A couple of weekends ago I hosted my friend Emily for a day of birding in the Skagit. She's from the Southeast of the US and hadn't spent time in the cold river delta that is home to so many instant gratification birding sights this time of year. She's new to birding too, and an enthusiastic convert. I was super excited to take her to all my favorite places.
You may notice by now that even though I am an avid birder I do not have a lot of photographs of birds. That is because it is the experience of the day and environs that captures my passion for this past time--the birds are part of a day of friends, small town tourism, scenic drives, good food, and time in the outdoors. That and the fact that I do not own camera gear of any kind (excluding my phone). I am not a "big lenser" (more about that some other time). Seeing a bird and knowing it's there is enough for me; I do not need to document it other than in my memory.
On this trip, I promised Emily owls, and thankfully nature delivered two exquisite short-eareds; fluttering over marshy tidal flats in late afternoon like delicate, moth-y ghosts. Emily was thrilled, the quiet and solitude of the landscape letting her take in the owls' meandering hunting without distraction of other visitors (we were the only ones there). Owls are often a bird of solitude in nature, and if we can enjoy them alone too (or in silence), we can feel closer to their allure. I think Emily felt it that day, and I know I did.