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March 2021

Today: TNC/Montclair Film Talk

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Please join me for a free Zoom talk about the real James Bond and Caribbean conservation today  (Wednesday, March 31)  at 1 p.m.

The presentation for The Nature Conservancy and Montclair Film will include clips from a few vintage 007 movies, and a look at Bond the birdman, explorer and conservationist-ahead-of-his-time.

Did you know Bond also collected tropical fish for science in the West Indies?

TNC Montclair Film RJBJoining me will be Marci Eggers, deputy director of The Nature Conservancy’s Caribbean Program, for a look at how conservation is benefitting birds, people and other species on and around islands that served as the backdrop for several of the films based on Ian Fleming's spy novels. 

You can learn more here and register here.

You can learn more about TNC's work in that region here.


Order a Signed and Inscribed Copy

RealJamesBond_CVR(1)In conjunction with a Zoom talk for The Nature Conservancy and Montclair Film, I am offering signed copies of my book by mail in the U.S. for $30, including postage and handling.  All net proceeds will go to The Nature Conservancy in honor of the real James Bond.

Contact me at wrightjamesb (at) gmail.com to get more information, including how to pay easily via PayPal  (or by check if you'd prefer -- it'll just take a bit longer to send you the book).

The book also makes a great gift for a birder or 007 fan in your life.


When James Bond Saw 'Dr. No'

Screen Shot 2021-02-24 at 9.08.39 AM (1)The real James Bond always claimed that he did not like Ian Fleming's 007 novels, and even told the thriller writer so when they met in 1964. 

It turns out, however, that Bond and his wife Mary saw at least one 007 movie, "Dr. No," on a cruise on the S.S. Rotterdam in August 1963. 

In her diary, Mary Bond wrote (spoiler alert!): "Ian Fleming's 'Dr. No.' shown yesterday. We went at 3:30 and thoroughly enjoyed it, but too many girls, and they spoiled it by changing Dr. No's demise to a lot of modern mechanical nonsense..."

Mary Bond must have read the book, even if Bond claimed he didn't.

I wonder how Bond introduced himself onboard...

Footnote: Jim and Mary Bond met Fleming at Goldeneye less than six months later.

 

 


Coming Thursday: Amazing Wild Turducken News

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On Thursday, April 1, the Montclair Bird Club is announcing some major news about the Wild Turduckens of High Mountain, NJ.

And there is an Ian Fleming connection.

The ornithological world may major never be the same.

(Above, a Wild Turducken egg with a telltale American quarter next to it.)

A non-blurry image of a Wild Turducken has never photographed. I am announcing a $25 reward to the best Wild Turducken photo sent to me by April 8.

Hint: They hang out on the summit of High Mountain in North Haledon around dusk on foggy nights.

What are you waiting for?


2 Zoom Book Talks Next Week

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After being postponed for a year, the 25th 007 movie was supposed to come out next week -- only to be postponed again. "No Time To Die" is now set to arrive in October,

If you need your James Bond fix in the meantime, I am giving two free Zoom talks about the book next week -- for the Bayville Library on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and. for the Ridgefield Library on Thursday at 4 p.m.

I'll be talking about the real Bond -- an author and adventurer --  birds, Ian Fleming and a real-life spy or two. That's Bond pictured above. His wife Mary insisted he was more handsome than Sean Connery.

You can register for the Bayville talk here.

You can register for the Ridgefield talk here.


Can You Answer This Question?

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A friend shared this "Trivia Genius" quiz from earlier this week. I hope that anyone reading this post would know the answer.

The photo illustration didn't seem to shout "James Bond" to me, but what do I know?

I was disappointed to learn that only 22 percent got the answer correct.

Half of the respondents thought the correct answer was "the creator's neighbor."

I guess I have some more work to do. BTW, it's not trivia -- it's essential knowledge.

 


Saw Wet Hawk!

IMG_2618This raptor may not be in the West Indies, but Latin for Red-tailed Hawk is ...

Buteo jamaicensis.

I think this young Red-tail had just taken a bath in the little waterway in my backyard.

He didn't mind my taking his photo. Was still preening when I left.

Here's what James Bond had to say about this hawk in the first edition of Birds of the West Indies:

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and...

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James Bond, Marine Biologist

Octopussy dust jacket ChoppingWhen ornithologist Jim Bond went on expeditions to the West Indies for the Academy of Natural Sciences in the 1920s and early 1930s, he collected many species of fish.  Several of those species later turned up in an Ian Fleming fleming.

Bond even collected a relative of the scorpionfish that graces the cover of the first edition of Octopussy and the Living Daylights.

With the help of two current Academy of Natural Science naturalists -- Mark Sabaj Perez and Paul Callomon, I was able to unlock the secrets of that dustjacket for an article I wrote for literary007.com.

To the casual observer, the items on the cover are a fish and a conch shell. To the trained eye, they are so much more.

You can read my article here.

A big thank you to everyone at the Academy of Natural Sciences (now affiliated with Drexel University) for their help with the article -- and especially my book about Bond.

It was exactly one year ago today that the Academy hosted the big launch event for The Real James Bond -- just before the world went into COVID-19 lockdown.

Here's to better days ahead.

P.S. I am told that in my article, I erroneously described an octopus' appendages as tentacles. They are called arms.  In my defense, Ian Fleming called them tentacles as well,  so I am in good company.


Happy Birthday, Orlando Garrido!

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One of the highlights of my trip to Cuba in 2016 was meeting the great ornithologist Orlando Garrido.

I met him as part of a group of birders who visited  Cuba with the Caribbean Conservation Trust.

The biggest reason for my trip was to meet (and later interview) Orlando for my book about ornithologist James Bond of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. 

Continue reading "Happy Birthday, Orlando Garrido!" »


Fleming, Bond, Butterflies & Fish

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I recently discovered another similarity between ornithologist James Bond and his fictional namesake, 007.

They both posed as marine biologists.Octopussy dust jacket Chopping

You can read all about it -- and much more -- on the Artistic License Renewed website (literary007.com). 

The website, a must for all Ian Fleming fans, has posted my article about 007 dust-jacket illustrator Richard Chipping and the dust jackets for Octopussy and the Living Daylights.

I love everything about it -- from all the illustrations they used for the article to the title: "Richard Chopping and the Butterfly Effect."

It turns out that two other Octopussy and the Living Daylights covers have an ornithologist/spy connection as well.

You can read it here.

Footnote: Although I mention octopus tentacles in my article -- as Fleming did in his short story -- I am told on good authority that octopuses don't have tentacles. They have arms. Duly noted.