Recently I went to one of my favorite places from long ago, a place that I hadn’t been to in over a year: Chollas Lake. I have always liked it because there are so many friendly ground squirrels.
On this trip last week, though, there was a new variety of ground squirrel:
This new squirrel variety seemed to outnumber the old squirrel variety by about two to one. I have no idea what this new squirrel variety is but I love the tail.
When I left Texas A&M University in May 1977, I was three hours short of graduation . The required course I needed in Forestry was offered only once every two years, and I had missed it the first time because I didn’t realize that it was only offered biannually. So the first time I could take it was Fall 1978. I did that and graduated on December 9, 1978.
I moved to Houston in June 1977, got a nice job, and in September 1977 moved into my own 600-SF apartment at the Barbary Coast apartment complex. Barbary Coast was famous throughout the Houston area because of their huge dance club (this was the disco era) and their excellent restaurant.
Their restaurant was the first place that I ever ate duck. It was “Barbary Duck.” Being the naive 22-year-old that I was, I just figured that it was regular duck but since it was being served at the Barbary Restaurant at the Barbary Coast apartment complex, they had named it Barbary Duck. Yesterday I found out that I probably was wrong in my thinking there.
I was out at Chollas Lake on the final day of testing a Sigma Sport 150-600 lens to determine if I would buy it. I came across this duck:
“Oh. My. God.” I said to myself. “What the hell is that?” I wasn’t the only person watching this duck. People were calling it the “Devil Duck” and “The Duck From Hell.” I didn’t argue with them. Just took pictures while silently agreeing.
When I got home, I did a Google search on “black duck with red warts on its face.” That took me to several sites with pictures of this bird-that-only-its-mother-could-love. It is a Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata). It comes in several colors, so this is a black Muscovy Duck. The Muscovy Duck’s common name when found as a menu item is “Barbary Duck.” I think I ate this poor thing’s relative which immigrated from Mexico back in 1978.