Bobwhite At Avalon

Saturday, May 4, 2013,

20130426081914-5x7wBob 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

20130426081927 (1)-5x7w

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.

20130426082001 (1)-5x7w

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


3 thoughts on “Bobwhite At Avalon

  1. I have heard Bob Whites plenty of times as well but have never seen them. Thanks for the up close photographs!

  2. I’m glad you folks enjoyed the pics. I was pretty psyched to get them.
    Mary, If you’d like to see some Bobwhites I would suggest looking in the local press for news of Bobwhite releases. Bobwhites are in decline so there are some people that raise Bobwhites for the express purpose of releasing them into the wild. These releases can sometimes make for a decent photo op.
    I know that in recent years Sweetbriar Nature Center and Caleb Smith Park Preserve, both in Smithtown, have held releases.Offhand, I don’t know of any impending releases at this time but both organizations have websites as well as Facebook pages that are fairly well monitored. I’m sure that if you queried them, they’d give whatever info they have. These releases tend to be events that these organizations like to promote. I was at a Sweetbriar release a couple years back and there were about 30 people awaiting the release. That doesn’t help with getting a natural pic but, even still, it does give you an opportunity to get to see them. These pics are of a male Bobwhite. The females are even harder to find, but no less beautiful. Plus, there’s no denying the cuteness factor of a slew of baby birds.
    I am certain that there are releases all over the island. If you have you’re own favorite haunts, check with the folks who run or maintain that particular piece of heaven. Who’s to say? You just might have a release or two right nearby.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *