Doesn't it feel great when you get everything in the right place after a good preen? This mixed flock of gulls, terns, and shorebirds got into the preening mood as I was watching it one February morning on Sanibel Island, Florida. One moment they were napping, then one bird started preening and its neighbors decided that was a really good idea, so they started preening, too. I captured about 10 seconds of the action on video.
In this flock are the following species: laughing gull, ring-billed gull, royal tern, Forster's tern, Sandwich tern, and red knot. I love that the birds kept on preening even as the two humans walked by just feet away.
I recently watched this mist moving over a mountain lake in Tennessee. I was up and outside, shortly after dawn. It was crisply cold and there was no sound—not a call note from a bird, no rustling of leaves, no sound from the wind on the water.
Such a peaceful moment was, I thought, worthy of sharing.
While birding along a forest trail in Brazil's Itatiaia National Park, I encountered this waterfall. I watched it for several minutes, mesmerized. That is, until a nearby lek of male blue manakins wing-snapped into action.
In the future, I hope to share more of these natural Moments of Zen with you.
Don't know about you, but I cannot believe it's almost the third month of the year! Where the heck did the time go?
Since its very auspicious start, 2008 has been a blur, sort of like looking at the world through a stretched piece of taffy, while riding a roller coaster, the roar of the wind drowning out all thought.
So I am trying to slow down a bit just now. Seeking a stillness. Stillness. . . it's so elusive, isn't it, in this immediate gratification world of ours?
I'd like to share a few seconds of digital video that I recorded at Blue Spring State Park in Florida last month. Jeff, Liz, Lisa, and I went there seeking manatees and we saw at least 30. It was a clear, snappy-cold morning, so the manatees were attracted to the springs' warmer water. There is a calming stillness in the way this gentle, giant creature moves effortlessly through the water.
Bill Thompson III is the editor of Bird Watcher's Digest by day. He's also a keen birder, the author of many books, a dad, a field trip leader, an ecotourism consultant, a guitar player, the host of the "This Birding Life" podcast, a regular speaker/performer on the birding festival circuit, a gentleman farmer, and a fungi to be around. His North American life list is somewhere between 667 and 669. His favorite bird is the red-headed woodpecker. His "spark bird" was a snowy owl. He has watched birds in 25 countries and 44 states. But his favorite place to watch birds is on the 80-acre farm he shares with his wife, artist/writer Julie Zickefoose. Some kind person once called Bill "The Pied Piper of Birding" and he has been trying to live up to that moniker ever since.