A Brief Encounter With The Waxwings

I remember Jim Brandenburg once speaking about the word "Serendipity" in one of his videos about the Nikon D800, since watching the video that word has been stuck into my brain. Serendipity basically means: happy accident. I believe that when we are out with our cameras we come across a lot of "happy accidents" whether thats the animal acting in a unusual behaviour or something happens that you didn't expect and it takes you by surprise. This was one of those moments...

That day all my plans were focused on photographing a group of Red Squirrels which were frequent visitors near to a friends house in the Galloway Forest. I never thought I'd come home with any other images as I didn't know what was there. When I arrived I was shown the trees in which the Squirrels had been seen at the most, while walking up to the trees I noticed a small tree with red berries on it (if anyone can name it I would really appreciate it!) and I thought to myself: "I wonder if they get any Waxwings around here?". I told myself that if they had seen any Waxwings around here they would have told me so I just assumed there weren't any in this area because where I was, was in the middle of nowhere!

I had been photographing the Red Squirrels for around 2 hours and I had completely forgotten about the idea of photographing my first Waxwing, I was too busy with one of the Squirrels that kept making interesting expressions which kept my attention firmly on him. From nowhere I heard a whooshing sound at least half a meter over my head, I looked away from my camera and 6 Waxwings had landed about 2 meters from where I was sitting. I was shocked to say the least! I turned my camera on to them and I was so close that my lens couldn't focus so I had to slowly shuffle backwards without scaring them off but they were too busy eating all the berries to care what I was doing. Eventually I got myself in to a good position to start taking photos, after around 30 frames they had eaten as much of the berries as they wanted and then moved on. That was the last I saw of them all day!

Sometimes the best part of the day with nature may be the shortest, I may have photographed a lot of Red Squirrels that day but photographing my first Waxwing was a huge achievement and a moment in nature that I will never forget! Serendipity helps fuel our excitement for the natural world, being able to witness everyday the amazing animals of this planet do extraordinary things from the insects on the ground to the birds in the sky and it's this feeling that makes me want to go out with my camera everyday!