Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

A Shiawassee walk in the park


My sister is visiting from out of town and we’ve been busy exploring. I took her to Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge one very early morning a couple weeks ago.

A pretty pink early morning light gilded everything.

I hadn’t been there in mid-summer before, preferring migration season, when the cranes are coming and going, but you never know what you’ll see on any given day. We arrived at the park before the sun was up, and it seemed pretty quiet.

Almost boring.

Here comes the sun.

I was feeling kind of disappointed that nothing seemed to be flying when suddenly the sound of wings came up from our right, moved directly overhead and then off into the distance to our left.

All those little black dots are birds.

I don’t know what kind of birds they were, they were just black silhouettes, but thousands of smallish dark shapes flew by, heading out for breakfast and their day in the sun.

It was pretty cool.

A chilly start to our bird-watching day.

Then we hopped back in the car and started down Wildlife Drive where, once again, I didn’t initially see anything interesting Though there was this beautiful field of something, glowing in the early light.

This reminded me of the tulip fields in Holland though of course it wasn’t.

And as I was standing outside of the car taking that photo these guys rose up with a ruckus from the ditch right next to me.

It’s hard to have a peaceful morning when people keep stopping to stare at us.”

And a little further up the road we disturbed this blue heron. I loved his long legs as he took off.

Lift off!

He was less than thrilled with us…

“Darn humans anyway.”

…so we moved on down the road.

No one out there but us and the wildlife.

At the next corner I saw an adorable duck. So of course we stopped.

There’s a duck under there. Somewhere.

Turns out he was some kind of diving duck, and the best image I grabbed of him wasn’t him at all.

And then right after the duck was a juvenile eagle hanging out in a tree.

“I’m not going to look at you, ladies.”

The light wasn’t really right to get a great shot of him, so I started looking around at what else was waiting to be photographed and found my artsy-fartsy image of the day.

The morning’s art piece.

I don’t know why the line of dead trees caught my eye, but something about it demanded to be captured. So I did.

Then we ran across something of a bird flasher. He seemed intent on showing off everything he had. Or maybe he was just drying off from a morning swim.

“Geeze, ladies, if you don’t want to see, don’t look.”

And while we were watching him my sister saw a bit of gold flitting around in a stand of thistle.

Hanging upside down to get the best thistle seed fresh from the blossom.

I spent a long time getting an image of him eating out in nature what I usually see goldfinches eating from my feeder at home.

These ducks were swimming as if they had some sort of mission to achieve somewhere else. I have no idea what kind of duck they are. Looking in my Michigan bird book I wonder if maybe they are female wood ducks? Or maybe juveniles.

“We might have red eyes, but we’re not hung over.”

And this family of ducks were adorable. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like them before either.

I think mama is on the right and the other 3 are babies.

But the bird that made me smile the widest was this guy. We’d been watching, through binoculars, a couple of bald eagles perched in a tree very far away when I happened to glance to my left and saw this:

“Just minding my own business, nothing to see here.”

There was an adult bald eagle in the top of a tree much closer to us. Still far away, but much closer than those eagles across the field.

Heavily cropped image.

We spent a long time taking shots of him, as I was struggling with my focus all day. I kept trying, manually adjusting, trying to find a place to prop my long lens because I was worried about camera shake.

“Keeping a watch on you ladies is a full time job!”

My glasses were fogging up and sliding off my nose which irritated me so I put them on top of my head and then realized I couldn’t tell if anything was in focus without them. I decided to trust the lens.

Eventually I figured, what the heck, I’d try to move closer to him. I walked, under cover of the tree line toward him, moving slowly and as quietly as I could given the gravel road. I couldn’t tell if he was watching me.

“Really lady. I’m an eagle. I’m where the term eagle eyes comes from.”

I caught a bit of him through the trees then tried to move out into the open to get an unobscured shot. But he wasn’t having any of it, and that was the end of that.

I’m outta here.”

But man that was fun.

We were nearing the end of Wildlife Drive, but there was still a bit more to see. We’d noticed monarch butterflies all morning, flitting among the milkweed, wings glowing in the early morning sun.

Nom nom nom.

And now that the sun was higher warming the air we noticed even more.

I loved the colors in this shot, the butterfly and the background too.

Having not learned my lesson with the egrets, the heron, the diving duck, and the eagle, I tried to move around the butterfly to get a better angle.

“I’m outta here.”

But he wasn’t having it and that was the end of that.

Ah well.

Turns out there was so much to see along the road that had initially looked empty, and just before we left the Refuge we saw one more image that made us smile.

” Hey look Clyde, there’s another car full of camera happy fools. I swear we should start charging a fee.

I know it’s not easy being green, but these guys seemed pretty comfortable in their own skins. Or should I say shells. At least they didn’t take off when I took their picture. Maybe because I shot it from the car window.

I can learn, contrary to what Katie always used to say, yes I can.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

29 thoughts on “A Shiawassee walk in the park

  1. Great photos and wonderful story of curiosity and exploration. Glad you and your sister were able to spend time together. We are always learning, sometimes by choice, but also from experience. Keep moving forward. Peace.


    • We’ve had a really good time. She heads home in a few days. She just retired from teaching and spending almost 3 weeks up here without any responsibility got her in the mood for being retired. Her school starts back tomorrow (Aug 1) and she’s a happy camper not having to be back to work.


  2. What fantabulous shots, Dawn… Good thing there was “nothing to see”… and I agree with you, that artsy-fartsy photo is beautiful.


  3. Dawn, I love all these images, but it’s the green turtles that made me laugh. Thanks!


  4. Thank you for another lovely trip through nature and her children.


  5. Hahaha, those turtles at the end! And the eagle shots are fabulous. WOW! And the gold finch was hidden a bit but I finally found him in the shot. Nature at it’s best with the beautiful sunrise! ❤️ Thank you for sharing! 🤩


  6. Aw, you’re so lucky to be spending quality time with your sister — I haven’t seen mine in three whole years now. And what gorgeous shots you’ve got here — I’m still giggling over the bird-flasher, and your artsy shot looks like a postcard. I love the eagle and the Monarchs, too!


  7. What a great walk this was! Oh, the eagle eye comment was funny! Yeah, yeah, I get it, mister! The green turtles…somewhere Kermit the frog is smiling! Your dead tree photo is a beauty, Dawn. I would have taken a picture of this, too. So very pretty.


  8. What a fun day with your sister! You took some awesome photos!


  9. What a splendid place to take your sister! So much to see. I love the arty picture of that line of trees. One to frame. Green turtles are fun, too.


  10. What gorgeous photos! I love the play of light and colors. Boy, the world is so beautiful, thanks for sharing a little piece of it with us!


  11. I love these, every one of them! How do you do that? And then your commentary (or that of the birds and turtles) is so entertaining. So glad you went out in spite of thinking you’d see nothing … and so glad you LOOKED instead of assuming and simply walking without looking. That’s a good lesson for all of us.


    • I love looking out there. We were lucky to see that eagle before we drove past his spot. Now I know, when I’m walking the trail, where to look up. It’s a perfect tree for an eagle perch.


  12. I so enjoyed joining you on this adventure. Your comments make me smile and even laugh out loud. Katie is smiling, I’m sure of it. I can’t pick a favorite photo – so many great ones. The artsy one IS stunning!


  13. These are great shots Dawn. I love the early morning I spend most early mornings on our back porch checking out my plants and watching the sunrise.


  14. Wow, I felt like I was right there with you soaking up all that beautiful nature. Love your funny captions and how it reflects your personality. The ‘artsy-fartsy’ photo is beautiful, but I like the gravel road and the field that looks like tulips equally. Together, they each capture your environment beautifully. Fun outing. Thanks for allowing us to tag along with you and your sister.


    • I’m glad you enjoyed our trip through the Preserve! Can never go wrong visiting there, no matter the time of year I guess. I’d only ever been there in fall and early early spring. Fall is the best, with migrating cranes and fall colors. I’m sure I’ll be taking you all along again soon.

      Liked by 1 person

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