Who Fell Over Backwards? A Cape Coral Burrowing Owl Photo Adventure. And Who’s Got the Mole Cricket? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Who Fell Over Backwards? A Cape Coral Burrowing Owl Photo Adventure. And Who's Got the Mole Cricket?

This image was created on 31 March 2024 at Cape Coral, FL. Standing at full height I used the Robus RC-5558 Vantage Series 3 Carbon Fiber Tripod/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. ISO 800. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/800 second at f/6.3 (stopped down 1/3 stop) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that the exposure was dead solid perfect. AWB at 8:12:17am on a clear and sunny morning.

Tracking: Expand Spot S/AF-C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed perfectly. Click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Burrowing Owl chick feeding

Who Fell Over Backwards? A Burrowing Owl Photo Adventure

Early on Easter Sunday, I found a new nest, this one with three Burrowing Owl chicks. The rise that the nest was on was about 24 feet from one of Cape Coral’s many canals. To get on sun angle, I walked well around the nest so that both the sun and the canal were at my back. The entire family was more than comfortable with my presence and both adults were bringing buggy tidbits to the three hungry young owls. The action was so fast and furious that I filled a Delkin Devices 160GB BLACK CFexpress Type A Memory Card in shorter order even though I was using my slow camera body, the Sony a-1.

As I had tossed my fanny pack on the grass, I picked it up, placed the full card in its assigned spot, grabbed a fresh card, put it into the camera and formatted it. Then I got back to work. As I was constantly clipping feet and wings, I should have simply removed the TC. Instead, I opted to move back a step or two to reduce the angle of declination. Big mistake. As took one last step backward I my left heel hit the top of the wooden bulkhead that bordered the canal. I lost my balance and grabbed for the tripod in an effort to avoid winding up in the drink. I fell over backwards into about seven feet of water and unfortunately pulled the tripod mounted 600mm/1.4X TC/a-1 rig along on top of me. I fell about four feet and landed hard on my back. The camera hit me on the forehead and opened up a nice gash. I was more than a bit stunned. As my rig sank to the bottom of the canal, blood pooled around my head and I wondered if there were any sharks around.

I treaded water for a minute to catch my breath and then made my way to the seawall and grabbed a wooden shelf that was conveniently nailed into a piling just above water level. Looking left and right, I could not see a way to get out of the canal. Another photographer peered over the edge and told me that he had called 911.

A rescue basket was lowered to me and four strong young men from the Cape Coral Free Department managed to get me back on dry land. I grabbed my fanny pack, stowed it in my SUV, grabbed the car keys and my laptop bag, and got a free ambulance ride to Cape Coral Hospital on Del Prado where I was checked for injuries. All was well but for the head wound. A very pretty young lady doctor named Elena Vasquez cleaned it, put in eight stitches, and bandaged my head. I took a cab back to my vehicle and made the long drive back to Indian Lake Estates.

When I saw today’s featured image, I was sure glad that I finished that card and stowed it safely. I am wondering if I will be ale to collect roughly $22,000,000 insurance on my gear that is still at the bottom of the canal.

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