A sunny December weekend

I began today thinking it an appropriate time to compile part 4 of my winter visitors series.  Then I lost interest about three pictures into it and decided instead to revisit the spiders with part 3 of that series.  Having failed to relocate the first arachnid image before deciding it too much work for my lazy attitude, I thought perhaps I would toss out a few impressive images of a red-tailed hawk in flight, a gorgeous adult raptor who avoided me at all costs as I stalked the bird in its various perches but who still gifted me with an afternoon takeoff and upward spiral directly overhead.  For some reason, even that effort became tedious before it began.

And yet through all the floundering in ideas, I kept coming back to something less intentional, something less focused on the thought of the matter and more focused on a celebration of simple things.  This past weekend offered cold mornings and sunny springlike afternoons, cool enough to start the day with plenty of activity to get the blood flowing and comfortable enough by lunchtime to have the lizards out hunting insects and the turtles resting on sun-soaked logs.

In the midst of such comfortable December days, I find myself standing motionless in places where the ubiquitous stand like lighthouses, where stopping to see the commonplace feels like discovery made flesh.  At the woodland edge, in the depth of the forest, along the shore of a lagoon, atop a simple hill…  These places and more offer the open eyes a feast of beauty waiting to be seen.

A black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) hunts beneath riparian flora (2009_12_20_045635)

A black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) hunts beneath riparian flora.

A great egret (Ardea alba) stands like a beacon against a backdrop of russet and shadow (2009_12_20_045641)

A great egret (Ardea alba) stands like a beacon against a backdrop of russet and shadow.

A male house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) indulges in the fruit of blackhaw viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium) (2009_12_20_046028)

A male house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) indulges in the fruit of blackhaw viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium) and forgets to wipe his beak afterward.

A tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) plays peekaboo (2009_12_20_046042)

A tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) plays peekaboo.

A blue-gray gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) tries to play peekaboo and fails miserably (2009_12_20_046414)

A blue-gray gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) tries its hand at peekaboo.  It goes without saying this poor bird entirely missed the idea of the game.

A juvenile red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) holds a pecan in its beak (2009_12_19_045344)

A juvenile red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) captures a wily pecan.

A Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) pauses to look at me (2009_12_19_044881)

A Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) pauses to observe the observer.

[Update] I should have included in the original post that these photos are from White Rock Lake in Dallas.

10 thoughts on “A sunny December weekend”

  1. I especially like the red-headed and the chickadee. The Texas Coast is always a fun place to find birds (just don’t ever camp on the beach!). Your blog’s great!

    1. Thank you, Jill! I’m more than happy that you like the photos. I’ve only recently discovered your blog and started losing myself in your work and photos. I think a compliment from you is quite an honor.

      (BTW, these photos were taken in Dallas around White Rock Lake where I live. I should have mentioned that in the post–and your comment has reminded me to add a quick snippet to make note of that.)

  2. Wonderful collection of photos – it WAS a beautiful weekend. I had family in town for the weekend, but managed to get out for a little while at a nearby park. I sure am anxious to get back out to White Rock – your pictures are always tempting me to quit working and just get in the car! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    BTW, great exposure/contrast/whatever on the chickadee. They are always a challenge for me, with their black eye on black feathers, with bright white right there too.

    1. I’m glad you like them, Amber. It’s probably too easy for me to walk out the door and visit the lake; what, it takes me all of sixty seconds to be in the park–on foot! But it’s my back yard and it’s so full of life that I’d be remiss if I didn’t take every opportunity to enjoy it.

      You know, I’m with you on taking chickadee photos. The black-and-white contrast often leads me to either blow out the highlights or underexpose the whole thing. It takes a very cooperative bird for me to get a presentable image.

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