Lots of birds and a beautiful sunset

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Shortly after arriving at my workplace at the Johnstonian News in Kenly on Friday morning, I received a phone call from fellow photojournalist Drew C. Wilson of The Wilson Times.

Although Drew and I are writers and photographers at different locations, we are basically on the same team as The Wilson Times owns the Johnstonian News and some of our work appears in both newspapers.

In my opinion, Drew is not only a highly skilled photographer, but also an accomplished journalist.

Anyway, I could tell he was slightly excited Friday as he had called to tell me about a photo he’d taken the previous evening of a large flock of birds with a gorgeous sunset backdrop he observed while passing through Kenly on his way home from work.

He had also sent the image to me via email a few minutes prior to calling.

Since Drew lives in the Cleveland area of Johnston County near Raleigh and works out of the Wilson office, his route to and from work each day passes through Kenly along U.S. 301.While most of his commutes are probably uneventful, this one proved to be a little different.

Coincidentally, I had passed along the same route as Drew the same evening just a few minutes earlier than he did and although I saw the sunset, I was in a hurry for an assignment at North Johnston High School and thus neither saw nor photographed the scene Drew saw of the birds and the sunset together.

Sights like this last only a few seconds and then they are gone, so thank goodness Drew made the decision to pull off the road, grab his camera and fire away.

After congratulating him on what I consider to be an award-winning photograph, I also thanked him on behalf of both myself and all our readers for providing such an outstanding visual image.

Whether the final result was due to his skill, luck or maybe a little of both, Drew was in the right place at the right time and really hit the jackpot on this one.

Over the years I have seen and photographed many huge flocks of birds from the tundra swans and snow geese at Pungo Lake in Washington County to the black gackels in a field near Elm City, among others.

While all have been what I would call decent images with thousands of birds in the air, these efforts pale in comparison with the image Drew Wilson was able to capture last week.


As beautiful as this image is, however, Drew and I laughed afterward about the many readers who after seeing it posted online have expressed their displeasure about the birds and the havoc they have wreaked on cars and houses in the area.

I guess I can understand both sides of the argument, but to me it is still a nice photo.

Keith Barnes, a Wilson storyteller and author, is a reporter for the Johnstonian News. Email him at kbarnes.jhn@wilsontimes.com.