Stay Alert. You Might See the Unexpected.

Photographing wildlife definitely has its ups and downs. Sometimes, the action can be non-stop; other times, not so much. During slow times, it is easy to convince myself that nothing will show up. Therefore, I get antsy, want to pack up my gear, and find something more productive to do. Or, hopeful of seeing something, I tend to look around a lot more, with quicker movements.

A new snowfall event lured me out to Swan Lake State Park last Saturday. I figured the snow would add interest to ducks-in-flight images.

As the morning hours waned, boredom set in. The ducks were not cooperating. So, sitting in my blind, I started packing my gear. Yet, I kept looking out the window, hopeful of seeing something. Finally, a Wilson’s Snipe flew by and landed within 20’ of me, almost disappearing behind the cattails. It wasn’t a duck but I was pleased to see it.

The color and pattern on a Wilson’s Snipe help it blend in with the dead vegetation in the wetland. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 560 mm, ISO 1250, f/8, 1/2000. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved.

After getting some images of the snipe hidden behind the cattails, I waited. I hoped that it would move through the cattails and pose on the front side, providing a better view. After checking out the neighborhood and doing some preening of its feathers, the snipe did move. And fortunately, it moved right where I wanted it to go.

The Wilson’s Snipe is a pudgy shorebird of medium size. Its long bill is used to probe the mud for earthworms and other invertebrates. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 560 mm, ISO 1250, f/8, 1/2000. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved.

Left undisturbed, wildlife moves at its own pace. If you go out to view wildlife and not much seems to be happening, sit down and sit still. Wait 10-15 minutes (or longer) and see what shows up. If I had given up, I would have missed the snipe entirely.

12 thoughts on “Stay Alert. You Might See the Unexpected.”

  1. Hi Stan,
    When I was newly married I tried to take my new bride out on a Snipe hunt at night. Trying to get her on a sand bar with a brown sack to call in a snipe.
    Needless to say we came home snipe-less.


  2. Marlyn Von Weihe

    We really enjoy your posts and photos. Having water out our backdoor we watch for shore birds and fish every morning. The only recreation these days!

    1. Thank you Marlyn and Darlene. Until this Coronavirus pandemic recedes, our lifestyles will change. Hopefully, we can all slow down and take time to appreciate the “fish and shore birds” out our back door. Stay healthy!

  3. Yes, good for us all to sit and Be Still! Extra time for that now and see it’s God knocking at our door to pay attention to these things we take so for granted, including the beauty that you have captured! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Bev, I agree. I think we can all use a little more quiet time. When I start getting restless, I find that prayer helps settle me back down. We are blessed with so much beauty around us. We just need to slow down and appreciate it.

  4. Wonderful photos once again, Stan. You have such a gift of photography and PATIENCE! Both gifts I could use more of.

  5. Beautiful photos once again Stan. You do have the patience of a saint. The weather will improve, as it did today so you can get out even more. Take care and stay well.

  6. Carol Gronstal

    Love the photos of the snipe. Just sitting peacefully outside is a treat these days, isn’t it?
    Thank you.

    1. I hope more people are able to spend time just sitting and enjoying nature. We can get too wrapped up in activities and not take time to relax.

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