Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Trying to Spy on Eagles
When I met my friend Sue at Moreau Park this morning, we planned to go looking for porcupines up on Red Oak Ridge. But then one of the park staffers told us a deer carcass had been dragged out onto Mud Pond, where eagles and other critters were now feeding. Well, okay! Change of plans! Off we went to Mud Pond.
Sue saw one eagle and several ravens flying away as we approached the site, CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCHing through the woods on snowshoes. It's hard to sneak up quietly on anything on snowshoes. Wish we could walk as quietly as this fox did, balancing easily along the top of this fallen trunk.
We saw the carcass, sure enough, way out on the pond. So we found a place to hide among trees and we waited, waited, waited for the birds to return. Getting colder and colder and colder. I'd have been okay, but my nose kept dripping, and soon I couldn't feel it when I dabbed the Kleenex there. We agreed we'd better keep moving before we froze, so out on the pond we went, adding our tracks to the thousands of critter trails that were making a beeline toward that carcass.
It was coyote party time out there! And not just around the dead deer. From the signs in the snow it looked like they'd been dancing and prancing and rolling around like crazy. Is it by any chance coyote mating season? Sorry, but I didn't get any close-up photos of their tracks. I did get a nice wingprint photo, though. (And Sue caught sight of the actual eagle, hiding out in a tall White Pine, not budging while we were there.)
Even if I don't find what I hoped for, I always find something to please me out in the woods. Here's a pretty tuft of some kind of lichen, growing on a Shining Sumac branch. Could this be a Beard Lichen?
And here's a curving wand of Virginia Stickseed burs. Kind of cool to look at, but don't get these stuck in your pantlegs. They prickle and they're very hard to remove. How do I know? Guess.