Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

The Worst Day Birding…

…is better than the best day at work. I actually took these pictures on Monday, but got caught up with a bunch of stuff the last couple of days and never posted them. I went by the Oso Creek waterway, spaces shown to me by Bill Mays, who’s published a couple of my short stories. I asked him about the amazing pictures he gets, and he showed me his secret spots. I go there occasionally, but I don’t see as much as he does. On my way there, though, I gained sympathy for people who commit one of my pet peeves: turn or change lanes without using their signal. I was getting into the lane from which I’d need to turn, eventually. There was no one in the lane I needed, so, I turned on my blinker and started to move into the lane. When I did that, I realized the person that had been about twenty car lengths behind was ten car lengths behind and was speeding as if he was hoping to close the gap so I couldn’t change in front of him. (And then, later on, he turned before he ever caught up to me.) Our society seems to value courtesy far less every year.

Now, for the birds. Didn’t see many worth taking pictures of. The waterway is beautiful, though and I took a pictures in one place. I thought I had a few more, but I didn’t.







As I walked toward my first stop, I saw a black, duck-like bird flying. When I looked at the picture later, I realized that he was a double-crested cormorant. When I got to the place, I saw a bird that I thought might be the same one. Examining the pictures later made me realize it was. So, here you have a picture of a double-crested cormorant in flight, and then at rest….ok…fishing. I missed the shot of him diving into the water.








I’ll show the picture later, for reasons that will become obvious, but I heard the call of what I thought was a gull. Now, gulls are not one of the birds I get excited taking pictures of, but, given how few birds I had seen or heard, I decided that a good picture of a gull in flight would be nice to have. So, I snapped that picture and moved on. I kept looking into the foliage on the side, not seeing anything. OK, as I walked, I must admit that I was disgusted by the amount of litter left in the area. How hard is it to take your trash back out with you when you’re in the woods. (Hint: if it’s too hard to take out, then don’t bring it in with you!) One spot I looked at had a stalk of celery left on some branches. I decided that someone had done that to draw some kind of animal to the area, hopefully for a picture, and chuckled at that. Then, I looked up and saw these birds. At first I thought they were loggerhead shrikes, but I found out later that was some kind of trick my imagination was playing on me. Just sparrows, but since it looked like they were the fruit of the tree, I still snapped and am posting the picture.







As I looked for that picture, I saw one that I had thought about posting, but decided not to. It was a fuzzy female cardinal, because my autofocus looked at the trees instead of the bird. Now, back to the “gull” earlier. But first, I walked across a flood plain down to another prime picture spot and there in the trees was this beautiful osprey. It was hard to decide which shot to use and decided on this one because it showed so much of the beauty of the bird. When I got home, I realized that what I thought was a sea gull, was, in fact, this same osprey. i haven’t see many of these beautiful birds, but I love seeing them when I do.









As I’m returning to my picture taking, I’m getting hungry for a new lens. I currently have a lens that adjusts to 250 mm. I’d really like one that extends to 600 mm for much clearer shots, especially on birds in flight. My wife isn’t excited by the idea. How can I convince her that this would be a great investment? I’d love your suggestions!

Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

January 10 – About Bird Brain Chronicles…and Today’s Pics

So you may have noticed the #BirdBrainChronicles hashtag and the category for Bird Brain Chronicles. “What’s happening?” you ask. This is still the Bob James Author page and I’ll be sharing authory stuff with you when I have it to share. I just wanted a chance to share my hobby/passion for bird photography with people. And, to be honest, I’m looking at ways I can expand this in the future, but this will help me get my feet wet. If you have any questions about photography, the places I choose, or suggestions or ideas, etc. please feel free to note them in the comments. Also, feel free to share links with anyone who might be interested.

Today, I took the advice of a friend I used to teach with when looking for a spot. Only, I remembered part of where she said, not the whole thing, and ended up on the wrong side of the road. I didn’t see any birds I could snap, so after I checked her directions, I started heading back to the right end. Only, due to a military airfield, it wasn’t a straight shot. So, I tried to cut over on a different road. I did see this egret and the cormorant, although the egret was camera shy and flew away as I tried to take her picture.








When I got to the suggested road, I could see how it would have lots of places for birds to hide, but today the places were too good and I couldn’t see any birds worth shooting. (With a camera of course!) So, quite disappointed, I turned towards home. While on the homeward path, I came across this flock of sandhill cranes. There were about a hundred of them in the field. At first I thought they were sheep, then I realized they were the cranes. I took lots of shots, but I’m going to give you a more panoramic view of them rather than pictures of the individual birds. This is what I first saw, but the pics don’t do justice to the birds.



Then, just as I got to the bridge, I spied this osprey. He was so far away I thought he was on top of his kill. When I looked at his pic, I realized that he was on an old tire. While I’m happy that made it possible to see him, I continue to be appalled at the blatant disregard for our world. I look at the beauty of God’s creation in the birds and in the land and the plants. Then, that joy is jarred when I see the litter people leave thoughtlessly: not caring about God’s creatures, the land, or other people who seek to enjoy the land. I’m typing this while out of town right now, but I’m planning to bring along a small sack to pick up trash along the way in the future. I can’t clean the whole area, but I can clean my part.

And that fits in with the Bird Brain concept. While it’s been an insult in the past, science has shown that birds are great problem solvers. While my actions aren’t a permanent solution, they’re a start. God created a beautiful world for us, and we’re called to be his stewards.

Daily Work

May 2 – Of All the Days I’ve Ever Had, This Was One Of Them.

Today just happened. Nothing spectacular went on. I wrote my devotional…took a while because things weren’t clicking. It ended up about 380 words. I took care of trash and recycling. Then I got ready to do laundry. I’ve taken to writing at the laundromat, so I got a little bit of writing done while there. Then, it was home for lunch, took care of a few other things. Only then did I remember that I needed to shower. Like I said…one of those days. I brought my daughter to class, along with dinner for all of us, then went to church. Made arrangements with my pastor to write the forward to the next volume of devotionals I’ll be publishing. Then came home and finished my writing challenge.

Today’s Devotional (380 Words) – May 2 – Life Wasn’t Meant to be Safe