The World Bird Wednesday Archive

World Bird Wednesday is open for submissions every Tuesday at noon E.S.T. to Midnight on Wednesday by clicking on the WBW logo picture below.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

World Bird Wednesday XXV

                                           The Other Side of the Sign

"Sign, sign everywhere a sign!" Even with this old battle cry in my head I knew this time I would obey the rules gladly. After all, who could argue with giving Mother Nature a few square miles of wetlands without humans trouncing through it. Just look what's happened here on the Southern shore of Saginaw Bay because of it. By a strange confluence of natural and man made influences and stirred by the law of unintended consequences a Wildlife Refuge has emerged. I was there eyeing an egret at the very edge of this little paradise when a green truck with a Ducks Unlimited sticker pulled up along side me near an observation platform. And so I met Jack, resident of the swamp and local historian whose first hand knowledge of the area goes back through the 1940's. Back then, he told me, the farmers that owned these lands straightened out the river that flows through here and dikes were built around a patchwork of square mile fields. Later the Michigan Department of Natural Resources purchased the area and set it aside for duck hunting and habitat preservation. I asked Jack if he had a magic wand would he restore the area to his childhood remembrances or leave it as it is? He emphatically said,"As it is now! When these changes were made it supercharged the wild life in this area. Back then if one of us kids had shot a goose we would have been a legend today you could shoot a hundred."
Sandhill cranes. A rare sight in Michigan.

Today the wildlife is vast and diverse here. Countings are conducted weekly and my new buddy let on that he was about to make a bird count in the restricted non-hunting area and had the keys to the forbidden kingdom to prove it. "Let's go," I said. "Let's go!" he replied. So much for the sign. The gate blocking the two track that runs along the top of the levee wall and into the refuge was opened. I jumped in his truck and we were off.

A Long-tailed Duck or Oldsquaw (Clangula hyemalis) still in winter plumage was added to my life list!
                                                          Below a Yellow-Rumped warbler also climbed aboard as a lifer.

What ensued was a bumpy roll through the preserve and a whole lot of bird talk. We really didn't do much counting or photography as we went on our five mile tour but the quantity and variety of species left my head spinning. That my benefactor is a game bird hunter of some note and also a person with a lifelong devotion to habitat development and conservation kept our exchanges lively. I tried to draw a rough comparison between the gunslinger aspect of wildlife photography (see-aim-focus-shoot) and the potent thrill he got from dropping ducks with his shot gun. It was a tortured analogy at best but I was doing my best to get along. Still, and I admit this as your tree-hugging variety nature lover, our interests met harmoniously more often than not. I appreciated what the hunters lobby in concert with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources had wrought for our mutual enjoyment and benefit. How do the ducks fare with this arrangement?
Come hunting season that will depend on which side of the sign they land on.
Another lifer, White pelicans high above our heads!

            Now it's time for World Bird Wednesday!

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 diverse and beautiful treasurers, the birds.

World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at 12 noon Tuesday EST North America through midnight on Wednesday.

You are invited to link your blog with other bird photographers in a weekly celebration of these most diverse and intriguing of Earth's residents, the BIRDS.

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#1. Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry. It contains a link for your readers to share in WBW. Or you can copy this link on to your blog page to share W.B.W.

#2. Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with Linky.

#3. Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!

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.The idea of a meme is that you will visit each others blogs and perhaps leave a comment to encourage your compadres!

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                        Come on it's your turn!