This "spring" is flying by so fast, the window of opportunity for photographing waterfowl may be very short I fear. Although I wouldn't profess to be a wildlife photographer, from time to time I enjoy at least attempting to make pictures of birds and other animals. Usually a camera of some kind is along while hunting or mountain biking, but photography is second fiddle to the primary activity. Toting camera gear, can only be done when not carrying a bow or gun or atop fat tires. For me, it needs to be the primary mission. Just down the road on a neighbors land, is a swamp and pond and a good location to catch migrating waterfowl and other birds. Some, like the wood ducks and canadian geese and a pair of sandhill cranes, stay all year here. Others, like Hooded Mergansers, will be passing through, but spend a while in this small patch of water.
The Chosen One
This past week gave me the chance to observe and photograph some of their courtship rituals. I'd never really seen this behavior before-the arched necks, soft croaking call, puffed up crest and several hours of chasing each other around. When I first saw the female towing two drakes along across the pond, I guessed one would have to put up a good show to leave the winner and mate of the hen. In between the displaying and chasing, some woodies would cruise in and geese poke along the shore. A lone crane lit on the far side, so there was always activity in front of the lens. After a while, the hen seemed to have made her choice, and only one drake was allowed to swim along side her, and any encroachments by the other was met with vigorous pursuit. Quite an entertaining morning watching it all unfold.
Hoodies and Woodies
Costly, perhaps....meaning, my final images show a lack of crispness, because of a slow inexpensive lens. Even in full daylight, I just was hoping for better pictures. I know photography isn't about equipment, but trying to shoot wildlife does require some special gear-long fast lenses, which equate to smaller wallets! Shopping for new gear isn't in the cards right now, so I'll have to be happy with, and make the best pictures I can with whatever camera is in my hands. Of the 200 or so I took, I was fairly happy with these, so they'll have to satisfy my waterfowl craving for now. Soon the birds will move on, and I'll be just as happy with other subjects in front of the camera and I look forward to discovering just what that'll be.