Sunday, January 29, 2011
Noticed that the Mallards are keeping a low profile this year. Usually they throng at the ponds, but I notice that they are keeping a low profile. Thus far, anyway.
Stepped onto the boardwalk at the small observatory … couldn’t see any bird activity … except for one little female Mallard who suddenly appeared at the far end … and when she saw me, she started to make her way over. So sweet. I unzipped my back pack, removed the Ziploc bag of flatted oats and slowly approached her, scattering the flatted oats onto the surface of the boards for her.
I’d spoken with a Naturalist last year about feeding the wild birds there .. she condones it at the boardwalk, as the kids love it and doesn’t like it as a general rule though. So I respect this and only feed the ducks at the observatories. And nevermore at Tuesday Pond .. as the Geese can be very aggressive and I just want to enjoy the tranquility of nature there. Although there are some Mallard Drakes who approach my vicinity and look up … waiting for treats. Not there, though.
Saw some Common Mergansers over by the short observatory .. don’t remember seeing them before. Last year I was lucky enough to see a couple of Cinnamon Teals at Tuesday Pond.
I walked at a leisurely pace around the Sanctuary … enjoying spotting little groups of Mallards tucked away in marshy side ponds.
Spoke with some birders along the way .. discovered that the wren groupings had been updated to reflect “Pacific Wrens” .. interesting. Walking on .. I happened to catch a glimpse of a Great Blue Heron .. standing ever so quietly in a side marsh … he wasn’t easy to see and I had to strain my eyes to make sure that he was even there, so perfectly did he blend in with the nearby trees and grasses. Stopped to take some photos, and then he bounded into the sky. To seek more privacy. Sorry about that ..GBH!
Nearing the floating boardwalk, I looked up and saw an eagle swooping low .. so I sped up my steps and soon was on the walkway … binoculars aimed skyward. There they were .. the local couple, snow-white head and tails clearly evident. Seagulls flying in the same thermals …. these regal birds weren’t hungry .. just going for a little flight.
Watched for a while .. till they gracefully flew out of sight. Cast some flatted oats out to the few Mallards who happened to be there.
Regretfully started the trek towards my car ..lots to do at home and it’s time to get going. I felt very energized with my little walkabout at the Sanctuary. Breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the beauty of the trees, bushes, plants and wildlife that exist in this treasured pocket of paradise.
Once back home, I had every intention of spending hours going through my course information on gardening. However, my study habits weren’t up to par and instead I found myself doing household chores that “needed” to be done. This and that .. till finally, I made myself sit down at the kitchen table. Open the books .. and started reading, making notes, repeating .. trying to comprehend the vast amount of information that needed to reside in my head .. before next class.
Then later that evening, DH & I headed to the Imax .. to see “Tornado Alley” and what made that so special was that Sean Casey, the filmmaker …. was going to speak after the film! This film had been 8 years in the making .. that is dedication. The film was fantastic .. my favourite was the part where he was in his famous storm watching vehicle, the turret was open, his helmeted head was being pounded from the heavy rains as the tornado passed through. The powerful force of the winds emitted the most unearthly sound of wild and crazy screams … it was like the forces were verbalizing their power.
We were fortunate, after the film, to spend several minutes chatting with him. What would it be like to have the opportunity to spend a few hours with him, talking about weather. A heaven-sent chance. Hmmm …. I wonder if we could somehow manage that? Worth a try, I think.
I read in Saturday’s paper that the storm vehicle, which was parked outside the museum, would be gone mid-morning. Since we hadn’t brought the camera last night (what was I thinking, I usually don’t go anywhere without it!!) .. I thought that I would surprise DH with some photos.
Soon I was on my way and lucky enough to find a parking space which was free for the next 30 minutes! Parked and ran out to the storm vehicle .. no one else there … so I spent quite a few minutes walking around, clicking away. Took so many photos that I nearly depleted the fully charged camera! As I touched the various sections of solid metal I felt a vicarious thrill at being so physically close to this mighty machine that had been driven so many miles searching for tornadoes. That is the closest I’ll ever get to something like that (fingers crossed, anyway, I wouldn’t wish to be in the proximity of such weather).
Ok .. back home .. more time spent avoiding studying! At one point, I’d been holding little Jane E at a front window .. when .. suddenly .. I saw a bald-headed eagle swooping low across the road. Quickly … grabbed camera, threw on some shoes and I was outside …. looking for the eagle! Was able to film him sitting atop a nearby tree .. and then he swooped away.
Followed him down the road .. and I could see that he’d been aiming towards a group of seagulls that were feasting, along with some ravens and crows .. on the remnants of some takeout food that was left on a side road. The eagle then had flown onto a tree across the highway, on the outskirts of Swan Lake .. and then he flew away to hunt somewhere else. The ravens left and soon the roads were quite quiet .. even those noisy crows had departed.
Then .. I buckled down to study. For the next few hours, I read, made notes, read again. Went through a quiz. Wondered how on earth I was going to comprehend this new information on Super Kingdoms, Domains, Kingdoms, bacteria, fungi, fungi, protista, Animalia, Plantae … words that up to now were not in my vocabulary.
As the hours sped by, I found myself in a very relaxed state of learning. And quite enjoyed this experience. Slowly, the new vocabulary started to make sense. I was getting glimmers of understanding the basics of the unseen world that had been discussed at our last class. And how exciting it all is.
This new discipline of working hard at learning is quite enjoyable. I feel myself enjoying the discipline of studying .. even though it is a struggle, I know that before too long, the osmosis will have happened. And I’ll keep on studying and working hard at learning the new material. There are a number of lessons left. And then I plan to write the examination for certification. Lofty goals for now, though .. but goals they are.
And I plan to revisit the information that was taught at ground school last summer. Studying weather and aviation with more discipline. And perhaps I’ll continue with more dual flight instruction with my most wonderful instructor, Kristen! I’m finding that I am quite enjoying this energizing power of learning. It is a very satisfying sensation to go beyond the bounds of everyday living and enter these new rooms of knowledge.
New worlds … full of the most fascinating information.