From Solitude..to Solace..to Serenity

     Grab your coffee cups, we are heading to the dock again. The gray skies of November will soon give way to December. Hope you survived Black Friday. If you did you are better off than all those millions of turkeys who sacrificed themselves so you could have a nice Thanksgiving Day feast. Hope you enjoyed it with someone you love.

     My daily journey down the dock is a long one it seems. I am usually alone in my thoughts. In solitude, I travel the short distance from the back porch to the neighbors dock. Although the path is short, my mind travels a much longer one. It goes from Solitude, to Solace and finally, Serenity. Solitude is defined as a state of seclusion or isolation or lack of contact with people. That suits me fine. That is why I go there. However, I am usually not alone for long. Within seconds, the company of creation surrounds me. Lately it has been my new "lil buddy", the Tricolored Heron. This morning the heron is sitting in solitude on the floating dock, patiently waiting the dawn. Its eyes fill with the golden light of morning. I find solace in the company of the birds presence. Solace means to find comfort in time of trouble. You can’t listen to the news without knowing we are in a heap of trouble in this world today. As I sip my coffee and focus my camera on the bird before me, I do so with gladness.  I capture the solace of the moment with each click of the doohickey.

     As I give thanks for the day and all its blessings, I find myself moving on down the long path from Solace to Serenity. You can’t watch the grace and beauty of a bird in flight without being filled with awe and wonder of creation. How did our Maker design such beauty? The structure of the feathers, the length of the wings, and the type of feet or claws are all unique to each bird and yet they all take me on the same journey each time I watch them. The journey from Solace to Serenity, where there is a place of calm, a place of peaceful and untroubled waters.

     I hope you have recovered from your Thanksgiving meal and enjoyed this little journey down the dock to Serenity with me today..Be Blessed. Harry

A full Thanksgiving moon was indicative of all the full tummies that day!

Solitude..a state of seclusion or being alone like this lone "Sentinal of the Dawn".

But we are not alone are we? There is the sun to greet us each day...

Time to begin our journey today..

As I capture birds in flight I take the journey from Solitude to Solace with each click of the doohickey..

Each bird is unique in its flight..

Each feather, each bone, each muscle and tendon have a purpose..

I find Solace in capturing the motion of flight and the detail of each feathered wing...

Each downbeat of their wings drives my worries and cares into the muddy Broward

Each upbeat of the wings lifts me up just a little higher

Each feather on these wings has a purpose...just like each hair on your head..(exceptions made for my bald friends..sorry). I raise my hands in praise just like the wings of this bird raised to land.

We have made it to Serenity now...Time to start a new day..

I am Serene..

How bout breakfast with that coffee now!

The Quasi-geostrophic Omega Equation..simplified

     I have been trying to figure out the perfect time to go on my next bird outing. My past experience and education in the fields of Meteorology and Oceanography always has me thinking about the implications of the Quasi-geostrophic Omega Equation used in forecasting the effect of a deepening trough or low pressure system moving over Northern and Central Florida. I.E. is it going to rain?

     There was a very brief time in my life when I felt I actually understood how to derive, interpret, and apply the Quasi-geostrophic Omega Equation in atmospheric modeling. Those days are long gone (however, it does remind me of a “Sea Story” about “W and Omega” in one of Professor C P Chang’s classes). Now I just go to Broward Bob, the Little Blue Heron and local Broward River weather prognosticator extraordinaire. If he sees his reflection, it is going to be a great day. If not, have your rain gear ready.  

     Bob wings by on a current of cool autumn air and flies over the lagoon to his favorite weather prediction location. It also just happens to be his favorite fishing hole. Bob tentatively steps out on a rock. He then applies the latest scientific method to test the water for toe temperature to ensure conditions are favorable for forecasting. Brrr...a bit chilly today here..may need to try another spot. Ahh...this place seems right. Bob moves his head from side to side, peering into the muddy Broward. Yep! There is his reflection. It is going to be a great day today!  Now it's time for some breakfast. Bob starts with a quick crab bite and then some shrimp before feasting on some local minnows.

     Isn’t science wonderful? We have "Bob" to thank for that. Spelled the same forwards or backwards, “Bob” is always there to help you out. The same yesterday, today and forever. Ya’ll have a blessed day. Harry

Broward Bob, the Little Blue Heron and weather prognosticator extraordinaire wings by on a cool autumn breeze to solve the Quasi-geostrophic Omega Equation issue for me...

Using the latest scientific methods, Bob tests the water temperature..Brrrr.....

Too cold here...

Bob runs the new equations through his head..

This place looks better..

After careful recalculation Bob peers down and sees his reflection.. Six more weeks of great autumn weather coming to Florida! Time to eat now!

Bob has been doing this for a while...childhood photo of Broward Bob..before he turned blue..

All those computations make me hungry..and if Bob ain't happy..you know what they say!

Crab-wich snack..

And some Shrimp ala Broward

Good ole Bob..spelled the same forward and backwards.....The same yesterday, today and forever! Be blessed.

Deja vu? Still got them Blues!

     The late Yogi Berra said “It’s Deja Vu all over again”.  Last year about this time we got a call about the Editor’s credit card number being hacked in Orlando. This year it started all over, only my accounts this time, first in Hawaii and now in Orlando again! I was one of the many millions of Federal employees affected by the Office of Personnel (Mis-)management hack (by the Chinese?) of all of our personnel record information. The Orlando gang is at it again. They claimed I was living down there even. I really think there is little ongoing efforts to stop them. So I got the blues again...

     The best way for me to beat the blues is to head to the dock where the “Blues Brothers” hangout. You know, Old Man River, the Great Blue Heron, Little Boy Blue, the Little Blue Heron, and my favorite “lil-blue buddy”, the Tricolored Heron. Old Man River blessed me with an annual fly by. He is still hanging out at the old familiar places. Little Boy Blue, the Little Blue Heron is busy chasing the juveniles away from his favorite fishing spots. Those youngsters are still all white and pesky. In a year or two they will turn all blue too! And my lil buddy, well I can’t say enough of how this bird makes me smile again. He let me go fishin for minnows with him one morning last week. We had a ball. Before you know it my spirits were back up and I was soaring just like the Eagle that flew overhead. So Mr. Bluebird, don't even think about poopin on my shoulder!

     Daily, the reminder of who takes care of and feeds my “blues brothers” is played out before my eyes. What do I need to worry for then? Be Blessed. Harry

It's Deja Vu all over again....I got the Blues....You too Little Blue?

Old Man River The Great Blue Heron is still visiting his favorite hangouts...he glances at me as he wings by as if to say it's ok friend..

Even us Great Blue Herons get the blues sometimes...it will pass.

If anyone should be singing the Blues, It's me said the Little Blue Heron...I got three new young ones to feed! But we are doing fine.

Hey ole Buddy, Let's go fishing! It is my new Lil Buddy, the Tricolored Heron landing. 

I know just where to find them minnows..

Got some new wing fishing techniques I need to try out..saw this on a "Wingbook" post.

I see one now!

Remember Mr Doohickey...I am not the only one who has eyes on you!

Life is good here on the dock...see what I mean? Why worry!

I'm good. Soaring like an Eagle..good bye blues!

So Mr. Bluebird...don't even think about poopin on my shoulder! Be Blessed.

The Good, The Bad...The Ugly!

     How many of you are still being affected by the change from Daylight Savings Time? A wise Indian Chief said “only the Government would think you can cut a foot off one end of a blanket and sew it to the other end and make a longer blanket”.  That pretty well sums up my feelings (at the least the ones I can publish) about Daylight Savings Time.  There are good things, some bad things, and some real ugly things though about my recent experiences with this one hour change.

     The good thing is it is lighter early in the morning. I love to take photos of birds on the Broward bathed in the golden glow of the early sunlight. I was fortunate to catch a few Pied-billed Grebes and some Double Crested Cormorants recently swimming by. So far they haven’t been too spooked by my presence but I have decided to use a blind in case the Hooded Mergansers show up soon. These beautiful ducks are very skittish and camera shy. Hope to see them soon. The Bad thing is I am going to bed too early because it is dark and then waking up too early (and the Editor is having a rough time adjusting too). It is also bad if you are a fish enjoying a morning swim when an Osprey decides to have breakfast...and it’s you!. And then there is the plain ugly. When I don’t sleep right it is not a pretty sight. But even in good light, it is hard not to look ugly when you are a Wood Stork.

     Life has it’s ups and downs, its good and bad, and its ugly at times. Learn to make the best of all of em..even daylight “savings” time. Be blessed today..Harry

Hope you didn't miss the Harvest Moon last month..if so here tis..then came the change from Daylight Savings Time (Yech).

The Good...Pied-billed Grebe in the early morning light before the change from Daylight Savings Time..note the bright eyed reflection..

The Bad...Same Grebe after the change from Daylight Savings Time...Note the reflection is still half asleep!

Double Crested Cormorant surfaces in the golden morning light..

Double Crested Cormorant surfaces in the golden morning light..

Good day for an early morning swim..unless you are a fish and become breakfast for the Osprey..! Bad!

Bbbb Bad to the bone!...fish bone that is!

No matter how great the light..Wood Storks are just plain ugly no matter what time of day..

No matter what angle you capture them..they fly pretty but ugly..

It's a tough job but someone has to deliver the ugly babies too..(someone had to bring Hillory into the world you know).

Take the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly all in stride and every day will begin like this!

Shaken...not stirred

     One of the first birds I attempted to photograph was a Belted Kingfisher (female) by the name of Spunky.  This bird species in general, and this one in particular, has been a photographic nemesis for me since day one of my photography journey.  Like the illusive 007 spy James Bond, Spunky has remained difficult to capture. As soon as I walk outside the back door, this bird and its mate take off and remain out of close camera range until I leave the area.

     High on my bird bucket photo list now, the Belted Kingfisher has indeed been a challenge to approach. One of my friends and fellow photographers (Ron Bielefeld),  has had much better success. Ron discovered a small pond near his home in southern Florida that a particular Belted Kingfisher (male) frequents and then spent six years getting the perfect setup for photographing this illusive bird from a blind and perch arrangement. Actually Ron discovered what may be a new sub species called the "Bonded" Kingfisher. While on a recent workshop with Ron and another client, we slog through the swampy marsh and arrive before dawn, set up some blinds and wait. The early morning rays of sun no sooner arrive when 007, a "Bonded" Kingfisher shows up too. We sit for hours watching this bird perch and scan the pond for minnows. The villains from SPECTRE attack. 007 subdues them. To celebrate, like Bond, this bird likes his minnow martini “Shaken, not stirred”.

     “Today is a gift from God. That is why we call it the present”. Carpe Diem, seize the day and moment and don’t look back. Scratch one bird from the bucket list. Be Blessed. Harry

In 2013 I captured this photo of Spunky, a female Belted Kingfisher near the dock. I have not had a decent photo of this species since. They are very illusive and hard to capture.

007, a male "Bonded" Kingfisher arrives at the crack of dawn on its favorite pearch.

007 sits proudly and aloof, ready for action..

What was that? The soft raindrops almost mask the noise.

Trouble is coming..007 remains alert..

Some dastardly villains from SPECTRE, in the guise of Juvenile Little Blue Herons attack and chase 007 from his perch..

007 pushes a secret ejection branch button  and regains the high ground..

Time to celebrate. 007 spots his favorite minnow martini...and dives..

007 prefers his minnow martini..shaken...

That is correct Miss Moneypenny...007 prefers his minnow martini "Shaken...not stirred"..now where were we?

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