Posts Tagged With: death in the woods

What’s Wrong With This Picture?


Pandion haliaetus

Maybe the resolution ain’t so great, due to cropping and zooming, and maybe the white balance is off a bit, but I don’t think there’s a whole lot really wrong with that picture. It’s an osprey against a clear blue sky on a lovely late summer day and most people wouldn’t find anything wrong with that.

Most people.

“Now, wait just a darn minute, Quill,” some people are shouting right about now. “That’s an osprey! It’s going to eat all the fish! Someone should do something!”

Perhaps those people would find this picture more to their liking:

"Jack and the osprey" 1948

“Jack and the osprey” 1948 (Found Photo)

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Categories: nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Cry of the Sapsucker

If any bird has a made-up sounding name, it has to be the yellow-bellied sapsucker. They are woodpeckers, named because of their habit of drilling holes through the bark of trees in late winter, and feeding on the oozing sap. The rings of holes they leave become an important food source for other animals, including early hummingbirds and butterflies that arrive before the first flowers appear. The call of the sapsucker has been compared to that of a hawk but the sapsuckers are active before the hawks return and I’ve learned to look to the trunk of the crab apple instead of high in the sky when I hear it this time of year.

But sooner or later, the hawks return, and I am not the only one who should remember to look up.

Hawk killing a bluejay

Many nature photographers sit in a blind, for hours and hours, hiding and waiting for something to happen, and I am no exception. My blind has been cleverly disguised as a house. Continue reading

Categories: nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Eskimo Blue Day

Sometimes when the cold winter wind screams, seeming to carry nothing but cruelty and pain, it can seem like the best thing to do is scream back. Feet planted and shoulders squared, lean in and let loose with a howl, a yowl or a yelp. Play with the tone and vary the pitch, high, low or otherwise, but always, always keep the volume right where it should be, turned up all the way to 11. Continue reading

Categories: nature, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

With My Snowshoes

With my snowshoes, the impossible becomes difficult. Snow that would have been waist-deep only comes up to my knees and high stepping through the powder means lifting extra weight as the decks collect snow. But my legs are long and strong, allowing me to stride purposefully (remember – I don’t run) in pursuit of poachers, trespassers and other miscreants.

With my old school wood and rawhide snowshoes I can blaze a trail through fresh, deep snow with nary a sound other than the occasional creak of the leather bindings, which sounds like nothing more than a tree in the breeze. These are my woods and I can head off most any incursion, taking great delight in startling intruders into exclaiming, “What the …?” or “Where’d you come from?” or even, “How come we didn’t see you with that screaming bright orange hat?” Continue reading

Categories: Humor, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Without My Snowshoes

Without my snowshoes, I would have to charge into the woods, leaping over or plowing through the drifts along the edges to reach the deep even blanket of snow within. If that interior snow was especially deep I would have to lift my legs high and somewhat sideways to make forward progress. In soft, waist-deep snow I could wind up wallowing in my own tracks, pulling myself deeper with my struggles and packing snow around my feet to the point I would need to lie down and attempt to extricate myself by rolling out of the hole I’d made. I could flop around like that for a couple of hours, straining, toiling and burning so many calories that I would ironically overheat and freeze to death if I didn’t suffer a heart attack first. Continue reading

Categories: Humor, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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