Let’s take a quick break from the wildlife photography series that began with “Talkin Bird Photography.” You’ll recall that we started out there on a fairly serious note.
But here, we’ll be a little more lighthearted and silly.
I remember something that took place when I was in military school many years ago. The Catholic chaplain approached a fellow cadet and me as we stood talking and laughing. No doubt, I was the noisier of the two. But just as he was about to walk by, he slowed down and turned to me and said, “Laugh loud, it’s infectious.” I’ve never forgotten those words or that long-ago encounter.
Speaking of encounters, I’ve documented some recent ones with local avifauna. “Avifauna” is just a fancy word for “birds.” As you read about the encounters, please keep two things in mind. First, we love our birds; make no mistake about that. Second, I’m having fun, and I write tongue in cheek.
An Unexpected Greeting
We’ve all heard stories about wildlife becoming accustomed to people’s presence. Well, some of the wildlife at Lakeside Park in Chesapeake, VA has become accustomed to mine. I’m there all the time. That’s one of the places I visit to hone my photography skills and learn more about birds. But never in my wildest dreams did I expect this level of comfort. Pictured is the greeting I received there on the morning of 7/10.
Now, I shared that story and photo with a photographer friend from Louisiana. Here’s how she responded later the following day: “How sweet! Nothing like a nice warm welcome.” I replied, “Thanks, Roberta. It was a warm welcome. But for some reason when I showed up there again this morning, I got the cold shoulder.
On 5/23, my wife and I stopped and asked this adult Killdeer for directions to Wicker’s Crab Pot in Chesapeake, a restaurant we’d learned about through the Elizabeth River Project website. We’d never been to the local eatery and had gotten turned around along the way. Without hesitation the bird obliged, pointing us in the direction of Indian River Rd. and Laurel Ave.
Truth be told, the Killdeer was performing a distraction display on the morning of 5/23 at Money Point. I came across 2 families and 5 chicks while I was walking and birding there, and the bird was trying to protect her young.
Going back to grade school—I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh. So on 7/20, as I was talking with this young Mallard, I decided to concoct a funny story. I told her about what my wife and I had done a few days earlier—how we’d shopped at Tuesday Morning, grabbed a bite to eat at Friday’s, then listened to “Monday, Monday” as we took a back road home. I didn’t think my little story was all that funny, but she did, since she responded by shaking with laughter.
Several days prior, my wife and I went out to run some errands. On the way home and on impulse, we decided to grab a bite to eat at Hardee’s. While we were dreaming about plates of tenders and weren’t so focused on our parking, we came a little too close to this guy’s Aston Martin.
I shared the story with some Facebook friends. One of them asked me if I’d left the heron some Crispy Curls for my indiscretion. I responded, “No, we bought him a Big Hot Ham ‘N’ Cheese instead.”