Saturday, October 26, 2013

Taking Solace in Nature During Difficult Times

Eastern Bluebird - Female
Its been a rough couple of weeks for me. My mom, who I am very close to, recently passed away after a four year battle with cancer. This is the first time I have lost someone very close to me. That is why I have not been posting too much this month. Beyond the funeral and grieving process, I have had night school and work obligations piling up. But no matter how busy, how stressed I get, I still make time to get out and witness the beauty of nature.

Ojibway Park - Titcombe Pathway along the Provincial Tall grass Prairie Reserve
During the earlier part of October, while visiting my mom, I would hear Carolina Wrens calling in my mom and dads back yard. I went for a quick walk into their 5-acre field to see some pretty amazing birds. All the typical migrants were present: Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Eastern Phoebes, a Yellow bellied Sapsucker. I walked back into the scrubby area behind a regenerating forest to find a small coniferous plantation growing, with nice Juniper trees, crab-apple and dogwood berry thickets. White-throated Sparrows, Robins, Cedar Waxwings, Blue Jays and Accipiters abound. Its nice to see that my mom and dads field is attracting migrants with its beautifully developing habitat. I'm convinced there are resident Carolina Wrens now, and I also noted Indigo Buntings were breeding there as well during the summer.

Yesterday, after work I was reading Todd Pepper's Ontbird posting that an Ibis Species was at Holiday Beach. I figured I would continue my autumn tradition of going to HBMO after work on Friday and that turned out to be a great decision. The Glossy Ibis was resting and preening 50m west of the hawk tower, giving nice looks through Todd Pepper's scope. The blueish skin around its face hints that its a Glossy Ibis, as opposed to the pinkish skin seen on a White-faced Ibis. Low flying kettles of TV's flew overhead with a few Buteo species mixed in. At one point, Todd called out an eagle which came over the treeline to the east and was flying right by the tower, a little higher than eye level, perhaps 15-20ft away. It slowly dawned on me as I was looking at it through my binoculars that this was not a juvenile Bald Eagle, it was a majestic Juvenile Golden Eagle, complete with white windows under its wings, copper coloured head feathers, and a white band across its upper tail feathers.

A few Rusty Blackbirds flew by the tower as we relished in the great birding we had been experiencing. Jeremy Bensette arrived later and pointed out a Wilson's Snipe hiding along the southern edge of Big Creek. To my amazement, my camera had a catestrophic SD Card Error so I was unable to post any of my own photos from this outing. This is the second time in the last month or so I have lost images. I don't know if its my camera or the memory cards that have become faulty but I had to ask another HBMO member (thanks Larry Ludwicki) to use his photos to document the Ibis as I was unable to recover my images from my faulty card.

Glossy Ibis & Great Egret - Photo © Larry Ludwicki - Used with permission
So even during the most stressful, saddest times of life, its good to know nature is there to enjoy and to take solace in. Whether it be a beautiful sunset that you stop for a few moments and take in, a glance at a fluttering butterfly on a patch of Aster Flowers, an unexpected call of a Caronlina Wren or viewing the plumage details on the majestic Golden Eagle at close range... Nature continues to amaze me. Its the greatest show on earth!

Good birding,

Bonus Photo from Nov 2010 - Yesterday's view was better than this... if you can believe that. This photo is actually featured on Cornell's Allaboutbirds website. 

Some Nature Quotes:

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
Albert Einstein

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
Helen Keller

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
William Shakespeare

He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
Dale Carnegie

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.


“Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it's beauty.”
― Albert Einstein

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
― Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard's Egg Source:


  1. So very sorry to hear about your Mom, Dwayne! You and your family are in our family's thoughts and prayers.

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss, Dwayne. I'm glad you've been able to find some comfort in nature.

  3. I lost my Mom to brain cancer after a 9 month battle in Jan. 2012. It was the hardest time of my life. I do remember that when we went birding during that difficult time, it was really the only time I was "in the moment". I didn't think of anything other then the bird I was looking at. It was a needed distraction. The last gift my Mother ever gave me was a pair of Hummingbird Earrings, and I've seen more Hummingbirds in our yard since she passed then ever before. I like to believe it's a little divine intervention, as we've not done anything different.

    I am sorry for your loss, and I understand. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss, Dwayne. My thoughts are with you.

  5. Dwayne, I'm so sorry to hear about your Mom. =(
    I hope that Nature's arms continue to envelope you with comfort for the rest of your days.
    I'm at my most peaceful & happiest out there, too. I can thank my Dad for that as he instilled the love of Nature in me from an early age. That's probably the greatest gift he gave to me.

    Be well, Dwayne. *hugs*

  6. Thanks for the condolences and shared thoughts to my blog readers/bloggers. -DM



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