For the birds

After all this time trying to find birds that I could photograph, all of a sudden I found them all!  The plan was to go out to Newnans Lake today, hoping to see some pretty plants and maybe some rowers, but on the way there, I saw a sign for another park with a boat launch and turned in to see what was there.  I can’t remember the name of the park, but it is on Hawthorne Road on the way to Newnans.

Even though it was obvious right away that there was no long trail at this park, it was also obvious that it was well worth coming here.  We saw hawks before we even got out of the car, and then I realized that there were other birds up there in the mix.  Those four birds are pelicans, which aren’t terribly clear here, but were wonderful to see.  Pelicans are ugly birds, but they fly like dancers.  And I apologize for the dust in the shot; I need to clean out the camera.  It will show up in several shots.

Looking out over the water, something was glittering in the distance.  I zoomed in as far as I could, but I could not tell what kind of birds these were.  It was amazing to watch them; as they turned their colors seemed to change from white to black and back again.

In the marshy shallows, herons and egrets wade around looking for a nice fish dinner.  These birds are impressive fishers, with great patience.  They will spot a fish in the water and stay perfectly still until it gets close enough to them, then they suddenly snap the fish right out of the water!

Look at the pose the great white egret on the left struck for me, standing perfectly still behind the reeds along the bank.  His graceful neck is extended as he surveys the water for a fish.

Above, an egret and a heron were engaged in a playful dance.  The heron would follow the egret for a while, then the egret would turn around and chase the heron.  At times they appeared to be dancing, at times it seemed more like a fight, but it always had a beauty and elegance that could not be ignored.  Whatever was really going on, it was beautiful to see.

When I looked up and saw this hawk, just sitting there in the tree, I very quietly focused and shot, then carefully walked around to get a better shot, and kept on shooting.  Then I started making some noise, hoping to get a shot of him flying.  It turns out, all my quiet skulking around was entirely unnecessary.  He was not at all impressed with any amount of noise I could make.

In the tree next to the hawk, I kept seeing birds flitting around.  Even zoomed in on them and focused directly on one of them, they are very hard to spot, but the tree was alive with them.  Do you see the little one in the middle of the tree?  It looks almost like just another leaf on the tree!

When I saw a spot of bright red on the shore, I focused on this little cardinal.  He posed nicely for one shot, but flew away as soon as the shutter clicked.  Maybe it’s just the Virginian in me, but I love these little birds.  The ones I’ve seen so far seem especially brilliant this year.  Maybe they have brand new plumage to show off and they will dull down a little later on, but I will enjoy their colors until then.

As I left the park, I looked back at the tree with the hawk in it and saw that he was still there.  I couldn’t resist one last shot!

Again, I apologize for the dust in some of these shots.  I will take care of it tonight, or use my backup camera tomorrow.

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