COVID-19 Effects and an Unusual Find
As I do my best to minimize the possibilities of contracting or sharing COVID-19, I have spent countless hours at home or very close to home. Some might think the restrictions are annoying. Even I am frustrated by them at times. On the other hand, I am wondering if I am not seeing some positive secondary impacts resulting from the virus, beyond flattening the curve for healthcare workers and hospitals.
Before the pandemic, our warm-season weekends were spent going here or camping there. We would come home at the end of a weekend tired and asking how the time went so fast. With our forced slower pace we are beginning to find new ways to spend our time while being compliant with government guidelines. As we end our running from one place to another, we are learning to appreciated the little things that have been around us year after year. We are finding thrills as we stop and learn to see and listen to that which is around us (and always has been).
For Kristy she expresses how she enjoys listening to the sound of our small stream in the backyard – the same stream that attracts many species of birds for me to photograph. For me the slower pace has allowed me to concentrate efforts on improving my observation and photography skills on smaller species close to home.
Never have I spent so much time watching for warblers and shooting pictures of them in pleasing settings. The warblers and other small birds have been around year after year. Even this year the warblers are oblivious to a global pandemic and are just being birds. What is different is I am allowing myself to enjoy them.
If anything positive comes from the outbreak, it is that Kristy and I are learning to slow down again so we have time to take in our natural world so close to home. That is a good thing and long overdue.
I’d like to add that I am seeing similar changes in some of the people around me. For example, at Sweet Marsh in the last 24-hours I watched the following activities taking place at the same time:
- Serious fishing from boats,
- Family fishing from boats,
- Kayak fishing,
- Fishing from the dock,
- Kayaking for the fun of it,
- Hiking the dikes,
- Biking the dikes,
- A young boy sitting on the dock, swinging his feet in the water,
- A woman flying a kite,
- Bird watching,
- And several folks with cameras enjoying nature.
Following are some of the many bird images I recorded today at Sweet Marsh during some quiet time. Even though there was plenty of human activity, there was even more avian activity soon after daybreak.
Species are identified in the captions. Note – The green heron surprised me when it flew over as I was photographing the indigo buntings and warblers.
As I was shooting bird pictures, others were enjoying Sweet Marsh as they chose.
This afternoon Kristy and I social distanced with camping friends. I actually spent most of the time chasing birds after I noticed a leucistic chipping sparrow. I first attempted to shoot “documentation photos” of the bird. As I was watching the unusual bird I noticed how pretty it was in the apple blossoms.
Following is a photo of the leucistic sparrow’s mate (looking normal). Apparently the “typical” chipping sparrow does not mind the leucistic version since there were several episodes of chipping sparrow lovin’ going on!