A nature focused blog about Van Buren County, Michigan.
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!