No Two Days

August 15, 2019

Even though I sometimes get tired of going back to the same preserves over and over again, the truth is, no two days are ever the same. The location may be the same but everything else is up for grabs—the weather, the time of day, which creatures decide to show up and whether I can even get the settings right on my camera!

Barn Swallows
My favorite photo this week!
Red-tailed Hawk at the top of a tree
8 Point Buck!
Great Blue Heron

This past week, I went back to the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery twice, the Chipman Preserve twice and three other places for repeat visits, but not in the same week—the Kalamazoo Nature Center,  Western Michigan University’s Business Technology and Research Park, and Asylum Lake Preserve.

Wild Turkey heading for cover!
American Goldfinch and a Field Sparrow

The good thing about going back to the same place over and over again, though,  is that I get to know the patterns and routines of some of it’s inhabitants, particularly the birds. In the last three visits to the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, for instance, a small green heron has been fishing in the same pond, on the same log and at the same time every single day! I could practically set my watch by the regularity of his fishing expeditions.

Green Heron on his daily fishing expedition
Brown Thrasher
Three Painted Turtles

Also at the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, I’m guaranteed to find a Kingfisher or two hanging out around the back ponds. Unfortunately, kingfishers are very astute birds and can hear (or see) me coming long before I even leave the house! They are very good at making themselves unavailable for any kind of photo shoot. So, I have decided that, in order to get any kind of worthwhile pictures of a Kingfisher, I’m going to have to set up a bird blind at the hatchery– or just stand in one place, camera in hand, until my next birthday.

Female Red-winged Blackbird on Sumac

Another benefit of going to the same place repeatedly is that it increases the likelihood of noticing something that’s out of kilter, or not typical. On one of my repeat visits this week, it was a small blue speck in a tree that looked out of place.  That small blue speck turned out to be an Indigo Bunting! I rarely ever see them and was happy to get several reasonably good shots before he flew away.

Bumblebee and a Hummingbird Moth on Bee Balm
Pearl Crescents on Butterfly Weed
Close-up of a Silver Spotted Skipper (photo by Mel Church)

Also, as a regular visitor to our local preserves and sanctuaries, I sometimes run into other birders who have shown me the location of birds I would never have found on my own, like a Red-eyed Vireo, a Prothonotary Warbler and, most recently, a yellow billed cuckoo (Who knew we even had Cuckoos in Michigan??).

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly

So, when I start out on a picture walk to a place I’ve been a million times before, I sometimes have to give myself a little pep talk so I don’t feel ho-hum about the same old place. My pep talk goes something like this…

“Even if you don’t find something new, this is a great place for a walk!” or

“This might be the day you get the best picture ever!” or

“This might be the day you get a picture of an eagle, or a cuckoo or even a blue footed booby!”

Field Sparrow
American Goldfinch on Thistle

It’s all good though,  I always find something interesting, even if it’s not new. And, if nothing else, I get some exercise—although, with all the stopping I do to take a picture, it sometimes takes me three hours to walk a mile! My Picture Walks might more accurately be called Picture Shuffles!

Painted Lady
Black Swallowtail on Thistle

5 thoughts on “No Two Days

  1. I look forward to a few calm moments when I see your posts. Just love that you are doing regular photo shoots and sharing them! Thank you!

  2. Your pictures are wonderful! I hope you never stop even if you have to go to the same places a million times. Each post is unique.

  3. Beautiful photos. We are seeing some if not all of the same creatures in cook county, IL. No wild turkeys in our neighborhood, as far as I know, but most of the other pictures look familiar. Thanks for capturing them all so well and sharing them for our enjoyment.

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