Sometimes, I feel like birds are just toying with me. Birds are not the most cooperative photo objects. I am fully aware that when you are tracking down a bird with a spotting scope (or large camera lens) that a bird’s instinct is to wonder if the thing staring at it is trying to eat it. But sometimes I find myself in a battle of wits to get a photo and bird is just being a dink.
I’ve mentioned before how much I love meandering around Viera Wetlands in Florida. The birds there are very chill and you can get some great shots. But even in places where birds are mellow…sometimes they mess with you.
Towards the end of my time in Florida, I was surprised that I didn’t find a limpkin. I’ve had them in Viera reliably and though I do have photos of them, it’s always fun to see birds you don’t normally get to see.
On my last day near Viera, I was driving around eeking every photo I could of the early evening light. All of a sudden, a limpkin appeared on the side of the road as I creeped past in my rental car. I went well past it, leapt out of the car and snapped a few backlit photos. A documented limpkin, but not the best since the light was behind the bird and not behind me. Viera Wetlands was crowded with bird festival folk and locals who were taking advantage of the light and the birds as well. I wondered if I could walk past the limpkin and get a photo with it in better light. I got back in my car and reversed, thinking that I would scare the limpkin less if I was in the vehicle, rather than walking past. As soon as I got the car backed up and my scope and camera set up…the limpkin had disappeared back into the vegetation. How can such a large rail like thing hide so easily? Grrrr.
So, I waited. And Waited. The light was beginning to shift from perfect to a little too dim for photos. More cars were approaching so I thought I might as well leave the limpkin behind. After I loaded my scope in the car and slowly drove away…the dang on bird appeared again!! What a dorkwad. So, I went back to where the sun was behind it, got the limpkin in the scope and got about 79 photos of this:
The back of it’s dang on head! Now is the point where I wondered if the bird was purposely messing with me. Cars drove past it, some stopped within 15 feet of it and it looked them and then continued about its snail eating business.
Finally, for one brief second, the bird gave me a glance and this is what I got. This bird wasn’t going to make it easy. I do like this photo because you can see how the upper mandible on its bill curves slightly to the right at the tip. That’s apparently an adaptation for wrenching snails out of the shells. But I can add it to my official digiscoping list for the year.
Speaking of which, as of Saturday, I have 53 different species in my Big Half Year photo album and I’ve already hit the 50% mark for my pledge goal! Thank you to everyone who is contributing to the effort to get a visitor center built in Sax Zim Bog!