Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Changing Gears

It has been fun trying to keep a somewhat regular posting schedule. The past 8 months have challenged me to actually post when the thought occurred to me "that could be a blog post." I have enjoyed the writing exercise, the lone soapbox, and sharing happenings in my family (albeit small at the moment).

Lately, I have been tending towards things having to do with Amy and myself and away from politics and technology. As such, I think it a better use of our time if we had a joint blog. So we have one set up over here. I'll still keep this one up. I also may occasionally post something here that doesn't quite fit in with the joint blog, but I am ending a regular, predictable posting schedule with this post.

Feliz Navidad and Hasta luego.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Duke Ducks: Part 12 - Blue Heron

Like the Barnacle and Canadian geese, the Blue Heron is not a duck. Unlike the geese, however, it is not even similar in features—it stands upright in the water using long, thin legs rather than floating and it hunts for fish instead of digging for plants.

I am still including it in this series because it is one of my favorite residents of the Duke Gardens. To my knowledge, there is only one Blue Heron that visits the Duke Gardens and it seems to make its home in other areas as well. There were times when I would not see it (I say it, because I didn't know whether it was a male or female) for a few days at a time. It has a distinctive, yet eerie call that would always make me reach for my camera.

It took some time for me to get a good picture, because I would usually get too close and it would take to flight. Eventually, either it got used to my presence or I figured out the right distance to not invade. So, here are some pictures.

One of the first blurry attempts

Across the pond

A common resting spot

Fishing in the shallows

A little closer

Have to see the bridge

Stretched out

Major zoom

Bridge again

Focus on the heron

Different pond

Fishing at the terrace pond

So concludes the Duke "Ducks" series.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Duke Ducks: Part 11 - Canadian Goose

Today I am again bringing some pictures of non-ducks. Some of the most obnoxious waterfowl residents of the Duke Gardens are the flocks of Canadian Geese that come through during their biannual migrations. Thankfully they are only temporary residents as they are noisy, messy, and pushy. I liken them somewhat to stereotypical school bullies. If somebody happens to be handing out food, they manage to crowd out the regular residents (you know, the ones that are more permanent due to wing clipping) complete with chasing and biting other birds that get in the way.

Despite what may seem to be bitterness on my part, these birds make great subjects. Here are some pictures.

A very common expression that seems to imply "are you giving out food?"

This one looks to be tagged

A closeup of the tag

Monday, December 08, 2008

Duke Ducks: Part 10 - Barnacle Goose

Well, today's entry is not quite a duck, but it's close enough. The barnacle goose is a bit smaller than its Canadian relative. The two that live (permanently—wings clipped) at the Duke Gardens seem to be much less aggressive also. They have a distinct call that carries pretty well, especially in the quiet of most mornings. Here are some pictures from a few different trips through the gardens.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Duke Ducks: Part 9 - Other Ducks

In reviewing my photos, it seems as if my interest waned in having multiple photo shoots of each species of duck that lives in the Duke Gardens. Thus, today I present a variety of ducks. This will be the last set of duck photos, though certainly not the last of the non-duck waterfowl photos.

While walking into the office one day, I came upon this male Philippine Duck that seemed to be begging for me to take his picture.

Not far away was the female with an equally fortunate pose.

Earlier this year, Amy and I happened upon the two of them taking an afternoon rest.

I believe that this is a Chestnut Teal, though I'm not sure. It is one of the smaller ducks and tends to get pushed out of the way when people are throwing bread.

This is a Rosy-billed Pochard—one of the more strangely adorned ducks.