Birding without a Lens

I’ve previously suggested that carrying my Canon camera helps me to see more than I would otherwise see, whether it be flowers, butterflies, or, more recently, birds.

After the last few days, I’m beginning to believe that may have been an over generalization, one that should be restated: You’re more likely to see great shots when you don’t have your camera with you.

Several days ago I was swinging with the grandkids on the front porch while their dad was working on my sprinkler system. We sat there swinging for perhaps fifteen minutes and in that time saw innumerable bees, a hummingbird trying to collect the nectar faster than the bees, a beautiful Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, and a pair of crows drive a Sharp-shinned hawk not more than three feet over our head.

Yesterday, while continuing to lay the lines for my drip irrigation system, a hummingbird zoomed from flower to flower, less than three feet from my head, and twice perched on flower stems and sat looking at me. It was so close I couldn’t have have taken a picture with any of my standard birding lenses anyway.

This morning while taking Skye for his daily walk we encountered a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers, the closest I’ve ever seen them, flaunting themselves, knowing I didn’t have my camera with me.

Considering how much I’ve spent on cameras and lenses, I’d really like to think that using them has made me more aware of my surroundings. Once you begin to notice things, you don’t suddenly stop noticing them. I suspect I probably didn’t have to spend that much money to become more aware of my surroundings.