First, Birds and Beers will be Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 6pm at Merlin's Rest. I'm sorry to people who can't make it to Tuesday and only on Thursdays, but my Thursdays are a little nutty for the next few weeks. The next one will be on a Thursday.
Birds and Beers is an informal gathering for people interested in birds to get together, have a beverage, maybe a few eats, and talk some birds. It's open to anyone who might be interested in watching birds to the hardcore lister and anyone in between. It'll be a great way to ignore the nasty political adds on tv, the baffling candidate choices, and the state of the stock market and focus on birds.
Speaking of not wanting to turn on the tv or visit news sites, I'm so grateful to birds and digiscoping. It's nice when the news starts to sound too terrible, that I can find a place and simply watch birds. I love visiting a well traveled feeding station and the Minnesota Valley NWR is just one of those places. I needed photos of woodpeckers and just really took a moment to focus on birds. When someone asks what drew me to birds, I can only answer, "It's the way I'm wired, I love everything about them." Even just watching their natural daily functions. Take a look at that down woodpecker above. This small woodpecker as the ability to hang on the bottom of the feeder, use that stiff tail to prop itself up, and still manage to work out a peanut from just that position. I wonder if I would be willing to do that for a Klondike Bar? Although, that would be a messy way to get one.
I know some "pro photographers" who poo poo amateurs like myself. "You can't get a head on shot of a bird, that's not going to sell." But it's the imperfect shots that I appreciate more--because that's how you actually see birds in the wild. There's a reason that the Mad Bluebird photo is one of the most commercially successful bird photo ever taken--it has character. Again, I take comfort in this nuthatch getting ready to fly of this feeder, the way The Stranger in The Big Lebowski takes comfort in "The dude abides." The position, the shape, the ability of this bird to survive for years in the wild being despite being tiny and sometimes enduring temperatures well below zero degrees Fahrenheit. I'm not looking to sell images, just enjoy birds.
Here's another photo that would never sell, but I take a moment to appreciate how all these functional colors work into a beautiful pallet. Sure black and white blends well with trees and a little flash of red serves a purpose in mating and territoriality, but it's just beautiful. I could stare at that red, white, and black for a good half hour.
Again, it's just nice to find something to take your mind off all the gloom and doom in the news.
On a fun note, yesterday on Big River Journey, our boat was just coming into downtown St. Paul and we watched a very healthy looking coyote drinking from the river. I wish I had my digiscoping set up then. The coyote in perfect sun with the St. Paul high rises looming behind it.