Nature Versus Nurture

A Pair of Pied-billed Grebes

A Pair of Pied-billed Grebes

The phrase “nature versus nurture” relates to the relative importance of an individual’s innate qualities, “nature”, as compared to an individual’s personal experiences, “nurture”. This combative view of the relationship between nature and nurture is only one way to look at things. Consider the situation where nature is nurturing. That was certainly the case for Anne and me on Sunday. We started the day with a morning bicycle ride in Forest Park. On this ride we photographed the pictured pair of grebes. This find inspired us to launch an afternoon photo safari to the Riverlands, where we went in search of more photos of waterfowl. We packed a picnic lunch and off we went.

The lunch was fine, our Sunday afternoon’s weather was perfect and there were plenty of birds to see. So what could be wrong? Well, the birds were rather standoffish. They were too far away for very many good pictures. Maybe I need a bigger zoom lens? One of my fellow photographers contends that you can never have too much zoom and when you use a zoom lens it is almost always on maximum zoom. I’ve also noticed that birds in the park are way more comfortable with people than the same species in the wild. The grebes approached us to within thirty feet, plus we here at a higher height than they were, which is always a consideration when your subject’s best means of escape is though flight.

After lunch, the first half of our expedition was spent trolling up and down the road along Ellis Bay in the Prius. Normally, the Prius makes for a great blind, but on Sunday that wasn’t really necessary, because all of birds were so far away. We did see Great White Egrets, Great Blue Herons, American Pelicans, American Coots and Killdeer. For the second half of our adventure, we went into the bush. Next week, in preparation for the winter migratory bird season almost all of the hiking trails will be closed until spring. It is after all a bird sanctuary. We took this last opportunity of the year to travel through the wetlands. It was a nice walk, but on top of our bike ride, our little biathlon left us played out and neither of us were contemplating making it a triathlon by swimming in the Mississippi. Besides the official triathlon for which signs were still up, had long since finished.

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