Many people reward themselves for accomplishing a much-dreaded task. Maybe they'll get themselves a special latte or a bar of chocolate or ... whatever.
One of my favorite rewards is sitting quietly out in the garden and watching the birds for an hour or two. I tend to do this at least two or three times a week and I never get tired of it. At this point, I've come to know some of the regular visitors. There's a grackle with only one-foot who has a very shrill call. I will hear that call even from inside of the house and know it's that particular grackle. Despite challenges, this bird is very mobile ... and graceful.
Recently, a family of blue jays has been visiting. They're very loud in a way that often sounds like fingernails scraping down a blackboard. They make their presence known even before touching down.
While there are plenty of other birds, blue jays and grackles are among the most frequent visitors, surpassed only by the doves -- mourning, white-winged and collared. While many of a certain kind of dove look alike, some can be distinguished by their behaviors and personality traits over time.
I take many photos of these visitors from my quiet spot but only a few out of every hundred or so make their way online. I like to think about why I like these shots best, and the reasons vary. I like the shot above because it seemed to totally capture the feeling of the moment and in just the right light ... Dove Happiness.