Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Birdwatching and Nature Documentaries

I've been jogging to/from work most days since fall started because biking in the cold? Not so nice and running in the cold? warm & toasty. Anyway, I might have mentioned this before, but we have a lot of predator birds in this area, particularly red-tailed hawks. And apparently, from a distance and through the trees, a medium-length light-brown ponytail bouncing-bouncing-bouncing through the woods looks just like a squirrel if you're a predator bird, and it's only once the bird is almost on top of her prey that WHOA CRAP THAT'S BIGGER THAN A SQUIRREL, it's.... me. I see more red-tailed hawks at close range than is normal, and I can only explain it as a case of mistaken identity. One of these days I'll get scalped. In the meantime, it's kind of neat.

Since the sun goes down around 5:20 these days, and I run from about 4:45-6:15 in the evenings, there are always deer browsing in the underbrush. I KNOW I've said this before, but those deer are big. HUGE! Tyrranasaurus doe! They tend to congregate in groups of 3-5 and at dusk you can't see them until they move. I've had a deer leap away as I approached it at about 10 feet and startle the heck out of me because I had no idea it was there. If they'd just hold real still, I'd never know they were there.


Dad said...

Hey, I bet it is the ponytail, because I've only once seen a hawk come that close. I'll bet my salt-and-pepper short haircut doesn't look like anything but what it is: a geezer jogging/walking through the woods. But once a hawk buzzed your Mom when we were hiking at Hovenweep in the high desert. I don't know if it thought she was a grayish bunny rabbit, or what, but it was so close we heard the "whump" of its wings when it flared off just before we saw it. By the time we looked up, it was 6-8 feet up, so it must have been just a foot or two above our heads when it realized its mistake.

alphagal said...

Yes, I know that Whump! sound- those are some BIG wings. The other day, one landed on a tree branch alongside the trail with its wings and tail in full spread-out plumage. Up close, it's really dramatic.