I was walking out to the bosque when I saw a large bird in the distance. I could not tell what it was backlit against the sky, but the white band on the tail was easy to see, which made me think it might be a Bald Eagle. However, when I enlarged to photos on the computer, I could see it was not a Bald Eagle. By the size, dark color and the two white bands on the tail, I thought it was a Harris’ Hawk with a snake. However, Susan Hunter pointed out it’s a Common Black Hawk.
Under dark, cloudy skies threatening a storm, a snowy egret was foraging in the clearwater ditch. It didn’t pay attention to me until I got close enough to get a clearer shot, then it flew. Even in the murky light from from the dark cloud cover, the egret is so white, that the camera could not get detail in the whiteness of the egret from above. After the egret flew, we walked back to the house. No sooner than we walked in the house the storm commenced with a downpour. There was a pinkish/orange glow from the sun trying to peek through the clouds on the horizon. I walked out onto the deck and could see a rainbow through the rain, but it was raining too hard to walk out and see the full extent of the rainbow.
All three owlets to the south of us have been out of the nest since last Saturday. They were all huddled up on a high branch above the nest last night and early this morning. These three should be flying by next week.
If you are old enough to remember Paul Harvey, you will know where the title comes from. While I was waiting for Virginia to come out on Sunday afternoon, I heard Daddy owl hooting in a cottonwood about 100 feet from the tree with the nest. Instead of the hoots we normally hear, that sound something like “whoooo whoo whoo whoooo” in the same volume, tone and intensity, he was doing three or four hoots cut short, followed by three longer more intense hoots — “wht wht wht whoooo whoo whoo”.
When I walked over to see what Daddy owl was up to, he was chewing on something, but I couldn’t see what it was. I walked around the tree trying to see if I could get in a position where I could see what he held in his claws, but I couldn’t see what he had because of how he was perched on the cottonwood. Finally I called out to him “Hey owl, what do you have?” He then proceeded to show me that he had a bird, and made the silliest faces in the process.
I also took a short video of him hooting and gnawing on the bird. I named it Great Horned Owl with Dinner. The video is posted after the last photo. You can hear him hoot, and watch him gnaw on his dinner. I assume he shared his bird with Virginia and Mama Owl, but I can’t say for sure, since I couldn’t stay around long enough to see the rest of that story.
I was trying to get Beaker to pose for me when Spunk made it very clear that photographing a stinking bird in his presence is completely unacceptable behavior for me to be engaged in. Then Beaker got all ruffled over having me with a camera and Spunk in his face.
The cranes that stayed in Corrales over the winter have flown north. Now we are seeing some of the stragglers flying north from areas further south. Every once in a while a group of cranes will circle over our house to gain altitude before continuing north. Cranes that fly in close to sunset roost along the Rio Grande before they continue their journey north at sunrise.