So, I was actually out birding....
How wrong I was!
When I first started down the trail, it seemed like all sign of avian life had gone. No ducks! No egrets. Not even a lousy Red-Winged Blackbird! For this, I got up early?
Yes, for this. As I slowed my pace even more, I realized that like me, the marsh was simply waking up slowly. I realized it when I walked down to one of the viewing platforms, startled to see about six Canada Geese, one leg tucked and heads under wing, still asleep. The graceful silhouette of one, then two, then three Great Egrets flew down from treetops, where I'd not noticed them before.
I didn't bother to count and catalog, but chose instead, like the birds around me, to simply allow the sun to warm me and illuminate the world in front of me. The Kildeer were absolutely not present. The recent rains had filled the area where I last saw them, perhaps making it too wet for their tastes, in spite of the overall green sheen of the water. The Red Wings began to awake, as did the Rough-Winged Swallows, and before long, I was following bird songs in pursuit of the birds singing them.
Along the way, families with dogs and little kids were waking, too. Little boys, reminiscent of mine in years past, delighting in dropping rocks from the bridge. Runners everywhere, also reminscent of myself in days before chondromalicia overtook my running years, trying to beat the forecast high temps.
Common Yellowthroats were calling all over, but seemed to enjoy doing so from the wrong side of the trail, at least as far as the photographic lighting was concerned. Yet I still found one foolish enough to come into view, not quite where I'd have liked, but close enough and in good light.
Amazingly, a Great Blue Heron just off the trail looked right at me---and continued on about his business. Unbelievable. Approach quietly within half a football field and they're off, but not this one. I crawled into a blind of tall grass off the trail and watched him fish for at least a half hour. He watched me, too, but didn't seem concerned in the least. I actually had the luxury of waiting for the perfect sun to break from the clouds, creating that beautiful morning backlight we all crave in our photos.
Further on, a brood of new-from-the-box Wood Ducks sat on a deadfall, with Mama Duck roosting on one end. Watching--and shooting---they eventually grew impatient, as children will, and one, then the others, darted into the water in defiance of Mama. It would seem that the young of birds and the young of humans are really not so very different in that.
So, what photos from today's bonanza can I share? Rarely do I get one decent photo, much less many of three different birds. I'm not really superstitious, but....isn't it nearly impossible to ignore such good fortune as perhaps a good omen? I would like to think so. Even if it's nothing more than dumb luck, it is luck enough to encourage me to get up and wake up with the world more often.