Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Winged year

I've seen more varieties of birds this year than ever. It's amazing... I've seen everything from Kingfishers, to an Egret, Osprey, Hawks which are common, Northern Flickers and Baltimore Orioles, tons of woodpeckers of all kinds, Turkeys, and many more. But this Northern Harrier Hawk on my tree this morning just took the cake. It's invisible call and evasive flight has been the hot topic of our dinner table for a few days now, trying to identify it. When it showed up outside my window I nearly spazed out - but that would have scared it, so I grabbed the camera instead and snuck out. About 30 feet from my face in the blinking eastern sunrise was this magnificent hawk-owl almost osprey looking bird of prey. The binoculars (far better detail than my lame camera) revealed the distinctive feather patterns of the female, (brown head, owl turning neck, amber fluff collar, spotted chest, and brown wings with a "V" shaped spotted decoration on the back when the wings are closed) and in the distance we could hear her mate calling back, the one with a tricky more osprey looking feather fashion.

The picture above is after she flew across to another tree (below)- but she can still be seen with her lighter colored chest helping to illuminate her. Her cries are distinctive, from short succinct flute-like sounds, to percussive, amplified screams, as well as full on long classic hawk screams that trail off into the hills after sending chills up your spine.
The wings are only slightly bent shaped when seen from below while in flight - and OH so grand!! Can you follow the wings down to the tips? They are longer than it seems since the last few inches are dark brown.

What does this have to do with plant journeys?

These are the perks of plant watching :)

Anyone think there is an auspicious totem message here? I've let go of the red tail hawk thing .... they're everywhere here in abundance. But this one and the recent Egret ... now those are special!

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