Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Sunny Sunday and A Bald Eagle

On Sunday morning it was just too lovely to stay indoors.  The sun was shining and the winds were still.  Thus, even though it was only 40 degrees or less it still seemed like a quite lovely day to go exploring somewhere.  I mean, this is Montana in the middle of winter we are talking about here.  It was quite nice all things considered. 
The Chickadees were, by all appearances, peeling the skin off the Russian olives and eating only the inside of the fruit.  It was quite amusing and adorable to watch.  I can't get enough of them holding things with their little feet like that!
So we headed for Two Moon Park to spend the morning.  We'd not been there in some time, since early summer I think.  It is a nice park with developed walking/bicycling trails, nestled between some sandstone rimrocks (a signature landscape feature in Billings) and the Yellowstone River.  We walked and watched birds and other natural curiosities, rambling off the paths into the brush following the animal trails. 
Matt, having never see the inside of a wasp's nest, tried to shake it out of the tree.  When that didn't work he tried tossing sticks at it.  In the end he just managed to get the sticks stuck up there right beside the nest.  Oh well.  That turned out to be a comical adventure in its own way.
I love getting out into the trees, any trees.  Strolling along the river's edge.  There is always something different and magical to behold.  I never tire of it.
I managed to snap this robin mid-swallow of a Russian olive.  Robins apparently do not mind the skin as the chickadees do.
For such a common bird they are sure striking.  I admire their white eye ring in contrast to their dark jacket and hood.
The birds were out in full force on Sunday, especially the robins.  There were flocks of robins that numbered in the hundreds and hundreds.  It was nice and sunny so Matt and I sat on the dry, golden-colored grass near the river watching them.  They flew from the tree tops in flurries of wings and feather to drink from the melting pools along the shore.  We sat there long enough that they grew quite used to us and started flying very near where we sat. 
Then, poof, they all took off.  "Hmmmmm....I wonder what caused that?" I mused.  "Yeah, where is the hawk?"  And as if on cue a juvenile bald eagle soared past, wings flat and broad as boards, never flapping.  It passed by probably 15-20 feet away--our closest wild encounter with one of these majestic beings--and landed in a tree not too far distant.  We, naturally, followed for a more prolonged viewing.   No matter how many I see in my lifetime I somehow doubt it will ever grow less exhilarating.  In the bird guides they say the bald eagles are uncommon.  What a blessing to live in a place where they are, if not common, at least not UNcommon.  In Montana you can just see them off the side of the road quite frequently.  We are so lucky.
This eagle is probably about 3 years old.  It is starting to develop the signature white head feathers and yellow beak.

By the time we came home the sunshine had past.  It was colder and greyer.  Soon it was snowing.  Looking out the front door in the evening Matt and I had to ask ourselves:  "Was that really just this morning we sat in the grass watching robins?!"

Today it is in the negatives, and snow, snow, snow.  I am so glad we took the chance for a warm, sunny walk while we could.  It seems winter might finally be here now.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful bird pictures you captured! The other day while standing on my front porch, I was certain I caught a glimpse of a bald eagle! They are majestic, to say the least.
    -Jaime

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!