Friday, May 04, 2007

For the Ducks

Our neighborhood borders on a large tract of state land, where we've seen Wood Ducks from time to time, so this year Daniel, Michael and I decided to help 'em out and put up a nesting box. I think they breed from late March through early summer, so our timing should be about right. We spent about $12-15 on lumber and hardware at Home Depot, maybe an hour of construction time, and a few weeks waiting for someone to volunteer to haul it 3-something miles to our planned location :) Finally I decided to just get it over with and, accompanied by my brother Daniel we got it set up right next to a perfect little secluded patch of flooded timber, where it will be easy to monitor without disturbance. Those ducks had better appreciate it. ;-) Of course this thing is like a luxury hotel suite compared to the woodpecker excavations that Wood Ducks usually nest in!

Congratulations Jonathan And Chelsea!

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Well it's high time I informed everyone that I am the proud owner of a MacBook Pro laptop, due to the generosity of my Grandma, as a sort of pre-graduation gift. I could have graduated this year, but decided not to for a variety of reasons. Anyway I was glad to finally graduate from a PC to a Mac, and I couldn't be happier with my new machine. It was a very easy transition.

Some specs:

160 GB harddrive

2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor

2 GB Memory

17" monitor, iSight webcam, backlit keyboard and loads of other neat features

A few months ago I got 2nd place in the American Birding Association's Young Birder of the Year contest, which won me a $1500 Leica 8x32 Trinovid binocular along with some other great prizes. They say once you look through good optics you can never go back, and thankfully I won't have to. These binoculars are bright, crisp, relatively small and portable, durable and worth every penny I didn't have to pay! The lenses received special coatings to ensure maximum light transmission, but unfortunately I couldn't make all the flashy colors show up in these photos. You don't need to be a birder to appreciate this kind of quality.

After winning Best of Show in WA for the junior duck stamp contest, I recieved $150 in gift cards to Art Media, a fantastic Portland art supply store, and no, I didn't have much trouble figuring out what to buy. It was time for an airbrush upgrade. I purchased an Iwata HP-BCS airbrush kit. The moment I picked up my new brush I could just feel the quality, and after testing it I'm positive it will open up new doors in my artistic pursuits.

All photos ©Benjamin Berkompas 2007