There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label bird watching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bird watching. Show all posts

14 March 2017

The cliffs of Elwood

Emerging from Goleta Grove I can hear the old familiar sound of ocean waves breaking on the shore. Roads crisscross along the Elwood Cliffs in playful fashion, the young run along the trails, the elderly hold hands in the morning sun.
I find a secluded spot on the cliff's edge, cross my legs in meditating fashion, close my eyes and recite poetry in my mind.

When I open them, a lone crane is a few feet from me. It is watching the ocean too as the morning fog burns off in the sun and escapes into the seaside bluffs.
A kinship is born between us, two creatures placed upon this earth at the same time, neither looking to harm the other, both only making their way through this world with a semblance of self awareness in their surroundings.

Do you take the time to truly appreciate where you are?

01 October 2016

Schooner Gulch

He parks next to an old VW bus with brightly colored dancing bears on the rear window. It's barely eight AM and the curtains are drawn closed. He quietly skirts around the sleeping occupants and hits the trail head.
The sky is overcast, the ocean a faint roar as he starts walking down under the protection of the forest.

He reaches the Pacific sooner than anticipated, and find a makeshift hut of driftwood housing a surfing couple. Their wet suits are hanging on sticks, toes visible under warm blankets.
Schooner Gulch has the air of something special about to happen, he wonders if he'll be a witness to the magic.
The tide is high. Scrambling to higher ground on the rocks whose tips are still showing until he finds a perch that will keep him dry.

A lone gull watches him with bemusement. He stares back until the bird flies off. The kelp is slowly moving like a giant prehistoric animal among the incoming waves.

After a spell, he hikes to the top of the cliffs and finds a sandy spot. It's a perfect locale to set up and watch for whales to the West as the fog rolls across the hills to the East.
The stop motion of the shutter gives him time to explore the subtle nuances of plant life that cling to the crags along the cliffs edge. The sun has yet to make an appearance, and so all of life is captured in black and white.
It's a contrast that fits the day, and the area. A hard and lonely life for the inhabitants here, but the weary look and weather beaten wrinkles of time can not dissuade the peacefulness you find.
Mendocino County.
Norcal.
The Pacific Ocean.
Schooner Gulch.

Only memories remain.

01 March 2015

No Snow Geese here...

One year ago I heard about the annual Snow Geese Festival in Delta, Utah. The town sets aside a weekend to witness the annual migration of the snow geese from Mexico to Canada, making a stop in the fields and waters of this small town in Central Utah. Nature has it's own schedule though, one that can not be set by man's clock. I re-learned this truth whilst staring at empty lakeside beauty in the early morning, as the snow geese were nowhere to be found.
I did however, find other more recently lost treasures of our ever changing modern world. I muse for moment, then make the quick and spontaneous decision to slowly make my way back home through the dirt roads of Great Basin National Park, with a good portion along the Pony Express route of old.
Cars and people along this desolate stretch are replaced with the occasional pronghorn antelope and abandoned mines. I stumble upon a bird refuge called Fish Springs, and get my need of seeing the Snow Geese replaced with the observations of other species....mallards, cranes and Canadian geese.
Interspersed with bouts of high winds and blinding snowstorms, I find a new adventurous weekend from the one originally planned, making it all the better.


04 June 2013

passing the hours at Lady Bird lake

After my first night in Austin, Texas, I pulled back the curtains to gray skies and big raindrops cascading down from the heavens.

Not the greatest first view of the city's recreational jewel, Lady Bird Lake. By mid morning the rain seemed  as though quitting time was coming soon, and their were plenty of people out on the trail along the lake, so I thought I'd venture outside.
The humidity must have been 99.9999%, and although the rain wasn't steadily coming down, it felt like a sauna. Interesting conditions to take a stroll around a new city.

Before I make it a few feet though, I'm stopped in my tracks by devilish looking creatures with large brown eyes and long, sharp claws. Texas squirrels. These creatures were not shy, in fact they would scurry down the trees and come to within inches of me, looking ready for battle.

Past the angry squirrels, I enjoy the lush greenery of the park, turtles along the river banks, bright red birds singing from branch to branch.
People are boating, kayaking, paddle boarding along the lake in the rainy mist, enjoying their weekend. As evening comes, I head to the Congress street bridge to watch the Austin bats fly out from underneath for their evening meal. The black swath is surreal as it goes from tree to building before leaving sight.

The sun sets over the water through the trees. Even at night, the park holds you in safety and comfort.
As city parks go, one is hard pressed to find one better than Lady Bird lake, even with their killer squirrels.

16 December 2012

Bosque del Apache

Driving along the empty highway at pre-dawn, I witness a looming dark patch in the sky. Flocks of sand hill cranes coming down to roost in the Bosque del Apache national wildlife refuge.

I'm not normally a bird watching type of soul, but the beauty in the sky pulls me toward the refuge, and I end up spending a perfect Sunday winter's day exploring one of our Nation's spectacular wildlife refuges.







Signs at the entrance to each trail warn of mountain lions. A stark reminder of the wilderness I find myself in. I tread quietly along the trails, listening and observing.
















The sand hill cranes are exquisite creatures to watch. They observe you with a keen eye, moving in groups as they find safety in numbers. I am no threat, and they carry on with their day to day existence, eating and moving.












I find a wooden wall, built as an Observation blind so that humans can observe nature without blatant intrusion. There is a subtle and intimate connection one feels as you lower the wooden window to peek through to an uninterrupted world.





















As the suns sets on another day, I turn to witness the glow upon the water and the twinkling of leaves and reeds in this pristine land.






















I find myself more of a bird lover than I previously thought.