Thanks to a family affinity for birding and a natural talent, Chatham’s Wilhelmina Waters is able to post incredible pictures of local wildlife, including several owls she has been following for years.
In a rarely seen pose of a mated pair of Great Horned Owls sitting side-by-side on a branch, Waters posted the picture to Instagram, one of many wildlife shots she is getting a lot of views and likes on. The picture highlights the difference between the male, smaller with a darker colouring, and the female owl.
Waters said a sighting of the mated pair is sought after by birding enthusiasts in Chatham-Kent, and once you get to know their habits, the likelihood of seeing them is much greater.
For Waters, wildlife photography started as a hobby, and as she grew to love it, it has become a big part of her life.
“I just do it for fun, but I love it,” Waters admitted. “I don’t sell the photos; they are more for myself just to post to Instagram.”
With a full-time job as District Manager, Agriculture Services for TD Canada Trust, Waters said she travels quite a bit across southwestern Ontario, and always has her camera with her. Finding the hobby relaxing, Waters said she likes heading into nature by herself and waiting patiently for the perfect shot, sometimes for up to 45 minutes.
“My parents were birders and some of my family members too, so I come by it naturally,” Waters said. “I’ve been taking my hobby seriously for five or six years now, but have been following several of the owls for about 10 years now.”
Waters enjoys weekends at Rondeau Provincial Park, Mitchell’s Bay and other areas around Chatham-Kent to see what nature has to offer. She recently was able to capture a picture of an American kestrel, the smallest of the falcon family and quite aggressive in taking down other birds in mid air.
She has also been following snowy owls in the area, capturing their photos for her Instagram page as well. Part of several Facebook birding groups, she and fellow bird enthusiasts share photos and locations.
Waters said more birds are appearing in the area that weren’t around say, five years ago, including pairs of bald eagles that now make frequent appearances in Chatham-Kent, which is great for birding and nature enthusiasts.