Last Saturday, I watched the visitor’s center at Audubon Acres from 9AM-1PM. It’s one of those volunteer jobs I don’t mind doing, but the visitor’s center isn’t often a busy place.
I guess it’s helpful for a volunteer to be there to deal with visitors who stop by so the various other folks who might be there can work on projects uninterrupted. The property manager was off running an activity, which was a tour of a wetland at the local VW factory. I was covered the front desk until he got back.
After taking advantage of the quiet to finish up some work of my own, I got out my camera. I took the cordless phone with me, staying close enough that I could get back inside before a visitor could pull in, park, and walk in.
Someone had spent quite a bit of time decorating the front of the center for halloween. They had found or grown giant pumpkins and strategically placed them in front of the center to make it look like a pumpkin patch. I’ve never seen such large pumpkins. I thought they were fake until I knocked on them.
A Brown Thrasher perched in the open across the parking lot from the center. I, of course, couldn’t resist crossing to the other side to see if I could get a shot of him. Brown Thrashers are amazing teases. I believe they instinctively recognize a camera even if they’ve never seen one before. They perch where they can be seen clearly with no obstructions just until the moment when the camera achieves sharp focus. Then, they hop behind a bunch of leaves, disappearing completely out of the frame and forcing the photographer to take her eye away from the camera to locate said bird again.
Now, this kind of hide-and-seek is expected when you’re shooting a hummingbird or a warbler. Tiny little birds that move quickly can disappear completely behind a single leaf. But a Brown Thrasher is a big bird. It’s bigger than a Robin and has a much longer tail. It should NOT be able to evade my lens so effectively. Yet, there it is and there it isn’t. I rarely get a shot of a thrasher even though I see them almost daily here. I hear their loud clicking and know they are making fun of me from their favorite hiding spots.
Fortunately for me, although I had no luck getting a shot of a thrasher, I did get to spend a few minutes walking around the property before I left for home. Within minutes I’d spotted some warblers flitting around in the trees. The first one I got several shots of was a Magnolia Warbler in fall colors. The second was a Wilson’s Warbler–one I’ve never seen before. I love it when I get to add a bird to my life list! Unfortunately, 400mm is not enough for warblers, so the photos are heavily cropped.