Given we were on vacation for 2 weeks recently, and I was gone on travel for work last week, it’s been a while since I’ve been out birding locally. With a great forecast temps, light winds, and partial cloud cover, it was shaping up to be a perfect day for bird photography! I left at dawn this morning with the intention of finding migrating shorebirds and other goodies.
I didn’t want to commit to a long drive up to Lake Thompson where I was pretty much guaranteed of finding shorebird habitat somewhere. Given how wet our summer has been and the rain we had when I was gone last week, I thought there would likely be some standing water around locally…perfect habitat for migrating shorebirds. I was wrong! There were a few areas of standing water, but with crops at almost full height and other vegetation quite lush from the wet summer, most of those wet spots were hidden or surrounded by vegetation. Several did have a few shorebirds, but I never did get any photo opportunities.
The one great photo opportunity for today was a true rarity for me…something without feathers. Something without fur (a target of opportunity I always shoot when out birding). I was driving in western Minnehaha County about half an hour after sunrise, and saw an old…combine (?) in a partially cut wheat field. I say “combine” because it was so old, so simple a piece of farm equipment, that I don’t know what else you’d call it. Curiously, it was sitting on the fence row right by the road, in a small area of cut wheat in a much bigger wheat field, and with a brightly painted “John Deere” sign facing the road. I couldn’t have designed a better photo opportunity, and with the warm morning light, I spent a good 30 minutes getting various styles of photos of the scene.
With such a perfect scene, I do wonder if it WAS some kind of display that someone had set up, but regardless of why it was there, I thank the owner for providing the photo opportunity! It turned out to be a great photo day, despite few opportunities to actually shoot birds.