Saturday, February 1, 2014

The chase is on: It's not always about the photos...


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