Saturday, May 10, 2008

Finding it

I am addicted. I have been for years. The withdrawal is brutal and unbearable. The fix is cheap and always leaves me wanting more. I do it everyday. I do it when I am drinking coffee in the morning. I do it while I am driving. I do it when I am talking to people about doing it. I gotta have more. Chores do not matter. Work does not matter. The weather does not matter. The cost of gas does not matter. I need more and I need it as soon as possible.


My twelve step program is how far I walk before I stop and take in my surroundings. Every day is a challenge to see what animal behavior I can observe. Could there be a new bird sighting for the year? A new life bird? Will I see the Mink again and get a photo this time? Can I get a once in a lifetime picture of an animal behavior that no one else has ever seen or documented? Can I ever get that perfect picture of the Drake Wood Duck? Can I make a connection with a wild animal? Can I share in a moment as old as time itself?Or am I just an over feed hippie with too much free time on my hands and a camera?

Todays fix.

I got to the creek mid afternoon. Two must dos, has the last Canada Goose nest hatched out and is there a King Fisher nest in the sand bank. Just steps from the car I found a female Flicker at the hole on an old snag. When ever I see a hole on a tree I imagine what would it be like to see a wood pecker there. Here is one just in case you ever wondered too.

Female Northern Flicker at nest hole.

As I approached the sand bank a King Fisher rocketed out of earth about twenty-five above my level. In my experience King Fishers do not tolerate humans. Ever. Today I scored. I found an active nest and a hiding place from where I can get two unobstructed views of the entrance. King Fishers nest in deep burrows in sandy soil near water. The adults take turns traveling out to fish and return to feed the young. Their rattling call can be heard both coming to and going from the nest.

See the black hole? It is about 5-6 inches wide. Very easy to over look and nearly impossible for predators to gain access.

Male King Fisher with minnow heading to the burrow.

While I lay in wait to ambush the king fishers entering and leaving the entrance the sky above me exploded with the screams two Ospreys attacking an Adult bald Eagle. The eagle made a hasty retreat and both Ospreys landed near by. One took up position over the fresh water pool just behind the dam and with in a minute dove to the water. I got the camera to the splash. At three frames per second I took a lot fast. I have cropped and selected the best of this single sequence. This my drug of choice, care to join me?

Completely submerged at impact. I missed the dive with the camera it was so fast.

Explosive force is required to break free from beneath the surface of the water and lift a fish at the same time.

Imagine the ability to crash in to the surface of the water from fifty feet up in a tree. Being able to compensate for the refraction of light at the waters surface, grasping a living, moving, struggling fish and having the power to lift off .

Single off.

Gaining altitude.
Osprey always turn the fish head in to the wind so they are more aerodynamic. Pretty smart huh?

A pause to shake off the cold water before flying back the the nest about a half mile away.

So much for the King Fishers for now. I will come back for them in the morning when the rising sun will shine directly on the entrance. Lighting is everything in getting the photos that stand out. I went to check on the goose nest. It still has not hatched out, but that is a story for another time.

So, I have come clean, I am addicted and have been for a long time. I am terminal and plan on staying this way.
If you don't get out there, you can't find you own.

Go find your own.

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