In a magical mountain kingdom the King was searching for a birthday gift, a special gift for his Queen. This year above all others the gift had to be special. The jewels and dresses were indeed most stunning, but they were not special enough, not this year. He needed a gift, that when anyone saw it, they would remember his beautiful Queen. So, the King went to see his greatest Wizard; maybe he could conjure up a gift so special everyone would gasp, since he could think of nothing.
The great Wizard sat and thought deep thoughts under the garden junipers. He knew the King's special gift should be the color of the bluest sky, yet everyone in the magical mountain kingdom should be able to enjoy the gift, too. And then suddenly it came to him........
As the Queen opened the rainbow-box, with the ribbon of the purest gold, she wondered what gift the King had given her this year. Almost silently they rose from the rainbow-box, birds the color of a springtime sky! They weren't just the blue of the sky, they were all the blues of any beautiful sky anyone had ever seen----they were the Mountain Bluebirds (Sialia currucoides), a gift so very special, indeed.
I know of a very special place where Mountain Bluebirds nest. This place is not far from the Wind River Canyon here in central Wyoming. I've known of this nesting spot for several years, and it's apparently a secret. A back-road that is seldom traveled runs nearby, and no one seems to notice the sapphire-blue Mountain Bluebird at all; just me and my out-of-place telephoto lens. Yet, spending lots of time waiting and waiting, and following around this stunning male Bluebird has been entirely a huge thrill; as it always is.
I love those moments when he comes near to me for a visit----male Mountain Bluebirds are so very curious and friendly. It could be he's just wondering who's invading his large territory, but it's a visit none-the-less. I've had many, many encounters with these fascinating birds, and it never ceases to amaze me just how easy it is to observe one, yet very few people have ever seen one for themselves; maybe this is for the best----the best for my Mountain Bluebirds.
Deb and I were on a date-night when we stopped for a visit with my Mountain Bluebirds very recently. The beautiful male came right over, then behind me as I spun around for these photographs. He sat and "posed" for these images, to my utter amazement. Deb said he seemed to know his picture was being taken; I'm sure he wasn't afraid of me, or ever has been. The picture of him in-flight was me being prepared for his "stage-left" exit by leaning on the shutter button, when I sensed his moment-of-departure. This is a combination of learning and practice, with a lot of luck thrown in.
Moments like these cannot easily be explained, and shouldn't be. When you're out in nature, and wildlife is as curious of you as you are of them, revel in it. Be aware that a curious Mountain Bluebird is not the same thing as a curious mother Buffalo. A thoughtful wildlife observer learns best; the others learn the hard way----learn about nature & be safe! Till next week, thank you for reading this week's Wind River Canyon Blog.
Wind River Canyon Blog and all Photographs/copyright 2016/Michael John Balog, Hogbats Photography, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.
*equipment - Canon 7D w/Canon battery-grip; Canon 300mm f/4 lens, tripod ring in-place as a thumb-brace; Canon 1.4 extender III; hand-held/no tripod used. Canon Digital Photo Professional and Adobe Lightroom used for basic adjustments.