I had a fun morning today. I threw on some sweats and a sweatshirt to go out into the yard and play with my four dogs and maybe work on some training. I grabbed the treat bag and figured I’d take my camera just in case I decided I wanted to take some photos of the dogs while we were outside. I also decided I’d put some bird food out since the feeders were empty.
The dogs and I played, explored the sights and smells of the yard (They explored the smells much more than I did.), and we worked on some simple training. We have been working with our husky Mojo a lot lately. He is very aloof and does not like to be approached and petted. He will approach you and let you pet him on his terms but backs away if he is approached. We are trying to condition him to be more comfortable around people and be more willing to approach people. So that is what today’s training focused on.
After playing and working on training for a while I decided that since there was good light and I hadn’t photographed the dogs lately I would get out the camera and take some shots. I usually photograph the dogs with my 300mm and 1.4 teleconverter. That way I can back off and just capture them in the moment just being dogs. Plus if I am close and kneel down or anything they typically charge at me wanting to play.
Then I decided to turn my attention to the birds that were now arriving due to the fresh supply of bird seed. I actually did not end up photographing any of the birds that were at the feeders. I noticed that there was a small flock of Cedar Waxwings in the top of one of my trees eating the wild grapes from the vines that entangled the branches. I was able to get some photos of them as they ate.
Then something surprising happened. I was photographing Mojo from one side of the yard when I heard the call of a Pileated Woodpecker. That is not too uncommon. I often hear them in the distance at my house. What took me by surprise was when the Pileated woodpecker came bursting out of the woods at full speed and flew right over Mojo only about ten feet in the air. Apparently the woodpecker was also aware of the wild grapes that grew on the edge of my yard as that was directly where it went. It flew back and forth between the trees a few times before finally settling in and eating the grapes while suspended almost upside down by only a small trig of a tree branch. Honestly, in retrospect I am a little disappointed as I should have been able to take some nice images of the woodpecker in flight but I didn’t even attempt a single shot of it in flight. I was too mesmerized by the speed and grace of this unusual visitor to my backyard. I was just grateful to be there in the right place at the right time to bear witness to natures wonders.
I am very appreciative of all that nature has to show me in right in my own backyard.