Saturday, December 31, 2016

Q4 - Misc Recap

Some highlights of the fourth quarter:

  • Trip to D.C. to see the Notorious RBG live in her first speaking role in an opera!  Donizetti's "The Daughter of the Regiment."  The show was at the Kennedy Center, and was really well done.  The lead male (a tenor) easily hit the notorious nine high Cs of his aria - and then showed off by holding the last one extra long.  But RBG stole the show just by being there and reading her lines from the back of her props.  The guy sitting next to me was a Vietnamese citizen attending college in Indiana; he told me RBG is his idol.  He is in love with the idea (or perhaps the ideals) of the American justice system.  He hasn't actually done much traveling in the U.S., but he got permission from his parents to fly out for the opera.  While I was in town, I went to the National Zoo, the U.S. Botanical Garden, and a few museums.  One of my fellow guests at the B&B was in town to see the giant pandas.  She is apparently obsessed, and is seeing the world one zoo at a time on a quest to see giant pandas.  
  • Black belt testing for B & L.  So proud of both of them!!
  • Thanksgiving in Florida, Christmas in New Hampshire.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Nature Walk / Bird-Watching Tour of BBG

The guides, a husband-and-wife team with a scope, were quite good.  We saw a red-tailed hawk, a turkey vulture, many white-throated sparrows, some mallards and black ducks, robins, cardinals (both male and female), a blue jay, and - most thrillingly - cedar waxwings.

Mallards always remind me of Suzie, who loved them.

A single rowan tree, its berries at just the right level of ripeness or fermentation, was alive with cedar waxwings.  The guides trained their scope on it, and I went back home to recharge my batteries and get more pictures in the late afternoon.  Unfortunately, only the close-ups really came out well; the photos that were intended to give a sense of scale and presence are singularly unimpressive (it's hard to distinguish between dead leaves and live waxwings, as you can easily in person).

Who is that masked bird?  Only the Waxwing knows!

Toward the end of the day, I also saw the red-tailed hawk again, much closer, with its back to me and the lowering sun, take off from its perch and fly away in a spectacular flash of red-gold.

The seeming yellow drips of wax on the tip of the tail were amazingly vivid through the scope.

The berries are always sweeter on the other end of the branch.

Trying another angle!