I’ve got a lot to cover in this post, and lot’s of pictures to upload, so let’s get right down to business, shall we?
I must admit I’m still reeling from an embarrassing faux pas in my last post. You may remember that one: I tried to speak “Vulturese” to a tower-ful of vultures. It was my attempt to follow Scott Anderson’s bird photography advice, which was to learn their language and become a bird-whisperer of sorts.
The fact that I got a couple dozen vultures to pose for me on my very first attempt gave me the false sense that I was a natural born bird-whisperer. Well, as it turned out, I got those pictures despite myself. Scott was real nice when he told me I had more work to do because the language I was speaking wasn’t Vulturese — it was Crowish — but still, I was ashamed. I felt like the kind of imbecile who would learn to speak the German language for a trip to China.
I HAD to redeem myself, so I pulled an all-night study session in Bird Linguistics. The very next day, (yesterday) my cramming paid off. I was riding along, minding my own business, when I spotted four ostriches in a field to my left. Maybe you can see them in the feature photo at the top of the page. They’re up near the cornfield. They were huge.
Thanks to my newfound bird knowledge, I came to my senses. Ostriches do not roam the countryside around here. Neither do emus. And they were too skinny to be wild turkeys. “Oh my gosh,” I thought to myself, “I think those things might be sandhill cranes.” I zoomed in with my zoomily, zumerific Samsung phone to confirm. And I spoke to them.
I was pretty proud of myself for spotting these interesting creatures. I was even more proud when a couple of motorcyclists noticed me taking pictures and then they stopped to take pictures of their own. It would never have happened had I not just learned to speak Sandhillcranian.
Let it be known that absolutely NOBODY around MY Town sets out on their bike with the intent to spot some sandhill cranes. Eagles, ducks, herons, robins, sparrows — maybe. Sandhill cranes — no. I just got lucky.
Emboldened by yesterday’s success, I set out today specifically to test my bird speaking skills and my avian photography skills. As you will soon see, my day was a huge success on both counts.
Sure, those pictures are pretty fantastic, but the next sequence of pictures might be my piece de resistance. Birds of prey are easily my favorite birds. When a big hawk flew across the road to a telephone pole ahead of me, I was ecstatic.
I had a few more mile to go before reaching the magical number of 42-miles. Luckily, I had one more significant photo op.
Of course, I thanked the geese for their cooperation. Unfortunately, I did not get the same cooperation from a couple of goldfinches, a Baltimore oriole, and a blue jay while on the bike trail back into MY Town.