IN A PERFECT WORLD


The journey from Galisteo up to Eaglefire
on Memorial Day Weekend 
2013
leads me
IMG_0014under an always turquoise sky
through the canyon alongside the  Rio Grande

IMG_0013that boasts a boarder of newly-green cottonwood trees
and
provides a safe eddy for a family of Canada Geese.

IMG_0017Into the Moreno Valley along US 64 lined with American Flags

IMG_0020welcoming more than 500 motorcycle riders who travel together across the Nation from
California to Washington DC in the annual
RUN FOR THE WALL
and pause to remember their Brothers at
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
State Park
IMG_0023
2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Leaving the highway, I drive through the Eagle Pasture
B36where the Black-tailed Prairie Dogs stand watch for predators

IMG_0033 - CopyWhere elk gather to graze
elkand “little hider” calves can be found nearby.

imagejpeg_0 - Copy

Where  I always check the Eagle Trees for Balds or Goldens
IMG_0175

and sometimes get lucky enough to spot the big guy himself.
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and then…climbing toward 9,00 feet…almost there…
Almost There - CopyAnd finally…I’m there, in Eaglefire, on the deck where everything is happening and it’s Spring!
IMG_0008Birds are unprecedented in species and numbers. Their migration corridor is compressed by drought and a phenomenon called “stacking” keeps them jammed up in New Mexico as they wait for the strong weather patterns on the Colorado/New Mexico boarder to clear out.  Right away I tally 22 species, all from my chair on the deck.
WESTERN TANAGEROLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEVENING AND BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS
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Literally dozens of grosbeak mob the seed and suet
IMG_0038OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIMG_0024

PINE SISKIN..by the sock-full
IMG_0025by the hands-full
VLUU L200  / Samsung L200and by the cup-full
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASTELLAR’S JAY
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALAZULI BUNTING
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WHITE BREASTED NUTHATCH
IMG_0087RED BREASTED NUTHATCH
IMG_0023CHIPPING SPARROWS
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Migrating in right on time for Spring is the tiny Cordilleran Flycatcher

Cordilleran Flycatcher

Early one morning 9 enormously fat male turkey strutted right up to the deck
all Jakes not Toms
IMG_0007IMG_0009 - Copy
Next one of THE TWINS stopped by to have a look-see and sample Richard’s wildflowers.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlack-chinned and Broad-tailed HUMMERS left no perch unoccupied.
DSC00696Everything was peaceful and PERFECT with bird feeders hung in just the right places, flowers planted in pots around the deck, our chairs ready and waiting.
IMG_0046Time to relax, stretch and enjoy the Spring sunshine.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith all the wildlife around, our life was bound to get complicated.  It didn’t take long for the tree squirrel to find the bird seed
IMG_0006 the Ground Squirrel to pick just the right bloom
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and the Chipmunk to home in on the suet cage.
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Suddenly in an explosive attack a juvenile sharp-shinned hawk dove between Richard and me as we sat enjoying the sunset over Wheeler Peak, slammed into the glass door and fell stunned to the deck as the targeted chickadee flew away in a shower of feathers.
VLUU L200  / Samsung L200Held gently in Richard’s down vest it soon regained consciousness and flew off as explosively as it arrived.

A few minutes later we discovered an exhausted, near-death, sick-looking Lazuli Bunting fluttering around unable to fly.

IMG_0019I scooped him up and snugged him away in a dark corner with food and water, not holding  out much hope for his recovery.  I was wrong.  The food, water or rest did the job and he was soon transformed into a healthy-looking bird that easily flew up to the feeder.  In one day we held 3 different species in hand and all seemed to embrace life again.

More trouble as the corvids dropped by to gobble more than their share of seed.
IMG_0159OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was horrified to see a Brown-headed Cowbird sneaking in to feed right along side my precious song birds.  Cowbirds are nest pirates that trick other birds into feeding and caring for their young at the peril of the nest builder’s brood.
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If there is a bird that should be eradicated, it is the Cowbird.  Just imagine a tiny jewel of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet struggling to feed a ravenous Baby- Huey sized Cowbird chick.

Lulled by the beauty of it all we called it a day only to discover the next morning that during the night THE BEAR paid us a visit and left his calling card.
IMG_0027 - CopyIMG_0025 - CopyWe were lucky this time.  No real damage but he did walk off with a new cake of suet.  The next afternoon we got an up-close-and-personal day-light visit from the same or another bear.

IMG_0055OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This bear was not aggressive and did not seem to be afraid of us.  A fact that is cause for some concern since they will not hesitate to approach people, their homes, cars or their dogs.  This time of year, bears are not ravenous or starving because of the abundance of helpless new-born fawns and elk calves. Sad but a fact of life.  Bears are omnivores. Spring is feast time and they take full advantage of the available meat.

In a perfect world
Bears
do not overturn plants,  rob feeders and kill new-born elk calves.
Chipmunks and their rodent cousins do not dare to eat the blossoms from our favorite daisy or hoard large quantities of expensive bird seed.
Hawks and song birds don’t crash headlong into our glass windows and doors.
Female Cowbirds don’t lay their eggs in another bird’s nest.

And our grand young boys
do not die
in the mud and the sands of some foreign land.
DSC00875But still and all, at the end of the day…
LIFE IS GOOD
***

“When we try to pick out
anything by itself,
we find it hitched to
everything else in the Universe.”
John Muir

THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO RICHARD.
HE BROUGHT ME TO EAGLEFIRE AND SHARES IT WITH ME.

IMG_0291***

7 thoughts on “IN A PERFECT WORLD

  1. EAGLE FIRE! Life has led me here – I’m not sure how or why. But I know I’m very privileged be here 24/7 and feel fortunate to share this magical place with Jan.

  2. Terrific Jan! Great pictures. And I was so interested to learn about “stacking.” Never heard the term before. I was wondering why the grosbeaks were staying around so long in Santa Fe.

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