Greeting the Sun

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I almost never set an alarm. I wake early. I can’t help it. If I need to wake at 6:00 I wake by 6:00. These days I get up even earlier. Ideally I wake at 5:00. That way I can be out the door by 5:15/5:20. It is May. This is the time to go birding. Usually I wake by 5:15. This morning? 5:00 on the dot.

Typically I sneak out of bed and head to the bathroom. The night before I lay out clothes to go out, based on the weather. When I rise I brush my teeth, pop in contact lenses, dress, and split. It is plenty light these days by 5:30. The sun rises just before 6:00. I slowly walk down the driveway, looking and listening for birds. This morning by the time I walked that tenth of a mile I had counted 15 different species.

Today just past the fields and the river (Swamp Sparrows, Snipes, Barn Swallows, Phoebes, a couple Yellow Warblers and many others) I ducked up into the woods. This morning it was a birding bonanza. There is a window of days, and we’re in it now, when the leaves are not yet back on the trees and the song birds are starting to do their thing. Today I got the benefit of that. I saw my first Wood Thrush of the year (singing like a champ), my first Brown Thrasher, nine different warbler species (including Golden Winged, a hard one to find), a Blue Headed Vireo and a Rose Breasted Grosbeak. At one point there were 15 or so warblers in the trees around me flitting back and forth. It was a sight.

When the sun tops the hills the birds move around, but not for long. By 7:00 things were pretty still. It pays to get out early. That saying about the early bird? Right on the money.

Turkey in the fog

Turkey in the fog

Critters, No Pics

Yesterday afternoon I was out for a run. On my way towards home, on a narrow stretch of class IV road (dirt, minimally maintained, for those of you with only pavement around you), I was startled by a loud blast of noise. It was a fluttering, blustery, croaking flapping.  It was a turkey. Some think turkeys can’t fly, but that ain’t so. This turkey flew from the field next to the road up into a maple tree. It sat there hiding, as if I couldn’t see it, although I clearly could. People are called turkeys for nothing.

Out where it came from in the field there was… something. That something was a coyote. Its head was poking out of the tall grass, ears pointing up and listening. It looked at me. I looked at it. It had flushed the turkey, the one that got away. The thing is, there was another turkey there. It was meandering through the grass slowly, just its head above the grass, a short distance from the coyote. The coyote eyed it, followed it a little, but the jig was up. There was a human in the picture, and the turkey still on the ground knew it was being pursued. So the canine turned around and headed into the woods on the field’s far side.

I have to admit I was a little elated to see such an event. Nothing happened, but still, these charismatic fauna were playing out the ancient game of predator and prey.  One doesn’t see that every day, and I certainly wasn’t expecting it on one of my usual runs. But there it was. I watched it. I’ll take it.