This time of year has been a time of observances since the planet got its axis tilted (creating seasons) and there has been life around to notice that fact.
For those living in the wild, the change of seasons is critical for timing migrations, breeding, finding food, and just surviving. The Solstice is a key timing mark, and is a sign that (in the northern hemisphere) the worst of winter is yet to come, since we’re still cooling off, but also spring will follow in turn, because the days start getting longer.
Probably because of that, other celebrations and observances have accumulated around this time of year throughout history, be they spiritual or secular: the Solstice itself, Bodhi Day, Hanukkah, Christmas, Saturnalia, New Year’s, Yule, Kwanza, mall sales, breaking open a new calendar, and many, many more “reasons for the season”.
The neat thing is that this time of year is special to so many of us, regardless of our backgrounds, beliefs, ethnicity, or even species. This is something we all have in common, something we all share. As we come together with Friends &/| Family, let us remember that we also have this connection to every other Earthling.
I don’t know how many places are like this, but one thing about winter in the Carolina’s (USA) is you can start out at 26°F needing hats, gloves, and coats in the morning and end up out on the lake in the afternoon with just shorts and a T-shirt. That was the case this weekend, and I took advantage of it to get out there for the first time in months (as usual, click on the pictures to get to a higher-res version).
In the meantime, things have transitioned to a winter configuration.
These Gulls are winter residents:
I’m not sure what trick of the light or angles made this one look a bit like a stealth bomber:
We do know, of course, that sufficiently large flocks of birds do show up on air traffic control radar. Wonder how that will be affected with ADS-B?
The Kingfishers are around all year (have I mentioned how difficult it is to photograph these birds?):
If you’re reading this blog, you probably recognize this guy, taking advantage of some late-season nuts:
Probably the only thing trickier than flying through tree branches at speed is taking a picture of someone doing exactly that:
These Mallards are also year-rounders, flying around under a sky that amazing shade of blue that this planet is so noted for and photographs never do justice:
And, of course, the obligatory Great Blue Heron picture: