Now, in both these cases, it didn't take much to extrapolate from animal to human behaviour. In the case of the vultures, I was reminded of the classic description of the shadowy underworld figure, eking out a living by "duckin' and divin', dodgin' and weavin' " – just like the vulture.
And why are scavengers generally so ugly? They seem to be almost caricatures of themselves – gawky, rough-looking, dirty, rough-furred or patchily feathered.
By contrast, watching the flamingoes dancing was the most extraordinarily beautiful sight. Like pink-tutu-ed ballerinas they moved in stately and graceful synchronicity, legs, necks, heads mirroring that of their neighbours. And seeing how gannets worked as a team with dolphins to catch sardines was truly awesome, with lessons to be learned about the common good (though not for the sardines, obviously).
I think I can justify glueing myself to these absorbing programmes. As well as being stunningly beautiful, revealing the intricacy and glory of our precious planet, they seem to offer boundless possibilities for the creation of characters for my novels!
Finally, in a footnote to Cally's blog last week, can I make the observation that one huge plus to e-books is that we can again get access to novels from our favourite authors that have been long out of print. Hats off to my friends and mentors Eileen Ramsay and Anita Burgh for taking the plunge and starting to upload their back lists!