Note: this post was first published on my Nature’s Apprentice blog: http://wapitisriversedge.wordpress.com/2011/10/ on Dec 2, 2011
I made my way far up the hill today. Ok, canyon is the better word here, but I use “hill” for slang, and perhaps a moronic guides poor humor when putting one foot in front of the other in a heavenly direction. Heavenly, both in beauty and a treacherously steep-ward ascension, that is. In a chasm over a mile deep, only half way up is still a serious assault on lungs and legs. But it was at this point that I noticed the golden eagle making circular passes over rims far above me. It caught my gaze, as I scanned the slopes for the chukars I thought I heard earlier.
Pausing with me for a climbing break, my two weimies, Ember and Sugar, also tried to catch their breath. Their panting made the same sound as chukars make, when far away. It is surprising how similar the sound is, even for an experienced ear. Sometimes a squeaky oarlock makes the same such noise and fools me just the same when cruising the river in search of birds.
But, between dog pants, I could distinctly hear some chukars. Unfortunately, they were way too far above, than I was willing to continue high enough to pursue. Besides, they soon shut up when the shadow of Mr. Eagle poured over the terrain, giving a clue to its menacing presence soaring above in search of them.
It reminded me of eagles I had seen in the past, when I was lucky enough to watch golden’s with their wings tucked in a power dive and in hot pursuit of a panicked chukar squawking and fleeing as fast as its wings would take it. But not faster than the bird of prey, and soon it was a hard-earned meal for the eagle.
Another time, I had shot a chukar on a very steep, razor back ridge, and before the chukar hit the ground, a marsh hawk came out of thin air, swooped down and plucked that cart wheeling bird in an aerial retrieve before it hit the ground. But it was worth my losing a meal, as the price of admission to be so grandly entertained.
Watching eagles has always made me wonder what it would be like to fly like one, so had to take an experienced para-wing experts invitation to go flying one day, years ago. I only made one flight, but it was as thrilling as I had imagined. I was ready to run out and buy my own wings, but suddenly realized that reading air currents is much harder than river currents. I can look at river currents directly. Wind can only be seen by watching indicators, which often, are not readily observable. That is when I figured I better stick with the river. But it was a great experience to feel what it is like to be an eagle.
I am thankful that I have been witness to so many cool things in nature. My secret? Time and effort. The more time you spend out smack in the middle of nature, the more opportunities for you to see great things.
A great youtube to visit, to see good footage of a golden eagle (like the one I saw today) set to some beautiful music:
Eagle’s Flight – Karunesh
Sorry, I haven’t figured out how to put the Youtube video thing on this post. Techno challenge.