Monday, December 5, 2011

Trip Report: Blind #1 SNWR

Yesterday my friend Joe and I spent an awesome morning photographing out of one of the photography blinds at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. We arrived at the refuge well before sunrise because one of the requirements to use the blind is that you must be in the blind an hour before sunrise. While wading out to the blind I got a ways ahead of Joe and I stepped toward the side of the gravel path to wait for him. That was a big mistake becauese my right foot sunk into two feet of mud and I couldn't pull out my foot. I stood there stuck in the dark and waited for Joe to give me a hand. My foot came loose with a tug from Joe leaving my water sandal buried in the muck. There was no way I was even going to attempt to try and pull it out with the risk of my camera gear getting wet. I thunked along with one sandal to the blind.

After getting set up in the blind we sat and waited in the blind for the waterfowl to come. I commented to Joe that the blind must be afflicted with the plague as the ducks and geese were landing in our pond and not having a thing to do with our blind. They would swim up close to our resting logs and then turn and swim the other way. Finally around six forty five some birds showed up and landed. Blackbirds! They stayed around awhile and then the coots arrived. Later on some pintails finally arrived on Joe's side of the blind. They were really skittish and looked up every time you released the cameras shutter.

Later on there were several big lift offs around the refuge and the Snow geese and Greater White Fronted Geese began moving in around our blind util it got rather crowded and hard to photograph single birds. but only a few pintails and coots would use the resting logs. the geese all stayed out about fifty or sixty feet away. they did not like our blind!

Around ten thirty I gave up on photographing sitting waterfowl and focused on geese landing from some of the lift offs. I created some really nice flight images this way.

When we left the blind I figured the all the geese on the pond were going to lift off in one big burst of wings. I was amazed to see that only about a quarter of the geese lifted off and then it was in small waves outward from the blind. We trekked homeward and I have spent hours and hours editing images from the trip. I'm already looking forward to February when we go again.

God's love and blessings to all,


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