Thursday, February 18, 2010

Catching Rays

Finally, a nice sunny day! Relatively speaking, it was even kinda warm! After days and days of basically clouds and general dreariness, it was a nice change. With my camera and binoculars in hand, I beat it on down the road. Before long, I found myself staring face to face with somebody else who was looking for some sun, too.

After doing some hiking at Lake Erie Metropark, photographing bald Fox Squirrels at Elizabeth Park (it's a long story....), and clogging my arteries at McDonalds, I thought a trip around Grosse Ile was in order. At one point, I found myself in a woodlot.

The "chick-a-dee-dee-dee!" of the Black-capped Chickadee was so obivious. I heard them the minute I got out of the car. Finally a chance to get some pics of these buggers! I find them a challenge actually. They never sit still, the cheek patch burns out so easily or the background is a distraction. I am never happy with the shots, right?

So, I find myself simply walking up the tree. How cooperative of the birds to stay there! There were two of them. With targets in sight, a 400 mm lens ready, exposure set, the sun at my back, and my camera near my face, all systems were go.

As I started to track the first chickadee from a distance of not 25 feet (I planned to creep forward), I realized that something was not right - the chickadees would not leave the tree. In fact, they seemed be concentrating their now obvious frustrations in one particular spot. Six feet up the tree was a hole. Realizing that it would be easier to pan the camera and check the hole instead of letting off the camera and raising the binoculars, I slid my attention to the left.

There sat an Eastern Screech Owl.

I had time to snag one picture. Before I even had a chance to realize what was happening, he spied me with his partially open right eye, figured out the situation was no longer cool, and dropped into the hole.

Now, at this point, I had basically one option and one option only - back off. Realistically, I could have simply snuck up to the tree and peered in. But what would the point of that be? I already accidently scared the little fella. The last thing that needs to happen is for him to fly off in broad daylight. Plus, a cat was in the area. No sir, no other options. Move along.

After some more hiking and uneventful birding, I opted to swing past the tree again. This time, I swung out waaaaaay past the tree and peered through my bins. Sure enough, there he sat.

So what did I do? I kept going. Oh sure, I could have tried to sneak up on him and get a better picture, but what would that have proven? I already had a nice picture. Did I really need to give him a cloacaoscopy with a 400mm lens at point blank range? Did I need to rouse the wrath of the now absent bandits with the Napolean Complex?


I was enjoying the sun. He was, too.

1 comment:

Robin & Jerry Jourdan said...

Brilliant capture, Paul! Well done!