Wildlife Photography

In 2008 we got only 11 inches of rain. Central Texas was in a severe drought. Then it was upgraded to an extreme drought. Our ponds were dry and had been for a very long time.

In 2009 we received 32 inches of rain, most of it in September, October, November and December. Our ponds are full, now.

Yesterday I saw a duck in the side pond. I startled it as I walked up to the fence and it flew off in a hurry. I think it was a Wood Duck. Nice deep color, with a white streak on the side of its head.

Did I tell you about the first time I saw a duck one of our ponds? Bruce had worked very hard at sculpting the ponds the summer after we moved in, moving the clay from here to there and from there to over-there. Happy, he was, on the (rented) bulldozer. When I win the lottery, I’m going to buy him his own bulldozer, a really big one.

After the ponds were dug out, we waited for the autumn rains. The drought hadn’t started yet, so the autumn rains came as hoped for and filled up the ponds.

I arrived home one day and got out of my truck to open the yard gate. I noticed a duck in the front pond. How exciting! Our first water fowl visitor, down from somewhere in the north on its way to somewhere in the south!

Every so slowly and quietly, I got out my camera (I almost always have it with me). Hunching down, I made myself small and crept up the side of the pond.

As smoothly as possible, I lifted up my camera and took the picture without scaring off the duck. Yes! Success! Proof positive that our wildlife refuge was taking hold.

I reversed my trail and inched my way down the embankment, back to my truck. I put on my glasses and looked at the wonderful, first duck-of-the-season photo.

And that’s when I noticed that it wasn’t a duck that I took a picture of. It was a duck decoy. Just one of the decoys that Bruce had put in the pond to say to the duck passers-by: Hey, down here! The water’s fine! And safe! No predators here. Only people with cameras who can’t tell the difference between a real duck and a duck decoy! You’re safe here, believe you me! Come on down!

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