Thursday, June 13, 2013

365 Photo Project 2013

May has been a very busy month with some great weather.  Since I love to bird watch, this is a great time of year to get out in the field and look for migrating birds along with some of the locals.

One of my early trips this month was to Busch Conservation area. As I was bird watching around the conservation area I was lucky enough to get a great photo of a Worm-eating Warbler.  This is a local species here in Missouri, but for someone that is from New York, it is still a nice find, since they are rare in New York.  Then during the editing process I made the mistake of deleting the photo, grrrrrr!

However, I did not delete this first photo I have for you of a Barred Owl.  Just by chance I chose to drive down a road that has reliably yielded me a Yellow Warbler sighting in the past.  I saw the warbler and then drove down the road to turn around.  Just as I started turning around I heard chickadees, titmice, and wrens making a lot of scolding noise.  Small birds scold and harass birds of prey, usually making the raptor leave the small bird’s nesting territories.  I looked up and there was this beautiful Barred Owl sitting in a tree.  I took lots of photos and then went on my way, trying to just let the owl be.

The next two photos are both from the same event--a bird release.  During an average workday I walk through the Wildlife Hospital on my way to train some birds that reside on WBS’s display line, so I frequently get a chance to see the patients that come into the hospital.  On this particular day I just happened to see a beautiful American Bittern.  The American Bittern is a relative of the heron family, known for sitting with their heads stretched up toward the sky in order to blend in with reeds; their usual habitat.  I made a comment about how cool it was, and the next thing I knew I was getting the opportunity to release the bird.  I had a day or two to think about where the release site should be, and with the help of the WBS Outreach Coordinator, Billie Baumann, I found a good location, and that evening off we went to release the bird. 

When we arrived I looked around at the setting and decided it would be a perfect release site.  I took the bird out of the crate for a second to get a few photos, then put the bird back in the crate.  Billie and I stationed ourselves off to the side ready to take pictures, and then opened the crate.  The Bittern walked out and immediately went into the classic “I am a reed!” bittern position.  Slowly the bird walked to the water, then finally took off.  It landed in a tree and we left to let the bird become accustomed to its surroundings.

And finally, one more photo for the month of May.  Recently I took a trip to the St. Louis Zoo.  I was very happy I did.  On this particular trip many of the animals were very active and the crowds were manageable.  However, I am glad I left when I did, since by that time the crowds were flocking in. 

On this trip I took tons of photos and there is one I would like to share with all of you.  As I walked by the lion exhibit I noticed that two young lions were very active.  I set up to take some photos.  While watching them interact I caught this photo of these two youngsters.  As one was drinking the other one walked up behind him and grabbed his tail!  It was just hysterical.  I had a great time watching them and all the other animals.

I encourage anyone who loves taking photos to develop your own 365 project.  Over the last year and a half I have experienced more and seen more than I ever have in years past; simply because I find myself looking for ways to take that next photo.  Rather than just taking the camera sporadically here and there, I just make it a point to automatically carry it with me.

Get out there and have fun!  There’s so much to see and so little time!

Submitted by Cathy Spahn, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

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