It’s the Little Things in Life

Although it’s generally easier to get pictures of ducks and larger birds, my personal favorites have long been the small, common songbirds who are hard to photograph because they survive by zipping from branch to branch to avoid predators — and pesky photographers.

You’ve probably noticed from the abundance of shots previously shown that that’s not true of the Song Sparrow, though it’s still rare to find one with a bug in beak, so to speak.

Song Sparrow with Bug in Beak

I’ve also managed to get shots of Savannah Sparrows before, but never quite as clearly or as unobscured as this one who landed on the railing while I was taking pictures of Tree Swallows:

Savannah Sparrow

I would return to Theler Wetlands every spring to visit the Tree Swallows even if, God forbid, there weren’t another bird around. Few things give me as much pleasure as long walks in sunshine surrounded by swooping swallows, but even that doesn’t match the thrill of standing still and being surrounded by swallows sitting on the rails next to you,

Tree Swallow

listening to them calling out to each other as if I didn’t exist.

Tree Swallow

For that moment, at least, I can truly identify with these lines from Emerson’s Nature:

In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, — no disgrace, no calamity (leaving me my eyes), which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part and parcel of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintences, master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.

3 thoughts on “It’s the Little Things in Life

  1. “…uncontained and immortal beauty…”

    Haven’t seen any swallows here yet. Looked at my old notes and found that the earliest I’ve seen swallows here was March 12, 1997. This year your swallows are the first I’ve seen. Beautiful!

  2. Lovely photographs Loren – particularly the song sparrow with a beakful of insects. We have house sparrows, hedge sparrows and tree sparrows but have never heard of the song sparrow. Love your swallows too – our first twoswallows arrived yesterdy – we have many pairs nesting in our barns but the two first arrivals are still sitting on the wire, waiting for their friends.

  3. When I see your pictures I always think of Wendell Berry’s The Peace of the Wild Things.

    We have some Purple-Faced Finches that have built a nest on our front porch, and the little fledglings are getting ready to fly for the first time. It’s just as awe-inspiring and beautiful as if they were a more exotic species.

What do you think?