Piping Plover chick 1 of 4. Day 7. 19 days until fledge day.
Today was our first sunny day with people on the beach.
We all survived without too many ruffled feathers.
Much of the general beach-going public seems determined to believe that Piping Plovers don’t really exist. Many act as if they’re just an imaginary endangered bird the rest of us have made up to inconvenience dog-walkers or otherwise prevent folks from fully enjoying a day at the beach.
But, I have photographic proof of their existence!
The past couple weeks have been Piping Plover boot camp here. Like the mailman, neither fog nor rain nor blazing sun nor gust of wind stays this courier from the swift completion of her appointed rounds! (The weather has been pretty crappy.) I’m out there on the beach daily trying to piece together tracks and sightings of individual birds to predict where they might nest. There’s been a fair amount of false starts and leads, and a steep learning curve for me, but we’ve got 3 pairs with nests!
I can empathize with the public’s general cluelessness about these birds. They’re really hard to see… even for those of us who are looking for them. They’re designed to be invisible. Just imagine trying to find a tiny bird the color of wet sand on a beach strewn with shell shards. It’s not easy! If nothing else, it gives you a real respect for the power of camouflage. But as a result, the public is left looking at yards and yards of “empty” roped-off beach that they’re not allowed to use and wondering what all the fuss is about.
I spent my afternoon “off” the other day visiting with the plovers out at Sandy Hook. The National Park Service monitors the birds there; I just plopped myself down on the beach with my camera, well outside of the roped-off areas, in order to get a general beach-going public sort of view of them. Just to try and see them the way the rest of the world does (or doesn’t!) PIPLs are very agreeable little birds… if you just sit quietly and still enough, they’ll happily share the beach with you. Every little drama of their lives is playing itself out around us on the beaches…
|I like to feed on the sparkly parts of the beach.|
|The dunes hide me well; they’re a good place to rest.|
|Pebbly and shelly places make me disappear even more.|
|If I position myself just so, I can have a private bath right at your feet!|
|My eggs: a masterwork of disguise.|
Please share the beach.
Please encourage others to do so.
Please help others to see and respect even the hard-to-see wonders of this world.
These birds live here, too. They’re our neighbors. They need our help.
We had snow today in Atlanta… real snow that caused my school to shut down early. I just saw on the TV that school’s closed tomorrow too… a snow day!
I spent the afternoon watching the birds in their snow-induced feeding frenzy. I sat on the warm couch and photographed them through the window as they scavenged bits of dropped seeds and suet or quenched their thirst at the flowerpot saucer I kept unfrozen with warm water.
I’m happiest to see the bluebirds so close; we have four or five at time at the suet feeder when the weather is especially cold. They bring other nice birds with them. A couple of yellow-rumped warblers are often around and occasionally a ruby-crowned kinglet even visits!
Pine warblers… we have what seems like a lot of pine warblers. It’s hard to know for sure how many there are because the males chase everyone else away from the feeder.
And they chase everyone else off their perch on the fence.
And they don’t like to share the flowerpot saucer, either. Such pretty birds, like a ray of bright sunshine. It’s still odd to me to see them in wintertime, but what a treat!
May your coming year befilled with magic anddreams and goodmadness. I hope you readsome fine books and kisssomeone who thinksyou’re wonderful, anddon’t forget to make someart – write or draw or buildor sing or live as only youcan. And I hope,somewhere in the nextyear, you surpriseyourself.
We went wandering over to Apalachicola this afternoon to look at the shrimp boats there and found this gentleman first. He came over to tell us about the bald eagle he sees around the marina. I thought maybe he was the watchman, but no, he said he’s camping out there beneath the maritime museum building until they give him a job. He told us he’s worked on fishing boats in Alaska too, so I figure he can handle the Florida cold.
This photo is #10 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at Flickr 100 Strangers or www.100Strangers.com
I’m home now from Thanksgiving in NJ… tired but happy. I’m glad to report that vast quantities of mashed potatoes were consumed (as was a piece of Brian’s homemade cheesecake). I found my winter coat and was thankful for it. Surprise of all surprises, I found time amid the holiday craziness to see some good friends, as well as some good birds. Thankfully, we did not forget the Brussels sprouts or the mashed turnips. There was a beach walk and lots of wide-eyed staring at the places I miss so much. I thought about my dad a lot.
Today is a much-awaited day on the bunny calendar, more popular even, than Easter. It’s Hay Day; the day when a fresh shipment of hay arrives via Sweet Meadow Farms all the way in Massachusetts. Peeper’s a happy bunny!
I’m happy to finally have a name for these faded advertisements that I like to photograph. I find them painted on falling-down buildings along rural roads and in the old parts of sleepy Southern towns.
Wikipedia, my source for everything that I didn’t know had a name, says they were most common before the Great Depression and that the artists who painted them were known as “wall dogs.”
In some places, there’s an effort to preserve or restore them. Oftentimes, they just fade away like so much history.
I’m not even sure, myself, where I took these couple photos, but for the last one. On the way to somewhere else is all I remember.
This one is a favorite, simply because I get to see it most often. It’s on the way to Tallahassee and, despite many tries, I’ve yet to get a photo that I like.
Apparently, other people like to photograph these old signs, too. And if you’re so inclined and have some favorites, you might consider adding them to the Ghost Sign Project so other people can find them, too.
A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows they’re being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he’s wearing or how he looks.
– Richard Avedon
A couple weeks ago I went to Sunday in the Park at Oakland Cemetery here in Atlanta. It’s billed as a Victorian street festival and includes music, food, and an artist’s market. I went mainly for the picture-taking opportunities, expecting to want to photograph inside some of the spectacular mausoleums (opened up just for this event), but instead and as usual, got sidetracked with people photos. The folks in “period garb” were fun, but I especially liked the steampunk couple!