I’ve been taking bird photos for over 10 years now, and it’s increasingly hard to get photos of a “new” species. I think now it makes me appreciate it more when I am able to get photos of a species for the first time. It seems like most of the time when I get a new species now, it’s not because of planning or a special birding trip, it is usually plain dumb luck. This one definitely fits in that latter category.
I work at a USGS facility near Sioux Falls, and have a friend who birds who also works there. Yesterday he stopped by my office and said he had found some Chimney Swifts in the chimney of the boiler for the building! Today I brought my camera to work and my friend showed me where the Chimney Swifts were. There’s a small door at the bottom of the chimney, and lo-and-behold, when he opened it, there were a handful of Chimney Swifts clinging to the wall, just a few feet from where we stood.
VERY cool! Chimney Swifts aren’t rare or anything, but the only time I’ve seen them is when they’ve been flying around. I’d never even tried to photograph them before…trying to shoot a high-flying Chimney Swift in flight is far above my frustration/tolerance threshold. It was SO cool today to be within a few feet of them and take photos. The first impression I got when my friend opened the chimney door was that they were so bat-like. It wasn’t just the look, with the small dark shapes clinging to the wall in the darkness, but it was also the strange squeaking sound some of them were making.
You never know what life will throw at you on a given day! Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but today was definitely a very pleasant surprise, and a nice break in the work day!