A nonsensical conversation

_T6C8139,  red-winged blackbird

A red-winged blackbird guards the edge of a slough.

There’s a certain predictably in rural Saskatchewan that still ends up surprising me.

I am sitting in the driver’s seat of my truck, window open, camera pointed across the road to a slough on my left. I am alone on a quiet country road with endless fields covered by golden light. I had stopped to practice capturing some red-winged blackbirds and see if anything else showed up.

A movement on the front edge of the slough snaps my attention to a bird I’ve never seen before. It’s surprisingly tall and blends in perfectly with the background. This is camouflage on steroids! I’m firing away, pleased with the find. The unusual bird is so close I have trouble fitting it all into my frame – not exactly a common problem.

Out of the corner of my eye I see trouble approaching in the form of a half-ton truck slowing down as it approaches. I try to avoid eye contact with the older gentleman, who I presume to be a farmer, but to no avail.

The truck painfully slows and stops directly in front of my lens, destroying my view. After he fumbles around endlessly with the controls, the window finally starts to recede. The following nonsensical conversation ensues.

_T6C8194, American Bittern

The camouflage on the American Bittern is near perfect when it stands perfectly still – and it did.  No wonder I haven’t seen it before.

“Are you taking pictures?” the farmer asks looking straight into the business end of my long lens.

I uncharacteristically avoid all sarcasm, “Yes. I’m just having a little fun taking photos out here.”

Long pause.

Another pause.

“I suppose you can’t take photos while I’m here,” he muses slowly.

I surprise myself again by staying polite, “That’s true.”

Long pause.

Once again he fumbles with the controls before finally getting the window to shut. He methodically shifts the truck into gear and slowly moves forward.

I frantically search for my camouflaged bird but I don’t see it. I’m not entirely surprised.

I decide to leave the truck to walk around and see if there is any other wildlife hidden away.

As soon as I crack the truck door, my bird jumps up and flies away. Perfect! Apparently my sarcasm has returned.

I drive for many miles without seeing another vehicle until I stop again to photograph some ducks. This time I don’t even get a wave as a big truck storms by!

_T6C8359, hawk, Saskatchewan

I end the evening watching a hawk on a fencepost at sunset. Just another beautiful Saskatchewan scene.

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Latest Comments

  1. Scott Marshall says:

    all good but the bittern is fabulous

    Like

  2. hannele says:

    Hah! Sounds slightly frustrating, that conversation. 😀 The Bitterns are very interesting birds – I have seen the European bittern once, but heard it many more times. Its call is very distinct. Well done on getting such a good photo of it!

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Well I have to say there was a significant amount of good fortune in getting it. After comments, I’m now curious what it sounds like since I never heard it.

      As for the conversation, yes, that was just a bizarre moment. Somebody wanted to talk but had nothing to say.

      Like

  3. doraiswamyganesh says:

    Dear Lyle, Thank you for giving an old man so much pleasure in the twilight zone if his life. Best wishes, Ganesh.

    Like

  4. Phil Lanoue says:

    Well super shot of the hawk but your experience with the guy stopping perfectly describes what I encounter constantly.

    Like

  5. bits and pieces on photo says:

    lovely text and gorgeous pics! 🙂

    Like

  6. Rejoice For The Day says:

    Nature’s camouflage is pretty amazing!

    Like

  7. RobynG says:

    Gorgeous lighting, especially on the last two. Beautiful images. Birds well captured! Robyn

    Like

  8. Deb W. Trotter says:

    Lovely photos. I can feel the warmth of the evening light. And the bittern is amazingly adapted to stand invisibly in those reeds.

    Like

  9. Sue says:

    Re Michael Powell’s note on the Yellow headed Blackbird: click on the hawk photo, then click on previous at the bottom of the photo and it brings up the YHBB. These golden photos are really lovely.

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      That’s interesting route there but I got it to work. It must be glitch in the programming. Glad you liked the photos – I am a real fan of the golden hour.

      Like

  10. Gunta says:

    Funny thing is once you have that picture imprinted in your brain, you’ll likely start seeing them more often. I read somewhere how the mind does that.

    Like

  11. westerner54 says:

    Oh, the farmer. Gotta love him. The bittern is just wonderful – I’ve never seen one (at least as far as I know!)

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. I think I’m with you on not one seeing one before as far as I know. Given that perfect camouflage, I’m guessing I’ve been looking and not seeing.

      Like

  12. gingeralicia88 says:

    Beautiful pictures as always! And funny story, I don’t think I would hav been able to hold my sarcasm in though 😉

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. It did make for a great story after it was done – though a bit painful at the time. If he wouldn’t have been a nice guy then it would have been a lot harder to hold back the sarcasm.

      Like

  13. 1107photography says:

    Funny story–I could picture the whole scene! Great shots, nonetheless–Love the final one in that golden light. He looks regal.

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. I was chuckling about the whole thing afterwards. I loved the scene that I stumbled on with the hawks. There were two of them sitting four fence posts apart and they did look regal. Love those hawks.

      Like

  14. FeyGirl says:

    Love your convo. 🙂 And love that image of the bittern, against his perfect background! Perfect example of camouflage, wow. They’re shy to begin with (at least down here)…

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. It was one of those surreal moments. You tend to have a lot of heron-type birds out your way so I guess it’s not surprising that they are there. I had no idea what I was looking at so I had to do some research. It appears I got the right name.

      Like

  15. Fotografin Thee Ballmer says:

    So, seesms the same happens in Canada too. You sit there with a big cam and lens and people ask if one takes photos, eh? You are right, difficult to keep sarcasm back, right ? In this case, I like to tend to say: nope, I dry my hair.
    What a wonderful camouflage of this bird, perfectly made my mother nature. Hope you soon have again luck with such nice creatures.have a good day, LG Thee

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks for the great comments. I love the drying my hair comment – I may have to borrow that one! That camouflage was absolutely astounding. I’m going to have to look a lot closer now and try to see what I’ve been missing all these years.

      Like

  16. Mandy says:

    The red-winged blackbird certainly is stunning but what is a slough?

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. We call any smaller body of water a slough. Usually it’s a just a low spot in a field that collects water. The ducks love them and you can usually find at least one or two in each one moving in and out of the cattails that typically grow on the edge. Ah for once we have a different word for something!

      Like

  17. SeeNorway says:

    Camouflage is important in the world of birds and insects. Particularly if you’re a butterfly om a tree leg 🙂

    Like

  18. Mike Powell says:

    Wonderful shots, Lyle. The conversation you reprised is a familiar one, though the venue is different for me–it’s the urban equivalent of your rural scenario. When you are on a boardwalk that’s three feet wide, there is no escaping the passerby who pesters you with questions (and creates vibrations with every movement that prevent you from taking photos, especially the large baby strollers). By the way, when I clicked on one of your photos, I noticed that there was a bonus shot in this posting, what looked to be a Yellow-headed blackbird (photo t6c8200). It’s a cool-looking bird.

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. I can see where you would be much more likely to be trapped on the board walk by people pestering you. Perhaps you need a shirt, or a large sticky note, with an appropriate message to get people to keep moving on!

      I did load what you call a bonus photo into the but later deleted it. I can’t replicate how you got access to it. Strange. Well I guess you just might see it again then.

      Like

  19. Cornel A. says:

    Well, I know this kind of nonsensical conversations…

    I have my own versions.

    “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat are you doooooooooooooing here?”
    “Are you taking photos????” / “What for?”/ “Of what?” / “But, what’s so interesting here?!!” / “But that’s just a bird.”
    “Are you taking photos? ” / “Do you have nothing better to do than this?”
    “It’s just a sunset, what’s so special ??”
    ***

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      I suppose you either get it or you don’t and if you don’t that leads to bizarre questions.

      Like

      • Cornel A. says:

        When someone asks me one of those question I wrote above, first I look at him/her and try to put a smile on my face (I said I try). Many times I reply “Yeah, yeah, just a bird/sunset/…”. I try to not talk too much with this kind of person. Well, it would be more interesting to talk if he/she would be really interested in what I am doing with my camera, but I noticed they are not…
        Unfortunately, these nonsensical conversations will be a part of our experience.

        But, the only thing that matters is that we’re having fun and they don’t get it (yet).

        Like

        • lylekrahn says:

          I suppose if they don’t get it by standing there in the same scene, it really is pointless to try to explain. I suspect you may be right that these conversations will just be part of what we do.

          Like

  20. The Earth Beneath My Feet says:

    Oh how comical! Love your sharp wit. Your photos are pretty good too 🙂

    Like

  21. vanbraman says:

    I really like your red-winged blackbird. I always wish I had a built in camera as I drive down a country road and see them. Of course, I also like the hawk on a fencepost. There is a stretch of road on the way to work where sometimes you will see 5 or 6 posts in a row with hawks on them.

    Like

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