"Common Redpolls are energetic little birds that forage in flocks, gleaning, fluttering, or hanging upside down in the farthest tips of tree branches. Like many finches, they have an undulating, up-and-down pattern when they fly. To keep order in flocks, redpolls have several ways of indicating their intentions. When quarreling with flockmates, a redpoll fluffs its plumage, faces its adversary, and opens its bill, sometimes jutting its chin to display the black face patch. ... In winter, some redpolls roost in tunnels under the snow, where the snowpack provides insulation and stays much warmer than the night air."
We feel lucky to have such a nice birding opportunity, as there aren't many birds to watch in Ann Arbor in winter.
Like most of the people in the country, we are mainly staying in the house and watching TV while waiting for the vaccine to release us. We have been binge watching two previous seasons of "American Gods" on Starz (from 2017 and 2019), and when we finish the earlier episodes, we will probably watch the new season which is starting this week.
The Neil Gaiman book American Gods is one of my favorites, which I've read 3 times. The TV series missed a lot of the best parts, such as Gaiman's witty and humorous observations about middle-American life. Disappointingly, the TV treatment also skips the food scenes from the novel -- though it does deliver "a surreal drama that truly earns its TV-MA rating. There's frequent brutal violence, with onscreen deaths by decapitation, stabbings, slashings, bludgeonings, with spouting blood, lingering shots of gore, dead bodies, and disembodied limbs." (source of this warning: Common Sense Media)
Much more enjoyable: the new Netflix series "Lupin," released last week. Produced by Gaumont Télévision in France, it's is a fabulous crime and revenge tale, set in Paris. I'm enjoying the plot and also the many beautiful scenes of Paris boulevards, interiors of restaurants and cafes, and famous monuments, along with images of less affluent parts of the city. The scenes in and around the Louvre in the first episode are especially wonderful (of course there's a shot of the Mona Lisa). A great Paris scene involves a getaway car crashing through the skylight (inverted pyramid) into the underground shopping mall attached to the Louvre.
The hero of the series, played by actor Omar Sy, is a lovable thief and a seeker of revenge. He gets his ideas for brilliant crimes from his favorite detective novels -- the tales of Arsène Lupin, which were written by Maurice Leblanc in the early years of the twentieth century. We've really liked the first 5 episodes. We can't wait for more to be released, but Netflix has not announced a date for this. Meanwhile, there are lots of other things to watch on Netflix, like "History of Swear Words," which is ok, not great.
In the Kitchen
|Ottolenghi’s potatoes and eggs with gochujang paste.|
From the book Flavor, but the recipe also appeared in
The Guardian here.
|Here's a new dish I tried: Ginger-Miso Glazed Eggplant. I served it|
with a salad and chopped scallions (recipe here).