The Promise of a Good Morning Fulfilled

May 16, 2018

An indigo bunting comes in for a close look at the “giant eye” of my lens.

I headed out to B.K. Leach Conservation Area this morning to do some knee-booting about the prairie and wetlands. The weather prediction was mostly cloudy to partly sunny for the entire morning so I was excited to have a little extended “hunting” time under soft, filtered light. Critters look oh-so-much better when photographed under soft light. But would I find any critters to photograph? That question was answered as soon as I arrived on the area and spotted pure delight in indigo, otherwise known as an indigo bunting, skittering about among the briers and prairie stems. The featured image shows just how much of a camera hog the little blue birdie turned out to be.

An even closer look and a serenade by the friendly bunting.

While I was still getting to know the indigo bunting, a male orchard oriole landed nearby and put me on notice with some chatter. As I turned to make the shot, I was fortunate to find it on a nice branch and in the open. Score!

An orchard oriole, regal in its breeding plumage.

Later, I ran into another orchard oriole, though not as regal as the first, as it sang its song from a brier stem. I looked for the recipient of its cheerful melody but never spotted a female in the surrounding area.

An orchard oriole in full song. I didn’t see any females around.

As you might suspect, the prairie was filled with dickcissels and I managed to get a decent shot of a mated pair. Believe it or not, this was the first time I had photographed the male and female together.

A pair of dickcissels together on the prairie.

I finally got around to actually wading into the marsh to look for peeps and pipers and such, and it wasn’t long before I found a couple of pectoral sandpipers. I spent about 20 minutes easing closer and closer to the sandpipers until I could get just the right image. Below are a couple of my best results.

A pectoral sandpiper in the shallow wetland at B.K. Leach. I think it is wonderful that MDC maintains some shorebird water into the spring at this area.

Another view of a pectoral sandpiper in its preferred habitat.

As I was heading back to the car, I saw a youngish, male dickcissel perched atop a prairie stem. It wasn’t even singing but it looked so proper on its throne that I had to try to photograph it. I used a flanking approach, nice and easy, until I was close enough for a shot.

A dickcissel sits quietly, scanning the prairie for true love.

I must have been on the area for three hours before I saw another person and by that time I was loading my gear to leave. It was a marvelous morning, just me and the birds under perfect skies. As usual, I asked myself what I had done to deserve such great opportunities in life.

Thanks for looking,


P.S.  If you live in the St. Louis area, consider keeping Saturday evening, June 9th, open. I will be doing a “meet and greet” and giving a presentation on some of my favorite images. More information to come on the when and where next week. It will be a great evening for birders, nature lovers, and photographers alike.

Email me at:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery of Images and Print Information:

America is beautiful. I vote to keep it that way.




10 comments on “The Promise of a Good Morning Fulfilled”

  1. We know you’re an excellent photographer, but for me your narrative about the outings and captures sets your Blog apart from others. It’s obvious you love what you do. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I would love to see your presentation but I live in New Zealand so no way! Is there any way of recording your presentation and making it available online?

  3. Enjoyed each image!

  4. Thanks for sharing your good morning. Bruce 

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

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  5. Love these! I’ve only seen one indigo bunting in my life, thought he was someone’s escaped parakeet at first. I love trying to capture birds too…in fact I had a pretty successful walk last weekend and blogged about it. I don’t have a real fancy camera, but still, it’s fun to see what I can get. Shopping for a new camera and lens now…still researching. What state are you in? I have not heard of the dickcessel before. Beautiful bird.

    • I am in Missouri near St. Louis. We have indigo buntings all over the place. Dickcissels are common in our prairies and fields.

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