Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rabbit - One, Hawk - Zero

With patience born of hunger, this big red-tail hawk sat near the top of the oak and scanned the south pasture for any sign of breakfast on the move.  I watched him through the open dutch door while five girls took their turn on the stand.  It was one of my requests when Steve built the milking room that I be able to see outside while tending to what could be a tedious chore without something to look at, in addition to needing the light provided.  By the time Sheila, last in line, was ready to come in, the hawk soared off.  Curious, I stepped outside to see where he'd gone...not far, just to a pole where he had a vantage point to view Joel's vineyard, and I got some more photos.  Coming back in to milk Sheila, I caught movement in the field.  A big jackrabbit was hot-footing it "out of Dodge."  It must have been sitting motionless the entire time while under the scrutiny of the hawk and finally saw its chance to escape.  One never knows whether to cheer the rabbit or console the hungry hawk.  Who says I lack drama in my life?

Checking my guide book, I see that the red-tails have a wing span up to four-and-a-half feet.  I knew they were big, but that's big!  Almost as big as the turkey vultures, whose span can reach five feet or so.  A pair of the smaller Cooper's hawks, like the one I found in the barn, were scree-ing over the chicken pens.  They're no threat to the bigger "little" girls, but I'm glad Craig and Deb covered the Silkies' pen with wire.  The big hawks seem to know they'd need more runway room for take-off than is available in that yard were they to go for the bigger hens.  I'm glad, however, that those girls aren't free-ranging right now.

Going out at dusk, I heard the frog chorus tuning up for their evening songs of seduction.  Evidently frogs are like mosquitoes; give 'em a puddle and they'll lay eggs.  For a couple of years before I took down the above-ground pool in the back yard, there was the perfect nursery for thousands and thousands of tadpoles.  The tadpoles had plenty of mosquito larvae on which to feed, so that wasn't a problem.  I couldn't drain the pool and kill all those tiny froglets, and later I couldn't mow the back yard and chop up the emerging frogs.  Finally catching the window in time when I would not be the cause of mass destruction, the pool was removed and the frogs have moved on.  Ah, yes...drama.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

You may live a somewhat solitary existence, but you have a helluva lot more drama than I do! However, I would almost root for the hawk if I didn't have to see him catch the rabbits that mow my tiny patch of grass a bit TOO close to keep it healthy, or eat the fresh petunias et al. Thanks for the pics, by the way! Still taking 20 minutes to load?