Category Archives: Birds
Once upon a time there was a boy who lived beside a forest that was dark and smelled of skunk cabbage and was crawling with slugs that were a foot long and covered with sticky slime. This didn’t stop the boy from going into the forest because he was curious and wanted to know what was beyond the trees down the path that started where his own yard ended.
One day when his mother was busy with house cleaning, the boy took his brother who was smaller than him and they went into the forest a few steps and there they stopped to look back at their house. Then they looked down the path into the forest and back at the house again and then down the path again and they wondered what they should do. They walked back to the beginning of the path and looked at the house to see if their mother was watching. She told them to stay out of the forest but they thought that it would be alright if they just stood at the edge of it for a while and looked. So they stood and looked into the forest and wished they could go in and find out what was there amongst the tall trees where the sun hardly touched the ground because of all the leaves.
While they were looking an owl glided past their heads and silently beat it wings as it flew off down the path and into the forest. That was impossible to ignore and they started walking quickly down the path into the trees hoping to see the owl again, forgetting that they weren’t allowed to go into the forest. When they had walked for a while they saw the owl high up in a tree sitting on a big branch preening its feathers with its beak. They stood at the bottom of the tree and looked up at the owl. The owl stopped preening and stared at them.
Who who, it said, who who who.
Who are you, said the boy and his brother said it too, who are you?
The owl didn’t answer, just saying who who again, and looking at the boys with its large dark eyes that blinked slowly. Then the owl swivelled its head completely around so the boys could only see the back of it.
The boys walked around to the opposite side of the tree and looked up at the owl again noticing that the owl’s feet were now going the wrong way.
Look at his feet, they’re backwards, said the boy to his brother who laughed.
Then the owl swivelled its head back to the other side and once again they were looking at the back of the owl. They walked to the front of the owl and saw that now its feet were forwards and not backwards. Then the owl closed its eyes and went to sleep.
Let’s go home said the little brother, I’m hungry.
They looked for the path but when they found it they couldn’t remember which way to go because they were confused by the owl’s head going this way and that way. They tried to remember what the owl looked like when they first saw it but it was impossible to say which way the owl’s feet were supposed to go. When they looked up at the owl again it had turned its head around which made them even more confused.
I want to go home, said the little brother, I’m hungry. Then he started to cry.
Don’t cry, said the boy, I need you to help me think.
The boy went back to the path and looked up at the sky. He saw the sun and remembered that the earth turned on its axis once every day, which made the sun come up and go down, even though the sun never really moved. The boy remembered that when they had entered the forest the sun had been in their eyes. The boy had a brand new wrist watch which he got for a birthday present and he knew how to tell what time it was. Looking at his watch he saw that it was still morning so he knew the sun was still getting higher in the sky.
If the sun was in our eyes when we walked into the forest, he said, we should have the sun on our backs to go home.
They stood on the path with the sun at their backs and ran as fast as they could all the way home, where they had milk and cookies and drew pictures of owls.
Sold another typewriter this week, a 1966 Smith Corona Sterling. In fact, just a Silent Super with a different name on it. Smith Corona was still making the 5 series in 1966, long after they introduced series 6. I have a 1959 series 6 to prove it! This one is a present for a youngster. Lucky kid to have a cool grandmother! I’m thrilled to see this going to a young writer.
I got out my “Christmas” typewriter, a red Remington Rand (spray painted ). My grandson spotted it and immediately began to press on the keys. It’s never too early to start typing lessons.
Another sign of the season is the abundance of raptors about. This eagle dove towards the lake and then we saw it fly off into a tree. When we got close, we could see it eating what it had caught. Then it wiped its beak on a branch. There were no napkins available.
Daylight time has gone. Today I ate lunch at 11.30 since my stomach is still on its former schedule. Before the light faded this afternoon I decided to head out around the lake for a quick walk before dark. Good thing too, because the sun was sinking low as I left. I grabbed the camera on my way out, and fixed the big zoom lens, just in case. I haven’t carried this camera for months, but I had a hunch today might be the day – the day the owl returns. Until recently the leaves have been hiding the life that is now visible since they are rapidly falling. What they reveal is very interesting.
Well, sometimes you get lucky. As soon as I entered the copse of trees where the owl can often be found in November, I spotted one, and the sun was lighting it up as if it had been placed there as the perfect setup just waiting for me to come along. I wiggled my way into the brush to get a bit closer and tried to find a line of sight that didn’t have branches in the way.
Satisfied with some decent pics I continued on my way, taking a diversion to check for horned owls in another part of the wood where they have been known to hang out, but they weren’t about, or couldn’t be seen if they were. Back on the main path, a doe jumped out in front of me and into the brush. Then I spotted her mate half hidden behind a tree. He cautiously came out and I got a shot of him crossing the path. With his pointy antlers I stayed well away in case he took a notion to shoo me off. I didn’t notice the odd antler that looks like it sprouted from between his eyes! Just a few yards further on I looked up to see a huge paper wasp nest that was now in plain sight.
Continuing on I crossed the new floating bridge and was pleased that the far end of the trail will never again be flooded over, since they raised a berm there about 4 feet high. Around the backside and turning east I glanced up to see a Red Tailed Hawk sitting in a bare tree, and right below it another large dangling wasp nest. I crept as close as I could to get a better shot of the hawk, expecting it to take off at any second, but it seemed to be watching things on the ground and it chose to ignore me. Often they depart as soon as I start approaching.
The south side of the lake has now flooded again as it does once the rain comes, and the slough was filled with ducks and geese. Way off in the distance near some tall firs I thought I saw an eagle fly past.
Once I rounded the last side of the circle I spied a pair of Bald Eagles wheeling and spinning over a small flooded meadow. They dropped down as if to grab a fish not once but several times and scattered a flock of ducks and birds.
The pair landed beside the water, a rare sight, and I watched them have a drink.
Then they left and the ducks all soon reappeared as if nothing had happened.
Late this afternoon I walked over to inspect the nest and saw only one baby. I had to use the flash to get a picture as the nest was in deep shadow. Two days ago there were still two in there:
Late afternoon light is a good time for pictures as the low sun makes for dramatic contrast.
The babies are 10 days old now, and have increased in size enormously. They should be in the nest for another 10 days before they can fly. When I arrived the pair were sitting with beaks up, and no mother in sight. Then a squeak and she appeared on the nest. A quick feed and then she was gone. One baby got up and stretched, then they went back to their repose with beaks up.