Through a window, nature reveals.
Through a window, nature reveals
Most weekends I go out to photograph birds and, to do so, I can spend hours immersed in nature: belly crawling through mud flats, lying prone in the shallow edge of a pond, crawling through thick wet fields of shrubs and grasses, or simply sitting still and ‘blending’, with insects crawling unchecked all over me while I wait . . . and watch . . . and wait some more.
So it seems almost paradoxical, certainly ironic, that one of the most effective tools I have for getting close to birds without disturbing them . . . is my car.
My versatile little hatchback – that I confess to treating as if it were a four-wheel drive – is a product of an industry that at many levels acts against the interests of nature: whether that be the mining and smelting of the metals for its frame and body; the polluting chemicals that make up its plastics, paints and fiberglass moldings; the coal-fired electricity that is used in its welding; or the climate change contributed to by the emissions of its spent fuel.
But, parked at the edge of a pond, river, coastline or wetland field, it becomes something else; it becomes a hide that opens a door to nature so that others might appreciate, and help protect, it.
While we, as a species, have a history of exploiting nature, rather than adapting to it, nature’s creatures have, perforce, had to adapt to us. We are intrusive and noisy neighbours but birds, especially, have learned that passing cars along the edges of their territories offer little threat. We, in our vehicles, become so much background noise and movement that can be safely ignored – unless you are a harrier or magpie scavenging on road-kill, in which case you take your life in your hands (or should that be talons?) Christchurch and greater Canterbury, there are many kilometres of road that run alongside forests, waterways, fields and wetlands, estuaries and the sea.
These photos, then, are a salute to the birds that have learned to live alongside us, some even thriving on the environments we create. All have been photographed from the luxurious vantage point of the front seat of my car, with little more discomfort than a bit of cramp from an awkward lean out of the window to get that perfect shot.