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Photo Shoot Report: August 7th, 2011 @ Mitchell Lake Audubon Center

August 8, 2011

© - Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (juvenile)

So I really hadn’t planned to go out shooting.  Honest.  The medical front was troublesome over the last week or so with news that a surgeon would be earning part of a boat payment trying to put me back together.  I didn’t want to go out for any extended length of time because the longer I’m out, the longer it takes to recover.  A dragonfly expert had graciously offered to meet me out at a prime location about an hour and a half from my home, but the thought of driving that far, hiking out and about where the pictures were to be taken, and then driving the 90 minutes back home was not appealing.  So I wasn’t going to go out shooting until I made my trip to Ohio.

But you know how it is.  The camera was talking to me.  Complaining about being neglected.  And I hate to disappoint a hot new thing like my new camera.  So I figured what the heck.  Mitchell Lake sounds like a close enough spot.  The price is inexpensive enough that I can justify maybe just a half-hour or so out and about.  It is a quick process to get back to the car.  Okay.  I’ll do it.

And I did.  I spent about two hours out at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center.  Okay, not all of it with a camera in front of my face, but long enough to make about 400 images.  Okay, 410 to be exact, but who’s counting.  I got out there early enough that the heat wasn’t oppressive.  It was bad–the t-shirt that I wore under my camo shirt was completely and absolutely soaked when I returned to the car for the last time.  And I probably would have shot more images if not for the fact that my eyes were burning so bad from the sweat that ended up in them that the combo of discomfort and limited vision told me that it was time to hang it up for the day.

The highlights:  3 more birds on the bird life list.  Actually should have only been two, but I realized I hadn’t previously marked a Snowy Egret on the list.  I had seen one of those years ago at Port O’Connor.  But added to that list was the Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) and the American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana).  I had a 1st year or juvenile Scissor-tailed Flycatcher who was incredibly patient with me and allowed me to make about 70 shots of it from four different positions.  I also added a Red-tailed Pennant (Brachymesia furcata) to the dragonfly life list.

The low-light:  The ant hill I did not see until the residents of the hill greeted me in their own special way.  Thankfully they were not fire ants.  Thankfully I only have six reminders of our encounter.  ‘Nuff said.

And the other reminder of my visit:  A trip to grab the non-prescription, non-asprin pain killers to remind me that 2 hours was probably 90 minutes too long.  Such is life.

About the image:

A juvenile or 1st year Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) perched on a tree.  The tail feathers are still quite a ways from coming in at full force, but when he landed and took-off after our photo session he definitely had the flight characteristics of his adult counterparts.  Beautiful Longhorn orange under the wings.

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