A bird...on a branch...on a bush...this image was captured on a Sunday afternoon, not far from the historic St. Anne's Church in Anna.Look closely, and, hopefully, you'll see a bird...in a bush, which I spotted on a walk one day.A heron was seen wading through what I'm assuming was some chilly water in a pond near Cobden on a  recent December morning.With apologies to Dr. Seuss, we're looking at one bird, two birds, no red bird, no blue bird, just a whole flock of black birds. A murmuration, perhaps.

Please read this...A bird, or two, in a bush...and other musings...

This week, we're all about a bird in a bush, and another bird in a bush, and a bunch of birds in the sky, and a bird in the water, too.

To tell you the truth, I've been on a bit of a mission since the end of September. That was when The Paragraph Factory lost a very special gentleman.

Blackie had been a quiet, dedicated, hard-working member of this newspaper for many, many, many years. 

Blackie had a wonderful ability to keep yours truly on the humble side, in a good way. He helped me to remember that some of the challenges we have in life really are important, and really should matter...and some things, well, they just need to be acknowledged, and dealt with, and then it was time to move on.

As you have probably noticed over the years, your writer/photographer likes to take photographs of various critters which he encounters on the Journey Through Life. Then, he likes to share those images with you.

Blackie often would share comments about some of the photographs which I had taken, especially those which involved squirrels. And birds. 

Inevitably, if I had come up with a photo of one of our feathered friends, he would ask if I could shoot an image of a bird in a bush. Even as I am writing this, I can hear him asking that very question. 

Well, since his passing in September, my bucket list for what was left of the Year of Our Lord 2016 was to come up with a picture, or two, or three, or whatever, of a bird in a bush.

Mission accomplished. Well, in my simple little mind, the mission has been accomplished. 

One of the images you see features a whole bunch o' black birds which I spotted on a recent journey from Anna to Cobden and back again. 

This got me to wondering: What does one call a whole bunch o' black birds? 

I think the whole bunch o' birds were starlings. I am not a bird expert, so I do not know for sure. Anyway, thanks to the internet (again) and a website called birdnature.com, I learned that a whole bunch o' starlings are called a chattering, or a murmuration. Do not ask me why.

And, just in case you are wondering, and I am sure you were:

 A group of pheasants is called a bouquet. A group of raptors is a cauldron. A group of ravens is a congress. A group of eagles is a convocation. A group of owls is a parliament. Get the ravens and the eagles and owls together, and you could stage the next presidential campaign.

A group of ducks is a raft. A group of ducks in flight is a team. A group of ducks on the water is a paddling. A group of ducks on a serving plate is called dinner. (I just made that up.)

And, just in case you happen to see a group of penguins at the Trail of Tears State Forest, you would be looking at a colony.

Blackie, I know you're probably shaking your head, but I hope you enjoy this. Rest assured, you'll be on my mind every time I see a bird in a bush...or any penguins at the state forest.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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