Waiting For The Scent of Flesh
|Patiently they wait and watch--for an offering from me.|
Saturday, April 30, 2011
|Patiently they wait and watch--for an offering from me.|
|"My" vultures are back, catching warmimg rays on the metal roof of my old barn. |
All photos by Jonathan Schechter
Now that warmth has returned so have my turkey vultures.
I feed birds. In the winter a mix of seed and suet brings in the usual mix of backyard species.
Yesterday I filled the hummingbird feeders with their sugar water mixture and wait for our tinest bird.
But yesterday I noticed another species I have been feeding for the past 3 warm weather seasons
(they migrate south in the winter) have returned to my yard and are they are waiting for me to act.
And they don't want sugar water.
They are waiting for my fleshy offerings.
Not visable in these hurridly shot and slightly blurred photos is my vulture feeder: A 4 foot square
elevated platform between the house and the 1860's barn.
On this platform I present my road kill offerings of pancaked possum, squished squirrel, rancid
rabbit or their favorite, tire-whacked woodchuck. And when the time is right a farming friend adds
alpaca placenta to the fleshy treats. I feel bad that they are waiting for I have not yet
made a single offering, but I smiled at their return. Stay tuned for the strange saga of feeding these
magnifcant high-soaring birds that like to drop down from the sky for an easy-pickings putrid lunch.
That is their way. And that is their job in nature's way.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
|All photos by Jonathan Schechter|
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Photo by Jonathan Schechter Orion Oaks County Park 4/20/11
Some believe the ivory-billed woodpecker is extinct. I am one of the hopeful ones that believes this elusive red-crested giant hangs on in the mountains of Cuba and isolated bottomland swamps of the southeastern United States. One thing is certain: If the ivorybills survive, they are extremely rare and elusive and shy of human activity. While a high quality photo or video has yet to be obtained, various groups of knowledgable and skilled birders have been reporting ivory-billed woodpeckers. Two separate areas of Louisiana have produced credible multiple sightings, while Florida and Arkansas credible sighting have waned. The search continues with human eyes and high-tech sound and image monitoring.
Michigan old growth forests are home to the magnificant pileated woodpecker and it has been said that there is no other bird it can be confused with. Not so! One glance at this classic Audubon print of an ivory billed woodpecker (below) and my photo of a pileated woodpecker (above) shows their stunning resemblance. On April 20th I hiked about the western section of Orion Oaks County Park and was delighted to first hear, and then see and then snap one quick photo of our native pileated woodpecker, our red-crested forest giant with an almost 30 inch wing span that has adapted to protected habitat conditions in this Oakland County Park, a 916 acre parkland surrounded by suburbia.
An Audubon sketch of the elusive ivory billed woodpecker
Friday, April 22, 2011
|Israeli sunset on the Mediterranean Sea. |
(this photo by Irit Kovacsi with permission)
On this cold and blustery Earth Day in Oakland County- with tiny hail pellets and a few snowflakes in the higher elevations of my Brandon Township - I thought it appropriate for a final Earth's Almanac look back with photos of my recent trek in northern Israel. Sunny pictures only to stir our passion for our long delayed spring in Michigan. Our time will come!
(All photos are mine with the exception of above, sent by an Israeli hiker I met.)
Sunday, April 17, 2011
|An old Israeli man (Jewish) chats with an Israeli shepherd (Druze) high above the Sea of Galilee.|
all photos by Jonathan Schechter
My travels in the Land of Israel are drawing to an end. I hiked from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Gailee on a four day trek through canyons and over mountains. I have explored Crusader castles and Moslem fortresses and gazed at the massive Syrian-African Rift. Witnessed bird banding at dawn in the Hula Vallley, and the raging waters of Nahal Hermon in the heat of the sun. Explored three wonderous Israeli national parks and reserves: Tel Dan, Nimrods Fortress and Hermon Stream Nature Reserve. Visited ancient battle sites from the Bible, and others ripped from today's headlines. Walked under bridges built by the Romans and viewed arches from 4,000 years ago. Chatted with Israelis of three faiths: Druze, Moslem and Jewish. Dined on fresh pita with goat cheese. Walked for miles between towns and pastoral villages. Slept in a hammock-tent lulled to sleep by jackels. Biked along the Jordan River. But at no time did I feel more at ease and connected to the land than when I sat high on a bluff laced with wildflowers and watched a Druze shepherd herd his goats up towards a spring and a trough of stone--and my perch. And with about 100 meters to go, an older Israeli man sitting with me stood and walked slowly down the hill to greet the goat herding shepherd he did not know. They shook hands and talked of the land, the goats and life in the Galilee.
It could have been 2,000 years earlier. For those that love the land, it is all the same.
I smiled, wondering what it would be like to be that old man or shepherd, connected so closely to their land.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
|A resident pigeon in the Nimrod Fortress: all photos by Jonathan Schechter|
The Nimrod Fortress is one of the largest and most impressive fortresses which have survived in the
Mid-East since the Middle Ages. Construction began in the year 1228 to protect against invading Crusaders.
With the surrender of the Crusaders and their ejection from the Holy Land at the end of the 13th century, the prestige of this stone fortress diminshed. In the 15th century it served as a prison for rebels but was soon abandoned. Up until the time it became an Israeli national park (located in northern most Israel within view of Lebanon and just over the mountain from Syria) it would at times shelter shepherds and their flocks. Today the vastness of this fortress remains a draw for wildlife that has adapted to the stones, stairwalls and towers of rock. And that is the way it is with wildlife around the world, adapting to our ways, be it a coyote in Michigan or a hyrax at an ancient fortress in Israel.
The name of the game is always adapting for survival.
Photos below: The Syrian rock hyrax resembles our groundhog but is native to Israel and is most closely related to the elephant. Lizards, like lizards every where seek places to adjust body temperature: sun warmed rocks cut in the 12 century are just perfect.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
|The mist nets are set before dawn.|
ALL PHOTOS BY JONATHAN SCHECHTER
|The proper size ring is selected for this black cap, a common species.|
|Nets are checked every twenty minutes or sooner.|
|Common Kingfisher, seconds before release.|
|European Bee Eater - one of the most colorful birds of the day.|
|A reed warbler visiting from Lebanon displays its homeland ring.|
|Sedge warbler having just been weighed, is about to be released.|
|Golan Heights are the backdrop for this ringing station.|
|Masked shrike smiling at the camera.|
|Israeli adults attend an interpretive program on the science of ringing.|
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
|The trail starts at the Med Sea|