Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Murderer in the Neighborhood

Everyday I used to see 4-5 squirrels in my backyard.  That number has drastically been changed recently.  They garble up the suet and sunflower bird seeds; after that on a nice day they like to take a nap on top of the neighbor's shed.

"I am so sleepy in the sun."

But things changed suddenly.  After this photo was taken the other day, a tragedy has struck.   For one whole day,  not even one squirrel was seen.  Because one of them was killed with its head blown up, probably by a silenced gun, and was left on the lawn in my backyard.

Who did it????  No blood stain at the spot.  The dead squirrel was moved from the site of the crime to my backyard?  Not by a  hawk, who is already gone to Alaska now ....  Any raccoon would have eaten it up better....

Silence filled the backyard and it was indeed eerie.

The next day I saw one squirrel and later another one:  in total only two.  Where are the others who used to hang around here....

We buried the dead squirrel in the backyard.  May it rest in peace.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Wetland Scene

We took off to the nearby wetland after a while.  It was cloudy, but a young Bald Eagle was there to welcome us.

A young Double-crested Cormorant was there amongst the Canadian Geese.

Another stranger was one juvenile Trumpeter's Swan when all the rest have already gone to Canada or Alaska.  He was doing just fine with the Canadian Geese family.

"I have adopted the geese for my family."

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Albania Intro #2

In the northern Albania, Shkodra is an ancient capital of Illyrian nation from the 3rd century BC through Roman conquest in 168 BC.  The most of what remains now is from Venetian and Ottoman times; the Shkodra Castle is overseeing the town.   

Just outside of Tirana, the capital of Albania, you can visit Kruje, a small village which was the center of Albanian resistance led by Albanian hero, Skanderbeg to the Ottoman invasion.  This is the renovated castle/fortress.

Durres is a thriving port in Albania, with a frequent ferry service from an Italian city,  and it is a popular summer resort spot on the Adriatic coastline.

With improved infrastructure, there comes demand for cars in Tirana, Albania

Albania is attracting more tourists every day due to their favorable exchange rate and the abundance of interesting sights.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Albania Intro

Not many travelers visit Albania; however, it is getting very popular among Europeans.  Albania became independent from the Ottoman Turkish Empire in the early 20th century.  After the WWII,  it was freed from the Italian and German occupation and became a communist nation.  Finally in 1990 it adopted the market economy and became a democratic nation.

The flag for Albania: double eagles

One of the new investment firms:  Coca Cola

In the past, Albania was invaded by numerous nations such as the Romans, Byzantines, Bulgarians, Servians, Ottoman Turks, etc.; therefore,  60 some ruins of castles and fortresses can be found today.  Here is one of the forts in Berati known as a UNESCO Heritage site.

On the hill in Berati, an Orthodox Christian Church is perched on the cliff.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Doves in Albania

Recently I visited Albania.  There, time passes slowly.  Our breakfast was always 15 minutes later than the set time.  The sun was very bright; the temperature was in the high eighties every day.  The mourning doves are everywhere, waking up everyone very gently with their cooing.

In Shkodra, a northern Albanian city, I saw many types of doves gathered on the rooftop, their color varying from dark to white and some having a fancy small feathers on their feet.

This Roman eagle sculpture was on the exhibit at the archaeological museum at Durres, Albania, a thriving coastal city.  The origin was noted to be 1 - 2 century AD.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

More Summer Birds

It's been hot for several days; iris is now in bloom.  The flower reminds me of Children's Day holiday, May 5, in Japan.

At the nearby wetland, summer birds are now nesting.  This Tree Swallow was guarding the nest .

"I am watching you.  Stay away from my nest box."

Then I saw a small flock of Cedar Waxwing.

"We will be around here during summer.  See you next time."

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Early Summer

My red columbine is in bloom.

I saw a male Brown-headed Cowbird stopped by a few times.  Now that he felt safe in my backyard, he decided to use a birdbath.

Brown-headed Cowbird:  "I came here first."
American Robin:  "I am bigger than you."

"A nice, warm bath!  I am getting clean today."