When heading out to photograph nature I used to find myself always dismissing any location that was nearby. I live in a fairly well developed area and even though there are small pockets of trees and ponds around, I would always assume there couldn’t be much to photograph in those tiny spots. I could not have been more wrong! One of my local parks has more recently become one of my favorite places to visit. Timber Creek Park is a small park in the Camden County Park system and is mainly known for its 9 acre fenced in dog park. With dogs everywhere I thought it was just another reason this park wouldn’t have much wildlife, wrong again.
With a paved 1/2 mile trail that wraps around an open field and along a wooded edge there is very easy access to decent birding and wildlife watching. If you are prepared for a bit more “off roading” then you can head to the many trails that criss-cross through the woods and find the small pond hidden back there. These trails will also lead you right down to Big Timber Creek which borders the park’s northern side. While the park can get rather busy on a nice summer evening most of the visitors are heading to the dog area leaving a majority of the park unoccupied.
The abundance and variety of wildlife I’ve been able to find at this tiny park has truly surprised me. I’ve photographed birds that I’ve only ever seen at this park as well as squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits. It is always amazing to see how well nature can adapt and coexist with human development. I’ve actually been photographing a bird while a few dogs were barking nearby and it didn’t seem to phase the bird at all. There are plenty of areas where you can find some “alone time” with nature and even with passing foot traffic it usually doesn’t seem to bother the wildlife.
One of the best things about this park for me is that I can get to it within a 5 minute drive, which means I don’t need to set aside half a day to get myself outdoors. I can go enjoy Timber Creek Park when I only have a spare hour or two. So if you are new to nature photography or just thinking about giving it a try, give your local park a shot. Hopefully you too can be surprised at what you can find there, I certainly was.
If you are interested in seeing a list of the birds I’ve seen at the park in 2012, click here.