3/06/2008

Sneaking up on a frozen Thrush

As I mentioned, last week Thursday’s owl prowl was FREEZING. I was well prepared for it with three layers on most parts, except my hands which only sported a pair of thinsulate gloves (anything bulkier would make it impossible to operate the camera). Anyway, as I mentioned I honestly thought I may have frost bite on my fingertips when I returned to my car. Luckily the pain wasn’t an indication that of frost bite…I guess it may have been the result of watching too many episodes of Everest beyond the limit on the discovery channel. No seriously, I started experiencing altitude sickness too.

Ok, so back to the topic at hand. After leaving the SEO’s I bumped into a Hermit Thrush. Below is the sequence of what happened in non-real time. I saw the bird and I snapped a few pics just to prove I saw it.


I then began my stalking procedure accurately mimicking an African bushmen (accurate based on the movements, not my height). After moving about 30 yards I resumed snapping pictures wildly, while at the same time being amazed that the bird was still sitting there even though I’d stepped on several twigs, tripped over some rocks and nearly fell on a massive sheet of ice that I was totally oblivious to. Ok, so the bushman stalking thing needs serious work.


After finally removing my finger from the trigger of the exhausted camera, I assumed the bushman tracking stance and headed closer to the Thrush. After another 30 yards I again stopped and another wild photo frenzy ensued.


I still had my finger on the trigger while pretty much being nose to nose with the Thrush, when the camera stopped firing. Shoot I thought (well not really, I used another synonym), what the heck (another synonym) is up now. Yip, the battery had frozen up again. This wasn’t good because (a) I wanted to skoosh around to snap pics from the front of the birds and (b) I wanted to see whether I could do a mind meld with the Thrush to see if it would move across slightly so the shadow wasn’t on it.

I knew I had a shot at (a), although I was highly skeptical that my mind meld would work on a Thrush. Being the quick thinking African that I am, I looked the Thrush in the eyes and gently slipped the catch on my camera’s battery compartment, smoothly sliding the battery out without the slightness sound. Ok, again maybe there was a slight bit more noise. The Thrush looked me right in the eye and then……just sat there. Yip, the dam thing was frozen solid. For the entire time it took me to warm up the battery, slot it back in and fire the camera back up the Thrush just sat there enjoying the warm sunlight and totally ignoring me.

So that my friends, is a detailed account of how you sneak up on an unsuspecting beautiful bird frozen Frush, I mean Thrush.

5 comments:

Elaine said...

These are absolutely gorgeous pictures! I am stunned that the Thrush stayed put for so long. In my experience, as soon as I snap one picture, my quarry flits off to parts unknown to tempt some other poor klutz into poking around in tangles and briar patches just to get a closer peek. But for some reason, it didn't feel threatened, and as you say just enjoyed the warm sun. TY

mon@rch said...

That ice has been something everywhere! I love your thrush pictures! How wonderful to get close to them like that! Shouldn't be too long before these guys are back in my area!

lisa said...

Beautiful pics!

noflickster said...

Man, the pictures would have been enough to the tell the story, but your account on capturing the photograph is inspiring! Great shots, and nice narration - I'm going to give your stalking tips a try. Maybe after the ice melts, I keep falling on my a--, er, bum walking in our woods!
Best,
-Mike

wolf21m said...

Excellent photos! I clearly need some practice with my stalking. I recently got fairly close to some Bohemian Waxwings but not as close as you did...