Friday, October 06, 2006

About a Bird and a Geocache...



The sun greeted a crisp morning and frost covered Pheasant Branch Conservancy. The sparkle and dazzle didn't last long as thawing rays crept across the prairie. Lugging my tripod, scope and camera up Bellefontaine Hill, I listened in on the choir of birdsong for recognizable themes...sparrows, warblers, flycatchers and finches were present.



I could hear White-crowned Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Towhee, Eastern Phoebe, both kinglets, Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers and more. Buzzy calls, trills, seeps, chirps and chips – from birds that were probably on the move during the night. Though I'll bet many lingered, fattening up before their next leg of migration.



I am the visitor. I enter the fields and prairies at dawn – birds near the trail flush deeper into the grasses as I walk past. It takes a few minutes for the birds to relax and get back to things they should be doing. This morning I didn't know I would walk away with such precious images of a Lincoln's Sparrow. I thought about a bird before I took it's picture, my sujet du jour, and now wonder about this bird as I write and admire its pictures...what's it doing right now?





I stumbled upon a geocache – it was sort of out in the open along the trail. A friend of mine searches for them so I know a little bit about geocaching. I believe the idea is to take something, if you like, but then add something to the cache. I decided to remove the entire contents (mostly petroleum-based trinkets, toys, beads, polished stones and pencils) and spread them out in order to take this picture. Afterwards, I placed the contents back into the geocache.

I didn't have anything new to place inside the box, but I thought about writing an entry into the logbook (I didn't, though). I read some of the entries and only a few commented on the spectacular view from the hill. Yet, in looking over the contents of the cache, I felt a peculiar sense of diminishment regarding the conservancy and its critters – are there people who rush up the hill only to find this box? Surely, one would visit the conservancy on the merits of its splendid natural beauty, right? I think I'll make a print of this Lincoln's Sparrow and add it to the cache.

All images © 2006 Mike McDowell

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