Monday, February 25, 2013

A redefining moment...

I haven't been spending as much time outdoors as I have wanted to.  And for those that know me well, this is not the norm for me.  I've been going to my minimum wage job every day and then coming home only to fall asleep in the chair.  I just haven't had much of a desire to do anything.  I have only made some quick trips to some  local spots looking for easy birds (not much success) and with gas at close to $4 a gallon, I can't really afford to go too far.  I felt like a robot operating in a machine, low on energy and spirit.   I need to spend some quality time outdoors.  I now see how people can go about their lives never being able to connect with nature.  It is a system that is designed that way and unfortunately it works all too well.

The last couple of days has given us a hint of Spring, with lots of sunshine and mild temps.  I had gotten off work early Sunday, so I decided to go for a walk at Indian Creek Wildlife Area.  There were a lot of far off Northern Pintails, probably 50+ !  A closer look revealed both American Wigeon and Northern Shoveler.  There were a lot of Canada Geese, but no little, white, white-fronted or blue geese.  However, I just didn't feel right.  I was seeing some nice looking birds, but it just felt all so foreign to me.  I felt very disconnected.  It was a very odd and vulnerable feeling to me, but I continued to just keep walking.   

After Indian Creek, I stopped at East Fork SP to see what I could find.  I only found a few Pied-billed Grebes on the lake, so I decided to take a walk.  As soon as I got out of the car, I saw a male Eastern Bluebird sitting on a post.  He was singing his song and glowing in the sun.  Something wasn't right though, the bluebird of happiness wasn't working anymore.  It brought back memories of when I was younger and had bluebirds nesting in my box on my windowsill.  I used to check on them every day and feed them mealworms.  Just their presence back then brought me a since of peace and content.  The singing bluebird brought back memories of times that seemed like just a dream.  My how things have changed.  

As dusk was approaching, I decided to go to a place where I have seen American Woodcock in the past.  I haven't heard or seen any yet this year, so it was a long shot.  As I was waiting for the sun to go down, a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds descended on a clump of cattails to roost for the night.  Shortly after, a Cooper's Hawk raided them looking for a late snack.  By now it is getting dark and time to listen for the woodcock.  The full moon is now shining bright, and still I wait.  A close "peent" suddenly pierces the solemn silence.  Woodcock!  It is now officially Spring!

Here is a quick video that I shot with my phone.  The peenting is hard to hear, so you will have to turn up the speakers.  (At about 2:00 min, I accidentally hit the touchscreen of the phone making a loud thumping sound, so click here to skip it)

The peenting of the woodcock brings back more good memories of when my brother and I used to try to see how close the woodcocks would land to us.  There were many more back then though.  Something had just happened without my even realizing it.  I had forgot about work.  I had forgot about not having money to pay bills.  I have just reconnected to nature!

On the way home, I spotted something on the side of the road.  A car was coming at me, so I slowed down to a crawl.  It was not moving, but sitting upright.  As the car passed, I noticed it was a Barred Owl. I didn't think much of it at first, as I have seen them go after things on or near the road often.  However, as I got to with about 7 ft. of it in the car, it just stayed put.  It must have been hit by a car and was injured I thought.  I put the car in park and got out.  I walked up to the owl and it started trying to walk into the path of another oncoming car.  I then went back to the car to get my heavy duty gloves and a blanket.  I just couldn't watch the owl get hit.  The owl just sat there as I waited for the car to pass.  It starred at me and I starred back into those dark brown eyes.  It was a very spiritual moment.  If any of you have ever looked into the eyes of a Barred Owl up close, you know there is something wild and free about them.  Just as I was about to make contact with the owl, another car was fast approaching.  The owl flapped its wings, and managed to fly up and land on a wire above my head.  The car passed and the owl was there on the wire looking down at me.  It stayed there just starring for about ten seconds and then flew off to the woods.  It was a very surreal moment, like it was meant to happen. I connected to nature in a way that I didn't expect.  I tried to take a picture of the owl illuminated by my headlights out the windshield.  This is how it turned out:

The soul of the Barred Owl

I call this photo -  The Soul of the Barred Owl.  So odd that it turned out like this, almost like a ghost in the night.


  1. The peenting has begun, spring has sprung! Good stuff.

  2. It seems as if you & the owl protected each other.. Connection with nature saves us all.. Love the title of the picture!