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If we were having coffee: For the birds edition

On the Pocomoke River
On the Pocomoke River, a mandala I drew last weekend.

What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt — it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.

~ Hal Boyle

Pocomoke River from the Milburn Landing area.
Pocomoke River from the Milburn Landing area.

If we were having coffee, tea, water, or some other beverage, I would be delighted to see you again.  Hugs if you’re amenable to them.  Come on in!  It’s a little chilly outside especially after the warm week we had.  It was nearly 70°F on Wednesday.  Then, as you probably already know, the rain and snow came and a cold front followed.  Let’s grab our drinks and some snacks, and go to the living room where the sun and the wood stove will keep us warm while we chat.

We met this big, beautiful tree on our way to the Bald Cypress Trail last Saturday. Pocomoke River State Park.
We met this big, beautiful tree on our way to the Bald Cypress Trail last Saturday. Pocomoke River State Park.

How are you?  Have you been well?  Or not so well?  Have you done or seen anything exciting and wondrous?  Have you traveled anywhere?  Spent time with friends or family?  Have you gone on any good walks or hikes?  Experienced any unusual weather?  Have you read any good books, bad books, or mediocre books?  Seen any good movies?

Looking up at the big, beautiful loblolly pine.
Looking up at the big, beautiful loblolly pine.

I don’t have anything new to report on the book or movie fronts.  I’m still reading The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel and Falling into Grace: Insights on the End of Suffering.  I’ve taken a little break from Far from the Madding Crowd, but better get back to it soon before I forget what’s happened so far.  I have it on my tablet and read it when I’m traveling somewhere.  M and I have stayed pretty close to home lately so I’ve had no excuse to read it.  I’m about half way through.  I think this might be my last Thomas Hardy book.  I enjoy his prose and his descriptions of the English countryside, but I also struggle with it.

Tall trees.
Tall trees edging the lane.

Well, what I mean is that I shouldn’t mind being a bride at a wedding, if I could be one without having a husband.

~ Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

An owl and her handler.
An owl and her handler.

If we were having coffee or something else to drink, I would tell you that it has been a quiet week here on the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.  Oh, the weather has been active and somewhat schizophrenic, trying to decide whether it wishes to be spring or winter, but for me, it’s been a low-key, almost soft, week.  This time of year usually is that way.  It’s a time of germination.  There are stirrings, tiny movements before the roots take hold as the newly formed plant breaks through and emerges.  Or, to put it in more practical terms, ideas are forming, projects are ending and beginning, the usual chores are getting done, and it’s time to start thinking about the garden.

Watching a Bald Eagle flying overhead.
Watching a Bald Eagle fly overhead.

If we were having coffee or tea or some other beverage, I would tell you that M and I had a good time last weekend on the Eagle Watch boat tour.  We arrived at the park about an hour or so before the tour so we could take a little hike.  We walked the Bald Cypress Trail, a trail we’ve hiked before, which passes through the usual loblolly pine groves, hardwood trees, and a bald cypress swamp.  It’s a trail best hiked in the winter months if you want to avoid ticks, mosquitoes, and biting flies.  Late autumn is good, too, if the weather is cool enough, because the trees look like this:

November 2013.
November 2013.

The trees are bare now, of course, beautifully showing off their bones.  I didn’t take many photos in the forest because I had forgotten to bring an extra battery and wanted to save what power I had for the boat trip.

Portrait of a Great Horned Owl.
Portrait of a Great Horned Owl.

After our short hike (it’s a 1-mile loop) we went back to the boat landing and pavilion where some of the park rangers were hanging out with a few birds that were rescued and cannot be released back into the wild for various reasons.  The owl, who you met on my Silent Sunday post, was rescued when she (for some reason, I keep thinking it was a female) was young and imprinted on humans.  She never learned how to hunt and wouldn’t be able to feed herself if she was released.

Looking back. (Turkey Vulture.)
Looking back. (Turkey Vulture.)

We met a turkey vulture, whose feathers I showed you on Wednesday.  The reason I took the close-up of its feathers was to show beauty where most see ugliness.  As you already know, I like turkey vultures, and enjoy watching them here at the ranch.  I didn’t get a chance to talk with the handler of the vulture to find out why the bird was rescued and still in captivity.

Juvenile Bald Eagle.
Juvenile Bald Eagle.

The third bird we met was a juvenile Bald Eagle.  He didn’t seem happy at all about being on display.  He was found starving to death because of a deformed beak, poor guy.

Deformed beak.
You can clearly see his beak deformity here.

The boat ride itself took about an hour.  We didn’t see many eagles.  Jerry, our boat captain and tour guide, said that most years he sees at least 30-50 eagles out there on this tour.  Nobody is quite sure why there are fewer eagles this year.  One theory is that is has to do with the mild winter.  Because of that, the eagles are either late getting here or they are nesting early, and when they’re nesting, they don’t see as many since one bird always stays with the nest while the eggs are incubating.  I think we saw about five eagles, all in all.  Maybe six or seven.

Close-up.
Close-up.

We did see a great many turkey vultures.  The eagles like to hang with the turkey vultures, something I knew from watching them here at the ranch.  It’s sometimes difficult to pick out the eagles.  Sunlight hitting the birds at just the right angle helps (highlighting the eagle’s white head and tail).  Also, the eagles flap their wings more often than the vultures so I always watch for that sign first.

Sunlight on eagle feathers.
Sunlight on eagle feathers.

I didn’t get many good photos while on the boat tour.  The eagles we did see were quite far away, and I don’t have a lens that handles that kind of distance well.  Maybe someday I’ll get one of those great, big lenses.  Or not.  Not having the big lens allows me to enjoy just being there in the moment rather than trying to capture it since I know what my limitations are with the lenses I do have.

First sighting.
First sighting.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I hope to make some changes here at Ye Olde Blogge soon.  It needs revamping.  I don’t think I’ll change the theme, mostly because I’m too lazy to be messing with the widgets (which always seem to drop out when I change themes).  I rather like this theme, and haven’t seen any others that suit me as well.  I will work on some of the Pages.  I have decided to do away with my blogroll.  I don’t think anyone even uses them anymore now that we have readers and other means of following fellow bloggers, and I haven’t kept mine up to date.  I will also update Animals, minerals, and vegetables on the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.

I’m working on a series, too, that I hope to start posting soon.  It’s a series about solitude, and I’m finding it difficult going in spots, especially when it comes to the personal aspects where I am trying to figure out where my boundaries lie in terms of how much to share.

A sky full of birds.
A sky full of birds.

If we were having coffee, tea, or something else, I would turn things over to you now so you can tell me about your week.  I’ve rambled more than enough (as usual!).  Thank you so much for joining me for another coffee chat.  If you have time, let’s go for a walk out to the dock.  Later we can watch the sunset either from the dock or from the Point.  I’ll leave our destination for the evening show up to you.  I’m fine with either one.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

weekendcoffeeshare

This post is in response to Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare.  Thank you to Diana for hosting it.  Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us.  I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.

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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

33 thoughts on “If we were having coffee: For the birds edition

  1. I love that photo of the vulture…he looks like he’s wearing some improbable high couture coat.

    Hardy’s easier to read if you skip all the descriptions of the countryside. The real meat of it is in his dialogue and the interactions between people. Most 19th-century literature is like this…it dwells on descriptions of things because of course media didn’t exist as we know it now, and writers’ pens were the only way to bring the world to people who might not ever travel more than a hundred miles from home. But now we don’t need so much help to “see” the world of the novel, so you don’t miss much if you skim those passages.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, David, for the advice on reading Hardy. I’ll give it a try. If nothing else, that will move me through the story faster.

      And the vulture! I had similar thoughts when I saw him with his head turned that way. He’s wearing a cowl or turtleneck, too. lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice having coffee with you again, Robin. I love all your bird shots. The owl is especially amazing to me. The one looking up at the eagle is spectacular.
    Peace
    Mary

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    1. Thank you, Mary. 🙂 The owl amazed me, too. I really enjoyed watching her as she watched what was going on around, above, and below her. She seemed quite content with her handler, too.

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  3. Well, you’ve managed to make a turkey vulture look handsome through your loving lens! 🙂 (As well as many other striking shots of birds of prey.) That poor, unfortunate eagle with a crossed bill…at least he’ll have a ‘good’ life in captivity. I hope it is better for him than dying, but I know some birds don’t adjust well to captivity. It looks like it was a beautiful day!

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    1. Thank you, Eliza. I’m glad you think so (about the vulture). 😀 I feel sorry for the eagle, too. I did a quick search online after the tour to see what causes beak deformities and there are reports that over 29 species of birds, from eagles down to the chickadees, in Alaska and Washington have beak deformities, especially the crossed-beak. What’s causing it is a mystery so far. Eagles have been found in other states with crossed beaks. One, in Maine, had high levels of mercury in its blood.

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      1. oh, dear, I wish it wasn’t so. I’ve heard they’ve been finding high levels of mercury in birds globally downwind (all the way to the Midwest) from China’s hundreds of coal plants, which emit mercury from burning without ‘scrubbers’ to clean the air before it is released. Sigh. It kills me what humans are doing to this beautiful planet.

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  4. I have been enjoying your owl portrait for awhile trying to decide if it was a great horn or long ear owl. Now I know. The closeups of the bird are vreat. I like turkey vultures. I was surprised to learn that they will take small animals if carrion is not around.

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  5. Such phenomenal photos! What a great experience 🙂

    I look forward to seeing the changes you have in store for this space…I’ve got a bit of the Spring Cleaning bug brewing in me in relation to my space, too…just not sure what that means yet…

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    1. Thank you, Melissa. 🙂 I’m not completely sure what my spring cleaning will entail, either. I have ideas, but I don’t think there’s much to be done if I’m not willing to change themes. I don’t think I will, and yet… it’s tempting just for the newness of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your bird photos are beautiful.

    I’ve been thinking about doing away with my own blogroll. The last time I updated mine was, oh, three years ago? Some of the bloggers I followed then no longer write at all, and others I treasure greatly haven’t been added. Doing a single update wouldn’t be too daunting, but the thought of maintaining it? No, thanks. Which is all to say, I think I’ll be ditching mine as well.

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    1. Thank you, Deborah. 🙂 I’m glad to see someone else ditching the blogroll. Mine is in the same shape. A few of my favorites have died, some stopped writing/updating, and as you mentioned, new blog friends haven’t been added.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful photos, as usual Robin. I thought of you–there was some kind of bald eagle day in a place in S. Jersey yesterday. We already had plans, so we didn’t go, but it sounded cool.

    I loved The Eyre Affair. I thought it was so clever. I haven’t read Hardy in a long time. I loved Tess and Jude, although what a depressing book! I enjoyed the movie version of Far From the Madding Crowd that came out last year.

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  8. Love the photos of the birds! Sounds like that was a really interesting and fun visit. I have an affinity for birds, though I don’t actually know a lot about them. 🙂

    I hope you’re enjoying Jasper Fforde! I liked the Thursday Next books, and he also has a sort of twisted fairy tale universe that I liked, too.

    We’ve been caught up in the Mardi Gras madness here, and it has been an amazing release of tension in the wake of several weeks of busy-ness and responsibility. 🙂

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  9. Wonderful photos of those stunning birds, Robin.
    When it comes to putting your personal stuff onto your blog, I think it’s helpful to remember that once you put something out there, you can’t necessarily take it back. If you compare your personal story to wearing clothes, you might not want to pose nude or even in a bikini but would be happy in a one piece or wet suit. If baring all helps others, there’s a point but no amount of blog traffic is worth selling your soul. I’ve reading a memoir at the moment and I have been stunned by the personal information she’s included.
    My week is pretty much summed up on my coffee post.
    Hope you have a great week!
    xx Rowena

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  10. I love the birds. They don’t seem as scary as the one that tried attack me in Seattle! Your birds are beautiful! And that mandala is wonderful, too! Is this another one on glass? I’m fascinated by the possibility of having a photo made on glass!

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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