Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New every day

It occurred to me as I looked through yesterday's photographs, that I could walk through Jericho Park every day for the rest of my life, and come home most of those days, feeling that I had discovered something new. Sometimes, the newness is breathtakingly euphoric, like Monday's first ever sighting of a Long-eared Owl, and sometimes, it is just a small detail about something familiar that I hadn't noticed before. None of the pictures were stellar, and most are cropped and altered to correct mistakes, but here are my discoveries.

Black Jack always expects a tour through the area with rabbit-sighting potential. This little black one was in a compact posture I don't usually see. Perhaps it was a bit cold?
This rabbit stood up and waved its paws. I'm not sure if it was communicating with us, or if it had something else in mind.
The waving motion was mostly up and down, but sometimes, I thought the rabbit was beating on its chest.
Very cute to watch.
I was keeping an eye out for owl or otter shots, and walked along the path, with eyes cast upwards. Wa-a-ay up this tree, I heard a new call, and saw a quick flit through the branches. I could barely see this little spec of bird, but with a gigantic crop and shadow reduction, think I may be looking at my first Downy Woodpecker photo from Jericho. Now that I think about it, my first Downy Woodpecker photo, ever. It may be female, as I can't detect any red in it. Three views here. I'll be watching out for a closer view on future walks.

Just as we were coming back to the bridge, there was quite a commotion, with a heron squawking, ducks fleeing, and crows calling out warnings. For the first time ever, a bald eagle flew right towards the bridge. I lifted the camera and caught a blurred rendition of almost all of it. Oh, for quicker reflexes.
It sat in the tree, just to the left of the bridge. The crows came perilously close.
I stood on the bridge, watching it, and hoping to catch it as it flew off.
It hunched forward, daring the crows to come any closer. I've never noticed that particular posture before, with a kind of hump at what I will call the wing joint.
Not quite the shot I was hoping for. I really have to learn to use shutter priority when I am hoping to get action shots.
As it flew back to the area near the rabbit bushes, the crows provided escort service.

Kicking myself for not getting a beautiful eagle-in-flight shot, I decided to practice on some seagulls. Here, I can see that shutter priority will work if I can set it correctly. This seagull is almost frozen in flight, although not as sharply focused as I would have liked.
Same seagull. My friend Jock sent me a picture of an American Wigeon with blurring to give a wonderful sense of speed. It occurs to me that just as I master a perfectly frozen flying image, I'll be wanting to learn how to create artistically interesting ones that capture other aspects of flight.
Another little discovery of the day was the reflection in this crow's eye. I can sort of see the tree and I think a house that was behind us. A few crows follow us when Black Jack and I walk home. (I confess to occasionally dropping the odd healthy dog treat.) I haven't reached the point where I can tell one from the other. I hope for that, some day.
And, maybe not so much a discovery as a reflection after a wonderful meal prepared yesterday by Glenys (Bill's niece) and Paul (her husband). Phyllis (Bill's sister), Barrie (her husband), Sylvia (Barrie's sister, dessert maker and massage giver par extraordinaire) and little Oscar all contributed to one of those evenings that leave a warm taste that has as much to do with the company as it has to do with the delicious food. Bill and I talked as we drove home that all the people in our lives are what we call "salt-of-the-earth" types. I thought of our friends, Kitty and Jock, my blogging friends, and my photography friends, and realized how true that is. Salt of the earth is good. It is honest, with hard work, playfulness, curiosity and depth of thought as part of its make-up. Yesterday's small epiphanies.


  1. Small epiphanies are what it's all about.

  2. Animals are not "it." Each one is a "he" or "she," an individual with a life and feelings.

  3. I love that first photo of the rabbit (well, I love all you photos but the first rabbit one begs for a caption). I think the rabbit is holding out a paw to say 'STOP RIGHT THERE BLACKJACK!DON'T COME A PAW CLOSER!"

    Each day does bring new wonders, doesn't it? I'm not sure if I just see them more as my life priorities change, or if photography has forced me to look more closely at the world around me. And the more I see beauty in nature, the better I feel able to deal with the "unbeauty" of human making. We only have to look to nature to see our own capacity to nurture or to destroy. It is a very humbling experience.

  4. Thanks for your comments, Christina and Jean. Many of my epiphanies come from your blogs. Jean, that caption was perfect:)

    Glenn, we share a common and very deep respect for animals.

  5. This is my first visit to your excellent blog. Your photographs stop time and tell a story that gives insight into a region where natural events and animal movements often go unnoticed because they are not always easy to catch.

  6. Penelope, thanks so much for the kind words:)