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.

Outdoors

A June Evening

The title of today’s post comes from–guess who–my favourite heroine, Anne Shirley aka Anne of Green Gables. A June Evening is a name of a chapter of the third book, Anne of the Island. Here I give you some of my photographs taken this month:

tallgrass

prickly

roses churchyard

daisies

sun in plants

Anne: “I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.”

Marilla: “You’d get tired of it.”

Anne: “I daresay, but just now I feel that it would take me a long time to get tired of it, if it were all as charming as today. Everything loves June.”

~LM Montgomery

I think it’s great that Anne has appreciation for living in a world where there are Junes as well as Octobers!

And how about you, dear reader? Do you also love the month of June and wish it went on for longer? Or do you prefer the cooler months? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Gloomscapes, Outdoors

Gloomscapes #20

Today, I’m pleased to present number Twenty in my Gloomscapes series.

To mark this occasion, I have decided for something less gloomy, maybe even a bit fun–and a dialogue from my favourite YA dystopian series.

ferris wheel beach

“Think about it. People used to ride that thing. For fun,” says Will, shaking his head.

“They must have been Dauntless,” I say.

“Yeah, but a lame version of Dauntless. “Christina laughs. “A Dauntless Ferris wheel wouldn’t have cars. You would just hang on tight with your hands, and good luck to you.”

We walk down the side of the pier. All the buildings on my left are empty, their signs torn down and their windows closed, but it is a clean kind of emptiness. Whoever left these places left them by choice and at their leisure. Some places in the city are not like that.

~Veronica Roth, Divergent

#KeepOnGloomin’

The world in the Divergent series is a city divided into five factions. The above mentioned Dauntless are one them. They’re the brave ones; Abnegation are the selfless, Candor the honest, Erudite the ones that value knowledge and Amity are the hippies. Then there are the factionless, who don’t fit into any faction and live on the fringes of the society. I’m a definite Erudite myself, though I think the Dauntless are the coolest ones.

Outdoors

The Flora Rainbow

I’ve been enjoying photographing flowers and plants close up and it was somewhere at this point it occurred to me to set up a post showing them in a colour spectrum. Or at least 85% of it–I couldn’t find anything in indigo, sorry!

bluebells

blue forgetmenots

green ferns

yellow flowers

orange flower

red flower1

Tops of ferns look like little snails, hmmm…

There’s diversity in flora, that is clear and they don’t seem to be fighting each other. Humans could learn a lot from them.

Gloomscapes, Outdoors

Gloomscapes #17

In last week’s Gloomscapes post, I was initially going to add one more picture of a broken window–the one I am posting now. But as I was looking at it, an idea started forming in my head and I concluded that not only did it deserve its own post, it deserved its own piece of fiction.

This is not meant to be a regular thing, I just got inspired. Enjoy! (Or not, as I say.)

broken window3

Nobody knew how Zara got that stone.

The girls were kept in what used to be a convent. An imposing, forbidding stone building, newly installed security cameras in each corner. Thick walls, windows high and narrow, with bars on them. Little sunlight got through; the residential wing faced north. Inside, all the rooms were identical. Floors of dark hardwood, walls painted slate grey.  A bed in each corner, metal-framed, with a thin mattress and an old worn-out blanket. No pillows. One single lightbulb hung from the ceiling. Heavy black doors were locked every night at nine o’clock by the guard on duty, unlocked again at six in the morning. The girls wore long grey dresses, starched white blouses with high collars and black shoes. The oldest ones were no more than sixteen years old. Those were the only ones who still remembered books, music, films and TV, videos, photographs. Now, all they were allowed to carry around was the Party Manifesto pamphlets. As if they didn’t know it by heart already, as if it hadn’t been engraved into their minds. To build and protect our homeland, be prepared. Always Prepared! Yet they carried it, every single one of them, dog-eared, covered with greasy fingerprints and doodles, here and there quotes and passages highlighted in neon colours, from the time before even neon highlighters were banned. Desperate attempts to mark their own individuality.

Afterwards, Zara’s roommates swore they didn’t notice anything unusual. Zara was a quiet girl who kept to herself. It seemed she had wandered off behind the gardener’s shed, the only place where such stones could be found, during the afternoon break, when even the strictest of teachers couldn’t deny themselves the indulgence of little rest. She hid the stone in her sock, at the back of her calf, no doubt thankful this time for the long skirt. She kept it there throughout the afternoon activities and dinner, until it was time to return to the rooms. Half an hour after the lights went out, she slipped out of her bed, clutching the stone in her hand, tiptoed to the window and with all the force she could gather in her sixteen-year-old body, smashed the glass.

#KeepOnGloomin’

Disclaimer: the above text is entirely fictional. The photographed building is not a former convent and no girls are kept there. The writing is merely a work of my imagination and was inspired by the picture of the broken window.