Photographs by Frank

27 April 2014

First Photographs from My Semi-Permanent Blind

Filed under: Amphibians,Birds,Early Spring,Monadnock Region — Tags: , — Frank @ 2:00 PM

About a month ago, I spent a couple of warm days out in the garage constructing a blind from which to photograph. The blind consists of frame constructed from one inch PVC pipe and cover constructed from burlap cloth crudely sewn together with some twine. It is certainly not fancy but hopefully it can stay outside until late fall at least*.

This past Tuesday, I erected the blind “down back” near the edge of the beaver pond “down back” on our property. We share this pond and its associated wetlands with NH Audubon as the boundary between our lot and the Willard Pond Sanctuary roughly bisects this territory.

As luck would have it, Wednesday turned out to be incredibly blustery so the blind got a good test of its stability immediately… it failed miserably! I went down on Thursday to check things out and found that the blind had collapsed!

I knew enough to stabilize each joint with a small screw between the connector and the pipe. However, when I set up the blind I could not align the holes for the screws in a few of the joints. I plowed ahead anyway, figuring that I would get the last of the screws in another time.

Guess which joints failed in the wind? Every one that was lacking a screw… and none of the others! I went back, got the tools I needed and re-erected the blind securing all of the joints this time.

Early Friday afternoon, I headed down to try out the blind. Conditions were not ideal for photography… the light was harsh and fairly high over head, but I had to try it out. I took a chair and a water bottle along with camera, Big Bertha and tripod and settled in.

The first lesson I learned was how hard it is to stay alert in a  quiet, sunny spot.  After waking from my nap, the first critters I noticed were two painted turtles sunning on a log in the pond. I had suspected that turtles must be present but had never observed them here before… score one for the blind!

I could hear a number of birds (most commonly phoebes)  nearby, but only a very small number came into view. I managed to see and get a photograph of a  single phoebe.

A short time later, I heard the sound of great splashing about in the water. Scanning the environs, I finally found large plumes of water in the air, but the source was out of sight from my vantage point. A short time later a pair of mallards came into view. They swam about and bathed for quite some time.

At one point the pair of birds approached the log upon which the turtles were sunning. The male mallard decided that he wanted to perch on the log and immediately one of the turtles did the expected… it dove into the water. However, the second turtle held its ground and after a minute or so, the bird headed back into the water!

The mallards continued to bathe and preen for another five or ten minutes at which point they both suddenly looked in the same direction (to the north, or camera right). About thirty seconds later they both exploded into the air and were gone. I have no idea what they saw.

A few minutes later, I decided to head back up to the house**.  As soon as I stood up outside the blind the second turtle headed for the water… more evidence of the success of the blind?

Here are the photographs…

*I probably could have bought a commercial “pop-up” hunting blind for less that I spent on the materials for this blind. However, every commercial blind I have seen comes with the warning not to leave it sitting in the sun for long periods of  time. It turns out that the coated nylon they are made from is not stable to UV light and will fall apart with exposure to too much sun. Not very useful in my opinion.

**The blind faces to the west and the sun was getting low. Pointing the camera into the sun does not make for great photographs.  Generally, the blind will be most useful in the morning.


  1. Gonna have to learn to get up early!

    Comment by Joan — 27 April 2014 @ 2:56 PM

  2. If he gets up early, then it’s even more likely to act as a nap shelter! But maybe the advantage would be that the nap takes place in a location hidden from you!

    Comment by Katrina — 27 April 2014 @ 8:13 PM

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