I took a break this week from spying on my “yard birds,” and found some water birds at Joyner Park. We spied them while walking, and after we were through, I picked up the camera and was happy to see the flock of geese, and a mallard duck and his mate.
It’s easy to lose track of time when taking pictures. But birds are so much prettier up close!
You don’t have to travel far to find scenes worthy of a photograph. Bill and I had some free time this week, and found we were overdue for a visit to Umstead State Park. I have some vivid memories of that place, mostly involving a copperhead and a “death march” I took with him a few years back, but that is another story.
This time, I had a new camera in hand, and we searched out photo opportunities.
December is not the most colorful time of year in Raleigh. I think we’ve had a late fall; still, most of the leaves have turned and nearly all have fallen, but there are a few, colorful stragglers here and there.
We took off from the visitor’s station, which Bill warned was a bit of a walk to the main park, but I shrugged off his suggestion to drive in further and off we went.
I kept hearing birds I didn’t recognize, and managed to locate one with the zoom lens.
We walked on the road for a while, but the trails along the creeks offered the best views.
After 90 minutes or so of walking and stopping, we decided it was time to head back to civilization to find some lunch. But not before discovering a few more birds.
Another beauty perched above our heads. I’m not sure, because of the winter feathers, but I think it’s an American redstart. My first time seeing this bird, as well.
I’ve got four feeders set up around my house, but the birds have been scarce this fall. I’m not sure if it’s the location, the mild weather, or the number of hawks in the neighborhood. The squirrels are another story.
Quite recently, I’ve rediscovered mornings. Sleeping in used to be a cherished luxury. After my children were born, my body clock eventually adjusted to getting up early, and then my career took a detour. I started working evenings, not getting to bed until after midnight. So, again, I slept late, pretty much on a daily basis.
My new job has more regular, daytime hours, which I appreciate. But I still don’t get up and walk every morning as I’d like to. After a recent day-long drive back to West Virginia, my tight muscles were aching to stretch, and I was ready for a walk “around the hill.”
When I started out, it was just getting light. The birds – mostly robins – chirped greetings to each other. As the darkness lifted, and the sun peeked over the hills, my power walk became a quest to capture the sunrise.
I walked around the circle, catching glimpses of daybreak – and the mist. Stopping every few minutes, standing on tiptoe, I darted looks between houses and through the woods, trying not to alarm the neighbors.
The woods on this road were thick, so I hurried on, and remembered the nearby stub of a road that looks about level with the airport, which is on another hill, on the other side of the river. I might capture a good view there. I walked up and down that street a few times, looking for the right spot to snap a picture.
I must’ve hurried up and down that particular road three times looking for just the right scene, knowing my chance to capture the best colors was quickly fading.
I headed farther on down the hill, then, toward the playground, where our bus stop used to be. On the way down, I found the sun . . .
And, a little farther down, one of my favorite trees. Not quite all its leaves were gone . . .
Down and around I went, looking at the old neighborhood, remembering when. Then it was light, and time to head up one of the many, steep hills I used to dread walking up as a child. It’s funny how things change.