Saturday, August 27, 2011

Living next door to Alice Nature

1) The downside

Had hoped, now that the flood is receding into history, that the snakes would have also disappeared. I mean, three close encounters—two indoors, one outside—are at least three too many.

No such luck. Watched the 7 p.m. news, went outside to have a cigarette, & there's a fucking black snake sussurued on the front porch. Smallish, but enough, these days, to frighten the living crap out of me. Besides, they're poisonous. No implements around, no way to smite the serpent, so, close the door, headed downstairs for my nicotine fix. Looked outside an hour later. Still there. Had gone next time I looked, but I'm still twitchy, though the nauseous fright-laden feeling has passed.

2) The upside

We have a lot of what my bird book describes as "Diurnal Birds of Prey" around. Usually at a distance, overhead, circling, too far away to easily identify.

The close encounters we've had are generally not that close. A bird on a fencepost on the other side of a lagoon, or feeding on roadkill & then flying away as the car gets near. There was one quite freaky experience when we were driving home from up north, coming over a rise in the road to see a wedge-tailed eagle attacking a carcass not that many meters ahead, thinking we're going to hit it, the bird rising slowly, its wings outstretched & flapping, filling the entire windscreen so we couldn't see beyond it, thinking we're really going to hit it, & then it was up & over the car.....

Last week, though, a genuine close encounter. Again as I went outside for a cigarette. A bird flying from the tree at the front of our place to the palms across the road. Large tail, causing me to first think it's a cuckoo, then turning & I could see a curved beak, a tuft on top of its head, stripes on its breast. Flew back across the road & into another tree, maybe 10 meters away from where I was sitting. Looked a bit unsteady. Then another similar bird arrived & perched a bit further away, from where it could keep an—dare I say?—eagle eye on the other. Not sure, but I think was probably parent & offspring, one seemed a little larger than the other, though they could have both been young. Beautiful to see.

Looked up my bird book, identified them as crested hawks, aka Pacific Baza.

The photo above comes from a namesake's blog, Mark Young's Birding Blog.


Blogger Mark Young said...

I'm glad you liked the image. I never thought it would pop up in the blog of another person with the same name though! ;)

1:13 PM  

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