I went up to Burde Street ponds to find the Audobon's warbler and I came away with a huge gift.
I pack my camera up the trail, brought a blanket to camouflage myself. I was prepared to sit tight at the upper pond and wait for the little bird to come. This is the hardest part of nature photography.
I always think there's a better spot, or I get sore, or bored.
I got up and shot a pic of a song sparrow and some lichen. Then I heard the call.
My stomach got dizzy like it does when you run into a crush unexpectedly. I felt giddy-happy and my heart raced.
I thrashed down to the lower pond, from the east side where there aren't any trails.
I sat under a tree near the beaver dam, incorrectly IDing a female hooded merganser as a grebe of some kind. I moved around a bit trying to get a better shot of the duck. It rained on and off and nothing much was happening at the pond.
I glanced over at the group of snags on an island in the marsh. There she was. Big and white and brown. No mistake. An osprey. My bird.
That's far from scientific detachment. I can't help it. I am entranced by this species.
She called and lifted off, soaring over the still water. I moved back over to the beaver dam, closer to the snag, hoping to get a good shot. She caught a fish, then went over to another snag to rip it apart.
I took several bad photos (too far away) before I noticed a crow sitting in the same snag, not five feet away, beak to beak. It challenged her twice. Went for the swoop that's meant to make her drop the fish. She fluttered a bit, but hardly reacted. The crow left.
She ate some more, then glided back to the snags on the island to finish. I've never seen that before, transporting a partly eaten fish.
I call her she, because she had the faint necklace seen in females.
After eating, the rain picked up, she flew a bit then headed off over the path to the upper pond towards the canyon.
I may have a summer project.