Michael's Rediscovery of Nature

Ramblings and observations of a former biologist and a lifelong naturalist, who has recently returned to his roots in east Texas. After a many years of working from coast to coast in an industry far removed from biology, it has been a pleasant change of geography, activity, and attitude. No stressful job decked out in a three piece suit. No city living. Instead there is a rediscovery of the woods, of something scurrying through the leaves, of the clear notes of a bird call, and of reliving the joy that I had when nature was a playground and a classroom.

"My" Belted Kingfisher Is a Photography Expert

Anyone who knows me probably is aware that I have a pair of Belted Kingfishers that I have been trying to photograph for over two years. These birds are my photographic nemesis.

BeltedKingfisherFemale112118 1

While I see them frequently, I rarely get a "shot" at them with my camera. They normally are quite aware of my presence and, at first, I thought they were really shy/apprehensive. Through time I have decided that it is more nefarious than that. 

Let me explain that. 

Often when I am out with my camera near their territories, I will hear their chattering calls as they move about. On occasion, they will pass in front of me over the water, but almost always too far out for a decent shot. They also sometimes will be headed in my direction but then pull up before they get within camera range. 

That in itself is fairly normal but it seems that if it is early in the morning before it gets quite light enough for a good exposure, they will fly closer to shore. 

They also land a bit closer when the lighting is not sufficient for a photo. Then, too, they will sometimes come right at me with the sun directly behind them - again, when the sun is shining in my lens and prevent me from getting a shot.

Another interesting tibit.  If I am without my camera, they fly by at a much closer range. On a couple of occasions, they have even landed on the light pole near my observation spot well within the range of a good shot. 

So, to summarize.  If I have my camera, they almost always fly past out of range or only get close when lighting conditions are not favorable to photography. If I do not have my camera, they will get close and seem to ignore me. 

This has led me to the conclusion that they truly are masters of the art of photography and understand the nature of light and exposure. They are determined not to allow me to get a good photo. With their advanced knowledge of photography, they only get close when the conditions prevent a good photo whether it is too dark or they are strongly backlit by the sun. All this changes if I don't have a camera for then they get very close and appear to mock me. 

It doesn't help that their chattering call sometimes sounds like laughter. 

My theory doesn't explain how they got this great knowledge for I haven't seen them reading photography books or watching YouTube videos, but the evidence is too strong to ignore. 

The photo above was an anomaly for today the female came close in fair light. Oh, she was backlit a bit but I was still able to get a decent shot or two. The whole time I was taking the pictures it sounded like she was scolding me. 

These birds are nefarious. 

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Saturday, 14 December 2019
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