Saturday, June 21, 2014

Missed Moments

A Lovely Day in Elmira
Watching Each Other
Same Days
Swallow Harassing Osprey (June 2013)
Osprey Hovering to Fish (June 2013)
Osprey Dive on Elmira Pond (May 2013)
Grass Like Velvet
Parting Shot of Deer Rump
And then there are those times you groan because you left the camera upstairs!

Sitting on the porch, I'm sinking back into my plastic chair with every sense absorbing the perfect air temperature and sunshine. I can feel my body soaking up vitamin D like a sponge deprived of water. It's 73 degrees, low humidity and blue skies.

It's one of those days that I'm beguiled by the sameness--it's the same green grass, the same pond, the same horses, the same blackbirds and darting tree swallows. We are lulled by the common life. We often miss moments believing that today is the same as yesterday.

Because it's not.

Mid sip of second-cup-coffee, I look at the horses munching grass only to see a magnificent sight. A large bird the color of smudged charcoal has tucked its wings into an inverted dive. It's like Johnathon Livingston Seagull flew threw soot on his downward flight from heaven above.

Jolted to my senses, I stand up. Within seconds of realizing that it is an osprey in a silent dive he hits the pond like a cannonball, unfurling those strong three-foot wings to reveal his white chest and massive fishing talons. And there I stand, camera-less.

Despite the blackbird harassment that has kept him from Elmira Pond since late May, he circles around for another dive. One leg tenses to run into the house, grab the camera. The other leg relaxes, knowing this is a moment not to be missed in person.

Decision made, I walk closer to the pond to watch, acknowledging that our days are never the same.

The osprey hovers to spot fish and three blackbirds swoop at him. He holds, concentrates, then breaks away to circle. Again he glides and one blackbird is so determined that he rides the osprey like a surfboard. I can imagine his tiny bird toes pricking the back of the osprey, but he's just as determined to fish.

Finally! I've been disappointed that the blackbirds have managed to thwart the osprey from fishing. It's made me crave blackbird pie, but I figured that if the osprey wanted to fish, he would. And this is that moment.

He makes another unsuccessful dive then loops around the pond higher and higher. I chirp to him and he circles another five times before gliding off to the north.

The grass blows softly in the slight breeze on the little island in the pond. It looks like a soft green velvet. The water reflections cast an  illusion of a shallow pond, as if you can see a rocky bottom.

The sorrel mare raises her head, ears pricked forward like radar. Usually its a feral cat, but I follow her gaze and see the reddish-golden hide of a white-tail deer trotting to the pond for a drink. I groan. No camera.

This time the tense leg wins and I dash to the house, grab the camera and manage a shot of her bottom as she disappears through the willows.

No day is ever the same. And some moments do beg for a camera.


  1. Now I'll forever imagine that blackbird surfer. You create incredibly mesmerizing imagery. I wonder what it is the blackbirds are there to teach you.

    1. Not to eat them? :-) Besides chasing off osprey, they do like the horses and the most dominant male can be entertaining when puffing himself up at the females.

  2. Lovely. I"m hard pressed to think of anything better than watching Osprey fishing. They put on quite a show for me last weekend...but they were a bit out of camera range. I am in love with your Elmira Pond.

    1. They are such incredible fisher-birds. I love that osprey links our regions, Dawn! I'm in love with this pond, too!

  3. Beautiful words, beautiful photographs. Thanks for the treat.

  4. I held my breath as I read every word, slowly sipping my tea. Then I wanted to smack the black bird. Great story and lovely pictures. I love and cherish those moments like these...and often wished I had my camera too. Thanks for the time to enjoy your pond.

    1. Thanks for stopping by the pond--I'll remember to keep the hot water on for tea. Yes, I often want to smack that blackbird, too but then he parades around with his big red patches all puffed up and makes me laugh. He's so macho!