When I left you and the birds last I was headed to the back regions of Kensington Metropark in search of deer. It’s almost guaranteed to find one or two back there if you’re quiet. If you’re not quiet you won’t see any. But they’ll be watching you.
As I worked my way toward the back a woman coming the other way said she had seen two beautiful does in the furthest back corner of the longest loop. Since I was headed that direction anyway I smiled my thanks. I knew they wouldn’t still be there when I arrived, but I also knew there were some back there.
On the way I had a few birds begging for treats, so I stopped and tossed them a few peanuts. I was busy doing that when a guy came up the path. He apologized for interrupting my bird photo shoot. I said no problem, there would be lots of opportunities to get more pictures.
We talked for awhile. He said there was a thicket to the right around the next corner where he often saw multiple pairs of cardinals. I thanked him and got back to work shooting my birds.
I had only seen a couple of deer far off in the woods so far, and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t see many more. But a whole lot of cardinals? That would be fun!
And then I rounded the corner, and saw the guy down at the end of a long slope, taking pictures with his phone of several deer that were standing around quite close to him. I stopped so as to not startle them.
At first they were focused on him, hoping for a handout. Then they noticed me.
The guy moved on and now I was the main attraction.
I know they wanted something to eat, but all I had was seed for the birds. Not nearly enough to feed the herd. I moved on trying not to startle them, until I came to the thicket around another corner, quite a ways from the herd of dear, where the cardinals lived.
There was only one that I saw that morning, but he delighted me by flying up to a sunlit branch.
I had the camera up to my eyes, trying to figure out the best shot when I heard footsteps. I thought maybe another person was coming along the trail so I pulled off a few shots of the cardinal, knowing he’d fly away.
And then I lowered the camera and glanced back to see who was coming.
I guess they hadn’t given up on me. I felt even worse that I had nothing to give them. One in particular was out front. I thought he was a youngster, less wary, perhaps more hungry.
I stood and watched them as they gave up on me and wandered a bit looking for something to eat.
Then I moved as swiftly as I could away, climbing a hill and making a couple turns as soon as I could to put some space between me and them. I found myself next to another thicket that had all sorts of birds, including a cardinal couple.
They were interested in me but not interested in getting too close. In fact, Ms. Cardinal took great delight in not giving me a clear shot to a great image.
She flitted from here to there.
Always making sure there were twigs and branches between her and me…
…while making sure she showed enough of her beautiful colors to keep me intrigued.
She let me chase her down the trail, always keeping something between us.
After awhile I just gave up and went on down the trail. It was getting late and I was a long way from the car.
But there were a whole lot of birds waiting for me, so it wasn’t a fast trip back to the car.
No, they dropped out of trees and flew around my head as I walked, landing on my camera lens if I ignored them.
They were everywhere. I was surprised because usually that far back in the woods, where fewer people walk, the birds are not as eager to engage.
As I got closer to the parking lot the birds because more assertive. I emptied my pocket of seed, sharing some with a squirrel or two along the way.
Eventually I made it out of there, completely stripped of all treats, but with a full card of wonderful images, and great memories.
Even though I didn’t gain an audience with the Queen of the Boardwalk.