Regardless of whether I am heading out for a day of photography or just driving down to the local grocery store, my camera is most often sitting on the front passenger seat of the car, ready for anything I may see along the way. I seldom leave home without it. My home is about 2 miles down a country road, just off of a small two-lane highway, and often as I drive out to the highway I will see Turkey Vultures, Bobolinks, Horned Larks, and numerous other bird species sitting on the weathered, cedar fence posts that line the farm fields. Many times the birds fly off when the car comes to a stop, but sometimes I get lucky and they sit still for a few frames. I have often seen Upland Sandpipers foraging among the grasses of the hay fields while I take my dog for her daily walk, but I have never really tried to photograph them as they have always seemed rather skittish.
On Friday I packed my camera in the car as I drove my daughter to her final practice for her dance recital on Saturday. As we made our way home from the dance practice, I noticed this Upland Sandpiper sitting on a fence post. I continued to drive along the road a little further so that when I turned the car around I would not disturb the bird. Once I turned the car around I also rolled down the windows in preparation for pulling up alongside of the bird. Once I had the car in position, I shut off the engine and was able to fire off about 30 frames before the bird flew out across the neighboring field. Using my car as a blind and never leaving home without my camera were the two key factors in these successful photographs of a beautiful bird. I selected an aperture of f-8 on my Nikon 80-400mm VR lens to render the bird and the fence post as sharp as possible but keep the poster-like background of out of focus field grasses.
Please remember to click on the images to see a much larger version.