American Avocet

sm4him

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It's been way too dreary and rainy the last two weeks to be able to get out and hunt down any birds. The few times the weather has cooperated, I've had family obligations.

Today wasn't much different; I'd originally planned to have an all-day outing, but it was pouring rain this morning.

Early this afternoon, we got a small break and even saw a teeny bit of sun. So, I headed out to check out a local spot where some birders had reported seeing 3 American Avocets. Avocets are extremely uncommon here; so uncommon, they don't show up on the allaboutbirds.org range map. And this spot is just about 12 miles or so from me, so I really wanted to check it out while they were still there.

Drove out to the pond, and sure enough there they were--on the OTHER side of the pond, naturally!
I pulled off the side of the road and got out of my car; as I did, a white pickup that was traveling the other direction (this is a small backroad), pulled up and rolled down their window. He asked if I was okay, thinking I was having car trouble.

I said, "No, I'm just taking some pictures, but thank you for stopping."

Then he said, "You know this is private land." Sigh.
The following conversation ensued:
Me: "I'm not on the land, I'm on the road."
Him: "That's private land too (pointing to the side of the road where the car is parked--between the road and fence)
Me: "Really? Because there is usually always a public easement along a roadway.
Him: "Well, this is ALL private land."
Me: Look, if it's that important to you, I'll be happy to get in my car and get back on the road, and then just stop in the middle of the road to take my pictures, but all I want to do is take pictures of those 3 little white birds out on the pond."

This went on just a minute or so longer, when suddenly, for what reasons I don't know, he completely changed his tune.
Him: "Well, as long as you don't have a gun, it's okay."
Me: "Thank you for your permission."

He drives off, but only gets about 15 feet and stops again. Gets out of his truck. "What now," I think.
Him: "Hey, if you want, if you're just taking pictures, you can go in past the fence over there. This is all MY land."

So, in the end, not only did I get the pictures, I was able to actually go past the fence out onto the land so I could get closer to the pond.
AND--he also told me where there are several Bald Eagle nests, just about 1/2 mile further down the road, so I'll be visiting again over the winter months.

The Avocets kept inching closer and closer to me--but then the rain returned and I had to go back to the car (not so much because of the camera, but because I'd left the top down on the car).

1.
Oct11_0414editweb.jpg

2.
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3. WHY do you keep pointing that at me?
Oct11_0391editweb.jpg

4. This was a lucky shot, and not quite as sharp as I'd liked. I'd just stood up from where I was kneeling in the muck, and had turned around to move to a slightly different spot. I turned back around to see the 3rd Avocet flying in towards the other two so I really didn't have time to really lock focus.
Oct11_0329editweb.jpg

As always, C&C, general comments and witty banter are appreciated!
 

pjaye

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I have no witty banter, but that last shot is awesome.

Sorry the guy gave you a hard time, sounds like he didn't believe you only had a camera not a gun. Dipsh!t. Glad he let you go on the property.
 

snowbear

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Awesome. He has probably had problems with people poaching or leaving trash around. Glad it all worked out.
 

Hunter58

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Nice shots. At least the meeting didn't get ugly. If he get's to know you and your vehicle you might just be OK out there. Next time see if you can get an email to send him some pics, he might enjoy seeing them.
 

BillM

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Beautiful shots Sharon :D
 
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sm4him

sm4him

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Thanks, everyone!

Actually, I think I know why he was so ultra-sensitive about me being there. After he quit being a jerk and volunteered the information about the Bald Eagle, he said that he thinks one of the Eagles has actually relocated to HIS property.
These are released rescue birds from the Dollywood American Eagle Foundation project, so the current nest site is man-made, but he thinks one has now built its own nest on his land.
He also seems to think someone was out trying to shoot one one day--I don't know why he thinks they were shooting at an Eagle rather than one of the many ducks in the area, but I assume he has reasons for thinking that. Whether he's right or not, it certainly explains the tendency to want to run people off.

I do hope to sort of befriend him, because he has a LOT of land and two different ponds, at least. Unfortunately, the larger pond with the Eagle's nest are NOT on his property, but I think they *might* be on property that belongs to a relative.
 

Designer

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Some people are quite sensitive about hunters/poachers on their land.
 

Designer

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I do hope to sort of befriend him, because he has a LOT of land and two different ponds, at least.

I'd offer him large(ish) prints.
 

MSnowy

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Nice set! Funny how people can be when you don't show a lot of attitude towards them.
 

snowbear

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He also seems to think someone was out trying to shoot one one day--I don't know why he thinks they were shooting at an Eagle rather than one of the many ducks in the area, but I assume he has reasons for thinking that.

I remember reading a newspaper piece (a while back) where a farmer painted "cow" and "horse" on his livestock at the beginning of deer season. He had previously lost animals to hunters.
 

JustJazzie

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*sigh* some people! Glad you got your shots!! They are wonderful as usual.
 

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