Saturday, April 12, 2014
My day at the Fontenelle Forest wetlands didn't start out great. I hiked to the lake and found it relatively empty. There were a few Northern Shoveler Duck at the far side. I checked out the prairie area. It was quiet too - only a couple of Redwinged Blackbirds.
As I hiked in the forest on the way to Stream Trail, I could hear birds but couldn't see them. I spent some time trying to get a Ruby-crowned Kinglet photo but it remained deep in the branches. I spotted several Brown-headed Cowbirds high in the trees.
I noticed a large bird fly away out of the corner of my eye. I thought it was an owl. I hiked near the area it had flown to and discovered a big hole in a huge cottonwood tree. I thought I saw something move in the hole so I decided the owl was about to fly out. Elliott Bedows walked by. I told him about the hole and the owl. Elliott said that Great Horned Owls don't live in holes. He did point out that it was in plain sight several trees away. Sure enough, I was able to photograph it there and in a couple other places as it moved around. I wonder if the lack of ducks on the lake had anything to do with their fear of the Great Horned Owl.
As soon as I started walking down Steam Trail, I saw many more birds. There is more cover for them along this trail. A group of Blue-winged Teal flew by. It isn't easy to focus on little ducks when they are in front of trees - the camera's autofocus always picks the trees instead of the ducks. I panned the camera and was able to get a shot of the flying ducks.
A Redheaded Woodpecker was on a fallen log. I seldom get to photograph them at eye level. They are usually high in the trees.
As I proceeded down the trail, I ran into Elliott again. Elliott had found another great thing for me to photograph - a Great Egret. Apparently all I need to do to get great photos is to follow Elliott around.
A couple of male Cardinals were chasing each other around. I watched them for awhile - but they didn't stay in any place long enough for a photo. The only image I got isn't very good but it reminds me of the chase.
Canada Geese are so common in the wetlands, that I usually ignore most of them. Today was different. This shot is my favorite image of the day. It isn't just a photo of geese, it shows behavior, action and the interaction between them.