From my first sighting this morning I had a feeling that today’s views were going to be amazing. I just didn’t know at the time how amazing.
It all began when this Bald Eagle gave me a backward glance as I drove west. He posed as usual on his favorite hangout and I knew that he was patiently awaiting his turn to dine on some recent roadkill. In the meantime, the crows had a feast.
What I didn’t expect was to see a second Hermit Thrush this week, but so it was as I snowshoed through a land trust property with a couple of other people. I have them to thank for they spied the bird first.
And then we stood silent and watched. And dreamed of its enchanting song to come.
Finding my way beside water a few hours later, it was a pair of Common Goldeneye ducks, his eyes even reflected below, that made me pause next.
Despite a couple of branches slightly obstructing my view, her eye of gold stood out vividly as well. What exactly is it that’s common about them? Their presence I suppose, but still I’m thrilled each time we meet.
Nearby, I almost missed Donald and Daffy, but he hollered for attention, while she stood by on one leg.
Why do birds stand on one leg? And how do they do it? The why I think I can answer–to keep the other leg warm. Unlike some avian species, ducks don’t have hairy sweatpants and so by tucking one leg up under a wing, they can retain some heat. That was important for today while the temperature was in the 40˚s, with a breeze, it was overcast and felt rather raw.
As for my second question, how do they do it? Stand still on one leg without toppling over, that is. I don’t know, but do wonder if it has to do with the feet located toward the center of the body so its weight can be evenly distributed–maybe it turns the one foot a wee bit to insure stability. And perhaps the splayed foot also helps assist what for me would be an awkward position.
Perhaps. And perhaps she looked at me as if to say I was daffy.
And he smiled in agreement.
The next great sight was not a bird, nor was it caged in. And it wasn’t an original find for me because some friends met me at a location where they’d spied it yesterday. But in yesterday’s warm sun, the Red Fox let her four kits frolic about. We watched for a while today, but apparently she’d told the kits to stay in. Her choice for a den sight was remarkable and we learned she’d chosen the same fair spot last year.
At last I began my journey homeward, but first I had to stop by a spot I’ve been frequenting often of late, for it’s where the Sandhill Cranes have been dining. At the moment there are only two, but by last fall they numbered at least eighteen. Will the same come true this year? Only time will tell.
And then, another bird called out and when I realized what it was all I could think of is “Here Comes the Judge” for so its feathers and stance reminded me of a robed magistrate.
This scavenging creature has no feathers on its head in order to keep bits of carrion (dead meat) from adhering to the skin as they would to feathers.
Yes, these were Turkey Vultures. Where there was one, I soon realized there were two. Actually, on a tree behind these two were two more. I wonder if I missed any.
If I had eyes as big and bright as the Wood Ducks that swam quickly through a brook nearby, I’m sure I wouldn’t miss anything, including food in the water below as well as those above who might think of me as food.
Like this guy! As with so many of my finds today, I’m not sure how I happened upon him, but I did. I guess it was that I tried to look for the anomaly in nature. What shape or color stands out from the surroundings?
As I watched, the Bald Eagle changed its orientation. And then it flew and I was sure that that would be the end of our time spent together.
But it landed on a branch above and continued to look about. I swear it even looked at me and I gave thanks for the opportunity to begin and end the day with such a noble bird in two different locations.
I knew I’d been honored to share a few moments with friends as well as notice those things that deviated from the norm. My eagle eyes certainly felt keen today.