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May 2020

All About 'Bond's Line' - Both of Them

Map bond line bond00002(1)
The real James Bond's research resulted in his landmark theory in 1934 that the birds of the Caribbean were most closely related to North American birds, not South American, as had previously been thought.

This eventually led the noted evolutionary biologist David Lack to propose, in 1973, that the name “Bond's Line” or "The Bond Line" be used to denote this boundary.

(A quarter-century earlier, Lack had written Darwin’s Finches, forever linking Charles Darwin and the 13 species of finches in the Galapagos -- not exactly a lightweight.)

Although many people think the dotted line in the map above denotes "Bond's Line," it is just the small line in red (see above).

Bond also discovered a geographical barrier that once ran across part of the island of Hispaniola, home to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Bond found that the animals were noticeably different on either side of the invisible barrier, also known as the Jacmel-Fauche´ depression. It turns out that a shallow sea channel prevented animals from moving freely across the island a long, long time ago.

That barrier, too, is known as "Bond's Line," and it has been in the news in recent years -- and recent months -- as scientists do more research on the two little-known mammals indigenous to the island -- Hutias and Solenodons (see yesterday's post).

As I write in my book, Dr. Samuel Turvey named a Haitian mammal subspecies after Bond in honor of "Bond's line" and provided the map below. (Thanks, Sam!)

You can read more here.

Hispaniola_map


James Bond and an Odd Hispaniolan Mammal

Hispaniolan_Solenodon_crop                                                                                        Wikimedia Commons

A Science Times section in The New York Times earlier this year featured an article about a Solenodon, an incredible creature native to the West Indies.

As Veronica Greenwood wrote: "About the size of a guinea pig, it has a long, hairless snout, sharp little teeth and, to top it all off, venom-laced saliva. "

The question is, what does this creature --


James Bond's Backyard Bird List?

RJB Bird collector not birdwatcher quote
James Bond's bird listIn the course of the research for my book, I discovered that (gasp), the real James Bond was a closet bird-watcher (or he slept with one).

On one of Mary Wickham Bond's notepads for the summer of 1956, I found the list on the left. They were living on Davidson Road in Chestnut Hill, Pa., at the time.

I found it most interesting in light of quotes from James Bond in newspaper interviews which he insisted he was not a bird-watcher (see below).

I also loved some of the vernacular for for various birds back then, including "chewink" (Eastern Towhee) and "sparrow hawk" (American Kestrel).

I know that Sharp-shins were also called sparrow hawks, but there's already a Sharp-shin on the list. The list, by the way, includes some pretty neat birds.

(Not sure why some birds are crossed out.)

Here are my earlier posts for the Cape May Spring Weekend:

 
 
 

 

 

When Aussies Embraced the real Bond and 007

CBOCJamesBondPostcard                                                                                                Photo by Tony Peri

In advance of my talk this Saturday at the virtual Cape May Spring Festival, I am re-posting one of my favorite posts each day this week.

In my new book, I wrote about the enduring bond between bird-watchers and 007 fans. 

One of the most imaginative mash-ups of the two was by the Cumberland Bird Observers Club in Sydney, Australia, which used the Fleming-Bond connection to promote birdwatching in 2001.

The 560-member club produced a flyer and postcard (above) featuring a photo of a dashing, binoculars-wielding birder in a tuxedo, accompanied by four women birders in sexy gowns and miniskirts.

The goal: to attract new members by showing that birdwatching could involve more than folks in drab outfits gawking at ducks through spotting scopes. The club even had a web page devoted to Jim Bond. (Now reinstated, here.)

Continue reading "When Aussies Embraced the real Bond and 007" »


Collecting the Real James Bond's Books


IMG_0008In advance of my talk this Saturday at the virtual Cape May Spring Festival, I am re-posting one of my favorite posts each day this week, plus a couple of new posts -- like this one.

A great acquaintance recently directed me to some pretty cool James Bond collector groups on Facebook.

One of my favorites is James Bond Collectable Books Worldwide, Screen Shot 2020-05-06 at 1.15.38 PMwhich has a wonderful array of collectors  -- some with extraordinary collections of 007 books.

I am now trying to see how many folks (besides me) collect the various incarnations of "Birds of the West Indies."

Below is most of my collection, which includes "Birds of the West Indies" by as many authors as I could find, plus Mary Wickham Bond's memoirs. Some are a bit worn, but I've grown attached.

I used a lot them to research  my book, which has a whole chapter on "Birds of the West Indies."

I already need to expand that chapter.

My favorites are the ground-breaking 1936 and 1947 editions of James Bond's work.

Friday: When Aussie birders embraced Bond.

Saturday:
James Bond's backyard bird list?
 
You can read more about the festival and my talk (about "The Real James Bond") here.

 


Real James Bond & the Bahama Nuthatch

Bahama Huthatch Hayes_7607-1200-(2)(2)
In advance of my talk this Saturday at the virtual Cape May Spring Festival, I am re-posting one of my favorite posts each day this week.

By now, many people have heard about the likely extinction of the Bahama Nuthatch.

When one wrestles with the destruction that Hurricane Dorian wrought on the Bahamas and its people, the extinction of a bird pales in comparison -- especially a bird few folks have heard of.

One reason the bird is relatively obscure is that it has long been considered a subspecies -- even by ornithologist James Bond, who found one at High Rock Settlement, most likely in 1931.  It will likely become a separate species after its extinction.

Continue reading "Real James Bond & the Bahama Nuthatch" »


The Real James Bond & the Bahama Parrot

The Bahama Parrot                                                                          Photo credit: Bahamas.com

In advance of my talk this Saturday at the virtual Cape May Spring Festival, I am re-posting one of my favorite posts each day this week.

I've found that when it comes to researching birds in the West Indies, James Bond's name usually lurks somewhere.

The Bahama Parrot, a.k.a. the Abaco Parrot, recently in the news because of Hurricane Dorian, is a case in point.

Continue reading "The Real James Bond & the Bahama Parrot" »


My Article for Bird Watching: Birds of 007

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In advance of my talk this Saturday at the virtual Cape May Spring Festival, I am re-posting one of my favorite posts each day this week.

Earlier this year, Great Britain's Bird Watching magazine ran a beautiful six-page spread of mBird Waching Magazine Covery article, "The Birds of 007."

It's packed with fascinating info for 007 fans and bird-lovers alike.

My original post about the article is here.

You can download the article here: 

Download James Bond article Bird Watching magazine (1)

Tomorrow: The Bahama (Abaco) Parrot.
 
Wednesday: The Bahama Nuthatch.
 
Thursday: Collecting the books of the real James Bond.
 
Friday: When Aussie birders embraced Bond
 
Saturday: James Bond's backyard bird list?
 
You can read more about the festival and my talk (about "The Real James Bond") here.

I'm Speaking at NJ Audubon's Spring Festival

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I am speaking at the virtual Cape May Spring Weekend this Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

Square RealJamesBond_CVR(1)You can read more about the festival and my talk (about "The Real James Bond") here.

You can order a signed copy here. Proceeds go to NJ Audubon and The Nature Conservancy's Caribbean initiative (in Bond's honor.)

You can order a "Real James Bond" eBook for Kindle here. It's also available from some libraries via the  Libby app.
 
You can read The Wall Street Journal review here.
 
In advance of my talk, I'll be posting the following:
 
Monday: The Birds of 007.
 
Tuesday: The Bahama (Abaco) Parrot.
 
Wednesday: The Bahama Nuthatch.
 
Thursday: Collecting books by the real James Bond.
 
Friday: When Aussie birders embraced Bond.
 
Saturday: James Bond's backyard bird list?

My Column: Cape May Spring Festival

Red Knot & Horseshoe Crab  Phil Witt                                                                                                            PHOTO BY PHIL WITT

This year, for the first time, the Cape May Spring Festival is going virtual.JWRIGHT BIRD WATCHER TheRecord 20200514_LF03_0-page-001

That means many folks -- who've always wanted to participate but couldn't -- will now be able to see this top birding destination for themselves.

My new column for The Record tells all.

(Full disclosure: I'm doing a talk on the real James Bond on the first day of the festival, Saturday, May 23.)

You can download the column here:

Download JWRIGHT BIRD WATCHER TheRecord_20200514_LF03_0