Herons can be beautiful!
The knee is rapidly getting better! I can actually sit in a chair now (knee flexed at 90 degrees) and today I took my first few crutch-free steps in the brace. For 3.5 weeks in, not bad!
The French don’t have the same view wildlife as Americans. They’re generally fans of “the countryside” (le paysage) versus what they call “le sauvage,” or the wild. When I explained to my host mom what I wanted to do (wildlife biology), the first thing she said was “Isn’t that dangerous?” I mean, the continent has been inhabited for thousands of years and many of their formidable animal species are extinct or nearly so. However to their credit, the French are starting to think more about conservation. An hour’s train ride out of Bordeaux is the Parc Ornithologique du Teich, an ornithological park near Arachon Bay. I got to visit twice, and it was awesome to see the European counterparts to many North American waterbirds, as much of the park consists of wetlands. It was very beautiful, and I have good memories from my visits. Plus it was nice to see some wildlife in the midst of living a typical European city life. There were also many informative signs around the park, including a series on bird bills as an indicator of what the bird eats, how it lives, etc. Most of these photos don’t have birds in them, but here are my favorites.
For a federally-listed endangered species, I got to see a lot of them at the monitoring site in Marin. Normally they’re fairly shy, but the 4 of them or so that were around were right at home.