Serendipitous Nature – Wildlife Week

I had several encounters with local wildlife recently. I was photographing wildflowers and headed over to this marsh to eat my lunch – and be entertained by a few ducks and elegant egrets. Scroll down to see what else swam into view.

White egret near San Francisco Bay.

White egret near San Francisco Bay.

Look closely…see the swans?

Look closely...see the swans?

… closer… a little family of swans

swan fam med range_psE1282

Swan family

Swan family

And then to my delight the parents brought them near the water’s edge for a photo-op.

Baby swans

Baby swans

Second encounter:  I was staring out my window yesterday when a robin flew right towards me and knocked himself out on the glass. To add to my astonishment, he was being followed by a falcon that immediately put on his brakes when he saw me.  He perched on a chair on the deck twelve feet away, eyeing his prey…. and me, no doubt with annoyance.

Peregrine falcon(I think this is him). from iStock Getty images

Peregrine falcon (I think this is him). fr. iStock Getty images

As I decided whether to race for my camera or save the robin, the magnificent falcon took off, deciding to leave his (no longer so) easy prey. I wrapped the unconscious robin in a rag – just like we do for people in shock (well maybe not with rags) – and put him in a box for protection and further warmth.

Robin (from a blog in Russian)

American Robin (photo from a blog in Russian)

Fifteen or twenty minutes later I went out and the robin was still quiet until I lifted  him gently from the box. As I began to unwrap him, he struggled and swiftly flew off – without so much as a thank you.

I’ve done this before over the years and my success rate is three saved, one DOA. Least you criticize me for my many large windows which reflect the garden at certain times, I have put large, ugly stickers of hawks on most of them as well as garden chimes, but the birds either ignore them or are flying too fast to stop – like this robin.

Close Encounter of the third kind: I walked out in my backyard two days ago and a fawn scampered in front of me. This time I did run to get my camera and to my surprise there were two of them – twins. They still had their white, baby spots. I couldn’t figure out how they got in as we have a “deer-proof” fence, but went to open the back gate and shoo them out; I hoped mama was watching from somewhere. Then today they were back! I still don’t know how they get in, but now I wonder if their mother leaves them here thinking they are safer from predators inside the fence.

We actually live in a semi-rural town, but with a creek corridor in back and most of the property encouraged as native vegetation, we get to see a lot of wildlife. You never know what you are going to see – whether venturing afield or in your own back yard!

I could have called this post “Of Swans and Fawns.” Do you have a wildlife story to share? Or any suggestions on lessening the perils of windows for birds?

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7 thoughts on “Serendipitous Nature – Wildlife Week

  1. I loved this post, Cinda. It’s so within my wheelhouse of life and living. The place I live currently is almost like being in the middle of a National Geographic special. And since they were here long before I was, I make a point of sharing or giving over to them whenever possible.
    I finished writing a post last week about my latest encounter with a great big black bear–it doesn’t get posted until August, but it certainly made an impact.
    I loved the pictures you’ve posted this week as well. Goodness, swans certainly are lucky creatures to parade around in such beautiful bodies.
    Cheers!

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    • Thank you for these lovely comments. It is nice to commune with kindred spirits (esp. after a cousin’s remark, with a roll of the eyes, I was”uh-uh…a tree hugger”!)

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  2. Cinda, I so enjoy your pictures and astute observations! I thought of you this morning when I read on the Audubon California Facebook page that Audubon and the Sierra Club are suing to stop a huge solar project in prime bird habitat in the Panoche Valley, Ca. Every rooftop first, please.

    The Swainson’s Thrush that crashed into my window last week died instantly. I felt terrible for pulling the blinds open completely, when I’ve thought it helps to keep them down with the slats just open. Jarring that this would be the first time I’d see a Thrush as for years since moving to the North Pacific Coast, I have searched the trees in vain to glimpse this very shy bird of exquisite song. Do you have Thrushes inhabiting your woods each Spring through July?

    Other Spring sightings last week were a mother raccoon trailed by her 8 babies and a grown deer that has been staying near the house and seems too tame, which I don’t encourage, but can’t help but want to touch.

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    • Hi Elizabeth: Thanks for the update on the Panoche Valley. I heard of a solar project being proposed a year or two ago, but thought they would drop it because it is a popular birding spot and frequented by other wildlife. I hope to see the spring wildflowers there….I hope they find another spot. (Rooftops. Yes!)
      I have occasionally seen a thrush that may have been Swainson’s or Hermit’s thrush – they look so much alike. What I remember recently is a varied thrush – he was so colorful orange and black stripes) I had to look him up.
      Thnaks for writing and sharing your thoughts.

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  3. Amazing moments, glad you were on the alert and could show us. We sometimes have a whole imprint of a bird on one or other window. These are from sparrow hawk attacks on pigeons. Little fledgelings sometimes hit the window as they learn to use the bird feeder, but get up and go again.

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