This afternoon, while at the river, I decided to stand still beside one tree for an hour and document what I saw. This was an amazing exercise as I was able to reflect on springtime at this location and what I have observed since the snow melted and things came to life.
Steven (my grandson) and I discovered a nest in this tree quite early in the spring. An adult Robin was seen nesting for a matter of weeks and next, we noticed an adult Cedar Waxwing, her banded eyes, popping up above the nest. Today, mother Robin was the first bird that I spotted in the tree.
One of her ‘fledged’ was redundantly chirping from a higher branch…so…in a matter of minutes…
I watched the adult deliver the goods and saw the youngster move from branch to branch, eventually leaving and finding rest in a neighbouring tree.
The Cedar Waxwings seem to have some investment in this tree…its location…its resources because they were agitated, but not dive-bombing, because I was there. I always think that photographs of Cedar Waxwings look ‘fixed’ or manipulated. These birds look so unreal. But, no, this is how they look and the experience of them in real time is even more fantastical. These are only three representative photographs.
The Grey Catbirds are still very skittish, but this batch seem to be getting to know the lady who stands around and really does no harm. I found that they were more courageous today, even doing their remarkable call that secures their name, in my presence.
I kept looking over my shoulder into the brush behind me because Yellow Warblers were playing couples chase games, weaving in and out regardless of the blustery wind. I haven’t had a clear photograph of a Yellow Warbler this year, so I was delighted when I turned back to the tree and saw this little guy fully present and almost looking at me. Quick! Snap!
A female Eastern Kingbird took time to land and say hello, and then in her typical style, she took off, circled, landed, took off, circled, landed. I saw a male a short while earlier, but won’t include him here because these were all visible in a single tree.
A quick photo after noticing a Least Flycatcher…of course she turned her back on me and disappeared into the wood immediately after this shot.
And what would one nesting tree be without a female Brown Headed Cowbird? I’m sure that at this time of year, she is ferrying about, taking note of what birds are feeding her progeny.
And finally, as I looked down at my feet, this Northern Flicker was happily consuming ants on the pathway.
I managed to garner a few more mosquito bites than usual, but I enjoyed standing still to observe what birds might visit a single ecosystem over time.
As I continued on my circle at the river, these were a couple of the sights I took in. Another magical afternoon! Juvenile Spotted Sandpiper balancing on fencing in a huge wind. I got some really comical photos in this series.
Another clutch of Mallards…
The two juvenile Bald Eagles were holding on for dear life as their nesting canopy was swinging in the wind. I didn’t see Mr. or Mrs.
Advice to my readers…sometimes, just sit/stand still. You will be amazed.
I woke up this morning, intending to drive to Lethbridge to visit my Aunties, but there’s some snow and a great deal of blow! So, I decided to cook a huge feast of a breakfast for two of my adult children and to hang out, cozy, with them. Afterwards, Max needed to get his exercise, so he and I headed out in the car and steered our boat to the river. We just returned and are warming up. It was a dramatically different scene from just yesterday when the sky was blue and the earth revealed the decay that is always so familiar in the autumn. Indeed, apart from a skiff of snow on Christmas Day, everything was brown this year.
I have enjoyed the holiday because it has given me time to walk the river’s edge in daylight and observe the activities at the Bow. I have been watching the male and female Bald Eagles build up the railings on their nest. My photos are taken a great distance away and so I have no real concerns that posting these will tease out the weirdos who exist in the world to hurt and interfere with nature.
Setting geese and ducks to flight while doing a reconnaissance.
Keeping eye on a fly-fishing dude.
I Saw a Heart in the Tree
Male Bald Eagle, delivering new railing material.
Today was such a contrast to the past couple of weeks! I pulled out my camera from under my coat in order to snap a quick photograph of a young raptor before he became aware of Max and I and took flight. I had a chance to really get a good look and, according to information on line, with so much mottling, this is likely a sub-adult of maybe two or three years of age from the same parents that I’ve been watching for about four years. I got a good look at him when he took flight. Interestingly enough, he returned to a tree just a short distance from the nest, so I have a feeling he was, in all of this cold blustery wind, seeking out the warmth of home. Thing is, if Mom and Dad return at some point this afternoon, they’ll be their usual ‘hard ass’ variety of parents and aggressively send him on his way. That sort of makes me sad. I know he’s just wanting a taste of a nice fish or something. Here are my photos…very out of focus, so I wish you had been there.
With gratitude to photographer and amazing birder, Ron Dudley, I was given permission to publish this screen shot. As I experienced this Intermediate Adult today, this is what I saw when he/she was closer to me.
Sitting behind me in the Big Secret Theater, this afternoon, Beth stood and as we were both putting on our coats, asked, “Did you see the Into the Quiet session this morning?”
I responded with an enthusiastic, “Yes!”
From there, I went on about how I had read the book by Kyo Maclear, Birds Art Life in early spring…February…and she shuffled through her phone to show me a photograph that she had posted to all of her friends in April.
This is Beth’s photograph and it speaks quite loudly of the magic found in the pages of Kyo’s book.
Beth and I, I felt, had an immediate connection as she shared the utter joy of watching birds at her feeder and about the fact that she wishes to gift her friends this book. I utterly agree about the magic of this writing and heartily recommend it to others.
I booked my tickets for two sessions only this year at Wordfest, and both because Kyo Maclear was a panelist. One was titled In the Quiet and the other, Bionic Women Writers. I had no intentions of picking up any other book, but brought Kyo’s in my purse so that I would take opportunity for a signing and maybe a short conversation.
The following photographs are a tad (understated) unfocused…but, that’s okay, right?
Snipped directly out of the Wordfest archives…no sense in me writing all of the biographical details again…will just link back. That’s alright, right?
I haven’t read anything by Michael Finkel, but he has interviewed and written about Christopher Knight. I purchased my own copy of The Stranger in the Woods, after hearing a very provocative reading and interesting panel discussion on solitude. I have respect for Michael’s approach to research on this one and his respect for the process.
This next one gave me shivers. Reading from his chapter, The Failing Body, I was captivated, based on personal experience as it relates to my own loved ones and their health. I think that all of the authors reached deeply into my heart this morning because for the past ten years, while still surrounded by my loved ones and friends, I am in a constant relationship to/with solitude. The title of Michael’s book, i A Singular Life in a Crowded World will most likely support a lot of my views on life and love and time and presence. I had a lovely chat with Michael at book signing time. It meant a lot to me that even in this case, he was completely present to me.
Kyo’s contributions to the panel discussion, as well as her selected readings, continued to support my true connection with the lessons that are written down into the pages of her book and lived out during her time journeying with a bird-watching musician, Jack Breakfast, in the city of Toronto. An awesome read! Do it!
Clea Roberts, living on the edge of Whitehorse, Yukon…on an acreage that opens up to a huge expanse of forest, shared three poems that caused me to shiver in my seat. The images were so exact, the phrasing was so perfect…I am so grateful that tonight I am able to hold the book, Auguries. Not only were the readings beautiful, but the substance of what Clea had to say. I was moved by her perceptions…about wood burning…about the dark river’s edge. Moving!
I feel as though all of these writers touched upon a bit of my heart that holds on so tightly to my mother…her memory…the responsibility I feel to keep her alive in other loved ones’ memories. Grief is a journey that must be allowed.
Just this morning, I looked down at the socks that I put on my feet. At my mother’s passing four years ago, while packing, I rolled up all of my mother’s socks and brought them home to Calgary. They had been snipped at the ankles by my father, with scissors. My mother’s ankles were swollen. Of a bag load of socks, after four years, there are only two pair remaining. I speak to my mother when I put my socks on in the morning…most mornings they are not, any longer, her socks. Something in Clea’s poems brought my mother’s socks to mind…something that Kyo said…the look in Michael Harris’s eyes…and the words that Michael Fickel wrote into his book for me to find later.
I can’t write about the session titled Bionic Women Writers at the moment…about seeing Melanie…about any of it. I just have to step back for a little while. Maybe pour a glass of wine. Maybe Skype with my father. James has taken Max for a walk.