It is April, just after noon on a beautiful not-quite-spring day. I leave the coach heading down the paved loop in the state park toward the bird blind. As I walk along the paved road, shadows fall across my path making interesting patterns for me to step on. Patterns made from the trees lining the road most with newly sprouted leaves.
I hear birds signing and see them flitting in and out of the trees. Spring is a busy time for them. Some have just arrived from their winter home, some are trying to attract a mate, while others are already building nests.
Bright flashes of orange catch my attention. A Summer Tanager flies up into the air after a bug and returns to its tree-branch lookout. What a beautiful bird.
I choose this time of day on purpose. I know there might not be anyone sitting in the bird blind. Birders and photographers get out early to take advantage of the morning light. So perhaps after a busy morning they are eating lunch and resting for their afternoon adventures.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy meeting other birders; they are warm, friendly and helpful people. We share a passion. During our stays at South Llano River State Park, I have met some of the nicest people, elderly, young and all ages in-between. They travel from all over the United States and other countries to visit this state park just for the birding. All have stories to tell, bird sightings and locations to share.
After a short distance I turn down a pebbled pathway toward the bird blind. I try to walk slowly. I try to be as quite as I can. As I get closer to the bird blind a listen for whispers. Birders sitting in a blind speak softly to each other pointing out what they see. I don’t hear soft-spoken voices. Could I have chosen wisely? As I reach the board walk entrance to the blind I am tiptoeing and come to a stop just inside the entry.
The blind is empty, I am thrilled. I select the bench closest to the plate glass window and not in front of the open window. I quietly take a seat. I take a deep breath, exhale slowly and relax. Joy!
I glance around the fenced yard and toward the water fall, and I see lots of birds. My arrival didn’t disturb them. I want to observe these amazing creatures doing what they do – taking a bath, bringing nesting materials to their nest, eating from the feeders, sitting on a tree branch or fence post, mating, chasing each other away or flying in and out of the blind.
On this day, I want to be in the bird blind alone. I want to relax and enjoy the experience. I want the silence. I want the sounds that float toward me to be sounds of nature, of water falling from stone slabs into pools and of birds.
I didn’t bring my camera, just my binoculars. You see, if I have a camera my time is spent trying to take the perfect photo. It can be a struggle to setup the camera with tripod in such a small area, pointing the camera lens just far enough out of the open window without the birds getting scared, and in most cases kneeling down on the floor. Don’t get me wrong, I love the challenges of taking bird photos, love it!
However, on this day I don’t want any challenges, I want to sit quietly all by myself and observe. To just be still and enjoy what nature offers.
I don’t know how long I sat there, probably a long time.
This photo taken on another day.