Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SHOOTING THE HERON

This has been one of those days…cool, cloudy, and by necessity, mostly given to work. In fact, I've been stuck at my desk since breakfast…which, come to think of it, I ate at my desk about 6:45 this morning. Lunch, too, when that time rolled around.
Working from home can be as tyrannical sometimes as having a real job at a real workplace—except you can dress sloppier. The nuthatches, goldfinches, titmice, and chickadees who've been steadily cleaning out the seed feeder near the study window, simply don't care how you look so long as you keep the grub coming. And the UPS guy can always use a chuckle.
Of course, when I say I've been at the desk "all day," I don't literally mean every single moment. Being your own supervisor has it's perks. One is the right to bolt up the hall every so often for an apple or a cup of tea. Or to the front room to annoy Moon the dog by awakening her from her latest nap with a lob of one of her plush toys onto her upturned belly. Gotcha!
My hands-down favorite time waster, though, is gazing out the deskside window—watching birds and squirrels, and the 200 yard slice of river visible just beyond. You never know what you'll see on or along the water. Today it was a great blue heron.
Heron are common here, along my "home water" because it's a good stretch for them to do their fishing. Seldom a day passes that I don't see at least one great blue wading stealthy along, hunched, leaning forward a bit, intent on the water ahead. Or alternately, they might elect to simply stand on a rock or in the shallows, as immobile as a driftwood stump, a lurking shadow waiting patiently for their next meal to swim to within striking distance.
I've spent a lot of time watching heron fish.
Today, I got into playing a game of hide-and-seek with a particular great blue heron who insisted on tempting me from my work by parading rather close to the cottage. A good photo opportunity, providing I could out-sneak the sharp-eyed and watchful angler.
I also spend a lot of time trying to sneak within telephoto distance (60 feet or less) of fishing heron. I understand that in some places, great blues will tolerate such distances without alarm; some, in fact, are almost tame, to the point where you can practically walk up and get a good heron shot with a point-and-shoot camera.
Not my birds! These wild river heron are not nearly so accommodating. A distance of 200 yards is too close. I've stepped onto my deck and spooked birds wading so far up the river that it was only because I was looking through binoculars that I even knew anything had happened.
Today's heron was no exception—constantly on high alert for any hint of movement along the bank, among the bushes…even in the sky. Once a pair of flying mallards spooked the fishing heron, causing it to squawk and lift and fly a ways downstream, even after the zooming ducks passed it by off its port wingtip. An hour later, during a different stalk, I was flummoxed when one of the island's buzzards came sailing over the roost just after noon—again sending the heron into a squawking flap-off tizzy.
But I persisted—in both my desk work and my heron stalking—and eventually completed both. It isn't the best great blue heron shot I've ever taken…but it was the best one I managed today. And at least you now know I wasn't idle.

16 comments:

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

I've never tried to shoot one...literally or figuratively, so I will take your word on your beautiful photo of the heron. The hardest thing to do when you are working from home is to keep your mind at work. I often times decide to take a walk with the dogs, sit out back...just about anything not to sit at the computer for hours. I pay for it later so am learning!!

Bernie said...

I think one must be very self disciplined to work from home especially where everything around them is beautiful and calling out for your presence.....I don't think gazing out your widow watching birds, squirels and your river is wasting time....and you have the printed word to prove it.
Love your photo, great post Grizz, I really enjoyed it.....give Moon a big scratch behind the ears from me.......:-) Hugs

TheChicGeek said...

Hi Grizzly :D or maybe I should call you Super Sleuth 007 with all these bird stalking activities taking place today...LOL!

Ahhh, how fortunate to have the view you have from your office. The picture is beautiful! So many wonderful things to see outside your window. I've missed stopping by the river, it's always such a treat.
Have a Wonderful Evening 007 :D

PS: You should see some of the looks I get from my UPS man! I know what you mean about working at home...shock and awe from the mail carriers..LOL

Big Hug and Well Wishes!

Robin said...

Okay. I'm sure you've heard it a thousand times, but... why don't you write a book?

Write one.

Add your photos.

I'll buy it.

Anonymous said...

Well Hello Incorrigible, I too work from home and am my own supervisor. I find I get my best work done from 5am to 7am in my pajamas with a fresh pot of coffee. I can accomplish more in two short hours, sometimes than I can for the rest of the day.

I have four lovely daughters, who begin bustling around at sometime early morning, but hardly ever demand anything of me before 7.

While I was married I lived on a lake here in Massachusetts. I had a Blue Heron who visited me often. Most always in morning. The first time I saw it, I thought it was a stork. I had two babes in diapers and almost fainted at the sight. I later learned it was a Blue Heron. It flew low along the water, and I believe it nested in the reeds on the shore a bit down from my home.

Your blog is a joy to read. Heidi

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ -
Great photos of the heron. And even greater now because I read how you had to play "hide 'n' seek" to get the shot. I also love your work day - and how you can just stop and enjoy the views. And it all seems so lovely from every angle, every view.

LOve to you
Gail'
peace.....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Alicia…

When you work, as I do, at home, on projects you imagine and must then create, during whatever time you allot, at the pace you wish, with no one to answer to, ever, except to eventually offer it for sale and trust someone will take you up on it…requires serious self discipline. I begin with a blank sheet of paper (now a blank computer screen) and make it happen.

What freedom! Everyone says and thinks that…and it is. Being your own boss. But it's also the most frightening thing you can ever imagine, because there's no one to help you out of your messes. Just you and that waiting screen, alone, in a room…

So you have to learn how to make yourself work and keep yourself working —and one of the ways I do that is to give myself breaks, sort of like giving Moon the dog a biscuit. Same principal. Work this much—get a break—work some more—another break. Fritter away all the time I want…but understand the day isn't over until the necessary work is done.

I don't mean to imply that it's drudgery; not at all. There are many days when I bury my mind in my work and scarcely look up for the next dozen hours. And I could probably do that most of the time if I allowed myself…but I wouldn't survive.

Learn to pace yourself. Be a firm self-supervisor, but not a slave driver. And if a great blue heron comes wading up the river, make its photo!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

You know, if I honestly and logically analyzed my personality, I'd never say I was cut out to supervise myself. I'm probably the worst candidate in the world to stick beside a river and expect a lick of work to be forthcoming. I'm a dreamer, a man who can sit on a riverbank and watch birds and clouds and swirls in the passing current for hours on end. I hear voices whispering in the water. See mysteries in the dark green pools. I know that river has stories and tales, has been places, has miles yet to go—and I want to be privy to that knowledge and be invited to travel along.

You have no idea how easy it would be for me to simply give in to myself. It is not so much amazing that I sometimes do…but that I don't succumb completely. I am so, so, weak, and the call is incredibly strong.

Consider Moon scratched…

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

ChicGeek…

Hey, that heron won most rounds of my attempted stalking. If I had to hunt herons to survive, I'd flat starve!

At best I'm Sorta Super Sleuth 002.5

It is a nice window view, though a sort of Lorelei when I need to work.

I've thought about getting a surgical gown, head thingy, and mask, pouring some ketchup down the front, and wearing it to greet the UPS guy and the meter reader gal, but then I figure my next visitors will be a SWAT team and a guy up on the road with a bullhorn who lacks a juvenile sense of humor.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Robin…

Okay, here's how I've got it figured so far…I'll write the book, you can buy a copy, I'll buy a copy, and maybe I can badger my daughter into buying a copy, and that will make (lemmie see, now, one…plus one…plus…) three. Hey, I think we're onto something!

You think I ought to hire an agent?

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Anonymous/Heidi…

I start about 6:00-6:30 a.m., depending. But you're right in that the first couple of hours are usually the most productive. I've often managed to have my work finished by 9:00 a.m. if I can get a good early start with no interruptions. Of course, I'm usually the one who interrupts me, so it's a tough issue to correct.

Ditto on the coffee, too.

As a fisherman, I've been around herons all my life. But I never knew they were so noisy throughout the night until I moved here. They clatter-squawk at all hours, for the slightest reasons…some of which, I suspect, are only imagined.

Glad you found your way back to the river again. :-)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

It was a fun game trying to make that old bird's portrait.

Yeah, I can pause in my work—but it doesn't get done until I do it. Alas!

Thank you, as always—and I'm glad you liked the pix.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Not your best shot???? I think it is brilliant and I will swear that that heron is watching you and knows exactly what you are doing! When I saw the title I thought I would not be able to bear it if somebody had shot a heron! What a relief. I love the way you have been working all day at your desk in between stalking Mister Heron with a view to shooting him. Lovely cheerful post. And my almost favourite bird too.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

Well, I knew you'd like the photo, being a fellow heron fan. But I assure you, that bird was not looking at me…or at least didn't recognize that lurking bulky lump leaning against the tree as an OHMYGOD! human, otherwise he would have been on the wing.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: whatever the distractions, how lovely it would be to work from home...

Carolyn H.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Carolyn…

You're right…it is lovely. And truly, it's those distractions—and the pleasure of giving in to them regularly—that is maybe the most fun of all!