Thursday, February 06, 2014

Part 2 of the Sunday Miscellany

When last we met our feathered friends, Rock the Bald Eagle had just fled a mobbing by Crows to parts unknown on the other side of the river.

Then surprisingly the Crows continue to fly into the tree line bordering the Rock River on their side and continue screaming with the Bald Eagle out of sight but they don't follow..  What's going on.

There hadn't been much on the river during this ruckus but what there was, a pair of Geese...

...who then take off  from upriver and follow the Eagle through the trees on the far side. 

Then a single Mallard does the same.  ???

Then  I see her!

A Red Fox is running on the other side down river and the Crows raise their vocal level a few notches and really go crazy.

An Eagle is one thing, they have a tendency to prefer fishing, but a fox doesn't mind a tasty meal of bird one little bit. 

 Fox slows down to a brisk walk, sniffs the air, and the Crows go utterly mad.
She stops and looks upriver.
Then she looks over to my side of the river and appears to see me.
Off she goes in haste.
She heads towards the pier.  Keep in mind as my side of the river is a lumber yard, on the other side just up the hill are private residences.  She sticks to the only cover available close to the river's edge, the pier.
For whatever reason she then jumps up onto the pier and the first Crow crosses the river above her, cawing.  Ah there are a pair of Mallards very nearly under the pier.
She looks at the Mallard pair.  I look up to check the crows.
I take only a quick look up. But it is enough. I look across the river again and I'm flummoxed.  She's gone, the sneaky little vixen.

But wait.  Look carefully.
See the three uprights in the center of the frame.  A tall one with two shorter ones left of it?  Now look in the space below the pier between the tall upright and the next shorter one to the left.   Ah ha!  There is a fox appendage running diagonally between the two.  Leg?  Tail?

 And she is off like a shot through the snow.
My last look at her is when her head pops out from behind a tree and she slips into the woods and utterly disappears. Note  the Crows in the trees above her head.

Did the Fox cross some line of demarcation upon entering the woods because the Crows now come flying back across the river, still cawing madly of course.
It is then that I notice there is a hole in the ice with hundreds of tracks around it.  Ice fishing hole?  Seems unlikely.  Too close to shore.  Just a minute where is the shore, and am I standing on ice that thin?  I retreat.

I later ask some Wisconsin natives just what that hole is....well...?  No, not an ice fishing hole.  Not a spring bubbling up either as they tend to make a perfectly round hole in ice.  The concensus was that some larger animal cracked through the ice and everyone else from little birds to whoever didn't feel all that comfy going to the edge of the ice of the river to drink, and weren't really capable of making the hole themselves, drank from the hole conveniently created by the other species.

 Really lovely how nature fits together isn't it?

 Having mulled that for a moment,  I realize that the murder of Crows is heading off in mass above the trees downriver and past the bend towards an area which from all I can tell, appears to be sporting stadium lights.

What can I do?  I jump into the car and attempt to find a road that will take me by a somewhat longer route to the place  that the birds...well... are going "as the Crow flies".

 And just what have my very noisy Crow buddies found for me this time.  Alright!  It's a Red-tail.  See what look like backpack straps on his back? 

 This is really a rather dark Red-tail.  He just keeps staring...and staring...and staring.  I don't want to bug him so I get back in the car even though I am quite far away.  He continues to stare.

I start the car.
Upon the sound of the engine, he turns back to his business and I realize that the Crows have all flown away back to the river.

I decide to go back to the river myself as Red-tail will likely like some peace to focus on his hunt.

And yes there is more!  Part 3 of the saga continues next post!

Happy Hawking
Donegal Browne

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