It was a nice morning not a lisp of smoke in the sky with a nice cool temperature and the animals are moving around. It feels good to be back in my routine, morning coffee, on the waterside deck meditating while taking pictures and Skunkpuppy enjoying the morning. The big birds were out again today along with a big surprise.
I heard the Auk! Auk! of the Herons from a fair distance then suddenly they appeared from the South 10 feet off of the water. Two of them made a fine appearance plus I was successful in capturing the image of them together. Unfortunately those were out of focus making me settle for a photo of one. They gracefully pound their wings almost in unison flying close together. Continuing North above the slough they rounded the bend to begin hunting. They were the first visitors around 7am, the sun was just rising casting its golden glow across the Delta. It was shortly after the Red Tailed Hawk and his pursuer were racing across the water.
Racing along the Levee on the far side was this Red Tailed Hawk and a Crow. The predator is relentlessly antagonized by his smaller distant cousins. However most of the time its the smaller birds, flycatchers, Starlins and Red Winged Blackbirds. It’s interesting to watch them take after the large birds which are defenseless when challenged by them. I wonder if it’s the size of the bird that causes the chase to begin, after all the small birds even chase the no-threat Turkey Buzzards. I pack up my stuff between 8 and 9am, this morning I thought about doing it a bit earlier to write the blog I missed yesterday on my plog. Luckily I decided to hold off when at 7:58 this flock of Pelicans buzzed by.
Rarely do I count the members of the flocks; it seems I always guess after they fly by, true to form I estimate there were 12 approximately. They are methodical slow flyers as well looking straight ahead they lumber on. Normally they fly at what appears to be 1000 feet high barely within sight. It’s as if they are magical birds, they are spotted way up high then disappear. I’m sure they don’t but to look at them one minute then completely out sight the next second is a mystery. It’s one of those occurrences the ancient peoples must have noticed. These birds don’t visit the slough often, especially at a such low altitude; that is unless they are landing. One morning around 5 years ago a huge flock landed in the water, covering the slough from one side to the other. I will guess there were more than 500 birds.
I think of them as long range bombers due to their size and determination upon getting to their destination. This was an odd flock flying from South to North most of the time their route is East-West or vice versa. Big beautiful birds they flew past totally silent noticing nothing, not turning their heads or steady beat of the wing. Earlier I was interested in this small guy on the fence rail.
His size can be determined by comparing him to that nail in front of him; he was 30 feet from me just below eye level. They are fast little birds, he was no exception jumping around as if he were on a plate of hot steel. I took this picture early in the morning, 7:30, sometimes attempting to resist taking a picture is a battle of futility. It’s only after taking their image then editing it is their beauty able to be appreciated. Notice the tiny yellow feather tucked under his wing on this side? Just one of the many details that may be explored after the image is recorded.
These activities take place on the Delta in the thousands yearly, perhaps millions of times. I captured a flock of high flying Canadian Honkers going overhead. That picture (I mentioned it in an earlier blog) looks as if it’s a flock of Bees flying way up there; I kept it anyway, that’s just the way I am.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance