Great Blue Heron Reflection
Bird Photography,  National Parks,  Nature,  Wildlife

Walking the Towpath at CVNP – Tips for Wildlife and Bird Photography

One of my favorite things to do is walk the towpath at Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) for Wildlife and Bird photography.  I like to get out there early, right after sunrise, and be alone with nature.

I know the CVNP towpath very well from Bolanz Road to Botzum Station.  I’ve done landscape, macro, bird, and wildlife photography all along this stretch.  Knowing an area well can greatly assist in your bird and wildlife photography.

Muskrat, Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Here are a few tips for bird and wildlife photography along your favorite trail.

  • Take your time – don’t rush.  Listen and look.  Know the calls of the different birds in the area.  This can tell you what birds are near.  Birds and animals can be well hidden.  If you rush, you can walk right past them.
  • Do your research.  Know what birds and animals live along the trail.  Also know when migratory birds pass through the area.  There are birding mailing lists, Facebook pages, and websites that can provide this information.  Also, ask other photographers and birders what they have seen.
  • Visit the place a lot and in different seasons.  Don’t forget about late fall and winter.  These can be some of the best times.  The leaves are off the trees giving more opportunities to photograph birds and there will be less people on the trail.  You’ll get to know the animals, their habitat, and the best locations to photograph them.  Soon you will have several favorite spots along the trail.
  • Once you know the best locations, stop and wait at these spots.  Stay still and be quiet. Use camouflage where possible or hide behind a tree or bush while you wait.  Try not to stand in the open.
  • Go early, before the joggers, bike riders, and dog walkers arrive.  They can scare off the birds and animals.  Many times I’ve had a bird in my lens, ready to press the shutter and a jogger or bike rider scared it off.
  • Relax and enjoy nature.  For me, being out in nature is the fun part – the photographs are a bonus.
Red-Winged Blackbird with a Meal

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