Sunday, April 27, 2014

You don't always get what you want

Twice I have gone to a nearby wildlife refuge with the expectation of getting close to some entertaining bird behavior. There have been a few close encounters such as with this pair of Ringed-neck Ducks.  Overall it has been frustrating as the birds are always distant.

The Ringed-necks are an interesting diving duck.  The male's beak is brilliant and his eye glows in direct sunlight.  Getting the pair together on the surface is a bit of luck and anticipation.  But, I wanted more and was fortunate to capture one image of the male in flight.  (Not easy.)

What is really cool is that I caught just a little of the purplish band on his neck, that early ornithologists chose to apply the "ring neck" descriptor.   It's right at the base and maybe calls for a little imagination to see.

So, why was I not getting what I wanted?  Because there were tons of other ducks, and all of them were too far and much too skittish and most days have been very windy and rainy.  Bad conditions.

So, I went off of my program and found cooperative Tree Swallows, which are as about as plentiful as American Robins.

Nice color on them but only a so-so photo, and not interesting behavior.

On the second day in the refuge, the birds were even more distant and the intermittent showers made for crummy light. We were coming along a line of flooded timber paralleling the road and  searching for a pair of Wood Ducks that might have landed in some trees.

There in a large maple tree in the flood plain was a suspicious cavity that seemed all fuzzy and hard to focus upon.  At first, it was the rump of something very hairy.  As it shifted, we discovered  something to substitute for the distant ducks.

So, I surely did not get what I wanted, but I was given something that I could not have expected. The Raccoon is pretty clearly a juvenile.  (Second one I have seen in the refuge.)  So, I have learned that the key to getting interesting natural world images is simply two fold - first is to know your camera so you can react quickly, and second is just to get out in the field. I'm pretty happy with this shot.  it encourages me to just keep trying.

So, I am abandoning the refuge and going to some private locations.  Today, as I was preparing a site for tomorrow morning, I had a juvenile Bald Eagle fly out of a tree directly overhead. I have never seen a Bald Eagle at this location in the about five years.  I'll be alert for him in the morning.  So, will it be ducks, bald eagles or even warblers? If one of these shows interesting behavior, then I will get what I want, just not always what I expect.

Paul Schmitt

No comments:

Post a Comment