Monday, March 26, 2012

Windy in the Willows

Or in my case very windy everywhere. I wanted to take a walk this morning but couldn't decide which walk to take. Where I live there are more than a few choices. Some require a short drive; others I walk out of my driveway and I'm on my way. I was still undecided when I returned from the post office.

One of my favorite sounds when it's windy is the soughing (pronounced "sighing") of the pines. On this particular walk I pass by a small copse of sighing pines. The sound is even more beautiful when it's a winter evening complete with snowfall, a full moon in a clear sky and a gentle breeze.

I decided to take a walk that would take me down a rather steep hill that twists and turns to the bottom. Coming up the hill on foot is a killer unless, of course, you're in relatively good shape. Guess which one I am?

I always have my point and shoot camera with me wherever I go and this time I had it tucked into my jacket pocket. Didn't think I'd see anything worth taking a picture of since it was so windy. But lo and behold as I approached a small bluff, about a third of the way down, I spotted two TV's. No not televisions analogs or flat screen digitals -- but two turkey vultures roosting in a tree overlooking a small, winding creek. Die hard hawkers call them TV's as in "turkey vultures."

Carefully, I walked to the edge of the bluff where I looked across and then down. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the vulture on the left, which I think was a juvenile, getting antsy. The adult, on the right, didn't seemed too concerned about my presence. Whenever I encounter wildlife I try to be respectful of their personal space because I don't want to stress them out but I'm also hoping I'll be able to take a photo before they bolt or fly off.

I ignored them hoping they'd get used to my presence and settle down. I looked over the edge of the bluff into the narrow valley below and saw the trees were beginning to leaf out.

Last week when I walked down here the valley was a monochromatic shade of grey. But today as I looked across the space, Nature was beginning to paint the area a lush green.

Today it's in the 50's but if it warms any time this week, next week the valley will be almost entirely green I'm sure.

I turned from the bluff and walked as quietly as I could over to get a better shot of the vultures. The juvenile stood as if to take flight and turned in my direction keeping his beady little eyes on me. The adult was fazed not one bit. I was able to take three close up shots, but as these photos indicate they're not that sharp before they opened their wings and sailed off over the valley.

I watched them dip and circle and rise on the thermal that hovered in the valley. As they did, they climbed higher and higher above the valley then headed east, at least I think it was east. I watched them climb even higher above the treeline until they were thin V's off in the distance.

It isn't often I see things like this on my walks but this morning I'm glad I took this particular walk.

Hope you're day is going well.



off kilter said...

Hi, Chris,
I took a walk this morning, too, and saw many fallen branches along the creek in my neighborhood. It was only when I was almost home that I realized one of those could have fallen on my head!
Your photos are beautiful.

Lynn said...

We had wind, too! Over a couple of days. Tore some shingles off the roof. Grrrr. Now our house looks prettier than ever. HA! I love walking in the wind, though. So wild and kinda scary yet invigorating.

Kate I said...

Hi Chris, those turkey vultures really get around! We have them here on the west coast too and when we're in Mexico we see lots of them there as well.

Where we stay in Mexico, there's an island out in Jaltemba Bay and the turkey vultures roost out there at night. In the morning they have to wait for the heat to warm the air so they can thermal their way up and off the island for the day.

Sounds like it was a great walk, even with the steep hill!