Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rising Tides

 Blue Jays

 Eastern Wood Pee-Wee

 Turkey Vulture

An interesting insect, a Walking Stick, it is hard to tell one end from the other, and they barely move waiting for a meal.

Making pastrami, smoked Swiss cheese and onion rolls for a Sunday lunch with friends. I bought all the ingredients from my favorite Italian grocery, Graziano's Grocery.

 Tiny Roadside Skipper

 Tall Goldenrod
A Turkey Vulture remained sitting on a fallen log, contemplating its next meal. Looking off to the left and right it sat while the other 15-20 birds flew off when I was approaching. I must have looked nonthreatening, many times when I barely got this close they had already flown away. The have very keen eyesight, able to spot the next meal while soaring at great heights. Once scared off they don't come back to a meal very fast if you stay in the area. This particular one made me think of how many times I had heard of someone described as an "old buzzard", it had a bald head and sat rather slouched over. This was a common description I often heard my mother use. I took a few shots and thanked him as I left.

Cruising around the lake in my kayak often gives me an extra special opportunity to see a number of things not to be seen on land. A silent paddle and stealthy float allows one to get close to a number of species, and watch their behaviors. Huge Great Blue Herons are one of my favorites.  I marvel how sensitive they are to my approach, when I am down on the Gulf of Mexico at Padre Island I have walked real close to them standing in the surf. Maybe being on a winter vacation they become more laid back. On this day one sat on an arched tree trunk in the shallows of a small lake. It reminded me a bit of the Turkey Vulture, it's grey crest laid back on its narrow head. It sat while I circled trying to get set for a good shot watching closely, but not giving itself away. A raise of it's wings told me I had little time to get my shot. Gentle flaps carried it off, flying real close to the water. After paddling for a few hours I headed back to my car, still thinking of the heron on the curved tree I had missed. As I drove across the road that separated the two waterways I spotted my friend back on the same perch. "See you later you old buzzard," I called out, almost hearing the tone my mother used. It still sat there teasing me a few hours later when I drove past again on my way to eat supper.


  1. The vultures around these parts seem to have no fear. They sit and watch for you to leave and then are on their prey once again. Aren't Walking Sticks just the weirdest of all things?
    The Goldenrod is beautiful!

  2. I like those old buzzards. They fly so high and just float -- great photos today, Steve. Your sammy looks delicious! :)

  3. looks like a pretty great lunch, I've never seen a walking stick but we have the vultures. I was fortunate enough to catch one sitting on a fencepost with his wings out (getting some sun?) and of course no camera.
    I definitely envy you being able to kayak- ah well, someday and until then I'll enjoy your posts.

  4. I have to say that those turkey vultures sure are ugly birds :)
    The lunch sounds good.

  5. I love the great blue herons. We would chase them down the river or the bayou in our canoes, until they came to the end of their territory when they would circle back and head upstream.

  6. Your evening sky photos are beautiful. Nice pics of the Turkey Vulture. I've only seen them high up in the sky. Those walking sticks are so interesting. Hard to spot I bet. We are getting way too much rain again and everything is flooding again. Never gets a chance to dry out around here.I feel so bad for all the people that really have bad floods. Texas needs all this water. Take care Steve.

  7. Hi Steve, that lunch sandwich sure looked good, just from the photo! I've only seen a walking stick up close once; a very interesting and unique insect.

  8. Turkey vultures are not exactly handsome birds. At least, not up close. They look pretty regal when they're soaring in the air. I really enjoyed the picture of the walking stick. I was staring at it, trying to figure out what it was. Just when I decided it was a walking stick, I noticed your note identifying it as such.

  9. Kayaking on a smooth lake sounds so neat!!!! Bet it is enjoyable!!!!

    Aren't those Turkey Vultures just gorgeous????? NOT!!!! ha ha... But we need them to clean up the junk!!!!

    Have a great week/weekend.

  10. "Making pastrami, smoked Swiss cheese and onion rolls for a Sunday lunch with friends. I bought all the ingredients from my favorite Italian grocery, Graziano's Grocer"

    Hahahahahhaha! Enjoyed this insertion in your post.

    And, in reply to your comment on mine, yes. Devastating, the losses. The pain it will bring.

  11. Old buzzard indeed. Last fall I saw maybe a hundred of these gathering on a lake shore. Presumably ready to fly off to their southern wintering grounds. :)

  12. The only time I have ever been in a kayak was when my sister and her husband lived in Norway and she took me out on a lake. I loved it and surprised myself by not actually falling in. I've never been close enough to a buzzard to get such a decent shot. Never seen a stick insect except in photos such as these. Both I find fascinating. Herons I see a lot of and I always enjoy being around them.

  13. What a cool shot of the walking stick. Wish I'd been there for lunch!

  14. Blue Jays and Italian Markets. 2 of my favorite things!

  15. I wish you'd come eat pastrami sandwiches with us, Steve. Don't you want to take another European trip and stop by Switzerland? I wish you would!!!

  16. I love discovering each of your post, Steve.
    Here the insect is called the devil's stick. It merges in the grass and take the colors. When the grass is green, it is green when the grass is brown, the beast is brown.

  17. Turkey vultures are HUGE! I remember when saw one here....kind of scary!!

  18. Those turkey vultures are just ugly in my opinion! haha But I LOVE the walking stick! Some people told me once that if you kill one of those (and they find out) you have to pay $400! i think they are just pulling my leg....

    Hope you have a great weekend


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