Saturday, January 24, 2009

National Geographic episode here at home

Java and I had another excellent trail ride on Friday. A little more challenging than normal (my fault, I did not know the stream was THAT deep), but so fun, and she had a blast, at times galloping through the snow. We were almost home, in our woods, and all of the sudden she spooked and jumped forward erratically. At the same time I heard something go past us behind me. It is very unusual for her to spook like that, so I looked around and... it's a hawk who has just caught a squirrel and is quietly sealing it's fate. Poor squirrel, but SO COOL.

Here are it's claw marks where it must have picked up the squirrel. And, if you look closely at the top left of the photo you can see an impression in the snow of the end of it's wings as it snatched up it's feast. It then moved and hid behind the tree to kill the squirrel and eat. It left the leftovers for the fox that I'm sure lives here too. I'm glad they share.

This is the hawk I saw, not THE one, but a photo of the same bird. Yes, it was a Red Tailed Hawk, I confirmed with with my handy dandy guide book that I took out from the library because I like pretending that I'm a geek. Apparently they are very common, and only kill a few squirrels each year (and I got to see one!). Actually, I like hearing the bird noises and matching them with the book so I can figure what is in the woods. So far I know of at least one Red Tailed Hawk and what sounds like a few Great Horned Owls.


the7msn said...

That's very cool. If you ever can't find one of your avian friends in your guide book, check out You can even listen to audio of their calls.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wow! What an adventureous ride :D

So, how deep really was that stream? Horse knee deep, belly deep or saddle deep?
Brrr! I bet the water was freezing! Sounds like a romp in the stream would be great fun in the summertime :)


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh! And how lucky you were to experience the Red Tailed Hawk.

I was involved in Hawk Watch International 2 years ago. There is nothing more amazing than holding a wild hawk in your hands, on the top of a mountain, and then tossing it up into the air to set it free again, after being tagged.

It's akin to a spiritual moment.


Java's Mom said...

Awesome comments, thank you! The stream was belly deep. Java got up to her knees, and as the snow and ice gave way to MUCH deeper water (as we're falling in) that we could now see as we attempted the steep and narrow approach, she decided "hold on, I'm getting out of here" and turned elegantly on her hind end, careful to keep me with her. I asked her again, just to be sure if she wanted to cross it. And we looked carefully at it again and decided to skip it. That's when we decided to gallop back around the long way throuh a snowy windy trail, it was fun.