Birds of a Feather

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I photographed this Pileated Woodpecker in Florida. I think what I like most about these beautiful birds is their size. It is a pleasure to see them weave around trees. Their loud call always give me a thrill. They are truly kings (and queens) of the forest.

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The King Rail is another bird that is exciting to see. I have only ever seen two in my life. They are shy marsh birds and stay in the safety of marsh plants. They do not appreciate being seen. It was quite a thrill to see this one at the edge of the marsh. Once in a while he would come out of the grass.

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The purple Gallinule is also a shy marsh bird. They can easily hide in the tall plants. I was amazed to see this one climb up plants. They must not weigh much. It took me a while to find these but I have now seen many of them. The best way to find them is to talk to other birders, and when you find where they might be get out early in the morning. It is worth it!

img_8128This is a juvenile Purple Gallinule. He is just starting to show his true colors. I watched this one for a long time and was amazed how these birds can seemingly walk on water. See its large feet. The most fragile vegetation will easily hold them.

img_9823The Green Heron is a small bird and very beautiful. It is truly striking with their velvet-green back, rich chestnut body, and dark cap. They generally perch on a plant and wait patiently for lunch to show up in the form of small fish, eels, snails, or frogs. They strike with lightening speed, and lunch has been served.

p1520363Another bird that is really beautiful is the Blue Heron. It is much smaller than the great blue heron that often fishes along creek banks. I have never seen a Blue Heron in the north. I photographed this one in Florida. They are very quiet birds often seen in shallow water looking for food.

img_8229cThis was the first and only Reddish Egret I have ever seen. He was beautiful. Reddish Egrets are smaller than great blue herons, but I still could not get over his size. I had been keeping my eyes open for one but thought they were smaller. One day as I was walking on the beach this bird suddenly appeared.

A Golden Opportunity

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It was late afternoon when I ran into a little road congestion.

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I slowed for the low rider.

IMG_9400A wagon load was rushing for the hidden drive.

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A youngster was looking at his new shoes.

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A family on a walk gawked as we got closer. Friendly folk.

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A horse was pushing a wagon down the road.

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Mary’s little lamb had to go: all four of them.

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A barefooted wagon gingerly made its way to where fence, road, and sky meet on the horizon.

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A family crossed the road on its way to their algae decorated home.

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And as I came around the corner I realized that I had a golden opportunity to take one more picture.

 

 

Coming Up

After sitting three hours in close communion, everyone looks forward to catching up on the latest news. Cookie cutter hats grow up with the young and energetic generation. Soon they too will talk about crops and who bought the farm just over the hill.

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Grandfather Miller’s Fox Hunt

Grandfather loved to hunt in his earlier years and many were the stories that he could tell about his hunting ventures. One story that I remember him telling was the time he went fox hunting.

After trudging through the woods for some time his dog finally picked up scent. The baying of the hound was music to Grandpa’s ears. He stood quite still as he listened to the melody of the hound gleefully giving rise to the instinct of his kind. Unlike his ancestors, hunger had nothing to do with the chase, but rather the excitement of the chase itself.

Grandpa listened intently as the feverish pitch of the bawling hound slowly faded in the distance. The dog meticulously picked his way through the underbrush and disappeared over the distant hills. Grandpa smiled to himself as he heard the canine’s voice fade. “Got to be a fox the way he’s heading away.”

Judging approximately where the fox would choose to pass by on his circuitous route to evade his pursuer, and knowing that it would take a while Grandpa found a place to relax where he could clearly see the activity of the chase. For a long time he listened to the chipping of the chipmunks and an occasional blue jay scolding at something in the distance. The gentle breeze carried the sound of conversation from a couple of crows as they made their way over the distant horizon. Suddenly in the distance he heard the faint sound of a dog barking.

Eagerly he strained into the wind to hear the melodrama. Slowly, ever so slowly, the baying of the dog drew closer. Suddenly he saw motion off to his side. Hardly daring to breathe he cautiously turned his head and saw a fox ambling warily along stopping every few minutes to listen to the dog in the distance. Grandpa’s adrenalin pumped overtime as he watched the fox’s antics.

The fox walked over to a tree that had blown over and with a deliberate effort climbed on it and made his way to the far end which was quite a good distance from the ground. He lifted his nose into the wind and keenly surveyed the countryside from his elevated position. Suddenly with a flying leap he hurled his body out into space clearing the many branches and landed on the ground a good distance away from the tree. Not missing a beat he ran merrily, seemingly unconcerned about the villain that was chasing him.

Grandpa watched as the dog, hot on the tracks of the fox, ran up to the windblown tree and barked treed. Grandpa was quite amused as the dog ran all around that tree bawling his head off. He never ran out quite far enough to catch the scent of the now long gone fox. Grandpa felt quite fortunate to be able to witness such a spectacle.

Foggy Days

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Foggy days are friendly days. Fog forces you to look at things that are close. I like to think that everything else does not matter for the moment. Why are we always told that we need to see the big picture? The big picture can be confusing at times.

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The small picture is sometimes the best one. Don’t you agree?

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Maybe once in a while we should be satisfied to slow down and enjoy this moment rather than having to speed ahead at a vein bursting 130 PSI. Let’s let a little air out of our lives.

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Don’t fill your palette with yearning for things beyond your reach. Fill it with something original, something symmetrical and orderly. Fill it with something constant and functional. Sometimes you have to wait for it, and sometimes you have to go get it. Learn to enjoy what you meet. It is waiting for you to enjoy. Do you see it?

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Don’t curse the fog. Maybe God gave us fog to force us to slow down. Think what we miss when we speed across time. I might not have noticed this tree and the sheep in the background if it had been a sunny day. This tree does not need leaves to be beautiful. Neither does it need sunshine. Learn to enjoy life without sunshine!

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No speed here. A leisurely walk down the road misses nothing. What a fun time to walk down the road with your family. look at nature, talk about God, have family time. Make happy memories.

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Dead leaves liven up the scenery as they seemingly float at eye level. Aren’t they beautiful? Maybe some leaves have to remain on the trees throughout winter to give us another perspective of beauty.

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As we go through the fog enjoying what is ahead, the light of our adventures show others where we have been. Consider being a pioneer, leading others through the dimness of the future. Have purpose. Go carefully and thoughtfully. Keep moving. Invite others to follow.

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You can never tell what is ahead. It might not be clear, but if you look intently you will always see something. About the only time you will miss anything important in life is when you look into a mirror. Forget the mirror. Look around. Look carefully. You will see it.

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Watch for the fog. When it comes rolling in look carefully. If you have to, do not hesitate to go higher. Look around. What a wonderful place. What a wonderful time. The fog teaches us to enjoy the closeness of life. Slow down. Look around. Be blessed!