Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Raptor Rapture

A glorious Sunday. Perfect weather. Good friends. New experiences.

That’s what I enjoyed last weekend as we journeyed to the mid-Michigan countryside to spot raptors – the hawks, eagles, and owls that live in our woods, wetlands and even at times, in the city.

Rick had purchased a day of raptor viewing at the Ebersole auction and we finally managed to find a day when we – and our guide and generous donor, Dave – could schedule the jaunt.


Rick and our friends Mark and Jan and I met Dave at a car park and together we ventured off to find the raptors, whose nests Dave had previously scouted.

First stop, Great Horned Owls. Their nest was far from the road, and even with the scope it was difficult to see the babies, though Jan says she saw their tufted heads. The nearby windmill on the barn was handsome, though!

Then we had great fortune finding nests of red tailed hawks. We were able to catch these beautiful and massive birds sitting on their nests. No photos of those, but they were splendid!

After a picnic, we went on to enjoy watching harrier hawks dance around, and caught a glimpse of kestrels, herons and wood ducks, as well as an osprey nest at the top of a cell phone tower!

Happy raptor-watchers!

Raptor nests are huge and generally made of sticks, though at times they’ll use whatever materials are available. Dave has a bumper sticker that says “I brake for stick nests” and we can see why! He’s always on the lookout, though I think we picked the last possible weekend before the trees fully pop to do our excursion.

He said he had one last surprise for us and to follow him. We did, and he parked on the exit ramp of a busy expressway. We climbed the embankment on the opposite side of the highway and looking through the scope...

...we were fortunate to spot a part-albino red-tailed hawk.

Her mate brought in dinner, as she circled around and then we watched through the scope as she fed her two babies in the nest.

The pix of the albino are by Mark and Dave. The rest are mine (I’m better with people pix!) It was really a remarkable and rare event.

I feel so fortunate to have experienced this. It was truly a gift. Thanks, Rick for the experience and Dave for spending gas at $3.65/gallon and an afternoon taking us about!


Beth said...

What a wonderful sunday you had birdwatching. I would love to do that too. I just LOVE birdies!
Great pics too! Wow, your gas is $3.65 a gallon. Ours is just $3.50 a gallon but still too high for me. Costing almost $100 a week to drive back and fourth to work.
Take care Jeanie!

beth said...

what a great bird watching time you had !!!

I love stuff like that !

This weekend we put up our humming bird feeders as they are my favorite little guys !

Anonymous said...

what an adventure for your auction price! my one real experience with bird watching was so much different than i thought it would be. it was downright embarrassing to say over and over again to the guide's question of "can you see it?" "no not yet, no not at all, no i think that bird must have left." sheesh maybe had i done a raptor i could have actually seen them since they are so LARGE!

Joanne Huffman said...

What a neat experience!


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you came by my blog today. I have been stressing about getting everybody together that I had, then I thought...they'll eventually find me, and you did!

Come back often!♥

JessInFocus said...

How amazing! I've never seen a albino hawk before.

I found gas for $3.46 a gallon today. Makes me wish I could have found a house I liked that was closer to work. 35 miles one way is killing me.

paris parfait said...

What a special treat! Thanks for sharing the experience via your photos. xo

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