Thursday, May 12, 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Unlooked for Tug of a Turkey Vulture Lesson

Picking up where we left off yesterday....I'd been downright disappointed by the non-action at the eagle's nest and I still had to backtrack miles and miles of railroad track to get back to where I started.   Therefore, sooner done, sooner finished.

Okay, I admit it.  I was more than a little disgruntled and not at all looking forward to the miles of backtracking.

I started walking back, over the rolly railway rocks and the creosoted ties.  Sigh.  Now I was just plain feeling sorry for myself.

I looked up.
 Is that an eagle chasing a little bird?  That would be unusual.
Then her wings went into a dihedral.  No, not an eagle, only a Turkey Vulture.   She caught the wind and rose.
 And she was beautiful.

 A trick of the light lit a cross behind her and she sailed away.
And it was time for me to make a little headway as well, though lighter than I had been.

I made the trek.  Went home.  Had a bowl of soup. Took my boots off.  Laid down gratefully...and the phone rang. 

 It was my friend Mi.  She said with great enthusiasm, "Want to go check out the eagles?  I haven't been out to the nest for awhile."

I paused.  "Sure, why not?  Just let me get my boots back on."

As John Muir said, "When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."

And isn't that the truth.

Dongegal Browne

Monday, May 09, 2016

Taking the Long Way to the Eagle Nest

The oak that holds the Teneyke nest has, of course by this time, has gotten its leaves which to some extent have obscured the nest slightly.  I scrutinized the situation and to me it appeared that perhaps if I could get a look from the north at the nest it would be less obscured by foliage.

And as there is a railroad track running East/West which would keep me off private farm land that could be a possibility for just such a jaunt.  Now on this end of the railroad tracks there is no place to stash the car during the walk...but on the other end...

(Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men.... )

Okay coming from the other end would make the walk a good bit longer by a couple of miles but it was early in the day and why not give it a try?


So I jumped back into the car and drove the circuit to the other end of the tracks where the parking was completely off road. 

It did seem a little longer than I remembered.

 Okay, so it is a couple of miles, but I used to walk railroad tracks all  the time as a kid, no big deal.


Ah, shelf fungus.  I'm told that these are farm kid Etch-a-Sketches.  If you press them with a stick another color appears and you can write on them.

I then began to notice that the rocks were much chunkier than they had been when I was a child and these had a tendency to overlap the wood making the whole thing klutzy-er and uneven.  Plus as an adult my legs are longer and therefore the wooden ties no longer fit my stride as easily as they once did.

Beyond the fact that the few minutes it took to drive to the handy parking at the other end of the tracks was going to take quite a bit longer on foot.

But then I was also going to try and see if the several small creeks that converged near the nest might actually be navigable by canoe which would get me far closer to the nest without the headache of dealing with private land.

Here is the deal about waterways in Wisconsin.  Streams, rivers, lakes, rivers, ponds, whatever waterways belong to everyone as long is there is a place of public access to get on or into the water.   The land further along may be private but the water is public even if on private land.  So if you get into the water legally you can go anywhere on the water and you aren't trespassing.  You just can't get out of the water on private land while you are doing it.

I'm walking.  I'm walking.
And Eagle flies over in the distance.
Then a Red-tailed Hawk does the same.

And here comes a deer.

She begins to trot towards the cover.

And then to run.  She heads for an area where the foliage encloses the tracks.

When I get there, there she is looking at me.  I stop.  She's been in a freeze.  We wait.  Neither of us move.  I don't want to scare her.  We stare at each other.

If I keep looking she and I could be here all day.  I turn my back.

I don't hear a sound but when I turn back round she is gone. 

I'm walking, walking, I pass over a couple of old trestle bridges.

I come out of the foliage barriers on both sides, walk into the open, and there is the nest.

Hmmmm.  No, it is not obscured by foliage on this side and it is a little closer but...perhaps for that reason....
They've made this edge higher so you can't see the top of the nest al all. Undoubtedly the eagle I'd seen earlier on my walk over knew I was coming and everyone has made themselves scarce. I turn around and start walking back.

Why?  Because eagles aren't stupid and know exactly what I'm up to.  They know I stare at them.  Therefore it is highly likely I'll see no one while I'm here. If I made the walk several times without molesting them they'd eventually get used to me or  if I were on a tractor it would be no problem altogether.  People on tractors are part of the usual landscape.

Maybe I really should get myself a tractor.

Happy Eagling!
Donegal Browne