October 29, 2016

trail notes, mmxvi-x-xxix

Those are whooping cranes in the top two shots - a once-in-a-lifetime flyover. There are 34 in this group, which is roughly one-tenth of the entire species.


  1. I've been to the Bosque del Apache many times in New Mexico, where they are known to be, and I have yet to actually see a whooper. Wow!

    1. They've been known to stop at Granger Lake (about 30 miles northeast of us) on their way to the coast. We saw three along the shore in the distance at Aransas NWR about seven years ago - the only others we've seen. Stunning to have this many pass overhead.

    2. A field of wings...

    3. Jealous! In NM, you can hear they've been seen in a certain spot and go there only to see thousands of sandhills, but no whoopers. They're shy! You wonder how they manage to find each other and stay together being so few.

      It's been fun for me living in the UK--almost all the birds are different. One day I was outside and it was quiet and I heard this sound...this whooshing...and a flock of oystercatchers flew overhead making no other sound than the flapping of two dozen wings. It was one of those moments when you realize how independent their lives are of ours.

      Good stuff. I love these visual notes you do. The world is missing deep observation like this.

    4. The independent lives, yes, the patterns we intersect by chance - the golden-cheeked warblers are a good example. They're only here for three weeks to breed; they spend the rest of their lives in the cloud forests of Mexico. I had a fledgling land on a branch right next to me one year. The mother appeared, popped a caterpillar in the youngster's mouth, and then they both disappeared, all before I could turn my camera on. That's the only time I've seen them in several years of looking. (Found a nest once - juniper bark woven with spider silk - beautiful.)

      I also like the times when something I've seen a thousand times suddenly reveals something about itself I'd never noticed before.

      Like, it's acorn time here. There's a great live oak at the back entrance of our local park, and lately dozens of the local robins have been gathering there. They stand very quietly and don't spook as quickly as usual. Well, PJ loves acorns (she's a big fan of Mae, from Totoro) and one day she gathered a couple handfuls beneath that tree and left them on the kitchen counter. A few days later, we found a bunch of little worms on the counter. Which explains the robins...