Looking past.

I park on a dirt road in the wild. I change into mud-crusted boots, and head out. I’ve got a pebble in my boot, but screw it.

I pause to look at a Song Sparrow on a nearby bush. Almost not worth stopping for this ordinary bird.

Through the binoculars, something tiny in the far distance catches my eye.

I shift focus, looking past the bush.

An Indigo Bunting sits in the open, and in the sun.

Not a rare bird, but colorful. Like a runway light at O’Hare.

Wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t focused first on the brown sparrow.

On the trail again. Lots to see. Eastern Kingbirds and Bluebirds. Tree Swallows near trees. Barn Swallows near a farm.

A pair of dragon flies, tangled and mating. Good; we can use more in a summer of mosquitoes.

And a Northern Flicker flew over, contradicting something I’d written about this bird being largely unseen around here.

But the best view of the day was the small Indigo Bunting. A bird that was only noticed because I looked past a different one.

All would have been better, though, if it hadn’t been for that damn pebble.

7 Responses to “Looking past.”

  1. Rick Wagner says:

    Beautiful. I want to say that this is what it’s all about but I suppose it’s not. But it certainly whets my appetite to keep my eyes open.

    Love your posts!

  2. Don says:

    We have several that hang around our back porch (we live in the woods). These are some of our favorite birds…the color is stunning. I love it when they perch by the cardinals.

  3. Jeff says:

    sometimes a pebble in the shoe can be a pain, but at least you’ve got shoes!

  4. rob l says:

    screw the pebble. if u stopped to take it out it would interrupt your momentum. if u didn’t look past the pebble u may have missed the bunting, or the lucky sparrow that showed it to you. timing is everything. comfort, overrated.

  5. Bob E says:

    Had same experience with a House finch, while looking through bins had a pair of Black-capped chickadees in line of sight. Focuscing bins got to view the male feeding his mate; grabing camera, got the sequence shot of the pair “making bacon”. First time ever witnessed and better yet have a picture of the event. It pays to appreciate the so called mundane birds at home feeders !

  6. Mary Schoomer says:

    I live rurally in N.E. Texas. The Indigo Buntings and Painted Buntings USUALLY arrive here in mid April. However this has been a weird year of early hot spells and late cold ones. They finally arrived in mid May. I have a tray of white millet in my feeder area. This is what the buntings really like. Chipping sparrows also like it. Doves gobble it up, and I have to tolerate cowbirds just to keep the buntings here to nest.

  7. Donna says:

    On 4-25-13 I have seen it for 15 min.

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