Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Birds of a Feather

Here's another weekly photo challenge...birds of a feather!

I was SO happy when I saw this challenge, you know, being a professional bird watcher and all :P
But when I realized it was over in a few hours, I just had to scramble for whatever I had. Hope you like it!

These first two were taken in Nicaragua during my field biology quarter.

A hummingbird in its nest
This little guy was nearly impossible to see! The only thing that gave him away was his wing flap. There were actually two tiny eggs in there too!

Rufous motmot / Baryphthengus martii
At least I think that's its scientific name. Anyway, this is the national bird of Nicargua, so even though this may not be my best shot, I'm putting it up anyway in honor of a beautiful country full of surprises. I kind of like the way it contrats against the greenery!

These next two were taken at the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park in Malaysia...world's largest free-flight walk-in aviary! I think President Clinton's been there!

Sun Conure / Aratinga solstitialis 
I'm guessing he likes the color yellow...or maybe just the corn!

A beautiful raptor
If anyone could help me ID this bird, I'd really appreciate it! I simply love this profile but feel sad that he has no name!

And finally, one from my back yard in San Jose, California (literally).

Black-crowned night heron / Nycticorax nycticorax
I stumbled upon this mean looking fella in the parking lot next to my house. He caught my attention because he was the smallest heron I'd seen yet! From a side view, you could automatically tell from he's a type of heron, but from this straight shot, I think he looks kind of like a kite with those red eyes and white coloring. And it looks like he has attitude of a raptor too from that glare! 

And to end things, I leave you with a video. I know most people who participate in this are photographers, but if any birder stumbles upon this post, this one's for you!

I’m participating in LetsBeWild.com’s Wild Weekly Photo Challenge. This week’s Challenge is: Birds of a Feather!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Introducing...Adventuras de Sylvia.

This is it. I've decided to start and try "blogging" again. It's been one of those things that's been constantly on the back burner of my list of things to do, but I've really never gotten around to it. Funny how now that I'm busier than ever, I want to try and pick it up again. Yeah, who needs to be logical, right? :P

When I look back at what I've been able to do over the past few years though, I just can't believe how lucky I've been! And I know that if I don't record my thoughts and experiences somewhere and somehow, I'll regret it later. So here it as, the adventures of Sylvia! This blog will now be the home of my travel stories, inspiring pictures, and maybe little bits and pieces of my stream of consciousness.

To start it off, I thought I'd repost my first entry from the fake travel blog I kept on Tumblr, just to give an idea of how I got started in the first place and what made me pick this name. Enjoy!

May 21, 2011

As the weekend passes by, I try to do anything but work. Attempt #1: take pictures of my cat to show off to the world...isn't little Micho cute?! Attempt #2: Start a new project. Recently, a friend asked if I had a travel blog she could follow. After all, I'd been traveling quite a bit and have major plans to travel a lot more. I mean....I have a Tumblr? Does that count? (The answer is an obvious no.) So on this lazy weekend alone, I've decided to take on the project of a travel blog. 

Introducing...las adventuras de sylvia. Why Sylvia? When I was a kid I used to hate the name Sylvia. It always seemed like the ghetto version of Sylvie. And it really annoyed me when people couldn't pronounce it, especially because it sounds exactly like Sylvia without the a! Then there was also the fact that I grew up with a very francocentric mindset. Being named after a famous French singer, I kind of idolized everything French--food, culture, and especially the language. All of it seemed so romantic, so sophisticated, and so (let's be honest) sexy! Spanish on the other hand, was way too common, way too plain, and way too ordinary. 

But after the twists and turns of life that took me through Nicaragua-and oh yeah, and did I mention the half-Peruvian boyfriend?- I suddenly found myself in college with a fascination for Latino culture. I loved their sense of family and community that extends so far past the home. I loved the passion and strength they brought to everything they did. I loved the rich culture in which Spaniards and Latinos came from. And omg, the food! I loved the food!

So from there, after a brief detour in Geneva, I somehow landed myself in Cordoba, Spain. It was there in Spain and in other  parts of Europe where I began introducing myself not as Sylvie, but as Sylvia. Why? Well the obvious reason being that I was in a Spanish speaking country (duh!). But also, I loved the idea that a different name would help me take on a new persona or identity (and no, not that weird Beyonce as Sasha Fierce kinda way). It just made me feel removed from the ordinary American Sylvie and inspired me to add some fire and sizzle to my travels as Sylvia. Sylvia helped me learn how to keep an open mind; Sylvia helped me see things through fresh eyes; and Sylvia was never afraid of taking chances. 

I will always love all things French and still insist that I have some French blood in me (Come on! They did colonize and inhabit Vietnam for years!). But after my travels through Spain and Nicaragua and with my travels to come, I sometimes like to think of myself as Sylvia. And I might not have the blood, but dios mio, I'm beginning to think I can handle attitude. 

Disclaimer: If you haven't noticed, I like writing/talking. A lot. This blog will likely be a chapter book, so be warned!