Saturday, February 4, 2012

An Eagle Roost

Mary Poppins says that in every job that's to be done, there is an element of fun. Just find the fun and snap! the job's a game. And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake... a lark... a spree...

One of my most unfavorite jobs is selling goats. For the last few years instead of painfully selling them two by two, I sell all the kids at once to a goat buyer a two hours drive from here. Yesterday, Johnny and I loaded up (easier said than done) the ten kids from last year and took them to the buyer. It was a beautiful day for a drive and it really is easier on all of us, goats and me, to have them all leave at the same time together. But it's still stressful and I needed to find that "element of fun".

And we did. After the kids were delivered, we drove back past the Bald Eagle roost discovered by some birder last year. Eagles from up and down the valley converge on a line of tall Cottonwood trees to roost for the night. The eagles are in the valley mainly to clean up sheep placentas and dead sheep from the thousands that are lambing out on grass seed fields this time of year. The eagles will return to their nesting areas in the spring. The line of trees is a long way across fields. It takes binoculars to see big birds in the trees and scopes to tell what they are.

When we arrived at 3:45, we could find a total of four birds in that line of trees to the east. Very soon, two more flew in. We left at 4:00 to go have supper in a nearby town. We could see six eagles when we left... pretty cool! Here are two of them.

We returned at 5:45. Those trees to the east were now full of Bald Eagles... 47 by one count. But the sky to the west was also spectacular. I hurriedly shot a few pictures of the distant eagles before it got too dark to see them, but did not manage to focus properly and succeeded only in getting photos of blurry black lumps. Johnny counted a total, by the time we left fifteen minutes later, of 63 Bald Eagles. Yes, 63!

I took almost that many photos trying to capture the spectacular sunset.

The goat selling business turned out to be not so painful after all... thanks to an element of fun provided by eagles and a sunset.

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