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PIGEONS WATCHING PEOPLE, PEOPLE WATCHING PIGEONS

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 21

This week, just one subject: pigeons.

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While at the party on Saturday, I became — don’t ask me why because I have no answer — fascinated by the pigeons on the roof.

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They looked as if they were holding a conference, maybe doing a little people-watching and pigeon commentary on our fashion sense (or lack thereof).

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Meet the pigeons. Shot with the camera’s telephoto at just about full extension, they are still reasonably sharp.

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SPRING STARTS HERE

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Wood or Season of Spring

Today starts our new Five Elements/Seasons series and our topic is Wood or the season of Spring.

People who have strong energy of the Wood element have a clear vision and goals, and know how to bring them into being. They excel at planning and decision-making. Their piercing, penetrating eyes may attract you. Color for wood is green.


I have so many pictures of spring, wood bark, piles of wood, carved wood, spring swans … it’s hard to choose the best. But I will try!

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TERRIFIC TUESDAY TRIALS – ALL ALIKE?

Preeti Kanwar at LenzExperiments has started a new challenge, Terrific Tuesday Trials. This week’s theme is “all alike” so, having a few spare pictures around, I thought I’d come out and play with the other kids.


You almost always see swans in pairs. Swans mate for life, so where you see one, the other is rarely far behind.

And of course, when there are babies, you’ll see the whole family, in formation like a proud armada on the pond.

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SEVEN SWANS A’SWIMMING

I see wild animals frequently in my woods. Garry saw a family of deer yesterday out his window, but I missed them because I was too slow getting there. I had some exciting close encounters with the local bobcats which may have been responsible for my heart problems. Regardless, none of these encounters yielded photographs.

So, to meet this challenge, I must return to my faithful, dependable swans on Whitins Pond.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Nature Animals

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NESTING

 

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I took this picture “blind” because I could not see the swan with my own eyes. The nest and swan were almost invisible behind the reeds on the far side of the pond. All I could see was a bit of white. But, I figured,”What else could it be but the other swan?” They are always in pairs, especially this time of year when they are breeding.

So using my super zoom, I aimed at the white thing and took a series of pictures. It was the nest. The camera has far better eyesight than I do.

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SPRING ON THE POND

Welcomed by a singing bird. I think it’s an Eastern Kingbird. Can anyone confirm this or otherwise identify this guy? I managed to grab a pretty good shot of him before he flew away.

It was good to be back at the pond.

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It was our first trip to the pond in 2014. I was wondering how the swans fared through this terrible winter. I don’t have a complete answer, but there are swans on Whitins Pond. And they are nesting. We saw two swans today.

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One was sitting on the nest. The other came right up to us. I wished I’d remembered to bring some bread. He was clearly hoping for a handout!

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Hard winters — like this one that seems to have finally passed — take a toll on water fowl. The pond freezes for long periods of time and there is little or nothing to eat. The heavy snow makes it difficult to hide from the weather.

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I’m glad we still have some swans. A few of my pictures today and I’ll try to process some of Garry’s tomorrow.

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ONE BIRD SINGING

A strange day, windy and warm

Trees bending and swaying

Our doors slamming up and down the stairs.

No storm. Just a wind, wailing until

A bird came and sat on the deck railing

He sang a song so loud and clear

We thought it was a computer, maybe a phone

Too loud to be real.

But then it didn’t stop.

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Irregular the song and ever louder he called until

I rose and went to see where the music began.

There he was. A tiny warbler on the railing.

From his open throat a song trilled pure and clear

And he such a tiny thing. Feathers, beak and a big voice

Yet so loud the wind could not match him.

That was my day. Today.

Come back tomorrow little songbird. Serenade me again.

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WEEKLY WRITING CHALLENGE - Time for Poetry

Marsh and Wetlands – Marilyn Armstrong

Along the river you will find marsh and wetlands. These are the places where the birds feed and breed, where fish lay their eggs, where turtles multiply and come out to sun themselves on the rocks.

Herons, egrets, and other water fowl make their homes here. Humans generally don’t like these areas much. Too many bugs.

Mosquitoes are thick in the air, but they make wonderful food for many of the smaller creatures that live in these areas. Rich with life of all kinds, the wetlands are fed by the same river that flows down from the Worcester hills to the sea at Providence.

The wetlands are beautiful and rich … Just make sure you wear a lot of insect repellent. And bring your camera.

The wetlands and marsh that spreads out along the river are the richest ecological areas in the region and are fragile. Around the valley, because the river so dominates our environment, the wetlands are to be found anywhere and everywhere.

Homeowners get upset when they are told they aren’t allowed to build on areas of their own land because it’s protected wetlands … especially when they didn’t know they had on wetlands on the property.

I think we have some wetland way back in our woods … a small pond too, though I’ve never made it there through the brambles. It’s not a place I’d ever think to build anyway. They are an inconvenience and we have to work around them, but we protect them because we need them. And they need us.

Ogunquit, Maine: Sunrise, Sand, Rivers, Feathered and Other Friends – Marilyn Armstrong

Autumnal equinox in the northern latitudes. September. A week in Ogunquit, Maine. A tiny place but close to the beach and the river.

There are more people on the beach to see the dawn than I ever expected — there just for the peace and the beauty. Before the sun is up, the mist hangs on the sand.

Quiet this time of year. Most tourists are gone, now, so the streets aren’t crowded.

The moment there is a hint of sun, the mist disappears in a matter of seconds.

There is no more perfect time to be on the seashore of Maine than the very earliest part of Autumn.

Comes the sun …

If you are a photographer, you make take it as a sign that God loves you when having hauled your reluctant body out of bed while it’s still dark, then hike half a mile carrying all your gear to the beach while all the starving blood-sucking insects in the state gather to enjoy you as their breakfast buffet.

Suffer for your art? But you get a reward that is more than worth any and all of your efforts, because before you, as the mist burns away, a sunrise and a golden sun so breathtaking rises before you … and you are there and ready.

People of all ages walk along the water before dawn.

This is a day when your camera works perfectly, your batteries don’t run out, your lens is in perfect alignment, your eyes see and you capture exactly what you want to capture … and everything is in focus.

Then come the birds … terns, plovers, and gulls … Breakfast for the feathered residents.

Tiny plovers comfortably share the shore with one Great Black Backed Gull.

It doesn’t happen often. When it does, when it all comes together perfectly … then you must treasure it … savor it … and share it.

At times like these, it makes you remember why you started taking pictures in the first place.

The rising sun reflects on the sand as if it were polished glass.

That morning I discovered wet sand reflects light like a mirror. You can see the way the tide changes the shape of the sand along the shore.

The big seagull seems to be waiting for the sun to come up dissipating the last of the early mist.

The colors change from one second to the next.

Each moment is more beautiful than the one before it. Really, the entire time is probably no more than half an hour, but it’s a lifetime of beauty.

Then, final gold before full sunlight.

Later, I walked to the river and found this house. This is the Ogunquit River, just about a quarter of a mile before it joins the ocean. The house is virtually part of the river.

The only way I could find to get across the river to the house was by this “bridge,” really just a piece of wood across the rapids and falls. I declined to test it.

What happens in times of flood? Interesting place to build!

And finally, on my way back to our room, I found a hint of autumn near the beach in a small woodland area between the marsh and the shore.

LEDA AND THE SWAN – THE MUSICAL

Back in my bright college days, I was a music major. I hung out on the quad with other wannabe musicians on warm sunny days where we planned projects which would make us famous. Symphonies. Great achievements as conductors and composers though my class never produced anyone huge. Medium is as good as we got.

The Concept

My great project was going to be musical comedy based on the myth of Leda and the Swan.

In the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan, Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces — or rapes – Leda. I vote for seduction since I have a lot of trouble visualizing being rape by a swan.

Zeus or not, swans are slow and clumsy on land, unlikely to successfully attack anyone or anything. Being heavy-bodied, they have trouble getting airborne. Without hands or arms, rape seems unlikely.

Leda becomes pregnant from the experience. She bears Helen and Polydeuces, both children of Zeus. Simultaneously (and I’d like to know how she managed this), she gives birth to Castor and Clytemnestra – the offspring of her human husband Tyndareus, King of Sparta.

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Leda is able to convince her parents and husband that her extraneous pregnancy is not the result of a lover or promiscuity. “No! Honest to gods, really, no kidding, Mom, Dad, Tyndy … it was Zeus! Not some guy. He was a swan! Really.” Right.

The first … and perhaps my favorite scene … would have to be the first act closer. In this highly emotional musical extravaganza, Leda pours out her distress in a heart-rending lyric soprano rich with passion. In it, she explains that it really truly was Zeus.

I could imagine another hilarious show-stopping moment. The eggs. Her Zeus children are born as eggs. Who sat on the eggs? Did they build a nest on her throne? Did she get her ladies-in-waiting to sit on them while she did her Queen business?

Dialog Tidbit

Leda: The swan didn’t fool me. I knew it was Zeus. You all know how much I love birds and feathers, right? I mean … what girl could resist such a gorgeous bird? No kidding. I wouldn’t lie to you.

Tyndareus, King of Sparta: I want to believe you, but I’m having some problems.

Leda: Trust me, dear. It was Zeus. As a swan. You know how tricky he is.

The All-Important Dream Ballet

In a brilliantly choreographed dream sequence, Leda relives the heady romance of the seduction. Some of the technical aspects of the experience make interesting mental meanderings. How, exactly, did … well … ? It will make a heck of a scene.

How Many Curtain Calls?

I’m telling you — the audience will be on its collective feet! I can hear the applause already. I see the royalties rolling in.

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I’m a bit long in the tooth now for to write a musical comedy, but I freely offer this incredible concept to anyone who wants to flush it out. It might launch more than one career.

You think?