Friday, December 30, 2011

Photo Safari with a Vulture and the Law


All snug on the passenger seat, camera was charged and ready for my first Photo Safari in almost a year. Within ten minutes, I hit the brakes. A mirage, of sorts?

I didn’t leave the driver’s seat and let the car idle on a divided highway in a safe lane that served as a shoulder. While I snapped away, a Charlotte Mecklenburg police officer thought I was worth watching. Heh. He pulled in front of me slowly and made a California stop before a slow right turn, as an invitation for me to follow. I followed and stopped again on the wrong side of the tiny side street to get a snapshot of the most obnoxious male Belted Kingfisher I’ve ever met! CMPD officer parked his cruiser on the proper side of the road ahead of me, waiting for me to make another wrong move or to drive by to get my tag. Heh.


The cop completely ruined my outing. How could I concentrate on Hooded Mergansers while being stalked? I work with police officers and adore them. However, fuming and feeling more irritated than threatened, I left the scene and gave him no reason to run my tag. Truth is, I can’t break my habit of creating my own parking spaces in the wrong places but they are always safe, they work for me, and no one gets hurt. I see beautiful Hawks on dead tree limbs and wires! Illegal stopping? Maybe. Never illegal parking. On my way home, I mumbled something about cops, donuts, and too much spare time.

Later I returned to a designated parking spot and visited them on foot to find the whole freaky family of Black Vultures had moved the raccoon off the road. Vultures are awesome creatures that have an important job and do it well, although they’re more disgusting than I care to think about. I wish these were the lovely Turkey Vulture faces, for dear Lynne.


No apparent aggression. There are usually one or two guards. Then there is the vulture-style “changing of the guards” so everyone can eat.


“Uh, dudes and dudettes… lady approaching. Rev your reflux.”


It’s never a good idea to scare a Vulture. I backed up and thanked them for a great photo-shoot.

The safari ended in my back yard. The birds don’t know me or trust me like they did in recent years and scram as soon as I step one foot on the back deck.


Why bother repeating what I’ve already done? I have taken at least a dozen Male Cardinal photographs much better than this one.


I challenge myself. I want better, that's all.


Without a new, more sophisticated camera, my shots are boring me. So, why bother?


Ha! I don’t have the intellect or time for a more sophisticated camera. Excellent books I own on photography wait for me to read beyond the inside front covers. Will I ever leave the safe haven I’ve found in “auto” mode? I hope so.


It’s warm enough for them to dine, still. The weather today is all wrong.


I love gazing at my foot-long, nameless pets.



My favorite photo of 2011. A grasshopper.


Greet the most cooperative grasshopper in Charlotte, taken in August from my backyard beach chair. I’ll eventually frame this one.

Back to the law enforcement issue.


First responders are part of my biological family as well as my work-related family and I respect, admire, and give thanks to all of them. Perhaps this one CMPD officer thought I might need assistance. But come on!

Isn’t there enough criminal gumbo to police in Charlotte instead of stalking a blonde female in a red car who wants her Photo Safari mojo back?


Catbird said...

I don't think it ever left you, Miz Mary. Great pix, great story. And I especially like the koi with the kissy mouth and food pellet toupee.

Caroline said...

First Anna's hummingbird in SD 2 years ago caused similar interest as we birders stood in the street out front of my friend Cathy's house with our scopes, cameras and binoculars. Worried the neighbors big time.
Why do we photogs and birders who see neat things look like terrorists or cat burglars? Even my next door Golden Retriever thinks I need watching (and barking frantically at) when I fill feeders.

Caroline said...

BTW, it is delightful to see you back, with your take on the world and neat photos. South Dakota just ain't the same as North Carolina, it is fun to see what you see.

Murr Brewster said...

My lord. You've taken BETTER pictures? These are remarkable. Male cardinal is stupendous. They're all stupending.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

May, your photos take my breath away.
There is nothing to improve!
Those sad Black Vultures are no way as pretty as Turkey Vultures.

Jayne said...

Hey, I'm simply impressed you are still out on safari!

Mary said...

You're all so great for commenting. I don't travel with my camera anymore. I changed that on Wednesday this week when I found the BVs. And while I enjoy my photographs, I'd like to kick it up a notch, that's all.

Wendy said...

You're shooting in auto mode??? I can't believe it! Your photos are awesome!! Those cardinals look like they're going to fly off the screen!

Loved your story too and those koi fish are so cute.

Richard said...

I'm with Wendy on this...Auto Mode??? Don't change a thing with the quality of those pictures.

The Quacks of Life said...

love that grasshopper!

Carol Michel said...

Hi Mary, Long time. Great pics. We don't have vultures around here, that I know of, so I enjoyed reading about them. We do have policemen, of course.

NatureWoman said...

I think your photos are absolutely wonderful, Mary! Must be the hot blond in the hot red car that attracted the police. Please don't let that stop you! I've been questioned by police just minding my own business in nature, too.

RuthieJ said...

Multiple Black Vultures? I'm so jealous Mare! The TVs here are soooo camera shy, esp. when I slow down or stop the car for a photo op. Your photos and story were great fun. And I'm glad you were able to give that cop something "official" to do during an obvious lull in serious criminial activity during his shift. ;-)

Susan Ellis said...

You have your photomojo and it's working for you just fine my friend! Love the peeking grasshopper..all of your shots actually!
Happy New Year!

Cindy said...

Wonderful photos but it breaks my heart to see animals killed along the roadways. All I can think of when I see them is I hope they didn't suffer. The Cardinals are beautiful.

dguzman said...

I'm sure Lynne was disappointed by the Blackies, but I like them!

And I love your pics! You've still got it, baby -- you're just a little rusty after too much time inside.

WPgirl said...

It's so good to see you blogging again. I've missed your entries. Your photos are wonderful as always.
Lynda in Michigan

Kathie Brown said...

You go Mary! and, not all photos have to be perfect. some are just there to illustrate a story. However, yours are pretty darn good! Nice to see you writing again.

Susan Gets Native said...

Holy crap, I love you, Mary.

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