My brother-in-law, Doug, has been shooting amateur photography for years. He started with trains and planes and has now branched out into wildlife. His frog picture is one of my favorites. He normally goes out on the weekends with a friend, Eric. This fall he invited me along and the first outing was set for the first day of pheasant hunting season, October 31st.
The plan was to start out at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and make plans from there. The guys picked me up at what I would consider an incredibly cruel time (aka 7:30 am) and we set out for the refuge known for the Bison and Elk that roam the prairie grass. Along the way, we noted plenty of “wildlife” sporting orange hats wandering through the tall grass.
Once we got to the refuge, the joke quickly became that we were going to see more pheasants than the hunters because the birds were smart enough to stay in the non-hunting zones. We had one male decide to strut across the road in front of us, starting our tally of pheasants for the day. Over the course of the morning, we saw roughly a dozen pheasants happily wandering around non-hunting areas.
Of course, like many outings, we were not in for a chaos-free day. While we were pulled over, looking at a hawk, we picked up a piece of metal in one of our tires. This led to an amusing and frustrating delay as we tried to get the tire fixed or replaced. Ultimately, we ended up switching cars and heading out to the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt.
The park was fairly quiet until we got back into the woods. The most exciting thing that we saw was a pair of Great Horned Owls. This was when I realized that I wanted my own camera for going out on these jaunts. Eventually, the owls flew off (unfortunately, straight into a flock of crows) and I started asking about cameras. Doug happened to have an extra camera in the car, so we set it up so I could use it for our final stop of the afternoon.
Our final stop of the night was on an overlook just south of Chichaqua. All we saw from the platform were smaller birds. But, I got my first pictures taken and the Goldfinch above is the final product.
For a first outing, it was a lot of fun and my calves were sore for 2 days afterward. I realized that I would need to invest in a camera for myself and since then, I have bought Doug’s extra camera. The other thing I realized is that I would need to invest in some new wardrobe pieces. I work full-time behind a desk and therefore have not invested in much casual clothing. I have purchased boots and now need to expand my casual clothes that I don’t mind getting dirty.