For all my griping about having to live on the prairies, today we experienced one of those rare visual treats that can sneak up on those who tend to prefer mountain and ocean terrains.
On our way to the early church service in "the other town" we counted no fewer than 17 large hawks sitting atop telephone posts beside the road. The wing span when gliding across the stubbled fields was several feet across. It was a most impressive sight after a winter of watching teeny finches and redpoles at our feeders outside the kitchen window.
We also saw a gigantic snowy owl sitting on one of the poles. He was beautiful! So regal looking.......
About the time we ran out of bird sightings we had another treat: a small herd of antelope standing just inside the fence of a large field. Last spring the antelope population here was close to non-existent due to their inability to return north across the flooding Mississippi River in the USA.
Antelope seem more aware of the existence and speed of passing cars than deer seem to be. In the past 14 years in our area only 2 animal related car crashes involved antelope. Is it because deer tend to hide in treed areas and use camoflage to escape their predators by standing still to blend in before leaping away, often too late in the case of cars, whereas antelope are used to the more open plains and having to run to escape predators? I have no idea, but I find the antelope are very much more careful to stay off the roads in the presence of oncoming vehicles.
So it was a great drive.
3 days ago our back yard birds suddenly disappeared. Many of them are species that generally head much farther south for the winter and we only see them as they pass through on their way south, and then again for a couple of weeks on their way back north. This year it seems, with our very mild winter, they only went as far south as our house!! Now they have suddenly disappeared and the feeders remain nearly untouched. Wherever they have gone we will miss them. Each little bird has a personality of its own when you take the time to watch them each day. The birds have provided hours of entertainment for me during this time of immobilization.
Wonder what the spring and summer bird population will be like........