It was another cloudy and gloomy day which seems to be the norm these days. I would have preferred to be out on a much nicer day, but you take what you can get.
I am scouting out my usual locations for some Wood Duck photography in hopes that I find suitable conditions (the ducks mostly) so that I can return on a more hospitable day. I really only have one or two good places, but they typically produce, and I find no reason to go anywhere else.
Just a few days prior to this trip I finally began noticing Wood Ducks in the area. As the name implies Wood Ducks prefer some type of woody habitat. Not that you can’t find them in wide open water, because you can from time to time, but if you have some good flooded timber in the area, that is where they will mostly likely be.
I walk the lane between a small lake which is to the west and a patch of flooded timber to the east. Both areas are ideal because the ducks love the sheltered habitat on the lake and of course the heavily wooded water hole.
This is actually the first time I have walked this section this Spring. Upon entering I hear some Wood Ducks take to the air. They are coming out of the timber. The shoreline of the lake is weedy and more overgrown than usual. I find that the lake will not be suitable this year.
Quick note. This trip was before all the recent rain so conditions may have changed with the water level.
The lake was drawn down last year but then re-filled for fall and it appears that it was also drawn down again while covered with ice this past winter therefore the lake is not at capacity which limits my close-up photography.
To make a long story short the ducks are hanging in the flooded timber which makes for ideal photography when the light is good. It however is a very wet environment, so you have to really watch your step so that you keep yourself and all your gear from taking an unwanted dip in some very cold water.
I get a few okay shots but spook most of the ducks. I will return on another day when I can arrive before sunrise and stay the entire day. My window is limited of course as they start to disperse to their nesting locations and they start to become fewer and fewer in the timber.
•I am thankful for the rain. Still waiting on the return of Wilson’s Snipe and now, with the rain, all the ditches are full of water. Now when the get here they will have some fine habitat to feed and rest in.
•Do any of you make a habit of watching videos on YouTube? Lately I have been watching this guy Shawn James. His channel is called My Self Reliance. You can watch a video about his story but anyway he lives off grid in a cabin that he built in the Canadian wilderness. He has several videos of an assortment of things from building the cabin, bushcraft, camping etc. The guy is amazing. In many videos he never says a word, but they are still very good.
Anyway, after watching several of his little movies I find myself wanting to work with some of his ideas. For example, he built this outdoor kitchen complete with a fire grill and a clay oven. It is very impressive. He also grows this massive garden and forages for wild edibles.
Anyway, his channel is very popular throughout the world and I believe he has over a million subscribers. Oh, and I forgot he also has a great dog, a Golden Retriever, that you will see in every video. Go check him out if you can, you will be glad you did.
•Time change. Do not like it, for now at least. I know time is just time, but we still have to live by the clock. I just hate the idea of waiting until after 7 for the sun to come up. Slowly the days are getting longer but for now it is rough. I am a morning person and need the sun early. I know sunrise to sunset is basically the same, but a time clock has to fit in there somewhere. If I had a choice I would take an early sunrise and an early sunset. But no matter how we look at it a day is still 24 hours long and we should make the best of it.
•Went for a walk on the wooded trail at Lakeland. It seems a lot of folks are doing that these days. There was a time when mushroom season was the only time anyone ever went in there. Well, that has changed as you can tell by the now well-worn path. So, my complaint about this. PICK UP YOUR GARBAGE!! Nobody wants to see your empty bottles, candy wrappers, or whatever else you toss there. Is it really that hard to pack it out with you.