Secret of Desire

Whenever my little wish came true, I thought about secret of desire. I thought about this bible verse, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4).  Secret is God has granted our desire, deserved or un-deserved. If we insist to come up a logical explanation, I think, when we desire something, we think about it, pay more attention to it, put out extra efforts in it and bingo, wish becomes truth.

Earlier this summer we were waiting for the weather to clear up before we headed out to Klamath Falls Lake and Tule Lake wildlife area. It was our third trip. Learned from last two experiences, we knew we have to be there earlier than June. The articles I read and friend’s suggestion are all pointing at Feb-March, but we were just not enthusiastic enough to make the trip in the freezing weather. Came April, a volunteer spot needed to be filled, and I could not help but to jump in. By the time when my duty was fulfilled, we were late again this year.
I booked us to lodge at Running Y Ranch earlier and thought, if we don’t shoot anything, we would at least have a nice and relaxing weekend overlooking a beautiful golf course. Sooner when I walked into the room, I heard him yell “Check this out!” There are two pictures hanging on the wall, one shows Grebe’s matting ritual dance and the other a close-up of Bald Eagle, exactly the shots that we came here for. Even since Steve witnessed the dance last year, he has been longing for the shot.

Pelican group attack (grebe in watch)
pelican’s fishing net

There were still quite a few birds around, such as ducks, geese, terns, pelicans, grebes, egrets, herons, avocets, stilts, downy woodpeckers, ibis and bald eagles. Lots of grebes on water, but we did not dare our luck to see the dance right at the moment. We are just occasional wildlife hobbyist.

Pelicans meanwhile surprised us with their fishing show. Usually we spotted one or two egrets by water bank and this time, there were at least 15 or 20. They followed pelican’s trail and fishing along. Both are large birds and it is fun to watch their march, it is comical. I also had my first experience watching pelicans swallow multiple fish in one attempt and consume them gradually after that.

Grebes, avocets, bald eagles are our favorites, but we have shot them a few times. I do have a wish list of birds that I hope to capture some images at the refuge. I looked for them whenever I was out shooting birds, but they were either not around or ran too fast to reach.

I ran into Cedar Waxwing two years ago and shot a few from distance, not completely satisfied. They

Cedar Waxwing

are such gorgeous looking birds, but I have not seen them since. We spotted Pheasants couple times at the refuges, but I have not been able to ‘pull the trigger’ before they disappeared. California Quails are quite common and they are around in the neighborhood, too. They have a curving crest or called plume droops to the front,  made of six feathers, black for male and brown for female.  I often saw them in distance.  When mother sensed the threat of human existence, she would stand in a higher ground and assure all her babies were safely retreated before she took off herself. I like them because of their unique appearance and beautiful feather.

California Quail

Pictures of the month posted on the entrance of the refuge are Bald eagle and Barred Owls. Other than those seen at raptor center, I have only seen owl once by John Day River and I have been longing to see more.

Great Horn Owl

We were walking on a secluded path outside the golf course early in the evening. Somehow I instinctively turned my head to the left and I saw this Great Horned Owl standing on a tree stump, still. At first I thought it was a wood carving, then, I kind of feeling it moved. I zoomed in my lens and saw its back. At that point, I was sure it is a live creature. Its body color has no difference from the tree behind. I did not know why I suddenly turned my head. And, while I was suspicious, the owl turned its head. Otherwise, I would just walk away thinking it was just a piece of wood.

Completely unexpected, I ran into all of them in one day. Either outside the hotel room, on the walk path or inside the refuge. I did not use our longest lens and the zoomed images are not sharp, but they are my ‘trophies’ and most of all, I cannot believe that I saw all of them in this trip! I was too excited. I ran and I shot without giving much thought to the settings. I should have used our 500mm, but I did not want to carry the weight. I was given the opportunities, but I did not make my best effort. I reaped what I’d sowed. 

My bird shots are not good on the first day, I switched my attention to landscape. I seemed to hear a voice by my ear. “I know you like birds and flowers, but I have created so many beautiful things for you to enjoy, why only birds and flowers?” “This is a whole wild world, look away, look further and see.” The voice sounded authoritative and I began to look around.

It was the moment before dawn. The helicopter had launched its routine spraying mission while all the sprinkles are demonstrating water choreography. A little chopper sound, a mild mist, a hazy sky and a load of peace and quietness have made this morning prelude.

Sun was up, bright sunray sparkles on water. A lonely ibis was standing on the bank. Its long and pointed beak and slender long legs seems to post an interesting silhouette for me. 
We spent a good day at the refuge. Mount Shasta was in the scene the whole time, but while my heart was occupied with birds, I did not even recognize its existence.

I think there is a reason why my bird shots are not too good. If they are good, I might not look away otherwise and discovered the gorgeous Mount Shasta, the layers of colors on the swamp, and the white reflection. 

Sometimes I was so occupied with small details, I overlooked the big picture. 

Better yet, when we came home, I found my favorite House Finch and Gold Finch (American Canary) were in our backyard singing the welcome home song…

I have not seen them since last year and I have been thinking of them. Other than Robin, House Finch and Gold Finch have the most crisp and pleasant voice. If they are around, my day is surely merry and my heart is light.

house finch, male
gold finch, male

How life can be better than this?!  I suddenly found my arm is too short to embrace them all. Just like a little child in front of load of birthday presents and not sure which one to open first.

I believe we are furnished to live a good life. We just need to hold on that key, lock and unlock it at right time and with right mind.

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