My husband surprised me with a new camera a couple weeks ago. It’s actually the same as my old new camera, a Nikon Z6, but with upgrades that are supposed to make the focusing issues much better. It’s a Z6 II. Both of us have spent a bunch of time setting up menus but there’s a lot I don’t know about the inner workings of the changes.
Early this morning I went out to my favorite park intent on looking for some swans and ducks. I wanted to do something different than my usual birds in the hand images. Oh, don’t think I didn’t have a pocket full of seed, I thought I’d stop by the nature trails to visit my little birds after I found that perfect image of a duck.
As I was driving through the park I saw a bunch of swans in the early morning light, and a parking lot not so far away. I smiled.
Sitting in the car I switched to my long lens and then headed out into the freezing cold, windy day. I was half way to the edge of the lake, sneaking up behind trees so as not to alarm the swans, when I turned on my camera and got an error message. Something about not updating something or other related to the adaptor used to connect the long lens to the new camera body.
No long lens meant no swans and ducks and deer and…well…drats. I wasn’t smiling any more. Who knew that there would be this sort of error. I remember the days when cameras were easy, but that’s another blog post.
Back in the car I switched back to the short lens, then grabbed a shot of the swans just because, and headed over to the nature trails and my little birds. I thought I’d spend a few minutes with them, and then head home.
Mission not accomplished.
The usual crane greeters were in the parking lot, but I ignored them. They weren’t what I was looking for, I had plenty of pictures of cranes. Come to think of it, I had plenty of pictures of birds eating out of my hand too. It was cold and windy. I didn’t have gloves.
I decided I’d only stay a few minutes.
You know that nightmare where you’re parked in a dark parking garage and you get out of your car and turn and there’s some guy standing right behind you? Well. That sort of happened with me and the cranes.
While I was parking and considering whether to go feed the little birds they had come up behind the car. And as I got out and turned toward the trail they were both right there, in my personal space. They were inches from me, and very intent on getting something to eat. My bag of seed was jammed in my pocket and I couldn’t get it open very fast.
They moved closer.
They were almost as tall as me and their red eyes were focused on my hand in my pocket. If I couldn’t get that seed out they were going to get it out for me!
Finally I tore the bag open, grabbed some seed and flung it as far away from me as I could. They dutifully trotted after it and I retreated in the opposite direction. I scampered down the stairs to the trail and what did I find?
Four very large, very hungry turkeys.
When they saw me they started running. Toward me. (They must not realize how close it is to Thanksgiving!) The image above is out of focus because I hadn’t had time to adjust the settings for fast moving birds in dim light. Plus I was grabbing for some seed to distract them before they ran into my legs.
I tossed some seed as far away from me as I could fling it and they ran after it as I retreated down the trail.
Wow. So far all I’d done is get one bad picture of swans and fended off large birds. I hadn’t even fixed my camera settings. So I stopped part of the way down the trail and began fiddling with dials.
All of the sudden there were little birds flying all around my head. The sound of their wings was confusing because they were coming from all over. I looked up and there were titmice flying at me from everywhere, with a chickadee or two and a woodpecker thrown in for good measure.
They were swarming my head, one landed on my glasses (which, by the way, were on my face) one or more was on my head, and at least one was tangled up in my hair, and a few more were flying around me looking for somewhere to land.
Every one of them was hungry.
It was early on a cold morning and they had obviously not eaten since the day before. I managed to get my seed out and didn’t try to get pictures, just enjoyed having them so close and personal.
I got a few bad pictures and a couple good ones before I headed on down the trail. I’ll post about the good ones in the next blog. It’s possible you’ve figured out by now that I stayed longer than just a few minutes.
November 19, 2020 at 10:57 pm
Oh my gosh, this sounds like a few scenes from The Birds. Either that or Alexander’s horrible, terrible, very bad day. Well, maybe not that bad. I’m sorry to admit I especially chuckled at your close encounter with the cranes. And the turkeys. And…
November 19, 2020 at 11:12 pm
What an exciting post! Actually, I really like the distant picture of the swans.
November 20, 2020 at 12:50 am
The distant picture of the swans is really cool I think!! And oh my! They sure know you’re the bird feeding lady. Do a lot of folks feed these birds too? I know birds are really smart, so they probably recognize you. You had me giggling as you were being run down by turkeys and cranes! Lol 🤣 can’t wait to see more photos!! ❤️
November 20, 2020 at 8:01 am
So, did you go home and watch any Alfred Hitchcock movies? Perhaps one staring Tippi Hedren? lol, the birds know you too well! Those crane-thugs, and wild, partying turkeys. I hope you got all the kinks of the new camera worked out. Getting new equipment is always great, if occasionally frustrating.
November 20, 2020 at 8:49 am
Please don’t be mad–but I had such a good laugh at this. Oh my gosh–your description of the cranes staring at your hand. And then the turkeys?! This was great, Dawn. The early morning shot is beautiful, and you always amaze me with your photos of the birds in your hand. Congrats on the new camera!
November 20, 2020 at 10:36 am
Turkeys? Cranes? I’d have been terrified! And while I love the idea of feeding birds from my hand, part of me shivers a bit when I think of their tiny feet sitting on my open palm! Glad you brought enough seed for the masses, Dawn — they sound pretty ravenous, and it’s not even Winter yet!
November 20, 2020 at 2:00 pm
What an experience! That Bruce, surprising you with a new camera — though, yes, these new things usually have a steep learning curve. But I think both your story and your photos are fabulous.
November 20, 2020 at 3:37 pm
The good stuff usually happens when you decide to stay a few more minutes, doesn’t it?
November 20, 2020 at 4:08 pm
WOW! This whole post is just incredible!!
November 20, 2020 at 5:55 pm
My heavens. Is this a place where people feed the birds regularly? It must be, and those must be local birds. I nearly died when I saw your photo of the cranes. I spend more time than is reasonable during the winter trying to just spot one. Hand-feeding’s something that doesn’t seem to happen around here, either. I have a friend in Canada who has albums of photos of people hand-feeding chickadees. Again, it must be that they’re trained over time. What fun!
November 20, 2020 at 6:53 pm
Laughing out loud! The turkeys ran toward you–those gobblers! What an adventure you had that day. And to think you could even feed the birds in hand. 🙂
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November 21, 2020 at 7:05 am
LOL! I know it wasn’t funny at the time, but it does make an amusing story. I’ve had encounters with large birds. They can be scary. But I’ve never had to deal with more than one species at a time.
It will never cease to amaze me that the birds will come and sit on your hand. 😀
November 21, 2020 at 11:01 am
Oh, Dawn, you have to watch the skit on SNL from a few weeks ago with Kate McKinnon and John Mulvaney — it was a take off on that movie The Birds. I think you will especially appreciate the humor of it after I read that one landed on your glasses, lol. Good on you to get away from the hungry turkeys. When I was still in Boston, I pissed one off to the point where it was jumping up and hitting my backpack which was on my back, btw. And then didn’t want to let me get in my car. And i didn’t have seed either.:-)
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