Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mountain Life

Yesterday, while on the phone talking to my mother, I happened to look out the front windows--the same windows that overlook the White Oak tree I photographed the other day--and I nearly dropped the phone.  The biggest hawk ever was perched on a branch of that tree, staring right at the house. 

I told Mom I would call her back, grabbed the camera, then discreetly tried to slide the telephoto between slats of the Venetian blinds, focus, and manage to get a clear shot, all without alerting the hawk. 

Right.  A bird that can spot a field mouse from space, and he's not going to see me jostling the blinds or poking a camera in his direction from across the road.   And, of course, the second I get everything lined up--and through the telephoto, this guy was seriously scary and as large as a bald eagle--he spreads his enormous wings and flies off.  I got nothing.  Just a bare branch with nary a feather to be seen.  I kept looking throughout the day, hoping, but he didn't come back.

Then this morning as I drive around the bend toward the house after walking the boys, there's a large buck strolling casually down the road.  It's the Head of the Herd--all the does and fawns up here are his--and he wasn't in the least inclined to move off the road; this is his territory and he makes it very clear. 

Once, last year, he bellowed at me when I was out back raking leaves--guess he thought I was too close to the familia.  I wasn't even aware he was there in the woods, but I sure got his message loud and clear. 

I don't know where he hangs out during the Summer months, though there are plenty of fawns around so I know he keeps...ahem...busy.  Around this time of year he shows up and struts around just in case there are any interlopers or young bucks foolish enough to challenge him. 

So, I quickly parked the car, then dashed inside for the camera and went out on the front deck just as he walked into the bushes beside the drive.  I barely had time to get one decent shot before he leaped over the deer fence as if it were no more bother than stepping onto a city curb.

Here's my semi-crappy photo, nothing compared to how he looked meandering along in the middle of the road as if everything on the mountain belonged solely to him.  He's a handsome guy, isn't he?  And with that impressive headgear, it's no wonder he has such a nice big harem...

Now, if I can just avoid any more wildlife safari stuff for the rest of the weekend, I should be able to finish my last handful of Christmas cards, then get back to my latest book.  I am so close to the end of my 2012 Reading Challenge--only 2-1/2 books away from reaching my objective--and since I bailed on NaNo, I'm definitely completing this goal.


  1. Avoid a wildlife safari?!? That's crazy talk.

    1. Yeah, it was crazy talk. Though I managed to finish the Christmas cards, I still spent half the afternoon watching two hawks swoop and soar over the ridge while a bunch of little sparrows tried to drive them off...