Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Of bird omens and forest news

Life sometimes gets so hectic, what with multiple trips to big, bad Atlanta-town, and the accumulating weight of the cancer epidemic around us, it is often too easy to forget how simply stunning and beautiful nature is in these wild mountains we call home.  I am certainly no St. Francis, but the big birds seem to like me and watch over me.

In the past week, many wise old crows and the street sweepers of north Georgia, the turkey buzzards, have crossed my path.  So have multiple wild turkeys.  And pileated woodpeckers.  And the broadwing hawk that watches over me from the telephone wires on Warwoman Road.  And a few days ago this big, 'ole barred owl dive-bombing over the truck back in the Glades. This past Thursday, our good friend, "the Glade Road Hawk," another broadwing, came up the property and swooped down the driveway in front of me.  A solitary hummingbird and a baby hummingbird have found the feeding station on our porch.  Good bird omens, I call 'em.

Same day, a red fox and a baby red fox skittered out of my way near the firehouse.  And within the past week, I was lucky enough to visit one of the secret places of the Chattahoochee National Forest with a loyal hiking friend, which presents itself in Spring as a virtual carpet of wildflowers -- trillium, bloodroot, showy orchis, pink and yellow ladyslipper.  All framed in a halo of green (see photo. and please do note that I have not lost all my hair).  There was enough wind in the treetops to make the trees come alive -- the sound, to me, is that of a woman moaning (I know, I know, not politically correct -- but that is exactly how it sounds.)  It is a wonderful sound in the distance.

It is all worth remembering and savoring, no matter how much turmoil surrounds us.  I am grateful for these experiences!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Birds are back -- again!

My good avian friends, mostly raptors, are back in profusion in recent days.  There's a new almost-balloon-shaped barred owl overseeing the garden.  Barred owls are pretty much shaped like a rugby football ball, with a head attached and those two huge eyes. There's a  new, small broadwing hawk watching over me and my truck from the telephone wires on Warwoman Road.  A pileated woodpecker matched me tree-to-tree on a parallel path on Glade Road recently.  And, not often seen this close to roads, a Ruffed Grouse flapped its way madly in front of the truck again -- where else -- but Warwoman.  That is one cool road, full of good bird omens.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Broadwings are back!

It's not every day that we spy our favorite hawk, the broadwing hawk.  But two days ago, a pair of broadwings was perched on the telephone wires along, what else, Warwoman Road.  I had a feeling maybe this pair never went south for their annual migration.  There were very friendly and forgiving, unconcerned by the man in the white truck who stopped to say hello.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Of a bizarre barred owl, hot hawks & a baby black bear

This recaps what I have seen in recent weeks in and around these parts:

--  A baby black cat (that looked more like a panther than pet).
--  Red foxes and grey foxes.
--  A barred owl sitting in the middle of the road in broad daylight, just plunked there on the pavement.  It flew away with some difficulty when the truck approached and then perched on a nearby branch forever, it seemed like, until a barred owl buddy came to its "rescue," flying over my head, perching on a nearby branch forever, it seemed like, until both winged away into the deeper woods.
--  One hot hawk, our "Glade Road broadwing hawk," as we call it, soaring yesterday in broad circles high above our home, like a watchhawk.  Then, its observations completed, it made a straight beeline due South.  Other broadwings here and there are beating the bushes on the local rights of way.
--  Coming home this morning, a baby black bear is loping along the road just above the Law Ground Creek waterfall, not in any hurry.  These beasts of the mountains, even as babies, own their territory.  Then, it crossed the road and scrambled up a vertical rock wall to its own place in the deeper woods.

We are blessed to see such abundant wildlife in our midst, even the ones that seem a bit awry.  Good omens, overall.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

About that Glade Road broadwing

Our big, beautiful (and incredibly fast) hawk decided to grace me with a head-on dive last night, just as night had fallen.  Framed in the headlights, it bulleted toward the truck -- going so fast the only way I recognized it was by the white bands on its tail.  I take this as a good omen of change.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


It is still wild enough in these parts to see wildlife here and there.  Chipmunks, squirrels, all manner of migratory birds, crows galore (more so than usual, it seems), other raptors (turkey buzzards, broadwings, barred owls), oppossums, racoons, red and grey foxes, a huge gang of wild pigs (which kept on moving, hosannah!), box turtles, doe deer and fawns, and in past two weeks, two mama wild turkeys with their respective broods but a few yards from the roads.  And today -- a baby black snake in the vegetable garden beds and a juvenile black bear loping slowly up the driveway.  It sniffed at the mint patch behind the house and then moved on the back woods.

Not yet seen this season:  The bobcats and the mountain lion.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The birds are baaaack ....

Now that Spring is officially Sprung, two harbingers of the Season are making their way back into the byways of this mountain region -- the Pileated Woodpecker and the Broadwing Hawk -- both magnificent beasts of the airways.  Looping, diving, soaring, usually right over the truck.

It is comforting to see nature naturally take its course here even as the rest of the world heads to meltdown.