I was thinking yesterday about what this week’s smile might include. Nothing really stood out except that magnificent image I didn’t get of the two cranes flying low across a grassy brown hillside, sun glinting off their wings. And though that made me smile at the time, it’s caused me angst since because I didn’t have my camera with me and it would have been a great shot.
I’ve been to a few parks this week with Katie-girl, she’s enjoying the cool weather, I’m enjoying the lack of snow. Several times I’ve seen pairs of cranes float by. Never had a camera. So one morning this week I decided to go out early by myself. No dog. Just me and my camera to see if I could catch a pair in flight in the rosy morning light.
Don’t tell Katie, but I went to her park. It’s a totally different experience early in the morning and without her. It’s just a little park, with a mowed walkway around the perimeter, nothing special unless you’re a dog. Or a bird seeker.
I saw my first interesting bird as I pulled into the parking lot. A pair of killdeer were hopping along the gravel path. I couldn’t get a nice shot though because he kept turning his back on me.
Then I noticed my shadow stretched out long in the early morning light and was so busy capturing it that I didn’t notice that robin on the last fence post to the right. He would have made a nice picture, shining red in the sunlight.
By the time I noticed him he flew up into a huge tree and became just about invisible. I guess you have to be alert when you’re out looking for birds, they rarely give you a second chance.
So I headed down the path, noticing the way the sun shone on everything and sort of missing my Katie-girl. A flurry of activity caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.
I ended up with a bunch of really bad pictures of this bluebird couple who were checking out a housing unit together. When I first saw them they were both fluttering around the house opening. The light was bad and I couldn’t see anything through the viewfinder, so I just kept clicking.
He was all hot and bothered, trying to win her favor. As I approached they flew from tree to tree, she’d fly first, he’d follow and perch nearby, flapping his wings, talking all the time to her. She’d hop to the next tree, he’d pursue, not too close, and flap and talk some more.
I decided to leave them be, not wanting to be the negative influence that made her reject him and his housing offering. As I moved beyond the birdhouse and then looked back I could see she was standing back on the nesting box.
And then she flew to join him at the top of a shrub just across the way.
I think they’re going to make it.
Seemed wherever I looked somebody was singing loud and clear.
And while I was trying to get a shot of a cardinal in the top of another tree there was all sorts of commotion in the pond behind me.
Seems a flock of ducks had gotten into a misunderstanding, and they took off into the bright blue sky to circle around and around the pond, chasing each other, working out the hierarchy for the coming season.
It was hard trying to capture them as they flew in and out of the sun now blazing down on Katie’s little park. But I liked the way they looked against the sky so I kept trying.
And while I was busy with that an insistent bit of chirping and warbling caught my ear. I turned around and this little guy had planted himself quite low in a tree right in front of me.
I’d been trying to get his picture when he was in the tree with the cardinal, but I couldn’t tell what he was, he was just too far away. I guess he wanted his turn in the spotlight because he sat there, proudly puffed up, and chirped away at me.
I moved off to the side trying to determine what he was and he didn’t seem afraid of my moving at all. He just kept singing.
I still don’t know what he is, maybe a song sparrow? Or something else? Once he figured I had enough images of him he nodded his head and flew off to look for breakfast. Cheeky little guy.
So I wandered around a bit more but my fingers were cold and I was happy with what I had. I did hear the cranes a few times while I was out there, their calls always seemed to come from the opposite side of the park, no matter which side I was on.
So, no crane pictures from this adventure, but I’m still smiling. Because when I got back to the car the robin was still singing and this time he let me get the shot.
And the killdeer couple was still bopping around, happy on their gravel path and willing to let me grab one more image, this time of the two of them together.
I hope all of you had at least one big smile this week. And if it wasn’t a great week I hope the birds here at least made you grin just a little bit.
And someday I’m going to show you the most amazing image of a crane couple gliding gracefully in a blue sky. Makes me smile just thinking about it.