17 March 2011

the eagle has landed


I’m not exactly sure how being a "birder" became a part of my make-up, but the earliest I can remember having an interest in wildlife was when, under duress, I was encouraged to find something to do the first day of summer vacation after about my 5th grade year. I recall my dad making a statement something like this “you need to find something to do, outside…..you are not going to sit inside and watch TV all summer”. After that I began sketching wildlife out of encyclopedias. I think that may be where it started. Regardless, I kept a list for several years through the end of elementary school and into Junior High. And while in high school I may have no longer recorded what I saw…I certainly could identify what I saw.

Then, after college and the kids came along, I started keeping track again of the birds that we had at our place on South Michigan Street. Surprisingly, for living a block from the downtown, we saw quite a variety of birds. The highest count was, I believe, 27 species in one week. Then we moved to the country and that record was quickly shattered as we have found about the most perfect environment for birding-I think the count is 42 different species in one week.
But last week had a stellar moment for birding here on the Hill, and those of you who follow me on Facebook know what I'm about to say. Yes indeed, the Eagle had landed at Sycamore Hill.

I pulled into the driveway last Wednesday after a rather draining day on the road. As I got to the top of the lane and turned the corner to park I saw an enormous figure fly between the house and barn. Realizing this was too large to be our red tailed hawks, I assumed maybe vulture. I got out of the car and saw it perched in a tree by the creek just beyond the large sycamore. Something said to me-get your camera-but I ignored it. I trekked over to the tree it was in and noticed it had a rabbit, and that this was no vulture. It looked at me and with a woosh and whap of its wings flew within about 50' of my head, circled, and came back to roost. No doubt about it-it was an immature eagle. It headed to the fence line along the back 5 acres.

So when the family got home I told them what I saw and we all walked out to the back pasture with binoculars, and this time a camera. It was still perched in a tall tree, but the camera wasn't going to do it any justice. My wife, however, caught a shot of the birder. I know that eagle sitings are becoming more frequent in this part of the Hoosier state, even locally. Even so, this was pretty amazing.....even if my FB friends found the story a bit hard to swallow!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sir step away from the vehicle, put down the the glasses and put your hands on your head! You are suffering from cabin fever and are seeing things........

vanilla said...

You gotta trust your blogger pals. fb cannot be relied upon!