a nice weekday day meant one thing: that i'd be out naturing somewhere, logging some practice time with my new camera. the venue would be the great esker park in weymouth. i headed out to the cafe to borrow my parents' car and drove down I-93.

what are eskers? (rhymes with whiskers!) when glaciers melt, they leave little melted trails of sand and debris below the receding ice. these little trails can be many miles long and hundreds of feet high, like a snaking hill or a railroad embarkment.

the great esker park in weymouth is essentially a circular esker with a marsh in the center. i walked down to the marsh hoping to see some wading water fowls. in the distance i spied some mallards but that was pretty much it. i then traced the perimeter of the marsh in a counter-clockwise direction, crossing a powerline overhead. i heard something fluttering and looked up to see a red-tailed hawk flying away. i tried to chase after it but made too much and the hawk flew away farther until i couldn't see it anymore, a loud screech as it disappeared. from a high embankment i looked across the marsh again. with my monocular i saw some ducks that weren't mallards, and attached the 70-300mm lens to get some long-distance shots of whatever they were. i thought maybe they were hooded mergansers but they turned out to be buffleheads (a pair of male and female), wintering here in new england (buffleheads are half the size of mallards, as seen from the photo).


downy woodpecker

red-tailed hawk

i walked through the woods with an eye up in the trees, trying to catch glimpses of birds. i saw a flock of nuthatches, and heard a (downy) woodpecker before i saw it. eventually i made it to the other side of the circular esker, where water from the marsh was flowing out to the back river. there was also an osprey nest in the distance, but i didn't see any activity. the outflow was wide enough that i wasn't able to jump across it, and the few exposed rocks seemed too slippery to try and hop across. since the weather wasn't very cold, and i was on my way back home anyway, i just walked across, soaking my shoes and socks. returning to the parking lot, i saw the red-tailed hawk again, and managed to get a few snapshots before it flew away again.

when i got back home i washed off all the marsh dirt from my shoes and set them out to dry. although no special reason is needed for me to have dinner with my family, tonight was more auspicious since it was chinese new year. my mother and sister were busy cleaning up the house in preparation for suhan's mother's arrival tomorrow afternoon (she'd be staying at their place for a week or so). before dinner, my mother gave me a haircut. afterwards i got a ride back to cambridge.

julie and i went out to go see a movie at kendall. since it was still early (the movie wasn't until 10pm), we decided to kill some time at the nearby galleria. we browsed a little bit of best buy before spending the rest of the time at borders. she bought a book about tying knots and another one about setting up a garden pond. we made it back to kendall cinema, where there was a mass of people outside. apparently a bunch of movies had just finished, creating this human traffic jam. the line of people just waiting to pay for parking stretched all the way from the parking garage back to the theatre, it was something i've never seen before. the theatre itself was also very crowded; it's been a while since i saw a movie on a saturday night, forgot how crazy crowded these places can get (usually i'm a matinee or a weekday person, when there's hardly anyone). maybe it's a new thing, but patrons no longer get tickets at the kendall anymore; instead we got a receipt which served as our ticket as well. there were multiple lines, each for a different movie.

the one we saw was why we fight, about the conspiracy of the military-industrial complexes guiding the hand of american foreign policy to wage unnecessary wars because the business of war has become so profitable for these companies. these complexes work so tightly with the military and congress that there's no checks and balances and it's a form of legalized corruption, something that dwight eisenhower warned the country about back in the early 60's before he left the white house. THIS MOVIE IS A MUST SEE. unlike fahrenheit 911, this documentary seems more balanced, and seems to blame everyone, republicans and democrats alike. nevertheless, the current administration gets its share of scrutiny, only because no other time in american history has the hooks of the military-industrial complexes been so blatantly obvious while the general public doesn't seem to care, or had been mislead to ask the important questions when it was already too late. not since the corporation has a documentary opened my eyes to such a point that i feel a major truth has been revealed and explained, and i see american foreign policy in a whole new light.