So. Let me see, where was I? Ah yes, casually racewalking into the woods. I had left the more traveled path behind, along with with the pesky turkeys. If only real life could be that easy.
It was quiet back there, and the sun was shining down on me walking silently on a cushy bed of fallen oak leaves. There was something pretty no matter where I looked.
I notied a lot of green shining in the morning light, even though all the summer’s leaves had long since dropped.
I wanted to get a good shot of some moss. It was hard to get it in focus and I’m not sure I succeeded, but if you just think of it as abstract art you’ll be fine.
I finally got myself back on my feet and headed down the path again when a slight movement caught my eye off to the right.
She wasn’t very far off the trail, just enjoying the sunlight and chewing her cud and she wasn’t disturbed by my being near at all. I whispered that she shouldn’t get up, she telepathed back she hadn’t planned on it, and I quietly moved along.
Her eyes followed me, and then she turned her head away. At the time I thought she was pulling a Katie – – not wanting to look at the camera unless there was something in it for her. I even said “You little stinker” as I took the shot above. Turns out that she had just noticed something else and had written me off as nonthreatening.
I was working to get this closeup of some fungi when I heard footsteps approaching. Thinking it was the deer, I glanced over my shoulder.
It wasn’t the deer, just another woman walking through the woods. I asked her if she had seen the doe, and she looked confused, then said no, she was too busy with her own thoughts. I smiled and she walked on by. I’m pretty sure the doe saw her, and that was what made her turn her attention away from me.
I didn’t see many people on those back trails. When we did meet we generally just nodded or said a quiet “good morning.” It was sort of like being in church.
I got to an intersection. I had another choice to make. I could go straight and be back at the car in 15 or 20 minutes. Or I could turn left and make another large loop up and down some hills and through a meadow and a wetland. I almost headed back, I was certain that was what I was going to do. My neck and back were getting tired from carrying the camera with the long lens. I was hungry. I had pictures of large birds and a doe.
My work was done for the day.
But I stood and studied the map considering. And then I turned left. Almost instantly I hear the familiar sound of wings near my head. Interesting. I never have birds begging on these back trails. There are very few people and the birds aren’t as trained.
But lucky for them I happened to have quite a bit of seed left in my pocket, seed those pesky turkeys didn’t get. A few little birds came down for a treat. The woodpecker stayed around begging but waited till I left him something on the ground to grab lunch.
The path led past one of my favorite benches, though I’ve never sat there. I just think it’s in a pretty spot.
Then the trail burst out of the woods into the sunshine of a grassy meadow. I thought this made a lovely shot.
And as I made my way to the meadow I found a couple of birdwatchers looking for something special. I hope they found it!
They obviously weren’t looking for this little guy, as he was right behind them. He came down for a bit of a snack after they moved on.
The trail took me back toward the road, and when I got out there I noticed a tree I had seen on my drive in. It was covered with ornaments and I’d thought I’d stop there on my drive out after my walk. But it wasn’t that far away, maybe about a quarter mile. And I was right there.
I decided to change to the short lens and walk over there. After all, who knew what the light would be like by the time I was driving past it later? So there in the woods I switched lenses and then I walked out of the woods and down along the road toward the tree.
As I got closer I realize not all the sparkles were baubles. The trees were filled with bluebirds! And me with the short lens on the camera. I stopped right there on the side of the road and switched back to the long lens. Still, the birds were flitting back and forth, up and down from the tree to the ground. I’d catch a flash of brillant blue, but couldn’t get the bird in focus.
Finally one dropped down to the ground and stayed there long enough for me to capture him. He was adorable! Then he took off with that acorn cap and I reflexively shot.
I got some of him in focus accidently. But I was thrilled just to see them all there on a mid-December day.
After the bluebirds left I concentrated a bit on the tree itself.
There was another tree across the street decorated all in fishing lures an bobbers. I have no idea why, but it also was pretty.
After the bluebird interlude I put the short lens back on the camera and headed back into the woods to finish my trek back to the car. As I got closer to the nature center the little birds began swarming my head. They were quite insistant. So of course I had to take the obligitory picture of a bird in the hand.
Or, in this case, two birds in the hand.
The big hawks were gone when I walked past their trees. I wondered which photographers were patient enough to wait for them to lift off in flight. That would have made a cool photo too. But I was happy with my menagerie of images. Plus I’d gotten over 3 miles of walking in.
Choices, choices. Every choice has some kind of consequence, good or bad. I think I made the right choices on Friday when I visited my favorite park.
December 14, 2020 at 4:30 pm
You did great! The doe, the Christmas trees, the birds eating out of your hand–which never fails to fascinate me..!! I really like the photo of the birdwatchers, both with their hands up scanning the woods. It is a very pretty shot.
December 14, 2020 at 5:31 pm
You’ve transported me from my living room into a wonderland.
December 14, 2020 at 6:20 pm
Love the bluebird! My general comment: your work is looking more and more professional. A new career?
December 14, 2020 at 6:26 pm
So beautiful. Thank you.
December 14, 2020 at 7:43 pm
You’ve just given me a wonderful idea for a fishing theme Christmas tree next year. Thanks, Jamie
December 14, 2020 at 10:18 pm
oh my did you ever make the right choices! 🙂 I always pick my favorite photo in each of your blog posts, and usually it’s easy, this time it was NOT easy. In the end, it is the oak leaf caught in the sunlight. But what a thrill to see those other faces in that one particular photo too. And the very last photo with those wings, oh my. Thanks Dawn.
December 15, 2020 at 12:09 pm
You sure got absolutely fantastic photos. Love your last shot the best. 😀
December 15, 2020 at 12:25 pm
The bluebird with the acorn in his beak is my favourite. Sighting them here in Ottawa is very rare – I guess we’re just a little too far north for their liking. What a great outing you had!
December 15, 2020 at 2:52 pm
I think those fishing lure decorations are so creative!
December 15, 2020 at 2:58 pm
Dawn, this made my morning!! I love the doe and her friends, as well as the trees with ornaments and bobbers. But those birdies eating seed right out of your hand captivate me — how you can do that juggling a big camera and getting a clear photo, I’ll never know (but I’m glad you did!!)
December 15, 2020 at 4:42 pm
I do especially like the moss picture–it does look like abstract art as well as moss. Your walk in the woods is making me miss fall already though. It’s pretty much winter here with about five inches of the white stuff on the ground. Wondering if it will stick around through Christmas or melt before that. The long-term forecast looks pretty dry thus far.
December 15, 2020 at 5:30 pm
You made a great choice. The doe was a sweetheart. And the bluebirds were such a treat. Such a lovely walk you took into the forest. Even some decorated trees!
December 15, 2020 at 7:42 pm
Oh the ornaments are so pretty! How lucky are you to see Bluebirds!! What a fun day!
December 15, 2020 at 9:38 pm
All of the pictures are stunning, but Lift Off made me gasp with pleasure.
December 15, 2020 at 11:52 pm
Thank you for sharing your nature walk. The woods look so peaceful. It is nice that the few folks you encountered were also quietly enjoying nature. What a wonderful place to get away from the stress and craziness that seems to be the new normal. I am still amazed that the birds eat seed and nuts from your hand. And even a woodpecker – wow! I bet Katie was upset that you went to the park without her!
This weekend when I was driving home from running errands, a male golden eagle flew across the road ahead of me. What a treat! He was beautiful! I have seen him several times over the last year or two in the same area. I wonder if he has a nest nearby.
Thank you for sharing your awesome photos! Managing to balance a dslr with a heavy lens and capture the birds feeding from your other hand is quite a feat!
Please give Katie some pats for me. I hope you and your husband are well and have no lingering c19 issues. Take good care of yourselves. Have a great week! 😊
December 17, 2020 at 8:36 am
Great pics. I wonder what the idea was of the ornaments and fishing tackle on the trees was. The idea was pretty creative for some added color. I need to find me some woods but really the good woods would be to the East Texas piney woods. Our temps are to cold for me right now I need a warmer day to get out and about.