The Rewards for Patience
Over ten years ago we purchased our first long lens and Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve became my favorite local nature escape. Over time I became busy with other things and my Bolsa Chica outings became infrequent. Unfortunately it seems like the bird opportunities have also dropped over time. Although it's still a wonderful place to visit - "slow" days seem to be more common now.
In the past large numbers of terns splashing as they dive for fish was almost guaranteed in the summer. I visited last weekend to try to capture this. Unfortunately, all but a few of the terns were gone. Apparently there was a large colony of nesting terns earlier this year, but most moved on about two weeks ago. I tried photographing the few remaining, but it just wasn't the same so I wandered the reserve in hopes of finding something else. Nothing appeared - it was completely quiet. I almost left it was so unproductive. Instead, I went back to the area where the terns had been and talked to some local photographers and asked about the skimmers - another summer favorite that was missing that evening. They indicated that a couple usually showed up shortly before sunset so I stayed and hoped.
It turned out to be incredible experience, two pairs of black skimmers not only came by, but they kept skimming around giving many chances to photograph them! When the first pair left another pair came in. I ended up going from just a few shots to taking 695 for the evening! It was so much fun trying to capture them. They were so close and fast (and I'm out of practice) that I only managed to get a few photos that I really like. That half hour made the entire evening worth it. If I would have gone home I would have missed it! It's a good reminder that nature works on it's own schedule and I need to be more patient in seeking opportunities.