It would be a huge exaggeration to compare my pursuit of wildlife to courtship – so of course it’s too tempting.
I find an abandoned road that had long ago disappeared into a large expanse of water. As I drive by, I notice a collection of birds where the road meets the water’s edge. The resident ducks don’t entice me. Unfortunately, familiarity too quickly breeds boredom.
However, I see an American avocet and then another. My interest is peaked. Here is a chance to make an impression and I quickly leave the truck. I really want this to work.
I don’t sneak up on them because that usually ends badly. I hear that honesty is the latest fad in relationships so I give it a whirl. I try to be cool about the approach without looking too desperate or needy. As I nonchalantly amble closer, I feel a connection. This just might work!
Suddenly a complication develops, as is often the case in relationships. This time it’s the ducks who apparently don’t like my type. Without giving me a chance, they squawk their disapproval and fly off in a huff. I am immediately worried peer pressure will drag the avocets along. Thankfully they ignore those misplaced conceptions and keep feeding.
Just as I am starting to feel confident again, I notice two geese some 75 metres away out on the water. They start a ruckus with all their honking – it turns they don’t like me much either. Why am I getting so much of that lately? I am not fussed if they stay or leave, I just don’t want this extended warning to influence the avocets. They are now the only potential connections left in the neighbourhood.
I walk closer and the infernal honking continues despite the distance and water separating us – no wonder geese don’t have many friends! Hush up already or fly away! Finally the geese honk themselves into a frenzy and leave. Much to my relief the avocets share my opinion of them and ignore it all despite the fact they are much closer to me.
A few more steps and I am in range to take some shots. The avocets clearly understand this whole courtship thing and strut their stuff. They even walk toward me. My heart beats faster or maybe it was the shutter. No wonder I love wildlife photography.
After a wonderful time together, I leave them feeding. I hope they will still be fond of me next time. This could turn into a thing.