Animals

More Ducks!

Because you can’t ever have too many duck pictures on your blog.

These images show a mother duck with her four ducklings, following her into the water. This is the same Heaton Park pond that featured in my previous duck post.

ducks formation1ducks formation2ducks formation3ducks formation4ducks formation5ducks formation6

I can’t believe how lucky I was, having had an opportunity to take these photos. And it just proves that no matter how many times I go to Heaton Park, there is always something new to discover!

Animals, Outdoors

Geese in the City

Geese time!

As I said in Ducks Are Awesome, geese also deserve their own post. So here they are.

geese four

All the photographs in this post are recent, taken in the past month. Above and below are both from Salford Quays, Manchester. In the below shot, geese are feasting on seeds that a kind lady was throwing them and as you can see, some pigeons helped themselves as well.

geese food

One evening in May I went to town to take pictures and look what I spotted near one of the canals:

geese goslings

How cute are goslings?

geese family

A little family taking a swim near Castlefield in Manchester.

geese lovebirds

Love birds. They even form a heart-like shape. From the the right angle, I mean.

geese goose

All these hoomans with their cameras.

So, tell me. Do you live a city and encounter any ducks or geese in local rivers or lakes or other bodies of water?

Animals, Outdoors

Ducks Are Awesome

Ducks are awesome.

Let me tell you.

ducks r awesome3

ducks r awesome1

I have posted ducks before, as part of one of Cee’s challenges. In the linked entry, I mentioned a Tumblr post that went something like this:

Humans from 150 years ago would be very confused if they suddenly found themselves in our time. Not so ducks. Ducks would be like, still have lakes? Okay.

Most of my duck pictures come from the same place–the little pond in the woodsy area of Heaton Park (which was hit by algae occupation on the day the above photos were taken–it’s not normally like that).

Apart from this pond, Heaton Park has a boating lake, but that one is usually inhabited by geese and swans. Geese can also be spotted in the canals of Manchester city centre, but they deserve their own post.

So, ducks. The first time I started appreciating these animals was when I went to Heaton Park sometime in October 2013. It remains a very memorable trip, as I narrowly escaped from getting soaked in a short, but very intense shower. Luckily there in the woodsy area, next to the pond where the ducks hang out, is a little shelter. You can see it on the below picture, on the left:

ducks r awesome2

So on this day, it started raining and I, being in its vicinity, quickly hid in the shelter. The little pond was full of ducks then, but were they bothered? Naah. They didn’t move a feather. Unlike me, a loser human who had to run from a bit of water.

ducks 1 – 0 me

See it here (this was shot with my old compact, hence the low quality, but you can see the raindrops falling in the water):

ducks unbothered
Rain, what rain?

That particular trip was a surreal experience, because it suddenly got very dark and I lost the network on my phone and for a while it seemed like I was the only person in the whole park, but that is a story for another day.

Water off a duck’s back.

~an old saying

Here they are sharing their pond with a heron.

ducks with heron

On this occasion I observed that ducks, when they land on the surface of the water, look like they’re surfing–and what’s cooler than that?

Now, check this one out:

duck in the city

I snapped this one with my phone on the way from work. I remember it was one of those freezing cold days we had at the end of March. The area in the middle of the picture is called Cathedral Gardens and far on the left side, not visible on the picture, is National Football Museum. The terracotta-ish coloured building on the right is Chetham School of Music. Behind me is Victoria Station. What’s a duck doing there? I thought that maybe it got lost; there’s an arm of a river not far from here, where I have seen ducks before, so I just thought it lost its way. People were smiling and laughing at the sight and the duck actually quacked as if to say, wot you lookin’ at? 

Then, not long ago, one evening I was coming back from the city centre where I was taking some pics and was passing Cathedral Gardens again, when I saw them:

ducks in fountain

There’s a fountain and that’s where the duck was going!

Of course, I should have known that a duck wouldn’t be so stupid.

I guess for ducks, any pool of water will do. Or, if you’re Joey and Chandler from Friends, a bath is fine.

duck chandler joey
image credit: Coolspotters.com

I’m glad I found an image of them which features rubber ducks. It just proves the awesomeness of ducks, because if ducks weren’t awesome, why would we be making toys of them? For kids to play with while they bath?

I also have a pencil sharpener at work shaped like a duck.

duck pencil sharpenner

Being the boss of the canal.

duck swimming

Conclusion:

Ducks are awesome.

Bonus: a video of ducklings

So–how you feel about ducks? Love, hate, indifference? Do you like photographing ducks or other waterfowl? Share your thoughts in the comment box.

Animals, Outdoors

Bee-live It!

So, as usual I went to Heaton Park with my camera. And would you bee-lieve my luck, this is what I got:

bee

I was taking a landscape shot when this wonderful bee-ing landed in the flower. I’ve bee-n (okay, I stop now) seeing headlines and articles about decline of bee numbers lately; this is worrying–without bees, the humans can pack it. So here is a list of 20 facts about bees and how we can protect them.

Bee is also a symbol of the city of Manchester. This comes from 19th century and the Industrial Revolution, with the hard workers of the city, the “worker bees”, being a sort of a “hive” of activity. After the Arena attack last year, it also became a symbol of unity.

From the memorial at St Ann’s Square, shortly after the attack:

manchester bee memorial

If you visit Manchester now, don’t be surprised to see an image of a bee in shop windows and on buildings.

Street art in Northern Quarter:

manchester bees streetart

Since I’m on the topic of bees, I have just remembered a favourite TV show from my childhood–Maya the Bee. I’m talking about the 1975 anime version (obviously, not the new series on Netflix). I don’t know how well the series is known in the Anglosphere, if at all. It was German-Japanese co-production and managed to break through the thick Iron Curtain and get broadcasted in several Communist-bloc countries, including former Czechoslovakia (there is both Slovak and Czech version). We used to watch it like mad, I recall they used to show it as part of the Sunday morning kids’ TV slot and on Monday morning at school we would ask each other “did you watch Maya the Bee yesterday?”

Maja the bee old
screenshot from YouTube

She meant a lot to all of us.

Animals

Friend

IMG_1637copy
A cat, a mouse and an Amazon Fire TV Stick

I try to post pictures of my Pepper only when it’s appropriate–this is not a cat blog. At least I pretend I’m in charge. Of course, Pepper only looks at me like, are you kittin’ me? Any cat owner knows we don’t boss them, they boss us.

So, you know how cats do this thing when they suddenly, without warning, go berserk and run round like crazy for no reason. Apparently it’s to do with them conserving too much energy, which they need to burn. (Tough I personally prefer the more interesting theory of cats chasing ghosts or aliens.) Pepper likes to do this on weekend or Bank Holiday mornings when I sleep late and chill in bed. She shoots from one end to the other (I live in a tiny flat) then stops at my bed and frantically attacks the bedstead with her claws. It could be described as something like this: wobb wobb wobb whoosh d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-r chachadada bang hooo and I realised, hey, it sounds like a dubstep song!

I love this tune. It also features one of my favourite artists–Dizzee Rascal. Enjoy!

Bonus – did you know there is a Wikipedia entry titled Cats and The Internet? Well, now you do.

Friend