As you may have noticed I’ve posted many shots of Killdeer in my blog since Theler made major changes to the wetlands. I’ve long liked Killdeer, even before I took up birding as a hobby. That might be because their warning cry makes it nearly impossible to ignore them. Killdeer have become common at Theler and they’re almost as easy to get good shots of because they aren’t shy.
However, I got crazy close to this one at Theler a couple of weeks ago.
My fellow birders pointed out the nearby nest,
one I’m pretty sure I would never have noticed if I hadn’t had it pointed out to me. It’s clear why they chose this rocky area and not a safer place to lay their eggs.
The next time I visited I stayed further away and was rewarded by seeing the mother sitting on the nest.
When I returned a few days later, I was rewarded by having the mother try to lure me away from the parking area where her nest was located.
Needless to say, the tactic worked because I tried to get away from the nest as quickly as possible so she could get back to hatching her young.
I only managed to get up to see the Shorebird Spring Migration once this year, but I’ve been blessed by getting to see more shorebirds than ever before at Theler. One of my favorite shorebirds is the Dunlin, particularly in breeding colors so I have some great shots I’ve taken at the beach.
However, I’ve seldom seen a single pair of Dunlin so I’ve always had to include them in the foreground of group shots or do a tight closeup to avoid stray bird parts on the edges of the shot. So, it was somewhat of a treat to be able to isolate this Dunlin and float it on a white canvas.
And I wasn’t even annoyed when the bird’s mate worked its way into the shot.
Unfortunately, the birds were considerably further away than I’m used to shooting, so the pictures had to be cropped considerably so they’re not as large as I usually post.
Birding has definitely dominated both my photography and my blog in recent years, but I started shooting flowers long before I started taking pictures of birds. One of the reasons Theler Wetlands is a favorite that I’ve always been able to indulge both of those.
There are a lot of wildflowers at Theler, but my favorite has to be the small, delicate red Columbine which have just started to bloom.
I’ve begun and ended my last three trips to Theler by trying to capture the perfect Columbine picture.
Since they seem to thrive on the edges of the woods, it can be challenging trying to capture them in the subdued light.
It’s a challenge I thoroughly enjoy.
Considering how impatient I’ve been to get on the road, it seems almost hypocritical to suggest that my favorite part of birding is learning more about the bird and you do that best when you can observe them through the different parts of their life.
Even after years of photographing the local Canada Geese I’m constantly learning new things about them. Most of the year I totally ignore the large flocks of geese that seem to be everywhere. But it’s nearly impossible to ignore them once they start to break up into breeding pairs.
Suddenly birds that have flocked together for nine months get very testy, claiming their own piece of land and driving off any other geese that dare approach.
Before long they’re sitting on nests with dad (or mom, since I can’t tell the difference) standing guard nearby.
When goslings appear it’s unusual not to see both parents caring for the young with one parent always on watch.
I’ve long thought that the main reason there are so many Canada Geese is that the parents do such a good job of taking care of them.
After several years of watching geese raise their young, I recently saw something I had never seen before,
a Canada Goose nursery. There were two or three small groups of goslings nestled together while several adults were nearby, carefully guarding them.
Sure enough, I quick search on the internet revealed that: “In areas where several pairs of geese have been nesting, all of the fledglings are grouped together to form a protective nursery, guarded from predation by several parent birds.”