finding new species ~ tanka

finding new species
traveling while painting birds
heron on the shore
captured for posterity
life’s work of nature lover

This tanka is my response to the prompt for NaPoWriMo,net Day 24, which is to write a poem inspired by a reference book. I seem to be in a Great Blue Heron groove lately, so I pulled out my priceless copy of John J. Audubon’s Birds of America (Don’t I wish!) and turned to Plate 211 to view Audubon’s painting and read his description of this magnificent bird.

Image source:



Graceful Exit ~ quadrille


Graceful Exit

A quick glance my way,
the only sudden movement
in this stop action scene,
and the heron’s neck moves
forward, its legs bending
to launch that tall frame
as wide wings spread wider
in seemingly slow motion,
rising and falling in a graceful exit.

This is my response to Quadrille #78: Rise, the prompt from Merril at dVerse, which is to use any form of the word rise in a quadrille, a 44-word poem that does not require meter or rhyme.

(click any image to open larger view in new tab)



heron spied on shore ~ haiku video

heron spied on shore
silver flash in bill, then gone
river rushes by

This haiku is in response to the prompt for Day 23, which is to write a poem about an animal.

Image: Great Blue Heron in the Niagara River Gorge, 09 September 2008
(click image for larger view in new tab)

The camera I used for the photo was a small Canon. It also took video, and I actually captured the heron catching a fish. I had been using the camera to upload to YouTube for two years. The video was a small format (320×240) and it was in flash video, so that was the format I uploaded. I found that file today and used a clip to create an mp4 video in 640×480 (thus a slight blurriness) for this video poem.



Traveling at Night

Traveling at Night

(Clicking on each photo will open a tab with a larger view.)

Traveling at Night_1

Traveling at Night_2

The Peace Bridge between Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada & Buffalo, NY, USA ( r.)

Traveling at Night_3

For all the times I’ve photographed this bridge at night, I think these are the first with fog.

Traveling at Night_4

Below the Peace Bridge

Traveling at Night_5

Great Blue Heron below the Peace bridge

Traveling at Night_6

Canada Goose in the Black Rock Canal, Buffalo, NY

Ken G.

Kayaking Sights

Kayaking Sights

Back in March 2017, I posted a blog (with a video) about kayaking monthly, explaining how I make the videos to post on Facebook as a way to stay connected to my family in Ohio and Western New York. Pat R. (jazzytower/thoughts and entanglements) suggested a photo blog showing some of the wildlife and sights that I see. I’ve finally organized my kayaking photos (which meant checking a LOT of folders on my hard drives – I haven’t been as organized as I should be) and here is that blog, fourteen months later!

(Clicking on each photo will open a tab with a larger view.)

I’ll start with a photo from Western New York. Before moving to Missouri, I took one last long paddle upstream on a section of Ellicott Creek that I hadn’t seen before from the water. It passes through the campus of the State University of New Your at Buffalo (UB) – actually in a suburb, Amherst. I’m glad that I did, because I took one of my favorite photos on that creek – with my cellphone!

Stream Serenity

Since moving to Missouri, I’ve continued to stay mostly in small streams and rivers. If I launch in the Missouri, I would need to make a “round trip,” paddling forever against the current. Paddling alone, I can’t leave one car at the exit point and take my kayak to a launch point upstream. I’ve paddled into the Missouri River and gone upstream a short distance (tough, against the current) to drift/paddle back downstream to the stream I started in, but that’s it. To control the buildup of silt in the Missouri (and control bank erosion) the Army Corp of Engineers constructs stone wing dams. Sometimes a couple hundred feet long, they angle from the shore to direct the current. Even with this, dredging to maintain a channel is a year-round project.

Wing Dam.jpg

Occasionally, I will paddle on the Osage River. It’s half as wide as the Missouri, and the current is mild enough that I can paddle two to four miles upstream without any problem. I don’t often paddle late in the day, but this sunset on the Osage is one of my favorite photos. The farm field beyond the trees was covered in smoke (which drifted across the river at times) from a controlled burn.

Forest Afire

The Osage River and many of the other rivers and smaller streams have sections that run right next to tall limestone bluffs. Missouri is known for its caves, so it’s not unusual to see small caves in those bluffs.

Bluff Caves

Under Cover

I can count on seeing wildlife on most river paddles. Great blue herons, turtles and turkey vultures are three creatures I see nearly every time (except December on into March for turtles and herons).

Heron Lookout

Terrapin Camo

Embracing the Wind

A green heron is much smaller than a great blue heron, about the size of a crow.

Green Heron

I may not see bald eagles soaring over the smaller streams as often as I do over the Missouri and the Osage, but I’m more likely to see one perched closer to the water of those streams.

Regal Pose.jpg

This juvenile bald eagle (below) sat on a branch twenty-five feet above a stream, and dropped into the water just ahead of me to catch a catfish in shallow water, struggling to get it to shore.



And finally, some creatures that I see while kayaking are a little more fantastic than others.

Thirst Quencher

Ken G.