Friday, October 24, 2008

Finally, the Burger King Red-tail-Sort of.

5:45pm Central Time
It rarely fails. I'm in the car just outside the Piggly Wiggly and there she goes. "The Pig" is the only grocery store in town so when I run over to get something that I need to make dinner hard on sunset, this Red-tailed hawk flies over the Burger King next to the store. Then, while I scramble for the camera I loose track of her. I've never gotten a good look at her. I don't even know if her tail is red, though I do have the impression that the hawk is female.

I've been wanting to figure out if this is part of Whistle's territory or whether this side of town belongs to another pair of hawks. So this time when she flies over, I don't scramble for the camera. I watch where she goes. As luck would have it, she chooses the power pole across the lot. Though I've checked the pole before after she'd gone through, and this is a first for me.

Perhaps with all the cars around she won't notice that I've noticed her.

She looks to the right, SSW. As we all know, hawks have terrific peripheral vision. I hope she didn't see the camera through the open window. I suspect no one else has a window open in this rain so she might find it odd. Do I sound paranoid? I am. The hawks keep flying away from me.

Drat, look at that. Her head turned and she is looking at me.
One more shot, and then I move the car. See Red-tail, I'm just another person hanging out at Burger King.
Super, I got a little closer but what I really need is to get in front of her so I can see her band configuration . Any other kind of coloration comparison with the hawks from the other side of town, unless it's drastically different, won't be terrific as she's wet. And it's never all that reliable anyway as the differences in light changes hawks so much.
I hope she's going to turn but she is watching the road and the grassy area, probably for rodents, so it looks like I'm the one who's going to have to move.
I skirt some parking lot construction and stop the farthest over I can get before having to go out on a public road. Now there is a wire in the way. Her tail has been looking very dark but now it seems to be slightly more rufous. It could be my imagination. I don't know if she's a brown-tail or if it's the dim light and the wet.
Here's a look at the area on her side of the street.
And the Burger King side of the street.
The rain is ebbing. Okay, I'm going to have to chance walking across the street and try to get a look at her front. Nobody walks around here so maybe I'll have time for one photo and that probably be it-- even if I'm far down the street. I get out of the car and start walking.
I come round her--click, and...
She's off and ...
and GONE! She flies round the back of one of the few deciduous trees on the hill that still has leaves.
Foiled again!
I can't do it Saturday, but I'll try for Sunday at this time and see what I can get.
Speaking of Saturday, I have some obligations that may keep me from posting. But then again, maybe not. So look in, just in case.
And now for a tiny surprise from earlier today.
Though this Junco isn't cooperative about photography any more than the Burger King Red-tail was, but I'm putting her up anyway. As she's new as of today. The yard's little Junco flock has risen by one. The count is up to four.
Maybe they'll eventually get to the dozen of last winter after all. I suspect that one or more are the same birds as last season because they immediately take to exactly the same Spruce tree when startled. And there are several other Spruces to choose from the same distance away.
Donegal Browne

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