Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mid Autumn Walk

Hoodie. Check.

iPod. Check.

Camera. Check.

Bubblegum. Check.

Hand weights. Check.

Get the camera snug on my chest and zip up the hoodie.

There. That should do it. But I look so odd -

like I’m about ready to birth a camera.

Oh, who would care.

A few good leg stretches. Check.

Keys. Check.

When I head out for my fitness walk, I never take my camera. I listen to music and watch the birds sing, marvel at the sunrise, and admire morning dew that glistens like stardust…wishing for a photograph.

This walk wasn't all about me.


Photographing someone’s home makes me nervous. It’s entirely possible that an ill-feeling curmudgeon on pain killer meds might see me through the window blinds, become annoyed, and shoot me or something.


It’s the time of year when summer’s secrets are exposed and privacy blinds are pulled back and away within a few short weeks. Naked.

I scan trees looking for a hummingbird nest. I’ve never seen one. I’d need to climb the maples and oaks that line our neighborhood streets to confirm. Now, that mental image makes me laugh.


I love the fuzzies.


A whole field of fuzzies I found.

For me, walking is an escape. It lends an opportunity to seal myself away from intrusion. An opportunity to plan, daydream, or worry in peace. No phone - just me, my working heart, and fresh air for under an hour a day. It’s better than a long soak in a tub. Well, almost.

Try it. It’ll turn into the best habit you ever had and a hard one to break.


I turned off my iPod and listened to the morning birdsong. Yellow-rumped Warblers, American Robins, Northern Mockingbirds, Eastern Bluebirds, Starlings, Carolina Chicadees, and House Sparrows were busy with bird business but I didn’t get a shot.

When driving to the drug store later,


purple flowers caught my eye at this intersection. The only way to see them was to pull over, park the car, and walk a stone’s throw


to adore a small field of Morning Glories, not yet zapped by a freeze. Hundreds of them, all for me.


Looks electric, doesn’t it?

At the drug store I caught glimpse of a hawk land in a low tree across the street. Being a hawk stalker is very cool and fun for me, so I tip-toed double time across a side street.


Red-shouldered flew away, out of sight, but I knew this hawk wanted to rest and have time to preen. I was sure of it and knew it was real close.

If I walked a bit down this narrow gravel path…I’d find it.


Surely, I’d be alright on foot and would ignore the sign, as usual.


Ah ha! Gotcha!

Walking is good but hawk stalking is the bomb.


Mel said...

Hola Mary :)

What a nice walk! Today I made a short walk with Tommy. Around the house there are not so many places to go, but we try to make a walk together once a week.

Love the pics, awesome as usual ;)



Susan Ellis said...

Great shot of the Cooper's Hawk! and your writing is great too Mary. Totally enjoyable.

Murr Brewster said...

Your hawk looks like he's got water reflections. Thanks for giving an old blind and gray Murr the ability to see something, for once.

Anonymous said...

You are doing well with that Coopers halk! How wonderful!

Susan Gets Native said...

Are you SURE that's a Cooper's, Mary?
*Look again...I'm sure your raptor ID skills shall "shoulder" on....*

Kerri Farley said...

Love this post Mary! The Hawk is awesome!

Caroline said...

Oh,I know what you mean about taking pictures of someone else's house...I feel exactly the same way!
I was taking pictures of a magnolia near my school, there aren't many in SD, the lady of the house came out and I was sure I was in for it. I introduced myself, told her of my fascination with the magnolia. She invited me in to her "hidden behind a fence" to die for perennial garden. I made a card from the picture I took, sent it to her as a thank you. I received a gracious and grateful note back, they had no photos of the tree in flower, she had framed the little 4x6 photo I sent and hung it in her garden room!
How cool is that? Just never know.

Mary said...

Oh...Susan, I did it again. It's a buteo but it sure doesn't look like the red-shouldereds I've seen. BUSTED! ;-)

Mary said...

Caroline, that's what we hope for. I think there's a better chance of meeting someone like you did rather than a lunatic - but you never can be sure...

LauraHinNJ said...

I love that Susan inches you towards a good ID well before I get here!

How 'bout this? What's that tree your first *Coop* is in?


Mary said...

Laura, whatever it is, it's fruity. You tell me. Gosh, I screw up an easy hawk ID and now I'm scratching my head over a tree.

jason said...

Susan caught it first. I was going to mention your hawk is a buteo. 'Red' and 'tail' are in the name if that helps. ;)

I laughed at the pumpkin photo, Mary. I've done the same thing--and worried about who might see me and either call the police or shoot me on the spot. So I snap the photo and hurry on my way like it wasn't me standing there taking pictures.

I've always thought morning glories looked like they had an internal fire that lit them from within. Beautiful! And all for you...

See, unworried walks are the best. Even if you have your camera with you, you don't have to worry about capturing everything you see. Sometimes I forget I'm carrying mine and just focus on capturing the scenery with my eyes. I've found a lens can sometimes stand between us and nature.

Great post! I feel like I took this walk with you. Thanks!

jason said...

And I should have added this, Mary: It's NEVER about getting the ID right. What counts is letting nature stop you so you can appreciate the view. IMHO, all other considerations are secondary.

Mary said...

Jason. Agreed!

KGMom said...

Hawk stalking. Good for you.
And walking. Good for you.
Glad to read you're still full of p*ss and vinegar. Or at least vinegar.

Wendy said...

Well, that was fun! I can relate. I took a fast pic of the neighbour's bags full of leaves with faces on them, sitting next to a tree. Submitted it to a photo contest and won an honourable mention! It was just the local paper, but it was fun to see my name in print. I did the same as Jason, snapped the pic and took off, pretending it wasn't me! Well, these neighbours are french-speaking, so don't read english newspapers- whew!

Loved your hawk, no matter what name it is. You certainly do well as a hawk-stalker.

I also love walking. Do it every day, but then I'm home all day and have time. When I was working, I rarely had the time to walk. It is good, though, isn't it? Makes you feel great!

LauraHinNJ said...

It's a persimmon (a tree I introduced the flock to in Cape May last year)... try one of the fruits... I dare ya!


Pretty sure that's a red-shoulder, too.

jason said...

ROFLMAO! At me! Talk about putting a foot in the mouth with a typo. Laura's right, and I should have said 'red' and 'shoulder' but went right on with 'tail' instead. As in tucking mine and running!

Next time I'll acknowledge I'm looking at broad stripes on the tail but not necessarily meaning to type tail.

And I'm just laughing uproariously at myself... Please, join in. It's fun!

Susan Gets Native said...

You know that you will always have carte blanche to tell me to shut the hell up, at any time, right?
It's less about the tail and more about the head.
And in the end, it's not that important, in the grand scheme of can make a turkey vulture look like a runway model with your camera, and that's no small feat!
*Ducking so that Lynne won't hit me with something*

Mary said...

Laughing out loud - love ya'll and Susan/Jason/Laura - please don't stop checking my ID's! Sometimes I get lazy, you know. Well, most of the time...

Jayne said...

Hawk stalking! You crack me up Mar! What a great walk you had. XOXO

RuthieJ said...

I always forget my camera when I go for a walk. Glad you remembered yours Mare and shared these great shots with us. Looks like you had an excellent day!

Beth said...

Love seeing photos of red-shoulders. Totem bird, spark bird, whatever - they are just gorgeous. He looks fierce. Thanks for the post, Mare.

Rose said...

That last picture was worth risking getting caught for trespassing! It's amazing all the beautiful things you can see when you slow down to a walk instead of zooming by in a car. I used to walk regularly, and I know what you mean when you say it becomes something you "have to do" each day. Wish I could get motivated now to get back into that mindset.

Anonymous said...

Oh, your photos are the best!!
I think I saw a red-tailed hawk yesterday! Pale-red feathers, but still red.
Of course, by the time I pulled over to avoid being rear-ended, dug out my little Sony camera, and aimed my dinky little zoom at the tree, he'd moved on.

Q said...

You are the master of Hawk stalking! I am so glad the camera goes with you too.
Happy Thanksgiving,

dugfresh said...

hawk stalking is the bomb! and so is green heron stalking and kingfisher stalking, and...

i'm with you on the walks; very theraputic. although, i have to take my camera...the day that i don't, the club-winged manakin will choose that day to venture out of peru and land in a tree along the greenway in north carolina, in which case any hope of therapy is out the window.

haha! that part about taking pictures of other people's houses...i get that, too. i always feel so invasive, like i'm trespassing or something.

love the hawk shots. they're such beautiful creatures.

Kathie said...

Mary, wonderful photos as usual! I love the first one of the hawk, just beautiful. And I love your blog. Thank you for posting.