Monday, October 8, 2012

Morning Light on Coote's Paradise

Today was Canadian Thanksgiving, so I'm going to try and accomplish two things... finish this post, and then share some thoughts on thanksgiving itself. :)

A couple weeks ago I left home for work early and headed to Coote's Paradise for one more morning shoot.  The early light of morning is great for picture taking - it's colour is warmer and if the sun is at your back, it illuminates what your photographing directly in stead of with hot, bright spots on top of your subject..

Many of the shore birds were already on their way, making their trip south, but the outlet bay of Chedoke Creek was full of white birds: about 14 Great Egrets, many juvenile Caspian Terns, and lots of gulls.

Coote's Paradise full of white birds.

Further to the right.

My first tendency to take pictures was to go to the east side of the water, with the sun at my back and light on the birds.  But I thought I'd try the back-lit view first.  My dear wife loves this setup for people pictures, and is very successful at using it well too.  I took the picture below, and never realized till editing it later, that the Great Egret was standing on an old barrel of some sort.  A sad mix of natural beauty and someone else's very poor judgement and carelessness!

back-lit Great Egret 

A juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron was a short distance away to my left, blending into the surroundings with its first year colours.

juvenile Black-Crowned

Once I moved to the east side, my pictures were front lit, a little closer, and free of any debris.

Brilliantly lit Great Egret

With the group of egrets jostling about for the prime spot, it was funny to watch them... I think it was the "quarter on the ground" syndrome.  You know, when you were young and your buddy would find a quarter on the ground?  What did you do right away?  Come over and look in the same area, hoping to find "the other one" before they did.  Well, the egrets were doing the same.  One would catch something and the neighbouring egrets would hurry over for a look-see, hoping to cash in on the great spot surely evidenced by the recent catch.  That would usually result in a few short lived, noisy chases like the picture below.

Great Egrets jostling for hunting space.

As I walked along the mud flats that even now are still there and even larger, I was accompanied by one of the few remaining Lesser Yellowlegs.  It was a little braver than the ones I had photographed before, so I got some closer shots.

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

"Aagh! I swallowed a bug!"

A wary eye to the sky...

...possibly checking out this juvenile Caspian Tern - note the
patchy, smoky black cap.

Lesser Yellowlegs with some sort of catch.

On my way back over the baily bridge that crosses the Chedoke Creek, I spotted another juvenile Black-Crowned Night-Heron. Again, its first year plumage helps it to blend in well, compared to the much more obvious what and black feathers it will wear next year.

juvenile Black-Crowned Night-Heron
on the bank of Chedoke Creek

It flew under the bridge and landed on the
other side into much better lighting!

juvenile Black-Crowned Night-Heron

juvenile Black-Crowned Night-Heron

Well, Thanksgiving Day has passed (for us Canadians at least).  On the way to my parents today, Holly pointed out how blessed we are where we live, to be able to enjoy this holiday when almost every year at this time, God has just painted the countryside with the perfect combination of bright colours, the cooler air is crisp, and extra big clouds fill the extra blue sky.  And on top of that, we live in a privileged country, with more comforts and wealth than we know.  At my family's gathering this afternoon, someone noted that many of us today spent the day in a spirit of thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is a good thing, but who too?  That person pointed out that, if all this blessing we enjoy is not from someone specific, than why all the thanksgiving?  Aren't the recent harvest, another year of provision and protection cause for thanksgiving to someone?  Isn't thanksgiving by nature directed to someone personal, and not just to chance?  Can all around us that we see, enjoy, live and experience really just have happened? Or is all the beauty, intricacy, and provision all crying out, pointing us to Someone who longs to have us personally say, "Thanks!"?

For most of us, with bellies full of turkey, roofs over our heads, and work to go back to tomorrow, we're also challenged with the fact that "too whom much is given, much will be required."

I bet you came here expecting only bird pictures and not a "sermon"!  :)  Was my post introduction fair warning?  I love wildlife and the creatures we get to enjoy seeing, but hopefully you can also tell that I have a God who I get excited about, both in what He has created, but also who has done great things for me.  He has given me so many reasons to be truly thankful, not the least of which is to rescue me and save me!  That is my greatest reason for thanksgiving, especially at Thanksgiving.  We all have a need much greater than just our daily sustenance to be thankful for... We all mess up daily and we really can't even say "thanks" properly to Him because we repeatedly made choices and live lives that break His perfect standard repeatedly - sometimes in big ways, some times in small ways.  Since He's an honest judge and He can't just bend the rules or look the other way, all the mess-ups/sins make us guilty on the scales of justice.  But as well as being just, He's being gracious and He's provided a way through Jesus to cover our debt!  My debt and your debt too if you'll accept the gift.  If you're ever curious or interested in knowing more about this fix, I'd be more than glad to discuss it more with you in any way you like.

As I keep saying, I'm behind on posts and have at least two more coming when I get more time to edit and type up a post - you might think leaving the sermons out will make that more likely! :)  One upcoming post is my recent week at the Lodge (with a life bird no less), and some pictures from today at my parents house.

But for now, I hope you enjoyed a great weekend, and now have the bonus of a short week!
Take care,

1 comment:

  1. Amen! I have been overwhelmed lately with God's answers to prayers, even the small little requests. It is amazing to think that the God of the universe cares that much for us..let alone providing a way of salvation! Great pictures too :) I look forward to seeing your next life bird...


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