Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Part 2 The Eagle Nest, B.J. the Attack Goat, Sandhill Crane Pair, Hordes of Canada Geese, and Red-winged Blackbirds,

(I'm trying to integrate about 700 photos from two different cameras and as the time stamp seems to be a bit off on one camera it's more of a time eater than it should be. Sorry.)

Worried that I might be bothering the eagles too much, they don't see people as innocuous parts of the landscape AT ALL. I was backtracking to the first treeline, when I heard squeaking. I looked up and there was eagle heading straight for me. Dad? I've no idea, except by behavior, but I don't really know American Eagle behavior like I do Red-tailed Hawks, but if he were a Red-tail he'd likely be dad so I'm going to call this eagle, Dad.

By the way, he really was squeaking. He was coming after me in an aggressive way but all these guys can do is squeak. Very strange. At any rate, the minute I raised the camera to my eye... Come to think of it, even though I know eagles squeak it was so strange coming out of the huge bird I stopped action a moment thinking about it, and didn't get the straight on shot. Perhaps the squeaking is a little like Skunks that stand on their hind legs. The odd behavior weirds the intruder out?

Note that Dad immediately went into his turn the second I put the camera to my eye. They do not like cameras. The long lens reminds them of guns?

There he goes heading back north towards the second tree line and the nest.


Into the second nest tree line and I'm sure what exactly happened here. There is a break in time.

And an eagle appears to the east of the nest.

She comes in to perch.

He goes to fold his wings, sees me, and changes his mind.

The huge wings unfold again.

And off he goes.

Out the other side of the trees.

I see more wings to the NE out of the corner of my eye, I look. Oops, they're Canada Geese. Where's the eagle? There he is coming after me again. I lift the camera to my eye.

He pivots and heads the other way.

He follows the high voltage lines back in the direction of the nest.

The next time I see an eagle, is sitting in the dead tree near the nest. This could be Mom. See her in the V of the trunks?

I'm now somewhat hidden in the southern treeline. Not that anyone is really fooled I'm sure.

An eagle comes from somewhere and heads west in the tree line. Each time he starts to perch and bring the camera up, he then takes off again to another spot.

Start to perch. Camera goes to eye.

Eagle takes off again.

Then I somehow loose sight of him.

By the way, once I passed the corn fields, contiguous to the lane, the lane gave way to marsh. I passed a first treeline, went over a tree trunk bridge over the crick, and back to the land of marsh water and tufts. I tried to keep to the tufts. If I didn't stand on any given tuft too long I didn't sink into the cold water. If I did, well...

I could hear the Sandhill Cranes, LOUDLY, for 3 or 4 minutes before I could see them. Then I spied them in the western treeline. I was coming back into the vicinity of their perennial nest site and they weren't happy yet again.

Still trumpeting...

Further north and making their own kind of commotion, a whole new flock of Canada Geese arrives and starts circling and continues honking .

These six geese break off from the larger flock which continued to the larger pond to the east, a little further on. They are honking like crazy too. I always get the feeling that they are "talking" to the geese on the ground. And the geese on the ground are "talking" back to them.

In this case, a pair breaks off from the smaller group and desend to the smaller pond. What was all the honking about? Did they get permission to land? Saying good-bye to the group they traveled with? Say hello to the neighbors from last summer? The other two pair are now heading toward the larger flock and its larger pond.

The Canada Geese on the ground just stand on the ice. Yup just stand on the ice or occasionally someone will hunker down, stick their head under their wing and sleep. Not much gamboling around or eating or anything. It isn't just this group, it's all that I've seen today. I suspect that they have returned to the pond where they have previously nested or to their natal territory and they are saving their spot, perhaps?

Ah ha! One of the adult's heads is showing. I don't know if it's mom or dad or whether they've been there the whole time. I hate the fact that I can't tell them apart currently or may never be able to unless they are standing next to each other where the size difference shows.
The male Red-winged Blackbirds are everywhere and they are singing their brains out. Their song is konk la reeeeeee. They look relatively normal on the first note , Konk and ruffle up a bit for the la...

But on the reeeee, which is rather like the buzzing of a very large insect mixed with a trill their feathers plume up and they vibrate all over. The girls must go for it. They're loud.

Speaking of loud, somewhere out there the loudest American bird. A pair sounds like they are coming this way-Sandhill Cranes. I must be somewhere near their chosen nest site. I'm told they pick the same spot every year even though some years the nest gets flooded. You can hear them from two miles away which ordinarily is well before you see them.

There they are! Look at the closest treeline. On the other side of the third tree clump from the left, there is one. Is that the other in the last tree?
Here they come and I appear to be the bone of contention.

Note the bird on the left has his beak open and he's trumpeting at me-garoooo-a-a-a. And he's doing it over and over again. I got three phone calls while I was in the field today and though the phone was in my breast pocket, I never heard it ring at all. It was competing with a lot of birds who either weren't thrilled with my presence or who were seeking mates. It was really LOUD out there.

More garooooo-a-a-as and they start their turn...

...and go in the opposite direction.

Way, way back in the farthest treeline is the eagle nest tree. I reshuffle all my stuff onto different spots of my body so the blood can flow in the places it's been cut off from and walk up the hill towards the house. I see the wife standing in the door and she comes out to talk to me. I tell her what's been going on down at the marsh. We get to my car, I open the side sliding door of the mini-van and I trade my rubber boots, my feet are freezing from sloshing through the icy water, for my shoes. Though I do take off one of my coats and stuff it and my equipment into the car.

I ask about the various buildings and the wife wants to show me something. I hit the button to close the sliding door and head off after her. She shows me their viewing deck for summer and their little viewing trailer with the big picture window they fitted into it complete with coffee maker, TV, and a bona vide record player. It's a very homey rustic set-up. On the walk back she starts telling me about the antics of B.J. the goat. He was supposed to be a pygmy goat, she says, but they lied. Well his legs might be a bit shorter than a regular goat but the res of him looks pretty beefy and full sized to me. Though what do I know from Billy goats. His favorite thing to nosh is cardboard, but he'll also chew electrical cords so they all have to be out of his reach.

We turn the corner of the shed and are walking back to the car, and who should be standing next to it? It's B.J. the goat. The wife says she better walk me to the car as she has the walking stick and B.J. won't do his specialty, run into the person, hook his head round their leg at the knee and press, which clips them off their feet, if he sees the stick.

And B.J. with an absolutely crazed look of ecstasy on his face has some cardboard he is busily chewing.

When he snuffs it he appears reasonably normal but...

chewing it must be transcendent.

You know what? That isn't cardboard that is heavy paper...and it looks familiar. He keeps chewing rapidly while staring at me. I turn around. The side door of the car is open. Somehow either the sliding door of the van didn't slide closed like it was supposed to or... No that isn't possible.

B.J. keeps chewing and I realize he is no longer looking at my face he is now scoping out my knees, AND THEN I RECOGNIZE WHAT HE IS CHEWING and start to laugh. In fact I can't stop laughing. He's chewing the cover of my Road Atlas. Or as they are called in Wisconsin-my Gazetter.

Evidentally people seldom bend over laughing themselves silly in front of B.J. because he stops looking at my knees. Which is a good thing. I'm dying. In order to get my Gazeteer, the remnants of which are in the seat pocket on the back of the drivers seat, B.J. had to put his front legs in the car and strain up to reach it, or I think more likely, he hopped into the back of my van, peeled the back cover all the Gazetteer, heard us coming, hopped back out, and began his maniacal chewing. He really is a very clever goat.
He really isn't sure what to make of this laughing thing. Something to keep in mind to do if YOU ever run into an Attack Goat.

He's still chewing and I'm still laughing.

Then he seems to have had enough of me. I'm being too weird perhaps so he turns-still chewing and trots off. Maybe he'll have an extension cord for dessert.

Donegal Browne


Anonymous said...

Question: Are there any Red-Tail nests in close proximity to the Eagles nest?

Donegal Browne said...

Hi Anon,

So far I haven't seen a Red-tail nest in the area, though I'm always on the look out. I don't know what the terrain is like on the far side of the treeline where the nest is situated yet, but the portion on "my" side is wet and marshy where it isn't cornfield. I've not seen Red-tails hunt that kind of area in Wisconsin so far but they are very adaptable so I'll be keeping an eye peeled.