Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Desert sojourn: day 12: Eagles! or buzzards or something

I started my morning walk around 6:00 a.m. and I have a new, simple strategy: walk towards the sunrise until the sun actually rises, and then turn around and walk away from the sun. This worked great this morning, except that I kept going for another twenty minutes or so after sunrise. This caused no problems, except that I went 5.25 miles instead of around 4 miles, and toward the end of the walk I could really feel the sun on my back. Usually I'm indoors before it starts to heat up.

Around 10:15 in the morning, I glanced out the window and saw this:

Click the picture for All Sizes on Flickr.

Then I recalled that Christine had told me a few days ago about just this phenomenon -- huge birds (buzzards?) settle in large trees for the night during their annual migration right around this time of year; they circle and swoop down in the evening, then take off in the morning. And sure enough, this morning there they were.

I caught them just as they were forming up to head wherever they were going. They had a three-foot wingspan -- they were much larger than the hawks I saw yesterday -- were golden-brown, and were sort of circling each other as they slowing gained altitude and headed off to the west. Here's a short video I took with the same digital camera; it doesn't show much detail, but you can see them swooping around each other. Wow, that was exciting.

Update: Christine informs me they are turkey vultures.

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