People who keep bird lists are often called twitchers or they are teased for being obsessive. “What’s important to you, the list or the bird?” I have often been asked. “Neither,” I tell them in my cheeky photographer voice. “I love catching them and taking them home in ways you may never see!”
My bird list says I first saw an Oystercatcher on the 1st of January 1994 off Cape Recife in Gqeberha. This might not mean much to anyone else, but to me, my list is a magical record keeper of days of adventure and holidays filled with explorations. My first sight of this dark black bird made me instantly fall in love with her character, attitude, and surprisingly colourful first impression. A flock of Oystercatchers can be a veritable assault on the senses with their bright eyes, striking beaks and the shrillness of their calls to each other from the intense ocean smelling kelp and mussel beds.
Now I live in Yzerfontein, where I can walk to the beach in five minutes and where on many of the beaches I can be sure to see Oystercatchers on any day of the week. They still thrill me. Late at night I can be lying in bed and hear one calling as she flies past on a mission of her own. “Yes,” I say, “I can hear you. You are a beautiful being.”
In my garden, the lavender bushes grant great big perpetual bunches of flowers breezed through with gentle soothing scent. They gather together many beings. These photographs were all taken this 2nd of April 2022 with a 100mm macro lens in a single lavender bush. The late afternoon sun provided the colours.
Rock can bring out the gravitas in a scene. A beach without a trimming of rock is just not as pretty. The layering of rock tells stories going back millions of years. I can imagine rock as the place where the earth holds its breath. I love rock. Rock rocks.
English is a language with an extensive vocabulary, and yet many words are used in different contexts to contain a range of meanings.
Provisions (noun): the act of supplying something for use. It could be a donation, or an agreement around services to be rendered.
Provisions (verb): to allocate beings with food, drink, or equipment, especially for a journey.
All around us every day we are faced with providers and provisions. Do we remember the chain of life that brings us to where we are? Are we happy in what we have? These are some of the questions that may help us to understand the need to be respectful when playing but a small part in millions of years of events.
Species differ, but life itself runs the same developmental progression of youthfulness through to ageing and death within all. Cuteness always favours the young and there seems to be inter-species awareness of this beauty. This provides part of the pulling power to elicit the care from elders that enables life to be resilient.
How freeing would it be for humans to honour, value and find gratitude in all of life’s intricate aspects, rather than to minimise our reverence to the human form?
Little people may be small and big mountains may be tall but, when the spirit of adventure grabs you, it’s definitely time to go.
A good place to take close up views of the fingers and toes, fists, feet, and even facial hair, of the plants surrounding us.
Images created with Canon 1D mark iii, L lens zoom 28-135 , and Kenko 36mm Extension tube. Late afternoon, minimal light, ISO 3200.
Doves and their etymological cousins, the pigeons, are well known across the majority of the earth’s landmass. People often see them, and seldom give them any thought. The geographical features of the Sahara Desert, Antarctica, and the high Arctic are too stark to allow for the survival of these birds, but elsewhere they are considered abundant.
Even when offered as an example of the potential for extinction, these birds are discussed casually. Let’s look at Passenger pigeons. They are arguably the best known example of Anthropogenic extinction… they were an abundant species. They were eradicated from the surface of the Earth by humans. Quickly. We teach that this tragedy happened because of us, we recognise it as our responsibility, even when using the distancing techniques of language we don’t get much further away than saying they died “due to human activities”.
Here are some examples of abundant doves and pigeons. Decide if they are ordinary, dismissible, easy to live without.
Currently at least eleven species of doves and pigeons are endangered world wide. How many can we afford to lose before we know they are no ordinary birds?
This is no ordinary love
No ordinary Love
This is no ordinary love
No ordinary Love
Keep trying for you
Keep crying for you
Keep lying for you
Keep flying and I’m falling
And I’m falling
Song performed by Sade
These starkly prehistoric birds love walking about in groups, showing off to one another what they have caught. Perhaps the girl with the prettiest eyelashes gets a share of the most delicate item on the menu?
From Cairns in Queensland, Australia one can ride the Skyrail Cable car right into the rainforest around Karunda. The highlight is Barron falls. A place where it becomes easy to believe that the rivers, forests and waterfalls of the earth have a conscious, breathing, living right to the self determined existence we usually reserve in our thinking for human beings.
A well loved vineyard, expansive architecture, a taste of wine, a range of art, and jovial company made the Saronsberg Wine Cellar an adventure to be celebrated.
If the grass itches, it’s not weed.
Dress to blend with the flowers. Leave only footprints behind.
A day in the sun…..
A recent long weekend at the Percheron Stud Farm Outeniqua Moon did wonders to lay to rest the tumultuous time of the Coronavirus. I feel for all who have been working ( or not working ) without as much as a chance to see such incredible beauty.
Vivid sun drenched colour soaks our days in joy
If flowers had feet they may choose their partners differently, but this little snail is riding high as the crowning glory in its sensual bed of silken softness.
I started reading “H is for Hawk” today and it reminded me of the day this juvenile pale chanting Goshawk landed next to us in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. It was close enough for the car to be reflected in its eye – and it shows up in the photograph I took. These days the photo hangs in the home of a friend in McGregor. I originally had it printed for an exhibition in Hilton. A well travelled Goshawk one may think, but it’s the engagement I remember. The knowledge that I too was causing curiosity in a mind as acutely aware as my own. Bird brain? I think not. Balance. Beauty. Benign. Blessed. I am the one left with the bounty of the encounter. Be for birds.