Big birds, big fish and fine clear air–must be September

Posted on September 15, 2010


I love September. There’s a lot of good walking weather and the air is clear so you can see things. Wonderful things.

Do you know who this is? 

When a bald eagle soars this close, it’s exhilarating.  He wasn’t the only big bird surveying the bayshore either.  Do you recognize this fellow?

I wasn’t quite so successful here, but maybe you can tell that it’s a turkey vulture.  If you look really hard, you can see its naked red head. It soars with its wings in a slight V, as opposed to the straight-across span of the eagle, and the wings are dark at the leading edge and paler behind.

And what do you suppose the big birds were looking for?  Well, I did promise you a big fish.

It was all I could do to keep the Cowboy away from it. I have no idea what it was. I’m not good at fish identification. Bruce and Andi Laidlaw were walking on the beach that day too, and Bruce suggested it might be a sturgeon. Dunno about that. No, I don’t think it’s an Asian carp! For one thing, I gather it’s not big enough. Gack. Definitely a fish. A very large, very dead, fish.

We weren’t there for the next phase, but somebody got at that fish.  It wasn’t the eagle.  He would have just carried it off.  I’m inclined to think—based on the tracks all over the beach and the drag marks—that it was a flock of determined gulls. I would have liked to see them stand off the turkey vulture, if that’s what happened.   

I never used to appreciate turkey vultures, but I do now. They are extremely good at tidying up messes made by other creatures, or by Mama Nature herself.  We could use a lot more of that around here.   

I have some plants to show you, too, but they’ll keep until tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to come back. The plants aren’t Triffids or anything. Promise.