For birding, it helps to take a 360-degree view

Without a car for a few days recently, I was unable to get to the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm, at least not without some difficulty. So I improvised and headed on foot through the Rider University campus near home to the Loveless Nature Preserve.

The preserve is a mostly wooded area that straddles the old Johnson trolley line that years ago connected Princeton, Lawrenceville and Trenton. From the back end of the Rider campus, you enter the preserve on the trolley path.

Each day, I could hear an indigo bunting chirping away as I entered and exited at that point. My Merlin app lit up, and for the first couple trips, I could not spot the elusive blue beauty.

As I headed into the preserve on what would be the final day of being without wheels, I figured if I was going to spot the bird, the time was now. On previous trips, I kept my eyes locked onto the cluster of trees from which the bird was unquestionably singing.

On this morning, I heard the bird and checked the trees, again to no avail.

Bird on a wire, of all places.

And then I looked up.

I was startled to see the bunting almost directly overhead, perched on a wire. It was almost as if the bird was saying: “OK, I’ve had my fun toying with you. Now get out your camera, take a few shots, and let’s both get on with the day.”

Grateful that the bird was so obliging, I got a few shots and moved on, reminding myself that looking not just straight ahead but up, down and all around improves one’s world view.

A note on the photos: the bird was so accommodating that after taking a couple of quick shots, I had time to focus again and notice the light behind the bird. I shifted my camera slightly to aim for a halo effect, which is in the featured image at top. The photo in the center of the text was a frame taken before I shifted.

Published by Dan

University media executive by day, blogger by night, I am a well-traveled resident of New Jersey

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