did you know today was 7-7-2007? supposedly a lucky day, but not for me. i finally dropped my telephoto lens; it was inevitable that my worst fear would be realized. it happened at the parking lot of the oxbow national wildlife refuge in harvard. i was clipping the lens (inside its protective neoprene pouch) to my backpack, when it snapped off and bounced twice onto the asphalt (in slow motion no less). the glass seems to be okay (nothing shattered), but the zoom feels tight and makes a grinding/rattling sound now (that's probably not a good thing). it also has trouble taking photos, displaying an error message in the camera instead. the drop dented the UV filter and chipped it at the point of impact; so much so that it won't screw off now. the first thing i did when i got home was to figure out my repair options. there are some third party lens repair shops, but for such a delicate equipment sending it to canon seems best. i estimate that it'll cost somewhere around $200 to get this fixed. the original price of the lens was $560.

so i went down to oxbow to do a spot of naturing (this is my third visit) (past visits: 2004, 2006). it's a pretty simple route, route 2A to route 110 west, about 40 miles. i haven't been down that stretch of 2A all this year. 2A holds special memories for me because i took my first extended motorcycle ride on this road back in june 2003. there were a lot of cars there, but all parked by the canoe launch.

since my telephoto lens wasn't working, i resorted to my 60mm macro lens instead. i didn't miss much since most of the things i saw were insects (however, i did see a snake slither away, saw its black tail). entering the refuge, i saw an old man walking out, his arms clutching a digital SLR as well. i guess he saw me as a kindred spirit and gave me a brief report of the kind of activities he saw. i would've chatted with him longer if i wasn't in such a foul mood (still dwelling on the broken lens). it was a little buggy but i sprayed in the parking lot so i was protected. however, i did have to spray again when a mosquito bit through my t-shirt (forgot that they can do that). now and then i'd hear gunshots from the nearby military base.

there's all this news about honeybees mysteriously disappearing. i did see some honeybees visiting some milkweed flowers. i also saw a dead honeybee. a crab spider was hiding nearby, most likely the cause of death. apparently their bite is venomous (for insects at least), which either kills or paralyzes their prey before they're sucked dry.

two firsts: i've never been able to get a good photo of a spring azure, those tiny blue butterflies that flutter in the woods as a harbinger of spring. even though the one i got today is a pretty good quality, it still doesn't show it with the wings open, which are blue-violet inside. i also got my very first photo of a little wood satyr butterfly. they're brown butterflies that can be identified by the eyespots which each contains 2 blue pupils.

normally i'd follow the river and do the loop back out to the parking lot, but today i decided to go in the reverse direction, walking down tank road (an access road) before connecting to the dike trail. that part of the trail opens up to a large beautiful wetland where the resident great blue heron can often be observed. i almost missed it because it was standing still, perched on a floating log, waiting to ambush some lunch. i slowly pulled out my telephoto, even though it was broken. i managed to get a few photos after fumbling with the lens (although most of the time it gave me that error message). it was also very hot and sweat mixed with bug spray would sting my eyes. at one point the heron stabbed at something in the water and either pulled out a small fish or a large tadpole (best heron feeding i ever saw: april 2006). i moved to a different location but two hikers scared away the heron with their loud talking. i gave them a half-hearted wave as they walked by.

returning home, i quietly celebrated reaching the 6000 miles mark on my odometer. not sure if i can reach the 10,000 marker, but i should be able to hit 7,000 by the end of the riding season.

hungry all day, i got a bucket of chicken at the KFC near inman square before finally coming home and taking a shower.


earlier during the day i went to water my garden. i met my next garden neighbor, a woman named mary. "you've been to turkey?" she asked, pointing to my red turkey t-shirt. i found out she'd just come back from spending a few weeks during spring around istanbul. hands down, i think cambridge residents are the most well-traveled in all of greater boston.