While driving down a country road on an early July morning I came upon this Common Nighthawk sitting atop a fence post. I drove past for a couple hundred feet and pulled over.
At this time, I am on the opposite side of the road and I slowly exit my vehicle, grabbing my tripod. After taking a couple of photographs I knew that I really needed to get closer.
The nighthawk seemed to be tolerant of me at this distance, but how close can I get before that tolerance is threatened?
I gradually made my way across the road, took some more photographs and then I moved a few steps toward the nighthawk.
As time went by and I gradually got closer, I could tell that the bird had its eyes closed. At this time I had not identified the bird and I didn’t know much about its habits, but I continued to creep closer and closer grabbing more photographs.
Finally, I had gotten within a couple of car links and I took a moment to study my subject. The eyelids hardly moved. In fact, the only thing that moved very much was the tail feathers. In this photograph, the tail feathers are pointing almost straight downward. This subtle movement was done to maintain balance.
Naturally I am amazed at how close I was able to get to the nighthawk and in the back of my mind I presumed that the bird was aware of me and just being tolerant. Then something startled the nighthawk, the eyelids opened and naturally I was spotted. Within a couple of seconds the nighthawk took off. Something about the exit led me to believe that maybe the nighthawk was not aware of my presence.
As I have said numerous times, photography has taught me many things, and patience is one of them.