Monday, November 9, 2009

Wildlife Encounters

The weather's back down in the 80s, closer to where it belongs (though still unseasonably warm), and it's a gorgeous day - bright blue sky and a few wispy clouds just for textural interest.  On our walk Sunday morning Joe and I saw something unusual, at least in our limited experience.  At first I thought it was a smaller bird chasing a hawk away from its nest or young, something we've often seen.  But on a closer look, it wasn't that at all, but rather a red-tailed hawk and a significantly smaller Cooper's hawk, apparently just hanging out together, riding the air currents in that glorious sky.  We stopped and watched for about 5 minutes, until they drifted up and westward out of sight.

A few days earlier, in that magical lavender pre-dawn light that lasts only a short time each morning, we came upon a bobcat watching a rabbit that had just crossed the road (why does a rabbit cross the road? I have no idea).  Again, we paused to see what would happen.  The bobcat was utterly still yet we could sense its focused attention on the rabbit, its muscles like tightly coiled springs, and then it leapt, almost crossing the road in one bound and flushing the rabbit from a thick clump of red-blossoming oleander.  The bobcat was right behind it, less than a foot away, when the rabbit wheeled into a tight right turn and was off down the road (the rabbit stopped half a block or so away and looked back before ducking into the brush).  Apparently bobcats, perhaps because they're bigger, can't turn as tightly as rabbits.  In any event, this one knew when it had lost its prey - predators, after all, miss more often than they hit.  I didn't necessarily want to see a bloody spectacle enacted just 20 feet in front of me, but I do hope the bobcat eventually found some breakfast.

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