Shelby Park

Shelby Park in Nashville, TN is a large 336 acre urban park that includes a nature center, golf course, greenway, lakes, ball fields, and a little bit of everything else.  I’ve only been there a few times but it is becoming one of my favorite photography sites.

After trudging around Old Hickory lake this morning chasing a stupid Belted Kingfisher around I headed for Shelby Park, and what do I see as soon as I get out of my truck?  Another Belted Kingfisher ready to pick up where the other one left off.

Kingfishers are quite shy and have a really annoying, laughing call.  They also seem to think it’s a lot of fun to lead photographers from one of the lake to the other and then take to their wings as soon as we get marginally within range for a decent shot.  This one was no exception and after following the silly bird COMPLETELY around the lake (literally! All the way around the stupid lake!) the closest I managed to get was 42 meters.

So, when I got back to my vehicle I ignored the Kingfisher sitting completely on the other side of the lake laughing at me and shot a few photos of the birds nearby.

I realized this morning while eating breakfast before dawn at the newsest Waffle House in Nashville that I haven’t been to Shelby Park all summer.  I was trying to think of some place to go that would not leave me a long distance from my vehicle since there is a 50% chance of rain all day today and a big band of it showing on radar.  Shelby Park seemed like the logical answer, so after enjoying my cheese and eggs with sausage, I headed that way.

Not a lot to choose from though.  Too early in the season for the migratory birds to start to show up but then I noticed a Green Heron on the bank of the lake.  Like most birds Green Herons are quite skittish and since they are a rather small species of Heron it is difficult to fill a camera viewfinder with one without getting quite close.  This one allowed me to get rather close so I got some decent shots of it.

Spring has sprung.  The ducklings are proof of that!


I hung around Shelby Park for a couple of hours this morning just watching the Gulls fly around.  While doing so I kept having thoughts of the book Jonathon Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach because some of them really seemed to be enthralled with their ability to fly.  Gulls seem to be able to do things that other birds can’t do.  They can stick those big wings out and glide forever, or they can dive and tuck their wings in and come screaming over the lake like a bullet.  They are coordinated enough to virtually hover in one place or skim along the surface scooping food out of the water.  They are amazing birds to watch and I had a great time.
Of course, I did have to shoot a few other birds to ;)