Another one of my “favorite days” to make note of this week, as Ed and I took Monday off to tour the Cape May waterways. We set sail with David, our friend and nature guide – do visit him at his wonderful blog, I Wonder as I Wander – on the good ship Osprey, with Captain Bob at the helm! What grand simple pleasures awaited us under perfectly blue skies on this lovely, temperate day!
First, though, I needed to upgrade my binoculars! My old pair, I found out on our last trip, was simply not bright enough. David instructed me as to what I ought to look for and we found just the thing. I was set with an excellent pair of strong lenses that should bring all things into perfect brightness and focus! Add that to my recently upgraded camera, and I had high hopes for excellent sightings and being able to capture them on film to share!
We were going to see plenty of osprey on this trip, and our wonder was multiplied as each of the nesting pairs were in nursery mode, caring for two to four baby chicks, easily viewed via boat and binoc’s! I struggled at first, getting my focus right. I am far-sighted and can’t see much of anything up close clearly these days without my reading glasses. Well, reading glasses through the binoculars just wasn’t working. But, not using them made the larger image less than crisp and clear. Not that I couldn’t see at all – I just knew I should be able to see better were my eyes able to better focus.
So, imagine my delight and surprise when my camera actually caught some of the shots better than I had seen them in person through the binoculars!
Raptor osprey on the nest . . .
The snowy egret walking about majestically –
Then – launching into flight with an impressive wingspan!
Laughing gulls on the nest – thousands of them, in fact, all bringing up babies on the salt marsh shores! This region of Cape May boasts the largest breeding ground for laughing gulls in the world!
However, the catch of the day was a fellow who should not even have been IN Cape May! At first our guides identified it as a whimbrel due to its brownish color and longish bill. But, as I focused on it tighter, I remarked how this particular whimbrel’s bill seemed extra long – almost as long as its body! Were my eyes just not seeing it aright?
My guides looked again. And, again. And, again!
“If I didn’t know better,” said the captain, “I’d say that was a . . . a . . .”
“Long-billed curlew!” David’s voice broke in with excitement. “but, they don’t belong here.”
Apparently, the curlew is a creature haunting more western regions of the country, and are also found in England on the moors. How could one possibly turn up on the southern most tip of New Jersey?
The answer, was a sad one. Young curlews who lose their way, become separated from their flocks. They wander . . . and wander . . . and end up cut off from their kind – and alone. So, too, older curlews that might not have mated in the season, and again, lose their way – may find themselves far from all that was once familiar. To lose one’s way for thousands of miles? How sad. Their end would not be a good one, I’m afraid.
But, to those of us on this birding tour, we had a rare sighting that would be posted for all to see!
David borrowed my camera to get the shots as best as was able. Our captain edged the boat closer, but, the curlew flew further into the marsh, fearful of our invasion into his space. What would become of him, I wondered.
When I am out in the healing balm of God’s handiwork, surrounded by refreshing ocean breezes, wildlife, and picturesque scenery, I may struggle with a clear focus through my binoculars –
. . . but I know, within my soul and spirit, there is a clearing away of the blurs that have crowded my days, and God’s gentle life lessons are crisp and clearly illustrated for me –
. . . enlightening my mind and stirring my heart with awe and wonder at How Great Thou Art!
This poor, lost, long-billed curlew reminds me of those – young and old – who wander separated from the God who created them to live, move, and have their being in Him. They find themselves in unfamiliar territory – a world where they do not belong – and in that place, they are vulnerable to so many dangers. How I wanted to look after this wild long billed curlew that had lost its way. But, the Lord must tend to this creature. He does, however, encourage me to reach out to help the PEOPLE who have lost their way – some wandering in dangerous places so many thousands of miles from the center of God’s will for their life.
How might I fulfill this? Perhaps, by seeking to remain in the center of God’s will for my own life – focusing diligently on remaining within the region of His Word and calling – being salt and light in a world of lost curlews. Perhaps, committing these few feeble words to this blog, I am salting another’s appetite for more of Him. Perhaps, this week I will be more sensitive to sharing the love of God with an unexpected meeting with someone thousands of miles away from the place they were meant to be.
And, this is my simple pleasure – to hear His voice and learn of him on a “favorite day” – out and about in His World of good things and beauty.
Sharing my Simple Pleasure today with Dayle at A Collection of This and That.