It’s All About Habitat
As a wildlife observer/wildlife photographer with a strong passion, I am often humbled by the opportunities that come my way. I may carry my equipment with me so I am ready for interactions, and I may pay close attention watching for wildlife as I am out and about, but that I see it so often and so close is a gift from God. There is no explaining how today happened other than divine intervention.
As I was traveling, my route included areas of suitable habitat – specifically marsh and grassland environments. The landscape provided all that wildlife needed and since nature abhors a vacuum, in that habitat I saw wildlife filling the void. Not only did I see a variety of bird species, but I saw several species that I don’t often see, and certainly not at close range. I will provide a brief description of each below.
American Bittern –
The last American bittern I saw was within the past few days at Sweet Marsh. As soon as our eyes locked on each other, the bittern took flight and flight images were all that I was able to shoot. As I rounded a curve in a road today, I saw what many, myself included (for a short time), may have thought was a short, rotted out tree in shallow water. Almost as soon as that thought entered my mind, I stopped and studied the “tree”. No, it was not a rotted out tree, but was this American bittern.
As bitterns often do, it hardly moved, other than to look like the grasses around it. The bird knew what it was doing and I am sure others may have passed by it and not noticed its presence. Needless to say I was thrilled by the experience.
Clay-colored Sparrow –
Not too far from the American bittern I watched much smaller birds flitting around. When one of the birds perched on a tree branch, I took a few pictures. Some “little brown bird” identification assistance told me I had seen and photographed a “Life Bird” for me – a clay-colored sparrow. I had not seen such a bird before and was happy to have also recorded acceptable images of the bird. Again, the habitat was right for the grassland sparrow to thrive.
Upland Sandpiper –
On a different section of road I spotted this upland sandpiper on a fence post. My buddy was behind me and wondered why I was turning around. He had not noticed the sandpiper on the post. I guess my watching as I travel paid off.
For those wondering, the upland sandpiper was in suitable habitat for its species’ characteristics.
Upland Sandpiper on Fence Post:
Black and White Warbler –
Before I explain this one, let me admit that the picture is less than stunning. The image is more for documentation than for sharing.
I was in a development with timber watching yellow warblers and a pair of hermit thrushes when I noticed this lone black and white warbler hopping around on a tree. The little warbler did not pause long enough for a decent composition before flying off to destinations unknown.
Black and White Warbler:
I shot more wildlife images that also seemed to illustrate today’s theme of “It’s All About Habitat.” If the habitat would not have been present, none of these moments in time would have happened.
Wood Duck in Brushy Habitat:
Trumpeter Swans in Cattails (presumed to be on a nest):
Trumpeter Swans in Field:
Barn Swallow on Fence:
Juvenile Double-crested Cormorant:
Whitetail Deer in Timber:
Muskrat Swimming Near Dead Fish:
Canada Goose Nest With A Broken Egg:
Turkey Vulture Flying Low: