Monday, May 19, 2008

Rock Creek Park: Critters

Ducks in a row

Posing squirrel on a fallen branch

NiC at London Daily Nature Photo, in answer to my query regarding how he gets such great photos of flying things and ground critters, said the best thing to do is simply approach them slowly. These are my modest first attempts. In the case of the squirrel, he actually took an interest in me and sat still long enough to be photographed. I think he was hoping I'd have a handout and was distinctly disappointed that all I had was a camera.

One of Saturday's postings was also an attempt at following NiC's advice. Now if I could just get some decent pictures of the damn starlings that have started cohabiting in my gutters, that would be great. (How does one evict starlings, by the way, when their nest is in a gutter 40' up on the back of the house? I hate to do it, but if I don't, my downspout will inevitably end up blocked by their nest, which will undoubtedly wash that way in one of our spring/summer deluges. Then I'll end up with water backing up and under the eaves which will result in flooding in the house.... Ugh. Homeownership. I should have stuck with renting, right!)

Thanks, NiC for the advice! I'll keep working at it.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 4/08


Dusty Lens said...

Fun critter picks! Love the little squirrel. The squirrels here are used to us, and knows how slow our aged terrier is, so they take their time in our yard.

I know some people here who used to bow and duck hunt and now are into photography. They now set up their duck blinds abd use them for photoshoots in the wilds.

So now we need duck blinds to compliment our photographic outings. ;-)

Lisa Sarsfield said...

Oh I am envious of the squirrel photo! We don't have squirrels in NZ. Would love to see one. Do people ever keep them as pets? Not wild ones, are the capitive ones?

D.C. Confidential said...

Rob: Thanks! The squirrel cracked me up! He was curious, but cautious and then he seems to comprehend I had nothing to offer so then he was indifferent and zipped off into the woods! I wonder if the National Park Service would let me set up a blind in Rock Creek? Probably not, huh? Damn! :-)

Lisa: No squirrels in New Zealand?! I had no idea. I just assumed everyone had them. But then, that would make sense that you wouldn't, being an island and all. (I'm assuming the same is true for Australia and most of the Oceania nations?) Although, I'm surprised some haven't stowed away on ships. They're a rodent so they're about as resourceful as rats only cuter. Or, at least, some of us think they are. I love to watch them chase each other and box and tumble!

I don't know anyone who has one as a pet. I'm sure there are folks who do. I do know there are groups that rescue, rehabilitate, and release wild squirrels that have been injured or whatnot. National Geographic did an article on squirrels a few years ago that featured a bit on rescuers.

Here's one organization:

Maya said...

Say it ain't so! I want a house...

Nice animal shots. The advice I give for those is patience, patience, patience! I will wait ages until that little critter poses just right and sits still (also while inching slowly closer for the ever better shot!).

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: The way I feel right now about the damage the rain has already caused to the back of the house and the estimates for repairs I'm going to have to get, etc., etc. I'd be happy to give you the house! Seriously, though, homeownership has it's pluses, but it also has some minuses. I miss the days of just calling the landlady/lord and telling them something needs fixing, then having them fix it. When something breaks now, there's no one to call but me. Drat! LOL!

As for animal shots, I'm definitely learning to have patience. Mostly, it's just good to sit quietly for a bit and let nature happen, then hope I'm reflexive enough to get a picture without startling anything. So far, my results are 90/10. 90% bad--nothing but blurs or missed shots. 10% semi-success, as in you can actually tell that's a squirrel / bird / deer / fish / whatever. I suppose that's better than nothing, right!