Monday, March 17, 2008
New Camo Tent Chair-& Other Weekend Wonders
I have tried and tried to become invisible to animals over the years with little success. I've purchased head to toe camo clothing, which I am sure has helped for at least a second more in those moments of discovery before flight. My stealth is limited at best. I am the creature critters always run from, whether I am brightly colored or blending in like an oak tree. I can creep along like a turtle or stride along at my usual gate. For some reason I am always 2 steps behind the shot. I've hidden behind many trees, & sat deep in a few trenches trying to blend in. Soooo....I invested in a tent chair. As the picture above displays, (I added the red "no guns" symbol.) it is a decent size tent surrounding, & attached to a typical camp chair. It weighs about 12 lbs, has a few pockets for stuff inside and can conceal a tripod with no problem. There are 3 zipper windows (the zippers seem to be on the cheap side) and the chair even has a cupholder. I found mine at Amazon, and with shipping, ran me $102.97. ( I thought it was a bit pricey, but I figured I could sit in it and move all I want.) Setting up is easy after you get the hang of it. The instructions claim you can do it in under 10 seconds, but that is pushing it. It is awkward to close up, but the carrying bag makes it easy for transport. I can now outsmart those elusive critters, I hope.
So... I set out this weekend to give it a try. I chose a location I have tried to sit at before. It is along a river inlet with plenty of scrub brush to blend into. I was after ducks, and to be specific-the Hooded Merganser. It is very common to see all kinds of ducks there, but very tough to get close. There is also a Mute Swan in the area, so that would be a bonus. I arrived about 6:30 a.m., set up and waited. And...waited. And...waited. Not a duck to be had...but... I did see a muskrat! I saw the swan, but it never did round the corner into my view. I left after an hour and a half. I did see Canada Geese making a nest on my walk back to my car.
Cruizing past other good spots I find that a Redtail Hawk was working on a nest on a different tower down the road from the previous GH Owl.
At another locale, I find my Hoodies but my car sent them into the air.
I tried another spot on another day. The beaver pond. I set up on 1 end of a very large pond which is fed by the Kankakee River. It is nestled in at the forest's edge (probably 100 feet in), making for an easier hike than most. A beaver has worked this pond for a really long time. His work can be seen absolutely everywhere. The old cuts and newer cuts are a constant obstacle along my path. It is always amazing to see him doing his beaverly duties. The pond has always attracted ducks. There were 8 of them when I arrived. I couldn't tell what they were, but none were of the merganser variety.
(The beav swam by as I took this crappy reference shot, but I didn't even know it until I downloaded. Dammit!)
I saw 2 kingfishers rattling to eachother, but of course stayed on the other end. I knew I would have to wait this one out. It was going to take a long time for them to get comfortable again. It took a good hour for the first brave duck to swim in my direction. He acted pretty shy though, and zigzagged closer, then farther. Just as I had hope he might come into range, something spooked them all, and flew away. They flew in my direction and away into the sky. Later, I found that fishermen were close by, at the river's edge.
The beaver swam by and dove as he probably heard the shutter fire a few clicks. I didn't expect any new arrivals so I packed up and headed back. Just as I did, of course a canada goose pair flew in and landed. Oh well, I'll be back. I'm expecting wood ducks to arrive soon...