I had received a call from my buddy Bob about an eagles nest near his home in the thumb area of Michigan. He hadn't seen it himself of course, but his friend had given him rough directions to the location. Bob's enthusiastic description of the nest did not suffer for dramatic detail.
"Dave, it looks like a bathtub up in the top of the tree and baby eagles are standing on the edge of the nest!"
He was skillfully pushing all of my hot buttons so off I went, my minds eye filling in all the details Bob may have missed. After an hours drive on a bright morning, I made a right at the restaurant, went two miles more to a freshly paved road, made another right, than further to the second curve. I was there, but where was the nest? Slowly I made my way up and down the road scanning the tree line that skirted the river and way off, about a thousand yards across a freshly plowed field, was the rumored nest. There was also that agonizing sign we all know so well, Private Property-No Trespassing.
I hatched a plan. There was a slice of public land up stream that provided access to the river. Would it be possible to walk the river edge and gain a decent vantage point? I found a deer trail through the brush down the high bank and with camera in hand I trudged off, carefully calculating every foot fall. Four steps down, disaster struck. My feet went out from under me and I was instantly sliding down the slick incline feet first, my camera held high. It was a fast thirty foot trip to the rivers edge my bottom frosted thick with mud like a good chocolate cake. The lack of friction and the power of gravity notwithstanding, my heals caught the rocky edge and saved me from a dunking. The river was deep and cold, the clay bottom treacherous. This was a stupid plan, there was no walking this river. I scuttled back to my car, a muddy frustrated mess, clutching bushes in one hand for support and the unscathed camera in the other.
My next plan involved a hike through the woods on the opposite side of the river. I found a private campground that I thought wouldn't be to far from the nest site and the folks there gave me permission to walk their property and that of the adjoining hunt club. Off I went again.
A long hour later I emerged from the woods and onto a country road my legs scratched and itching from a thousand tiny scrapes with the local plant life. I had seen the nest tantalizing close, just around next river bend but here again I was blocked by more farms and no trespassing signs.
What did I have to lose? I walked up the long driveway to an immaculate farmhouse imagining how my muddy clothes looked hung on a sun burnt, bleeding body. An elderly lady came to the door and I began to explain my plight, soon her husband joined us.
What would you have done if you were a couple of old timers confronted with such a person?
Yeah, I'm from Detroit. I would have straightened my back and Ma would have gone for the gun and called the law in one swift motion.
What they did was; hobble out to the barn, (Pa was recovering from a less than satisfactory hip operation), get a electrically driven two seater cart and drive my ragged butt back to the eagles nest that hid deep on their property.
The Sun was to high and bright for bird photography, though the adult eagles swung through the air magnificently just overhead.
Pa left me to enjoy the ambiance alone. I took a number of shots, moved position, and clicked some more. I could see no fledglings. In the frenzy I reached for my glasses to check exposure. They were gone! Good grief. I looked for an hour over the rough riverbank with that sinking certainty that the search would be in vain. I walked back to the farm house to check the four wheeler. Nothing there. After walking the property yet again, my head bent down scanning the ground for eyeglass frames and not into the sky for eagles, I gave up. Pa volunteered to give my a lift back to my car, Ma asked me if I'd checked my pockets in that sweet condescending way.
"Yes, a hundred times."
I was wearing camo cargo shorts with a hundred pockets and I patted them all to illustrate how diligently I had searched. My hand stopped suddenly on a little side pocket... oh my goodness. I reached in and pulled out my glasses. Pa thought this was the funniest thing he had ever seen. He put his eighty-five year old arm around my shoulder and with a hearty, sympathetic laugh said, "See Son? The mind does go first." And then he added,
"Welcome to my world!"
Taking leave of my new friends I drove North to Fish Point Reserve and low and behold, there amongst the reeds was a rare sight for Michigan, a White-faced Ibis. A perfect sun shown on a patient subject. I basicly rolled down the car window and started shooting. No blood, sweat, or tears involved.
A grand end to a wild day!
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!
#1Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry, it contains a link for your readers to share in the fun. Or, you can copy this link on to your blog page to share WBW. http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/
#2Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with InLinkz.
#3Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!
The idea of a meme is that you will visit each others blogs and perhaps leave a comment to encourage your compatriots!
Come on it's your turn!
loved this story. even the muddy butt slide - glad the camera was okay!ReplyDelete
gorgeous ibis, too!
Wow! I definitely give you a very big "A" for effort! I would have done the exact same thing, though! It would take a lot to deter me from a chance to photograph an eagle's nest. Just glad your slide toward the river didn't end in injury. Your Ibis photos are gorgeous! Of course, I love the eagle!ReplyDelete
Yeah Brian, luckily injury to dignity doesn't count!Delete
A wonderful read. I would have not tried so hard. Great photo of the White-faced Ibis. I had to look it up in my guide. Hey, they're not suppose to be in your area. No wonder you were excited. Great post and do tell more about future exploits.ReplyDelete
I checked the Michigan Audubon webpage and while the White faced ibis is a rare sight in these parts they have been noted occasionally since the 90's.Delete
.... one of those youve been framed moments. Glad the camera came off unscathed though as did the glassesReplyDelete
and great images as usual Springman
Great post, loved the story.ReplyDelete
Gorgeous photos as always.
Thanks for sharing.
you had quite a day. At least you probably will never forget about it. And you gave the old couple a great memory too I am sure. :)ReplyDelete
Is that bird a Glossy Ibis?
I laughed as I visualized, but then my better manners took hold and I felt for you sliding down the river bank. Hope you are all right. I loved Grandma and Grandpa ... how sweet they were and what a great sense of humor. You were blessed that day in many ways. Pictures, of course, are great. I so enjoy your posts.ReplyDelete
Andrea @ From the Sol
The shots of the Ibis are wonderful!
This is my first visit to your blog and it really is a treat for the eyes. HeyBJK suggested I post my duck. I am not knowledgable on birds, but I adore going out with my birding friends.Your meme is a beautiful one which I hope to enjoy more as time goes by. genieReplyDelete
What an adventure! But you got your wonderful signature shots!:)ReplyDelete
Ok, pretty funny. You had a Dina momment. My husband can't understand why I always come back from birding dirty and injured. I keep a towel in my car to sit on. It sounds like you kept your cool though. All beautiful shots!ReplyDelete
Great post. I like your story and your shots are so good!ReplyDelete
Happy WBW to you!
Hmmm, - I don't think your link is working...ReplyDelete
Like the story adventure and birding is fun. Here is mine...ReplyDelete
Springman, you certainly had a day! I'm chuckling with you (not at!) I'm glad you finally attained your goal.ReplyDelete
The Ibis is beautiful! What a great shot! We apparently had a rare sighting of the same bird out here on the west coast just the other day. Wished I'd seen it!
Great story, lovely photos as always. Is there a linky on this one that I'm not seeing??ReplyDelete
Oh what an adventure. I'm glad your battery was charged :) Beautiful photos. You've inspired me to get a picture of some bald eagles.ReplyDelete
What an adventure! The slide in the mud sounds scary, that's for sure. You worked hard to get those photos...and thank goodness they turned out so well!ReplyDelete
A hard day, but with a great story!!!ReplyDelete
Your bird photos are amazing and fantastic! I scroll through and love what I see!ReplyDelete
I'm sure you're looking back on it now with fond remembrances right. :)ReplyDelete
The eagle shot is really awesome.
And an Ibis too!
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
What a day! I'm glad the camera came through it all unscathed!ReplyDelete
Funny story - and great shots :)ReplyDelete
- my first linking to WBW
It was wonderful to read about you sliding towards the river(luckily not all the way) but the misplaced specs really made me smile.. been there done that.ReplyDelete
Fantastic images of your birds Dave.
Great story :) and wonderful photos of all the beautiful birds! /SusanneReplyDelete
When is the book coming out? You certainly know how to tell a good story! Fantastic shots, as always.ReplyDelete
This is the book Connie!Delete
Fantastic Ibis captures! Wow.ReplyDelete
You certainly know how to tell a story! I love the way you described your muddy butt as "frosted" ...lol. Too many times I have been in similar circumstances. Heck, I take my camera kayaking all the time. I figure it's worth the risk, after all, this is what I love. (another reason to keep my cheap model of camera body)ReplyDelete
I am with you Tammy, No Guts-No Glory!Delete
Dave, you MUST write a book! You had me laughing with the butt slide and smiling about the nice old couple (probably 'bout my age) --- there are lovely people all over -- I think meeting them has something to do with your karma ( I actually do sort of believe that.) Excellent pictures, even though you missed the fledgelings -- the ibis is wonderful. The first one we saw in Texas I thought the birder we were with was fooling with us because the name doesn't really seem to fit at first look.ReplyDelete
I am a karma believer too Sallie...Funny that the eagle pictures, after all the self inflicted trouble, were secondary to meeting the "Old Couple" (they insisted on anonymity)while the better ibis shots were so easy and matter of fact. I was blessed this day in many ways!Delete
No doubt about you Springman, that camera was worth holding onto through your muddy mishap on the riverbank. Now it seems a spare pare of old pants mightn't be a bad idea for the car-boot as well as all our other paraphernalia. Yahoo, you met up with kindly folks. I'm sure that camera proved your authenticity, see it was worth holding onto! I'm laughing about you patting all the pockets and coming across your glasses; thank heavens. Loving your eagle in flight overhead; so amazing to watch. Shame your friend didn't witness all this with you; I'm sure he got a phone call same day to tell about how it all unfolded.ReplyDelete
I'll tell you Carole, when I saw myself in the mirror at days end...that may have been the most unusual sighting of the day!Delete
Springman, one can say you are persistent. I would have given up after the fall down the hill. It is great that the farm owners were so nice to you. Great post and I love the Ibis.ReplyDelete
That ibis is wonderful. Your adventure reminded me of the time I tried to paddle a canoe under a tree that had fallen across a small river in NJ. I didn't duck down far enough and got hung up. The current spun the canoe around and dumped me. After retrieveing the canoe I paddled another mile or so to the takeout point. Only then I realized my glasses were missing. I imagine some creature emerging from the primeval muck some 100,000 years from now, wearing my glasses!ReplyDelete
Funny...A race of far sighted frog people!Delete
It is just amazing what people will do to save their camera from harm.Great photos.ReplyDelete
Dave, you crack me up, my giggles had to stop long enough, for me to begin writing my comments.ReplyDelete
Oh My Gosh, bless your heart, your bum, yourself...geesh.
I think that I would have not given up either.
It is a shame you could not see the nest, with Eaglettes, but then again, maybe it was best this way, for that Eagle pair may have just sliced you up for dindin...just kiddig of course, or maybe not...
It sounds like you still enjoyed your day and the White faced Ibis, magical.
The header image is fab.
Have a great remainder to your week~
Hallo there Indiana! What a wild ride down the riverbank that any movie mogul would have given his eye teeth for. You do lead a life of adventure. Who said retirement was dull? What did you put on the seat of your car, or had you dried off by then? Loved the pld gent putting his arm around you with such a warm welcome . . I'm still chuckling.ReplyDelete
With all that, you captured the sheen on the Ibis to perfection. Just goes to show, you never know what a day will bring.
Actually Arija, I did a little riverside wash job!Delete
Great bird photos as usual and I had a good chuckle about your adventures - especially the comment by the old gent!ReplyDelete
What an adventure:)You got me laughing here...Great shots as usual!!!Have a great day!ReplyDelete
Dave, I can't count the times I have misplaces my glasses...on my head.Join the club.heheheReplyDelete
A very well written birding adventure that belongs in a premier birding magazine...along with your outstanding photos!
(To comment on a blog using the new blogger Dynamic templates...just left click on the post and it will open. Just thought this might help.)
Great tip Jean!Delete
Fantastic story / great pictures ....... well you fit on your camera.ReplyDelete
Wishing you a good day.
Hanne Bente / hbt.finus.dk
Oh Dave, I am certainly glad you are a birder and a story teller as well. When I got into this sport, hobby, pastime, obsession, addiction we call bird watching, a very good friend of mine told me that birders were fanatical crazies! Well, I couldn't believe it! Not until now that is. I hesitate to tell you what I have done to see a bird or capture its likeness on a memory chip. How many times I have traced my footsteps back to find those glasses that fell off the crew neck of my T-shirt where they were lazily hung.ReplyDelete
But life is great when you run into kind, helpful folks like the ones you met who are so willing to share your excitement and help your quest. I love the picture you paint of the old man having a good laugh with you. It all makes life worth living in this humble birder's opinion!
Your adventure was inspirational, the Bald Eagle photo beautiful, but those White-faced Ibis images... priceless!
True Larry, we are driven!Delete
"life is great when you run into kind, helpful folks like the ones you met who are so willing to share your excitement and help your quest."
You bet buddy, perfectly put!
Hi there - my son (who has a way of twisting the English language way beyond his tender years!) saw the ibis and said "it looks like a metal alien" - well that may be the case, but it’s a fine picture!ReplyDelete
Old Buddhist saying "The more pockets you have the more chance of losing the thing you need"
"it looks like a metal alien" Perfect!Delete
The imagages in my head are filled with laughter at this great adventure!ReplyDelete
Wonderful post love.
Your photos are beautiful!! Oh to soar with the birds....or at least be able to capture it. Thanks so much for WBW!!ReplyDelete
Hi there - yes "Living in the Past" is a great album - and when you said that I realised I'd used the wrong name! I had intended to call the post "A journey through the past" as a reference to the Neil Young album! Funny how I got it wrong - but still managed to get it right!ReplyDelete
That's quite some story, thankfully with a happy ending too.ReplyDelete
What an incredible day! You certainly had heaps of stamina in storage helping you to get through it! And what marvellous photos! Awesome images of these birds!ReplyDelete
What magnificent photos!!!ReplyDelete