Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday, Monday

As I sit here watching the snowing and blowing outside my laboritory window, I fondly look back on the old days. Actually yesterday. This is my side of the story. I had to run an errand to the next town over. As usual, I decided to take the back roads home. This time I was sure that I was ready for wildlife action with my camera riding "shotgun". I guess the "wildlife" was anticipating the predicted snowstorm because the woods and fields were alive with crows and hawks and an eagle or two out searching for a few last minute meals. Most of the "subjects" were a little too far off or obscured by brush until....... I came around a bend and down a hill to a clearing carved out of the hills to make room for a winding little creek. Standing right there at the edge of the creek was a beautiful adult Bald Eagle not more than twenty yards from the road. There was even a place for me to pull off the road and get some shots without leaving the car. He paid close attention to me as I slowly lowered my window and raised my camera I hit the "on" button and he struck a regal pose as I zoomed in for a perfect closeup photo at which time my camera shut itself down due to dead batteries. He gave off a little eagle chuckle, wagged his white tail and took off laughing. After pronouncing several profanities I continued toward home. It wasn't too long when I came around another bend in the road where I encountered ten young turkeys running along the road and in the ditch. I guess they knew that I was "unarmed" because they not only enjoyed frolicking on the road in front of my car but, they invited another twenty or so friends to join them. I shook my fist, which was grasping my "dead" camera, at them, honked the horn and yelled something about stuffing and cranberry sauce at them until they took off across a field to find shelter in a wooded area. Now I was pissed. I drove home as fast as the partially ice covered road would allow passing three or four more eagles (one a possible Golden). Arriving home I dug up a new load of recharged AAs and hopped back into the car for second attempt. I returned to the first eagle location to find my friend up in a tree a little farther downstream from the road. He managed to position himself just enough behind some branches that it made focusing nearly impossible. Meanwhile, still farther downstream (or maybe it was upstream) one of his buddies flew about looking for fish. This guy was too far away to even try for. So I drove on to the Turkey area. They were gone so I turned back to the original eagle spot where I would at least attempt to get a nice snowscape shot and maybe luck out eaglewise. When I got back, no eagles and the weather was turning bad so the light had gone to pot. Well, dammit I'm here and my batteries are charged and I'm taking a picture! I got out of the car and walked back and forth looking for the best vantage point. I shot a few shots (nothing that really excited me) threw the camera over my shoulder and headed back to the warmth of the Honda when I became aware of something overhead (I mean slightly overhead - about six feet overhead) Yep. It was Mr Smartass Eagle zipping upstream for, I guess, cocktail hour. By the time I could even come close to being able to take a picture, he was too far up the creek. (and so was my prize winning photo op) I'm surprised that he didn't take time to crap on me as he passed over. That would have completed a fine day in the photo field.
Below I've tried to recreate what did happen and what could have happened.

This is the little valley. The red "X"s indicate
where I might have taken great shots of Bald Eagles

This is something like what it was like when no camera was available

What Eagles look like when there's no camera available!

And turkeys as well.