Mindfulness

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I was tired this morning after our trip to the Frozen North yesterday, and frittered away the first half of the day on essentially pointless things. Mid way through the afternoon though I felt a sudden need to be out and about, so I drove into Stratford and spent an hour walking along the river and watching the birds.

The light on the water was lovely, and I was completely present and engaged in trying to capture it – I didn’t check my phone once, or even think about politics here or in the USA. There weren’t many people about, but once or twice I became aware that I was being watched, and it occurred to me that my activity probably looked a little strange: I spent a lot of time just standing (or sometimes kneeling) on the quay, looking at the river and waiting for one of the birds on it to swim into some nicely lit water, so that I could use them as a focal point. It’s birding, Jim, but not as we know it…

This – of course – is a tufted duck, and despite the fact that I promised myself to blip something else today I can’t honestly say that I’m sorry. I don’t think I’ve photographed this young female before, and I liked her alert attitude – plus, she was the only one of the five tufties who were present today who obliged me by swimming through this patch of reflection. (Only five tufties! Sad face emoticon.) Should you be bored with tufted ducks though, I’ve added a mallard below. I don’t especially like male mallards, but I couldn’t miss the chance to photograph this one as he passed through a shaft of strong sunlight, showing off the iridescent green of his breeding plumage.