First of all, I want to thank Sue Vincent for this writing prompt. It was like it was meant to be as I was already formulating my “Chasing a Magpie” story while on vacation the last couple of weeks. Sue, it was like you were reading my mind.
For those of you who have been following me the past few months, know that I post at least 3-5 times a week. But the last two weeks, I went completely dark, except for a few scheduled posts. I posted a late Sunday Song Lyric upon my return from a wondrous vacation in Montana, Wyoming & Idaho. (More to come on that in future posts). I was unable to submit anything on my blog as I had next to no cell service or internet connection on our trips through Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Grand Targhee. The R&R was well received & extremely needed.
Prior to our trip, I was anxious to see a Magpie. I had never seen one before & was afraid I wouldn’t have a chance to. Certainly, a life bird for both of us and as birders, it was going to be a highlight for sure.
Within the first hour of landing in Bozeman, Montana, we retrieved our luggage, picked up the rental car (a minivan) & headed into town for supplies. Right there in the parking lot of REI, 2 magpies flew gracefully across and landed in a tree within 50 yards of where we had parked. I was beyond excited. Just as I got my camera up, they flew off. I thought to myself, “well, I’ve got 10 days to get a really nice shot of one. NO big deal”.
Many opportunities & days later, I still hadn’t gotten a good shot. And they were everywhere we went! It was like they knew I wanted the photo, and like a teasing toddler, ran away with their tongues sticking out at me, taunting me to come closer & daring me to raise my camera in their direction. Every time….just as I grabbed the camera to even think about taking a shot, they flew off or into cover never to come out again. At least not until I left the area. Ugh!
After 9 days of amazing views, wonderful food, miles & miles of hiking, over 2000 amazing photos & videos, plus many close encounters with the Magpie, still no good shots. The day before we left, hubby & I were at Story Mill Community Park back in Bozeman. Sitting in the van, I heard 2 of them. They were calling to each other, back & forth across the parking lot. My heart started pounding with excitement. The squawking was coming closer to our location as I stayed in the van, waiting & watching. I knew they were close, but was unable to see my nemesis. Finally one showed itself, landing on top of the recreation center behind us. I knew I had him now! Not wanting to be the harbinger here, I slowly opened the van door, stepped out, pivoted slowly & planted my camera on my face & started shooting. The results are below. My camera was showing precision shots. Auto focus was clean & clear. Got it! Click….click….click! OK, don’t got it! All blur! WTF? I thought something was wrong with my camera. I don’t take blurry photos. Especially of birds. It was a curse. The Magpie cursed my camera. Below is a slideshow of the results.
For good measure & to check my settings, I decided to take one more photo after my disappointment to make sure my camera was ok. The shot was flawless. See for yourself. This was not me! This was not my camera! This was the Magpie placing a bewitching spell upon me & my camera. The only logical explanation is the illogical one!
All in all, we probably saw over 50 of them in 10 days. I suppose another trip is in order to once again chase my nemesis….the Magpie. I will get you my pretty and your little friends too!
...out of a digital shoebox
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