The Red-knot in flight.
This is a tourist town noted for a massive sand bar that curls like a witches finger out into the blue waters of Lake Huron. A picturesque light house marks Tawas Point, one of the last nesting sites of the endangered Great Lakes population of Piping plovers. Just a few miles inland the breeding grounds of the Kirtland warbler, another extremely rare bird native only to a tiny portion of the Jack Pine forests of mid-mitten Michigan, beckons the faithful. Marshes abound as well, giving ample opportunity to search out a vast variety of winged creatures that fly over and through this legendary region.
The Piping plover with its many colored survival bracelets.
A Red-start emerged from the thicket for a meet and greet.
The Baltimore oriole is intensely colored and draws appreciative crowds.
“All conservation of wildness is self-defeating, for to cherish we must see and fondle, and when enough have seen and fondled, there is no wilderness left to cherish.”
How strange it was to walk among the murmuring throngs of bird lovers with massive 500mm lenses slung around their necks. Here the rumor of a Indigo bunting caused a near stampede.
Isn't bird photography at it's heart a solitary recreation? The herd mentality that makes sense in Disney World seems misapplied here. Is there such a thing as a wilderness around here anymore? Are these natural hot-spots so rare, and the appetite of the public so acute that we are willing to cue up for a chance to experience them? When does a natural attraction become a zoo?
I get the same strange feeling when I see a Piping Plover with four neon bands around it's legs. It is odd logic that this endangered bird must be captured and decorated so often to help it remain viable in the wild.
The fashionable plovers look like they might be as comfortable running from store to store at the mall as on our sandy shores.
It's not that I don't understand the great work at hand here but the sheer simplicity of the experience of bird watching and photography is somewhat lost in a crowd.
Still, it is good to know the passion for our bird life is being shared so widely. The impact this kind of popular attention makes on the local political and financial power brokers should mean greater efforts will be taken to protect these awesome treasures.
Either that or they'll build a amusement park.
This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most beautiful treasurers, the birds.
You don't have to be a Bird Watcher or expert photographer to join in, just enjoy sharing what you bring back from your explorations and adventures into nature!
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