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06 May 2006 @ 01:23 pm
Ideal Saturday Morning  
Light at length spreads over the valley; Under the blanket of mist, the quiescent mountains wake up from their slumber: the scattered bits of forest become animated with chortling sounds of male turkeys and the emphatic chi-ca-go call of California quails. Suddenly, the sounds of the native birds are drowned by something more familiar - the call of a peacock - a pet on a ranch nearby. As we were trying to identify more calls from behind the misty veil, a Yellow-billed Magpie, a California endemic, landed nearby to pick up nesting material. It was quickly attacked and chased away by a group of European starlings, another introduced species from the old world which threaten the existence of the native birds.

Further up the trail, a large Jack Rabbit dashed across in front of us into an adjoining golf course. A Red-tailed Hawk looked at it intently, but an adult healthy rabbit is something which does not feature on it's breakfast menu. However, Jack Rabbits need to be careful, a few miles away, I hear, are Golden Eagles - some of the largest raptors in the world and they will be looking out for plump rabbits. There are even records of Bald Eagles and Cougars here and recently someone photographed a Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake along the same trail I was walking. Now, if I had seen all that today, I would have probably passed out with excitement - so we'll save that for another day.

Sunrise in the mountains

Turkey on the road.

A wild male turkey

All ready to impress

A male Red-winged Blackbird trying his luck

IdahoSwedeidahoswede on May 6th, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC)
How fortunate you got to see the wild turkeys. They are probaby some of the most clever, hardest to hunt birds in the States. Somehow when they were domesticated, they bred all of the intelligence out of them, since few birds are dumber than the domesticated turkey, but you got to see the real thing!
depontideponti on May 6th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
lovely piece of writing!
this time your description was as good as the pictures. I love words and word pictures and thought I'd tell you how much I enjoyed sharing it! The first photo has a painting-like, serene quality that I also found in kaadupapa's picture of the terns and the elephant...thanks for letting us make the most of your visit!
Aragorn, Son of Arathorncode_martial on May 6th, 2006 09:10 pm (UTC)
The first pic is wallpaper material. Got higher res versions?
kejnkejn on May 7th, 2006 05:31 am (UTC)
i love the turkey on the road picture! it has "action". does it see something approaching? will it stand its ground? ("why did the chicken try to cross the road?") :-)

i saw a wild turkey in the NC blue ridge mountains once. never had a chance to pull out the camera though. glad you did!
Yathinyathin on May 8th, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC)
There were two female turkeys to the right of the picture and the male turkey on the road wasn't really concerned about anything else.
Bhavanabhavanar on May 7th, 2006 01:22 pm (UTC)
Cool pics! I've never seen a turkey here.
goofy_duck2004: Redgoofy_duck2004 on May 7th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
Not just the pictures and your photography, but your writing skills are amazing too. I was almost expecting to see all that in pictures, until you mentioned the last statement. Looks like you are making the most of your trip. Have fun.
ashbirderashbirder on May 7th, 2006 03:06 pm (UTC)

I find introduced species very unnerving. They make me feel completely out of sorts. In Hyde Park in London I was once totally freaked by the call of a Rose ringed Parakeet. I thought -what the hell?!! And then sure enough saw it on the tree right above me.

Introduced species (like the parakeet in UK) could rapidly multiply and affect native birds, like you've mentioned. It's not a nice thought...
Yathinyathin on May 7th, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC)
Apparently some settler from England wanted to recreate Shakespeare's world in America and he got most of these European birds here.
sandeep: calmdeepsan on May 8th, 2006 03:58 am (UTC)
'Sunrise in the mountains' is lovely.
Prasanna Vprasannav on May 8th, 2006 05:35 am (UTC)
Too Good man...just too good...The last one is sporting my favourite color combo - black and red...btw whats the blackbird trying its luck at?
Yathinyathin on May 8th, 2006 05:38 am (UTC)
He's trying to impress the females. It's spring.
Prasanna Vprasannav on May 8th, 2006 05:42 am (UTC)
Ohh good luck to it:D
Preethifiveonehalf on May 8th, 2006 09:23 am (UTC)
Just beautiful! I loved the first one!
ZuZusuzan_s on May 8th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
WOW! Love all the shots of the wild turkeys but my favorite is the Red- Winged Blackbird.
Meghameghainclouds on May 10th, 2006 11:43 am (UTC)
hey stumbled on to your blog from Smits' blog. The pics are breathtaking. Where exactly is the first pic taken? the sunrise one? It actually seems like the green landscaping is awakening to the sun.

btw, mind if I add as you a friend?
Yathinyathin on May 10th, 2006 04:20 pm (UTC)
> Where exactly is the first pic taken?

Ed Levin County Park, California.

> mind if I add as you a friend?

Yes you can. Thanks for letting me know. :)