Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Moon, Some Vultures & Rocks...

I have gotten a bit busy over the last week or two, and my posting got a little back-logged.  As has become my custom, I usually post some pics I have taken of the Full Moon each month. I had run into a case of cloud cover obscuring it on one or more of the last few months, but it was a different story for the Harvest Moon of October 29th. The Native Americans also call it the Hunter's Moon, and I could see why. Marking the third and final harvest celebration of the year, the big bright Moon illuminates the barer harvested fields which in turn makes hunting for game to cure and put away for the winter months an easier job. The Moon was definitely big, and absolutely bright. Walking outside with the camera, I could see areas and things I wouldn't have seen during other Full Moons. It was really beautiful.  It's during moons like that when I wish I had a camera better suited to night time photography. A new camera is at the top of my 'want' list.
On a different day as I came back from an errand, I witnessed a murder...or so I thought. As I drove past the dumpster, I could see a large group of big black birds gathered together along the tree line of the field just beyond the garbage bin. I figured them to be crows, which would have made them the biggest crows I had ever seen in person. Of course I didn't have my camera, so I raced home, got it, and kept my fingers crossed. I hoped they would still be there when I got back, and they were. I was worried that they would take off when they saw me get out of my car, but luckily they didn't.  Some of them regarded me in a rather blase manner, but for the most part they just walked around and nipped their beaks at one another. I moved in a bit closer, but gradually. A few of them flew off to the branches of a tall leafless tree, just to turn around and fly back down to the group. I was able to get pretty close, but at a certain point they decided they didn't like being photographed. A few at a time they flew away.

It wasn't until I uploaded the snaps to my computer that I was able to get a closer look at my subjects. They were definitely not black crows. They were black vultures. I hadn't photographed a murder of crows, I had photographed a venue of vultures. I hadn't seen a black vulture before, but after a bit of Googling I learned that black vultures are common in the southern United States. My photos above are a bit fuzzy as I was trying to snap off as many pictures as I could before the birds left, so working the manual focus wasn't as easy as I would have liked. I found a clearer picture of a black vulture on line to give a better idea of what I saw. During my little bit of research, I learned that black vultures in a venue (group) are known to attack living prey. Glad I didn't look like their next meal...I got pretty close.
These last couple of photos were taken on the afternoon of 'vulture day'. I walked to the picnic table at the opposite end of the condos. It's nice over there, and there are never people about. The day was an overcast one (which is my favorite kind of day for a stroll), so I just wanted to sit, take some pictures, and enjoy the sounds of the breezes through the bare trees. Just for a few minutes. Some of the best medicine around.

When I got to the table, I found the above collection of rocks and twigs sitting on one of its corners. My immediate reaction was "Blair Witch rocks".  It was right around Halloween, so I guess that's fitting.

I enjoyed my dose of Zen, snapped a number of photos, and felt that I had fulfilled my needed nature therapy session.  It's something I try to engage in as often as I can.

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