Sunday, January 04, 2009

Duck Hunting and Wishes for 2009


Cooper first, before ducks and geese.


First bird photo of 2009, taken around noon on January 1st. That's a nice start.

For the past few weeks, it’s been disappointingly wet, dark, and gloomy. The weather dampened my spirit to run about with the camera but I continued to remind myself this weather might yield a fabulous spring for the first time in four years!

There was ample time to think and evaluate during my break from work.

Always busy, always worrying, always finding work to do…making Christmas happen then putting it all away, happily completing projects around the house, and now I wonder if I made the most of my seventeen days away from the office. Regretably, no. I need to make some changes. I want changes. It’s all about me for a change.

I went on a duck hunt when the skies cleared.


Found a Pied-billed Grebe at a retention pond next to a regional outlet mall, and


a pair of Lesser Scaups and a female Bufflehead at the same pond. I’m not confident about these IDs because I was quite far away.

No New Year’s Resolutions for me! I never honor them.

It’s time for lifestyle changes. Not much, just a manageable few.


At the wetlands, I thought about having the strength to say “no” more often. That’s a toughie.


I found a private lake that has a “ducky” reputation but didn’t see much. It was a beautiful lake and while I admired it that day, I thought about simplicity. Life is too complicated and I allow it. Simple is better. Let’s have grilled cheese and tomato soup a night a week.


Is a Snow Goose really residing in the Central Piedmont? It has a pink bill…

Right now I'm thinking, be confident enough to admit you don’t know ducks and geese, Mary :o)


I call this a Blue-eyed White Goose.

In 2009, I want to feel physically stronger. I’ll make drastic changes to get there. 2008 wore me out with worry.


Dig those blue eyes! Are these the geese that attack toddlers in strollers and pinch their earlobes and the zipper under their chins?

My conclusion: Say no more often, don’t complicate matters, make physical health and “me” a priority, and continue to see the hilarious side of everything. And, have faith.

Now, it’s time to wallow in self pity and ponder the painful realization of what tomorrow brings.


Back to work.
Back to work.
Back to work work work work work.
Sigh... :o)


The Reeds said...

Don't I hear ya sister! UGH. I hate to have an ugly attitude- but it's tough not to develop a really negative mantra... say... "I hate work. I hate work." or something equally as shameful... My friend said it well the other day- your holiday gives you just enough time to start imagining again and then "whoof". it's gone.

I say three cheers to grilled cheese once a week.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

You and me both May. I feel like last year chewed me up and spit me out. I want to feel wonder again. That's what I want. It feels like last year hangs over my head, casting a shadow over everything I see and somehow defining me. It'll always have a place with me but I don't want it to define ME.

Woof! That felt pretty good!
I'll put a check in the mail for this therapy session!

Make the changes May.

jason said...

You really do capture some magnificent creatures in your photos!

For the lesser scaups and the female bufflehead, you're spot on with your identifications. Living on a lake helps me with waterfowl, you know.

As for your pied-billed grebe, did it duck under the water for you? They're one of the most frustrating birds to photograph because they slip underwater at the first sign of trouble.

The blue-eyed white goose looks like a swan goose (Anser cygnoides). They come in brown and white, and African and Chinese backgrounds, but ultimately it's still a swan goose.

Your snow goose does in fact look like a snow goose, although it's hard to tell from just the one shot. Did it have black feathers at the ends of its wings?

I'm with you, Mary. Perhaps I've had a rather "Grinch" attitude this holiday season, but the new year stretching out before me offers an opportunity to evaluate things, make changes, strive for better as opposed to the same ol' same ol'.

I hope things get better for you. And for everyone else. This last year seems to have sucked the life right out of people. Let's see if 'improved' is the word we apply to 2009...

Ruth said...

Great pictures and contemplations Mary. Getting out like this does help to put your life in perspective. All the best with your resolutions. We all know the positive changes we need to make, but the doing is harder.

Mary said...

Jason, yes the pie-billed ducked frequently - I never knew when or where it would surface... I was hoping for hooded mergansers but I'll take the pie-billed.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
I love that you are making 2009 all about you! I am making 2009 all about me too! Time for us to shimmer and shine...It is our time.
Back to work with head held high..
this is your year.
Photgrpahs are amazing...
"blue eyed goose" works for me.
Happy New Year,

Kim said...

Mary your photos are fantastic. I can't get over how good the lighting is. That is now my major problem and I just can't get it right.

Seeing yours is wonderful. I love the hawk picture.

I would like to put me first this year as well. All too often I don't do the things I want to do because I need to take care of the kids, the house, my job, the birds, etc. It makes me anxious and resentful. I am hoping to stop some of that in 09.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Good Luck Mary---digging back into life. I always (when I was working) hated going back to work after the Christmas break. It's normal!!!

About changes, you can do whatever you want to. Sometimes it does need to be about YOU. Attitude--Attitude--Attitude.

Minerva said...

I'll tell you what I tell myself- Right now, work is a big part of life. But it does not DEFINE you. Remember the other stuff that really does- Your love of the dogs, family, and your talent for beautiful photos.

PJ said...

you took my word. that is my word, too for the year. when I look at your bird pics I feel back to nature and simplicity of it all. beauty is out there to remind us to simplify!

Unknown said...

Thank you for your fantastic photos. It's tremendous that you can do this and I can enjoy it! These images stay with you and brighten any day at work.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Amazing pictures, Mary! You can capture the eyes so well! Love the blue eyed goose!
I hope you have a great week at work, well, at least a tolerable one.

Kathleen said...

Happy New Year, Mary! May you make this a year of magic. I also plan to focus on health and wellness. 2008 worm me out too. What happened to everyone in 2008?
Here's to everyone making positive changes!

Corey said...
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Mary said...
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Wendy said...

Your photos are really beautiful. I liked the stillness of the lake. Ours are frozen, as you probably know.
I'm with you - focus on good health this year and definitely grilled cheese and tomato soup suppers at least once a week!

Anonymous said...

Back to work for me after 2 weeks of mandated time off. But the days are getting longer. I like your Cooper's hawk.

Corey said...

I'm ROTFL at your pie-billed Grebe . . does he prefer pumpkin or sweet potato??? Pied is Latin for "foot", and since that Grebe's bill (to someone, apparently) appeared shaped like a foot, it's called a Pied-billed Grebe. LOL!!!

I was at that wetland yesterday, but without the camera. There were Northern Shovelers, American Wigeons, lots of Mallards, lots of Canada Geese, and 6 or 7 Swamp Sparrows hanging out right at the bottom of the hill.

Mary said...

OH, Corey - quiet. It was a typo! I fixed it. I wasn't intoxicated when I wrote this post but just a little "pie-eyed". LOL!

By the way, is there a way to walk to the bottom of the hill other than jumping over the rails and tumbling down the hill?

Tina said...

Gosh you do have a wonderful way with pictures and words. I love to see that you posted and I find that I am quick to jump to your most recent your really do have a wonderful outlook on life and I think you are probably the upbeat one in your group at home and at work, even tho you might not see it that way...You make ME find my smile when I think I have lost it!! Thanks ..ahh.. after rereading this,,I'm kinda like lynne, where do I send the check?

Susan Gets Native said...

Me too, Mary. But I'm jumping for utter joy that the girls are back to school tomorrow. I've had just about enough of them.
: )

Saying NO is a skill. And you're not allowed to feel guilty for saying it.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Well, if this helps, the Chimp likes all of your ID's. Lesser scaup and female bufflehead, yes! Your raptor ID's, all spot on...girl, you've got the chops.

I just want to take you and Lynne and give you both a big long hug.

And I'm slappin' Corey's wrist with my Latin book, because it's called a pied-billed grebe because its bill has a stripe on it, not because it's shaped like a foot! C'mon Corey, give Mare a break.She can type pie-billed if she wants to. Esp. if she is pie-eyed. Wine and commenting...bad mix. I should know, three Sebekas to the wind.

Kerri Farley said...

OH Mary....I love this post! Your contemplations are many of what I've been thinking about lately.
And alas, I have to return to work tomorrow after being off for over a week. But to look on the bright least I have a job to go to...which I am very thankful for.

And I do hope you continue to see the hilarious side in things. When you see it....and show it to just spreads the laughter.
And we ALL need to laugh More!!

Hoping the best for you in 2009!

Corey said...

Hey, at least I got called out by a legend in the field and not some smarty-pants whipper snapper!

If you go down to the end of the driveway (behind the Dollar Tree) there's a little parking lot. There's a path in the corner of the lot where you can walk down there, although I wouldn't recommend it when we've had this much rain. To be honest, the 3 or 4 times I've gone down that way I haven't really seen anything fantastic. You can get stuck in the mud if you don't watch it!

Alyssa said...

Hi Mary,

Oh yes, I'm still alive and kickin'. Thank you for the holiday wishes and I see you had a nice Christmas and New Years as well. Your photos are lovely as usual and the lastest dog toy post was so sweet (and true!). The girls look great. I see you are re-evaluating some things in your life which is a good thing. Guess we all have to do that every year or so. I haven't gotten the urge to blog again - maybe I wasn't meant to be one or, when I retire, I'll take it up again. I hate to say it, but I feel quite a relief not having to think up an interesting post each Sunday. That's not to say I don't miss my blogging friends such as yourself. I just don't feel it's quite right to comment on blogs and then not have one of my own. I don't know if that sounds right or not..... Anyway, don't lose faith in yourself and all the goodness around you. You'll just have to let some things fall by the wayside. Ugh - back to work tomorrow. Ofcouse without that dreaded work I couldn't afford this laptop. : )

LauraHinNJ said...

I hope 2009 shapes up to be whatever you dream for it to be, Mary!


Laura (who wanted to be contrary and call your scaup a ring-necked duck, but then wisely changed her mind.)

TR Ryan said...

I don't know which is funnier - your post are all these comments. Oh Corey, brave one, you know the Science Chimp lurks here -- check and double check. The etymology of pied is tricky. Pied (pie-d) is a fourteenth century English world. Pied (pee-aid) is a French word for foot which comes from the Latin word for foot - pes and does not usually apply to grebes, crows, mags, wagtails - et al - unless you are dining on their feet.

beckie said...

Good for you Mary! Taking more time for yourself is not selfish, it allows you to be better at what is most important. If you aren't happy and healthy-nothing and nobody in your life will be. But it takes practice to say no and not feel guilty. :)

I don't care if you know the names of any of the birds you take pictures of. I just enjoy seeing their beauty.

Jayne said...

Love your Coop Mary. :c) I'd not know a bafflehead from a bobblehead I see so few water

NatureWoman said...

I'm with you Mary. That's why I'm making changes. Coming home upset or crying every day from a stupid job isn't worth it to me. That's why I'm with you on simplifying and saying "no."

Mmmm, grilled cheese and tomato soup, two of my favs!

Richard said...

Great shots Mary. A great way to start out the New Year. I think you have the right attitude to attack 2009. For me, it's roll with the punch and see what HE has to brighten each of my days with.

Richard said...

Just read this in an email and thought about you.

Think of 2009 as a blank legal pad. Only you can decided what to write on it.

Mary C said...

That lake with the "ducky reputation" looks very peaceful - something I'm gonna try to experience more often this year by getting out and taking pictures of peaceful looking landscapes. Thanks for the inspiration, Mary.

Rose said...

"Blue-eyed White Goose" works for me! I always hated that first day back to work after a long Christmas vacation; it's hard to get back into the swing of things.

I think your vow for "me" time and simplicity is a very worthwhile one. Taking more time to view the birds, with or without your camera, should help you with the everyday stresses.

Tomato soup and grilled cheese is one of our favorite suppers!

The word verification today is "dingwrai"--not sure if that is describing me or an exotic bird:)

Cheryl said...

Dear Mary.....while your post always has an element of fun, I so understand your thinking. Unless you put those things in place, life will stay the same. I would respectfully suggest you put 'keeping things simple'first. I have done this, it works....

I am trying to say NO is not easy, I am struggling with that one....

We will get there.....let's take it slowly and enjoy the changes.....

I love the cooper's hawk.....bird's of prey have always fascinated me. I hate to see them kill but can't look away....they grip me......

Love all the blue in the photographs.......

JeanMac said...

Mary, 2009 will be better for all of us.Seems everyone has the same aspirations - to just improve oneself. Work, yuck, I agree.

Balisha said...

Hi Mary,
Reading this gave me the courage to call someone and say no. I always try to do more than I am capable of...I volunteer and then kick myself afterward. Good post for all of us "over doers" Hope your new year is simplified.

LostRoses said...

Mary, in addition to grilled cheese and soup, I recommend Cheerios on alternate nights.

Great photos!

Unknown said...

Mary, your photos are so BEAUTIFUL, i love all of them, especially the ducks. and the ripples on the water, captured so eloquently. and the way you used each photo to think about a resolution, and the way you said grilled cheese and tomato soup, guess what? i LOVE tomato soup. am still searching for the ultimate tomato soup recipe of perfection.

Mel said...


Your first photo of 2009 is AMAZING!!



Dawn Fine said...

Hi Mary...
Loved your outing photos...
and now you have me saying yes,,,yes i will have soup and grilled cheese...yumm

Julie Zickefoose said...

Hello darling,

You don't need to hear this from me,but I've had trouble viewing your last two posts--slow loading or no loading. Problem is probably on my end.
One of the photos that wouldn't load yesterday is there today...and that's a gorgeous drake gadwall standing on the log with the drake mallard. Just didn't want you to miss him!
I will try your new post later today and hope I can see it.
I can totally identify with not having time to read other blogs. Relaxxxx.
Legend...hah! And then Timmo dances all over Corey, too. Your comments section is a riot!

Larry said...

Back to w-o-r-k-. Work's not too bad but I could think of more interesting things to occupy my time. Taking a second look at your life and prioritizing is always a good idea. I plan to do the same.

Larry said...

Oh yeah-great shot of the Coopers Hawk!

RuthieJ said...

How nice to see lakes that aren't covered with ICE!

Should I re-send you my 40 Tips for a Better Life (2009 version) again? It's still posted right here by my desk, and maybe it would help if I read it more often too.
Here's #24 to get you started:
No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
Have a great 2009!