I slept in this morning, which is unusual for me. FD and I stayed up late watching the movie, “Stir Crazy” last night. Oh, we have seen it numerous times, but it is one of those ridiculously silly movies one gets hooked on, no matter how many times it has been viewed. It was nearly 2:00 in the morning before we settled in to bed. I had been checking out back all evening, to see if Daisy deer might show up, but there was no sign of any deer. The woodlands seemed abandoned. The wind had picked up and there was a bitter chill to the air. Daisy and Spirit were likely bedded down in a protected area somewhere, awaiting the snow that was predicted for later.
As I opened the window blinds this morning, a scene of white and gray presented itself. The landscape was blanketed in white, and an overcast sky was showering down tiny flakes of snow. The wind from last night had moved on and the atmosphere was quiet. Donning my camo jacket and pants, I decided I would have to scoop a path first thing – for the dogs to do their bathroom business. Our Japanese Chin are much too royal and pampered to venture out into four inches of snow. If I do not shovel a path, all three of them will do their business right in front of the house on the sidewalk.
Already the bird feeders were teeming with activity. I hurried back inside to fix a quick breakfast for FD and me, and have a couple of cups of coffee. By the time I finished scarfing down my huevos rancheros and bacon, the snow stopped falling. Perfect! I would not have to put a protective plastic covering on my camera. Back in my insulated camo outfit, I headed out the door, hoping to get a few photographs of the winter birds.
It was apparent after about thirty minutes, that the birds were not cooperating with me. I blame the cardinals. They seemed to give other birds the cue that there was a human near the feeders. In my camo I thought I might blend in with the nature scene, but alas, I have the wrong kind of camo for snow. My “Mossy Oak Breakup Infinity” camo was green and brown, and I was in a white landscape. No wonder the birds were flying away each time I tried to move closer! I was not fooling them. I was a big green and brown blob with eyes and teeth!
Finally, I decided I would situate myself closer to a tree that was somewhat near the bird feeders. At the very least I would be hidden behind the trunk of the tree. Minimal movement is preferable which meant I would have to keep my heavy zoom lens propped at eye level. The muscles of my left arm were on fire after standing there for twenty minutes with my camera and zoom held high. I avoided opening my mouth and flashing my pearly white teeth, and I kept my predator eyes behind the camera. I could not even wipe my dripping nose! Let me tell you, wildlife photography is not one bit glamorous. How I look and behave has nothing to do with social expectation. Rather, it is all about what it takes to appeal to, or at least not frighten, my photographic subject. In this case that meant, being motionless, patient, and always prepared to zoom in or out to get the shot.
I wound up being outside much longer than an hour, but the only things that got cold were my fingers. My insulated camo jacket and pants kept me toasty and warm, and my old Sorel boots were still doing as good of a job as they had thirty years ago when I first bought them. As I stood patiently waiting on birds to fly in where I could get a decent shot, I thought about many things to keep from focusing on my frozen fingers. I would have to ask FD if I might get a pair of good camo gloves the next time we went to Cabela’s or Bass Pro. Thoughts about purchasing some white snow camo also popped into my head. I had never seen women’s snow camo but surely it could be found online? If I could not find a women’s style, then it was certainly not beneath me to wear the men’s cut. That way FD and I could share it. After all, I often wore his old jackets and shirts when I was doing outdoor work. Heck, I even wore his old steel-toed boots when he got another pair to wear for work. Since we wear the same size, they were plenty fine for me to wear while working in the woods. Now, I was excited to get back in the house to see if there was any snow camo to be found online. Perhaps the winter line of clothing would be on sale now too!
I inserted the camera card into the computer and began downloading photos. As I sorted through the keepers and the discards, I thought about what it took for the tough little birds of winter to survive. Today, most of my winged friends were busy eating bird seed and visiting the heated bird bath for water. But many others simply hunkered down on a limb in the trees, or on the ground, braving the bitter cold. In every photograph, feathers were puffed up, giving my subjects a rather robust appearance. It reminded me of the “puffer” jackets that are all the rage these days. I remember a similar style of the puffer jacket back in the 1970’s and personally, I thought they gave the wearer the appearance of the Michelin Man. I never thought that look was particularly attractive – especially in a synthetic fabric and loud colors. Definitely, these little birds had a much more attractive “puffer” coat. I liked their sense of style. And all puffed up against the elements, they seemed to not mind the cold, blustery day at all.
And alas, I did not have much luck online finding the snow pattern camo I was looking for. Since snow and winter weather advisories are forecast for the coming week, I will have to come up with some kind of getup in white to wear over my green and brown insulated camo jacket and pants, if I wish to blend in. And perhaps it will not matter at all. I doubt I am fooling the birds anyway… unless I can come up with a feather “puffer” coat!
© 2014 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…