Along the Wetland Trail at Shaw Nature Reserve

June 18, 2014

I’m not an afternoon person but a few days ago I decided to take a short hike at Shaw Nature Reserve (SNR) after supper. As I pulled into the area, the first thing I saw of interest was a huge snapping turtle basking on a log by the little pond to the left as you begin the auto loop. It would have made a fantastic shot with its legs draped over the log but as soon as I stopped my car and opened the door, it hit the water with a loud splash. I made a mental note to try to get it from the car window the next time.

When I began my hike down the Wetland Trail, I found a juvenile cottontail enjoying a supper of veggie victuals at trail’s edge (700 mm; 1/200; f/5.6; ISO 400). I photographed this bunny almost directly into the sun so I could highlight the branching blood vessels of its ears. I was just lucky to catch the little guy with its tongue out. I overexposed the shot at (+ 1 1/3) to avoid a cottontail silhouette.

I’ve also included a more conventional, but also nice image of another young bunny along the trail. I find it interesting that all of the baby rabbits situate themselves butt to the trail when they are feeding at the grassy edge so they can make a quick exit when danger of any kind shows its face.

DJB_SNR_2014_0970Eastern Cottontail; 700 mm; 1/100; f/5.6; ISO 400

After I left the cottontails, I was greeted by my favorite bird at SNR, the common yellowthroat. I’ve been photographing the common yellowthroats of SNR for years, and I just published a story about them in the June issue of Missouri Conservationist.

DJB_SNR_2014_0971Common Yellowthroat; 700 mm; 1/400; f/5.6; ISO 400

Farther down the trail, I saw a mama wood duck with her babies but I didn’t stick around to disturb them as she seemed beside herself. I have plenty of wood duck images so I didn’t see a need to ruin her afternoon. As I continued around the wetland, I saw more yellowthroats, kingbirds, an orchard oriole, and several other species.

I finally headed back to the car and made a final shot of an intrepid box turtle that didn’t seem to have any concern about being photographed. I was amused when I looked up to see him booking down the trail after I made the image below in the reddish sun of late afternoon. I caught up with him and noticed he was breathing as hard as one of the trail joggers. I proceeded on and left him to his afternoon activities.

DJB_SNR_2014_0974Three-toed Box Turtle; 700 mm; 1/500; f/8.0; ISO 400

Overall, it was quite a nice hour to spend at one of my favorite places, a little muggy and warm for my taste, but time well spent.

Thanks for looking,


Email me at:  NatureFrames@Rocketmail.Com

8 comments on “Along the Wetland Trail at Shaw Nature Reserve”

  1. What a wonderful image! Absolutely stunning. Thank you!

  2. Hi Danny, All three photos are spectacular. The coloring of the Yellow Throat is stunning. I am especially found of the Box Turtle, He looks like the Three toed Box Turtle that frequents my backyard from season to season. I named him Norman.Come to think of it, I haven’t seen him for awhile. Maybe that’s him in the picture? He does like to explore. Thanks for sharing.


  3. I love the turtle shot. That light just makes him glow.

  4. Very cool, Danny. Love the images and the story! Thanks so much!

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