An Ordinary Day

As I was driving to work this morning I found myself thinking about the everyday minutia that comprises are lives…commuting to work, grocery shopping, putting gas into our car, cooking meals and actions as mundane as brushing our teeth.

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Killdeer

On workdays, I always set my alarm for approximately 2.5 hours prior to my “I need to leave for work now” time. I enjoy drinking a couple of cups of coffee, reading the newspaper and generally easing into my work day. Driving to work there is always the possibility of seeing a Great Blue Heron flying over the freeway or a Red Tailed Hawk perched on one of the freeway lights. And of course, the whole world abounds with rock pigeons, white wing doves and the ever-present grackles. At work we have many house sparrows flitting in and out of the trees around our building. Last Spring I heard a bird calling in distress and opened the door to investigate. I spotted a killdeer frantically trying to encourage her two babies back into the grassy area. Her chicks were so very tiny yet totally complete birds and they were running here and there completely unaware of the dangers that surrounded them. I cheered the parents on in their efforts to conjole their offspring, but I am sad to report that they were unsuccessful with at least one of them. These chicks were so small (very mobile, but tiny!) and as I watched,  a car passed directly over one of them. The car’s tires didn’t crush him, but the air draft from the car passing over him tossed the chick against the underside of the car and a tiny fragile life was instantly extinguished. I was devastated. I cried and cried, frustrated that I could do nothing to prevent it. Although I don’t know for sure the fate of the other chick, I prefer to believe that he successfully navigated back to the safety of his parents.

Driving home in the evening, I pass a football field complete with those extremely high lights necessary for illuminating a night-time game. On the platforms just under these lights, monk parrots build great colony nests and raise their young. I once spotted a hawk hanging out near them….great hunting ground for his dinner no doubt.

Once home, the birding from the balcony kicks in. With binoculars or my spotting scope I can watch the snowy or great egret or the Great Blue Heron as they fish for their last meal of the day before settling in to roost for the night. It is a peaceful sight.

Nothing really unusual about the day but since I started my birding adventure, my world has expanded greatly and my observation skills regarding my surroundings have grown exponentially. An ordinary day can be filled with extraordinary drama. I love the drama!

Happy bird searching in every ordinary day!!!

A Butcher Knife, a Cup of Water, Some Sticks and Faith

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Killdeer

I visited my sister in Burton again this past weekend. We jumped into my car and headed over to Lake Somerville to do a little birding. Along the way we spotted a Crested CaraCara, Black Vultures and once in the park, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Whimbrels, Sanderlings, Killdeer, Cardinals, Mockingbirds, American Coots, Ring-billed Gulls, Common Terns, a lone Cormorant and a Savannah Sparrow. The lighting wasn’t great, but we captured a few photos as memories of this outing. We headed home and had a lovely dinner…pork roast, sweet potato, vegetables and an apple crumble for dessert. After dinner we drove out into the country and tried to call up an owl or two. Unsuccessful, we went home and reminisced on a good day of birding.

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Whimbrels
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Common Terns
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Sanderling?

One of the things I love about visiting my sister is hearing some of the stories from our childhood. Being older than I, she has some memories of our maternal grandmother that I don’t share. One of these was of a time when our Grandmother was visiting us at our new house in Southwest Houston. Grandmother had some azalea cuttings and she was determined to plant them all along the front of our new house. Armed with a butcher knife, a bucket of water, those bare cuttings and my sister Linda, she began directing the planting of those cuttings. She used the butcher knife to stab holes in the soil, instructed my sister to plunge the cutting into that hole and pour a cup of water from the bucket upon each one. Our Grandmother had great faith and she must have provided an ample amount that day because those azalea cuttings flourished and grew to be enormous, each Spring bursting forth with beautiful blooms to adorn the front of our modest house. My sister confessed to me that as she was performing this planting ritual with our Grandmother, she had serious doubts about those “sticks” growing. She thought that the effort was pointless and it was a big waste of time and energy. Yet she forged ahead and helped our Grandmother. I believe our Grandmother planted her own seeds that day…the seeds of a master gardener in my sister’s soul.

As we sat on her front porch overlooking her beautiful gardens, listening and watching the IMG_8380resident birds, we were witnessing the transformation of our Grandmother’s faith before our very eyes. Each plant, seed or cutting in my sister’s yard was lovingly planted, tenderly cared for, vigorously protected, and ultimately culminated in a peaceful place of repose. We sit on that porch drinking our morning cup of java, enveloped in the peacefulness of nature that surrounds us on all sides. It is a great place to reminisce, share memories and plant the seeds of our next adventures.

Happy bird searching!!!

 

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