I’m not a bird photographer, although that doesn’t mean I don’t like to shoot good images of birds. I do! But when I get good shots, I attribute it to luck--being in the right place at the right time—rather than a natural birder’s patience.
Real bird photographers—and I know many--have far more patience than I was born with. They’re willing to stand and wait for a long time, often in the freezing wind and cold or scalding summer sun, in hopes of seeing a bird that has been known to make sporadic appearances.
I’ll go and check out the place a bird is known to be, always hopeful for a sighting, but if it’s not a lucky day, I’ll shift my focus to what ever else I can photograph. I just can’t seem to settle down and wait. Not sure why…but I just can’t. I want to keep moving.
Today, shortly after we’d arrived at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, Bruce and I learned that the snowy owl had been spotted napping in a tree. We’d never have noticed her had not all lenses and scopes been aimed in her direction. She was far off, out of good camera range. So we walked on, hoping for a closer look at the deer in the meadow.
|Snowy looks much closer through the camera lens.|
We passed a group of photographers waiting for a barn owl to make an appearance, which he often (but not always) does later in the day. We kept walking. Not that I don’t want to see a barn owl. Of course I do, but…he wasn’t there.
By the time we’d walked the trail loop and returned to headquarters, birders and photographers were rushing to a spot overlooking the meadow. So we followed. And sure enough, the barn owl had been sighted.
It swooped and caught a field mouse. This roused the snowy owl and a harrier hawk, both of which chased after the barn owl, hoping it would drop the mouse, I suppose. It didn’t. It was all over in less than a minute, and took place at such a distance that I wasn’t able to get any sharp images.
|Barn owl with mouse in talons, snowy springing into action, harrier hawk.|
But wow! Who cares?
Sometimes it’s more about the experience—and thrill—of seeing animals in the wild, than the quality of the photos you get.
What a privilege to see nature in action! And how nice to have stumbled upon it at the right time—with no waiting!
|When the barn owl disappeared, the snowy landed.|
If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way. ~ Aristotle