Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Shiawasee continued


When I left you last I was sitting on a bench, feeling defeated having walked a couple miles through the Refuge looking for great images and feeling as though I had missed the mark. I was tired and hungry and, slumped on a bench, was eating an apple when suddenly a bird flew low and fast, just missing my head, and landing somewhere behind me.

“Don’t call me a Red-bellied, lady!”

I didn’t know what it was, I thought maybe a Red-bellied Woodpecker, as those have been known to divebomb me during spring walks at Kensington. I grabbed the camera from the bench and got a couple of shots. Whatever it was was extremely noisy, but I couldn’t tell from the image in the viewfinder just what it was.

It was only after I got home and did some research that I knew there was such a thing as a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. So cool! This image is better than I thought it would be, and though not perfect, you can see the yellow and red on the bird.

From earlier in my walk.

I think I was very lucky to see two of these guys that day!

And then, then…..just as I was putting the camera back down a flash of something caught my eye back cross the trail. I heard the sound of wings and something landing in a bush just over there. Could it be? Even though it was mostly hidden behind the branches I was thrilled to see an Eastern Towhee!

What’s that back there?

I clicked off some shots, praying I had the bird in focus and not just the branches in front. Either way I was happy just to see him.

I rarely see this bird at home, I think in the 30+ years I’ve lived where we are now I’ve seen a Towhee twice. They’re supposed to be here in Michigan all summer but they’re rare in my world. I was thrilled to see him, even if I didn’t get a better look.

And then, as if he was reading my mind, he hopped out onto a branch and stared at me.

“What are you looking at, lady?”

He sat out there for a long time. I was shooting as fast as I could. He gave me a good look at both sides of his profile…

“Make sure you get my good side. Oh wait. Both sides are good sides!”

… and then he got bored with the whole model for hire thing and flew off for parts unknown.

“Well, that’s enough of that! Does she think I work for free??”

I looked at the images I had captured and tried not to squeal. This bird, this one little bird made my entire day. All the walking and lugging the heavy camera equipment, all the missed opportunities and focus issues, all the aches and pains were worth it for this one experience.

This is my favorite crop of him, including the graceful curve of the greening branches.

And, after a bit of reflection and giggling, I picked myself up and wandered happily down the trail, where I eventually found another bench and thought I’d try my luck and sit there for a moment or three, just to see what might stop by.

“Lots of people overlook us sparrows, but we’re pretty cute if you just spend some time with us!”

And this little guy, perhaps a swamp sparrow, graced me with his presence. I liked his (or her?) butch haircut on top. He didn’t stay long, so I moved along too. It was getting late and I wondered if the cinnamon teal was still in the pond back at the parking lot.

I was almost back to the parking lot when I saw this pretty mourning dove sunning.

“I know I’m beautiful.”

He or she wasn’t shy about showing off subtle colors in the afternoon sun. I appreciated the display and moved on toward the car.

I was almost back on the main drive when I noticed these two killdeer standing together in the road.

“Hey lady, we could use some privacy if you know what I mean?”

And then I realized they weren’t exactly innocently standing there.

“Geeze lady, give us a break!”

But rather they were enjoying a little afternoon delight. He seemed pretty happy and let me get one last shot. She was out of there, totally embarrassed.

“Hey! I get a cut of any profits you get selling my image…right?”

And when I finally got back to the parking lot and the pond? Nope, no cinnamon teal to be seen, but the turtles were fun.

“Those birding people have mostly gone home, thank goodness. We could use a little peace around here.”

And I met a wonderful nature photographer who happened to be up on the viewing platform looking for the teal too. We had a nice conversation and I told her where the towhee was and she headed off into the woods.

“Those photographers will follow you anywhere!”

I headed home, exhausted but oh oh so happy. And that, dear readers, is the end of this story.

Until next time.

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.

17 thoughts on “Shiawasee continued

  1. We’ll, didn’t your luck change? Fabulous sights – and images.


  2. You might want to double check the “sandhill cranes.”


  3. What a great story! You know so many birds and I love how they all pose for you. The little guy with the butch haircut is sure cute and the mourning dove is showing off her colors so beautifully. I had a great time on this trip with you!


  4. Killdeer, not Sandhills


  5. 🙂 (BIG grin!) Oh happy day, this was even better than I expected, Dawn. Thank you! Towhees are the best birds on the planet. 🙂 Traveling with a Towhee is the very best! And having friends take photos of Towhees and post them to see is even better. Your favorite photo/crop of him was my favorite as well, of course. What a super day you had, how it turned out. Thank you!! 🙂


  6. I love the brilliance of the yellow belly sapsucker!
    And the towhee colors are equally bright.
    Obviously it’s the time of year for all these guys to get all the delights they can!


  7. Oh my!

    The post with just about everything!

    Such great shots –

    Of course, I’m snickering about your message to me about more killdear photos coming –
    With spades as they say!

    Willow & Phyll


  8. I love a happy ending. And your photography. You have a way with birds. 🙂


  9. Thank you for filling my need for bird watching – from the comfort of my couch. Your photos are outstanding! I see someone else caught the crane/killdeer thing before me – I thought their legs looked awfully short for cranes. Your brain and fingers apparently decided not to play together for that moment.


  10. Towhees are so appealing, aren’t they? I love their little ruffled heads! Looks like you had quite a bird-productive day out there, Dawn.


  11. What a day! I love how you remind us all to slow down and look around. There is stuff to see everywhere!

    The towhee is soooo cool! I’ve never seen one before.


  12. Wow, great shots again. We went down to the Ottawa river today, heard lots of birds but only saw a couple ducks.


  13. Can’t help giggling over the killdeer couple! This is “that time” of season, huh? I suppose if their species is to continue, they’ve got to mate (but gee, talk about embarrassing to be caught in a photo!!)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.