Feathered mystery

Grand Island, NE. June 2, 2020.

This is an Eurasian Collared-Dove.

The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery. ~ Anais Nin

Where’s the head? Are those wing or tail feathers? Did a tornado just blow through?

Revision meets Finch tableau

This photo seems fitting today as I continue revising my middle-grade novel based on a critique partner’s (CP) comments.

House Finches + Goldfinch. May 23, 2020.

Her insights are helping me ground each character in key scenes. This CP excels at noting the many moving pieces in my story, reminding me to take into account each character’s perspective. Revision is a dream when I’m equipped with such a good map. Much gratitude to Marcia.

(Another CP is reading the same version Marcia received and I’m beaming thoughts to the universe that his feedback aligns with hers because otherwise, yikes. What will I do with a whole new map? Breathe, Tracy. Breathe.)

Free Bird

Common Grackle. Grand Island, NE. June 2, 2020.

Birds are the most accomplished aeronauts the world has ever seen. They fly high and low, at great speed, and very slowly. And always with extraordinary precision and control.  ~  David Attenborough

Twofer Tuesday: Barn Swallow edition

I stayed in a KOA cabin in Grand Island, Nebraska, earlier this month. The cabin was cute and cozy, but the highlight was the Barn Swallow presence.

June 4, 2020

June 4, 2020

They’d built a nest on the beam above the front porch and were very active. I was so focused on photographing this pair I didn’t realize I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. I shudder to think how many bites I would’ve gotten if those swallows weren’t there to catch and eat mosquitoes on the wing. I’m definitely on #TeamSwallow when it comes to biting insects.

 

Sunday Confessional: Underwhelmed edition

I didn’t leave my house today, not even for my daily walk around the neighborhood. In fact, I didn’t get exercise of any kind, unless I include snuggling with my cats and dog.

I did, however, sit in front of my computer most of the day, revising the final chapter of my novel. I’m not thrilled with the results.

Young scrub jay.  June 21, 2020.

I did also photograph a young scrub jay as it preened its wet feathers. In fact, I took about 50 photos of that scrub jay and this one is probably the best. (I can’t say for sure as I tired of looking at/deleting them and somewhat randomly selected this one).

Am I satisfied with this Sunday?
Does it matter at this point?
It is what it is and was what it was.

Story in 3 parts

This funny little tale unfolded as I sat on the patio with my camera. I was too tired to continue gardening and hoped that focusing on something beside the thoughts in my head would improve my physical and emotional state.

       

It did. Not a lot, but some.

Twofer Tuesday

This photo is from earlier this month during a foray into the open space with my blanket and camera. It was taken from quite a distance and, at the time, I thought I was looking at two magpies. It wasn’t until  I downloaded my photos that I realized it was one Black-billed Magpie and one American Robin.

Open space. April 1, 2020.

In the majority of the pictures of these two, the birds face the same direction, as if their heads swiveled in unison. Magpies get a bad rap for aggression, so it’s nice seeing this peaceful coexistence.

Out my window

I can vouch for my Stay-At-Home household in Colorado: we are NOT amused by this snowstorm and the accompanying cold temperatures.

We need sunshine. We need warmth. We need dry streets and trails.

Waaaaaah.

Sanctuary

This afternoon I packed notebook, binoculars, camera, blanket, and camp chair, and walked up the street and out into the open space. I’m still not feeling great so only “hiked” a short distance before settling in. I spent that time outdoors doing much and also very little.

I sat in the chair and watched birds through the binoculars. I rested on the blanket in the sun, welcoming the heat baking into my black shirt. I explored the immedate area with my camera, jotted in my notebook, and eavesdropped on hikers talking on the nearby trail. When my stomach growled, I fantasized about snacks. I photographed the moon in the blue sky. I rolled onto my back to watch this uncharacteristically mellow Dark-eyed Junco in the tree above me.

Those two hours outside were balm for my soul. I’m very grateful for the luxury and ease of walking up my street and out into the open. Next time, I’ll know to bring something to eat.

Thoughts on a Magpie Monday

I woke with anxiety (in large part exacerbated by the reality of the corporate, political, and media establishment rallying around the candidate who’s campaigning against Medicare for All during a pandemic) and knew I had to do something. Pull the covers over my head and remain in bed all day? Or get up and get moving?

I wisely chose movement and for the first time in weeks, went for a run. Well, a walk/run. For once, I was kind to myself and didn’t berate myself whenever I slowed to a walk. I went out on the trails in the open space and within minutes, I saw a bunny under a bush. I greeted it as I chugged on by and then a few minutes later, I spotted a talkative magpie perched on the water tank.

Black-billed Magpie in neighbor’s yard. August 29, 2019.

I’ve become accumstomed to being the only human out on the trails, but today I encountered a total of ten people and three dogs. I hope that if they also woke with anxiety, that their time in the open space soothed their souls. I know it did me a world of good.

Chipping away

Bushtit , March 11, 2019.

As I work chapter-by-chapter to revise my manuscript, my task feels similar to that of this Bushtit. We both take aim and then chip away at what’s there. The difference is, this feathered friend gets a tasty treat for her troubles while my satisfaction comes from page count.

Maybe I should print out a page or two, and see how they taste . . .

Twofer Tuesday: House Finch edition

I took these photos on Valentine’s Day, but can neither confirm nor deny these two finches are partnered. All I know for sure is they are energetic birds that make me smile.

 

 

Other bird species come and go, but there isn’t a day that goes by without a House Finch or two (or twenty) paying a visit to my backyard. May that always be the case.

Understated beauty

Mourning Dove. February 14, 2020

A mourning dove’s beauty is an understated one: the colors of its feathers ranging through various shades of gray and drab violet, often with a striking splash of turquoise around the eyes.                                ~ Jonathan Miles

HA! As I looked through my photos and came upon this dove, I thought the same thing. Apparently, this Jonathan fellow and I think alike.

I believe

American Robin. February 14, 2020.

You have to believe in happiness,
Or happiness never comes …
Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing –
On his darkest day he believes in Spring.
~  Douglas Malloch

Enjoy!

February 5, 2018.

You must not know too much, or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and water-craft; a certain free margin, and even vagueness — perhaps
ignorance, credulity — helps your enjoyment of these things.                                          ~ Walt Whitman

Winter wonderment

Two days ago it was 70+ degrees here in Colorado and I went out for a run in a t-shirt. Yesterday, the temperatures dropped to about 25 degrees. Today? About 11 degrees and the snow keeps falling. I’m trying to focus on the cozy aspects of being “trapped” inside. Tea, books, space heater. More tea.

I’m also keeping an eye on the feeders.

Northern Flicker. February 4, 2020.

S[he] who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.    ~ John Burroughs

 

Heart with song

December 16, 2019

The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense is his life, large-brained, large-lunged, hot, ecstatic, his frame charged with buoyancy and his heart with song.
~ John Burroughs