Buzzed by a Fuzzy Creature

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This past weekend, while out photographing birds down Cottonwood Creek, south of the wetland, I noticed a Black-crowned Night Heron at the top of a small cascade. It is not often that I see these beautiful birds out during the day, but this one was in fairly plain view, and seemed unaware of my presence. As I hunkered down and set up to get some photos, I noticed it kept turning around on its perch, and at one point seemed rather startled. It was only once I got my lens on the bird that I realized it was being buzzed…but a rather fuzzy, and less feathery, creature. Another resident of Cherry Creek, and particularly the Cottonwood Creek area, are Muskrats. They are quite difficult to find as the are extremely shy. I rarely even know they are there until I hear a startled “Heeeerh!” as they squeak and dive from their hidden perches along the shore.

In this case, my somewhat hidden vantage behind some shore vegetation while I sat on some rocks out in the creek gave me a chance to observe and photograph them without them seeming to know I was there. While the heron seemed quite dismayed with their presence, and pecked and jabbed at them a couple of times, they obliviously went about their business…which seemed to be chopping down reeds and hauling them upstream. (Most of this activity was captured in a couple of short video clips, which I seem to have misplaced. If I can find them again, I’ll upload to Vimeo and link here.) Eventually, the chubby muskrats decided to forage downstream a bit, and slithered through the small cascade and almost right on top of me before they decided to head back up and mess with the heron some more…who promptly decided it wasn’t worth the effort to stick around any longer.

I do have to say, the evening light lately, from about 6pm through 7:50pm (a little before golden hour starts and the sun sets) has been wonderful. This rich, warm, almost creamy light that I don’t see all that often (usually because I’m indoors working.) I can’t express how thankful I am to have a lens that allows me to capture wildlife in their natural state, without them being affected by my presence when such light is present. 🙂