Sunday, July 24, 2011

Northern Bobwhite

I went out for a while this morning but overcast skies (but no rain) did not make for good photos and not much was out. Not sure if it was several days exposure to heat, hunger or what but it was not long before I needed to go in.

Home to cool, hydrate, and refuel and before long I was going stir crazy ready to go back out. Sun was now shining bright and a good day wasting away. I thought hard about going back out as the temp was 99 deg by that time but I knew where I wanted to go and would be able to be in the shade with a good breeze. Several frozen bottles of water in a cooler and off again.

A couple of stops and blown out photos from not realizing my camera setting got moved so journey on. I arrived at my location and set up to watch the bluebirds. Off in the distance I could hear the bobwhite and since no one was around, decided to answer back it's calls. Within about 10 minutes I could not believe my eyes as it flew close. We continued our calls to each other, sometimes faint, sometimes loud. I saw it fly to a close by brush pile. Soon, movement in the grass caught my eye and to my delight, it was coming straight towards me.

In the county where I live, their numbers have decreased so rapidly of the last 10 years. Going from a largely rural type community to now uncontrolled growth, loss of habitat is a primary cause. An increase in fox, coyote numbers and feral cats have also exacted their toll.

I watched through the camera lens as it would call and I would reply back with the same intensity. It kept coming! My heart was racing and I expected it to freak and fly at any moment. I dared not move yet there was a tall clump of grass in front of where I needed to shoot. Ever so slowly I moved. The bird and I continued out calls to each other for at least 30 minutes. I found I could move slowly and the bird never flinched.

176 shots later, the camera battery getting low and water gone, I backed away. The bobwhite continued to call and then I felt sort of bad about the trickery but it was truely a wonderful experience. I have not seen one close up for many years and was thankful for the opportunity.


Woodduck said...

Aren't you glad you braved the heat? A beautiful bird!

Paula said...

Absolutely worth it. I had forgotten how beautiful they are with the fine detailing in their feathers. It was an outstanding experience.