Lately, during these lakeside mornings this time of year, I am taking pictures of Great Blue Herons flying past, of American Robins hopping up around on the dew covered grass, of the occasional Northern Mockingbird, and more than a few Northern Cardinals. They are the common ones I see most mornings.
This morning it’s been Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Wood Ducks, Eastern Kingbirds, a small group of Barn Swallows, and just a few minutes ago, a little streak of blue as an Indigo Bunting flew past. These birds are migrant species and it really changes the complexity.
Even the calls in the background are different. The Blue Jays are calling raucously not too far away. The same Northern Cardinals I hear every single morning are singing merrily along behind me. And the Carolina Wrens are singing competing songs like they do every morning.
Let me interrupt myself and say I’m really trying to write this blog, but there are so many birds going back and forth to tempt me. Especially distracting are the breeding pair of Scissors-tail Flycatchers as they are catching insects flying back and forth with their acrobatics. When they turn and present that peach-colored side of their wings, they just glow in the morning sunlight.
While I do like to record my thoughts and to tell about wonderful it is to sit out here every morning and watch nature stream past, that is not all I usually am doing. As most of you know my other passion is photography and I would be remiss if I didn’t stop recording the blog now & then to pick up the camera and keep clicking away.
When I got up this morning the first thing that I did, as I do every single morning, was turn on the news I really think that is a sadistic ritual. I can’t stand the negativity and especially these days, I am so turned off by the political climate along with the hatred and ignorance that comes from the “true believers”. I hate hearing about all the stupid things going on. And yet, I find myself watching, listening to it all for far too long each day.
This morning, I only listened long enough to dry off after my shower. Then I turned it off, made coffee grabbed the camera, and came out to my chair by the lake.
Not everyone will understand the joy of sitting here and watching nature in the mornings as I do. To be honest, I politely really don’t care. Well, obviously I care a little or I wouldn’t write on this blog. The whole purpose of the blog is to share my experiences with nature and my joy of spending time out in this world of nature.
For me, it is a solitary joy for 99% of the time I’m enjoying it by myself. Of course, there is joy in solitude. But there are times when it would be nice to have another observer around as well. Some of this fun is better shared. I have that now then, when the birding groups go out together or on the rare occasion I have to take another friend out birding and taking pictures. But usually, I do this by myself and take a bit of joy in the solitude. There are times, though, when something happens that you really want to share. Sometimes, when you are alone and some great bird flies by or does something spectacular, you turn your head all around in every direction to see if anyone else saw that, too. There is some camaraderie in seeing things that are spectacular in nature and almost everything is better when shared.
Let me explain what brought this up.
There were two Spotted Sandpipers out on the dock. I decided to stalk them and see if I could get close to get a really close-up picture of them. They can be flighty, but I am fairly lucky with being able to move slowly, only taking a few steps at a time, and watch for the warning signs that they give when they start to worry about my presence. With the Spotted Sandpipers, the warning they give is dipping their tail very rapidly. They frequently dip their tail up as they walked along the beach and that is a mechanism for distracting predators. Much like a squirrel shakes its tail as it scampers about. The idea is the movement will attract a predator such as a hawk towards the tail rather than vital parts of the body like the head. But when they feel threatened, they usually shake their tails in a more rapid pattern and if you do not stop moving they take flight.
So as I stalked I noticed how great the light of the sun was shining on them and what a nice color it had for even though it is very bright this morning, we are still in Golden hour. I was still a little too far away so I kept moving forward watching the one was closest. Just as he placed himself broadside to me with the sun coming right over my left shoulder he was perfectly lit. I quickly snapped off a few more pictures.
(Oops. I have to interrupt again for a pair of Wood Ducks just flew overhead not 50 yards away but naturally, I’m sitting here with my iPhone in my hand, dictating this rather than holding my camera ready so I missed that shot.)
Oh, but I didn’t miss the one I’m about to tell you about.
Something caught my eye out over the water. I looked up and saw all of the broad powerful wings headed in my general direction. It obviously was my frequent morning visitor, a Bald Eagle. They fly with such power. This one was laboring a bit for there was a huge fish dangling from its talons. I quickly pointed the camera at him, zeroed in with the focus, and took a picture. Okay, I’m laughing out loud now. “Took a picture” does not exactly describe what I did. I didn’t just take a picture. My camera sounded like a buzz saw. Click click click click click click.
He flew fairly close, maybe 150 yards away before he veered off to one side. But the best part was he was perfectly perpendicular to the sunlight. Not just sunlight, but sunlight from the Golden hour. Oh, wow. What fun that was.
Wait! Wait! Here comes another one!
Well, I have to laugh again. A glorious morning as the other Eagle just flew by a little too far away to get a good picture but I still got to see him.
But back to this other one that flew by with fish in its talons.
If you haven’t seen an eagle in person, not at some sanctuary or other place where they are in captivity, you may be surprised at the joy that it can bring. At least to those of us who love nature and the glorious sight of a majestic Bald Eagle flying past. Wow. They are so impressive.
This was exactly one of those times I was just talking about where, as he moved off out of range, I kept looking around to see if anyone else at all. I wanted to have someone there I could elbow in the side and say “Wow! Weren’t we lucky today!”
Lucky indeed. I am so lucky to live right along the lake and have scenes like this so many mornings.
Time to pick the camera up again. I missing too many shots as I dictate this all into my iPhone.