Monday, July 20, 2009

Grazing In The Grass

Can you dig it, baby?
-The Friends Of Distinction

As I've pointed out before, early morning is my favorite time of day. That time between it still being dark and sunrise (called morning civil twilight in aviation) is magical. The world seems fresh, clean, peaceful, quiet and new. The only problem is that I hate getting up for it. Rolling out of bed when it is still dark outside is almost painful for me.

I have managed to get up early and run Duke for the last six morning and I must say it has been worth it. Each morning I've see at least one species of animal making its early morning rounds. One morning it was a fox slinking though the underbrush down by the river. Several mornings it has been a family of turkeys making their way across the dirt country road I drive on to get to where I let Duke out to run. Turkeys grow fast. When I first spotted mom and her babies the seven chicks were about six inches high but yesterday I saw them again and they were about two feet tall and looking more like miniature turkeys than baby chicks.

I have also watched a pair of large hawks soaring over an open field looking for prey. At first I thought they were Turkey Vultures but their head profiles were wrong. Now I think they may have been a pair of hawks that are not normally found this far north. Since I first mistook them for Turkey Vultures they may have been Zone-tailed Hawks, the head looks right.

This morning Duke and I came across three deer grazing in the grass along side of the road. They were at the top of a hill and Duke and I were at the bottom. I could tell they were males by the antlers on their heads but I was very surprised by how those antlers looked. All three looked as if their antlers had been pruned severely by an overzealous tree surgeon. Unfortunately, I was not close enough to tell whether they were White-tailed Deer or Mule Deer- I have got to start carrying my binoculars with me.

Duke and I started slowly walking up the hill, trying to get closer to the deer without them noticing us. I would stop and tell Duke to whoa, which he would do instantly, eyes locked on the deer, whenever one of them looked our way. We got halfway up the hill before the deer finally noticed us and turned and bounded away. Duke took off after them but came back quickly. By the time I got to the top of the hill they had all vanished. Duke and I stood looking off in the direction they had disappeared for a few seconds and then continued our walk. Maybe we will see them again tomorrow morning.

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