Saturday, May 4, 2013,
Bob White? Bob White? Paging Mr. Bob White. Bob White? Bob White? All morning I was hearing these calls. Bobwhite? Bobwhite? Obviously, this is one incredibly busy guy. Or maybe he’s just ducking his messages.
Have a listen. Bobwhite Call
Bobwhites tend to be fairly secretive birds which makes a lot of sense because they’re game birds. That means people like to shoot them. It’s much more common to hear a Bobwhite than it is to actually see one. So trust me when I tell you that I was amazed to come across the bird itself. And practically underfoot to boot! I mean that quite literally. I had just crossed Shep Jones Lane, going from one set of farm fields to another when a White-throated Sparrow caught my eye. I was crouching down to see if I could get a shot when I noticed some movement on my left. And there, less than six feet away, was a male Bobwhite.
I could scarcely believe it. It was one of those Holy Cow! moments. In 45+ years of playing in the woods I don’t think I’ve seen Bobwhites on more than ten occasions, if that. And, with the exception of a few memorable encounters in my early youth, nearly every one of those sightings had been mere glimpses. After my initial shock, it finally occurred to me that taking some pics might be a good idea. I am supposed to be a nature photographer, right? I was certain that I had only moments to get a shot. I was wrong, and quite happy to be so. As it turned out, this guy was within view for nearly ten minutes. Heck, I even found enough time to get some shots of the White-throated Sparrow that I had seen in the first place. Not that I had grown bored with the subject at hand but those sparrows are a big favorite of mine. As it turned out I was with this Bobwhite long enough to record two short videos of him. This was one very cooperative bird.
These were my first ever forays into the world of video photography. I think it’s safe to say that David Attenborough and Marty Stouffer are both still sleeping soundly. I remain a fan of still shots – (I like capturing that single moment in time) – but there’s no denying how much in the way of behavior that only a video can convey.
I’d love to tell you folks how I “stealthed” this bird. And how I repeated my “Be one with nature” mantra. (Think Chevy Chase “being” the ball in Caddyshack). Or how I crept up and got my shots on the sly while hiding amongst the foliage. I could regale you with all these tales and more but I’d be lying. For one thing, the fields had just been mowed and there was no place to hide. This guy knew I was there from the get-go. He definitely saw me before I saw him. The only thing I did was to stay low and avoid sudden movements. Somehow, he did not view me as a threat and continued about his business which primarily seemed to be stirring up old leaves, searching for bugs and other assorted goodies hidden beneath. You never know where you’ll find hidden treasure. JK