More Hawkishness

Strictly photos today, as we wait out the brooding season, take a vacation away from the nest, and hope for a late spring hatching. I am truly nervous to be gone from these two for a month. I can plan for Sadie’s care, and will hear the stories when I return. But for the Hawk family, I will simply miss a huge part of the story. Well, it’s not so sad that it will keep me home!

 

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Classical Glass

Sometimes it’s difficult to find on the beach. Sometimes, it nearly jumps out at you in a blur as you walk by.

Sometimes you get fooled.

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bright green seaweed, not glass

Other times, the ocean hasn’t worked its magic yet, and you see sharp edges and too-clear colors. IMG_2349

But always, the sea glass takes you by surprise. It’s a beach, with rock and shells and sand. Not these pieces of man-made substance that are re-made by the ocean.

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Linked to Jo’s Monday Walk 

 

Mr. Hawk’s New Place

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On our daily walks, we look for Mr. Hawk in his usual haunt. Normally, we can count on seeing him at least once in the clearing by the dunes, where he has been busy hunting. But we don’t see him there, day after day.

Mrs. Hawk has taken to perching inside their great nest, seemingly day after day after day. It has been difficult to get detailed photos of the nest. It is built into the eucalyptus near the highway, far up in the tree, sheltered by large branches, leaves and smaller twigs. Look close – you can see her tail.

But where is Mr. Hawk?

Close by, of course. He is in one of the eucalyptus trees opposite the nest. And he is showing his strength and voicing his warnings to any flying creature near by. Stanley says there is something in the nest worth guarding.

 

Wonder what that may be?

Just for the shell of it

IMG_1496It’s a beach walk, for heaven’s sake. There should be shells, right? On my almost-daily walks on the beach, I watch the waves, I look at the birds, I notice the changes in the hillsides, I always admire the rocks along the way. I rarely pay attention to the shells. Today, though, just for the shell of it, it’s going to be a different walk from my usual.

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Shy shell, trying to hide

I have always comforted myself when I mistakenly step on a seashell by reminding myself “I am helping the beach make sand.”

Especially the sand dollars, whose crisp crunch I try to avoid, but it is inevitable that they turn into sand. We get hermit crab shells, or parts of them, clam shells, sea snail shells, shells from abalone and oyster. I love the shells that have urchins making a home on top.

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And curls in shells next to the smooth surface of a rock.

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shell

Hope you have a shell of a day. Happy Walking.

walking logolinked to Jo’s Monday Walk

 

Hawks 5

IMG_0859My new prowess as a hawk-eye didn’t last long. The next morning, our walk took us along the same path, and even though we saw the nest, we saw no birds.

That is, until we reached the clearing by the sand dunes and Stanley said,  “So, do you see your hawk?”

“Where? In the trees? Is it perching?”

“The tall tree. It’s the male.”

“The eucalyptus? The cedar?”

“Right there. Right ahead.”

We are what I estimate to be 1/4 mile away and I do not understand Stanley’s ability to spy out a 20-inch long bird hidden in a 50-foot tall tree from that distance. He continues to point and I continue to peer.

 

When we are directly below the tree, I see the hawk moments before it flies away. But he goes over to his hunting post closer to the dunes, and I hurry closer to get some photos.

IMG_1956Sadie is occupied with digging today, and I use the time to study this hawk. He does look like the one that is usually here, scanning the dunes for food. We have seen him swoop and pull out something – maybe a mouse or a frog – twice. On a couple previous visits, the second hawk, possibly the female, sits on a nearby tree and waits for food, sounding out if she becomes impatient. Today, we see only the one hawk, the hunter.

IMG_1943Soon, Sadie is panting with exertion and ready to go. As we approach the highway crosswalk, I pause to take a picture of the nest. One day, I hope to see a hawk there.

When I get home, I look at my nest photos, and this is what I see:IMG_1629

 

I think maybe mama hawk thinks the nest is ready!

Rock Walk 2

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We walk today on Morro Strand beach. Again, you ask? Yes. Yesterday the wind blew hard and furious all day. That means new sand will be turned-over, new rocks exposed. Let’s go see.

It’s fun to look for rocks that have a specific shape. A broken heart?…

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The sandstone is always a favorite, maybe because it is a challenge to get it to smile at the camera.

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There’s always a poser or two or three.

My favorites are the colorful groupings

and the shiny, shiny smooth black stones.

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But just about any rock will do. Happy walking.

walking logoLinked to Jo’s Monday Walk

Hawks 4

IMG_0859I beg Stanley’s help, because I am desperate to find their nest. I feel time slipping away as early spring passes with each day. I know that if these two are a pair, the breeding cycle is in full swing, and the nesting is under way. But where?

Stanley, of course, has witnessed some of this hanky-panky in the air. About a month ago, he saw two hawks twirling way up in the clouds. Another time, one of the hawks swooped in a spiral down and down, only to fly up to join the second in the sky. He tells me his stories, and I read about the significance in my reference books and on-line sources. It bothers me a bit that he knows instinctively what these raptors are doing, and I believe him only if I can read it in a book. He is always right – not an overly attractive thing in a spouse – even so, I beg his help in finding the hawk home.

IMG_2152I point at a bird flying up high. “Hawk?”

“Vulture.”

We continue to scan the cedar trees in the clearing, the tall eucalyptus and the scrub bush that grows tall enough that hawks might venture there. Usually, we find at least one hawk in this clearing by the dunes, but other times, we see them both in the row of tall eucalyptus by the highway.

“There are two, flying together. Over the dunes,” I point, and aim my camera.

“Vultures,” Stanley says with confidence.

 

IMG_2169I am about to acknowledge that I am drawn to vultures the way Stanley is drawn to hawks. I see them in the sky all the time. They pose for me. My camera loves they way they float in the wind and spread their long wings. I think they are beautiful and ferocious-looking. But I am not wiling to give up the pursuit of our neighborhood red-shouldered hawks.

Finally, Stanley sees one raptor fly into the tall cedar across the street from the clearing and pull out a twig. He – Stanley says it is the male – flies out to his post near the dunes. I try to catch the hawk in a photo, but he is gone before I can focus.

That night just before dark, as I stand on our front porch at the bungalow, I hear their screaming chatter. I can’t see them. They are about two blocks away, just past Hwy 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway). Their distinctive call, though, has become easy to recognize.

On our walk the next morning, I remind Stanley that today, we are looking for the nest. I remember hearing them in the eucalyptus just beyond the highway the night before, and scan in the tall trees for a jumble of sticks, bark, leaves and bramble. I stay, looking up, until my neck is sore and Sadie is impatient. Stanley says the nest will be high in the trees, and big. I see nothing but leaves and limbs and branches. We continue on.

Half-way through the empty lot where the eucalyptus grow, I look back. There it is. Protected by the outer branches, I see a tangle of green woven into the crook of two inner branches.

“There it is,” I say.

Stanley looks back, smiles. “Oh, yeah,” he says, grinning.

We don’t see the hawks nearby, and wonder why they have chosen a spot so close to the highway. But today’s discovery has me hoping that these two are settling in this close to us in the bungalow. Maybe I have some promise as a hawk-watcher after all.

 

 

Anticipation

 

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made for walking

You practice-packed and repacked last week. You printed out and saved to your phone or e-pad all your travel information. Your passports and health screening is up-to-date.

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Sadie – we’d take her if we could

You made sure your neighbors knew you’d be gone. You made arrangements for pets, gave loved ones your itinerary.

The refrigerator has been culled, the bread box is empty. The patio plants will survive on their own, you hope.

The time is here. Lift-off. Sail-away. Engine warmed-up. Doors closed. All those elements of a vacation’s beginning announce new steps in your journey. It’s a delicious feast of anticipation. What will the next adventure hold? Perhaps Norway, Sweden and Finland, and maybe some more.

IMG_3028Just don’t forget to stash away -somewhere safe in the travel gear – the most important stuff.

Hawks 3

 

I am a full-out hawk snoop.

Every move, each turn of the head, each feather ruffled, I try to capture. What an inept photographer I am, but what fun I am having. Poor Stanley comes with me on just the morning walk, because I have become unbearable. My camera, though, comes along on both morning and afternoon adventures. I am elated when I can find a hawk or two on my own, because Stanley still has a mystical power and his soul connects with these raptors at a creature level. I am just a snoop.

 

Have you ever heard a hawk’s call? Such an insistent, scratching scream. Now, I have seen it up close in my photos. What an amazing experience. There is the two-syllable screaming plea, and the repetitive insistent screeching blast. I can now hear them from a block away and alter my walk to search for them, following their call. I know they are not really calling me – they are talking to each other. But, remember, I am now an unapologetic snoop. I interpret their calls as invitations.

I won’t bore you with all the hundreds of photos with which I am obsessed. Like Stanley, you may desert me and I will be left alone to adore these hawks. Because, certainly, even if all by myself, follow these raptors I must. I continue to try to identify them, but so far I only am guessing that there is a light colored one and a darker colored one. They look very much alike, though, these red-shouldered hawks. I hope they have a nest nearby.

So, with one last photo, I will leave you. This one is called Classic Hawk. Ahhh – beautiful – but which is it? Male or female?

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Sadie’s Walk

IMG_2499.JPGThe morning walk we take is always Sadie’s walk. But this one is very special.  After she prances around the deck with eager happiness, we put on her leash, grab the doggie treats, and off we go.

Today, we are heading up the street toward the hills. Sadie knows the way, and loves smelling all the bushes and weeds and mailboxes along the way. She knows them all very well, and seems to check to make sure everything is in order as she leads us on. She wants to go to the park today, it seems, because she crosses the street at the top of the hill, heading toward the community garden and the park beyond.

We often walk the perimeter fence, and cross the bridge over the small creek, and maybe stop off at the dog park for a burst-of-energy run. But today when we reach the fence, Sadie sees something that she has never seen before.IMG_2571

Past the confines of the park, there is a large field that covers the hillside. I have noticed livestock fencing, but never have seen cows close-by in this field. Neither has Sadie. But today, they are here. A lot of them.

She approaches with extreme caution. No prancing here; she crouches, shies away, approaches, shies away. Her ears lay back against her head. More cows are coming to the fence, looking curious and sweet. I think maybe they aren’t all cows, but young bulls. Sadie doesn’t seem to know what to think.IMG_2521

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She retreats from the growing crowd, walking along the fence toward the creek, something she’s done many times before, without the cows/baby bulls who now begin to follow. She pulls Stanley, who is attached to the other side of the leash, away into the playground, as if she needs a break from this new idea of huge creatures that are neither people nor dogs.

I wander away from them, noticing a heron on the hillside.IMG_2494

Then, Sadie wanders back, heading toward the fence, then shying away. One baby bull pulls away from the crowd and follows Sadie, reaching out his nose. They both pause, on different sides of the fence, looking like they are each wondering what their next step will be. The baby bull makes a funny little jump, and Sadie startles, then the baby bull crouches and runs, crouches and runs, almost baiting Sadie to play. The baby bull takes off back to the cow crowd, and Sadie follows, crouching and running, crouching and running.

Now she is in full play mood. So is the baby bull. More come up to the fence, and Sadie and the cows introduce their noses to each other.

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It’s a funny scene. Large animals getting acquainted with a small animal. I believe that Sadie is not used to feeling small. But by the end of their encounter, she seems to be over that. We have to insist that it’s time to move on. But, I am guessing that Sadie will want to do the park walk a bit more often now that she’s had a grand adventure there. Sadie, the cowgirl.

walking logo Linked to Jo’s Monday Walk