About two weeks ago, I made a most magical discovery. Gene and I were walking the dogs in the afternoon, and we heard what sounded like honking. Like freeway noise honking, which under normal circumstances would be super annoying. But when it’s coming from a beaver pond, it’s downright perplexing.
As we turned the corner on the path and we could see the pond, 2 huge Trumpeter swans glided into sight! They are some of the most beautiful birds I’ve ever seen (flamingos top my list, because pink!!!). With jet black beaks and feet, and snow white feathers they’re very visually striking. And also loud. Very loud. Their honks and beeps are audible from the house! I love listening to them, they sound quite joyous.
Gene waited until a day when they were hanging out in the upper beaver pond, and he set up his portable hunting blind for me. So a couple days a week I go out there just before dawn, armed with my camera and travel mug of coffee, and lurk. So far I’ve seen an otter, a pair of wood ducks, the swans, and a bunch of geese.
Of course, the very first time I sat in the hunting blind, I had delusions that I would instantly be the next world famous wildlife photographer. I donned my camo coat that’s heated with a battery pack (like all the other famous photographers no doubt wear), put an extra camera battery in my pocket, grabbed my camera & coffee, and headed out the door well before sunrise.
I watched the sun come up from my swivel bucket seat, shivering and impatiently waiting for something to move. You know what isn’t comfortable? Sitting on a five gallon bucket with a lid covered in a half inch foam pad, even if it does swivel. That’s only fun for the first five minutes. (Note to Gene: All the other famous photographers have assistants that tote around upholstered chairs, I’m just saying. That, and I need a bigger bucket.)
Fast forward 15 minutes… and nothing. No swans, no wood ducks, no beavers, no otters… nothing. And then the wolves started howling. Loudly. I couldn’t see them, but they were just on the other side of the trees, well within about 200 feet of my very thin walled hunting blind. With my oh-so-fragrant (and delicious!) cup of coffee. As I’m listening to the eerie chorus of howls echo over the beaver pond, that stupid “Should I stay or should I go” song popped into my head. Then I started thinking if that’s the last song I hear before a wolf eats me, I’m going to be really vexed. And yet again, Gene was going to be pissed that I opted for coffee over my gun. Sigh.
After about 15 minutes, the pack moved on, and I decided it was time to leave my nest and head for the lower beaver pond. Which ended up to be perfect timing, as I snapped a ton of shots of the beaver I wrote about last post!