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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Monterey Conference


View of Portola 'fancy shmansy' Plaza Hotel from below

The Conference is over and done already. I drove the 3.5 hours south to Monterey on July 31, checked into the Portola Plaza Hotel & the conference began the following morning. Talk about your fancy venue; the Portola is directly adjacent to the Monterey Museum & 2 skips from the renowned Fisherman’s Wharf. The conference was the best I’ve ever attended and I’ve been to loads of conferences around the state. I might add this wasn’t even my first Monterey Conference.

The highlights of the conference for me were not strictly work related. There was a pair of Saker Falcons present with their falconer. I loved the regal and adorable little raptors and admired their fancy headgear.
I told the falconers they must read The Goshawk by T.H. White, who wrote my favourite book, The Once and Future King . It was turned into Camelot and Disney’s the Sword in the Stone. I think there are at least another half dozen other books in the main tome. One of the falconers said he’d read the Sword in the Stone which unlike the Disney version did not have young King Arthur turned into a sparrow by Merlyn the Magician, but ‘the Wart’ was actually turned into a Merlyn Hawk and was put into the Mews for the night where he listened to the wise talk of the other noble birds; the Peregrine,  the Hobbies, Goshawks, and the Sparrow Hawks.

I told the Falconer he must read T.H. White’s The Goshawk which is what taught me the magic of falconry and austringry.

I was enchanted by the beautiful hoods which were hand made by the elder of the two Falconers. Their birds were regal in their hooded day wear.

The following day I took some time to visit the Monterey State Museum which was small but interesting, at least in that its building were originals dating back to the turn of the century when California was still a part of Mexico.


Spanish patio and garden at the Monterey CA State Museum

I also took a long walk along the Fisherman’s Wharf. I’ve been there several times before for dining and more notably for Pelagic birding and Whale watching trips to the deep waters off Monterey.


The second floor of the Monterey Museum has a nice collection of artifacts, regalia and baskets from various North American tribes. Here is a porcupine quill beaded parfletch bag, used by plains Indians for carrying goods around.

I must say there seemed to be end of things to do in Monterey. I took this picture at the Farmer’s Market which was one largest I’ve ever seen in California.

Ah! At last I’ve caught up with a small bit of my busy August. More tomorrow.