了。

故事頗簡單,也是典型正派的勵志讀物;敘述一位西班牙安達魯西亞地區的牧羊男孩追尋夢想,前往金字塔的歷程。男孩因渴望認識世界、四處旅行而中斷修道院的學習生涯,開始牧羊的生活。牧羊少年因緣際會遇見了“塞勒姆國王”、非洲的水晶商人、前往綠洲的駱駝商隊…。歷經種種考驗與數種發展另種生涯的可能,少年仍憑著毅力、熱情與堅持,不管是繞多少路,作多少調整,仍未忘卻自己的初衷,朝向夢想前行。

或許有人以為這只是童話故事,我倒以為它喚醒有些被現實埋沒、又曾幾何時擁有過的理想,即使我們不再年少。書中所說,是每個人都有自己的天命,而這個天命就是自己一直想做的事。背後所支持自己的信念,就是天人合一的信仰。看罷這本書,我細思我的天命,是否就是今天我要專注的路向呢?然而半帶神話的少年故事,或許給人揶揄有點穿作附會。

而因為書中撒冷之王說過的一席話 :「當你渴望某種東西時,整個宇宙都會聯合起來幫助你完成。」,今天激發起了我要執筆分享這本書。

籌備已久的拍鳥旅行不足十天就要出發,正當惆悵訂購了的新款照相機還沒有到手;由於求過於供,有錢難求,市場上亦有數十個 同好的輪候;而正當考慮其他後備方案之時,一位可能看不過眼的朋友給我傳來喜訊,只是前一天替我訂購,今天店員就通知可以提貨;事後得知這批的供貨全港只有五台;而當我手執這 部照相機的第一刻,我沒有多大期待已久的喜悅,反倒因這個意外令我想起那撒冷之王的話;或許牧羊少年說得對:「當我真心在追尋著我的夢想時,每一天都是繽紛的,因為我知道每一個小時都是在實現夢想的一部分。」

Tuesday 29th December 2009 12:00:00 AM
自由的代價 - 塵翎[ 0 messages] 
Reading

自由的代價 - 塵翎 (摘自蘋果日報)

有些朋友時常說着退休,住到海邊的夢想,但沒有多少人真的部署願望成真。生活太累人,為了應付日常所需也費盡心力,剩下來的,只有空談。

前些天去看一個朋友,在西貢海邊買了一間小屋。果真過起面朝大海,春暖花開的理想生活來。我看看這優雅的友人,撿樹枝砍柴生火,姿態仍然相當斯文。城市人的隱居,也還是莊重而不失禮儀。

我們圍爐取暖,說一些如何讓生活過得更輕鬆的夢話。朋友老早決定拋棄家累,為自己而活。這些事說來是需要一點自由意志的。手上沒有多少資本,只得仍營營役役忙於生計,把家中老人安頓妥當,才可海闊天空。朋友慶幸另一半也是價值觀類近的同類,捨得拋棄繁華的中環日與夜。

不是所有人都可以。有時走着走着,發覺路上同行的換了一批又一批人,不過是因為大家的理念愈來愈遠。「自由」是一個不自由的概念。所有的自由都是相對的,得着一些意味放棄了另一些。不同人生階段的思量又不盡相同。

朋友比我年長一代,看着他默默經營自己的未來,堶惘着單純的熱情與專注。而另一班年輕的朋友,卻在街頭耗盡年華。他們的熱情與專注也是令人激賞。在這些矛盾與對比之中,你知道有一些事情你永遠也沒法讓步。

值得細味的一篇短文,包含著作者很多不同方面的識見…就生命而言,生老病死,人皆難免;縱使生活中有十常八九不如意事,既然活著就倒不如活在當下,在不斷辛勞為明天而計劃之餘,也可細味生命不同階段的「苦」。有時我想:人生苦短,倒有點像是為馬拉松的跑步練習。天寒地凍還得跑至氣來氣喘;若以為只是為了比賽而拼命苦練,或會感到有點自討苦吃;但換個角度看,每一次練習後回望跑過的路,原來無論十公里、半馬、甚至全馬自己都可以應付得來;看著自己逐漸體能上的進步,定會感恩還有能力可以完成。與其路還是要苦著走,倒不如去帶著笑去感受它,反正怎樣都只是活一次;就如有人說:「縱然人生是白忙一場,也要忙得很快樂」。

Thursday 24th December 2009 12:00:00 AM
鑽石 - 高慧然[ 0 messages] 
Reading

鑽石 - 高慧然 (摘自蘋果日報)

有個朋友,在鑽石批發公司打工,他說起那種很貴的石頭來頭頭是道,兩粒在外人眼中一模一樣的石頭,他能看出價格的迥異,並且指出導致價格差別的原因。可是他永遠不能回答我的一條問題:「這種石頭有甚麼用?」餓了,隔夜麵包尚能果腹,鑽石不能;渴了,渾濁的河水亦能潤喉,鑽石不能;冷了,一塊爛布一根火柴一口熱湯比鑽石更重要…鑽石,這種毫無實際用途的石頭最貴重的地方在於,它其實染著人血。但是,說到底,它仍然沒有任何實際意義。朋友自信他能回答我的第二條問題:「這種無用的東西為甚麼比生存必需品更值錢?」「因為稀少。」他說,「這是經濟學定律,物以罕為貴。水雖然是維持生命的必需品,但是水資源充沛,所以便宜。鑽石雖然無用,但它稀少,所以身價昂貴。」這仍然不是真確的答案。且不說稀少是不是一個謊言,我們假設它真的稀少,可是,即使這個世界從來就沒有鑽石這種石頭,對人類的生存有甚麼影響?我們要這種石頭做甚麼?我們的生命其實完全不必與它發生關係。我再想下去,假如這個世界沒有鑽石,自然會有另一種東西,也許是石頭也許是木頭也許是泥土也許是氣體…被賦予某種意義和價格,成為貴價商品,用於買賣,而它,從來沒有實際用途和意義,它唯一的意義是,由大部分人為虛榮和愚昧買單,讓小部分人得益。這小部分人不但掌握財富,還掌握價值取向。

天地有理,知而行難,難不在行,難在於寡;

鶴立雉群,定當為寡,雉展艷麗,自傲比花;

鶴不爭艷,另有所尋,非止於地,能飛蒼天;

造物弄人,眾安於愚,曲高和寡,無牽非凡。

Monday 07th December 2009 12:00:00 AM
A Field Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka[ 0 messages] 
Reading

A Field Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka

John Harrison and Tim Worfolk, Oxford University Press.

340 pages, 48 colour plates [426 species], colour illustrations; ISBN: 0198549601.

A Field Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka is the first fully comprehensive, modern field guide to this ornithologically fascinating country. All of Sri Lanka's 426 official avian species are described in the text and depicted in 48 stunning new colour plates painted by Tim Worfolk, one of Britain's leading bird artists. The text, accessible to both experienced ornithologists and beginners, highlights the important identification features, such as plumage variations, size, calls and songs, range, distribution, and status, for every species. The plates illustrate the various plumage variations for each bird, and show the birds perched and also in flight, where relevant to their identification.

An introduction to the guide describes briefly some of the best sites for watching Sri Lanka's abundant avifauna, and provides useful contact addresses for the prospective traveller. This will be an essential purchase for all birdwatchers travelling to the region; the beautiful plates and clearly-written text will also make it a must-have for anyone who loves birds, and Sri Lankan birds in particular.

About the Author

John Harrison has had a lifelong interest in wildlife, and birds in particular. In 1973, he was appointed as a radio producer in the BBC Natural History Unit; during the 18 years he was there, he worked with most of the top naturalists and ornithologists in Britain. As a birdwatcher and wildlife enthusiast, he has made many visits to Sri Lanka over a number of years, and has a first-hand knowledge of the Sri Lankan avifauna. He is now the voluntary warden of a 70 ha wetland nature reserve for the Avon Wildlife Trust.

Tim Worfolk is a full-time wildlife artist with several publications to his credit. Amongst others, he has worked on the Handbook of the Birds of the World, Pica Press Shrikes of the World, Birds of South-East Asia published by New Holland, and Birds of the Indian Subcontinent, by Black.

It is one of the expensive field guides I have even bought for birding in term of the price for each page (over £40 including the shipping charge to Hong Kong for just over 300 page). However, it is still worthwhile having one if a small, handy comprehensive field guide only for Sri Lanka is wanted.  This guide book (printed in China) is not available in Sri Lanka except the copy printed in India with bad colour reproduction as mentioned by the local bird guide I hired, who still surprised my order of this book from Amazon before my trip to Sri Lanka. According to my bird guide there, it is still a recommended identification guide though it unfortunately does not include the latest identified endemic, Serendib Scops-owl, and some of the endemic sub-species. It is a good news that the newer second edition will be published after January 2011 and hopefully it will include additional and up-to-dated information but selling in a lower price (as quoted in NHBS).  Given only a few field guides focusing on Sri Lanka available in the bookstore, I don't regret getting this book just before my trip to Sri Lanka and birdwatching such a delightful country should definitely be done with this book. A good review on this book as shown below written by Soleglad at Avian Review/Avian Books in October 2008 can also be referred:

Of the few field guides that cover only Sri Lanka, this is easily the best book for several reasons. One, it's the only Sri Lanka guide to illustrate all the birds of the island, versus just the resident birds. Two, the artistry in the plates is very good and many more plumages are displayed. And, three, the text contains more information for identification and offers tips to distinguish between similar species. 

Each plate contains between 4 and 15 different species. Most plates contain about 10. On each plate are anywhere between 15 and 40 different illustrations. As an extreme, the plate for the harriers contains only 4 species but over 40 different illustrations, which makes the images slightly small and for a busy page. This scenario is true for most of the raptors, gulls, terns, and shorebirds. However, I'll take this slightly crammed plate with all the many plumages over a more limited selection of views.

Across from each plate are brief notes (1-4 lines) on the identification of the bird. A small range map of Sri Lanka is also supplied. Due to the small size of the island, the ranges are generalized and look much the same between all the birds. These are only somewhat useful. 

The final 2/3 of the book contains the species accounts. The bulk of information revolves around identification of the bird and comparisons to similar species. This information is fairly detailed and offers good notes to identify the bird. Other brief information is given for the voice, status/distribution, habitat, and range. 

Any birding done in Sri Lanka should be done with this book in your hand. It is both a good book and, the best one available for just this area. A few other all-India books would also work, but they would be overkill for the island.

Monday 02nd November 2009 12:00:00 AM
擁有越多越不快樂 - 李怡[ 0 messages] 
Reading

擁有越多越不快樂 - 李怡 (摘自蘋果日報)

在台灣報紙上看到罹患裘馨氏肌肉萎縮症的畫家邱俊瑋,他的肢體活動能力只剩下兩根指頭了,十月二十是他的二十歲生日。醫生認為患這種肌萎症的人,是活不到二十歲的。他過了二十歲。在生日這一天,他許下的生日願望,是「希望有一天能欣賞戰鬥機在天空表演。」他已不怎麼能動了,卻嚮往着飛。這願望在十月二十七日終告實現。這一天,清泉崗空軍基地特地邀請他前往參訪,全程由醫護人員輔助,他坐在特製的輪椅上,頭頸只能仰視四十五度角。他帶上耳塞,看到戰鬥機起降,體驗到戰機發動的震撼力量,他感到興奮與滿足。

在報導邱俊瑋生日願望的報紙的背後一頁,是有關已故經營之神王永慶遺產爭奪的報導。他長子王文洋向美國新澤西法院提出調查王永慶死因及遺產爭議。我沒有細跟這個新聞,大致上知道是王文洋與王永慶三太太李寶珠的爭產風波。爭的應是幾百億身家吧。

人是很奇怪的動物。當一個人全身萎縮,只剩下兩根指頭可以活動的時候,他的願望只是能仰頭看到戰鬥機在空中翱翔。而當一個人什麼都有了,財富多到這一輩子甚或下一輩子都用不完的時候,卻仍要為遺產的爭奪上法院。生命中幾乎已什麼都沒有了的邱俊瑋,反而對生命充滿了樂觀與期待,二十歲生日還出版兩本繪本《仰角四十五度》和《上帝看見我臉上的微笑》,寫下詩句:「你問我的歡喜有多少/我的歡喜有好多好多……」。生命中什麼都有了的王永慶後人,卻為了王永慶的遺產而煩惱,而爭逐,而不快樂。

什麼才是生命中的快樂呢?

富有不在乎擁有得多,在乎需要得少;我想我正追尋這樣的富有。

Sunday 05th July 2009 01:22:28 PM
父母子女的緣份[ 2 messages] 
Reading

一本未看過的書:《目送》,只是從網絡朋友中轉載的一段文字。跟父母結緣,我深信不疑是上天注定,或許有人把父母看必然的親人,但我慢慢、慢慢地意識到,所謂親情都隨緣;緣起緣滅 從來都是求不得、捨不去。若果你信緣,每個跟你相識、相親、相愛、相戀、甚至相惡的人都是緣,緣起、緣落、緣盡亦是緣。

 

Saturday 16th May 2009 12:10:30 PM
Icelandic Bird Guide[ 0 messages] 
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Identification guide to Icelandic birds featuring over 500 colour photographs. Text covers order, family, habits and identifying features of Icelandic birds along with habitat, breeding areas, population, clutch size, incubation period. Full descriptions are also given, describing variations in plumage by season and age, bill feet, eyes, flight, wingspan, length and weight, behaviour, and calls. Eggs of Icelandic breeding birds are shown in real size and nests and yound are also shown.

Saturday 14th February 2009 07:35:00 PM
輕鬆跑馬拉松:42.195km您也能輕鬆達成![ 0 messages] 
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今年第一次參加渣打馬拉松2009的全馬比賽,好順利完成了42.195公里;今日也事後孔明買了一本台灣翻譯的日語書:《ゼロから始めるフルマラソンの本=Let's challenge the Marathon!》;中文書名是 「輕鬆跑馬拉松:42.195km您也能輕鬆達成!」。 雖然我賽前沒有看過這本書,甚或參加過正規的跑步訓練,而書中的內容我零碎地從其他途徑聽過。慶幸我誤打誤撞地實踐了書中部分建議的練習和準備,我相信我因此可以沒有因為這次馬拉松比賽而受傷,並能輕鬆地完成全程;以一個初嘗過馬拉松比賽的身份反觀,打算挑戰馬拉松前,不應抱僥倖之心,該書是絕對值得參考。

內容簡介

  最近幾年,越來越常在街頭巷尾中窺見跑者的身影,「跑步」這項運動對我們而言似乎不再陌生。全程馬拉松的門檻並不高,只需要跑者們持續不斷地練習,並學會妥善控制跑步時的步頻即可。那麼,就讓我們從今天開始進行馬拉松訓練,高舉勝利手勢、驕傲地抵達終點的夢想,必定能順利實現。

本書特色

  「只要能持續跑完5km,征服全程馬拉松絕非不可能的任務!」聽到這段描述,您是否覺得躍躍欲試呢?即便速度不快,只要努力不懈、認真確實地朝著終點邁進,必定能成功跑完42.195km。今天開始練習馬拉松的人、勉勉強強才跑得完3km的人,以及打算提升跑步時間的人,依照自己的實力,一步一步地展開馬拉松訓練吧! 

Saturday 31st January 2009 11:40:45 PM
Galápagos - A Natural History Guide[ 0 messages] 
Reading

Another book borrowed from Hong Kong Public Library for planning my trip to the Galápagos and borrowed again after the trip. Galápagos - A Natural History Guide is one of the most informative reference books found and it has everything you should know about the Galápagos from the four chapters (Scientific and Historical Data; Fauna of the Galápagos; Description of the Islands; and The Galápagos National Park).  The photos inside, to be frank, are not stunning from photographers' eyes.  The sketches of diagrams and maps are presented in an outdated fashion.  Probably, all these make the book being looked more classic as it should be and the most impressive words start from the Forward:

To many overseas visitor, the Galápagos are the image of paradise; a mythical place – so symbolic per se – like a child’s dream that beckons beyond imagination; an oasis of life in the middle of the vast expanse of the cold east Pacific ocean; a magical speck of land inhabited by fabulous animals, survivors of another space in time, which live in harmony with nature; a place so far away from civilization, that it must have been chosen by the Gods to be a haven of peace and beauty. In short, the perfect postcard of Eden.

To me, however, these islands evoke mixed feelings of the sweet and sour kind. Time plus 25 years experience of the Galápagos, have given me a deep perspective about the events and a seasoned approach to the challenges facing this unique land. Believe me, from my window, the outlook is not pretty any longer and I have a bitter taste in my mouth. The evidence is convincing. The presence of men is not compatible with paradise. Man has become a greedy, merciless predator, a destroyer and a powder master key to what Darwin once called “evolution”. Man prefers to call it progress, but what sort of improvement is that, it is detrimental to Mother Nature? Money has become the new “blood” of the Galápagos environment. ….” – from the author, Pierre Constant

It makes one sad just reading the first two paragraphs of Pierre's Forward but it may be arguably true.  I may consider, with his 25 years of experience in the Galápagos,  the message in the opening is worthwhile taking particular note notwithstanding this sour and sad taste cast a damp over those who are planning the trip to the Galápagos.  Be a responsible human being on the earth being shared with other life forms.

…I do not wish to darken the picture more than I should. The magic and the spell of Enchanted Isles really do exist. They are found:

In the inquisitive look of the blue-footed boobies; In the sweetness and the frolic of the sea lions on land or in the water; in the peaceful and detached somnolence of marine iguanas flat on the rocks under the equatorial sun;

 

 

In the enigmatic smiles of the land iguanas under the opuntia cacti; in the eternal immobility of the giant tortoises in their centenarian shell, overlooking the world from the rim of the volcanoes; in the mystical contemplation of the pelican standing on its rock, facing the glowing ocean at sunset;

In the grace and innocence of the flightless cormorant during courtship display; in the comical duel of the albatrosses fencing with their beaks in the mating season; in the joyful gamboling of bottlenose dolphins, for which each boat is a pretest to play; in the wave that crashes against the Great Arch and turns into one thousand drops of iridescent light …

For all that, I pay my respects to these islands.  Despite the thunder and lightning, the Galápagos must be safeguarded as the innocence of the world. For the sun rises east on Noah’s ark or on the arch of Darwin, and glows west on the great blue yonder of the Pacific. The magic of “Las Encantadas” may one day disappear under the surface of the waves, but by then, humans would have gone long before.

(Note: This book can be borrowed from the Hong Kong Public Library or bought from Amazon.)

Wednesday 24th December 2008 12:14:38 AM
傾聽自然[ 0 messages] 
Reading

從網路上尋找關於麥潤壽《在晴朗的天空下》的資料,偶然在《一個人在旅途上》的部落格上,看到作者Gary引述他看過Joseph Cornell 著的(Listening to Nature)《傾聽自然》一書提及親近大自然、親近動物的方法。從我幾年來拍鳥的體驗,很認同這看法,而親近大自然和 動物,也是我拍鳥最享受的地方。順道聖誕節到台灣去「吃喝玩樂」,在博客來網路書店訂購了一本;旅途中在大自然懷抱中,邊看邊聽 它呼喚

在野外時,不妨就近觀察某隻野生動物,亦步亦趨地跟隨牠,看看自然如何獨特地表現自己在這隻動物身上。要心平氣和才能敏銳地感知動物的本質,從心靈深處欣賞牠、傾聽牠。

對待鹿及其他動物,以輕柔的言語傳遞友善的心。如此一來,牠們便隨時知道你在哪裡,習慣你的存在。走近牠們時,切勿筆直靠過去,要稍微靠邊走、保持一點距離,也不要直接瞪著牠們看,而是讓牠們覺得你只是路過,無意傷害牠們。

不需太久,牠們便會讓你親近,甚至往前移動時還會注意你是否隨行。我的朋友丹尼爾,便是用這些方式跟荒原上的三隻鹿耗了幾個小時。最後牠們完全接納丹尼爾,甚至在黑夜就寢之際,當每隻鹿各自選了一個位置守夜時,還留下第四個位置給丹尼爾呢!

這個方法也適用體型較小的動物,例如蝴蝶與松鼠。

內容簡介

長久以來,孜孜不倦的生活,是否已經遺忘了自然的呼喚,傾聽周遭的聲音,感受自然的呼喚。今世最受尊崇的美國自然教育學家約瑟夫、柯內爾(Joseph Cornell)設計了各種體驗與探索大自然的活動,激發人們對自然心靈的共鳴,喚起對自然生命的崇敬及珍惜之心。

《傾聽自然》是以一個月的日記方式編排,每日提供一則啟發性的語錄,並且通常附帶一項活動或一段詮釋,使你經由親身的經驗體會該語錄的理念。這本書的設計是為了啟發你的靈感,告訴你許多自然愛好者的洞見與親近自然的方法。   

作者每天提供一則妙方,以及深富啟發性的金句佳言,幫助我們進入自然的靜謐奧秘,訓練我們的心靈更加敏銳,從中獲得生命的喜悅和力量。

作者簡介

約瑟夫•柯內爾Joseph Cornell : 當今世上最受尊崇的美國自然教育家,著有《傾聽自然》、《與孩子分享自然》、《共享自然的喜悅》、《探索大地之心》、《學做自然的孩子──國家公園之父繆爾如何觀察自然》五本書(皆由張老師文化公司出版),是他一生所秉持的自然教育理念與實踐的精華。他希望每個人都敞開心靈接近自然,從樂趣中體驗自然所帶來的啟迪,學會如何深刻地體驗自然。

譯者簡介

金恆鑣 : 天性樂觀,自在如鵬鳥。愛好並關心自然,致力於以筆保育自然。現任農委會林業試驗所所長、國際長期生態研究網主席。著有《與森林相處》、《救救雨林》,譯有《作客雨林》、《種樹的男人》、《傾聽自然》等書。

 

Wednesday 17th September 2008 12:00:00 AM
Watching Wildlife Galápagos Islands [ 0 messages] 
Reading

No independent traveler or backpacker can be unfamiliar with the guidebooks published by Lonely Planet but probably not each of them traveling to Ecuador will be aware, when planning their visit to the Galápagos, of a thin (compared with other Lonely Planet guidebooks; it’s just 150 pages) but specialized book for wildlife watching. Watching Wildlife Galápagos Islands is really what it introduces itself a book for bird-, whale- and dolphin-watching and wildlife photography plus diving and snorkeling.  I obtained this book from Hong Kong Public Library for planning my trip to the Galápagos.

…Yet when Charles Darwin visited in 1835 there is no guidebook to help piece together the evolutionary puzzle he saw before him.  Equipment with the book, we hope the modern-day visit will find explanations for the remarkable life forms that first piqued Darwin’s curiosity, and continue to show an interest in and support for the unique islands.” – from the author, David Andrew.

It is a truly handy guidebook helping wildlife watchers identify and understand the Galápagos and tame wildlife there.  No matter searching for the places where your favourite animals locate or the animals you are going to see at the places where you plan to visit, you can easily find the answer from one of the chapters (Nature in the Islands, Wildlife-Watching, Habitats, Islands and Wildlife Gallery) in this well-organized book.

(Note: The book can be borrowed from the Hong Kong Public Library or bought from Amazon as it may not be available in local bookstores.)

Saturday 26th July 2008 06:41:00 PM
心的視界:柯錫杰的攝影美學 [ 0 messages] 
Reading

今年尤如往年擠進書展,與去年一樣,亦買了一本的關於攝影的書:「心的視界:柯錫杰的攝影美學」。說實這本是藝術多於攝影的書,而個人覺得這本書最值得欣賞的是作者的對攝影、人生、周遭事物的態度。

縱使未能完全接受作者的每一張精彩相片,還未透切體會他對萬物的寬;仍頗喜歡他對事物的擇善固執,對藝術創作的離經叛道,對攝影專注的不離不棄...還有更多更多;單看目錄的標題《走自己的路》、《美感不屬於別人,只屬於自己》、《對被拍攝者的愛》等等,已叫我對這本書愛不釋手。

從「心的視界」有感 :

攝影的路上,指引我的,必定是大自然的一隻鳥。

告訴我自己該走的路,亦讓我用自己的心去感受萬物。

感謝老天爺賜給我有較一般人優越的客觀條件,我希望可用我的能耐,用心去透過影像回應。

這是我想能回饋給這個美麗世界,及獻給身邊的每一個摯友,最真誠的禮物。

(改編自印在封底作者的一席話)

內容簡介

有一位攝影家,高行健讚喻他「用照相機取代畫筆,又超越了相機的機械性能和照片的物質性,賦予影像以某種繪畫的可能。」他是第一個在紐約開設個人工作室的華人攝影師、第一個深入撒哈拉沙漠拍照的台灣攝影師,也是第一個把攝影作品推向藝術、得以在Hammer Gallery等重量級藝廊展出的攝影師。他開創了新的攝影風格和構圖視野,在七○年代,他的大名已享譽國際。他是台灣現代攝影第一人──柯錫杰。

本書是柯錫杰執相機五十年首度公開他的攝影美學之精華集結。在他眼中,什麼是美?什麼是藝術?如何拍出好照片?為何《Play Boy》和《國家地理雜誌》找他他都不拍?書中都有精彩論述。

他是一個極其純真浪漫的人,面對美景時,他經常感動落淚,高興時又不顧周遭眼光,脫了衣服便手舞足蹈。在向舞蹈家妻子求婚時,他在紐約清冷的黃昏中拍了一張照片寄給當時還在台灣的她,他說,「舞台有了,燈光有了,就是缺少一個舞者。」一頭白髮,一顆少年的心,帶著一身憨膽,柯錫杰走遍世界,擁有與眾不同的精彩人生,也透過他的心和眼,給我們一張又一張動人的精彩照片。

攝影家說,「現在,只要拿起相機,開始走路,他什麼都能拍。」這當中必定有著超越技巧的深刻內涵。也許正如評論所說:「那不是技巧,是靈魂。」

作者自序

回顧這七十幾年的人生,我跑遍了大半個地球,少年時留學日本大開眼界,後來到美國紐約成立自己的工作室,之後放棄一切去歐洲流浪,到命定中的撒哈拉,返國後又前往中國,福建、雲南、青海……。我的血液中似乎有種不安定的因子,騷動著我,總是要不斷地離開、尋找、探索,滿足鏡頭背後饑渴的眼睛。

  這些經歷滋養了我,讓我從能拍出好作品的攝影師,蛻變成能拍出「柯錫杰風景」的藝術家。回到故鄉後,我有了了悟,身邊的小花小草,都足夠讓我拍上一整天,路上的行人、不起眼的廢棄物,無處不美。原來我的人生經驗帶給我的,不是視覺上的滿足,而是心的壯大。

  高行健說我的攝影像畫,瘂弦說我的影像如詩。對現在的我來說,我看自己的作品,似乎又跨越了詩的範疇。我認為對觀賞者來說,一張好作品所有令人感動的關鍵,都必然來自於心。只有用心去看、去框起來的風景,才能跨越國界、時空,感動所有的人。宇宙間的真理確實是個圓,看遍世界各地的美麗風光之後,我的攝影繆思安居之所,又回到自己的內在。

常有年輕人興沖沖拿他們拍的照片給我看,大部分都是很漂亮的照片。我總是對他們說,「你拍的照片太漂亮了。」太漂亮,以至於看不到攝影者的心。懂得攝影技巧並不是學攝影的第一步,什麼是你自己的眼光,自己的美感,才是最重要的。如何培養、充實自己的內涵,這是攝影作品走向藝術作品之路上的第一門功課。藝術成就來自於人生態度,沒有敏感的心,看不到宇宙的奧秘。

我記不得自己曾在大自然面前,流下多少次淚。每一次孤單的旅程,大自然都用它的美麗撫慰我,讓我在最孤獨的時刻,一次次把心充盈填滿,在整個身心都沐浴在極度喜悅的感受中,走向人生旅途的下一站。我不知道現在走到了哪裡,但我確信,這個世界的美麗,一如那個初次從鏡頭背後聽到自己怦怦心跳聲的少年所看到的,豐富而令人嘆服。

我的一生是由攝影所寫成的,但我從未想過要把自己的攝影心得寫成書。出版社的編輯跟我提出這個構想時,心想也許是很有意義的嘗試。我透過鏡頭得到過太多的感動,我衷心認為自己一直在做的,是很幸福的事。如果從攝影工作中得的快樂,可以透過一本書讓更多的人體會,那麼我很願意。但是我希望讀者不要把它當成一本侷限在攝影技術範圍的書,攝影家的眼界必須寬廣,我們要學習的,是一種體會世界的方式,而不是紀錄的能力。欣賞這個世界,透過手中的鏡頭,用心和觀者交流,從這個角度來看,你會得到更多。我想藉由這本書告訴年輕讀者,透過影像,enjoy your life

看到出版社給我的全書文稿,我彷彿又再度走訪了一遍人生的旅程。那些曾經深深觸動我的人事物,歷歷在目,傷心的、快樂的往事,一一在腦海中浮現。原來我所拍攝的每一張照片,踏過的每一個足跡,都清晰地烙印在我的心裡,融合成美麗的記憶,形塑今日的柯錫杰。我又流下了眼淚,但那是幸福的眼淚。

柯錫杰2006.10.14

作者柯錫杰的網頁

每一張照片的背後,都有一個屬於他自己的故事!是好的、是壞的;是快樂的、也是悲傷的...就所有的讀者跟著他,到世界各地飛翔!

大師柯錫杰的網站,從心去思考與了解!不單只是呈現,而是從導覽、文字與影像之中獲得任何可能的共鳴。

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