I had been planning to go to Hagerman on Saturday, but yesterday’s bird count and second thoughts about post-Thanksgiving traffic prompted me to go early this morning. I arrived at 8:30 and was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t greeted at the visitor’s center by the thousands of geese reported yesterday. However, they often feed on a field just down the road, so I drove on…and on…and on. Finally located them in a field on the opposite side of the refuge and far beyond the limits of my little camera. But they were still entertaining to watch.
I really didn’t go to see the geese anyway. I’ve seen them before and been very close to them in the past. I’ve taken a few good photos of them with the other camera. My purpose in going this morning was just to see if the water and the ducks have returned. The drought made the last few trips less than satisfying and I ended the summer a bit depressed about prospects for future trips. I should have had more faith! The water levels are slowly improving and the ducks have returned by the hundreds. I know that is due in large part to the excellent management of the refuge.
So…I ended up spending two hours watching the ducks and herons and hawks and a variety of small birds that I couldn’t identify. I even saw a huge buck sprint across the road! I missed my other camera, simply because it has a telephoto lens. Some of the photos I took today don’t have the clarity that I prefer. But I reminded myself that the experience of being a witness to all that beauty and activity was a wonderful blessing, even if I didn’t return with trophy photos. My eyes and heart recorded what my camera couldn’t.