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.

Outdoors, Weekly Photo Challenge

Favourite Place

What’s my favourite place?

The one that has unapologetically featured on this blog from the very beginning–Heaton Park in Manchester.

heatonpark1

You feel like you’re in the middle of the woods without having left the city.

heatonpark2

I go there in spring, summer and autumn and I always take a lot of pictures. I have more photographs from Heaton Park on my hard drive than any other place.

heatonpark3

It’s been good doing the Weekly Photo Challenge again!

Favorite Place

Outdoors

The Ha-Ha

What am I laughing at?

Well, nothing. It’s a different ha-ha I’m talking about today.

A ha-ha is a type of a wall (keeping the theme here) that keeps livestock out but doesn’t ruin the view.

ha-ha definition
Sign in Heaton Park

Heaton Park in Manchester has them and here I give you some pictures:

ha-ha2

ha-ha1

Naturally, the first question one asks is, how the hell did they get that name? From Wikipedia:

The unusual name “ha-ha” is thought to have stemmed from the exclamations of surprise by those coming across them as the walls were designed to be invisible.

It’s a good job those coming across weren’t swearing. Otherwise we’d have to call them fuck-where-did-this-come-from.

Outdoors, Weekly Photo Challenge

It IS Easy Being Green

For this week’s photo challenge, I am posting four pictures.

IMG_1758copy

Not looking very spring-like yet, but plenty of green.

IMG_0678copy

Trees, of course, they can’t be missing.

IMG_1789copy

Moss.

IMG_0403copy

Okay, so that’s not strictly green only, but everyone loves daffodils, right?

It IS Easy Being Green!

 

PS: Can I just say, I much preferred the Weekly Photo Challenge on Fridays. I know it technically doesn’t matter because you can post any time, but still, I liked Fridays better. And what happened to Discover Challenges on Tuesdays, they stopped doing them altogether without telling us why. I asked on Twitter but got no response…
Animals, Outdoors, Weekly Photo Challenge

Solitude

img_1659copy

This is my kind of weekly photo challenge! I love being on my own (have you read my description?) I even love the word “solitude“. Introverts get exhausted when they spend too much time among people and recharge once they’re alone. It’s the other way round with extroverts.

I chose the above photograph because it’s one of my most recent ones and I like crows. There are endless possibilities with this challenge: landscapes, sunsets/sunrises, any lone animals, one candle, a single cup of coffee, a book or e-reader.

I’m reminded of a quote of one of my favourite authors, Lucy Maud Montgomery, from the book Anne of Windy Poplars, which is part of the Anne series (though I think the same one, or very similar, also appeared in one of the Emily of New Moon books):

I was alone but not lonely. I held a series of imaginary conversations with imaginary comrades and thought out so many epigrams that I was agreeably surprised at myself.

Anne was an orphan and it wasn’t until the age of eleven that she found a loving home. Her imagination that helped her survive the hard years of her early childhood.

Bonus

img_1351copy

The tree that marches to the beat of its own drum–see how it’s dancing without a care in the world?