They’re back…

Atlantic Brants —  hundreds upon hundreds of these marvelous creatures landing at Calf Pasture Beach at sunrise. Pit stop? They breed on the high-arctic tundra.


Notes:

  • Other pictures from this morning’s walk @ Calf Pasture Beach here and Cove Island Park here .
  • Prior posts from May 2022 on Atlantic Brants here.

Yep.


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Gull @ Daybreak. 42° F. 6:48 am. September 24, 2022. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here.
  • Quote Source: @jessecase (via Last Tambourine)

Walking. With Birdie.

4:55 a.m. 823 consecutive (almost) days on my daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. 823 days, like in a row.

I walk.

It’s hot. Like 76° F and it’s not even 5 am yet.  It was Eugenides who said: “It was one of those humid days when the atmosphere gets confused…you could feel it: the air wishing it was water.”

Yet, there was zero confusion here. I’m wearing long pants and a long sleeve shirt — because, I’ll be damned if I’m going to be scratching myself for the next two days from gnat bites. I would rather suffer through the heat, and b*tch about it, than let those pesky SOBs feast on me. DK 1, Gnats, no bloody chance.

But, it’s hot. On top of the long pants, long shirt, and the white, just-under-the-knee sweat socks, I’m dragging this backpack around, just in case some miracle of a bird sighting will require a long zoom lens. Take 1 day off, you obsessive, compulsive, maniacal idiot, or is it manic?… and leave the bag in the car.

I loosen the straps on the backpack, and shift the load a bit to rebalance, thinking this will help. It doesn’t.  Why is it so bloody heavy? [Read more…]

Walking. With Greg Louganis.

4:50 a.m. 817 consecutive (almost) days on my daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. 816 days, like in a row.

I walk.

You know the formula for a great photo day-break:

  1. Low Tide.
  2. Clouds.
  3. No Humans.

And today, a Trifecta Miss = Poor shooting day on all three counts. (Shooting, meaning not assault weapons, but with a Canon. Sorry, assault weapons are top of mind.)

Yet, there’s a consolation prize. It’s the end of July. Humidity is low, it’s 63° F and breezy. What’s better than that?

But even with the magical weather, I’m restless, uninspired. I plod around the park, itching to get back into the car and do Something. And I’m apparently not alone, with Seán Hewitt, in All Down Darkness Wide, “Even in these quiet moments I was afraid of purposelessness.”

I turn back thinking I’ll get a stalker silhouette shot with some kids on the break wall. And at that moment, Something, makes me stop and look out onto Long Island Sound. There, in the sky, an osprey prowls in a tight circle overhead. Being a sh*tty measure of distance, I couldn’t tell you whether he was 100 feet or 100 yards up, but let’s just say he was high.

First miracle of the morning. I actually stop and see if anything will happen. He widens his arc overhead, and continues to circle. Just wait DK, just wait another bloody minute. If he can circle and wait for food, so can you. Just wait, damn it.

[Read more…]

Walking. With those unheard are sweeter?

4:50 a.m. Late jump. Scrambling to get out before sunrise. 816 consecutive (almost) days on my daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. 816 days, like in a row.

I walk.

Cloud cover is heavy, humidity is heavier. Twilight is patchy.

I was up late last night reading Seán Hewitt’s memoir All Down Darkness Wide.  He shares an excerpt from a Keat’s Poem: ‘Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard / Are sweeter.’ And Hewitt continues…”And what of them.”

And what of them.

I didn’t find Keats, or poetry, until late in life. And like the toddler scrambling to catch his parent who lurches ahead, I’m still playing catch-up.  I thought I understood the lines, but lacked confidence to say, yep, that’s right, you got it DK.  So, I shut down my Kindle, and googled the lines for an interpretation by Meursault to validate my understanding:

This line from “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is an example of Keats arguing that the power of thought, the imagination and anticipation is often greater than the act itself. Music and “melodies” that are imagined and anticipated are always in tune. They are played perfectly. A melody composed in the mind, cannot possibly be played badly or incorrectly. There is no possibility of error or an imperfect note. Therefore, Keats believes that imagining something brings more fulfillment and contentment than a “real” version ever could. He thinks that anticipation and expectation often outweighs the copy in the real world and that something real can only be disappointing compared to the imaginary.

I re-read the interpretation again, paused, shut down my Kindle, and fell asleep noodling the unheard.

So, back to this morning.

I walk.

…the imagination and anticipation is often greater than the act…they are played perfectly…therefore, Keats believes that imagining something brings more fulfillment and contentment that a “real” version ever could..

To my right, there’s a Great Blue Heron.  His long legs, and webbed feet slide across the ever-so-green algae.

To my left, there’s an Egret, ever-so-white as fresh snow.  Her feet in ankle-deep, cyan (?) tinted water, pausing from fishing for a moment. Go head DK, here’s my good side. I’ll wait for you to get your focus just right.

My imagination bringing more fulfillment and contentment than this?

Sorry.

That’s bullsh*t.


Notes:

  • Photos: DK @ Daybreak. 5:24 a.m. July 30, 2022. 74° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here  (birds), and here (landscape)
  • Meursault (John Keats Forum, April 16, 2009)

Sunday Morning (Images that stick)


Notes:

  • Backstory on Human Sleeping on Bench: “Walking. With Moment that Sticks“.
  • Geese swimming in a row. (“Ducks in a Row“)
  • Last Photo Inspiration: “I want to believe that if humans really leaned into this impulse to mother one another, it would be stronger than the impulse to tear one another apart.” —  Mary Laura Philpott, Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives (Atria Books, April 12, 2022)
  • Photos: DK @ Daybreak. 4:40 to 5:07 am, June 26, 2022. 67° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.

Black Sun (Miracle, All of It)


Beautiful, dramatic and a little bit scary’: Danish photographer captures starling murmurations” (WBUR.org, June 13, 2022).  A photo of starling murmurations from Soren Solkaer’s “Black Sun.”

“If you’re lucky enough to have watched it, it’s a sight you’ll likely never forget: hundreds of thousands of starlings covering the sky, undulating, shifting, forming giant fluid patterns that morph from second to second. The technical name is a murmuration. But in Denmark, where the birds fly above the northern stretches of the Wadden Sea, it’s called the Black Sun. That’s where Danish photographer Soren Solkaer first saw these mysterious patterns as a child — but it wasn’t until more recently that he pointed his camera at the phenomenon, spending the last five years following the birds on their migrations around Europe.”


Notes:

  • Thank you Lori for sharing!
  • Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.

Get your ducks in a row…

Will never look at birds swimming the same again. (Why Do Ducks Get in a Row?)


Note:

  • Photo: DK @ Cove Island Park, 4:45 a.m., 58°F. June 7, 2022. More photos from this morning’s walk here.
  • Post Title: Thank you Mary Ann.  Where did the term “Get Your Ducks In a Row” Originate. Read here.

Why Do Ducks Get in a Row?

The River Thames is beautiful in early summer, and the stretch just upstream of central London is full of birds: motionless herons watching for fish, bustling moorhens poking around the submerged plants, and watchful flocks of preening swans. But as my canoe club paddles along the river, we’re always looking out for our clear favorites: the mother ducks with a fluffy cluster of ducklings tagging along behind.

When they’re lingering at the shore, it all looks slightly chaotic, with baby birds dawdling and exploring as the mother duck keeps an eye on them. But when it’s time to move on, chaos shifts into order as the ducklings line up behind the adult and the convoy moves off together quickly and in perfect formation. It’s mesmerizing to watch, and it’s not accidental. This is all about saving energy.

Swimming is hard work, because water is dense and slightly viscous. At the surface, a large part of the resistance to movement comes from the waves that are produced behind whatever is moving: its wake. This is the familiar wedge-shaped wave pattern that we see behind ships, canoes and ducks alike, and all of those waves carry energy. If you move along the water surface, those waves are always continually generated and so the swimmer needs to put in enough energy to create them. This energy cost is felt as a resistance to movement. There’s also resistance because the water touching the ship or duck is pulled along too, creating additional drag. [Read more…]

Walking. With My Oystercatcher.

She was alone. Some form of birdsong, but at a high (very) pitch.  It’s the long beak that caught my attention. What is it? No clue.

It’s tough to get close in the mucky, low tide. Tough to focus in pre-twilight. I take the half-a**ed shot from way back, wary that if I get another 5 yards closer, she’s gone.

I approach.

Today, 757 consecutive (almost) days on my morning walk at Cove Island Park. Like in a row. And I’m clopping in angle deep mud, hoping that I don’t sink to my knees. Don’t you dare bolt on me.

S: “So when did you become a Birder?” That was Wednesday, several days ago —  and it’s like cupping your hands to your mouth and yelling: So when did you become a Birder?…Birder…Birder…Birder….Birder…on repeat, the echoing Upstairs.

What she didn’t say, but it was back there: “So how long is this NEW obsession going to last.”  After 38 odd years, you sort of have each other figured out. 10 years ago, I would counterpunched: “Be nice if you found any sort of obsession to lock onto.” Instead, I smile, all grown up now. It’s really a strange feeling, this controlling yourself thing.  Destabilizing, really, this letting things go. Come on. Not really letting go. Just setting it in short term parking, and waiting, when the pressure is unbearable, and then release. And carnage. [Read more…]

Sunday Morning


Notes:

  • Photos: Northern Cardinals. May 23, 2022. Darien, CT
  • The real show was during my morning walk @ daybreak @ Calf Pasture Beach.  See photos here and here.

Tuesday Morning Meditation


My first attempt @ video. Far from awesome, but that won’t distract from the beauty of these Atlantic Brants. I’m smitten.  Cove Island Park @ Daybreak on Sunday.

Walking. With Apophenia.

56° F. Heavy fog.

Daybreak walk at Cove Island Park.  723 consecutive (almost) days. Like in a row.

I’ve finished Amy Liptrot’s book “The Instant.”  A book where I wasn’t feeling it, not feeling it, nothing here, time to put this down, wait now, here’s a line, and now two, and then down the chute we go on the luge track.  Reminds me of a tweet by Tracie Collier after reading “Bomb Shelter” by Mary Laura Philpott: “She writes in a way that makes me want to hurl my laptop over a cliff.”

Back to Liptrot.  Who knew that I had Apophenia. Well, hold on. It’s not even clear that I’m adept at Apophenia. I’m probably better assessed by a psychologist (if I had one), as a lame, half-assed Apopheniac.  But we digress.  Here’s Liptrot:

Apophenia is the tendency to find patterns. It can be a disorder but, for me, finding patterns is sustaining. Unbidden, certain objects glow with relevance. I find the moon everywhere. This heart-shaped box contains not just a few shells but all the weeks and conversations and regrets of a friendship. We are meaning-making machines. I use all these little personal myths and totems to hold myself together: things to search for when I’m faced with overwhelming choice and freedom.

I use all these little totems to (try to) hold myself together. Yep. About right.

I’ve turned right at the Park, walking counterclockwise. Noting that I’m walking counterclockwise. Again. Did you know that you always walk counterclockwise around the park?  723 days, and you walk in the same direction every time.

I keep walking.

Have you ever seen anyone else walking clockwise in the park?  Come to think of it I have not.  Not one time? Not one time. Maybe because you are a half-assed Apopheniac.

I stop walking. [Read more…]

Gazing at the ‘Black Sun’


Gazing at the ‘Black Sun’: The Transfixing Beauty of Starling Murmurations (NY Times, April 4, 2022)

Each spring and autumn, the skies in southern Denmark come to life with the swirling displays of hundreds of thousands of starlings, an event known locally as “sort sol.”

Don’t miss photos and article here.


Thank you Susan.

And then, there was One.


My Swans @ Daybreak. 6:37 am, April 9, 2022. 47° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.More photos from this morning here.

Sunday Morning


DK @ Daybreak. 6:44 am, April 3, 2022. 38° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here.

Without spring who knows what would happen. A lot of nothing, I suppose.


Notes:

  • Grace (and George) building their nest. (Grace being named by my good friend LouAnn.)
  • My Swan(s) @ Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. 6:57 a.m. yesterday morning. 42° F.  Other photos from yesterday morning here.  Backstories on swans here.
  • Post Title: Mary Oliver, from “Late Spring,” Felicity: Poems  (via Alive on All Channels)

Saturday Morning


Grace, having breakfast. (Grace being named by good friend LouAnn.)

My Swan(s) @ Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. 7:00 a.m. this morning. 47° F.  Other photos from this morning here.  Backstories on swans here.

do not walk by without pausing to attend to this rather ridiculous performance

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
melodiously
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.

—  Mary Oliver, “Invitation” in  A Thousand Mornings (New York: Penguin Books, 2013).


Photo by Joshua J. Cotten of male goldfinch, Backyard, Cordova, TN, USA in October 2021 via unsplash

Symmetry (2)


We’re just going to keep posting Swans until exhaustion.

My Swan(s) @ Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. 6:15 a.m. this morning. 28° F.  Other photos from this morning here.  Backstories on swans here.

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