What did you do today? I crawled under a barbed wire fence to get into a sewage lagoon. I bet you can’t beat that!
My friend Brad and I went out right in the middle of the afternoon to try our luck at nature photography in the Greater Napanee area. We were partly trying to get images to enter in the Napanee Photo Contest, but we were also just looking for something to do on a lazy summer afternoon in which it didn’t look like Tiger Woods would be competing for the PGA Championship.
We started at Napanee’s Springside Park and I was immediately surprised at the number of birds present. They were mostly Mallards and Ring-billed Gulls, but there was also a Common Merganser that preened virtually nonstop on a rock. It barely took its bill out of its wings long enough for a few portraits.
There were also a few juvenile Wood Ducks and let me just say that I love Wood Ducks, not in a Carrie Underwood kind of way (that’s not how I roll), but still, they’re spectacular! We were hoping to see an adult male in full plumage, but the juveniles were still stunning:
Note the slow shutter speed of 1/100s on the first shot. A tripod was essential in order to get a sharp photo at that speed with a 500mm lens.
Brad also spotted a green heron along the shoreline and even when you knew where it was, it was still hard to see.
In addition to the birds, I also lucked into a Widow Skimmer that happened to land in one of the only locations that would have resulted in a decent photo:
After the park, we opted to leave the Greater Napanee area and do what every good Canadian should do on a Sunday afternoon. We headed for a sewage lagoon! We struggled to find the Amherstview sewage lagoon and even stumbled onto Parrott’s Bay Conservation Area en route. We walked through the conservation area and we’ll probably head there again, but we had sewage lagoons to get to so our stay was brief.
It’s a short walk to the sewage lagoons and all that separates you from the sweet discharge areas of the water treatment plant is a barbed wire fence. Thankfully, someone had already pulled up the fence, so we just walked underneath it and got to the lagoons. There were birds everywhere! There was a large flock of gulls (mostly Bonaparte’s Gulls with some Ring-billed Gulls), Caspian Terns, shorebirds that we couldn’t identify given our limited abilities, ducks, and swallows.
The most exciting event was when we heard a strange bird song from very close by. It turned out that I must have hit the play button on the iBird app on my iPhone by mistake because my pants were emanating the song of an Audubon’s Oriole. Alas, my pants were not able to conjure up an actual Audubon’s Oriole and I hit the mute button to avoid future confusion.
However, I did get some shots of a Lesser Yellowlegs that was in perfect light:
All in all, it was a great afternoon of photography and not very far from home. Thanks Brad!