Then yesterday I saw another similar quote that prompted this blog:
We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. -- Kent NerburnTo say that it has applied fully to my birding experiences over the past year is an understatement.
Last winter there were Snowy Owls -- for the first time I was tempted to "chase" - that is, to get in the car and drive to wherever one had been spotted so I could see it for myself. When we heard about one down near Florence, we did just that -- and "dipped" -- that is, no owl.
But while we were looking, we saw movement along the Siltcoos River bank - a family of RIVER OTTERS were climbing up out of the water. They rolled and played as we watched in awe.
When we got home, I laughed at myself for succumbing to the temptation and decided to enjoy others' Snowy Owls vicariously. Five days later, on a cold cold December day, I was walking the trail at Salishan and ran into a lady with a camera - we chatted for a bit, then she said, "I came to see if the Snowy Owl is still here". My jaw dropped - apparently she had discovered it the previous day and came back to see it and get pictures. "May I walk with you?" She looked dubiously at my flip-flops and shrugged.
|Snowy Owl, Siletz Bay|
My first-ever live glimpse of a SNOWY OWL. What a heart-stopping moment of joy! How wonderful that she was willing to share her discovery with me!
She asked me not to share the location, and I didn't - but eventually word got out and many people came to see the gorgeous bird. I went back a few times, both to get better photos and to just sit and enjoy watching him!
Walking back along the trail the same day, I startled a GREAT BLUE HERON - but rather than flying away, he circled and settled right above my head.
|Great Blue Heron|
Later that December, I was walking alone through another of my favorite locations, Clay Myers State Natural Area at Whalen Island - there's a point along the trail, about halfway, where there's a bit of a climb and I'm generally out of breath. For some reason, I looked up:
A beautiful COOPER'S HAWK was having lunch on a branch above the trail. It was the closest I'd been to a Cooper's Hawk since moving from my home in Keizer, Oregon, where they were regulars.
In the springtime, I had another "Surprised by Joy" day when I decided to photograph vacant nest holes in trees. What a treat to have various homeowners not only home, but surprisingly conspicuous (see blog for the story).
More recently, my Wandering Tattler experience was another great example - yes, I was out looking for it, but wow did it surprise me (you have to read the blog)! I'm not going to recount my whole year -- these memories are just examples of many wonderful moments of living my mantra.
I love being able to wander around the coast, discovering new spaces, revisiting old favorites - it is nearly an "embarrassment of riches" that God has given -- I am truly blessed. Two days ago, I was driving slowly up a narrow, winding road toward Mount Hebo Lake, a new place that I've been wanting to try. I noticed a small lump in a dead shrub -- a second glance told me it was an owl. An OWL? It couldn't have been more than 6 inches tall. Could it be a PYGMY OWL? Do we have them here?
|Northern Pygmy-owl (uncropped)|
So, it really is true -- "Sometimes things come when you stop looking" and even sometimes when you weren't looking at all!