Monday, January 23, 2017

Natural musings

Early last week I felt myself being bitten by the listing bug (at least this year it's more localized than some years). However as I write, I'm already conflicted and analyzing the inherent evil and bias in bird listing. I guess we'll see where this goes. I'm pretty sure I felt equally compelled to compete for top number of species in Dane and Jefferson counties (WI) at the onset of last year. But by the time summer was upon me, my volunteer bird projects and other natural interests diverted me from the frivolousness of listing.

Northern Shrike, east Madison, Dane Co, WI 

We are just shy of week since my last blog post. The new year still feels exciting in part due to the resetting of my year list. I've added at least one new species for either Dane or Jefferson county on nearly every bird outing. During the past six days I observed three new year species in Jefferson county and four in Dane county with highlights being Northern Saw-whet Owl(Jefferson) and Northern Shrike (Dane).

Rose Lake, Jefferson Co, WI

My work schedule has been fairly busy the past week, but I still managed to get out for short excursions most days. How could I not? The unseasonably warm temperatures produced serious spring fever! Late last week the weather topped out in the low 50s! Most of the icy trails were melted making for easier hiking. This is definitely not your typical January scene in Wisconsin. But climate change is hoax, right? Science and facts are "fake news." Anyway, after multiple days of overcast skies and fog, the warm afternoon sunshine on Saturday was irresistibly intoxicating. Work prevented me from joining in the ever important Women's March. So I marched in stillness through slush, mud and wait, that's not mud that's dog poo... well no I didn't, but there was plenty of dog shit to dodge, cleverly disguised as mud.

Rose Lake State Natural Area, Jefferson Co, WI 

I've been opting to travel light during my hikes due to a distrust for my neurology on the ice and mud trails. My recently acquired iPhone 7Plus is a nice option for nature photos when the burden of carrying my other heavier cameras seems daunting. I purchased the 7Plus specifically for the dual cameras. I've been fairly pleased with the macro shots I've achieved using the 2Xzoom lens. Though overall, I still feel the quality of images leaves something to be desired, especially with digiscoping. Perhaps practice will improve my results.


It seems I'm often getting out in the late afternoon when the birds have seemingly gone to sleep. The quietness of Saturday afternoon prompted me to wonder if Nature had become quietly solemn under the dire threat of the recent New World Order. They DO know things after all.

I am ever grateful for Nature's stillness. She provides needed decompression from the ugly sociopolitical tragedy enveloping our nation as well as from the petty personal insults I've endured. However even in the cathedral of  Nature, my mind can rarely mirror its calm. More often it is swirling with debriefing conversations, recollections of insults, people, events, endearing moments, grief, degrees of separation, commonalities, categorizing, compartmentalizing, reviewing, analyzing, planning and lots of conversations with people that will never find my voice...And then I snap back into the moment. Colors and patterns capture my attention. Blues, greys, complemented by an orangey-brown, blooming, circular. Freeze frame... and again. And the image joins my hurricane of memories. I marvel at how Nature transforms rot into exquisite beauty. And ponder, "Are rotten human beings capable of such beautiful transformations? Does the hope observed in Nature hold true for the naked ape?"

Unfortunately experience has answered this question time and again with a resounding NO!

Fungus, CamRock County Park, Dane Co, WI


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