Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the ability just to disappear so people didn’t notice you were there? I can think of a few boring receptions where I would have loved the opportunity! Perhaps that’s why I secretly admire the camouflage of wild creatures.
Of course, camouflage is also the bane of my wildlife photography. I wanted to find some photos of creatures completely blended in with their environment but then I figured out that I really don’t any. The frustrating reason is that I sailed right by them all and didn’t even know they were there!
Camouflage can be tricky even for near sighted people like me.
For example, the grouse in the photo above is quite colourful as you can see from the much closer photo on the right.
Yet the only reason it caught my eye was because it moved. Thankfully!
By the time my brain connected the feathers, I was already past it and had to back up. I’m guessing this wasn’t the only one along the road.
The most amazing disappearing act was this American Bittern. He was good and he knew it, standing there with his head cocked to the side, blending in perfectly.
I was astounded to finally focus on the bird that had been standing there all the time keeping one eye planted on me. I was so close, I could barely fit the bird in the photo.
When an obstruction came between us, I couldn’t find it again and thot he had left the neighbourhood.
When I took a few steps forward, he shocked me by flying away. I also detected a little attitude.
That’s all fine and well for multi-coloured creatures. You would think that camouflage would be a lot more tricky for creatures with solid pronounced colours like black or white. I was in for another surprise.
Here I was heading down the road when I had this weird sense that I was not alone – I get that a lot.
Imagine my surprise when I looked between the blades of grass and saw an eye looking back at me. It was attached to a skunk. With just a few blades of grass, the skunk had completely disappeared into the background. I have no idea how I spotted her.
I don’t have much experience with skunks so I didn’t know whether I should give chase or head for the hills which is often a problem on the prairies. I decided to hold my ground take a few photos – what could possibly go wrong? I was hoping the raised tail meant she was happy.
I figured that maybe the skunk’s stripe had some deceptive powers which made the black more camouflaged. Wrong again. I discovered that a black bear could stand behind a green shrub and completely disappear. Only after carefully searching the entire area did I spot those beady eyes. The photograph really doesn’t show the full extent of the camouflage.
With all these camouflaged animals disappearing around me, I will have to rely more on my sixth sense to find them – despite its spotty record. This just seems to get harder all the time.
I’m going to have to sharpen all my senses. And it probably wouldn’t hurt to get my eyes checked …