I know! It has been forever since I’ve regaled you with my latest interests! But there really isn’t a lot happening on the acreage at Rancho Vicunasuz during the winter months. The biggest personal things have been a temporary job assignment that has me downtown in the big city everyday and my broken leg. The daily drive to and from the big city is ongoing, and hopefully will be ongoing for a while yet. The broken leg chronicle appears to be over now and with luck, will be over permanently.
How did I break my leg? I was stepping onto a handicap ramp. What broke my leg? My beloved pink steel Hello Kitty thermos. The event is just loaded with the kind of irony I love…when it happens to someone else. It was at the end of a rough week and I was tired and looking forward to a quiet weekend. I was approaching the end of the sidewalk and deciding whether to step off the curb onto the parking lot or walk down the tiny handicap ramp. I decided on the handicap ramp, took a step onto it and *BAM*, I was sitting on the ground with my legs kind of tangled and wondering how I got there. And why it hurts so bad to turn you ankle, as well as who might have witnessed this embarrassment, how to get up like nothing had happened and why do I have to pull my tote bag containing my beloved pink steel Hello Kitty thermos out from under my leg? A man drove up and expressed concern without laughing, so I managed to haul myself up onto my foot and actually kind of stamped my feet to make sure I could walk. He left and I hobbled over to my car. A couple of days and x-rays later proved I broke my fibula. Very inconvenient and not at all comfortable. But it could have been much worse and I am out of my cast now and walking around with the other humans. Oh, and the Hello Kitty thermos? I’m happy to report there is not a dent or scratch on it.
Along with my new work environs downtown came not only a broken leg, but my new obsession: Peregrine falcons. There are a nesting pair a couple of blocks from where I am working and I saw one of them one morning on one of our buildings. I was so excited! I saw a bald eagle the previous month, and now a Peregrine falcon…two endangered species in a month’s time.
I was traveling along Interstate 71 in February and while I drive this incredibly flat freeway I like to keep an eye on the birds, always checking out the buzzards and hawks, with the occasional herons flying by. This particular day I saw a bird that seemed a more unusual in the way it appeared while flying and by its size. As it flew across the freeway it turned its head and I could see it was a bald eagle. I have never seen a bald eagle flying in its natural environment before, and certainly never expected to see one while I was driving on I-71, right around SR 95 (mile marker 150, for those of you so inclined…you know who you are).
I saw the falcon one morning, shortly after arriving and settling in at my desk. Although my desk is situated right in front of a window, I only have a perfect view of the wall of the next building. So, great! I have a window, but it has vertical blinds and a view of a wall; this area surrounds a small grassy area below. The whole thing kind of feels like being in a penitentiary on some days, but this day I looked up and saw a Peregrine falcon sitting on the edge of the roof and checking things out. Nearby was a pigeon that was keeping one eye on the falcon, too. I’ve never seen a pigeon huddle so close to a flat surface, not daring to move even a feather…I don’t think the pigeon even breathed while the falcon was within sight.
ODNR has a camera that they keep on the nesting pair that is located a few blocks from my office at Rhodes tower. They are a pair of young Peregrines and it is believed that this is their first attempt at nesting and raising young. They have laid 5 eggs and the female has just begun incubating them within the last couple of days. I have to check in on them first thing in the morning, after lunch and from home. It takes a little over 30 days for the eggs to hatch, and that is assuming everything is going according to plan. Here is a link: ODNR FalconCam
More bird and Stymie news including a really poor quality picture…unless you like pictures of the screen on my backdoor. I had the backdoor open on a recent sunny day when I finally realized that Stymie the squirrel had been complaining loudly for about 15 minutes. I went to check it out and saw our resident red tail hawk sitting on the fence with Stymie in full cry, letting all the rest of the squirrel population know about the danger. The thing is, the hawk wasn’t interested in Stymie, who was about 5 feet away from him. The hawk had his eyes on a nearby bird feeder. Finally, the hawk flew off and Stymie charged the spot where he had been, as if to say, “Yeah…fear my squirrel manliness, stupid hawk! I told the world all about you and stood not 5 feet away without fear of your deadly talons! Flee, I say, and we’ll not see the likes of you about! Fie upon you…fie!” Here is the fuzzy pic with the red tail on the left and the fearless Stymie to the right on the fence tops…or you can admire the fineness of my screen. I only had time to get one shot and, sadly, this was it.