It was an overcast and chilly morning, but undeterred I grabbed the camera and headed out for Montrose Bird Sanctuary located right on the shores of Lake Michigan.
I’ve been lazy about my photography for a year now, and am endeavoring to do better so I figured, “Crappy light? Oh well! I’ll learn how to use it!” (Yay unrealistically positive me!) As I was heading for a Bird Sanctuary, I’m sure you already figured out this meant I was planning on taking photos of birds.
I’ve never been adverse to bird photos before, but most of the ones I’ve taken have been easy targets, a goose on the lawn (feckin’ geese are EVERYWHERE!) or birds in the zoo. Today was different, I wasn’t just going to capture a shot of a grackle or a gull around the city, I was going to their territory, their natural habitat, and damn if I wasn’t going to find a bird more interesting than a grackle. (I must apologize to the grackles for that, I love them, but they are as common as muck though a damn sight prettier.) My goal was to find an American Goldfinch, tiny, swift and brightly colored, they are hard targets for people like me with a second-hand 75-300mm telephoto lens (read that as I still have to damn close to get a decent shot). Aim for the heavens!
Then I remembered why I don’t often try to photographs birds. They don’t cooperate. At all.
Remember what I said about grackles? They’re everywhere! And this one saw fit to give me his back. When he did finally turn around he made sure that there would be a branch between us as well. Brat.
Did I mention he made sure he was in the shade on a partly overcast day? It is like he was out to thwart me! BIRDS!
So I went on. Surely I’ll find more interesting birds right? Half an hour later I’ve spotted a titmouse, a yellow bellied sap sucker, honest to goodness American house sparrows (but oddly no English ones), innumerable gulls, crows, red wing black birds and robins yet all I have to show for it is some photos of branches and sky. I need to change my plan.
So I pick a likely spot and just wait. 10 minutes go by, as do a pair of thrushes (I think) and some kind of huge woodpecker. No joy. I wait longer. And then HE shows up to pose on a branch just perfectly for me.
They are such handsome birds…. Oh dear lord, I am a grackle photographer!
(The Birding Adventure continues tomorrow.)