Friday, September 10, 2010

Everything But Snow - Snowy Egrets, Piermen And L.L. Bean

Migrating Snowy egrets
The weather has been very unsettled the past few days. It has changed from beaming sunshine to pouring rain several times during the course of each day. Last night, there was a rainbow to the east after a deluge of rain. It cleared up for a few minutes and then rained again. When the sun has come out, it's been beastly hot. The birds know the season is changing and are congregating to migrate. We are definitely in a fall weather pattern, though so far, it has done everything but snow.  
     The weather hasn't been the only thing unsettled around here. We've had a crew working on the pilings on our pier. That has involved men showing up around the tides, not necessarily times when I want people around. They've been hauling, pulling, yanking, yelling, and swearing over the racket of chainsaws, massive drills, Sawzalls and a bellowing generator. Twenty foot 8x8 timbers have been slung over the pier deck then hoisted by hand into place, a harrowing process to watch - one wrong move could easily kill someone. This would be enough to fray any reasonable person's nerves. But, if it wasn't enough, at the same time we have had a photography crew here doing a photo shoot for a future L.L. Bean catalogue.
     Obviously, we knew they were coming. We've had the timbers for the pier here for weeks, planned around the lowest tides predicted. For a month in advance of  L.L.Bean's arrival, we had been weeding, pruning, repairing, painting and cleaning. The L.L. Bean contact person had insisted that we not do a thing ahead, that they would take care of it. "We'll be bringing people to clean and move things around. We'll take your stuff out of the house and bring our products in. There'll be a dozen or so of us tracking in and out, so don't clean," he told us. I don't think any home owner would listen to that though. I didn't. I wanted everything to look just so and David and I had gone to great lengths to make that happen. We were feeling pretty good about all we had accomplished, too. But, let's not forget that I am a procrastinator.
    In spite of all the work we had done, I had left a couple of days worth of tasks to be jammed into the one day remaining before they came. I still had to pick up piles of papers, magazines and such, straighten slip covers and vacuum. Waiting until the last minute, I hadn't vacuumed in a couple of weeks. And, I'd have to pick up that dish left by the couch. Oh ya, clean the front of the refrigerator. Gross! "And the toilets, don't forget the toilets," I told myself. You know how that goes. The list is endless, but at some point you just have to let it go and figure good enough is good enough. And, I did have one more whole day. It was only Tuesday and they weren't going to be here until 7:30 A.M. on Thursday. 
     As expected, there was a crew of twelve people, fleets of cars and trucks, lighting and camera equipment, load of electronics, wires, cables, boxes, furniture and other home goods, a caterer and tons of equipment.  What I didn't expect was that instead of Thursday morning at 7:30, the whole circus showed up on Wednesday while David and I were still in bed. Oops!
    Mea culpa, the mistake was definitely mine. I had even written the correct days of the week that they were to be here on the calendar. But somehow, I had it in my head that Thursday and Friday were the days, not Wednesday and Thursday. David and I leaped out of bed faster than teenage lovers caught by their parents. You have never seen two people move so fast! And the L.L. Bean man was right: they could not have cared less about the dog hair or dust or crumbs on the couch. They also could not have been nicer people, which was a good thing, since they crawled around every aspect of the house and grounds like ants for two days.
    Oh, and did I mention that the guys were still working on the pier while this was going on? Tide and time wait for no man, nor does a photography crew when the light is good. With that in mind, when David told me that there were twenty Snowy egrets at Lobster Cove, I grabbed my gear and headed for the door. Over my shoulder I hollered to the L.L. Bean crew, "I'll be right back! I gotta go photograph something!" They never looked up from arranging their boat totes and cushions. I'm really glad I went, too. Nothing could have been better for my frayed nerves than this flock of birds. While shooting them, I completely forgot about the mayhem back at my house; all I could see was the fluttering whiteness of wings. The birds made it look as if a soothing snow had fallen after all. It's a good thing, too. I'm  really ready for this frantic summer to be over.
"Look out! I'm comin' in!"

There were twenty Snowies in this flock, though I could only get sixteen in a frame at one time. They were very busy fishing and quite irritable with each other.


  1. These are the times that if we survive them it keeps us young. And you will laugh about it later.

  2. Even I knew it was Wednesday and Thursday!!!

  3. The snowies are WONDERFUL! I love that pure pure white set off by the marsh grasses, which are about my favorite color. And the photo of the two egrets in flight is pure magic. How did you manage to get invaded by Beans??? I hope you get compensated and not just the honor. Love,Jo

  4. We had many humming birds at the feeder at least 3 or 4, and about 5 days ago they all
    disappeared! Maybe the migration south has begun.


  5. You are something Mrs. Robinson. I have been viewing your blog for sometime and more often than not very impressed.
    We would love to get together at some point so I am going to ask Kaye to make it happen.
    Dave L

  6. What a darling picture of schnookems. You capture the essence of his tenderness there. And the egrets......I mean 12 in a row, smashing but the reflected pair and the potential diver....all what makes your work so special. You don't serve just one dish, you give us a smorgasboard each time. srb

  7. amazing images!!!! sounds like the shoot is going good.

  8. Great pictures and even better story!! Even though I live on the west coast now, I still love to look at my fall LL Bean catalog!

  9. Well I predict they are going to want one of your great shots for the catalog....beautiful!!
    Can't wait to see the catalog, be sure and let us know which one it is!!

  10. Beautiful photos. Wow, LLBean invaded your home!!

  11. It really boggles my mind that you had an LLBean crew coming to your house to take photos! I would have been a basket case (not that my house would be considered for anything other then an article on "how not to decorate" or "House Un-Beautiful") Gorgeous egrets! Your photos are so wonderful and I enjoy your writing so much :-)Please send some rain down this way!

  12. Thanks Mary! They say that they'll use the shots of this little dump in the spring home goods catalogue. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

  13. I just love your photos and I check them out every time I see where you have posted them. You do such beautiful work. If you ever decide to do a book-I would love to get one.

  14. Beautiful shots of the Snowy Egrets Robin! I can't believe how many I saw on my trip down to the Sacramento Valley last week. Gorgeous birds.

    I really like the in-flight shots and that last photo with all the reflections against the golden background.

  15. what a wild time you had.

  16. Ohhhhh, I wanna be you for a day. Just not THAT day! I'm way too old to deal with all that chaos! Why, I get ragged because they're putting up a new "office/retail" building across the street--they start pounding, sawing, yelling at each other at 6:30 in the mornings! And 0630 really doesn't happen for me any more--unless I haven't yet been to sleep. Waking up to those guys isn't my idea of a "great time was had by all."

    Love the egrets! They truly are gorgeous birds. Where do they go when they leave you? I wish them a safe flight and a soft landing--and lots of pretty little fishes to eat when they get there!

    And I wish you a speedy return to your solitude so you can keep on giving us glimpses of your lovely life!

    Thanks for this. Rated. D
    Yarn Over

  17. Thanks so much, Yarnover. They go to the south eastern US and fish. I love your comments.

  18. Lovely birds. I envy your environment. The ducks I feed have mostly departed but I do get to meet a batch of crows, a few young gray winged gulls, a cloud of sparrows who rendezvous with me each evening at about 6. On the way about 50 chickadees wait and receive a few handfuls of cracked peanuts. It makes my life.
    Jan Sand
    September 14, 2010 08:46 AM

  19. The birds make mine, too, Jan. And my husband, and the bees and the butterflies and the spiders and the snakes and the minks and and and.......I love 'em all.