Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Getting outside


I’ve been able to get outside for long walks a couple of times in the past week or so. Being outside always makes me feel better.

Patterns in ice greeted me when I arrived.

In fact, that’s advice I give regularly to people who are feeling down or sad and wistful. Being outside just makes me smile.

I’d heard the queen of the boardwalk was a lovely female cardinal. And she was there, but not hungry.

I suppose that’s why mom always told us to go outside and play. Or, just possibly, it was to get us all away from her!

Mrs. Red-bellied didn’t want to sit on my hand either, but was willing to grab a snack for later.

Either way, we spent our childhoods romping around the neighborhoods we lived in, climbing trees and stomping through mud, riding bikes, roller skating, playing kick the can and just generally running around.

Mrs. Red-bellied flew every peanut way over to the rookery for storage.

I don’t roller skate anymore…haven’t kicked a can in a few decades, used to run, but don’t do that now either.

Swans flew over but didn’t stop for a treat. I guess they had better pickings somewhere else.

But I can still stomp around in mud and walk through the woods and look for good climbing trees, though I don’t dare actually climb these days.

Mrs. Red-bellied races a blackbird for the treat on the boardwalk railing.

And I can look for the birds and others who generously share their woods with me. And sometimes, though certainly not nearly all the time, I can grab an image to remember it all by.

A nuthatch decides my seed is better than the bittersweet.

A little over a week ago I decided, late in the morning, to go to Kensington, my favorite bird park, even though I’d arrive much later than normal and the odds were the little birds would have full bellies and not want to socialize with me.

“I’m not really hungry, lady, but if you’re giving it away…..”

Well, the pictures above are from that walk. The little ones were more than happy to visit with me, though the red-bellied woodpeckers and the redwing blackbirds weren’t willing to sit in my hand that day.

I’ll hop over to your hand, lady!”

But they were definitely willing to grab a bite if I left it somewhere for them.

Waiting in line for a snack.

And the squirrels were very upfront about asking for something too.

“Could you spare a bite, madam?”

And then there was this sandhill crane family. The juvenile (you can tell it’s a youngster because his/her head is still brown, not red like his folks) was transfixed by a squirrel that was up in a tree.

Youngsters also have yellow, not red, eyes.

The squirrel was not as excited about meeting the cranes.

I’ll just wait up here a bit, see if they move on down the trail.”

It ran up and down the other side of the tree, gathering seed I’d spilled while the young crane closely watched.

“Now, if I stay over here on this side of the tree, he won’t see me.”

It was hysterical.

“What is that? Is it edible?”

By the time I left them the squirrel had scampered away and the crane family was poking among the leaves for any leftover treats.

It’s a standoff.

And just this weekend I went up to the Shiawasee Nature Preserve with a friend. We walked almost 2 miles back into the woods, wandering the dyke system and marveling at the engineering.

It’s a totally different kind of wonderland.

We didn’t get any close encounters with birds, but we saw plenty of bald eagles, both adult and juvenile flying high overhead.

“I see you two down there, ladies, and I’m not getting any closer.”

And we heard hundreds of sandhill cranes, their calls coming from all around us. When we got out into the open we saw many of them walking in the mud flats far out in the wetlands.

Time for a bit of snacking.

And dozens more were flying in, their grey feathers glinting in the afternoon sun.

The afternoon sun made them glow as they flew in.

It’s just as magical, in a different way, as Kensington.

The lines of the landscape are irresistible to this photographer.

Lucky me, to get out into places like this so regularly.

Can’t resist these lines either.

I wish you all could come!

What kind of winter do you think we’ll have?

But since most of you live so far away, I’m counting on you to look around your area and find some wild beautiful place and take me along with pictures and words some day. We’ll both be the better for it.

Another perfect adventure.


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.

33 thoughts on “Getting outside

  1. So pretty! I used to do these kinds of things before my parts got older and more grumpy.


  2. My mom was the same way about shooing us kids outdoors. I think they were wise for their time because now, everybody talks about how good being close to Nature, exercising, etc. are. I love your bird photos (and captions!), but I’m sorry they weren’t willing to eat from your hand. As for your winter, lore tells us it’s going to be harsh at the beginning and end, with a rather mild space in the middle (at least, that’s what that woolly worm would indicate!)


    • I’m hoping winter just eases on by but I suppose I know that it won’t. For our family I think playing outside was encouraged because the team of the 4 of us made mom nuts! LOL And it was a cheap way to entertain us.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the little nuthatch — and the colors and composition he is part of. I went to see sandhill cranes today in Willcox. They come in for a noonday siesta at Twin Lakes between their morning and afternoon feeding sorties. I find the purling sounds they make comforting and calming.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dawn–your photos are so wonderful. The bird race on the boardwalk railing is great–Mrs Red Bellied’s feet are not touching the ground! And the line-up…such a good one. But the squirrel asking if you can spare a bite won my heart. I have a soft spot for those little guys.


  5. Fabulous wildlife collection, Dawn. When I read Kensington, I thought, wow! When I lived in that inner city suburb of Melbourne I didn’t seen anything like that. Then I realised it must be Kensington, UK. Although it is the heart of London, there’s a nice park. But no, it would be impossible not to photograph dozens of people in Kensington Gardens. Luckily I located another place name that put the mystery well and truly to rest. Beautiful Michigan.


  6. Beautiful bird shots, Dawn (as well as the one of the squirrel and the caterpillar — I don’t want to leave them out). 😀


  7. I agree, when the weather is kind to us in the fall and early winter, it’s good for the soul to get out and admire nature. You captured exceptional moments, thank you for sharing them with us! The pop of colors against the blah browns makes me smile too. Hang on to the happy memories…soon the arrival of snow will remind us of what a white and gray palette waiting for pops of color looks like. Enjoy the changing seasons!


  8. I enjoy getting outdoors to walk, but when I can’t I enjoy seeing photos taken by those people who have been outdoors recently. The nuthatch by the bittersweet is a gorgeous photo. Thanks for taking us along on your adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It looks like such a great park! You never come away without a nice encounter.


    • That is so true. I never leave there where I’m not smiling. Even when I used to run every weekend there, usually my long run, when I was exhausted when I finished I was still smiling and feeling lucky that I had such a beautiful place to spend my time.


  10. It’s a very different landscape from mine, Dawn. We have flamingos where you have cranes. Loved the antics of the youngster. And so many beautiful birds! I’m rubbish at capturing them on camera.


  11. Lucky you is right! Must be such a thrill to hear so many sandhill cranes. And to see them in flight. No wonder your spirits were lifted.


  12. We have wonderful birds (eagles, owls, herons, other winter birds) and other folk here in the Pacific NW, but those sandhill cranes are spectacular! Getting outdoors always lifts my spirits too even if it’s just a walk around the homes in my neighborhood. Today was bright sunshine here … I went for two walks. 🙂 Gorgeous photos, thank you.


  13. Love this, Dawn.


  14. Beautiful! Outside is my favorite 😊

    I love when the snow holds off this time of year so I can still get out there easily without having to deal with icy paths.


  15. You take beautiful photos. No going outside today, it’s pouring rain.


    • Today we have 50 mph winds (that’s pretty darn windy) so no going outside here either…unless I drove over to a Great Lake to see waves, and somehow I wasn’t into that today. Hoping tomorrow is nicer for us both, but likely we’ll be sending this wind your way.


  16. Getting real cold here so going out has to happen on a warmer day:)

    Liked by 1 person

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