Three years ago while with a friend at Allen’s Pond, Westport Massachusetts we were photographing sanderlings as they fed and flew in group style on one on the nearby tidal areas. On our way out, just before we got to our car I spotted a blue bird in a tree and was awed by its presence. This was the first time I put eyes on one of these beauties. Well, that started the ongoing search to find and photograph this bird. That was three years ago. The search, although relentless, was without much success until, well, I’ll get to that in abit.
The rest of that first year I came up empty in the search for another blue bird sighting. This was the same year I photographed the “Swans at Stoneybrook” see an earlier post. There, just outside the Audubon building was a large field filled with blue bird boxes. Many a hour was spent watching the goings on but alas no blue birds only tree swallows. Other photographers were telling me that blue birds can be found at Caratunk Audubon in Seekonk, Mass. Although in Massachusetts the Audubon is managed by RI Audubon staff. “Check the power lines,” I was told but again came up with no sightings. One early morning while getting ready to walk the trails at Caratunk there it was, right before my eyes, a “blue bird.” In a nearby tree the bird came and went repeatedly. Lots of branches and leaves to get in the way of a decent photograph when it flew and landed on the roof’s edge of an outdoor shed. Click, click, click got that image just as it flew away not to return. I kept on searching the rest of that year but to no avail. I now had two blue bird images which didn’t satisfy the yearn for more.
Year three, 2015. Spring was late and the weather very chilly. Made numerous trips to Caratunk and Swan Point Cemetary in search of blue birds to no avail. My friend Steve returned from wintering in Florida and confidently said we will find blue birds this year. He went to Stoneybrook as well as Caratunk and found it empty of blue birds. Steve then spoke to some of his photography friends resulting in us taking a trip to Broadmoor Audubon in Natick, Ma. There there were two large areas of open fields with blue bird boxes. The first field was full of tree swallows so we trekked to the other location a mile or more away. We found a nice open area that had nearby water souce but, and thats the catch, no blue birds in sight. We went inside and spoke with the Audubon staff who said there were blue birds around but they were not sure where, “the outer fields maybe”. We left there as Steve had another Audubon area in mind so onward to Waseeka Audubon in Hopkington, Mass. This was a terrific place as its environment was awesome to me. After parking your car you took the only path that led to open swamp. There on the tallest tree in the swamp area was an Osprey nest occupied. There was a large beaver lodge and the chirping of birds including a loud rat a tat tat that could only come from a Pileated Woodpecker. We waked some side trails looking for blue birds but none to be sighted. Nonetheless Waseeka Audubon was a place that I put high on my list to visit and revisit as the milieu seemed simply perfect to me to see an abundance of wildlife. A few days later we returned again and again came up empty. About a week later Steve called and said he was told there were bluebirds at Waseeka so we planned for an early five am trip. He was told that where the isle went out towards the Osprey nest the blue birds were in that area. By six am we were there, settled in our spot, cameras on the tripods and we just waited. Steve pointed out a small hole in a tall dead tree about 30 to 40 feet in front of us. Shortly after that “there they were.” Off to the left of that particular tree there was a male and female blue bird both sitting on a branch of a nearby tree. We watched for a moment, except me who immediately turned and focused my camera on the prize as I was not going to let this moment go uncaptured. Soon the male bird flew to the tree with a hole in it and put its head in the hole. We knew immediately that he was feeding his chicks whom were in there home. For the next few hours we enjoyed being present, photographing and taking in the nature story unfolding in front of our eyes. Three years of searching and all of it was worthwhile as this moment was simply “awesome.” We were hoping to catch the chick(s) as they fledged but that was not to be today. Two days later we returned only to find the chicks had fledged with no sight of any blue bird.
The following are some of the images I captured at Waseeka Audubon. “Nature is astonishing.”