More walking

This post is a lot lighter than the one from earlier today!

I never really expected to have my walks become a recurrent theme. I don’t have the impulse to record every life experience, and so taking pictures of things regularly has been a startling and unexpected new experience for me. I don’t take pictures of everything, and most of the pictures I take aren’t really worth sharing, but I’ve taken enough that I think there are at least a few valuable images. They’re almost always simple things, like how there is always a fun and new way to capture the Indy skyline, as with the image up top.

They’re mundane images, shots of buildings and birds and plants and bodies of water that others have taken many times before. And yet they’re still personal to me. So today I’m sharing a few more of those images from the past week.

Many of the images I found most interesting and most worthy of recording were the direct result of the heavy rain of the past week.

As usual, birds proved to be endlessly entertaining to me. I love to listen to the birdsong and to just watch birds do the things they do. I have so many really horrible pictures of birds–blurry mid-flight shots, grainy and incoherent wide shots of birds hidden among greenery, and sometimes just blank shots of trees or bushes or streets where birds had been a moment before. They almost seem to delight in waiting for the right instant to run or fly or fall away. I can simply stand and admire a bird, sometimes get up close, and even raise my phone up into position, but as soon as I am ready to take the shot, the bird chooses that time to flee fast.

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That might be the best picture of a bird I’ve taken so far, but it’s also really hard for me to identify as a total novice. I’ve been reviewing Audubon Birds for brown, perching-type birds. It didn’t make much noise when I observed it (or if it had, it was before I noticed it nearby, and got lost in the noise of all the other birds), and it flew away soon after this shot. I’m tentatively calling it an Alder flycatcher, but I really do want to learn, so if you see this and have an alternative identification, I’d appreciate it if you could mention that in the comments and let me know what led you to the conclusion.

To close, I have a couple not-so-good bird pictures that I still thought were pretty:

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Rose-breasted grosbeak. Rosy triangle on chest, black head, big white spots in wings–textbook description of the adult male in the Audubon guide. Plus, I caught some (poor-quality) video of the bird from a distance, apparently making the “chink” call as demonstrated in the Audubon Birds app.
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Northern cardinal. I think there’s one adult male that hangs out in our neighborhood; he was one of the first birds I noticed with the return of spring. Yet it’s been endearingly difficult to snap a good photo of him. This photo’s so bad it could be of a summer tanager, but I feel fairly confident in my identification of the little guy.

That’s another week of walking well spent!

5 thoughts on “More walking

  1. That wee bird is probably a starling or a warbler. My spouse is a birder and he’s always pointing out birds to our child. Did you know that there are over 86,000 species of warblers? Or maybe it’s 30. There always seem to be too many warblers.

    I’ve always found it amusing that the protectors of the Shrine of Nocturnal in Skyrim are called Nightingales, and their armor and symbol, seem to evoke something dark and mysterious when in real life nightingales are small, hopping, songbirds that aren’t even remotely mysterious.

    I ran into a similar problem in my story, where there exists an anti-Thalmor resistance movement/army. I wanted to name the spy-network of the movement after a type of bird as a kind of casual nod to Game of Thrones and Varys’ “birds” (since my story is nothing but a ramshackle shed of expanded and broken lore held together by easter eggs). I wanted to call them the sparrows but as birds go, they aren’t very spy-like. But I loved the name, so I came up with a backstory. From the description: “The Sparrows are Evangeline Sigeweald’s spies, with agents now throughout Tamriel. Initially, they were the mages who were first to arrive at Frostcrag Spire, when Evangeline’s resistance movement was still in its infancy. They were the ones who quite literally built the movement from the ground up, constructing the village, amassing supplies, gathering intelligence, and developing covert relationships with the world outside of Frostcrag. Evangeline called these busybodies her Sparrows and the name stuck as they developed a more elaborate spy network.”

    1. The wee bird in the tree, the wee bird in the grass, or both? I considered warblers for the bird in the tree, but I thought the build, coloration, and apparent wing bars were enough to tentatively label it a flycatcher. I could definitely see the little guy in the grass being a type of warbler, though I’m not sure which–as you say, there are too many types to keep track of! And the thing with warblers and flycatchers is, so many of them look pretty darn similar.

      I only recently got interested in birding (still feel awkward even using the term, such an amateur I am that it doesn’t quite feel like it applies to me yet), and I didn’t really know much about nightingales when I played Skyrim heavily (I still don’t, to be honest). After I read your comment, I did a little light reading about nightingales and learned that they have the name because of their tendency to sing at night as well as during the day (per Wikipedia, anyway). A small, unassuming bird that stays lively at night, in the dark…that seems like it might be a pretty appropriate name for the group after all!

      Also, I like how your Sparrows sort of arise organically, out of a simple pet name for the agents. Did you ever play the Fable games? In the original game, an optional quest while training for the Hero’s Guild is the elimination of sparrows living throughout the Guild grounds; in Fable II, “Sparrow” is the protagonist’s initial nickname.

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      1. The one in the grass. Andy (spouse) took a look and couldn’t tell, but to him it didn’t look like a flycatcher. He’s a serious birder. He gets up at 4:30AM some weekends to chase life birds and such. I don’t even think 4:30AM is a thing that should exist.

        The nocturnal aspect of the bird does make it somewhat more appropriate. Other nocturnal birds they might have considered: owls (except every fantasy narrative has something involving owls), whip-poor-wills (which just sounds like an unfortunate folk group), oilbirds (which just seems greasy).

        Anyway.

        I never got around to Fable. After I fell in love with Morrowind, Andy got Fable thinking I’d like it. And I probably would have if my head hadn’t been so stuck in Vvardenfell for so long.

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        1. I’m definitely willing to defer to the expert on it! Not surprised it was difficult even for him to tell though; it’s a crummy picture, but I just thought the little birdo was too cute not to share! And ugh, I hate mornings as is, I don’t think I could have the commitment to consistently get up that early, but I respect the hell out of that.

          As to the birds of the night–my vote would still be nightingale of those options! The “Oilbirds” sound like a Fallout gang.

          Quite the divide between Fable and Morrowind, I agree. Fable is such a blandly British sort of fantasy game. The combat is great fun, though, and from the very first game there was a great effort placed toward building immersion, with people carrying about daily lives, unloading cargo and running errands and things of that sort. The mercantile elements of the Fable games are surprisingly fun as a result.

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