|Clockwise L-R: A Palm Warbler seemingly jumping for joy, an Eastern Towhee, |
and a Red-winged Blackbird photographed along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail
Celebrating the Trail's Accessibility to Nature
|Cyclists and walkers enjoying the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail |
between Copper Hill Rd, East Granby and Phelps Rd, Suffield
For the better part of the past two decades I've walked, run, and cycled along many miles of the treasured Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, however it's only the past few that I've spent countless hours on it observing and photographing birds, especially on the East Granby to Southwick section. I owe much of my new found hobby to my friend Chris Fisher, an expert nature photographer of distinction from East Granby who travels the trail, too. He's coached me on camera selection, and more importantly on techniques to improve my photography skills. Check out Chris's website at Natural Expressions Photography to learn more about him and his nature photography exhibitions.
Birding Along the Trail
In March bird activity along the trail picks up and lasts through most of the fall. Some birds are year-rounders, some are flying in during the spring to nest and raise their next generation, while others are passing through en route to breeding grounds farther north, and then passing through again in early fall southbound for their winter home.
To capture the essence of what the trail's accessibility can yield for birders, I've created several collages of bird photos I've taken without having stepped off the path, not even an inch. Certainly, there were many days (the majority, in fact), when I saw nothing of note and left without any pictures. Often it's when the trail is busy with foot and cycle traffic that birds keep their distance, but when I have successfully photographed a particular bird, I've reaped the rewards of persistence, patience, and calculated timing that are the keys to what it takes to be in the right spot at the right time to photograph nature in the wild.
Clockwise from top left are a Palm Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and a Common Yellowthroat Warbler photographed soon after arriving in April and May along the wetlands nearing the CT-MA border between mileposts 21.6 and 22.0.
Spring is mating season. These three couples were sharing the same stream one morning north of milepost 21.6 and just past Mountain Brook bridge. Clockwise from the upper left are Canada Geese, Mallards, and Common Mergansers.
Final Thoughts on Celebrating the Trail
Don Shaw, Jr.
Photos by Don Shaw, Jr.