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Jun 01 2013

Ridiculous Roosters, a Flying Buttress Tree, and a UFD at Last

We haven’t had enough mysteries lately, have we? No UFDs, no Mystery Flora, no Bodacious Botany, no Cryptopods… I’ll have to try to make it up to you. But I’m going to – ah ha ha – sort of duck out of it. But seriously, folks, I did see a bit of an odd duck, so hopefully you’ll enjoy figuring it out.

But let’s stop from the top. B and I went rambling round the area after running errands, and ended up at North Creek Park for a bit of an easy walk before lunch. We tried to catch sight of a garter snake, but all we saw were lots of snake arses disappearing into the undergrowth. Silly snakes. Still. I got a sweet bee, which shall be added to the Sweet Bee collection I’m working on for ye. And I got a very bodacious butterfly (sorry for stealing your word, botany!), which was kind enough to stay absolutely still while I photographed it, so we’ll have it as a Cryptopod soon. Seriously, it was very patient. It never did open its wings, but I know it was alive because it turned and gave us a slightly different angle before we left. Both very nice. But neither of our jaws dropped until we were back at the main picnic area on the slope above the wetland, taking the long way round to the car, and encountered a tree so huge it had grown itself some flying buttresses.

Flying Buttress Tree, Side I

Flying Buttress Tree, Side I

That’s a seriously sizable cedar. I’ve seen big ones before, some so huge they have their own little plaque saying “Hey, everybody, this is a really big tree!” But this… it’s in a class by itself. I’ve never seen one whose branches grew like this.

Flying Buttress Tree, Side II

Flying Buttress Tree, Side II

I mean, seriously. This is not right.

Detail of buttress branches.

Detail of buttress branches.

So yeah. If you ever get a chance to visit North Creek Park, check out that tree. It’s on the loop path that goes by all the picnic benches, and it’s between the parking lot and the path. You should be able to find it. Just look for the ginormous fucking tree with its own flying buttress branches.

After the park, we headed over to Country Village for lunch. It’s this place with some historic buildings and lots of silly shops and some pretty decent restaurants, and roosters. Lots and lots of roosters.

Rooster dance. Okay, he was scratching his head. But he looks like he's dancing.

Rooster dance. Okay, he was scratching his head. But he looks like he’s dancing.

I’m not sure what breed this is. Very unusual feathers along the back, at least to me.

A little more dignity.

A little more dignity.

And then there was his buddy.

I think I'll call him Stan. He looks like a Stan to me. Dunno why.

I think I’ll call him Stan. He looks like a Stan to me. Dunno why.

This rooster crossed the road at a later point. We wanted to ask him why, but he declined an interview. The question of why the chicken crossed the road remains unanswered at this time.

I would really like to know what people were thinking when they commissioned, created, and installed this enormous metal rooster.

Good gods, it's... unusual.

Good gods, it’s… unusual.

Hell, I thought theĀ Paraceratherium was a bit out of hand, but that at least had the excuse of being extinct megafauna and therefore somewhat educational. This… this is just… gah. It’s the only thing that can make the Bloggess’s hideous metal chicken look demurely elegant. It made the good taste centers in my brain curl into a fetal position, whimpering softly, while the love-the-kitsch centers lit up like radar screens during an alien invasion. Of course I had to get a photo for you.

And that was pretty much it for the day. We went and watched some Alias, and went walkies through his neighborhood, and I cuddled with his kitteh, who is the sweetest animal on the planet, especially when he’s working on finagling a cat treat out of you. I think I’ll try to get Misha high sometime and see if she can achieve this level of affection. Which recreational drug do you think will turn a homicidal maniac into a cuddle addict? Do you think the effective dose will be small enough not to kill her? Keeping in mind her personality, which could be described as “prickly” if you describe serial killers as “somewhat unsafe to associate with.”

Anyway, I promised you a UFD, and a UFD you shall have. There’s a pond at Country Village, and where there are ponds round here you generally find ducks. Typically they’re mallards, but we get the occasional odd duck out, and this was one.

UFD I

UFD I

I like its color scheme. Subtle, but lovely. And that droplet of water hanging off its bill is wonderful.

UFD II

UFD II

I know. You’ve probably got it identified by now, but the patterns of ripples and reflections in the water are gorgeous, and the duck itself is quite serene and handsome. So have another:

UFD III

UFD III

B and I are off to Franklin Falls next. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been, and I understand geology far better now, so I’m excited to see how much sense I can make of it. And the scenery, my darlings, is utterly spectacular. I’ve been wanting to get back there with the decent camera. It’s going to be a higher flow rate this time, too, so it should make for awesome pictures. I’ll write that one up pretty quick for ye, before getting back to the Josephine, which is currently making my head hurt. SO MANY NEW WORDZ. And the bloody weather’s improving, which means my feet itch for the trails. Ah, well. Stick with me and we’ll get there. I have so much delicious stuff I’m working on. I think you’ll be very, very happy.

Go forth and adventure if and while you can, my darlings.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    Karen Locke

    Your UFD may be a Mallard/domestic cross. Where my parents used to live, there was a sizeable population of mallards, with a few feral domestic ducks mixed in. After a few generations they’d be ducks like this.

  2. 2
    Susannah

    Mallards hybridize often, with any of a number of other duck species, giving rise to “Manky mallards”. (10,000 Birds has several posts on these; Google it.)

    1. 2.1
      petemoulton

      We call ‘em “City Park Specials” or “Dick’s Ducks” (too long a story for a comment, I’m afraid, but a long-running and constant source of amusement to us). Yes, domestic ducks are mostly descended from domesticated Mallard stock, and are often selectively bred for various color combinations. This one shows his Mallard heritage quite clearly.

  3. 3
    Susannah

    By the way, the black and white rooster (the real one) is a Barred Rock. :)

  4. 4
    Lithified Detritus

    I was thinking mallard hybrid, too. The term manky mallard is new to me, though, as well as the 10,000 Birds website. I learned something, so the day s not a complete waste. ;-)

  5. 5
    Trebuchet

    I agree, mallard/domestic duck hybrid. Most domestic ducks are mallard descendants, just as dogs are descended from wolves.

    BTW, Dana, have you ever wondered where all the male mallards go in July and August? They have an eclipse phase during which they look almost the same as the females. That’s because they also molt their wing feathers and are unable to fly, making them more vulnerable to predators. Dull colors are a good thing at that time.

  6. 6
    rq

    Ah, chickens, roosters and ducks… Where’s the geese??
    (I have no idea on the duck, by the way, but I’m going to go with everyone else.
    And some people have weird artistic tastes, and you shouldn’t question them, especially with a giant black-spotted rooster like that as their prime showpiece!)

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