These days I often explore the world using Google Earth (free free free!), spurred by something I read somewhere—cheap trips, no?
Today I noticed mention of the Abbotsbury Swannery in a NYTimes article by Donald G. McNeil Jr. on the global avian flu virus situation (check the sidebar graphic, too). First, on the flu, yup, it’s still a problem, and is now endemic in parts of Egypt, Indonesia, and Nigeria, and probably also in China, Vietnam and Bangladesh—that’s two continents, and multiple flyways. The virus is adept at mutating, and scientists have already identified “10 clades and hundreds of variants”—makes you look a bit warily at those migrating birds overhead….
I’d never heard of a swannery before, and that the Abbotsbury (Dorset, UK) one dated back to the 11th century, well, geeze, my hand was instantly conflicted about whether to google the Swannery or search out the Google Earth icon first! Cleverly, I set GE app to opening while googling for info…. I found a tourist listing, including a photo of a recoverd bomb (looks like a huge black round, well, egg, given its display location at the Swannery!), and, no surprise, a Wikipedia entry, which has a lovely picture of downy mute swan cygnets.
The Google Earth picture is from the green season, and white swan-dots are along the shoreline and floating on the lagoon, and while there are a few swan and beach pictures from Panoramio, most of the nearby Google Earth Community links are to shoreline and bluff “pillbox” fortifications, I assume from WWII.
And, yup, the Wiki-people are alert; there’s mention of the avian flu showing up at the Swannery less than ago….
I love that this travel contributes nothing to my carbon footprint and removes nothing from my savings account….