Loose Ends

We’ll continue to “interrupt this program”–our recent series of posts on bird flight–so that we can tie up a few loose ends. We’ll resume our discussion of bird flight in the next blog, I promise.

We’ll call this our “loose ends,” blog, then. And it will be shorter. They say that ideal blog length is 300-600 words. I’ve used well over 1000 in each of my last 5 posts.

The Photo Backlog

One important reason for this “detour”: We have a small photo backlog, and a promise backlog, too. We have “indicator photos” to post, and I promised human subjects weeks ago that their photos would be up soon. Come to think of it, I made the same promise to a Canada Goose, and need to keep that promise as well! Keep in mind that “indicator photos” indicate the health and importance of the Elizabeth River in SE Virginia. They’re about wildlife and people coming back to a restored river.

Dane, the Elizabeth River Angler

Here’s Dane, a former Navy MC (Mass Communications Specialist), in his Hobie pedal fishing kayak–and doing a little kayak fishing–in Scuffletown “Scuffling Town” Creek in Chesapeake, VA. We’ve talked about Ospreys angling. Well, Dane’s an angler of a different stripe. A friend suggested the caption.

Pedal kayak fisherman in Scuffletown Creek
Anonymous fisherman on a cold day stoically waiting for a bite

Rick, the Elizabeth River Hunter

And this is Rick. It was 11/21/18, waterfowl season opening day, and he was returning to port. His boat, fitted with an “Avery RealGrass” boat blind (made from dried palm leaves), really caught my eye. Per state regulations, there’s a 2-goose daily limit in 2018. And Rick had just killed his 2 Canada Geese (considered migratory game birds). While out in his boat he’d seen 2 Ospreys hunting and 1 Bald Eagle in flight (both off-limits for hunters. of course). I asked him what he was going to do with the geese. He said with a grin, “I’m gonna smoke ’em and eat ’em.”

A hunter in a boat returning to port
Rick, the hunter

Our Canada Goose

Now, here’s our goose. And I’m going to keep that promise. But first, a short backstory. A few days ago, a cold front came through complete with dramatic skies, wind, etc. I was at home. With nothing scheduled, and knowing that “the difference between a good photo and a great one often comes down to what’s happening in the sky,” it was an easy decision to pack up my camera gear and head for Elizabeth River Park in Chesapeake. The trip didn’t disappoint. Shortly after I arrived, several small flocks of Canada Geese flew overhead. I managed to get a good shot of this one, with that lovely late afternoon cold front light bouncing off its body and wings.

Canada Goose in flight
Canada Goose in flight

“A Study in Character”

As I headed for home, another opportunity presented itself. There’s a tugboat operation in Scuffletown Creek. Note the tugboat Maverick in the “Rick, the hunter” photo. I was walking past one of the tugs when a man, his face completely framed by hair, popped out of the cabin. I wasn’t prepared but fired off a few frames anyway. No time to compose. No time to think! And the tug was slowly moving past me, and in a moment it’d be gone. I’d have no way to follow it and take more pictures unless I were able to walk on water.

A tugboat mariner
Tugboat mariner

I’ve referred to a flying Mallard duck as a “study in aerodynamics.” And I’ve pointed to a Bald Eagle in flight as a “study in lift.” This gentleman, to me, is a “study in character.”

When I went home, I told my wife that I’d captured Santa on his way to ODU. Some of the Mechanical Engineering students there are making toys for kids, and Santa’s on his way to pick them up.

And This Just In

This is a great mockingbird photo, courtesy of Marshall Faintich. The bird looks ready for winter. It has fluffed out its feathers to help it retain heat. And it’s also found a spot near a good winter food supply.

Northern Mockingbird in shrub
Northern Mockingbird
 

Quip, Question, Quote

“See a plane, thank a bird.” We’ll explore this remark in the next blog. Please stay tuned.

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