This photo was taken exactly a year ago and I’m sharing it now because the forecast says to expect snow for the next five days.
April 13, 2020
So even though the shrubs are starting to bud out and sprout tiny green leaves, we’re going to pretend spring isn’t happening. Ah, well. I’m never going to badmouth much-needed precipitation. As the saying goes: April [snow] showers bring May flowers.
I spent the afternoon with friend Laura at Barr Lake State Park which I’d never visited, despite living in Colorado for 24 years. It’s embarrassing, really. Tons o’ birds hang out there and I didn’t know about the park until Laura asked if I’d ever been there.
We remedied the situation today and it was a glorious three hours. I took gobs of photos, some of which I’ve already deleted. Many, though, make me smile.
American White Pelican
Throughout the afternoon, Laura wondered about the bump/horn on the pelicans’ bills. I finally took the time to pull out my little bird guide and then read this to Laura: Breeding adults also usually grown a flat fibrous plate in the middle of the upper mandible. The plate drops off after eggs have hatched.
Laura’s response: “But why? Why do they grow that?”
Well, I just did a little online research and still have no idea why breeding adults temporarily grow what appears to be enormous warts on their bills. However, that lack of knowledge in no way detracts from my gratitude for walking and talking with my friend on a beautiful, sunshine-y spring day in a bird wonderland.
Black-billed Magpie. Aug 22, 2020
If you’re quiet,
you’re not living.
You’ve got to be noisy
~ Mel Brooks
November 3, 2020
Caught in the moment
very unbirdlike posture
robin by Dalí ?
The whole point is to live life and be – to use all the colors in the crayon box. ~ RuPaul
Northern Cardinal, Columbus OH. August 23, 2019
Last night I was reading ECHO MOUNTAIN by Lauren Wolk, basking in her gorgeous prose, when I felt a pang about my work-in-progress that isn’t progressing very quickly. I set down the book and closed my eyes. And then it came to me. I reached for my project notebook and wrote:
This is what I think needs to happen if I am to finish this book.
I must let myself write WITHOUT checking facts & figures. Write this story as I feel it and know it and believe it. THEN I may check facts and figures, and revise accordingly.
Cooper’s Hawk out my window. January 22, 2021
I know, I know. Pretty basic insight. That doesn’t mean it’s not also liberating and kinda profound.
And now I’m off to write/revise without scurrying off in search of confirmation, validation, or procrastination.
Dappled morning light
playing up the scrub jay’s blues
colors and feelings
Out my window. March 5, 2021
American Robin. February 12, 2021
Birds are the most popular group in the animal kingdom. We feed them and tame them and think we know them. And yet they inhabit a world which is really rather mysterious. ~ David Attenborough
There are so many thoughts and feelings jumbled inside me right now regarding the climate crisis, green new deal, capitalism, greed, cruelty, political failure, collective trauma, heartache and rage, but rather than unpack all that, I opted for self-care. I just spent the last thirty minutes looking through photos from camping trips and hikes, birding excursions, quick getaways in the nearby open space, etc. It was nice to gaze upon and remember those moments.
May 6, 2019
Because I need to get outside to shovel the much-needed snow we finally got last night, I had to quit my trip down memory lane and make a photographic decision. I opted to celebrate (again) the juvenile Limpkin that allowed me to take many photos of it when I visited Kapok Park.
One bird can’t change the trajectory of the world, but this limpkin can and did soothe my soul. Maybe it will do the same for you.
Today’s the last day of the Great Backyard Bird Count and I wanted to share a photo of the largest bird we tallied: this beautiful Red-tailed Hawk.
February 12, 2021
The smallest species? Bushtits! We counted fourteen of them at one point. All fourteen of those wee Bushtits could easily ride on this hawk’s back. I’d pay big money for that photo!
House finch. February 12, 2021
House Finch etiquette
grab seed and sit at table
dining al fresco
As I hoop-danced this morning, I watched various nuthatches and a squirrel visit the peanut feeder hanging in the tree outside the window. And then I noticed another bird moving up and down the tree trunk. The elusive Brown Creeper!
I stepped out of the spin and grabbed my camera, hoping I’d finally get a decent photo of that beautiful bird that never stops moving.
Definitely not high-quality captures, but these photos are documentation of the morning I paused my happy hoop-dancing session to stalk a Brown Creeper.
January 10, 2021
junco not into sharing
feathered dine and dash
I decided to bless this Monday with a wee Pygmy Nuthatch and went in search of a quote to accompany my photo. Alas, brainyquote.com interpreted my “nuthatch” request as a search for Margaret Thatcher quotes. NOOOOOOOOO!
I remember gagging when the valedictorian in Zebu’s high school class (a young man I like very much), referenced Thatcher in a positive light in his graduation day speech. And more recently, I could barely watch season four of THE CROWN because it included the Iron Lady, a politician whose every mention makes me feel stabby. Gillian Anderson did an amazing job portraying that horrible woman and the heartless policies she championed, but my entire body felt like a mass of raw nerves whenever she was on screen. (Okay, I can’t resist giving a sample of Thatcher’s philosophy: “A world without nuclear weapons would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us.”) Spoken like a true colonizer, Maggie.
Anyway, getting back to the original intent. Here’s a sweet little bird that recently visited our yard:
January 10, 2021
Happy Monday to all. Stay well and I wish everyone a good week.
The other day, I glanced out the kitchen window and saw a hawk on the power line. It turned out to be a Cooper’s Hawk and I remained still to admire it, knowing from experience how quickly predator birds will leave the wire. But after a couple minutes, I decided to take a chance and went for my camera.
January 22, 2021
January 22, 2021
I went to a closer window and took a bunch of photos that looked to be pretty good. The entire time, the hawk stayed right where it was on the wire, head turning as it scanned the ground in all directions.
Satisfied with my still shots, I changed the camera settings in preparation for the hawk taking flight. I’d had enough of my many blurred, out-of-focus shots of birds in flight. This time, I’d be ready.
I stood at the window and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Eventually, I went back to the kitchen to make my smoothie, glancing out the window every now and again. The hawk remained. I took my smoothie and stood by the sliding glass door, the camera around my neck. Set to capture motion.
The hawk started turning to his/her right to look directly at me. I raised the camera to my eye and waited. Nothing. I decided to take a quick photo of it glaring at me and so changed the settings. Yep. That’s when the hawk decided to take flight.
I yelled and then laughed. Played by a hawk.
June 20, 2019
Here’s Marcel watching a scrub jay through the window screen, flowers blooming in the background. A photographic reminder for me on this January day that no season is forever. Soft spring air is in my future.
Not sure why it is, but if I miss posting for a couple days it becomes increasingly difficult to get back in the habit. So here I am at ten o’clock on a Monday night, feeling the need to post something. Anything.
Common Grackle. Grand Island, NE. June 2, 2020.
Ah, yes. Now I remember. When in doubt, go with grackle!
I feel a kinship with this robin peering out from the vegetation and wish I could hunker down in a like manner. I dread what comes next. Neoliberalism cannot defeat white supremacy because the two are deeply entwined. I believe this is what’s known as a recipe for disaster.
American Robin in Grand Island, NE. June 2, 2020.
I wouldn’t fault anyone in search of a four-leaf clover right right about now.
I just spent hours working on a manuscript critique and after hitting SEND, I’m stunned to find myself still in pajamas and robe.
Black-billed Magpie. January 9, 2021
Where oh where did Saturday go?
Red-tailed Hawk taking flight. Nov 28, 2020
While a poor photo
stunning array of feathers
cannot be denied
Common Grackle. Grand Island, NE. June 2, 2020
As an artist I come to sing,
but as a citizen, I will always speak for peace,
and no one can silence me in this. ~ Paul Robeson
Limpkin, Kapok Park. May 6, 2019
First post of the year
laying down some attitude
won’t go quietly