Sunday, May 1, 2011

Outstanding Ending to the Weekend

All I can say is the stars and planets must have been in perfect alignment this weekend. For just staying local, this has been a simply outstanding weekend. I won't even bad mouth the clouds that came in this afternoon. I needed the rest and if the sun had been shining, I simply could not have stood to be inside.

The morning started off a bit cool but the crisp air felt good. Glad though I had an extra emergency jacket stashed in the trunk because it was cooler than I thought once I got out. I left about an hour early before the park opens and hit a few places on the way. Once again, despite numerous attempts to photograph my nemesis bird...the Eastern Meadowlark, not a good one among them. It is a running joke with one of my friends.

On my first stop, a pair of Red-tailed Hawks were hunting a field hard. I thoroughly enjoying watching. They are magnificent flyers. The photo is a composite shot of several in the series. On the fence along the dirt road, Blue Grosbeaks seemed to be everywhere. They are just pretty birds and I like this time of year when they come in. Lighting was not optimal but what the heck.

I think the coolness of the morning kept many people from showing up at the park early. For at least an hour I had the park to myself. Lovely! No loud talkers or joggers or fast walkers to scare everything away. As I was going across the main bridge, I noticed something fly in. Although it flew in to the shadows, I recognized the flight silhouette. Green Heron. And then, another. I quickly set up the tripod. For 30 minutes I stood watching them. Definite courtship and scouting for nesting area was going on. If I could have hoped for one thing, better lighting would have been it.

As I walked down the trail to the back bridge, I passed an area of honeysuckle. It's sweet fragrance filled the air as sunbeams were warming it. I just stopped and inhaled deeply. Such a wonderful simple treat. Natures perfume.

Arriving at the back bridge, with the coolness of the morning, the birds were not very active yet. I sat down on the bench and scanned the trees with the bino's. Then I just sat. Enjoying the peace and listening to the sounds of nature. In a few minutes, I saw some deer coming out of the woods. I sat very still and ducked down behind the rail on the bridge. Finally I slowly and quietly moved to the camera. I got quite a few shots off before they spotted me. They all stood at first as if what to do and continued to munch along for a while. This young male finally snorted and stomped and they all took off. What fun!

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