Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Secret Place

A few days ago, Natalie, Don and I did a (to borrow part of a phrase from my buddy Dave) "A Casual Sort of a Bigg-ish Day...But Laid Back Even More So." In the birding world, a Big Day is a single day were birders try to find as many species as possible in 24 hours.  

Our adventure started after sunrise and involved a longer lunch that most Big Day-ers would dare think about. That said, we finished with 64 species officially.  (Don had 66 species as he saw the Rock Pigeons and Horned Larks.)

Anyhow, one easy-to-come-by species was the Mallard Duck.  One location easily had hundreds of the snazzy-looking dabblers.  Upon exiting our vehicle, we were swarmed.  Countless tons of bread, corn, Doritos and other easy-to-throw foods get ditched here.  The ducks, while not hugely intellectual, know enough to realize a car with people getting out might mean food!  

(The fact that most of the food left for the ducks is nutritionally worthless is not the point here.  It also not my point to mention that, while feeding ducks can be fun, spending money on real food to help  starving kids in Detroit would be money better spent.)

I snapped a few pics of the birds as they came in. Only one was really worth a damn. 

Right. The dam.  I forgot to mention that part. Shhhhh.  Don't tell anybody.   I shouldn't tell you this as it is now my secret place.  I'm sure you've seen it, but I'm not going to tell you it is right there in Flat Rock at the Dam on Huron River Drive. Shhhh. A secret.  Don't tell. 

So realizing this place (remember, you know nothing) has a lot of positives for duck photography, I decided to head back there today. 

What a difference a few days can make.

While Saturday was sunny and delightful, today was quite a bit more cloudy. To say I struggled would be an understatement.  I managed, sure, but I can't wait to head back there when the sun is out again.  

After spending a total of 3 hours there (Saturday and  today), I can already see how this place is "dam" near perfect (ahem, sorry).  The birds are abundant, comfortable around people, and often on the move.  In addition, when they approach the shoreline, they fly at you and, during the morning hours, the sun is behind you.  A photographer can't really ask for much more than that!

Needless to say, knowing this secret place (shhhhh...) is literally just a few miles away, I'll be back in the coming days.  

Remember - it's MY secret place. Don't tell a soul.

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