Monday, November 12, 2012

Wild in the City

I left work early for a change today (it was a holiday after all) so I could enjoy the sunshine. The first thing I saw was a coyote beside the railroad tracks. Initially I thought it was a fox, but it was larger and didn't have a bushy tail. The other possibility was a dog, but it didn't look or behave like one. It was digging in the snow and when it saw me it trotted off down the tracks, stopping several times to look back at me.

On the other side of the railroad bridge someone was taking a picture of an animal beside the path. I assumed it was a rabbit but there were a couple more people there with binoculars who said it was a northern hawk owl eating a pigeon. I started to get my camera out of my pack, assuming that, as usual, it would fly away before I could take a photo. But it stayed there busily eating the pigeon. I was afraid to approach too close, so I didn't get great photos (only had the G12). This was my first view, you can see how close to the path it was.

I didn't linger since I was headed to Museo for coffee and they were closing early. On my way home from Museo I wished I had spent more time watching the hawk owl, after all, I can go for coffee anytime. Luckily my wish came true - the hawk was there in the same spot eating a pigeon. Given that it was an hour later, and judging by the rate it gobbled its food, I'm guessing it was a different pigeon. This time I wasn't as worried about scaring it away, since it obviously wasn't too concerned about people. I got some good photos in the lovely evening light. What a beautiful bird! (click for a larger view)

Northern Hawk Eagle

I even thought to take some video. (full screen recommended.) You can hear the cars going by on the road right beside us.

My iBird Pro iPad app (recommended) confirmed, "They have little fear of humans" and "Eats mostly voles and other small mammals; also takes birds, especially in winter; active during the day." And "A group of owls has many collective nouns, including a 'bazaar', 'glaring', 'parliament', 'stooping', and 'wisdom' of owls."

There were also lots of geese on the river, presumably stopping on their way south.

Canada Geese

On a lighter note, when I stopped at Museo for coffee on my way home, my latte even came with a creature :-)

Then an attractive young women walked up and asked if she could sit with me. (But don't read too much into that, all the tables were occupied and a middle aged guy alone at a large table was an obvious choice.) She asked what I was writing and when I explained it was a blog post about the creatures I'd seen on the way home she suggested I could add a wild red head (her words) to my post. And then she left.

Weir Reflections

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