Monday, August 6, 2012

Being Patient is Good

Birding teaches patience. Maybe that is why it is my karma to be an obsessive birder, because, over and over, it feels like I am learning this lesson for the first time. I learn it when I meticulously sort through thousands of Canada Geese and am rewarded by finding the one Ross' or Snow Goose out there. I learn it when I ignore the pain in my neck as I sort through spring warblers and am rewarded when a Blackburnian Warbler steps momentarily into the sun at the very top of an oak tree. And I learned it again this am when I made one of my regular stops at Briggs' Pond in Paw Paw. When I first got out of the car and took a quick scan around I thought, "Well, wow, absolutely nada." Then the single Great Blue Heron caught my eye. This is one of my favorite birds, and they are always photogenic, so I decided to take advantage of the beautiful light and see what kind of pictures I could get. I mumbled, "Wait right there," to the GBH and ran to get my scope and my camera.  He waited, and you see the so-so fruits of my work below.  As I fiddled with my camera trying to improve the exposure, the pond slowly came to life. I heard a Belted Kingfisher rattling away, a bright yellow American Goldfinch flew into the top of a nearby shrub, and I realized that behind the GBH was a sleeping female Wood Duck.  The Great Blue was feeding actively and successfully, being rewarded for his patient stalking. He must have caught four or five fish of varying sizes while I watched, and I learned that this bird, at least, drinks a bunch of water after each catch, to help it go down? I was also interested to see he caught and ate a fair amount of green matter with each fish. Salad to go with his sashimi!
Be patient! It's fun!

Ha! Got one!

Taking a break


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