Special Moments in Nature
I pull out onto the highway from a dirt road. In front of me, a single black crow feather spirals slowly down from the sky. The suspended feather spins like a tiny dirt devil as I leave it behind.
I step outside to watch for a late delivery truck. A Mississippi Kite sails over me at high speed, talons outstretched, rippling his outspread tail to maneuver. He seizes a dragonfly, bends it to his mouth, and it’s gone–all in a split second. He soars out of sight.
I surprise a Red-shouldered Hawk just tearing into her breakfast of dove. She moves to fly off with the prey but she can’t. She calls back and forth with her mate who is across the creek. I slowly step back as we lock gazes. I pause when the distance feels respectful, and she returns to her meal. Feathers fly. She pulls at taught strings of red meat and tissue with her curved beak and snaps them down. Later, I look for the spot where she sat, and there are no signs of the dove.
Special moments like these are happening all the time in the natural world. In fact, they are only ordinary moments until we add the awe and delight of the human being who is lucky enough to be a witness. For me, it’s worth enduring the Texas heat, insect bites, poison ivy, rain, or cold weather to chance being in the right place at the right time. Even in the more familiar sights, nature offers wonder and feeding to the human soul.
We saw these beautiful raptors zipping by overhead as we canoed down the creek. The Mississippi Kites stopped at this tree to give us a great photo opportunity.
Great Blue Heron
Two Great Blue Herons were fishing on the creek. This one flew from perch to perch ahead of us as we paddled. In a tall, dead tree, he stopped to give us a really good look. Although my photos, hand-held with a 600mm lens, are blurred from low light and the motion of the canoe, the Heron struck some interesting poses.
This Scissor-tail was hunting for breakfast in the field. He allowed me to take about 30 photos before he flew on to new territory.
The “Come and Take It” Raccoon
This marauding raccoon looked up toward our tap on the window. He placed his paw on the bird feeder as if to say, like the Texans at the Battle of Gonzales, “Come and take it!”