Monday, 30 July 2012

Lucky dog poo!

As today was forecast to be the best of the week weatherwise, I decided I must walk home from work through a nature reserve that I often visit. I was mainly interested to see how the family of ducklings that I'd be watching several weeks previously had matured. But this beautiful little oasis of wild countryside in a suburban area also offers plenty of other opportunities for wildlife photography.

As I wandered along the river bank, I was disappointed that there was a distinct lack of life around. I'm not at all sure why this was the case - usually it's thriving and full of potential pictures - but aside from a rusty bike dumped in some long grass by the side of the river, there were no photo opportunities around.

Already downhearted at what looked like was going to be a blank trip, my journey got worse as an investigation into a bad smell coming from my left shoe found that I had trodden in some dog mess. At that point I decided to cancel my trip and head home via the quickest route possible.

Feeling grumpy, I stomped home dragging my left foot on any patches of raised grass I could find in a vain attempt to clean it up, cursing irresponsible dog owners who let this kind of thing happen. Even though I had effectively given up taking pictures, I didn't pack my camera away. As it turned out this was a stroke of luck because a little while later, some squawking altered me to the beautiful sight of a young kestrel perched on a chain linked fence. Suddenly, all the hassles up until now faded away and it was game on!

I carefully approached step by step, firing off bursts of frames, feeling so excited to be having this opportunity. The kestrel allowed me to get within just a few feet before trying to fly away. When she did, it was easy to tell that flying (and being out by herself) was something very new and not yet mastered. At one point, she returned to her perch with the leg of a spider hanging out of her beak. Even eating on her own was a skill not quite yet fully learned.

In all I fired off 600 shots during a 20 minute spell observing this young but magnificent creature, a fair proportion of which I'll be happy to work with. And to think I'd never have had this chance if I hadn't stepped in some dog crap and decided to take the most direct route home!

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