Having just recently walked off the plane on our flight back from a week in Sin City, I thought I’d get to work immediately and get a post out. Talk about devotion to my reader base.. believe that? Actually, my ears are ringing so bad I probably couldn’t sleep if I tried – that and having conditioned myself to the Vegas sleep pattern which is really just an extended nap. The plan was to crank this out during some slack time in the vacation schedule, but Linda put an agenda for this year’s trip with unparalleled activity. Yep, there is now plenty of blog fodder to take me well into November from this trip alone!
So, there are only TWO more posts from the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.. for DAY ONE! I need to get cracking on the day two finds and get this, I now have a day THREE having had the opportunity to once again visit my new favorite bird paradise while out on our recent trip. This latest one comes in a different season so there were a couple of new birds and minimally some new plumage on the ones I already had checks on. Why don’t we just get one of those bird posts out of the way now. Today’s (or rather tonight’s) topic is not a new bird to the checklist. In fact, it has been all over this post before (link here and here for starters), but it didn’t come to my attention until now just exactly how much of an ass this particular bird was.
Sure, on a cursory view it looks like your typical nonchalant Mud Hen harmlessly paddling the day away. Nothing to see here, just a Coot using the scales on the feet and lower leg to propel it through the water. Truth is, they are green with envy of the Ducks with the evolution aid toe webbing (or intelligent design if that gets your fancy). The envy is so intense it turns their eyes blood red with rage. But they have learned to dampen this anger by applying their devious minds in the pursuit of PHOTO BOMBING the other birds in the area. I would spend countless minutes getting myself in the perfect position to capture the true majesty of a specific bird species. Checking the manual settings, insuring the composition complimented the bird and waited for that perfect moment to take that one and done shot..
D’oh! There it is again, that damn Coot jumping into the frame and ruining the shot. It tracked the angle of the Beast, surveyed the scene and picked its moment to bomb it. “Look at me, I’m a chicken in the water”. Sigh, all that planning, all that work for that perfect shot ruined by this devil bird. Wait a minute, I see another perfectly good shot shaping up over by the Mallards. Yes, there’s the shot, a Mallard holding court over its minions. A little rock climbing here, crawling under some bushes there and presto, we have the desired angle. Breathe in, breathe out and take the sho.. WTF?!
Arrrggggghh, another Coot thumbs its bill at the world and jumps my shot. Time to verify that this bird has a Least Concern conservation status because it’s about to feel my wrath…
Hit the jump to read more about this water chicken.
Must calm down.. 1, 2, 3, 4, ,5 6 anger draining, 7, 8, 9 hey, there’s a chance to get a male and female Mallard in the same shot. This one even has a cute image trajectory that implies the female is checking out a potential mate. A roll through a fire ant colony followed by a short swim in a snake infested pond produces a perfect angle to capture this moment. I’ll have to bring the Beast zoom back a bit to accommodate the duck spacing, but that isn’t too difficult. Set the timer to reduce camera shake, patiently wait for the female to look back to the male and snap – you have got to be kidding me?
Hey UB, take that monopod out there and convince that Coot there are more productive activities to be engaging in rather than trying to ruin my shots. NOTE: before the hate mail starts spewing in, after staring at this for a bit that male may actually be a Northern Shoveler … appears someone is looking to expand their options.
I already posted this next picture back when I was commenting on the Egrets (link here). It didn’t occur to me at the time that this is common practice for these Coots – it wasn’t until I started searching for my signature shots when image after image turned up as “Signature Shot plus a stupid Coot)
Do these cold-hearted creatures have the least bit concern for all the digital space they are wasting while engaging in this devious activity? Hell NO! It’s all about the YOLO and maximizing instant gratification. Adding insult to the annoyance…
They have the nerve to laugh at me. Oh no .. Linda, get out of the water, I was only kidding about harming it… Linda! Linda!!!!! I forgot all about Linda’s history when it comes to harming birds – recall snowy owl crushed against the flat glass of a Jeep or the fairway wood drilling through a flock of Geese. Maybe that red eye was not from anger but absolute fear from Linda coming at it.
Ummm, gotta go now before these Coots find out I fear clowns and try to use it against me.