Late afternoon, Yosemite Valley

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wind in the willow plays tea for two

I saw a male scarlet western tanager this morning. A lot like this one, a picture I found on line.

I was mere feet away from my van and my camera but he quickly disappeared in the blink of an instant.

Rare for me to see them. Moved too fast to get a shot.

I was talking about them with Beth last week and she asked if I ever ran into them? I told her rarely. She said they like to sit on a high perch, to check the tops of my redwoods.

 This one was perched quite low, on a phone wire.

One of the things I find most interesting about birders in general is that they tend to be solitary people, who are tuned into a universe that most people are completely unaware of. Slight motions, a new audible range.

You start processing all sorts of little clues of sound, appearance and behavior. Wonder where you've been all this time?

male phainopepla
Your scanning ability suddenly goes into hyperdrive. No bird, no matter its plumage, size or allure, is any longer insignificant, all bit players in a much larger avian symphony.

You develop a sense of exactly where you will see birds on specific branches, on specific trees.

Photography is also, truth be told, a loner's pursuit.  You have to like to be by yourself. You have to be prepared for long lulls in order to grab your quarry. Nothing is delivered on a plate. You can't create art by committee. You have to follow your own internal dictates. And you have to be okay with patiently waiting, striking out occasionally.

But I swear, you get to where you'd rather hear the birds chirp and the sounds of absolutely nothing at all to the sound of people talking, you know what I mean?

Me, one of the most social people around, entering a phase of my life where I am whittling my contacts down to a minimum. Odd.

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