Wayne Hinshaw: Backyard critters

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 13, 2011

By Wayne Hinshaw
for the Salisbury Post
To pass the time away on a slow spring day, nothing can be better than sitting on the porch with camera and long telephoto lens in hand and making photos of the critters that come calling in my yard. The birds come in search of an easy meal at my bird feeders while the pesky squirrels do their very best to eat all the birdseed before the birds can feed. The squirrels bully the birds away from the feeders by hanging upside down from the maple limbs while eating or jumping from limb to limb to get to the feast in the feeder. The squirrels watch me to be sure it’s safe then they go about eating with one eye always on the camera.
A few birds like the American Robin and the Brown Thrasher come around the feeder but remain on the ground. They like to feed near the other birds, but they don’t care for the seeds in the feeder. Why eat seeds when lush worms and grubs are available in the grass under the feeder?
To photograph the Eastern Bluebird I had to hide under the limbs of a peach tree and match wits with the bird. Bluebirds just don’t like me being near. The bluebird flew back and forth overhead but would not go to the birdhouse until I hid under a peach tree. While hiding under the tree, two wild rabbits came bouncing across the yard. They hopped within 5 feet of where I was hiding, then stopped and looked at me. They were as surprised as I was. We stared at each other for a minute or so, then the rabbit hopped away. I didn’t even get a photo of the rabbit. I only had a long telephoto lens with me, which was much too long to focus on the rabbit.