Tag Archives: parasol

Very Much a “Bird” Day, 01-13-19

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been away from the blog for about a month because I was diagnosed with two types of cancer and had major surgery in December to remove a softball-sized tumor (Which I dubbed “Wilson”) from my abdomen. I also had a full hysterectomy and have been spending the past several weeks in recovery.

I got up this morning around 7:30 am with the dog. It was clear and cool outside, so I decided to try to go for a walk.  Even driving can be painful, but I’m going stir crazy staying bed all day. So, after breakfast, I headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve, and I did better than I thought I would.

I was able to walk almost 2 miles. I had to go slower and couldn’t cover as much ground as I normally do, but I was glad I did it.  It’s the first real walk I’ve done since evicting Wilson, and it was really good for my spirit to get outside and immerse myself in nature again. I may regret the walk tomorrow, but right now, I’m feeling good.

It was mostly a “bird day”, and the Wild Turkeys stole the show. This time of year, the males are all strutting and fighting for dominance, and I was able to witness a real knock-down-drag-out match between two jakes.  Surrounded by other males that were sort of jeering them on, a pair of males went after one another. First they were jumping and kicking at one another with their spurs, then one grabbed the other by the face and they wrestled one another to the ground. They were so focused on each other, and the other males were so focused on the fighting pair, that none of them noticed that the females who were originally in the group had actually walked off, totally ignoring them. Hah! I got photos and video snippets of the fight.

CLICK HERE for the full album.

I also got photos of a male Nuttall’s Woodpecker drilling for bugs on the side of a tree (and got video of him routing one out of the bark), some European Starlings, a Golden-Crowned Sparrow, an Oak Titmouse, a male Lesser Goldfinch and a tiny Brown Creeper. I saw and heard Scrub Jays, White-Breasted Nuthatches, Acorn Woodpeckers, and a Red-Shouldered Hawk, but couldn’t get decent photos of them.

I saw a few deer, mostly bucks resting in the grass, and the melanistic squirrel (an all-black Eastern Fox Squirrel) but not many other critters.  There were a few fungi around including some jelly fungus, northern Bluets, a Barometer Earthstar, ink-cap mushrooms, and some other specimens. I walked for about 2 ½ hours and then head back to the house.

Red-Shouldered Hawks and a Very Brave Fawn, 01-27-18

While I was driving into the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve, I came across a huge flock of male Wild Turkeys, all big gobblers showing off to one another. Most of them were in nearby front yards, but some of them were right in the middle of the road, and weren’t too keen on moving out of the way. I had to stop the car and then inch it forward to get the birds to move. One persistent one stood right in front of my car and stayed there – even when I was close enough so that all I could see of him was his head looking up over the hood my car – until I honked the horn at him. He finally, if very slowly, got out of the way but then jogged alongside my car for a while as I continued down the road. Goofy birds.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos and videos.

At the preserve itself, I came across that large group of hikers that I’d seen there before: about 15 or 20 of them, all gabbing loudly, scaring off the wildlife… I let them all pass me, and then I turned around and went in the opposite direction of where they were going. As I did this, I came across another hiker who said to me, “They really disturb the peace, don’t they?” That’s for sure! I don’t understand why they can’t do their group walk and SHUT UP at the same time. What a racket they make!

I saw many of the usual suspects on my walk: Acorn Woodpeckers, Lesser Goldfinch, Turkey Vultures, Canada Geese, some Herring Gulls and Common Goldeneye in the river, a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, European Starlings, Golden-Crowned Sparrows, Scrub Jays…

But there were a lot of Red-Shouldered Hawks around including a trio that soared and dashed through the trees chasing one another. One of the hawks even flew down and perched right on the top of an old, weathered skag of a tree. By its coloring and size, I assume it was female. So lovely.

There were also a lot of deer out today, too, including one very curious and brave fawn who came right up to the side of the trail to check me out (while he pretended to browse in the tall grass). He was so close, I could have reached out and touched him. I also came cross a doe who seemed to be intrigued by my hat. She was about 20 feet away, but stepped up to within about 5 feet of me to check me out.

At another point, I saw two does stotting across hillside. Then they made a left turn and came running straight at me, only seeing me at the last second when they veered off sharply to the right to avoid hitting me. I could feel the “wind” of their passing they were so close.

The other cool deer sighting was to be able to see two of the dominant males jousting with one another. I’d gotten photos and video snippets of the younger males head-butting one another, but this time it was two of the largest males – one a four-pointer. I don’t understand how they can wrestle the way they do, antlers locked, without poking each other’s eyes out.

I left a little bit earlier than I normally would – only walking for about 2½ hours instead of the regular 3 or 3½ — because the weather was so nice “everyone” decided to converge on the preserve.