Tisen and I take a loop around Renaissance park looking for something interesting to shoot. Well, to be fair, Tisen is more about looking for vertical objects to mark while I am looking for something to shoot.
Today, I’m out for birds. I cock my head to one side as we walk, listening to the songs and identifying the ones I recognize as I decide whether they’re worth trying to wait for them to appear.
The thing is, song birds are really tough to get a decent shot of. Especially when the longest I can go with autofocus is 400mm. Since I don’t see well enough to focus manually unless the subject is sitting still, I figure I need the autofocus.
This means that unless a song bird flies down and perches on a branch about 10 feet away, I’m not going to get a very usable image.
So, I forego waiting to see if I can find the song sparrows, the carolina wrens, or even the yellow-rumped warbler I hear singing. However, when we cross the bridge over the wetland. I notice a white-throated sparrow down in the creek below. White-throated sparrows are winter birds in this part of the country, but they seem to be hanging out late here in Chattanooga–I still hear them every morning.
This white-throated sparrow isn’t singing, though. He’s taking a bath. I’m amazed as he completely submerges himself in the creek. Then he fluffs out his feathers like he’s sitting in some kind of pool float.
Next, on the hillside above the wetland, a killdeer wanders back and forth above us. Having staked out the blue bird house a few yards behind the killdeer, I ignore it, waiting for the blue bird to return. The killdeer charges me like we’re playing chicken.
I manage to get a few shots of the killdeer without missing the return of the blue bird. And when the blue bird flies off to the other side of the wetland, it lands in a tree right next to a red-winged black bird. They are so close together, it’s hard to believe they manage to ignore one another, but they do.
As I sit focusing on the song birds, a large, mostly white bird flies through my peripheral vision. I pull away from the camera just in time to see it fly out of sight. It’s shaped something like a mourning dove, but it’s too big. I find myself wondering if it’s a bird of prey, but it’s probably a giant pigeon. When I go back to shooting the song birds, it flies by again and I miss getting a good look for a second time.
Tisen is getting impatient. It has been an hour and a half since we started shooting, so I supposed I can’t blame him. I skip waiting for the return of the mysterious bird, pack up, and head on home.